Gun test: Gamo PT-85
PUBLISHED: 12:00 20 September 2017
Phill Price has a blast with a blow-back from Gamo
Gamo’s range of CO2 pistols is one of the best out there, and I’ve enjoyed many of the models on the range, but one has passed me by and I don’t know why. The PT-85 is right up my street, being a large frame, all-metal model, with my favourite blow-back action. It’s a proper handful, and feels nice and stable on aim.
Coming from a speed-shooting background, handling is as important as accuracy for me. Hitting a 10” square steel plate at 10 yards isn’t hard, but it suddenly becomes so when the cold eye of the stop-watch burns into the back of your neck. When you need to hit five of them in around three seconds, handling and trigger performance become MORE important than ultimate accuracy.
The layout of this pistol is like many others with the 12 gramme CO2 capsule living in the grip, and having a toggle screw to drive the capsule up onto the piercing probe. This allows the CO2 to flow up into the action and is released as each hammer blow strikes the valve stem, allowing the ever-expanding gas to drive the pellet down the barrel. I was pleased to see thatno tools are needed to do this.
The magazine supplied with the PT-85 is the well-proven double-ended one that has an 8-shot revolving chamber at each end, for 16 shots in total. I’ll confess that I thought these looked a little flimsy when I first saw them, but I’ve had no failures with them, or been told of any. For those who remember the fullbore days of fast reloads, this pistol is perfect for us. A quick press of the mag’ release button, which is in the correct place for a competition gun, sees the mag’ drop out of its well, making space for a fully-charged replacement to be slammed in. This can be done in the blink of an eye, with correct and regular practice. This feature brings us one step closer to shooting fullbore guns in our overly regulated world.
Gamo supplied a tin of their Match Training pellets, which are ribbed wadcutters, so that’s how I started out. I was pleased to see that there were no misfeeds or jams, and that told me the pistol was working well. Gamo has its high end CO2 pistols made in Japan where quality and functionality are qualities that get a great deal of respect, and the PT-85 is a good example of that. It feels solidly made and durable.
I was soon delivering tin-can-spinning accuracy at 10-yards with the blow-back action resetting the hammer for each shot. However, something told me that there was better accuracy to be had, so I searched my pellet collection for a tin of RWS Geko .177 wadcutters. I know these pellets well from my competition days and trust them to deliver superior performance at an affordable price. Sure enough, I was soon getting 2” groups at 10 yards, which is quite superb from a gun like this.
Although the rearward movement of the slide cocks the hammer, you still need to release the trigger blade fully forward for the mechanism to index the rotary magazine to line up the next pellet with the barrel. The hammer can be cocked manually, allowing single-action shooting, if that’s your preference. The trigger’s action is nice and smooth and none too heavy either, making rapid-fire strings pleasantly easy. In fact, you can get all eight shots from one end of the magazine off in just a few seconds when you fancy a good blast.
Speaking of good blasts, the blow back system has a good hard kick that simulates recoil very well and adds excitement to each shot. The slide does not load the next pellet so the pistol is not actually a semi-automatic, despite what the box says.
The combat-style open sights are fixed, but luckily for me, they shot exactly to zero with the Geko pellets from my two-handed hold. They have bright white dots that help you to get rapid alignment, and this worked well for even my lousy eyesight.
I mentioned that the grip is large earlier, and it is actually too big for my average-size hand. I cannot reach the magazine release from the firing position, which makes reload drills slower than necessary. I also found the two-part safety awkwardly placed, high on the right side of the frame. To disengage it you must slide a serrated section back and then push the lever up for ‘fire’ and down for ‘safe’. With the safety on, the trigger blade is locked, so you know the pistol’s condition as soon as you feel the blade.
Those minor grumbles aside, this is a really enjoyable pistol to shoot, delivering excitement with accuracy to spare. If speed shooting games are your thing and you have largish hands, this is one to look at.
Importer: BSA Guns
Power source: C02 (12 gramme)
Action: Double-action, blow-back
Length: 8” (20.3cm)
Weight: 1.7lbs (755 grammes)