Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gamo Big Cat 1200 Air Rifle Review

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Gamo Big Cat 1200 promotional video

Gamo Big Cat 1200

Gamo is the world leader in top quality performance air rifles and the Gamo Big Cat 1200 Air Rifle is no exception. The low cost and safety of air rifle and airgun shooting and the ability to set up safe outdoor shooting ranges with paper targets, cone pellet traps, moving target system, and rocker target, and knock-down squirrel target has led to the use of airguns for safety and training programs. They offer hours of fun sporting enjoyment and competitive shooting challenge.


The Gamo Big Cat 1200 is no toy. It's spring-piston powered, so it's a single shot that is cocked by a break-barrel mechanism that requires 30 pounds of force. The first time you cock it, you just know that it's gonna have some recoil, and it does, but nothing bad.

You might also guess that the muzzle velocity sizzles, and it does. In fact, the 1200 (.177 caliber only) gets its model number designation from its claimed muzzle velocity of 1200 feet per second.

Gamo claims 1000 fps with its conventional lead pellets and 1200 fps with its high-dollar PBA (Performance Ballistic Alloy) Raptor lead-free pellets.

I chronographed the Gamo ammo coming out the muzzle of the Big Cat, and there is some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that I couldn't get Gamo Big Cat 1200 to come close to 1000 fps with lead pellets; my average was 823 fps, and the best I ever achieved was 918 fps, which is plenty fast enough for most purposes, but nonetheless disappointing with respect to the advertising.

The GOOD news is that the lighter PBA pellets took off like rockets!

Raptor PBA .177 cal

I averaged 1230 fps in my tests, with several shots being north of 1300. My best reading was a scalding 1388 fps, considerably faster than a .38 special, a .45 automatic, or a 9 mm NATO round. This is one fast air gun.

When using lead pellets, the 1200 is a little bit louder than your average air rifle though not enough so to unduly alarm your next-door neighbors. But when you fire off a PBA pellet, you will distinctly hear the loud "crack!" of the projectile shattering the sound barrier (1125 fps) the instant it emerges from the gun. Big difference.


Aside from the rock solid build quality and the high velocity of the PBA pellets, the most attractive thing about this gun may be its price; Gamo's MSRP is a paltry $170. That's about half what I would expect to pay for other comparably equipped springers.


For more information or to buy the Gamo Big Cat 1200 Air Rifle, click the links below.

Gamo Big Cat 1200

Gamo Big Cat 1200 air rifle kit

Gamo Big Cat 1200 with Nitro Piston





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