In anticipation of our new flock of chickens, I figured it would be a good idea to get a couple of air rifles to keep on hand to deal with potential predators. I also figured that it might be a good time to stock up on pellets since ammo has been virtually unavailable and if this situation continues I can see a lot of shooters switching to air rifles. (Granted, it’s likely much easier to ramp up production of pellets in the face of increased demand than it would be rifle ammo).
Since we live in a semi-suburban area I was concerned about how much noise either rifle would make. These are the two I selected:
- Gamo Silent Cat: -I like this .177 air rifle. It comes with a scope but reviews on Amazon suggested the scope is kind of cheap and I didn’t want to hassle with putting it on. Fortunately, the iron sights are fantastic. I also like that you only have to break the barrel and drop a pellet in, then close it back up and fire, whereas the Benjamin below requires several pumps. I’m far from a crack shot, but this gun’s accuracy seemed good enough to drop a rat (with a body shot, anyway) from at least 20 yards).
- Crossman Benjamin 392 – This is a .22 pellet gun. Apparently, they’ve been around for years (30+) and have something of a cult following. My father had a similar pellet gun when I was a kid. It was a handgun though, and he had put a rifle stock attachment on it. His probably wasn’t the same model as this one, but it feels pretty close (except for the stock). This air rifle has a wood stock and has the feel of a “real rifle.” It’s profile is quite a bit shorter than the Gamo Silent Cat and that makes it easier to wield. Unfortunately, the sights aren’t as good. They’re decent. They work. But the sight picture just isn’t as good as the Gamo’s. The other thing I’m not crazy about is that once you get past five pumps, you need arms like Arnold to continue pumping it. I have no idea what the velocity is with only… say, two pumps. But I have a hard time seeing myself struggling with pumping this thing while Mr. Raccoon decimates my chickens. Four or five pumps will (hopefully) be enough to do the deed. Regardless, the thing is bad ass and I’ll be keeping it for no other reason than to plink at targets and teach the kid next door how to shoot.