Gun test: Gamo HPA Mi kit
- Credit: Archant
Phill Price looks at a new rifle package from Spanish giants, Gamo
Sometimes we want a simple solution to a complex question, such as which rifle/mounts/scope/silencer and bipod should I buy? Of course, you could research each component and then try to find out if they’re compatible with each other, and after that, you’d have to lay down the cash and hope you made the right decisions. Alternatively, you could buy a complete system in which each part was selected to perform perfectly alongside all the others, which would save you all the hassle and worry, not to mention a few pounds, too.
Gamo has offered a few packages over the years and now they’ve released the HPA Mi, which is built on a break-barrel action that utilises a gas-ram for propulsion. That part is reasonably conventional, from there on, though, it’s anything but; its ambidextrous stock is moulded from a tough synthetic material that will laugh at mud, rain and blood, so hunters need not worry about protecting it. This wears a lightly textured surface that offers grip whilst eliminating unwanted reflections. I was very pleased to see a height-adjustable cheek piece fitted that supports you well as you lift your head to see through the high-mounted scope.
Enhanced open sights
The cylinder is blued steel, so will need to be kept lightly oiled to stop corrosion, but all the contact points on the rifle are synthetic, most notably, the long Whisper silencer that fully encloses the barrel. This is an area that can all too often suffer corrosion from the salts in our skin, but not here. The fat silencer also makes a comfortable cocking grip, compared to a thin, cold barrel as you pull it down to compress the gas-ram. Quite unusually, the HPA Mi wears a set of fully adjustable open sights, something you rarely see today. These have fibre-optic interests to create a bright and clear sight picture.
Along the sides of the fore end there are short sections of Picatinny rail bolted on that accept the ‘Dual Bipod’ halves. This is a novel way of attaching a bipod to a break-barrel and it appears to work well. This mounting technique delivers a very wide stance for the bipod which added to the stable feeling, and the extendable legs accommodated varying terrain. The legs go from 9” to 11½” in ½” steps so there’s plenty of adjustment.
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Machined into the steel cylinder is a pair of dovetails onto which Gamo adds their RRR (Recoil Reduction Rail). This raised aluminium device has a cushioning system that reduces the stress on the scope from the infamous two-way recoil generated by airguns. I was particularly pleased to see that the RRR has a drilled hole that accepts a matching recoil arrestor stud, which locks it solidly into place. The 3-9 x 40 scope supplied rides in a one-piece mount that has that recoil stud built in, again showing the value of this integrated kit. One-piece mounts are strong and stable, which is just what you want on a recoiling rifle.
Gamo is very proud of its CAT (Custom Action Trigger) – a two-stage adjustable unit that can be set to deliver a fine release, whilst maintaining proper safety. In front of the cast metal trigger blade is a second lever that operates the manual safety. In this position it works just as well for left-handed shooters as for righties, and is ideally positioned so you can disengage it just before you’re ready to fire.
I mentioned earlier that this rifle uses a gas-ram, rather than a conventional coiled steel spring to produce power, and you guessed it, it has an acronym for a name. IGT means Inert Gas Technology, the idea is that it eliminates the noise and vibration found in conventional rifles, and when used with the Whisper silencer should make for a very quiet gun. A gas-ram can also be cocked and carried without causing fatigue or losing power, a feature hunters will appreciate.
Smooth and quiet
As promised, the CAT trigger had a heavy, yet consistent release and I noticed no vibration through the shot cycle, but I feel the claim that the rifle is silent is an exaggeration. However, it is quiet when compared to others in its class. The chronograph showed an average velocity of 747fps with the 8.44 grains Air Arms Field Diablo, which is my standard test pellet for 10.46 ft.lbs. muzzle energy. This might well rise as the rifle beds in, so was of no concern to me. Using my best recoiling gun technique, I was able to get consistent 1” groups at 25 yards, just what I’d expect from a rifle in this class.
Gun-shop owners have often told me that £199.99 is the magic number for a scope and mounts package, and for just a few pounds more the HPA Mi gives you a silencer, an adjustable stock, a one-piece mount and a bipod, making it excellent value for money. It’s a fully comprehensive kit from a respected name and if the tactical look is your thing, then you really need to have a look at one soon.
Importer: BSA Guns
Model: HPA Mi kit
Trigger: Two-stage adjustable
Included: 3-9 x 40 scope, one-piece mount, integral silencer, bipod