DE­CI­SION MAKER

Phill Price looks at the new ver­sion of the in­cred­i­ble Phox

Airgun World - - Squirrel Hunting In Scotland -

The de­bate over which is bet­ter, ‘proper spring-pis­ton’ guns or pre-charged pneu­mat­ics is no closer to be­ing re­solved, but a re­cent en­try to the mar­ket has swayed many peo­ple. The Gamo Phox shocked the in­dus­try at its launch be­cause it of­fered the or­di­nary shooter a pre-charged pneu­matic ri­fle with a bolt-ac­tion, multi-shot mag­a­zine, a scope and mounts, a si­lencer, a pump to fill it with, and a gun bag to carry the whole lot home for less than £500! Surely, that was an of­fer too good to be true? Well no, it was quite true and they flew out the fac­tory door as fast as they could be built. How could it be that you could buy an English-made PCP of that qual­ity with ev­ery­thing you need, other than a tin of pel­lets, for than lit­tle money? For that an­swer you’ll need to ask the Gamo man­age­ment team, but ac­tu­ally I don’t care! I just think it’s bril­liant that any­body on a bud­get who wants a PCP can now get into the mar­ket at such a low price.

BIG DEAL

To un­der­stand why I think that this is such a big deal, we need to get down to the nuts and bolts of the ‘PCP ver­sus springer’ de­bate. It goes like this; spring-pis­ton guns are ‘proper’ airguns that you cock with your own mus­cle strength and they re­coil and jump as you pull the trig­ger; by com­par­i­son, a PCP is filled by a com­pres­sor and is al­most dead as it fires. A springer needs care­ful and ded­i­cated train­ing to shoot ac­cu­rately, whereas the PCP is more for­giv­ing of mis­takes and the point of shoot­ing is hit­ting, right?

You need to choose on which side of the ar­gu­ment you stand. Are you a tra­di­tion­al­ist or are you an ‘ac­cu­racy is all that mat­ters’ type? I’ll con­fess to be­ing the lat­ter and I’ll say now that I think the Phox is a land­mark for our in­dus­try. PCPs have changed the air­gun shoot­ing world be­yond recog­ni­tion, al­low­ing any­body with mod­est skills the chance to hit

“the PCP is more for­giv­ing of mis­takes and the point of shoot­ing is hit­ting, right?”

their tar­get more of­ten.

The Phox kit was put to­gether with care­fully se­lected com­po­nents that work seam­lessly as one, so that there’s noth­ing for the new owner to worry about. Just as­sem­ble all the parts, pump up the air reser­voir and zero the scope. Af­ter that, it’s just fun!

“I was soon get­ting 1/2” groups at 30 yards as eas­ily as you like”

ALL-ROUNDER

The scope sup­plied is the uni­ver­sally pop­u­lar 3-9 x 40 spec­i­fi­ca­tion that of­fers good all-round per­for­mance. This is at­tached with a sub­stan­tial one-piece mount that locks it securely to the ac­tion. The Phox’s mag­a­zine sits low in the ac­tion so there’s no cut-out in the scope rail, so a su­pe­rior, one-piece mount can be used with­out com­pro­mise.

Speak­ing of the mag­a­zine, it’s a slick and re­li­able unit that just hap­pens to be ex­actly the same as the ones found in the cur­rent gen­er­a­tion BSA ri­fles, giv­ing us the strong­est pos­si­ble clue to where these fine ri­fles are made. Load­ing the mag’s is sim­ple once you have the knack, and once loaded you have 10 shots at the flick of the sub­stan­tial bolt, mak­ing shoot­ing ef­fort­less and re­laxed. Of course, for hunters it means a quick fol­low-up shot if you miss or need a coup de gras.

NOW IN .177

The first gen­er­a­tion Phox was avail­able in .22 only and had a si­lencer per­ma­nently moulded to the bar­rel, but over time, the fac­tory re­ceived more and more re­quests for a .177 ver­sion and also ques­tions about a screw-on si­lencer. With sales be­ing so buoy­ant they de­cided to make this, the Phox Si­lenci model, that an­swers both re­quests, and as a ded­i­cated .177 shooter, I’m pleased to see this up­date. The new si­lencer is all-me­tal and looks quite long when, in fact, it’s much the same length as other pop­u­lar mod­els on the mar­ket.

Get­ting a pump in­cluded with the ri­fle makes you fully in­de­pen­dent, able to top up your air reser­voir any time, any place, with­out the need to get a dive tank re­filled at a shop. Of course, you’ll be burn­ing a few calo­ries to get there, but hey, we all need the ex­er­cise, right?

SPOT ON

I checked the power over the chrono­graph and, just as I’d ex­pect from this com­pany, it was set spot on at 11.2ft.lbs. with my stan­dard test pel­let, the Air Arms Field Di­ablo .177. Happy with that, I set about ac­cu­racy test­ing, even though I was con­fi­dent in what I’d find. The Phox Si­lenci uses an English-made, cold-ham­mer-forged bar­rel that I know from ex­pe­ri­ence is one of the best you can buy. With the same test pel­let I was soon get­ting ½” groups at 30 yards as eas­ily as you like, which for me is just su­perb. I’d hunt with this ri­fle to­mor­row.

This is a great pack­age and will wel­come many un­de­cided shoot­ers into the won­der­ful world of PCP ri­fles. It has ev­ery­thing you need, and all the per­for­mance you could hope for, at a price that many shoot­ers can reach. If you were un­de­cided be­fore, then this could be the ri­fle that changes your mind. I

On aim I found the Phox pleas­antly com­fort­able.

The looks are very modern.

The si­lencer fits to a 1/2” UNF screw-cut bar­rel.

I found the bolt-ac­tion sturdy and re­li­able.

The Phox Si­lenci - now avail­able in .177.

The ac­tion says ‘Made in UK’, which means a lot.

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