HFT TEST

Gary Chilling­worth checks out an af­ford­able way to get into the world of HFT

Air Gunner - - Contents -

Gary Chilling­worth puts a Gamo Coy­ote through its paces, as an af­ford­able and ac­cu­rate HFT ri­fle

There is no doubt that the world of air­guns has be­come an ex­pen­sive place to be, with ri­fles like Steyrs and Walthers top­ping £ 2000, and some scopes cost­ing up­wards of £ 500 and I’m of­ten asked if there is a way to get into shoot­ing, have some fun and com­pete at a club level with­out hav­ing to sell a kid­ney. Well, as I am writ­ing this ar­ti­cle about the Gamo Coy­ote, the an­swer is ob­vi­ously ‘yes’.

I know some of you read­ing this will think, ‘Gamo? Do they make PCPs? I thought they just made springers’ Yes, they cer­tainly do make PCPs – in fact, they make two very good ones, and th­ese guns are per­fect for those who are look­ing to get into the world of pre- charge shoot­ing, but don’t want to break the bank do­ing so.

The Coy­ote and the Phox are very sim­i­lar, apart from three main dif­fer­ences; the Coy­ote is made from wood, whilst the Phox is syn­thetic, and the Coy­ote is light­weight, feels great in the hands and the wood has a good grain and is well var­nished. It also 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 fi­nally, it does not have an in­te­gral si­lencer as stan­dard, and gives a very nice crack when fired – al­though you can buy a Coy­ote Whis­per or fit an af­ter­mar­ket si­lencer.

Both of the ri­fles are fit­ted with the CAT ( Cus­tom Ac­tion Trig­ger) which is ad­justable, 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.

The trig­ger on a ri­fle is of­ten over­looked, but for me, it’s one of the most im­por­tant things on a mod­ern PCP ri­fle. Balance and fit is im­por­tant, but when you are locked onto a tar­get or an an­i­mal you are hunt­ing, you don’t want to have to pull, snatch or grab at a trig­ger. You want to take up the first stage, hold the trig­ger on the sec­ond stage, with­out the worry of it ac­ci­dently go­ing off, and when it’s time to fire, just in­crease the pres­sure by a tiny amount and watch the pel­let fly.

One thing I like about th­ese trig­gers is the safety catch lo­cated just in front of the trig­ger blade. If you are dig­ging your­self into a bush with a loaded ri­fle, or you have a young­ster who is not con­fi­dent, or still in the learn­ing stage, you can leave the safety on un­til the very last mo­ment – which is best prac­tice any­way – and then with a slight push for­ward of your trig­ger finger, you can take the safety off and then be right on the trig­ger to take the shot. This is a great safety fea­ture and one that I would like to see on more ri­fles.

Both of th­ese guns can come as a kit, with a scope, pump and a bag, and you can have all of this for un­der £ 500, but the big ques­tion is, are they any good?

GOOD ENOUGH FOR HFT?

So we have to ask, will a £ 500 Coy­ote PCP kit com­pete with a £ 2000 Steyr? No, of course it won’t, but it will get you shoot­ing and hav­ing some fun, and it is cer­tainly good enough to com­pete or hunt with, and in the right hands you could be com­pet­i­tive at club level – es­pe­cially in the .22 class. To prove this point, Bran­don Roff has been us­ing a Coy­ote in competition and

“The trig­ger is of­ten over­looked, for me it’s one of the most im­por­tant things on a mod­ern PCP ri­fle”

has been do­ing well, shoot­ing in the low 40s on some tough cour­ses, but more im­pres­sively, he has been do­ing this with the 30/30 ret scope sup­plied in the kit, and for HFT, this type of scope is not the best. For HFT you need a multi- aim point retic­ule, but he has been so happy with the gun that he is plan­ning to use it to com­pete in the 2019 UKAHFT Na­tional Se­ries, and if stud­ies and work al­lows, even the 2019 World Cham­pi­onships.

I have used a Coy­ote and a Phox; both could give me a 20p- size group at 40 yards and this is enough to kill the hard­est targets on any HFT course. They are light, easy to use, fun to shoot and tough as nails. I found the Phox gun easy to shoot for all the ma­jor shots in HFT. When you are in a sup­ported stand­ing po­si­tion, the slightly higher cheek piece of the Phox is a real boon and it en­ables you to get a good cheek weld on the ri­fle. You will find that both of th­ese ri­fles nat­u­rally have good balance, so when you are tak­ing a po­si­tional shot, you do not have to fight the weight of the gun, but there is enough mass to make sure that it isn’t bounc­ing around with the beat of your heart.

STABLE PO­SI­TION

The fore end is fairly shal­low on the Coy­ote and this en­ables you to get your lead hand out in front of you and get a good grip. As I said, the ri­fle is light and there is a small amount of re­port when you pull the trig­ger, but the gun is not hold sen­si­tive. You can plant the butt in the ground, grip the fore end to give you a stable shoot­ing po­si­tion – and both guns are per­fect in the hands of a new or younger shooter.

They are not over- long at around 38 inches, and again, when you are in a kneel­ing po­si­tion, this short length, en­ables the ri­fle to be held close to the body’s core and this helps with sta­bil­ity.

Th­ese two ri­fles ap­pear to have been de­signed and mar­keted to be a per­fect first gun, or a ri­fle for those who want to take part and have fun, but with­out break­ing the bank. They will bring you hours of joy on a plink­ing range or an HFT course and leave you with money to en­joy the finer things in life, like a sub­scrip­tion to Air Gun­ner ( Dave, the new editor made me say that) or a cold re­fresh­ing bev­er­age down at the lo­cal hostelry.

The Gamo Phox and Coy­ote are a per­fect in­tro­duc­tion to the world of pre- charged pneu­mat­ics, and with a mighty com­pany like BSA help­ing them with de­sign and de­vel­op­ment, they are well worth a look at if you’re in the mar­ket.

“a per­fect first gun, or a ri­fle for those who want to take part and have fun, but with­out break­ing the bank”

ABOVE: The busi­ness end is com­pact and well thought out

RIGHT: Shoot­ing from the kneel­ing po­si­tion is al­ways a good test BELOW: She looks like she means busi­ness

ABOVE: Gary loves the safety re­lease in­cluded in­side the trig­ger guard

BELOW RIGHT: The mag­a­zines are well de­signed and work well

RIGHT: It’s also avail­able in a tac­ti­cal stock ver­sion BELOW LEFT: Did the Gamo Coy­ote cut the mus­tard?

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