Gun test: Gamo Boxer Bullpup
- Credit: Archant
The Ed steps into the ring with the new Boxer bullpup from Gamo
I'd seen this new rifle on display at various shows earlier in the year, and I was really keen to take a look at one. Now the rifle is in full production, Gamo has finally given the green light to get the Boxer into my hands for an in-depth review.
Packing a punch
Also known as the 'Furia' in Europe, the Boxer is Gamo's first foray into the increasingly popular bullpup market. Of course, the first thing that grabbed my attention is the price - just £569 for a bullpup! Seems mighty cheap to me.
However, upon actually testing this rifle for the past couple of weeks I can tell you that the Boxer is anything but cheap. It's extremely well finished and there has been no scrimping and saving on components to keep the price down.
That said, the trigger unit is two-stage with no means for adjustment. That doesn't bother me though, and for a rifle costing way less than £600 I can live with that. I didn't measure the pull weight, but it's reasonably light and very comfortable to use.
Whilst removing the screw at the front end of the trigger guard to inspect the trigger unit I discovered that said screw actually holds the fore end of the stock onto the rifle, and with another deeply recessed Allen screw at the butt end, the stock is easily removed.
Barrel and filling
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Gamo are using BSA cold hammer-forged barrels on their rifles, so you can expect quality right out of the case. The Boxer features a 15-inch (381mm) barrel, which features a 'Whisper' shroud system to cut down the noise. On other Gamo rifles, the Whisper moderating system is said to reduce firing noise by up to 52 per cent. It's basically a number of polymer chambers compressed by a spring system, which helps to absorb the sound.
Filling is about as simple as it gets. Remove the outer casing from the gauge by pulling it off and you'll find a BSA filling port. Simply plug in and charge, then replace the protective cover once you're done.
The Boxer is packed with great features, including a 205mm-long, 11mm dovetail scope rail, which allows you to mount pretty much any length of scope you choose securely.
Because this is 'just a pup', I opted for a smaller scope to help cut down the weight even further, in the form of a Walther Mini 4x32 DC CQB which weighs just 525g. I went for the fixed 4 x 32 because for the most part I was going to be testing this rifle in my back garden and in the barns on my permission whilst chasing a few rats - so extended magnification was not going to be required.
This rifle also has an ambidextrous cheekpiece, which at first glance I thought might be adjustable. However, upon removing the three Allen screws holding it in place I found another 11mm dovetail rail underneath with no means for adjusting the level of the cheekpiece at all. I'm not sure why the rail is hidden under there, but it could give some of the more 'technically-minded' shooters food for thought regarding custom builds.
The Beech stock itself is quality Spanish wood, and the embossed stippling effect around the fore grip and pistol grip feel good to the touch and are sure to do their jobs in wet or sweaty conditions.
It comes supplied in a rather solid hard case, too, which is a lovely touch. The case alone must be worth £50!
I enjoyed countless hours in the summer sun in my back garden shooting the Boxer down my range. Although I did end up bringing my filling bottle outside with me because the .177 version of this rifle only gives 80 shots per fill. You might think that's not many, but then you have to remember that this bullpup is designed primarily for hunting with reduced weight, so something has to give. How many times have you been hunting and rattled off 80 shots, anyway?
With the accuracy confirmed I decided to take it to one of my barn shoots to see if I could knock over a couple of rats. To my amazement, I set out my pellet catcher on the gravel path as I always do to make sure the scope was bang on zero before going hunting, when a pair of hares decided to pay me a visit. They just hopped about some ten yards or so behind the pellet catcher without a care in the world. Even when I began shooting - not at the hares, I don't shoot them - they only moved 50 yards or so down the path and ignored me like I wasn't there - why can't the rabbits on this shoot do the same thing!
Alas, there were no rats to be seen. Just my luck, the previous week the farmer had put down a load of poison feeders and as I walked around the barns I saw that all but one were empty. That looks like the end of my rat shooting there for a while, then.
Out of sheer boredom I decided to wander around the barn, taking pot-shots at rusty nails in the brick walls, pretending they were rats' eyes, so all was not lost. I became quite accurate and quick on the draw with the Boxer, which gave me a few smiles.
I had a great time with the Boxer and really enjoyed shooting it. It's a no frills, precision piece of engineering with a very reasonable price tag. If you do a lot of shooting at close quarters, such as pigeon and squirrel shooting in heavy undergrowth where a longer rifle will keep getting hung up, then the Boxer will come into its own in this environment. I've still got the rifle for a couple of weeks, so I'm going to ask a few of my friends if I can join them on a rat shoot, where I think the Boxer will excel.
Model: Gamo Boxer
Type: Pre-charged, multi-shot
Max fill pressure: 232 bar
Stock material: Spanish beech wood
Stock type: Ambidextrous
Calibres: .177 and .22
Overall length: 710mm
Barrel length: 381mm
Magazine capacity: Ten shots
Weight: 7lbs (3.2kg)
Shot capacity: .22 100, .177 80
Variation (10 shots): 8 fps