Phill Price brings us up to date with Gamo’s latest multi-shot
Phill Price tries out the Gamo Maxxim Elite Tactical - a springer with a difference
Over the years, many companies have tried to make multi-shot airguns, but it’s not an easy task and consequently many have failed. Some tried tubular feed systems, whilst the more successful designs have tended to be rotary ones, which today have become the industry standard. Bolt-action, pre-charged pneumatics have proven this design to be reliable and durable, but adding one to a break-barrel, spring-piston rifle is another challenge completely. Gamo took on that challenge and gave us the Maxxim Elite which has been on sale for a good while now and I hear plenty of good things about it.
In most respects, the action is very conventional, with a coiled steel spring driving a piston along inside a cylinder to provide the high-pressure air needed to propel the pellets. The action is medium weight and the rifle’s overall dimensions are fairly average, meaning that it can be comfortably handled by most adults. The full-length barrel offers plenty of leverage too, so the cocking force won’t put anybody off. Around the barrel Gamo added their Whisper silencer system designed to cut the noise made by the high pressure air as the pellet leaves the barrel. It looks good too, with its faux muzzle brake moulded in.
The really clever part sits on top of the barrel just in front of the pivot pin, where a rear sight might normally live. This is the moulded synthetic mechanism that holds the rotary magazine and delivers a fresh pellet from it each and every time you cock the action. Pressing a small button releases the mag’ and then the pellets can be loaded in. Once full, it’s simply pressed back into the mechanism and you’re ready to go. A few people told me that they thought the elevated position of the loading mechanism would make it vulnerable to clumsy handling and that it might get damaged, but I’ve heard no reports of that yet.
Being able simply to cock the barrel and then close it again, knowing that the pellet loading has been done automatically for you, is quite superb. No longer do you need to fumble with pellets when you’re under pressure to take a second shot, and even in the coldest weather, you no longer need to remove gloves to load. Reloading in a dark barn as you go after rats no
“No longer do you need to fumble with pellets when you’re under pressure”
longer requires a torch, allowing you to remain unseen until you’re ready to take the shot. Auto-loading is great!
Gamo is very proud of its CAT (Custom Action Trigger) which allows a great deal of
adjustability, something you don’t often get from rifles in this class. Just in front of the metal blade is a manually settable safety tab that can be just as easily used by right- or left-handed shooters, making the rifle fully ambidextrous.
Included in the package is a 3-9 x 40 variable magnification scope fitting in a one-piece mount, which attaches to another Gamo proprietary item – their RRR (Recoil Reducing Rail). This clamps onto the cylinder and lifts the scope higher, which is needed to help it to see above the loading mechanism whilst doing its primary job of reducing the stress that a spring/ piston action places on optics.
The original rifle came wearing a hardwood stock, and now Gamo has released the version you see in the pictures. This is the Tactical version which is moulded from a tough synthetic material that’s impervious to mud, blood and water and will take the knocks in the field without worry. It has textured panels at the usual contact points, aided by the fact that the whole surface has a fine texture. This aids grip and also eliminates reflections that could give the hunter away to his quarry. Gamo makes great play of the SWA recoil pad fitted to the stock, but as air rifles have so little recoil it’s not something we need concern ourselves about.
The Tactical stock has quite a different feel to the wooden one, being especially slim in the pistol grip area, which will suit some hands more than others. I also noted that the edges of the slot in the fore end were quite sharp and would benefit from a little rounding off before use.
This unique rifle is a great success story for Gamo, and this new variant adds choice for anybody thinking of buying one. The price is the same with either stock, so it’s really a matter of selecting the look you like the most. I feel Gamo deserves praise for this rifle because it’s truly something different in the market, and offers a multi-shot alternative to pre-charged pneumatics for those who like their rifles simple and independent. I
A tactical stock adds handsome good looks to this innovative rifle.
The medium-weight action should appeal to many people.
The cocking force needed is quite modest.
The auto-loading mechanism is reliable and tough.
Loading the mag’ is child’s play.