Gamo Bull Whisper Bone Collector Air Rifle
Derrek Sigler 01.24.14
Like so many of you, my first air rifle was a Daisy Red Rider BB gun. No, I didn’t shoot my eye out, but I did plink away at pop cans and other assorted targets. As I got older, I bought a few other air rifles, but eventually graduated to rifles that spit bullets a lot faster than those lead pellets. A guy can only pump the air rifle so many times, right?
While in college, I took a job at a sporting goods retailer as the “gun counter guy,” and one day this new thing came in. It was an air rifle from some company called Gamo. It looked pretty cool and was much cheaper than those high-dollar, German-made air rifles we sold. While the parent company has been around since the 1950s, Gamo USA formed in 1995 to import Spanish-made air rifles into the United States.
Jump ahead to present day. Air rifles have reclaimed a legitimate space in the hunting world. With muzzle velocities that are approaching .22 LR territory, uses for small game have brought .177 and .22 caliber Bone air rifles into the conversation. Heck, they are making and using .30 and even .50 caliber air rifles for things like hogs and deer! Putting your eye out doesn’t even begin to cover it!
Here comes the Brotherhood
I got my hands on the Gamo Bone Collector Bull Whisper .177 air rifle. Gamo claims it can send PBA pellets downrange at 1,300 feet per second. The rifle comes with a scope and the barrel is suppressed, something that has become the norm for the air rifle industry.
The PBA ammo is a big part of Gamo’s success. Much like how alloys revolutionized the waterfowl world with performance advancements over steel shot, PBA ammo is a non-lead alloy that maintains the size and shape of a lead pellet, but with less weight and a solid increase in muzzle velocity. The PBA Platinum pellets I tested claim to have a 30 percent increase in velocity over lead pellets.
The rifle is a break-barrel, single-shot that uses Gamo’s Inert Gas Technology. The cocking weight of the barrel is 32 pounds. The rifle’s overall length is 44.6 inches with a barrel length of 19.2 inches. The fluted polymer-jacketed barrel reduces the noise from the rifle greatly. I have shot other air rifles without Gamo’s suppression technology and the report was surprisingly loud. Air rifles can have a serious crack that reports like a .22 going off. The Bull Whisper’s is much lower, making it a good choice for those of us with neighbors close by.
As with any rifle, the most important feature is the trigger. I wasn’t expecting much from a hunk of plastic, but I am happy to say that I was wrong. There is a manual trigger safety that easily flicks out of the way to fire. The two-stage adjustable trigger is set with a 3.74-pound pull. The trigger is pretty crisp and has a nice feel to it.
Air rifle recoil
The feel is pretty good, with the stock having rubberized inserts for grip. There is a hefty recoil pad which at first seemed odd, but anyone who shoots air rifles knows it has its place. Air rifles have a unique recoil compared to any other gun—it is actually a bi-directional recoil. The first direction or stage, the recoil back against the shooter’s shoulder, is very negligible. After all, there is force moving against the pellet to make it exit the barrel, just like with any firearm. The second part of the recoil can be substantial. It is caused by the spring-piston’s sudden stop as it finishes its travel and transfers energy from the mass of the piston into the rifle. The felt part of the secondary recoil causes the rifle to jerk forward some.
This recoil can wreak havoc with optics, which is why air rifles should only ever use air-rifle specific scopes. Gamo produces its own line of air rifle scopes and the Bone Collector model comes with a 4×32 scope. It’s a decent optic and works very well for what I plan to use the air rifle for—the smacking of small game at fairly close range and target shooting.
Shooting the Gamo Bone Collector Bull Whisper .177 air rifle is just plain-old fun. It’s kind of like back in the day shooting my old Daisy. It is very accurate with the PBA Platinum pellets I had. In my hands it produced several five-shot groups at 25 yards that made a hole you could completely cover with a nickel. I would note that this testing was no done in practically no wind, however—PBA pellets are so light that any wind after 10 to 12 yards will lead to some dramatically different results. At 35 yards, the gap opens up some on the point of impact, but is still pretty good. I made some great shots out to 50-plus yards, but repeating them was difficult.
Regular lead pellets worked okay, too, but the velocity goes down some and that affects your point of aim at the longer distances.
At a weight of only 5.28 pounds, the rifle is light enough to carry all day hunting and with the great variety different pellet types available, it’s a fun alternative to rimfire rifles for small game.
If you’re looking for an accurate, lightweight, affordable (it lists in the $220 to $280 range), and fun alternative for your plinking and small game hunting needs, take a look at what Gamo is offering. They offer more options than any other air rifle manufacturer and have been in business for a long, long time. I was shocked at how much fun it is, and I’m sure you will be too. You can put a squirrel’s eye out at 50 yards! Careful, kid!