Mat Manning tests the Gamo Swarm Roadster GEN2 – a remarkable airgun that combines break-barrel simplicity with the speed and efficiency of magazine loading
Simplicity and affordability are among the biggest attractions of airgun shooting. Even these days, when super-expensive airguns decked out with all kinds of sophisticated gizmos grab attention on social media channels with their almost daily launches and advancements, most shooters still prefer a simpler option that’s kinder on the wallet.
And when it comes to keeping things reassuringly basic, it’s hard to beat a break-barrel airgun with its self-contained powerplant. The only downside is that opting for a break-barrel usually means sacrificing magazine loading, but that’s not the case with the subject of this review. The Gamo Swarm Roadster GEN2 boasts the convenience of a self-contained powerplant plus rapid reloading courtesy of a multi-shot magazine. If that isn’t enough, it even comes with a telescopic sight and mounts, and has a very appealing price tag.
Maker: Gamo (gamoguns.co.uk)
Model: Swarm Roadster GEN2
Type: Magazine-fed break-barrel
Calibre: .177 and .22 (tested)
Overall length: 1,180mm
Length of pull: 370mm
Barrel length: 450mm
Weight: 2.6kg (without scope)
Trigger: Two-stage adjustable
Power: 10.5 ft-lb
Gamo Swarm Roadster GEN2: Taking stock
The Gamo Swarm Roadster GEN2 retails for £269, which makes it a very affordable package. It is a comparatively light gun, tipping the scales at around 2.6kg before you fit the scope. At 118cm, it is a fairly long rifle, but that length does include a sizeable silencer.
This airgun is extremely comfortable to shoot and comes into the aim very naturally. That can be attributed in the most part to the great design of the stock which, apart from looking good, is also very tough in its black synthetic guise. The handle has a nice, long forend with panels of sharp, grippy stippling on both sides. The same stippling is also present on the steeply raked pistol grip, which has a large thumbhole cutaway behind it.
Although this is an ambidextrous stock, its thoughtful design means it doesn’t feel like a compromise. The cheekpiece is high enough to give good eye alignment when using the supplied scope and mounts, and the butt pad is made from squashy rubber to help absorb what little recoil this gun’s firing cycle creates.
The pad actually incorporates three inserts which can be removed to open up their housing slots and make for an even squashier contact with your shoulder.
Gamo Swarm Roadster GEN2: Features and function
The metalwork on the Roadster’s cylinder has a neat black finish and is machined with dovetail rails. Included in the package is a recoil-reducing riser rail, which incorporates an arrestor section and has a hole to accept the recoil pin on the supplied one-piece scope mount. You really shouldn’t expect any scope creep with this setup.
Telescopic sights that come included with combo kits can be somewhat lacking in the quality and performance stakes, but I was rather impressed with the 3-9×40 Gamo model than comes supplied with the Roadster. Its fixed parallax is well suited to airgun ranges and at 6x magnification the sight picture was suitably clear for reliable target acquisition between eight and 35m.
The ocular focusing ring also enables you to get the reticle pin-sharp for your eye. That reticle is of the conventional Duplex design and is well suited to an airgun of this kind. Adjustable magnification is a nice bonus, and the lower end of the scale is great for close-range work and low-light shooting, while the higher end gives more precision for tackling targets over longer distances.
The Swarm Roadster’s barrel sits inside a full-length shroud which incorporates a pretty sizeable silencer. It isn’t always possible to tell how effective the silencer is on a break-barrel airgun because your head is so close to the noise of the moving parts, but I could genuinely tell that this one made a noticeable difference to sound suppression at the muzzle.
Having the barrel encased in a shroud eliminates the risk of salt from your hands causing corrosion to the frame. The integral silencer also makes for a handy
grip when cocking the gun, and its extra length provides some welcome leverage.
I really was blown away by just how easy this Gamo is to cock – it is a very smooth stroke that requires remarkably little effort. Snap the barrel closed, and the lockup also feels positive and very secure.
Of course, the really clever thing about this Gamo is its 10-shot magazine, which on this model sits horizontally above the breech so it doesn’t hinder the sight picture. When you break the barrel to re-cock the gun, the magazine is indexed and a pellet fed into the breech ready for your next shot.
Calibre options for the Roadster give you the classic choice of .177 or .22. The test gun was supplied in the larger calibre and its magazine was a doddle to use. I found it very easy to reload and it worked flawlessly during the weeks I spent using it. This feature is no gimmick; it delivers fast and dependable follow-up shots when targeting pests and quickfire plinking fun on the range.
To reload the magazine, you simply push the front clips forward and it pops out. Pellets are inserted nose-first from the top, rotating the drum for each one, and when it’s fully loaded you just push it back into its housing base first and then snap down the top. It is even numbered so you can see how many pellets you have left as you rattle off the shots.
Releasing those shots is a real pleasure, thanks to the CAT (custom action) trigger.
I liked the lightly curved design of the blade, and although the two-stage unit is adjustable in both stages, it was really impressive straight from the box. The first stage was quite light and there was a very clear stop before an exceptionally crisp second-stage break.
A manual safety catch is positioned just in front of the trigger blade. It is a bit too close to the blade in my opinion, but it works well enough and is certainly easy to reach. It is in the safe position when pushed back and you flick it forwards when you’re ready to take the shot.
Gamo Swarm Roadster GEN2: Power and performance
I have to say that I initially thought the test gun must have been down on power because it was so easy to cock and its spring-powered firing cycle felt exceptionally smooth, with minimal recoil. However, I ran it over the chronograph and found it to be knocking out a pretty consistent 10.5 ft-lb, so that smooth firing cycle is just down to a very efficient powerplant.
That power output means this Gamo has enough clout to tackle pests at close to mid-range.
Of course, it takes precision to cleanly dispatch live quarry, but the Roadster is capable of impressive accuracy. Do your bit and it can print half-inch groups at 25m with dependable consistency, which is great for a recoiling airgun at this price point. And it can demolish spinning and knockdown targets at far greater ranges than that.
I think the Gamo Swarm Roadster GEN2 is a terrific package. It is extremely shootable and very competitively priced. Easy for youngsters to cock and smooth to shoot, it manages to churn out respectable muzzle energy – and pretty quietly too. It is tough; the synthetic stock will stand being bashed around in the field or on the farm, and the limited exposed metal reduces the risk of rusting.
And don’t forget that this airgun comes with the added value of a decent telescopic sight and one-piece mount – gear that usually brings added expense when building a combo.
Like so many of Gamo’s offerings, the Roadster punches way above its price point in terms of value and performance, and the 10-shot magazine is just the icing on the cake – snap the barrel down and back up to cock the action, and it pops a pellet into the breech ready for the next shot without you even having to think about it.
It’s a feature that certainly boosts the fun factor on the plinking range but I can also see it being very handy for shooters who plan to do some night-time ratting and don’t want to have to fumble around with pellets when reloading in the dark. I have had a brilliant time shooting the Gamo Swarm Roadster GEN2, and I am certain that many other airgunners will too.
An affordable springer with the bonus of fuss-free magazine-fed loading and smooth performance. Factor in the zoom scope, mounts and integral silencer, and this package is hard to beat