A repeating air rifle with velocity to spare, the Gamo Swarm Magnum brings air power to the hunt.
How The Gamo Swarm Magnum Blows The Competition Away:
- 10-shot rotary magazine that feeds a new pellet into the chamber every time the rifle is cocked.
- Pushes .22 pellets at the top edge of break barrel velocities — 1300 fps.
- Two-stage adjustable trigger, known as the CAT System (Custom Action Trigger.
- Double-integrated sound moderator built into the barrel.
- RRR System (Recoil Reducing Rail), a two-piece aluminum rail separated by dual polymer struts, absorbs recoil.
Dotzie, my little mountain cur squirrel dog, was very insistent. “Get over here — and get over here right now,” she said loud and clear while barking up a red oak tree 200 yards from me. Arriving on the scene I found the brindle-and-white-colored canine dancing around the tree and telling the world she had a squirrel up there, dead to rights. Now it was time for me to do my part.
After a considerable search, the grey squirrel was located high in the oak tree plastered to limb. Instead of the usual .22 caliber firearm, I eased the Gamo pellet rifle against a convenient tree for a rest and started the trigger squeeze with the squirrel in the scope. The shot was close but no cigar … and the squirrel was off to the races through the treetops.
Grabbing the barrel of the rifle, I quickly cranked it downward, cocking the rifle while the loading mechanism automatically inserted another .22 pellet into the chamber. Following the squirrel in the scope as best I could, I waited for him to pause briefly as he would leap from limb to limb. This process entailed moving from tree to tree with the squirrel, and Dotzie following the squirrel with me, all the while barking furiously. The tree rat finally paused a half second too long, I delivered the shot, and Dotzie was more than happy to grab it when it hit the ground. Without the quick reloading feature on the Gamo, I would not have collected the squirrel.
A New Era In Pellet Rifles
About 3 years ago, Gamo made history when they unveiled the 10X Quick-Shot technology for what is basically a repeater pellet rifle. Someone at Gamo was on their game when this self-loading feature was conceived.
In a nutshell, the rifle employs a 10-shot rotary magazine that snaps into the top of the barrel and feeds a new pellet into the chamber every time the rifle is cocked. The advantage of rapid reloading when hunting small game and varmints cannot be overemphasized. The magazine-fed convenience was first shown on the Swarm Maxxim .177 caliber air rifle, and now 10X Quick-Shot tech is available on the Swarm Magnum .22 caliber pellet rifle.
More Power, More Speed
Air gun geeks are just like the rest of the world: They want more — more in the form of power, force delivered with a pellet — and this is accomplished with more speed. Like race cars and horses, air gun makers want to go faster.
“The Swarm Maxxim produced 975 fps in .22 caliber, and the Swarm Magnum pushes that up to the top edge of break barrel velocities at 1300 fps,” said Lawrence Taylor, Director of Public Relations at Gamo. “A .22-caliber pellet traveling at that velocity packs a punch downrange. The Swarm Magnum is a good choice for hunting small game like squirrels and rabbits anywhere, but especially in semi-urban areas where it’s not safe to shoot a .22 rimfire that has the potential to travel a mile.”
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The Swarm Magnum achieves these pellet speeds by means of the IGT (Inert Gas Technology) Mach 1 power plant; this is the cylinder that air is compressed into when the air rifle is cocked. The Mach 1’s 33 millimeter pneumatic cylinder rockets pellets up to 1,300 fps. It also promotes smooth and consistent cocking with constant power delivered to any pellet you shoot. Key benefits of this system over a spring system air rifle are higher velocities, more accuracy and less vibration when the air rifle is fired.
The heart of any rifle is the trigger, and the Swarm Magnum has a two-stage adjustable trigger, known as the CAT System (Custom Action Trigger). This is pretty heavy stuff for a pellet rifle: Both stages are adjustable and you can do it yourself, on the kitchen table, with no gunsmith needed.
Suppressed Is Not Silent
Achieving great speed in a pellet rifle is a trade-off in that the faster the pellet travels, the more noise the gun will make. Whisper Fusion on the Swarm Magnum incorporates a double-integrated sound moderator into the barrel. The pellet travels through two different chambers, compressing and preventing noise expansion.
“I always tell folks getting into air guns to not expect these high-speed rifles to be same as the BB and pellet guns of their youth,” Taylor said. “They are always surprised by the crack of a high-velocity gun.” The reason for this is simple: The speed of sound is around 1,125 fps, and when the pellet’s velocity exceeds this, you get the resulting crack of breaking the sound barrier. Heavier pellets will reduce the speed, and if you get below this threshold you will notice a reduction in sound.
The Mystery of Recoil
Recoil in air rifles perplexes many new shooters. Put a scope intended for a firearm on an air rifle and you may be headed for trouble. Air guns tend to have a weird “backward” recoil, more so on spring-powered guns, but the break-action air-powered guns can also be problematic as the piston slams forward — not backward — as it does in a firearm.
Gamo uses the RRR System (Recoil Reducing Rail) on the Swarm Magnum, which is a two-piece aluminum rail separated by dual polymer struts to absorb the shockwaves generated by the recoil. The rail also features a hole, and the front ring a peg that fits into it during mounting. Users must remove the scope from the rings first, fit the peg into the hole and use the wrench to snug it down, and then mount the scope. This system makes for the most solid fit with less vibration and less damage to the scope.
The Bottom Line
You may very well be surprised with the accuracy of the Swarm Magnum — I was. I expected enough accuracy for hitting squirrels and other small game at short or medium ranges (50 yards or less), but I did not expect .22LR-like groups on paper. Along with this accuracy, the air gun has lots of power, more so than some other pellet rifles I’ve hunted with — and it seemed to have no problem taking down squirrels.
The cocking effort on this air gun is 41 pounds, meaning that it takes that much pressure to pull the barrel down and cock the rifle. Your 6-year-old is probably not going to be able to do this unless he or she is already training for college football, but for most adults it should not be a problem. The scope supplied with the air rifle is not a high-end optic, but it is adequate and filled the bill for the testing and hunting I did with it.
Gamo addressed the air gun recoil demon with the RRR System — and this is important. Trying to sight in an air rifle, or any rifle for that matter, is a gold-plated mess if you can’t keep scope mounts, scope ring screws and all that goes with it tight and in its place. So far, this rail system seems to be taming the air gun recoil exceptionally well.
The 10X Quick Shot system simply makes shooting an air rifle quicker and more enjoyable, and for hunting or pest control, follow-up shots are much faster. If I would have had one of these rifles when I was a kid preying on English sparrows, starlings and other pest birds, I would have probably taken several thousand more than I did. And if you carry additional preloaded magazines in your pocket, reloading is really, really fast.
For small game hunting, pest control or just plain ol’ plinking with your kids, the Swarm Magnum with an MSRP of $279 will be hard to beat.
The article originally appeared in the February 2019 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.