Gamo Varmint Hunter Part… (I lost count….)
Well after a very pleasant phone call with Gamo’s lead technician and several hundred pellets, the Varmint Hunter is back in business! I was a little “gun shy” after getting the rifle back from Gamo and I did not want to TOUCH anything regarding upgrading, tuning, and changing this rifle until I knew it was operating as it should.
As I mentioned above, I had a long conversation with the gentleman that rebuilt this rifle. We were talking about the issues and came to the conclusion that I needed to send it back to them so they could have another look. Then I thought about tightening the trigger adjustment screw, which does little to the actual trigger pull by the way, and the rifle began to fire reliably. YAHOOO!, we were back in business. Now according to their tech, this should not have made a difference, but it certainly did and I wasn’t going to argue with progress.
So now with a working rifle, I began again to try and do my planned upgrades. At this point I’d settle for a scope upgrade that will work with the light and laser combo. Heck that is what makes this the “Varmint Hunter”… without those, it is just another Gamo Break Barrel rifle.
As I mentioned in Part 2 on hold, finding a scope and mouting system that will actually work with the light and laser mount proved much more difficult that I expected. I found myself settling for a Crosman 3x9x32 MD, NON AO scope. I really wanted an AO scope to help out with those close range shots, but I REALLY wanted a Mil-Dot reticule more and it seemed I wasn’t going to get both. Even with this compromise scope I had a heck of a time getting things to line up, but I finally found the right combination.
The bottom line, as I mentioned in a previous post, is that several things have to line up. For example, the scope has to have an objective no larger than 40mm. The mounts MUST have a stop pin in the rear mount or the scope will work its way off the rifle. I tried a scope stop, but it also was pushed off the back of the gun eventually. I finally used a 1 piece scope mount with a stop pin. While this configuration allowed me to get the scope securely on the rifle, it did not let me move the scope back as far as I like for my eye relief so I found myself shooting at an awkward angle, but I was able to shoot the rifle.
The new scope made all the difference in the world. I was able to get a nice clear picture at distances as close as 15 and 20 yards. The 9x setting needed about 25 yards to clear up, but it was “usable” at closer distances and really made a difference with my shot groups. (I’ll get some photo’s posted as soon as I can, but I wanted to update the series ASAP.)
As for the other upgrades, i.e. the GRT III trigger and Air Venturi Gas Spring, I may opt to put in the GRT III trigger at a later date, I know it works and it makes a HUGE difference, but the Gas Spring is a no go for now. With all the efforts and care that Gamo took to put this Varmint back in Hunting condition, I did not want to open this rifle back up. I’m saving the gas spring for another project so keep an eye on the site.
So here are my final thoughts on the Varmint Hunter… If the light and laser are why you bought the rifle, then leave it just as it came out of the box. Replacing the scope was an arduous process and while it yielded results, I’m not sure it will be worth the frustration for most folks. If you really want to add a light and laser, you can get the Leapers Tactical Tri-Rail mounts that allow for much grater flexibility and your choice of optics. The Varmint Hunter shoots very nice, once you’ve got a decent trigger installed, and can produce really nice groups at 20 and 25 yards. It seemed extremely picky with pellets and hold, so expect to spend a lot of time with this rifle if you want to shoot accurately. The best combination I found was to use heavy pellets, i.e. Crosman Premier Heavies in the cardboard box or Beeman Kodiak pellets, and a Gel Shooting Support (from PyramydAir.com) resting on my tool box.
Thank you for your patience while I’ve been working on the rest of this series. It has been a real challenge. There are a lot of things in the works for this site and the YouTube channel so please visit back often. I’ve got a short review of the Daisy PowerLine 901 coming up next.