Gamo Varminter Stalker Deluxe
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- Last updated: 27/01/2017
Gamo have a fine range of air rifles available to the British shooter encompassing a broad range of interests and styles. They all offer good value for money and this Varmint Stalker deluxe is particular good as it comes with a scope and mounts, ideal for all you budding hunters or back yard plinkers. The Varmint Stalker has a fully shrouded barrel and highly practical synthetic Sporter stock with some nice design features for better rifle control. At £169 all in with scope and mounts it’s looks to be a very good value for money spring powered break barrel air rifle, let’s see.
But the best part of the Gamo is the stock, both in design and feel with its ‘pseudo’ centrefire look. The all-moulded, hard, dense plastic has two halves cemented together and forms a good practical design for hunting. Overall finish is black crinkled with moulded-in trigger guard and false magazine projection. The forend extends pass the breech pivoting area and therefore looks smooth and hides this often ugly part of a break barrel rifle; the only problem is that it’s very flimsy and easily squeezed between the fingers so grip a little further back.
Better are the twin rubber inserts that adorn both the sides of the forend and the pistol grip. These are slightly raised with a deep groove around their circumference and have a very tactile feel further enhanced by their dimpled surface. They make the stock far better, as does the raised cheekpiece of softer rubber which attaches over the top of the comb. In this way there is a cheekpiece for left or right handed shooters alike.
The recoil pad is good too, one inch of black tactile rubber which has three large vents that have inserts that can be removed to provide an extra ‘squidgy’ feel. Length of pull is 14.25 inches and all it needs is a set of sling swivel studs to finish off a nice stock.
The barrel is a neat looking unit with what looks like a large integral silencer in-situ, but that’s not strictly the case. The barrel from the breech measures 19 inches, but of that length 17 inches is actual barrel. On the outside is a fluted polymer shroud of one inch diameter and 14 inch length. The last two inches have the silencer section of a series of baffles.
The barrel is a steel insert that sits within a polymer shroud and locks to the action via a single detent catch with the O-ring seal sited on the receiver end, not the barrel. That shroud may only have a small number of baffles but it is a very effective barrel cocking aid and its polymer finish negates corrosion out in the field.
The action is reasonably slim and has the name and make etched into the top surface through the overall blued finish. There are twin dovetail rails cut into the receiver but there is an additional scope rail on top secured by three Allen screws. Better still, Gamo provide scope mounts, black with single screws, and a light/small 4x32mm scope as
The trigger has a curved plastic profile with a smooth finish and a 2-stage action.
It’s actually quite good with a smooth take up then a crisp release at 4.5lbs weight. The safety is manually operated and is a small curved metal spur in front of the trigger blade. Pull back to bring the Gamo on safe and forward to shoot.
The Varmint Stalker is a light rifle, even with the scope attached, and the overall length of 44.5 inches is not unduly cumbersome. Actually balance is very good, pivoting on the supporting hand just in front of the trigger guard.
I do like the stock, it is tactile in all the right places; yes, the tip of the forend is a bit flimsy but don’t grip it there! The rubber inserts are very grippy and the raised cheekpiece helps to align the eye to the scope.
To cock, all you need is a sharp rap on the shroud to disconnect the detent which is strong and gives a good level of union between barrel and action. Then a cocking stroke that starts off hard then gets smoother at the end of its stroke. There is some spring compression noise though.
On firing, despite the large shroud and small silencer, the report is still quite sharp, even after a long accuracy and velocity test of 265 pellets plus. It’s not unduly bad but could be a lot quieter in my box. Accuracy and power-wise, it is what one would expect from a value spring powered break barrel air rifle.
Best power came from the ubiquitous FTTs which I really like. These shot through the GAMO at a healthy 597.8fps for five pellets for an excellent 11.58ft/lbs energy and even better gave the best accuracy too. Five shots grouped into 0.75 inches at 25 yards, very handy hunting accuracy.
Another pellet the Gamo Varmint liked was the RWS Hobbies, and with its light 11.8-grain pellet the Gamo achieved a speedy 642.5fps for 10.82ft/lbs energy and again good accuracy at 25 yards with pellets grouping into 0.85 of an inch.
With good ‘smoothing in’ target and plinking sessions to familiarise myself, the Gamo had me enjoying this budget priced hunter.
The scope is only a 4x32mm with simple 30/30 reticule, but for the money who’s complaining, as it zeroed easily and held zero, more importantly, and the lenses were fine.
Manufacturers are doing their darndest to give shooters what they want, a choice that pleases anybody and, best of all, at a price we all can afford. As a complete hunting package with the scope and mounts included, it’s hard to deny the appeal and value for money of this Gamo rifle. Yes, it’s a bit noisy and harsh firing, but that soon smoothes out and, for the money, it is more than capable of bringing home rabbits or pigeons for the pot.
At £169 for rifle, scope and mounts there is very little not to like about the Gamo, as it presents a newbie hunter with an ideal rifle for a spot of rabbiting.
Many thanks to Mark Sinclair at C.H.Westons Brighton (01273 326 338) for the loan of the test rifle.
CONTACT: BSA Guns Ltd www.gamo.com
SUPPLIER: C.H.Westons Brighton 01273 326 338