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