I must admit, when I first heard of a .45 caliber air rifle I was more than skeptical. In fact, I laughed at the possibility of an air rifle shooting a 131 grain .45 caliber round-ball. When I first unpacked the GAMO TC-45 a .45 caliber air rifle, my first thought was “This looks nothing like a rifle.” The design was so different and unique it took me back. However, after giving the rifle a good looking over I realized that the engineers at GAMO did exactly what other gun manufacturers never do. They made a purely functional gun. No frills, no extras, just a simple gun that fires .45 caliber round balls at a blistering 900 FPS with more than 400-foot pounds of energy when shooting a 350-grain cast slug. When shooting the 131-grain round ball, the TC-45 is capable of generating 1,000 feet per second and 300 foot pounds of energy. This is no ordinary air rifle! Not by a long shot.
In fact, GAMO reports that when shooting the 131 or 138 grain pellets, the lethal range for this air rifle is 100 yards. That is extreme for any airgun.
Granted, 900 FPS may not sound like a strong candidate for anything, but when you consider that this gun is using only compressed air to launch a 350-grain cast .45 caliber bullet at that speed. It is more than impressive. My first encounter was shocking. I loaded the gun with a round ball. A simple easy to use cocking opened the breech, I dropped in a Hornady .45 caliber round ball and closed the breech. A quick glance to ensure the safety was engaged and I was ready to test fire the GAMO. My initial target was a steel drum I use to burn trash in. I thought, “let’s see if this thing can bust through that drum.” I shouldered the gun and fired. Not only did it blow through both sides of the drum, it made one impressive hole! I had to do it again, and again and again. I could not get enough of this air gun firing that lead ball at those speeds with that energy. Granted, shooting that heavy of a projectile uses a lot of air, the TC-45 can handle up to 5 shots before needing recharging. The 48CC carbon fiber air tank that is integrated into the stock can handle up to 250 BAR of air.
My first shot downrange sent the steel gong swinging back and forth
Why would anyone want a .45 caliber air rifle? That is a good question. As more and more states begin to limit the use of centerfire rifles for sporting activities air gun manufacturers have taken notice and pushed the limits of their rifles. Currently there are forty-nine states that allow the use of airguns for hunting. New Hampshire is the only state that does not allow airgun hunting in any form. In addition to this, eleven states allow the use of air guns for big game including whitetail deer and feral hogs. Some states like my home state of South Carolina does not have any caliber restrictions for hunting deer or hogs on private land. Meaning that anyone hunt deer with this gun. As one friend of mine said, “a .45 caliber rifle is a .45 caliber rifle, the bullet or the deer does not care what it was shot from.” While this may be true, it is recommended that some practice and consistency be obtained prior to hunting with an air rifle or any other gun for that matter.
The GAMO TC-45 comes with its 440 CC carbon fiber air tank built into the stock, makes the balance and weight easily handled for such a large gun. Filling is done via a fitting on the stock. The drop lever opens the breech and a single .45 caliber round ball or cast bullet is dropped into the breech that is then closed. You are now ready. The model I tested comes with an integrated suppressor that is used to soften the report. The first shot was impressively loud for an airgun. But then again, I am comparing this to my pellet rifle of days gone by. This is a true rifle, not your kid’s BB gun or pellet gun. This TC-45 from GAMO is deadly and a force to be reckoned with. It may not look like a typical rifle and that’s precisely because it isn’t. This is an airgun that is capable of knocking big game on its rear. Testing it in the field will be fun and challenging. There is no doubt in my mind the TC-45 is capable of handling the task at hand.