POWER TRIP

Want more power than our usual cal­i­bres can de­liver? Then this is your gun, the ed­i­tor says

Air Gunner - - CONTENTS -

The ed­i­tor tries out a ‘ big gun’. The pow­er­ful .35 cal­i­bre TC35 from Gamo DE­LIV­ERS a whop­ping 122 ft. lbs.

No mat­ter what peo­ple say, we all love power. Fast cars, huge fire­works, and yes, pow­er­ful guns. Around the world more and more peo­ple are awak­en­ing to the ben­e­fits of air- pow­ered ri­fles, and in coun­tries where there are no power re­stric­tions on air­guns it seems that the sky’s the limit, with some ri­fles on of­fer that ex­ceed 700 ft.lbs.! Gamo has been quick to join the party with their TC35 and TC45 mod­els – .35 and .45 cal­i­bre re­spec­tively. They of­fered me the chance to try the TC35 and, of course, I jumped at the op­por­tu­nity be­cause it would be the most pow­er­ful air­gun I’d ever tested.

As you can see from the pho­tos, it’s noth­ing like most of the air­guns we know, be­ing some­where be­tween a Colt M4 as­sault ri­fle and a Gun­power Stealth to look at. Like the Stealth, it uses a buddy bot­tle as the reser­voir and butt sec­tion, util­is­ing in- line valv­ing to max­imise power and econ­omy. It’s also very small and light, which made me won­der how it would re­coil. The pel­lets I had to try came from JSB in the form of their Ex­act .35 Di­ablo that weigh … wait for it … 81.02 grains each!

UN­USUAL GE­OM­E­TRY

Gamo is im­ported by BSA Guns who packed one of their Ad­vanced Tac­ti­cal sights which has a Weaver base, so it fit­ted straight on to the TC35’s bridge- style rail. The rail has to be raised be­cause the car­bon­fi­bre buddy bot­tle goes straight back from the ac­tion, so there’s no drop to heel as you’d have on a con­ven­tional sporter. This al­lows us to see com­fort­ably along the scope’s axis. Around the buddy bot­tle is a slip- on cheek piece- cum- butt pad assem­bly which when fit­ted gives the ri­fle a 15 ½” pull length, a full inch longer than the in­dus­try stan­dard.

To cock the ri­fle you press the trig­ger guard/un­der­lever down which cocks the ham­mer and ex­poses the breech. The in­struc­tions ad­vise that the pel­let must be fully seated into the bar­rel, which was easy with such a huge pro­jec­tile. A small safety lever must be pushed aside to close the breech and there’s a man­ual safety well- po­si­tioned for the trig­ger fin­ger of right- handed shoot­ers.

HEAVY, HEAVY

Pulling the trig­ger was an in­ter­est­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, shall we say. The pull weight was ex­tremely heavy, to the ex­tent that I wasn’t sure it was work­ing. It is ad­justable, but I was a lit­tle wary of tinker­ing with a ri­fle I

don’t yet know. When it broke, there was a shove of re­coil and a very loud muz­zle re­port. This was de­spite the large ex­pan­sion cham­ber in front of the muz­zle in­side the bar­rel shroud. There is plenty of room for some sound- dead­en­ing ma­te­rial, which could be a project for the fu­ture.

Fill­ing the reser­voir is done though what ap­pears to be a stan­dard male Forster con­nec­tor where the bot­tle joins the ac­tion. Fill pres­sure is 250 bar from which we’re told to ex­pect 15 shots, give or take. It’s stressed very strongly that you must only use the fe­male con­nec­tor sup­plied, so I did. I no­ticed that my Best Fit­tings plug that I use to keep con­nec­tors clean didn’t quite fit into the Gamo fit­ting, so it seems they are dif­fer­ent in some sub­tle way. There’s a sim­ple gauge fit­ted, which is ex­tremely im­por­tant on a gun like this where you’ll get through the air very quickly in­deed.

122 FT.LBS!

Be­cause there was so much power and such a huge air blast, I used my old Chrony firearms chrono­graph to measure ve­loc­ity. As I had such a small quan­tity of pel­lets, I only mea­sured five shots which av­er­aged 790 fps for a muz­zle en­ergy of 122 ft.lbs. which is a lit­tle shy of the ad­ver­tised num­ber. How­ever, it’s well known that these mega- power ri­fles do best with the heav­i­est pel­lets, so there might well be more to be had with the right ammo.

The sight sup­plied was a zero mag­ni­fi­ca­tion red dot, which meant that by 30 yards the dot cov­ered much of the tar­get card, mak­ing ac­cu­racy test­ing al­most im­pos­si­ble. How­ever, all my shots were cen­tred on the tar­get in a 2” group at 35 yards, telling me that proper ac­cu­racy is there to be had if I can fit a con­ven­tional scope.

I have some .35 H& N Griz­zly pel­lets on their way, which I hope to test in the fu­ture. These are ac­tu­ally bul­lets so have a vastly im­proved bal­lis­tic co­ef­fi­cient ( BC) and will carry their en­ergy down­range far bet­ter. They also have a hol­low- point de­sign and with this much en­ergy, should ex­pand prop­erly.

If you have an empty slot on your FAC and you want to own a ri­fle that none of your friends do, then this is an in­ter­est­ing gun. It needs a lit­tle fet­tling and if it were mine, I’d work on the trig­ger ac­tion first and find way to stop the butt pad from mov­ing about. Next, I’d add some sound­dead­en­ing to cut the muz­zle blast and then set about some se­ri­ous pel­let test­ing to see what it re­ally likes best. It’s ob­vi­ously not a gun that many peo­ple will want, but it is some­thing in­ter­est­ing, def­i­nitely fun to shoot and per­haps your en­try point into the world of big- bore air­guns!

BELOW: Be­ing so light and com­pact made it feel very handy

TOP: I wasn’t able to test the ri­fle’s po­ten­tial in this con­fig­u­ra­tion

LEFT: The un­der­lever cock­ing is smooth and light

ABOVE: Just look at the size of the 81 grain pel­lets!

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