Gary Chilling­worth finds a cou­ple of bar­gains in Gamo’s starter packs

Gary Chilling­worth is look­ing at some bar­gain PCPs that might just sur­prise you

Air Gunner - - Contents -

There are quite a few things I love about writ­ing for Air Gun­ner, but two of my favourites are hear­ing from the read­ers and look­ing at new bits of kit, or to be more ac­cu­rate, kit that is new to me. If you grab any air­gun journo and ask them the most com­mon ques­tion they’re asked, they will all give you the same an­swer: Which is the best bud­get air ri­fle to get me started?

In the past, when I have been asked this ques­tion I have al­ways steered peo­ple to­wards a goodqual­ity spring gun, and this is not be­cause of my bias to­wards springers, but due to the cost of new PCPs. Even an en­try level ri­fle like the S400 will set you back £ 450; and then a scope, a set of mounts – ev­ery­one for­gets those – a gun slip to keep the ri­fle clean and out of sight if you are mov­ing it around, a si­lencer, if you want to be dis­creet when shoot­ing, and charg­ing equip­ment to put air in the gun, in the form of a dive bot­tle and hose – about £ 250 – or a pump – about £150. Add all this to­gether, and an en­try level PCP set- up, from new, will set you back in the re­gion of £ 900, and that’s a big chunk of loose change.

There are bril­liant starter packs on of­fer from Gamo, though, and for those of you think­ing of mov­ing into the murky world of the PCP, it is cer­tainly worth a look. For £ 499 you get a multi- shot PCP ri­fle ( Gamo Phox Mk2) with a great qual­ity mag­a­zine, same as comes with the BSA R10, the Whis­per si­lencer, a gun slip, a pump to fill the ri­fle with air ,and to top all this off, a great lit­tle scope and a qual­ity one- piece mount.

LIGHT­WEIGHT RI­FLE

The ri­fle it­self is a great thing to hold; it’s fully syn­thetic, with a high cheek piece, so if you want to use it for bunny bash­ing or tar­get shoot­ing it will do so with ease. It has a slightly grippy sur­face that is also anti- glare so you will have no prob­lems hold­ing on to the ri­fle if the rain comes down, or at­tach­ing a sling and throw­ing it over your shoul­der. This ri­fle is very light at just 7lbs plus the scope, and will make a per­fect starter gun for a ju­nior, or some­one who does not want to carry a heavy ri­fle round a long HFT course, or over hill and dale.

A light ri­fle can be jumpy, but I have shot a few Phoxs and, for me, they have al­ways been a plea­sure to shoot. I will not lie to you and say that they are as good as a top- end £ 2000 Steyr – they are an en­try- level ri­fle – but at 40 yards, I was plac­ing all my shots in­side a 10p size hole, us­ing Air Arms Field 8.44grn pel­lets sized to 4.52. You might need to try a few dif­fer­ent head sizes, but the feed­back I have been get­ting is that the bar­rels aren’t to pel­let fussy

“I have shot a few Phoxs and, for me, they have al­ways been a plea­sure to shoot”

and only need a clean every few thou­sand shots.

The scope and mount that comes with the ri­fle is crack­ing. It has a stan­dard crosshair 30/30 ret­i­cle and fixed par­al­lax. Its mag­ni­fi­ca­tion is from 3 to 9 times, and has a fairly good depth of field – depth of field is how far you can see, be­fore the tar­gets be­come blurry – and it’s cer­tainly good enough for close- up hunt­ing and tak­ing on tar­gets up to about 40 yards.

AD­JUSTABLE TRIG­GER

The trig­ger on both the Coy­ote and the Phox is great. It’s the Gamo CAT ( Cus­tom Ac­tion Trig­ger) and for a ba­sic trig­ger it gives a great feel. If you speak to the crazy, com­pe­ti­tion shoot­ers like me, we al­ways bang on about ac­cu­racy, ac­cu­racy, ac­cu­racy, and it’s true that a good bar­rel is im­por­tant, and that hav­ing a ri­fle with a good bal­ance is es­sen­tial, but one of the things that is of­ten over­looked is the trig­ger. If you have a bad trig­ger, you will not have any con­sis­tency. You need to know when the ri­fle will fire and you have to be able to hold the trig­ger on its break­ing point, and then let the pel­let fly with just a slight in­crease in pres­sure. If you have to pull a trig­ger hard, there is a chance that the ri­fle will move, and if you make the gun move a mil­lime­tre of so, by the time the pel­let gets down­range, you will cer­tainly miss the tar­get. Be­tween you and me, the rea­son I do so well with my springer, isn’t be­cause of the bar­rel, it’s be­cause my trig­ger is as light as one on a top- end PCP.

The CAT trig­ger is ad­justable. It’s great out of the box and with a bit of time and ad­just­ment, you can set it up to ri­val trig­gers on ri­fles that cost twice the price. There are also tu­to­ri­als on line about how to pol­ish them and take them apart, but this is of­ten best done by a gun­smith or

some­one who has ex­pe­ri­ence in the field. I al­so­like is the ri­fle’s safety catch , which is lo­cated just in front of the trig­ger blade and you can go from safe to ready to fire with the small­est of move­ments – a great bit of de­sign.

Putting air into the ri­fle is rel­a­tively easy with the pump, but you do need to build a rhythm and heed this piece of ad­vice – keep the ri­fle topped up! Fill it to about 190bar and then re­fill it when you get down to about 140bar – about 30 shots – then use slow and steady stokes to fill it back up. If you have to fill it from 100bar to 190, you will need a cup of tea and bis­cuit af­ter­wards, but we had Bran­don Roff a young 16-year- old fill­ing the gun and he found it nice and easy.

SHOOT­ING FUN

I have bab­bled on about the Phox for too long be­cause I was so im­pressed with the pack and what comes with it, but the Coy­ote is very sim­i­lar to the Phox ,apart from three main dif­fer­ences; 1: It’s wood and not syn­thetic, but it’s still light­weight and feels great in the hands. 2: It has a slightly longer air cylin­der and has the ca­pac­ity for 80 con­sis­tent shots to a fill, as op­posed to the Phox’s 60, and 3: It doesn’t have an in­te­gral si­lencer as stan­dard, and gives a very nice crack when fired, al­though you can by a Coy­ote Whis­per, or fit an after­mar­ket si­lencer.

Apart from these three things, both the guns run on the same in­ter­nals and bar­rels, al­though the Coy­ote’s is 11.5cm as op­posed to the Phox’s 10.5, and these bar­rels use BSA’s cold- ham­mer forg­ing, renowned through­out the in­dus­try for be­ing some of the best on the mar­ket.

There is no doubt in my mind that Gamo and BSA are pro­duc­ing great ri­fles, and I am amazed that they can pro­duce this pack for the cost that they are. If I were look­ing for an en­try- level gun, or a back- up ri­fle to go hunt­ing, or for my lad use, this would cer­tainly be on my list.

So, if you are in the mar­ket check out the Gamo Phox or Coy­ote. They aren’t just great for the money, but they are also great in their own right, and I have no doubt they will give you many happy hours of shoot­ing fun for the fam­ily.

BE­LOW: The Phox Pack gives you ev­ery­thing you need to get shoot­ing, just add pel­lets

RIGHT: The Coy­ote isn’t just a good ri­fle to shoot, it’s great to look at

ABOVE: Bran­don Roff was so im­pressed with our test gun, he now owns one

BE­LOW: For un­der £ 1000 Danny Roff can buy him­self and Bran­don a gun each, and rent a Mike Averil to pump them up for the day

ABOVE RIGHT: You can see the safety just in front of the trig­ger, per­fect place­ment

ABOVE LEFT: The mag­a­zine sys­tem is self- lu­bri­cat­ing and easy to read

ABOVE CEN­TRE: The filler is lo­cated un­der the air gauge and the muz­zle break makes a lovely crack when the Coy­ote is fired

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