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Gamo Big Cat with 4×32 Scope

Hello again.  We are continuing to look at velocity claims and Gamo products.  This time we are looking at the very popular Gamo Big Cat Combo.  This combo sells for about $139 to $159 and competes well with the Crosman G1 and like rifles.  Gamo claims 1000 FPS with lead pellets and 1200 with their specialty Raptor PBA pellets.  We are here to look at the rifle in general, take a hard look at the realistic velocities achieved, and of course, look at accuracy.

Gamo Big Cat Combo
Gamo Big Cat – Left View

Gamo Big Cat Combo
Gamo Big Cat – Right View

The first thing that I noticed about the Gamo Big Cat is just how light it is.  Having shot the Crosman G1 for a while which is about 9 lbs, the Big Cat is a welcome change.  Tipping the scales at just about 6.5 lbs with the scope, it makes for an all day shooter.

The next thing I noticed was the composite stock and “fluted” barrel.  Now you just have to know that the “fluted” barrel is just for show, but it does look pretty cool!  The stock is well balanced and pulls nicely to the shoulder.  Also, for those lefties out there, the raised cheek piece is on BOTH sides of the stock.  So the Gamo Big Cat is truly ambidextrous.

Gamo Big Cat Combo
Shot of the fluted barrel. While the barrel is rifled steal, the covering to the barrel is composite. I’m not sure if this helps or hurts. It sure does make for a light rifle and that I like!

Gamo Big Cat Combo
Gamo Big Cat Combo
Unusual to find on a rifle is a raised cheek piece on both sides of the stock. The Gamo Big Cat will work equally well for right and left handed shooters.

The rifle does not come with any fixed sights, so it is a good thing that Gamo included a 4×32 scope and a set of mounts!  The 4×32 scope is a pretty standard air rifle scope with a parallax set to about 10 to 15 yards.  We did our shooting at only 10 yards and did not have ANY problem seeing the crosshairs and the target clearly.  Beyond 15 to 20 yards the sight picture is just as clear, so Gamo did a good job with this basic scope.  One point to mention is that the rear mount has a stop pin that fits into the hole at the back of the gun’s scope mount.  Make sure that you line this up so that your scope does not creep backwards when you shoot. It did not take much to get the scope on target and then we were off to see what this rifle could do.

Gamo Big Cat Combo
Included scope and scope mounts. This is a really nice scope for this rifle and it has the right parallax for close range and long range shooting.

As I started shooting I noticed a few things that need to be mentioned.  The trigger is the standard Gamo trigger.  I’m not sure if the Big Cat warrants a GRT III trigger replacement, but it is always an option if you find that you want a nicer trigger for your rifle.  On at positive note, cocking the Big Cat is very easy.  How Gamo can get 1000 FPS with such little cocking force is beyond me.  Other rifles cock much harder and don’t seem to get near this velocity.  And speaking of velocity, 7.0 grn lead pellets traveled an average of 950 to 960 FPS.  That is pretty close to the 1000 FPS claim!  Accuracy with the light lead pellets was not what I wanted so I started going through my pellets to find something that I could be happy with.  I settled on the Crosman Premier Lights in the cardboard box.  At 7.9 grns, they shot just under 900 FPS and held pretty decent groups.

Gamo Big Cat Combo
Standard Gamo Trigger. If you want more, you can easily replace it with a GRT III trigger for about $36.

Gamo Big Cat Combo
Fully cocked – at only about 28 lbs this rifle is very easy to cock.

Gamo Big Cat Combo
You can see the steal barrel surrounded by the composite barrel shroud. Notice the locking bar down near the transfer port area. The spring loaded “lock” grabs this bar ensuring an accurate barrel return every time.

The information everyone wants to know is does this actually get to 1200 FPS?  Well, so far in our tests, 1200 FPS is still not attainable.  The Gamo Hunter 440 did not reach 1200 and neither does the Big Cat.  It came close with the fastest Raptor pellet traveling 1166 FPS.  Accuracy however, was another issue.  Unlike the Hunter 440, the Raptor pellet did not shoot very well in the Big Cat. At first I could not see where the pellets were going.  I heard them hit the trap, but could not see any holes in the paper.  Then I noticed they were hitting 2.5” high.  Now the scope has a duplex reticule, which for those that don’t know what that means, the crosshairs are thin in the middle and change to thicker lines as you move away from the center of the scope.  What I noticed is that the pellets were hitting at the top part of the vertical crosshair right where it changed from thin to thick.  Once I noticed this, I used the point where it changed as my point of impact.  This brought the group down near the bulls-eye and I was able to shoot a reasonable 5 shot group.  While the Raptor pellets did not keyhole at 10 yards, they were spread out by over 1.5”.  You can imagine how that would be at 20 yards and beyond.

Gamo Raptor (PBA) ammo
High – 1166, Low – 1128, Average – 1144, Difference 38 FPS

Gamo Big Cat Combo
Gamo Raptor Group shot at only 10 yards. The top hole and marks are where I noticed how high they were hitting. The lower 5 shot group was shot after I applied Kentucky windage.

The lead pellets, however, held a dime sized group at 10 yards.  And using the same technique only reversed, I used the bottom point of the vertical reticule where it changes from thin to thick, to aim high and hit my tin can at 60 yards.  So I know that the lead pellets hold their accuracy over long distances.

Crosman Primere Light Pellets – 7.9 grn
High – 899, Low – 888, Aveage – 894, Difference – 11 FPS

Gamo Big Cat Combo
This is more like it. At 10 yards I was expecting a little better actually and with some practice I’m sure I could get it. Once the weather gets a little nicer and the wind dies down, we’ll try again!

Gamo Big Cat Combo
Ok so it is hard to see in this shot, but if you click on the image you will get a big view. There is a tin can sitting in an ant pile (only thing fire ants are good for!) about 55 to 60 yards away. The lower part of the vertical cross hair, right where it changes from thin to thick is sitting on the can. This puts the pellet right on the can every time. Kind of a poor mans mil-dot range estimation. By the way, even at 55 to 60 yards, the pellets passed completely through the can and kept going.

In summary, the Gamo Big Cat is a really decent rifle for the money.  Bottom line is that Gamo makes nice spring guns!  I wish that the velocities matched the claims on the box or I wish that Gamo would be more honest with their marketing.  They only disappoint their customers!  Because it is so light, it tends to move around a lot when you shoot it so you will need to practice, practice, practice, to get the right hold every time. At a $139 or $149 price point, the Gamo Big Cat is a great choice especially when it comes with a decent scope.

While this is a fairly short review, I will be posting a “part 2” showing some groups shot at 20 and maybe 30 yards if the wind is calm enough.  So we can see if the shot groups hold together over longer ranges.

Written By,
Rick Eutsler
Editor / Owner
Copyright 2008 & Dog River Design, LLC.

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