Gamo SOCOM Extreme Air Rifle

posted on November 18, 2009

Spain’s Industrias el Gamo has developed a decades-long reputation for producing high-quality, affordable airguns. In fact, the company is the largest European airgun manufacturer today, with its products being sold and used in more than 50 countries, including the United States. Gamo USA, a subsidiary of the Spanish company, brings a host of its products to these shores.

One of the most intriguing of the company’s newest offerings is the SOCOM series of .177-cal. break-barrel, spring-piston, single-shot air rifles. As is obvious from the SOCOM series name, they are intended as tactical-style air rifles.

The new series consists of three models: the ultra-powerful full-size SOCOM Extreme, the laser-equipped SOCOM Tactical and the compact SOCOM Carbine. Each comes equipped with a full-size variable-power Gamo scope.

The Tactical and Carbine variants have an adjustable cheekpiece, but the Extreme variant that we received for testing has a fixed, raised comb.

The SOCOM Extreme is a substantial air rifle, has an 18-inch barrel and weighs in at 9 pounds, sans scope. The spring-piston power plant of the Extreme requires a substantial 60 pounds of cocking effort, but the result is an air rifle Gamo USA claims can propel standard lead pellets at roughly 1250 f.p.s. Even more impressive, the company claims the Extreme is capable of propelling Gamo’s own Raptor PBA (Performance Ballistic Alloy) pellets at 1650 f.p.s.

The matte black composite stock of the SOCOM Extreme helps keep the overall weight down. The buttstock is fitted with a 1-inch-thick ventilated rubber recoil pad. The Extreme’s generously raised fixed comb is designed for both left- and right-hand use.

As compared with more traditionally configured air rifle stocks, the pistol grip has a nearly vertical orientation. In addition, it features oversize ambidextrous palmswells, and the composite trigger guard is an integral part of the stock.

The Extreme’s fore-end tapers out to a very subtle Schnabel-style tip, and its bottom is open to allow for the barrel’s downward arcing movement when the Extreme is cocked.

Manufactured from 4140 steel, the 18-inch barrel of the SOCOM Extreme has 12-groove rifling with a 1:18-inch rate of twist. The Extreme’s barrel is jacketed with an enlarged composite shroud that is threaded onto the steel barrel. The shroud creates an exterior that offers a non-slip, larger-diameter gripping surface for cocking the action.

The 16 1/2-inch-long receiver of the SOCOM Extreme, also manufactured from 4140 steel, houses the air rifle’s spring-piston action and features an evenly polished blued exterior. The Extreme’s barrel sports a matching blued steel finish. Prominently marked on the forward, upper portion of the receiver is gold-lettered text indicating the respective 1650 and 1250 f.p.s. capabilities of the air rifle.

The SOCOM Extreme has no iron sights, rather it relies on the included 3-9X 50 mm Gamo scope. Featuring a matte-black anodized finish on its one-piece aluminum body, the RGBD scope is designed specifically for the unique recoil characteristics of an air rifle.

An illuminated dot within its rangefinding reticle can be adjusted to red, blue or green coloring in three individual brightness settings. Powered by a lithium CR2032 3-volt battery, the illuminated dot can also be turned off to provide a simple black dot.

The adjustment dial is located on the left side of the scope’s body, complementing the scope’s capped windage and elevation adjustment dials. The scope is affixed by way of a modular mount to an integral rail on the top of the Extreme’s receiver with three Allen-head screws.

The SOCOM Extreme has an ambidextrous safety lever located forward of the trigger. Reminiscent of that of an M1 Garand, the lever safety can be disengaged by simply pushing it forward. Pulling it back engages the safety. Markings on the lower face of the composite trigger guard indicate the orientation of the safety and its use. Also, the safety is not automatically engaged when the action is cocked.

A cylindrical hole at the rear of the trigger guard provides access to the Extreme’s trigger adjustment screw located just behind the trigger. This allows users to adjust the length of the trigger’s second-stage pull.

The SOCOM Extreme received for evaluation impressed our testers with its attractive composite stock and evenly applied blued finish. Although the air rifle was somewhat heavy and large, the ergonomics of the stock and its handling characteristics were quite good. In addition, the scope proved easy to install, and our testers found the multi-colored dot in the scope’s reticle beneficial.

For testing, we tried out the SOCOM Extreme with Gamo’s Match 7.7-grain and Raptor PBA 5.4-grain pellets, both of which were .177-cal. Accuracy was good at 50 yards, with the PBA pellets showing the potential for excellent accuracy despite some fliers.

The Match pellets were a tad more consistent but less accurate overall. Measured velocity with both pellets was not quite up to the company’s claims, but our results were recorded at 15 feet, rather than at the muzzle.

The trigger of the Extreme broke cleanly but somewhat heavily at 5 pounds. We also noted the 60 pounds of cocking force needed to operate the action was substantial.

The new SOCOM series from Gamo, judging by the SOCOM Extreme, is a good choice for those looking for a solid air rifle with tactical-style features—and all at a reasonable price.

Manufacturer: Industrias el Gamo, S.A.U., Barcelona, Spain 
Importer: Gamo USA ; (954) 581-5822; 
Caliber: .177 
Action Type: Break-barrel, spring-piston, single-shot air rifle 
Receiver: Blued 4140 steel 
Barrel: 18", blued 4140 steel 
Rifling: 12-groove, 1:18" RH twist 
Sights: Integral scope rail and 3-9X 50 mm illuminated dot scope 
Trigger Pull: Two-stage, 5 lbs. 
Stock: Black synthetic: length of pull 14¾"; drop at heel, 2¼"; drop at comb, 2¾" 
Overall Length: 45¼" 
Weight: 10 lbs., 14 ozs. (with scope) 
Accessories: Owner’s manual 
Suggested Retail Price: $450


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