12 August, 2013

Gear Review: GAMO Whisper

I bought this rifle from Cheaper Than Dirt knowing VERY LITTLE about airguns and having only a few friends to pry for help on the subject.

The "Whisper" is a .177 caliber, single-shot, break-barrel rifle.  It requires some 30-35 lbs to breach and load.  There is an integrated safety and it comes with fairly well-mounted fiber optic sights and scope, as well as a 50rnd tube of GAMO "Raptor" PBA (Performance Ballistic Alloy) ammunition.  I paid $175 plus shipping.

Online reviews for this rifle and similar ones from other manufacturers were wildly disparate. Some heralded the gun as a brilliant shooter while others bemoaned it as clumsy and poorly built. Still others claimed the scope was complete garbage.

None of the latter were experienced on this end.  I sighted the gun using the included PBA ammo and it made a "crack" like a .22 when fired.  Not very "silent" at all.  However, inside of seven rounds I was able to soundly hit a 2" target at 25 yards using just the iron sights.  Now, I have a reasonable amount of experience with modern firearms, and I practice with some regularity, so shooting is not a foreign activity.  Once I had the irons where I wanted them, I mounted the included scope and I must say, for a "cheap piece of junk" as some reviewers elsewhere have suggested, I was blown away.  The tube appears to be extruded aluminium mounted in the typical airgun version of a Weaver rail.  The reticle has seven (7) focal lengths (3-9x40) and reads as a wide-duplex type.  Considering that, the lines are crisp and tuning it was very simple, requiring no tools.  Even shooting the PBA ammo I was able to deadeye my 2" circle inside of seven rounds to my satisfaction.

Red Circles = iron sights; Blue Circles = scope On my way home from work the following day I picked up some Crosman Destroyer ammo and aside from the telltale "pop" of the air expelling, there was almost no noticeable report.

I bought this weapon for target shooting, teaching and varmint control on my property.  Squirrels have just been devastating my birdfeeders.  The rifle arrived at my office on a Thursday afternoon, I sighted it in on Friday evening and the hunt was on.  Saturday in my AO brought WICKED downpours.  Sunday was a much better opportunity and I was not let down.  Around mid-afternoon the little rascal was marauding about the back yard terrorizing the finches and wrens.  I crept around the corner of the house and took a knee.  He must have spotted me briefly, because he took off for cover of a stack of pallets another 10 yds away from the feeder.

He paused briefly and it was all I needed.  One shot, one kill.  When I paced it off it was a clean 25 yard shot.

The only reason I could not give this gun a top rating is that it is quite heavy (though cradles easily) and does not come with any way to mount a conventional sling.  I understand that there are a number of airgun slings out there, so I will have to investigate that shortly.  Also, the report is quite loud when using non-lead ammo.  A great shooter I hope to get many good years out of.

Another drawback based solely on my reason for purchase is that it probably would not make a good instructional aid.  This rifle is just a bit much for a young shooter, I think.

On all other counts I would definitely recommend a member of the GAMO "Whisper" line to anyone looking for a powerful, accurate air rifle.

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