Dave Barham tests an affordable PCP from Gamo - the Gamo Venari comes with a scope, mounts, moderator and bipod, all for less than £500

Manufactured at BSA’s headquarters in the UK, the Gamo Venari features BSA’s cold-hammer-forged barrel, and comes as a complete kit form, including a 4 x 32 scope and mounts, plus a moderator and a set of detachable bipod legs – all for under £500!

credit: Archant

Gamo Venari stock
The Venari features a tactical stock, packed full of features. I really like the wide pistol grip, which allows for both thumb down and thumb up shooting styles. The adjustable cheekpiece has a huge amount of height adjustment to suit all styles of scope and mount fittings so you can get that all-important perfect eye alignment.

At the fore end there are two removable Picatinny rails, one on each side, which house the supplied bipod that comes as single leg bolt-on attachments.

There’s moulded stippling throughout for added grip, and the butt pad has removable plugs to make it even softer, should you prefer it that way – obviously there’s no recoil, so these vents make very little difference as far as performance is concerned. 

credit: Archant

Gamo Venari included bipod and scope
I must admit that I’m not really a fan of these single leg bipod arrangements, but to have one included in the price is a bargain, and it allows you to shoot the rifle from a bench or from the prone position right off the bat.

Featuring quick release attachments, they can be attached/removed really quickly, though. They’re really sturdy with a massive spread between the legs once extended – that’s the main reason I don’t like them, they spread really wide, which although gives great stability, can sometimes be a hindrance in a hunting situation. They also cannot be adjusted for tilt, so you need to be shooting from a perfectly flat surface.

Included in the price is a BSA 4 x 32 scope and mounts, which will get you off the mark and shooting straight away. I’d say it’s worth investing in a 3-9 x 40 scope at this point, especially if you want to get out there hunting with it.

My only gripe … the scope comes already attached to the supplied two-piece mounts, one of which has an arrestor pin attached, so you have to remove the top part of the mount anyway in order to remove this pin before you can fit the scope to the 11mm dovetail rail. It’s also worth noting that the supplied mounts utilise Torx screw, instead of Allen screws – but you do get a Torx key supplied in order to fit it.

credit: Archant

Gamo Venari magazine & filling
I love the BSA/Gamo magazines. I have been using them for years and they’ve never let me down. You get ten shots in both .177 and .22, and there’s a small yellow dot that lets you know when you’re on your last shot – very handy in a hunting situation as I have discovered time and time again! They’re so easy to load – simply drop in a pellet, wind the inner to the left, drop in another pellet and so on.

The air cylinder sits directly underneath the barrel and can be filled to 232 bar. It utilises Gamo’s quick-fill probe, and the fill port is housed underneath a removable plastic shroud at the end of the cylinder, which also houses the fill gauge. Just pull the shroud off, pop in the supplied probe and fill away. Gamo and BSA always get extra marks from me for their gauges – they’re so easy to read and you know exactly where you are with your air at a single glance, thanks to the clear, colour-coded markings.

credit: Archant

Gamo Venari trigger and safety
As you would expect, the Gamo’s two-stage trigger system is well tried and tested. It’s adjustable, too, for both the pull weight and length. Straight out of the box, the Venari has a long first stage, and a long second-stage creep, which isn’t ideal, but with a little tinkering you can set it just how you want it. Even without tinkering you soon get used to where the release point is as you squeeze it. 

The blade is actually made from polymer, but it’s very robust with a gentle curve and fairly wide blade.
The safety lever is another big plus point. It’s situated immediately in front of the trigger, inside the guard. It’s a push-pull unit, which can be easily operated with your trigger finger. Push it forwards to shoot and flick it back to turn the safety on.

credit: Archant

Testing the Gamo Venari
Once I’d set the Venari up ready to shoot I spent a couple of hours in my back garden getting acquainted with it, before taking the rifle to my local range for a more serious workout. The first thing I noticed was the audible ‘twang’ as I released the bolt and pulled it back. It’s caused by vibration inside the action, and is nothing to worry about, it’s just a little annoying. That said, I’m really impressed with the bolt-action itself – it’s really quite smooth and not as ‘clunky’ as I was expecting.

At home and on the range the Venari performed exceptionally well, with 10mm groupings of ten shots out to 35 yards, no problem. I even got into the swing of things at the range and was knocking over targets and spinners out to 45 yards.

I’d have absolutely no reservations about taking this rifle out onto the field to hunt a few rabbits or pigeons. It’s got the power and it’s got the accuracy, even if it isn’t the quietest rifle in the world to operate. 

The supplied moderator goes a long way to helping reduce shot noise, though, and in that respect it’s a fairly quiet rifle.

For under £500 (I have also seen this kit available online for £435) you really are getting a lot for your money, in the form of a very capable hunting rifle with all the extras thrown in. It’s the perfect rifle for anyone wanting to make the leap from springer to PCP. 

Model: Venari
Manufacturer: Gamo
Type: Pre-charged, multi-shot
Cylinder Capacity: 480cc
Max Fill Pressure: 232 bar
Stock Material: Black synthetic
Stock Type: Ambidextrous
Cocking: Bolt action
Trigger: Two-stage, adjustable
Calibres: .177 and .22
Safety: Manual
Overall Length: 1100mm (43in) (inc moderator)
Barrel Length: 470mm (18.5in)
Magazine Capacity: 10 (.22) 10 (.177)
Weight: 6.6lbs (3kg) (bare rifle)
Shot Capacity: 100 (.22), 80 (.177)
Variation (10 shots): 12fps
Average Energy: 11.3 ft.lbs.
Website: www.gamoguns.co.uk  
Price: From £459.99