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