Gamo Maxxim Elite
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- Last updated: 25/08/2017
It’s a funny thing, but despite a steady flow of new airguns onto the market, it’s actually fairly rare for us to get anything dramatically different. Most models are either upgrades of existing products, or new variations on a tried and tested theme. So, when Gamo’s brand new multi-shot, gas ram powered rifle- the Gamo Maxxim Elite, hit the market, and surfaced on the BSA stand up at the British Shooting Show, earlier in the year, it unsurprisingly caused quite a stir.
OK; admittedly, we’ve had repeating, magazine-fed recoiling airguns before; in fact there’s been quite a few. I clearly remember Sussex Armoury dallying with a gravity-fed tubular magazine, in their tap-loading Jackal models, back in the ‘80’s. Then there was the original spring-powered BSA Goldstar, and the gas-ram powered Theoben Imperator SLR. These were all under-lever or side-lever designs, which brings not only added weight, but complication into the equation.
By contrast, Gamo score a direct hit in the fun stakes, with their new Maxxim Elite, since the highly innovative design sees a 10-shot rotary magazine system, built around a break-barrel! Gamo themselves brought us the Paratrooper repeater break barrel of course, but the Maxxim Elite is an altogether tidier design! It’s on test here, and I have to say, the minute I clapped eyes on it, I knew I had to have a play at some point.
If the idea of a repeating break-barrel airgun isn’t exciting enough, well think again! As I am genuinely excited believe me, this model also comes as a package deal; and when you consider what’s included, all-in for the fairly modest RRP, it looks like a good deal too. The Maxxim Elite comes with a beech stock, complete with an adjustable cheek piece, rubber butt pad, grip inserts, two-stage CAT trigger, a patented Whisper Maxxim integral sound moderator, recoil reducing raised scope rail, and a 3-9x40 Gamo-branded scope- all for the current asking price of around £289. Blimey!
First impressions of the Maxxim Elite are dominated by its size, and at 46” long, this is an adult rifle overall. It looks a beast of a gun too, but at 6.25lbs, it rather belies its looks to the point where I needed a second weight check; only having rather crude kitchen scales to hand for the weighing in. A narrow diameter compression cylinder, significant plastic components around the front, and various plastic inserts utilised in the stock, all combine to great effect, and balance and handling are therefore surprisingly good.
The ambidextrous beech stock is made by Gamo at their Spanish factory, and I have to say, it’s a nice piece of work. The generous forend makes a refreshing change, whilst those grip inserts along its sides recessed into its sides are sufficiently textured, so they feel like rubber. That adjustable cheek piece section is moulded from identical material, and has an equally appealing feel, whilst the rubber butt pad is the standard Gamo add-on. Here though, they call it ‘Shock Wave Absorbing’; but don’t get too excited, as it’s rock hard as usual!
Get past that niggling irritation though, and there’s so much more to this rifle. Finish and build quality is up to the mark, and what we expect from Gamo, with the main cylinder sporting chemical bluing, contrasting nicely with the matt-coated scope rail. The front section is what Gamo term their new patented Whisper Maxxim Integral Sound Moderator. This takes the form of the barrel being a steel liner, encased in a synthetic compound. As previously mentioned, this helps to keep weight down, but the synthetics are very precisely moulded, so an overly cheap feel, which can come from heavy use of plastics, is pleasingly avoided!
The Maxxim, as mentioned, comes with a 3-9x40 Gamo-branded scope, and one-piece mount and bolting this in place was simplicity itself, given that dedicated chunky scope rail. This is the point where adjusting the cheek piece to gain perfect support for eye/scope alignment, is crucial, yet easily achieved by gently slackening off the two Allen bolts on the reverse side, pulling the cheek section into position on its rods, and then tightening off when everything feels right.
OK; enough of the formal technicalities. It’s time to get stuck into the main featureand that has to be that weird looking multi-shot mechanism sitting just above the breech block. A 10-shot, rotary-type magazine cassette is held inside, and the way it works is all very clever. First we need to fill it up, and this is done by pressing the button to the rear of the housing. This releases the mag, and ideally you need to have a hand ready, as it can send it spinning into the dirt, which isn’t ideal for obvious reasons. The mag has a spring-loaded central drum, so it just requires a pellet to be pushed in head first, into each chamber, whilst rotating the drum to reveal the next aperture. When it’s full, push it into the slot within the housing until it snaps into place. We are now ready for ten, fast fire shots without having to touch a pellet!
A small, downwards jolt breaks the barrel, then cock the gun in the normal way, and as it nears the end of its downwards travel, a small probe moves on an axis and pushes a single pellet directly into the breach. As the barrel is returned to the closed position, the whole mag housing cleverly moves out of the way and back into position. It really is a neat design, and I have to say, over the period of my test, it worked without a hitch. The Custom Action Trigger is fairly typical Gamo; in that it’s perfectly acceptable for this grade of rifle. A well shaped blade, and not too hard a release. The new patented Whisper Maxxim Integral Sound Moderator, looks the part, but in truth, is more marketing blurb than anything of substance, with plenty of action noise, and little sound suppression going on of any consequence.
To be honest do we really care a damn? Well no, for the Maxxim Elite really is all about that multi-shot facility! Testing showed the magazine to be remarkably un-pellet fussy, with regards to which brands could be chambered and loaded successfully. That said, I did initially conduct accuracy trials with a variety of cheaper brands; BSA’s own Red Star and Blue Star, and Gamo’s flat head match, and with all, encountered a few flyers. As always, with tests, I will try some quality ammo, to give the gun a fair chance at producing some decent groups. In the case of the Maxxim Elite, Air Arms Diabolo Express came out tops, with 1.25” c-t-c clusters possible, if I did my bit. But this Gamo is so much more than sterile groupings, and some serious speed shooting had to be on the cards.
From the kneeling position, I managed ten, aimed shots in a minute, aiming at a target circle 2.25” wide- less than the base of a drinks can; with nine out of ten shots connecting. So there’s some real fast action to be had with this rifle. Occasionally, there was a slight snap as the mag facilitator assembly goes about its business, but it loaded faultlessly and precisely time after time. Over the chrono I was getting these figures;
10 ft/lbs using Air Arms Diabolo Express, and this jumped to 10.8 ft/lbs with BSA Red Star pellets.
I think it’s safe to say that Gamo have a bit of a winner on their hands with the Maxxim Elite and will doubtless shift a good few units for sure. Anyone who has handled an ordinary break barrel spring gun will appreciate the no-nonsense fun that can be had, in a most liberating fashion- given the easy, fast loading regime. Yet with this new model, the cleverly worked out multi-shot facility just pushes the concept to its limit. I for one, have thoroughly enjoyed putting it through its paces; and I’m just off to have my grin surgically removed!
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