I Tested And Ranked The Best Gamo Air Rifles In 2023
I test air rifles and BB guns for a living, and I can honestly say that Gamo has some great budget air rifles that offer smooth operation with phenomenal accuracy. Here are my top picks with hands-on reviews.
FYI, prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.
1. Gamo Varmint .177 Caliber
Top-rated: 7,047 ratings | 851 answered questions
Highlight: This bundle includes both the Air Rifle and the Air Venturi .177 pellet pen.
Helpful review: "This rifle and scope are AWESOME! My experience level: Certified NRA L.E. Firearms Instructor (Patrol Rifle/Pistol) with hundreds/thousand hours of instructing time, USMC 8th award rifle expert and 4th award pistol expert... but just a regular shooter now and then these days. Why is this combo great for the price? For starters, I opened the box and read all of the literature. I took apart the scope mounts and cleaned the lenses before assembling onto the rifle.
I installed according to the instructions with Loctite on all hardware threads, ensuring my cross hairs were as level as possible... but I'm not certain this is a huge issue. Anyone who has used an Etch-a-sketch would know how fine adjustments to your Y and Z axis will get you a good zero.
How I "zeroed" the included scope? Once the scope was mounted, I screwed each vertical/lateral adjustment knob to it's fully seated position. Grabbed a beer... then I slowly counted each click as I adjusted them back out to their full maxed out positions... this was like 420ish clicks... YIKES! Divide your clicks in half to find your CENTER POINT of reference. Adjust each knob to it's center point by counting those individual clicks... Opened a second beer. Now you are ready to ZERO the .177 beast. Then, I determined what my "AVERAGE" distance was I'd be shooting; for my purposes I'm really only concerned with plinking squirrels and birds in my back yard about 10-20 yards. I set up a good prone position with semi-soft mat and barrel rest.
NOW, the scope says 1 click = 1/4 inch @ 100 yards, or 4 clicks for 1 inch @ 100 yards. As I'm shooting 50 feet (16 yards) and my math is horrible, I rounded up to 25 yards for easy math. Knowing this 1/4 conversion, 4 clicks @ 25 yards "should" yield me 1/4 inch of movement on target; for an inch, I'd have to adjust 16 clicks.
One thing that can make zeroing with this rifle a pain is you have to change your position for each reload. Your average shooter will have different positions each time they reload and assume the prone position. It's just how it works with this break barrel design. This might be where people give up because they can't get consistent groups.
With a semi-auto weapon, your prone position doesn't change much if you have a stable position to begin with, unless you are shooting .50 Cal I guess.
Opened a third beer - this is where patience is your friend. I chose my target to be a palm tree in the backyard, so I could see horizontal/lateral impacts due to the dark bark breaking and showing white flesh underneath. Wife might have been mad, but I made her dinner to ease the anger!
HOLY SMOKES I didn't know how fast and deep those little rounds would penetrate... be careful of your backstop, i.e. neighbors house, cats, etc... These are more powerful than one would image (if you've never shot pellet before).
Since my target reference point was a dark black knob, I always used the same spot and walked in the rounds through fine adjustments after each shot placement. Once on point, I put the adjustment knob covers on and waited for some friends to show up... From the off-hand standing position: 1 squirrel down @ 9 yards, 1 sparrow down @ 12 yards, 1 Oreol or Starling (with orange circles on wings) down @ 18 yards.
Pros: Over 250 rounds and zero held; good weight; decent quality for price; fun and cheap to operate; good for basic skills brush up as it's very accurate within 20 yards - haven't gone out further; rifled barrel.
Now, I don't really know how pellets are affected, but I do see rifling wear marks on the lower edge of retrieved pellets after shooting into lemons. BTW, the Crosman Destroyer will go through 3 lemons @ 12 yards no problem.
But let me point out that my way is only my way. There are many other ways to setup a weapon and get good with it. Remember what my mission is - to neutralize varmint who want to feast on my fruit crop in the back yard.
Keep in mind this isn't going to have match-type groupings, but it's really good for the price. And after some more thought, the first two upgrades will most likely be a bipod and scope to really see how far out I can take this.
The intent is to teach my kids with this thing in my CA backyard. I'm not so fortunate to have acres like some out there. It's really quiet too, so hopefully the LAW doesn't show up. And treating your neighbors kindly is key!" — James T.
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2. Gamo Whisper Fusion Mach 1 .22 Caliber
Top-rated: 2,003 ratings | 320 answered questions
Highlight: Equipped with a Gamo 3-9×40 scope.
Helpful review: "I've been putting this off for a while, but I want to tell people how much I like this air rifle. There was little doubt for me about getting the .22 model, but I feel good with this decision.
This is not an entry level air rifle even if it's marketed as one. Really, guys, this is about as advanced of a single shot air rifle that one would ever need. If you need more than a single shot, or more than a 1000 fps .22, then perhaps this is not the correct projectile rifle for you. It works great for me as a varmint poaching rifle, and it's amazingly accurate for plinking and target shooting. I'm serious, accuracy is good as it gets for a .22 air rifle.
Let's break it down:
- I'm down to iron sights, because the included 3 dot fiber optic iron sights are so good that it would be a shame to put a scope over them. So I prefer to iron sight this rifle and it works well.
- The trigger is adjustable, but I found it to have a nice clean and crisp pull to it, so there was no need to adjust it. You could probably adjust it down to a very light pull, but I did not feel the need.
- At about 6 lbs, it's heavier than some, but not too heavy. This is just the weight and power of a high-quality air rifle.
- As for stopping power, it's very good. Once I got the barrel "seasoned" and broken in, it's quite accurate and really a lot like .22 LR subsonic rimfire ammo for stopping power.
- Pellet selection is very important and must be consistent for accuracy.
- The noise dampener whisper baffles are reasonably quiet and work well enough. It's not so quiet that an animal won't hear you fire it, but it's quiet enough that you might get a second or third shot. All in all, it's quieter than any standard firearm I've heard.
- Maintenance and care are important for this design. Take my advice and keep the finish and exposed moving parts as clean and LIGHTLY-oiled as you can. Rust makes me angry, and I get a large amount of travel time with moisture, sweat and dirt exposure.
- The barrel length is on the long side, but that actually adds to the velocity and ease of pulling the barrel to ready it.
- Polymer stock is great for durability and functional purposes.
- The safety is in the traditionally Gamo location and works well. I've actually stored this rifle for several days with the piston compressed and ready to fire, and this has not been a problem. It's an inert gas piston.
- As for range and distance, I can consistently hit a man sized target at 100 yds very well, with good pellets and good placement. So to answer some questions, yes, this rifle has a really impressive 100 yds shot.
- Keep in mind that it's really realistic. I get a lot of strange looks and interactions with the police because they think it looks like a real firearm. It handles a lot like a .22 firearm and I would compare it to one.
- The barrel doesn't have a very fast twist to it, and that is probably a good thing for accuracy at this velocity.
- The advertised claim of 1020 fps would be for a very light pellet, about 9 grains or less. I estimate that I'm pushing 14 grain pellets about 800 fps or so, and it's great. I've seen water strikes with numerous pellet types, and there is little doubt that this rifle is well capable of shooting .22 hollow points to the point of expansion. It's clear to me that hollow points do expand very well on water strikes and dump a lot of energy. (Less expansion with pointed or domed pellets, obviously:)
All in all, I wouldn't say that this should be your first air rifle, but it should definitely be your last. I like this rifle and I'm very satisfied with it." — Greg Alexander
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3. Gamo Swarm Magnum .22 Caliber
Top-rated: 969 ratings | 146 answered questions
Highlight: Up to 1,300 FPS with alloy .22 Cal. Pellets.
Helpful review: "Unlike what many others have posted, this gun is not much harder to cock than most 1000 fps+ guns. That said, I cock it with my weak arm. It's not effortless or easy, but it's not super hard either.
However, others have posted about its loud crack and they are correct! It's louder than my other guns, kinda like whacking a 2 or 3 foot piece of furring strip down medium hard onto a hard surface. I wonder just how loud it would be without that big silencer thing on the barrel end.
At this point I’ve shot over 7k pellets and it is still going strong. I am a novice shooter, my targets are 3-in and sit 47 yards away from my 'nest'. I can’t miss the 3-in targets, though I only get a bullseye 3-4 out of 10.
I have tried many pellets, and although there are lead options which work with this rifle/distance, I prefer not to touch lead so I don’t use it. I have come to the conclusion that THE BEST option for me are copper coated lead pellets. Crosman Copper Magnum and H&N Field Target Trophy Power are both equally accurate and decently priced.
My biggest issue is the optional 'scope stop'. It doesn’t work very well. I wish someone would design a sturdy scope stop. This rifle is so powerful, the scope won’t stay in place.
Oh, and regarding accuracy, I said I can’t miss 3-in targets from 50 yards, but this actually depends on the pellets. Many I’ve tried can’t even hit the target from 30 yards. THIS RIFLE LOVES CROSMAN COPPER MAG PELLETS. If you need accuracy, TRY THEM.
By the way, I am 5'6" and150lbs. If you can’t break this barrel, the rifle isn’t the problem. I understand it is difficult. Just man up and be ready for the workout.
All in all, this is one accurate puncher. Want to practice your marksmanship with less ammo cost, all of the accuracy at good range and full feel of real recoil without the report? Buy it. You’ll get ripped pecs cocking it along the way." — Peter Docherty
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4. Gamo Swarm Fusion .22 Caliber
Top-rated: 879 ratings | 113 answered questions
Highlight: Developed to subdue the taxing stress placed on your scope from the intense recoil.
Helpful review: "I finally bought this gun after looking at it for over a year. I've read all the reviews, good and bad. So far, I'm not finding the issues that people complained about. It always amuses me how many people will write a review without giving a product a realistic trial. There are so many variables that needs to be taken into account.
- I love the speed load magazine. It's the main reason I waited for this gun.
- The Gen2's mechanism gave me the option to use gun's very good iron sights. Iron sights are great to have and too often excluded from guns that bundled with a scope.
- Power is good enough for pest disposal. Don't worry about FPS. Muzzle energy is more important and this gun has plenty.
- Sound is not too loud, but will seem loud because your head will be right next to the spring piston bang. If you're more than a few feet away, it's quiet enough to be backyard friendly, especially with heavier pellets.
- Very comfortable to hold but it's not light at 8 lbs fully spec'd and loaded. Sling mounts would've been nice for hunt hikes. Not too heavy to cock/break the barrel, 30lb or so.
So accuracy first. It's important to understand that this is a gas piston/spring piston, break barrel rifle. And with such, it's going to be different for most shooters upgrading from the pump guns from our youths.
The recoil will be different and your hold will need to be different. I did have to deal with that learning curve. Start with getting your practice in with the iron sights to really gauge out of the box accuracy. And make sure you try a few different pellets to find one your specific rifle likes. I've shot 4 types of Gamo pellets ranging from 14 grains to 22 grains and have been able to group them easily.
The scope sucks, but it's really fine for a beginner. Tried it for a couple of weeks and just didn't like it. I really wanted adjustable objective and Mil Dots, features this stock scope didn't have. So I upgraded.
Just make sure you get a scope same or shorter than the stock scope because the 10X mechanism will limit how long the front of your scope extends. I went with a UTG Hunter, but the UTG Bug Buster may have been better size-wise. Take your time zeroing in and remember the springers/pistons are really harsh on scopes. Tighten all screws every once in a while, on screws and the gun. Once the scope is mounted, take your time to understand flight trajectory and practice practice practice.
10x Magazine has been fine for me. I bought an extra so I'm always at the ready. I have had maybe 2 pellets fail to cycle properly. I bought the Gamo combo pack, which includes the Hunter, Master Point, Magnum and TS-22 pellets. I shot all these pellets using the magazine and they loaded and cycled with no issues. Even the Magnum which says 'not recommended for repeaters' has cycled flawlessly. Just remember not to leave them loaded too long since it is spring operated.
Overall, I'm happy with the gun. Would've preferred they keep the scope and made the gun $20-$30 cheaper. Oh well, now my son has the coolest scope on his Nerf gun, haha!" — Jay Hood
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5. Gamo Swarm Whisper .22 Caliber
Top-rated: 1,206 ratings | 114 answered questions
Highlight: Enables you to shoot up to 10 pellets without reloading: simply break the barrel and fire for lightning-quick follow-up shots.
Helpful review: "This is my 2nd Gamo air rifle and my first .22. Prior to this one, I had been using the .177 Bone Collector, which I bought back in 2013 and put over 5,000 pellets through. I noticed the accuracy was getting off a bit, which is completely understandable for a gas piston rifle that has seen that sort of mileage. So I decided it was time for another Gamo, but in a .22 this time.
After doing lots of research, I found that there wasn't a lot of info on this particular rifle. It was the Maxxim that seemed to get all of the attention. After looking at the Maxxim's additional features, I decided they weren't really something I needed to spend extra money on. Yes, it has a "better" scope than the Whisper, but I knew I'd be using my own scope anyway. Everyone knows the included 4x32 scopes are junk, and I'm sure the 3-9x40 isn't anything to write home about either. So, I decided to give the Whisper a shot and, with a little over 100 rounds (and 5 tree rat kills) put through it, I must say I am seriously impressed.
To clarify, those first 100 rounds were not targeting squirrels. It takes about 100 rounds to break the barrel in. After the break-in, I cleaned the barrel (I also recommend cleaning the barrel before you put any pellets through it), sighted the scope in again, and have had no problems dropping my back yard visitors.
This thing REALLY has some serious stopping power. I would sometimes knock the squirrels out of the trees with the .177, but the 3 I have shot with the .22 have both been knocked right to the ground.
I'm using the same pellets I always had success with in the .177, and that's the Gamo Rocket. The Whisper seems to like them just as much as the Bone Collector did.
I was a little skeptical about the 10x quick-shot magazine, but man is it awesome.
So overall, I'd say that the stock, barrel lever and trigger mechanism are all very solid, and you feel like you’re holding and shooting a high quality piece. I’d recommend this to anyone for small game or targets.
I can't tell you how many times I've lost a squirrel in the trees from having to load a pellet, but those days are long gone. Just be carful where your fingers are so you don’t crush them. I have to say that I did read about all those issues that people have had with this air rifle overtime, so time will tell if it will hold up. But so far I haven't experienced any of those. Highly recommend!" — Jared Wilbanks
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6. Gamo Wildcat Whisper .22 Caliber
Top-rated: 1,978 ratings | 224 answered questions
Highlight: Features the WHISPER noise reduction technology patented by Gamo.
Helpful review: "I've been shooting air guns since I was a kid, and am now in my 30's. Had a Gamo Big Cat 1200 .177 caliber that I bought in '08 and sold a few years later. At the time, that was the most powerful air rifle I'd ever owned. It had laser accuracy at close backyard ranges, and suited my needs for pest control and indoor garage target shooting quite nicely. I've regretted selling it, and wanted to buy another Gamo for a while.
This time, I decided to go for the bigger caliber, and got this Gamo Wildcat Whisper .22. This is my first ever .22. I set up a heavy 6 or 7 inch thick piece of a wood beam, multiple layers of cardboard, and multiple layers of old phone books, and proceeded to go about getting the scope zeroed.
The first 3 or 4 shots were VERY loud, definitely louder than my Sig Sauer MCX .177. But after about another 4 or 5 shots it settled down and got noticeably quieter, still kind of louder than I expected but tolerable, like a loud nail gun or something.
The quality that I remember from my first Gamo is all here, I was happy to see. Scope is basic but crisp and clear, and works fine for me.
Trigger is nice and smooth.
Shooting Crow Magnum .22 hollow points from close range, I was putting multiple pellets through the same holes, with tight groups. I have a somewhat wide, but not very long? Backyard in a semi-forested suburban neighborhood, and usually zero my scopes for the range I shoot squirrels and other pests from my back porch, about 25-30 feet. For longer range accuracy with this, I don't know yet. But from these distances I can get near-surgical accuracy with this!
It packs a wallop, blasting holes over 200 pages into a phone book, average. This thing has hefty power compared to a .177 break-barrel!
This is a weapon, nothing like the M-16 and M-249 SAW from my Army days, but a weapon and serious rifle nonetheless! I wish my Dad was alive to see this gun...airguns have changed so much since the days of his 1980's Crosman Co2 bb rifle! (Which I still have ☺).
I bought seven tins of ammo to start, including the fearsome looking JSB Exact Jumbo Monster Diabolo .22 cal, 25.39 gr. pellets! So far have only tried the Crow Magnum. The Jumbo Monster ones look like they have massive stopping power!
All in all, this is an excellent rifle, and for a reasonable cost. I'm very happy with my purchase. As long as Gamo keeps a high standard of quality like this, I'll be a customer for life. I'm looking to build a small airgun collection of 4 or 5 rifles, 4 or 5 pistols, and 1 big bore PCP. Thinking of getting the Umarex Hammer .50 cal PCP air rifle when it comes out this fall...but I wish Gamo made something like that, in .50 cal!
If you're looking for a fun and accurate target air rifle, this is a great choice. If you're looking to send a lot of pests to their maker, definitely a great choice! Hunting small game is definitely an option here, which also makes this a compelling piece of equipment to add to a survival kit or bug out supplies." — Stephen Taylor
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7. Gamo Raptor Whisper .177 Caliber
Top-rated: 2,300 ratings | 359 answered questions
Highlight: The Gamo-patented Whisper Technology makes this gun really quiet.
Helpful review: "Rifle has been great. I specifically purchased it due to a squirrel problem. Well, now the squirrels that are chewing up my eaves and accessing my attic nightly have the problem!
I first tried passive traps, large glue traps baited with nuts, which are very expensive and as far as I can tell a complete rip off. I also tried different spray repellants.
None of these attempts worked. The squirrel just ignored or found a way to beat them. Last Sunday morning, at the crack of dawn, when I knew the critters would go out to forage, I sat patiently with my morning coffee on the back Verandah. After 15 minutes or so there they were, Chip and Dale, out doing their thing, coming from the direction of my ROOF!
My first shot was from approx. 40' away, and 20' high. Released my breath, held, fired, & one shot Chip was down, deceased, and fodder for the neighbors dogs. Could not believe the rifle had executed a kill shot on a very large, fat with winter coat, squirrel, but it did.
Second shot was much more remarkable, and I am still in awe of the rifle because of it. I spotted Dale high atop a 75' pecan tree just a couple minutes after. The tree was a good 70 yards from my vantage point. Dale had come to rest in a vertical position, head upright, and was half the size in body mass as Chip.
Since even if I had missed my shot there was nothing behind the target to damage, or hurt, I figured it would be a great test of the rifle's abilities/accuracy. Dale was holding his position nicely for me, seemed content to show me his left side being nice and still, so released breath, held a little longer this time, and pow!!!
No sooner did I squeeze the trigger than Dale was tumbling to his demise. I had to take a second look because I just couldn't believe the rifle was that capable, but it was and is. This shot that was 100 yards, was as if it was an inch.
Even with my upgraded scope, and the fact that I did my best to aim at Dale's head, I was unable to retrieve the carcass to check the projectile entry because once again the neighbor's dogs got to sit before I could. I am assuming it must have been a head shot, because at that distance I'm not so sure the projectile would still have enough kill velocity to take a healthy squirrel off a limb like that if hit anywhere else. I could be wrong, but since I had no way to verify I don't want to over sell the rifle's power.
I am simply amazed that a pellet rifle is capable of such accuracy and power. It's been 35 years since owning one of these things, and the last one I had could barely penetrate a cardboard box, let alone make a 100 yard kill shot of a squirrel.
Who needs a long barrel .22 anymore? Not for rodent hunting you won't. These pellet rifles are all you will need.
So, since that Sunday morning, I have heard no more rustling around in my attic and have found no new holes in my Eaves created by squirrels. The rifle has been retired to it's wall mount since it is also put together well enough for display. It will remain on the wall until the squirrels decide, if they ever do, to start destroying my home again. Until then it's merely a show piece.
FIVE stars for its rodent control. Let me just quickly add that I have had training, and was a member of our military, so I am a very capable shot. If you share that quality, then this rifle will not let you down within the parameters of my explained experiences with it. Happy hunting." — TX proud
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8. Gamo Swarm Maxxim G2 .22 Caliber
Top-rated: 1,169 ratings | 146 answered questions
Highlight: Rapid reload technology.
Helpful review: "My previous air gun was an old .177 bb gun that shot about 330 fps. This rifle really puts that one to shame. I bought the .22 version of the Maxxim. I watched a YouTube video that considered many different air rifles and in that video this rifle was the best for me. I've put mostly Gamo Red Fire pellets through this rifle, which I have found to be very accurate and lethal.
This rifle has dispatched several groundhogs. It is accurate and fun to shoot. HOWEVER, it frequently fails to load a new pellet (and there is no indicator to show that a pellet has charged, or that there has been a failure to advance the magazine) which has led to me dry firing the rifle multiple times. You have to get in the habit of double checking the pellets-left indicator number to make sure it has gone down when you have recharged the rifle.
Let's talk about accuracy and trajectory. From 19 yards to 39 yards I do not offset my crosshairs. On my old BB gun the BB would drop about 4 feet at 39 yards. This rifle with Gamo Red Fire pellets was the death of most of a family of groundhogs. Two kills yesterday at about 20 yards. One kill the previous day at 34 yards. I don't consider myself a great marksman, but now I don't see any place in my backyard that's safe for animals I want to kill.
At 39 yards I'm putting clean holes through 1/2" boards. I shot a pen I used as a target, offhand, from 39 yards, with one shot. I'm not saying all my shots are that good, but I can definitely choose where on a groundhog body I want my shot to hit at 35 yards.
The cocking force is pretty serious. This rifle is not for kids. People are saying 30 lbs? I consider myself pretty strong but I have to strain to charge the weapon. I can do it and I could have done it when I was 17. I'm just saying it's not something anyone can do.
I like the magazine idea. I bought an extra magazine, but by accident I bought the 177 magazine instead of the 22. So I have been using the rifle with only one magazine and I basically have no problem with that. A follow up shot is not always easy to get off because it takes several seconds to re-cock the weapon and re-aim it.
A few words about the setup. I had to read the instructions and watch a YouTube video to figure out how to put the scope on and zero it. My scope is not dead on. I am mentally challenged in the scope zeroing department. I had to figure out roughly where the rifle is shooting and make sure it's close to the crosshairs, but I'm still pretty challenged. However, I do know where the pellets are going to the extent that I can kill a groundhog, not to the extent that I can win a competition. It took me a while to get comfortable with how you load the magazine and how you put it on the weapon.
The noise is not too bad. It's definitely subsonic and the report is not that loud. My neighbor who is my friend did not appear to know I'd been shooting it, although I had taken several shots with it before I talked with him. Not as loud as a 22lr.
If you forget you've pumped the rifle, the pump disengages the second time so that prevents mistakes, which is good. The directions say it is potentially a problem to put two pellets in if you forget and repump the rifle, which could be a problem, and I'm not sure if that has happened to me. Whenever I think I might have made a mistake charging it, I shoot it at a target, not a groundhog.
The other potential problem is that you pump the rifle when the magazine is empty, leading to an empty chamber and potentially dry firing. I am not certain but I may have dry fired the rifle a few times due to mistakes in this regard, although I understand that can be extremely bad for the rifle. But so far it's still powerful and accurate. I saw reports that sometimes pellets fall to the ground and do not get loaded from the magazine into the barrel, but I have not seen this happen to me. Possibly fake news.
As far as power goes, it's less than a 22LR. I have targets I shot with a 22LR and generally the bullets go deeper. But this thing is lethal. I would not shoot a deer with it except in a survival situation but someone on YouTube claims to have killed a deer from 46 yards.
By the way, my wife doesn't like real guns but she doesn't mind air rifles. I don't know why I mention this.
Anyway, I am curious how far I can walk this rifle out. My backyard ends 39 yards from my shooting position and I don't know where I can go to shoot, so I'm not sure if I'll find out. I'm pretty sure I can hit a target out to 60 yards without too much difficulty." — Peter Kelly
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