Friday, December 23, 2011

Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper .22 Cal Air Rifle Review


Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper .22 Cal Air Rifle Review Model 611004925554

I have a long history with air rifles dating back to the age of five.  Yes, it was a very long time ago.  Thousands of pop cans, dead starlings, junk birds, crows, squirrels, rats, mice, ground squirrels, and even a few raccoons and feral/wild cats later, I have learned a few things here and there about what makes a good hunting air rifle.  Back when I was a kid they were just starting to offer quality .177 pellet guns, however most lacked the take down power for larger birds and four legged critters.  Heavier .22 caliber air rifle pellets packed the punch needed to do the job properly and humanly. I ended up with a Crossman 2200 Magnum pump .22 as my first real airgun in the late 1970s which touted up to 700 f/s with ten laborious pumps. I am sure I exceeded velocity with a few occasional extra pumps. It proved fairly accurate with my 4X scope and devastatingly effective gun when loaded with Beeman domes (the only quality pellet available to me) for the invasive critters around our acreage. It took forever to pump back up and reload; follow up shots?... “forgetaboutit”.  
What seems like light years ahead in technology we have the pinnacle of air gun technology in the Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper .22 Caliber Air Rifle.  It is actually quiet thanks to an integrated suppressor, a single cock barrel break open action for pretty quick follow up shots, utilizes modern materials to increase strength and reduce weight, is accurate, very powerful and the quality is excellent.  

WHY AIRGUNS FOR SURVIVAL
There are a couple factors here.  Airguns are a little more socially acceptable if you need to take care of rodents and pests as garbage starts to accumulate during infrastructure break downs. They are also significantly quieter and less messy compared to capping a 3lb rat with you AR15 or even .22LR.. less noise equals less social headaches. By law as long as suppressors are integrated and permanently attached to an airgun they are legal, so a few manufacturers have added suppressors to airguns such as the Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper .22 Caliber Air Rifle I am reviewing here. Powerful airguns also provide you a hunting resource for small edible critters all while conserving your live ammo.  For around $75 you can pick up 5,000 quality pellets which would last a very long time in a survival situation and greatly extend your ammo supply.
FIT, FEEL
Gamo has as long history of innovation as a premium airgun manufacturer and this solidly built gun is no exception. The Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper .22 Caliber Air Rifle has a nearly complete synthetic exposed exterior with the exception of the steel receiver. In this type of airgun which will be beat up, scratched, and most likely eventually painted the tactical type textured black finish is perfect. Look for a future article where I make some tweaks to this rifle including a camo paint job. Obviously the internals are steel, however for survival purposes, Gamo’s use of a lot of plastics including the polymer jacketed barrel reduces overall weight to 7.15lbs which is several pounds lighter than comparably powered rifle.  This makes lugging the air rifle along with a primary weapon less challenging.  

As is typical with most barrel break high power airguns, the Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper has a longer length at 43” which is long but manageable due to the very light weight of the gun.  Part of this additional length is the 18” barrel and integrated sound suppressor. My fit and function problems centered around the scope. It performed perfectly until about 50 rounds and started stringing shots further and further to the right with each shot.  Removing the scope and shooting a 20 shot string with the fiber optic sights delivered a great group and assured the problem was scope related. I eventually diagnosed that every time I shot, the windage knobs on the scope were turning 2-3 clicks right under recoil.  This is obviously an odd situation and is why companies offer warranties. After talking with Gamo, the scope went back and I had a replacement scope in my hands in less than a week under their one year warranty.  Duct taping the windage allowed me to complete the initial testing with the scope and after the new scope was mounted I revalidated my results. This time after hundreds of rounds I have had no issues with the new scope.
FEATURES
The Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper .22 Caliber air rifle integrates a number of very nice features.  Gamo lists the Silent Stalker at 975 Feet per second with PBA Platinium ammo (Gamo’s light weight alloy pellets).  With lead pellets that number will be less but still in a very powerful 800 f/s range which is a little quicker than .22LR rimfire CB ammo with about as much power.  The air rifle comes with 50 of the PBA Paltinum pellets with the airgun, however those go quick and you will definitely want to pick up a couple extra pellets tins before leaving the store.
The Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper .22 Caliber air rifle works in the same mechanical manner as a spring pistol air rifle but uses Inert Gas Technology (IGT) which compresses a gas piston instead of a spring.  This provides a number advantages.  First it is significantly quieter because there is no “twang” as the spring is released and when paired with the integrated suppressor delivers one of the quietest airguns I have shot.  IGT also provides more power, less weight, consistent 32lb cocking effort, has a longer life than a spring system, and higher accuracy due to less vibration and more consistent shot to shot power. Unlike springs systems, IGT is a memory-less power plant which can be left compressed/cocked nearly indefinitely without loss of power. Another benefit is that the IGT powered Silent Stalker Whisper is not affected by the cold, so your power and zeroing will remain the same regardless of summer or fall weather. 
The barrel mounted fully adjustable fiber optic sights are excellent and very easy to see in low light situations.  The front sight is also hooded to provide protection from bumps and hits.  As most airgun shooting is done under the 25 yard range, many may find the sights a better and lighter weight option than using the scope.
As noted earlier, I had a defective 3-9 powered scope, however the optics were clear considering the overall price of the gun and only started to distort slightly at the 9X power range.  The Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper .22 Caliber air rifle’s adjustable SAT (Smooth Action Trigger) 3.74lb two stage trigger is excellent and better than many real rifles I have.  Although I am used to thumbing my AR safety or fingering a guard mounted button safety, the manual activated Gamo trigger safety is right in front of the trigger and is quick and easy to use.
Gamo refers to their integrated suppressor as the ND52 (Noise Dampener 52% reduction) which coincidentally reduces sound levels by as much as 52%.  Suppressors/silencers do not make a gun silent, they make them quieter. Gamo trademarks the Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper air rifle as “The Most Quiet Gun” and I believe that is true.  Although you will not piss off your neighbors, they will still know you are shooting something or at least think you really have a fetish for electric staple guns.  It makes for very comfortable indoor practice shooting. The air rifle is available in .177 and .22 caliber versions, however the .22 caliber version will be quieter because regardless of pellet choice it will always shot sub-sonic. Once a bullet passes the 1200 f/s mark the bullet becomes supersonic (faster than the speed of sound).  Once this happens you get a supersonic crack even if there is no other sounds made by the gun and typically this supersonic crack is the most audible report with pellet guns.  Bottom line is the .22 version will be both quieter and more powerful for back yard shooting, hunting and survival purposes. 
FUNCTION
Setup.  Most people will yank the gun from the box screw on the scope and start shooting, however I would suggest applying removable LockTite on the screws for the scope rings, scope mount, and rear fiber optic sight elevation adjustment.  Airguns actually have some severe recoil due to the two way recoil effect of piston type airguns and can really loosen things up without a little LockTite.

The function is simple, click the safety on, grab the end of the barrel and pull down to cock the gun, drop in a pellet and close the barrel back up.  Aim at your target, release the safety and fire, repeat until you are out of pellets... couldn’t be simpler. At this point I have shot about 1000 pellets and found the gun simple, easy, and effective to use.

ACCURACY
On all my guns I usually start with a 2” low zero at 10 yards.  This gets me on the paper fast and greatly reduces headaches of zeroing at the 25, 50, and 100 yard marks.  For this airgun I ended up zero’ed at 25 yards which should give me a 1” low at 10 yards, zero’ed at 25 yards, and about 1” low at 75 yards depending on pellets.  I will note, you definitely need to pick one pellet and stick with it as the zeroing will change sometimes by 1”-” at 20 yards when switching pellets.

As with all guns, you need to figure out which ammo the gun likes the best and then buy all you can find of that ammo so you don’t have to continually re-zero your rifle.  I picked up a .22 caliber Gamo combo pack tins of the TS-22, Magnum, Hunter, and Master Point pellets and along with the 50 PBA Platinum pellets included with the rifle I had a good cross section for testing.  Generally I have found that match pellets produce the tightest groups followed by domed pellets and then the pointed pellets.  Here the Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper air rifle surprised me with a .75” 25-yard 10-shot group with the modified point/dome TS-22 long distance pellet. The Hunter pellets delivered 1” average groups and the pointed pellets provided 1”-1.25” average groups.   I did not have any flat match pellets on hand, however I hope those would provide even tighter groups.
FINAL THOUGHTS
As a powerful airgun, I give the Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper air rifle high marks. Sure I had an issue with the scope, but you can't hold that against a manufacturer as long as they replace it without issue - defects happen. Gamo sent out a replacement quickly so I guess I have tested their warranty as well.  The accuracy is very good and the gun delivers very good power.  It also checks all the boxes from a power, weight, accuracy, and sound perspective to make it a great survival air rifle and the IGT (Inert Gas Technology) just makes it more durable, powerful, and more accurate than spring piston driven guns.  After packing up the scope for replacement, I have had quite a bit of time to test the fiber optic sights and I am impressed and actually like it a little better because the weight drop to 5.45lbs without the scope.  Obviously accuracy is better with the scope, however I can still keep all my shots in the 1”-1.5” range with the right pellets.  Gamo has a couple models of this air rifle but this is the only one at this point witht the IGT technology. If you are looking for a great pellet gun, I can highly recommend the Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper air rifle.  It is truly “The Most Quiet Gun”

SPECS
MECHANISM
-Velocity: 975 feet per second (fps) with PBA Platinum.
-Single Shot
-Break Barrel: Single Cocking System
-Automatic Cocking Safety system
-Barrel: Fluted Polymer Jacketed Steel with ND52 technology
-Cocking Effort: 32 lbs
-Trigger: Second Stage adjustable
-Manual Safety

STOCK
-Stock: Tough All Weather molded Synthetic
-Butt Plate: Ventilated rubber pad for recoil absorption
-Cheekpiece: Thin cheekpad molded on each side for both Right hand and Left hand shooters
-Checkering: Non-Slip texture design on grip and forearm

OPTICS/SIGHTS
-Scope Ramp: Raised Rail
-Scope: 3-9x40 air rifle scope with rings.
- Fiber Optic Adjustable Front & Rear sights

GENERAL
-Weight: 7.15 lbs
-Length: 43’’
-Ammunition: Any .22 Pellet
-Caliber: .22
-Trigger Pull: 3.74 lbs
-Barrel Length: 18 in
 

SOURCES
Gamo USA
http://www.gamousa.com
http://www.gamousa.com/product.aspx?product=Silent%20Stalker%20Whisper%20.22%20Cal&productID=406

2 comments:

Christopher R. Britt said...

It's amazing air rifle. I have a gamo silent cat air rifle. you can hunt any small animal by this air rifle. It has no sound when it is fire. I think this is the most perfect air rifle of your hunt journey. So I think you should choose best air rifle for hunting.

Linda Maria said...

The Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper 22 is the best $250 air gun ever made. Anyone who says this rifle won!t shoot needs some help on rifle shooting period. The SAT trigger is not a custom G4 but is a pretty darn good trigger for a good shooter. Long but very light pull. If you don't locative the mounts n rings around the scope it will sooner or later shoot some bad groups exactly like your deer rifle. Loctite it and oh boy will it shoot! The chronically maligned 3x9x40 scope works fine if you know how to mount and adjust a scope properly. I was going to put an expensive deer scope on it but decided to try out the Gamo Scope for fun. Well, it has been FUN--works perfectly on my rifle and maintains POI even through even when changing from 3x to 9x. The problem is lack of loctite, not the scope. I have settled on two pellets for all my hunting---H&N FTTS consistently shoot big one hole groups at 30 yards. The Predator Polymags do the same. My rifle did NOT need a 500 pellet break in to shoot well? I think this poor shooting is caused by shooter error in not lightly holding rifle so barrel consistency will be the same from shot to shot. There are quite a few pellets that shoot large, poor groups. The ones pointed out here WORK!!! Lastly, you MUST LOCTITE guard screw at trigger guard and the two forearm screws. You should do this on every rifle. This rifle will shoot better than most shooters who hold the gun way to tight causing flyers and misses on game. If you set the rifle up right and use the right ammo you will not miss a squirrel out to 35 yards. Rich