Author Topic: Gamo Viper Review  (Read 3997 times)

Offline dnttech

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Gamo Viper Review
« on: April 08, 2009, 02:14:30 PM »
I first asked Gene if it would be okay for me to add my two cents about this rifle.  Being new to air rifles, I did not wish to give anyone the wrong information or to imply I knew something which I did not.  Also, my intent was to chronograph the results of different types of pellets which I put through the rifle.  Suffice to say, recent events have changed that intent.  Once I get back to work, I’ll run it and the other rifles through the chronograph and give you an idea of how many FPS each rifle shoots with different brands and types of pellets.
 
Most of us are aware Gamo’s advertising and/or marketing department must play a fairly substantial role in the sales of their rifles.  It is my understanding Gamo’s 1200/1000 series rifles all share the same powerplant, so it’s really just a matter of which bells and whistles you’re willing to pay for when it comes to buying one of their products.
 
Out of the box, I liked the looks of the Gamo Viper.  The bluing was dark and consistent and looked as good as some of my center fires.  The synthetic stock and dark colored, snake-scaled inlays as well as the raised ambidextrous cheek rest gave the rifle a very distinctive appearance.  Picking up the rifle, I found it shouldered well and the ventilated rubber butt pad fit well against my shoulder.  Conversely, I was also struck by how much it weighed.  At an advertised 7 ¼ pounds, which must be without the scope attached, and the semi bull-barrel, I found it had a very pronounced forward weight bias.  I think some of the weight of the rifle can be attributed to the quantity of grease I found inside.  It looks like some Spaniard went insane with a grease gun and squirted it all over.  There was a gob of grease on the linkage, inside the wells of the stock, etc.  It took almost 30 minutes to clean up the mess I found.  I agree with lubrication, but not to that extent.

One thing which surprised me was the fact the scope was mounted to the gun using a 1 piece, 3-screw, 11mm mounting rail with a stop.  The mounting rail ran virtually the entire length of the grooved scope rail machined into the receiver.   The nice thing about this type of scope mount is the fact it raises the scope up another half inch or so and better positions the scope to your eye.   It also facilitates the use of a larger bell aperture should you decide to change scopes.  On my rifle, I should think it would easily accommodate a 44mm bell.  On top of the mounting rail sat a very nice looking 4 screw, 1 piece, 3/8” dovetail mount which looked amazingly like a Leapers Accushot.   I took the Viper outside and stood on my deck to peer through the Gamo labeled 3x9x40 AO IR scope.  I turned up the magnification ring and noticed the middle of the scope was quite blurry while the edges were crystal clear.  I then turned down the magnification until the cloudiness went away…about 6 power.  Unless my scope is defective..it is, but that comes later, you’re probably going to be stuck with a 6 power magnification limit.  I found the quick eyepiece did a very good job of bringing the reticle into focus.  I vastly prefer the quick eyepiece, or better yet, a side focus for AO, rather than attempting to adjust the bell on the forward end of a scope.  This particular scope went back into the box and was replaced with a Centerpoint 4x16x40 AO IR scope along with a Leapers Accushot 1-piece mount.  During the course of remounting the scope, I uninstalled the scope base and reinstalled it using (blue) Loctite.  The same was done with the Accushot mount.  I then let the rifle sit for a full 24 hours prior to use.

Note:  I was going to use this scope on another rifle, but when I took it out of the box some weeks later I also noticed the IR feature doesn’t work either….Oh well, it makes a nice doorstop.

Cleaning the barrel of this rifle prior to shooting is an absolute must.  I ran several patches through the bore and it looked like they were covered in some type of thin gray grease.  About 10 patches later, along with the help of a little Simple Green, the patches came out clean.

Our indoor range at work is broken up into 7 lanes and has a maximum distance of 25 yards.  I began my shooting at the 25 yard line, from a bench, using CPHP’s as a starting point.  I also had several different types of Crosman, JSB, Gamo and RWS pellets from which to choose.

The first thing I noticed when I squeezed what is undoubtedly the worst trigger to ever grace a rifle of any type was the “twangy” sound the rifle made when fired.  It sounded like someone had taken an oversized rubber band and snapped it against a piece of cheap plastic.  Not a good first impression.  My second impression was that after installing the mount and scope, you had better be sure you had first used some Loctite to keep things from rattling apart.  This thing has some serious torque both fore and aft during the firing cycle.  By the way, if you use the supplied Gamo scope and rings, make sure you don’t use the supplied allen wrench to tighten the screws, it’s the wrong size.  You’ll simply round the allen wrench or worse, round the heads of the screws.  Also, make sure to (red) Loctite the stock screws.  Mine were loose from the factory which would have certainly affected accuracy.

Clicking the safety rearward toward the trigger gave me a very positive engagement with very little slop or movement of the trigger.  Gamo did a good job on this very important safety feature.

My first several dozen shot were typically all over the paper.  I knew this was going to happen from reading other forum members’ comments so I didn’t become unduly alarmed.  Plus, I had never shot a springer in my life.  After approximately 50 shots, things began to settle down and I got my first good group, a 5-shot string, 3/8th of an inch, center to center.

After a few more shots and a couple of flyers, I took out the JSB Exacts.  Again, from members’ comments on the forum, I knew many rifles preferred JSB’s, so I was curious as to what was going to happen.  The JSB’s performed quite well, and as a matter of fact they were and remain the best of the lot.  My best group was a 5-shot string which looked like a cloverleaf and slightly smaller than my best group using the CPHP’s.

Since that time, we have run approximately 3000 rounds through the Viper.  The best results are still with JSB Exacts, followed by Gamo Rockets (this surprised me,) and in third, the CPHP’s.

Though as I previously stated, I have not chronographed the firing of this rifle, it does have quite a bit of power.  I’m certain it’s not exceeding more than the low to mid 900’s, but even at that, it has enough power up to 40 or so yards to take out tree rats, crows, etc.   Not that I would have actual knowledge of this you understand !!!

Cocking the gun with its claimed 30 pound cocking force wasn’t particularly tiring for me, but I bought this rifle for my 13 year old son.  After 15 times or so of cocking, I found him having just a little bit of trouble.  For an adult it doesn’t pose a problem, but for someone like a young teen or a lighter framed female you may find he/she has difficulty after a short while.

What are my impressions of the Viper?  To be honest with you, it’s what many folks on the forum have called Gamos in the past….”diamonds in the rough.”  If I had to give it a letter grade, it would be a solid “C.”  With some TLC from a good tuner, a better trigger and a better scope and mounts, you will have a very nice rifle which would compare favorably to some of the “better” brands available.  Of course, after spending that kind of money you could also have purchased a Mike Melick custom-tuned B-26 and saved yourself a bundle, or you could have purchased a very well-made German rifle…I’ll let the reader guess the brand name.
Bob


Offline Gene_SC

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Re: Gamo Viper Review
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2009, 03:20:29 PM »
Robert, I started my air gunning sport/hobby with a Shadow 1000, which is the same power plant as your viper. I have since purchased several other Gamo's. I have sold some and kept the ones that are extremly accurate and completely quiet cocking and firing cycles. These are a pleasure for me to shoot. And I have bought many other air guns and sold some and kept the ones that fit my style of shooting.  99% of them were tuned to my liking. I guess I am fortunate to have the skills to do my own tuning of my springers. I have learned a great deal about myself and what I like and do not like in a springer. Many people are sold on the high FPS but taking into concideration that lower FPS can allow easier cocking, smoother cycles of cocking and shooting. Not to mention the benefit of short range accuracy. Most springers are made for shooting within a 30 to 40 yard distance. Anything further would take more power and with the power your cocking and shooting cycles will get much harder and harsher. In my personal opinion, that is where my comfort zone ends.

I thought your review was great and very objective and I would love to see more chime in on there views as well. Here is a picture of my favorite and most accurate Shadow 1000.

THE ONES I SLEEP WITH: BSA Lightning XL, AA TX-200, AA ProSport, BSA Ultra, HW-97K, Crosman NPSS .177, FX Cyclone, HW-30 Nicle Plated, AA-S200, Crosman Marauder, CZ-634, R-9 DG, Webley/Scott UK Tomahawk, Benji Kantana, Benji Marauder, Benji Discovery.....
....

Gene\'s Tunz n Toyz
Springer Tunin

Offline longislandhunter

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Re: Gamo Viper Review
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2009, 04:25:30 PM »
I thoroughly enjoyed Bobs review as well.  Covered all the important points and covered them well.  

Jeff
\"If it was easy it wouldn\'t be hunting, it would be shopping.\"

Offline tjk

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Re: Gamo Viper Review
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2009, 10:39:21 PM »
Nicely done Robert. Somehow I knew the JSB's would shoot the best!!! My only critique would be to use caution when applying any kind of loc-tite. I don't care for the stuff myself. tjk
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Offline shadow

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Re: Gamo Viper Review
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2009, 12:13:42 AM »
Very good review Robert and the GAMO's are a diamond in the rough but like diamond's you have to dig through some dirt and rock to get em out. :o  :) My Viper was the same before a tune but after a overhaul inside and out she's one smooth accurate shooter. My snake prefers the CHP's, Predators and Destroyers to spit at critters. :) Ed
I airgun hunt therefore I am... };)  {SHADOWS Tunes & Camo}  airguncamo@yahoo.com

Offline hodgjy

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Re: Gamo Viper Review
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2009, 03:39:40 AM »
Dang, Ed, you really need to get a job as an artist.  You are so talented!
Slavia CZ 634 .177, Crosman Quest 800 .22, and Baikal IZH 513 .22.

Offline Gene_SC

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Re: Gamo Viper Review
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2009, 10:17:07 AM »
Sweet buddy...:)
THE ONES I SLEEP WITH: BSA Lightning XL, AA TX-200, AA ProSport, BSA Ultra, HW-97K, Crosman NPSS .177, FX Cyclone, HW-30 Nicle Plated, AA-S200, Crosman Marauder, CZ-634, R-9 DG, Webley/Scott UK Tomahawk, Benji Kantana, Benji Marauder, Benji Discovery.....
....

Gene\'s Tunz n Toyz
Springer Tunin