The Scoop on the Gamo Hunter Extreme

The Gamo Hunter Extreme has garnered lots of attention from shoppers looking for the next best spring-piston rifle, but there is not much consensus out there about its value, which begs the question:  is this yet just another sexy model that fails to live up to its lofty price tag? In usual fashion, we cut through the “noise” and deliver you the real deal, as we see it, with an eye towards maximizing performance and quality for your buck.

gamo_hunter_extremeSE

Key Features / Overview

The Gamo Extreme is a break barrel, single-cocking/single-shot spring-piston air rifle that aims to compete with other big ticket springers in the always fierce magnum market. It does this by delivering a more quality look, feel and, of course, considerably more power than the average springer on the market.

So what about power? Specifically, Gamo reports that the Hunter Extreme SE can send a PBA pellet at velocities of up to 1650 feet per second, with traditional lead pellets reaching speeds of up to 1,250 feet per second. As readers of this blog know full well, velocity figures by themselves don’t much, so we’ve done a bit of math to come up with FPE (foot pounds of energy) for this rifle.

To obtain FPE, we need both velocity and pellet weight. In this case, Gamo says that it’s 1650 FPS figure is obtained with PBA rounds. They did not specify which PBA round they were talking about but I will assume that they are using their lightest round, the PBA Plantinum. Knowing that this PBA round is about 4.7 grains (considerably lighter than Gamo’s “gold” PBA round @ 5.4 grains), and plugging 1,650 FPS into our FPE Calculator, we get about 28 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. The same FPE results when we plug in the 1,250 FPS figure and assume a typical lead pellet weight of 8.0 grains. In other words, when you consider that our minimum FPE requirement for a hunting rifle is 12 FPE, it is obvious that this is indeed a very powerful air rifle!

Cocking Effort

Unfortunately as with so many things in life, there is one noticeable tradeoff to all that power. And that is – you can expect a pretty good arm/back workout cocking this beast, which requires a very impressive 58 lbs. of cocking effort according to Gamo. What does this mean? In our opinion, unless you are fit adult male you will have trouble using this rifle. Again, this is not something unique to the Hunter Extreme as it is an issue with just about all high-powered springers. Nevertheless, we often receive many questions about air rifles we’d recommend for back yard pest elimination that are suitable for both men and women – this rifle would therefore not be among them for the cocking effort required alone.

Scope & Optics

Hunter Extreme Specifications

CLICK TO ENLARGE

The combo comes complete with a 3-9×50, illuminated center glass-etched reticle scope that affixes with a one-piece grooved-rail rifle mount.  The scope does a fair job, particularly as a combo offering, and should make most users reasonably happy (although the rifle would greatly benefit from an upgraded scope in our book view), and the one-piece solid mount is a smart move by Gamo given the heavy double-recoil you can expect from the massive spring-piston powerplant at the heart of this rig. However, as usual, you will need to take care to sight the scope in properly and always check to ensure that all of the screws are tightened to ensure consistent shooting.

Stock Trigger

Rated at 4.5 pounds of pull, the two-stage trigger is not too bad, at least on paper. However, users seem to love it or hate it (mostly the latter), with many complaining about its unreasonable stiffness regardless of the second stage adjustment. If you are used to shooting high quality triggers, you will probably want to upgrade it immediately; whereas, most users just getting into relatively higher-ticket models should do well with it – and may even be satisfied.

Size & Overall Weight

In addition to being a bear to cock, this is a fairly long (46″ barrel to butt) and heavy rifle that, again, is not a good option for kids and/or slightly-built shooters. Specifically, coming in at just under 11 lbs. with the scope, it is certainly manageable compared to other magnum-type rifles but you will want to use a bench rest whenever possible when stalking your quarry for any length of time.

Fit & Finish

This is a handsome rifle that definitely represents a step up in quality that is evident when picking it up. The stock is composed of high-grade beechwood and features a raised Montecarlo-styled cheekpiece; the forearm and pistol grip are tastefully adorned with laser-engraved checkering. Indeed, this is a beautiful, solid rifle that makes a nice focal point in one’s collection, even for serious collections.

Performance & Accuracy

There are few consistent themes that emerge from reports from our various sources about what this rifle can actually do and, as usual, we suspect that many users struggle with basic issues of scope sighting, pellet selection, maintenance, etc. However all agree that this is a very hard-hitting rifle that has plenty of power to knock down small game and pests, which is evident from the 28 FPE in the .177 we calculated above.  Among the criticisms, the most common center around: (1) the stiff trigger and (2) lack of consistency from the stock scope. To be fair, while the scope and trigger are definitely the weakest points of this combo, this true for most combos.  Are they good enough for most people and casual hunting – absolutely; however, they are probably the very first things a user may want to consider upgrading if desiring even greater accuracy for more ambitious hunting or field target shooting.

Price & Value

This is always the million dollar question when shopping for air rifles, especially ones that cost in excess of $400. In our view, while the Hunter Extreme is overall high-quality and delivers huge power and solid accuracy right out of the box, it is in a very competitive price class with other spring-piston rifles that we think deliver equal or better value. For example, we could not in good conscience say that Hunter Extreme is in any way superior to the RWS 48, for example. Nor is it an overall a better choice than the RWS 22 350 Magnum.  In addition, if you stretched your budget a bit further, the RWS 54 Air King would give you similar power any superior accuracy to boot. Of course, those rifles will cost you more, especially after they are scoped. But keep in mind that if you may end up spending as much, or more, if you decide to upgrade  a scope/trigger later!

Which Caliber & Pellet is Best?

If you aren’t up to speed on the confusing and often deceptive marketing about power and velocity then pay close attention:  if you want to buy this rifle in the .177, use heavier, not lighter pellets! Here is our primer on air rifle pellets if you need to bone up.  As we’ve explained so many times, there is no need for or benefit to achieving velocities in excess of 1,000-1,100 FPS.  In fact, exceeding this and breaking the sound barrier will result in inaccurate shooting because the sound pressure wake created behind a pellet upon breaking the barrier will catch up with it and cause it to tumble in flight unless shooting at very close ranges. We suspect this is one of the primary reasons why so many people can’t seem to understand why they can’t sight in this gun or get repeatable groups at any distance – think people!!

If you aren’t going for one of the larger bores (either the .22 or .25), then by all means get the heaviest lead pellets you can find and try out as many as you can until you find the best match for your particular rifle. We’ve put together a comparison matrix here to make this easier. Forget about all the BS you read about PBA. If you want to take down game, pests or hit anything consistently, use quality lead pellets and steer clear of alloy. In addition to slowing a .177 pellet to avoid breaking the sound barrier, a heavier pellet (in any caliber) bucks the wind better and carries more energy to the target, making traditional lead the gold standard for hunting or field target shooting.

Likewise, consider carefully what you intend to shoot with this rifle. Are you interested in mainly furred game? If so, the .22 and .25 calibers are the better choices for several reasons we’ve already discussed. On the other hand, if you are primarily seeking to wreak havoc on the local starling or small bird population – and at long ranges – the Hunter Extreme in the .177 is an easy choice that will handle the task in spades!

Click Here to Get the Best Price on the Gamo Hunter Extreme!!

 

 

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One Comment

  1. Jeff rice says:

    Have a 1250 gamo n a extreme. !st. If U can’t pick it up . . If U can’t hit what U aim at screws n scope, broke a lot. 54 broke them 2, Change 2 gtx trigger. Charlie (before retirement put mine n. shipping charges to south Carolina . . . Guns r very accurate. Use artillery hold.

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