Have you noticed many outdoor club shooting ranges aren’t getting as many shooters as they use to?
From late spring into summer is usually a busy time for plinkers to get out and punch a few holes with their .22-caliber guns in a variety of paper targets or one of those new roll-around-the-ground targets like the four-inch Gun Ball.
Unfortunately, with the “gun scare” legislation recently passed, there’s been a run on all the outlets that sell ammunition, and one of the most sought-after of all calibers has been the .22. Visit any gun shop or big discount store licensed to sell ammunition, and you’ll be lucky to find one box of .22s.
Even dealers are having a tough time getting it from their distributors, and when they do, it’s gone the same day. One ammunition outlet in Albany sets up a rope line the day the ammunition is delivered, and they limit the buyers to a box or two.
I love to plink, especially in the warmer months, just to keep a shooter’s eye and also because I really enjoy it. I ran out of .22 ammunition several months ago and am not going to drive all over the area to find a few boxes of .22s. I did find a lot of .22 ammo for sale on the internet gun auction sites, but I don’t want to pay 10 cents a shot.
So what can we do?
I enjoy plinking, and have found an economical way to do it with a 22. In fact, I ordered a new scoped .22 rifle and 500 rounds of ammunzition, all for less than $250, and both the gun and the ammo were delivered right to my front door, all without a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
I’m sure I’ve got you thinking, “What about the New York Safe Act and the required federal NICS requirements?”
I didn’t need either, because I’m going to continue my plinking this summer with a .22-caliber air rifle. I actually chose my air rifle at this year’s Shot Show when I attended a writer’s media presentation by Gamo. It was there I met Michael Waddell and Travis “T Bone” Turner of the “Bone Collectors” TV series.
They were there promoting the Gamo Bone Collector air rifles. I only had to shoulder it once and I knew I had to have one. I spoke briefly with both Michael and T Bone about their helping with the design of this rifle, and they both agreed it was a great small-game rifle and a lot of fun to shoot.
If you’ve watched their show, I’m sure you’ve seen their commercials and their hunts with the Bone Collector.
The Bone Collector model I’m using is the .22-caliber, Bull Whisper single-shot IGT (Inert gas technology), single-cocking system. This system was developed for brake-barrel air rifles. The technology allows shooting pellet ammunition by using a pneumatic gas cylinder instead of conventional spring technology.
IGT enables shooting with a lower noise level and more precision shooting compared to normal spring break-barrel air rifles. Gamo has also incorporated the IGT in its Silent Stalker and Silent Stalker Whisper guns.
The barrel is 19.2 inches with a single-break cocking system that requires just 32 pounds of force. It’s built on a special hunter forest green composite stock with dark gray rubber-grip inserts. These special grips are comfortable and allow the shooter a much more solid grip than standard wood stocks, and add to its accuracy. The “Bone Collector” logo is placed prominently on the stock.
The power plant features the advanced Gamo G1000 spring piston which will drive Gamo’s Platinum Ballistic Alloy (PBA) .22-caliber round at a velocity of 950 feet per second. The Bone Collector .177 model has a velocity of 1,250 feet per second with the PBA ammo.
Unlike other noisy air guns, this one features a state-of-the-art Gamo ND52 noise-dampening system that reduces muzzle noise up to 52 percent. The special
precision-rifled steel barrel has a composite jacket to reduce weight and increase accuracy. It only weights 5.28 pounds.
Other features include a Shock Wave Absorber recoil pad that absorbs 74 percent of the recoil — a great feature for younger shooters. I think it’s a great starter gun for young hunters.
In addition, the adjustable trigger pull is a crisp and safe 3.74 pounds. Also included in the package is a Gamo 3-9x40mm fully adjustable (windage and elevation) scope with fully coated lens, 30/30 reticle and one-year warranty.
AT THE RANGE
The first thing I noticed when I shouldered the Bone Collector was how comfortable the inserts were and the solid hold I could get on the rifle. And when I squeezed off the first shot, I was quite satisfied with the factory setting of the two-stage adjustable trigger. I also like the warning signal (a soft click) just before the shot when I slowly squeezed the trigger. Both were important features that aided the accuracy of this rifle.
I was shooting with two friends, and we agreed the new Bull Whisper was quieter than we had expected. The new innovation incorporates sound dampers into the gun’s barrel. The compressed air propels the pellet and passes through the Bull Whisper, which keeps part of the air reducing the noise without affecting the velocity of the PBA Platinum pellet. And these pellets retain 100 percent of their weight after expansion.
When I opened the box and removed the scope, I immediately noticed that the rings were already attached, which, when mounted on the barrel, resulted in perfect alignment of the vertical and horizontal reticle, which is also very important for accuracy on any scoped firearm.
All shooting was done from a solid bench-rest position. On my first shot, I was impressed with the two-stage trigger and the remaining overall sighting-in was quite easy. When the Gamo staff said this air rifle and pellets were accurate, they weren’t kidding.
We all shot the gun more times than needed to sight it in, but it was fun, and when I left the range, the last three-shot group could be covered with a dime.
One thing I did not know about Gamo’s accuracy was the importance of their PBA Platinum Pellets. Gamo is the world’s largest manufacturer of air gun pellets.
Their goal is to produce the most accurate air gun ammunition, and they do it by monitoring to the strictest standards to insure consistent shape and highest quality.
Each pellet type is tested through actual firing of random lot samplings. If a lot groups outside of seven-eighths of an inch at 10 or 25 meters, the entire lot is discarded.
PLINKING AND HUNTING
My plans for the Bone Collector for the remainder of the summer will be a once-a-week, air-plinking and helping some farmers with their pigeon problems. Frog legs might also be on my daylight hunting list.
I recently saw a woodchuck on the edge of a field less than 10 yards from a thick hedge road. I have seen Mr. Chuck three times now in that field. So chances are good I’ll make my way into the woods before sunup and wait to see if he comes out for breakfast.
Air guns may be used for hunting small game. Air guns are defined as firearms that use spring or compressed air (not gunpowder) to propel a single projectile that is .17 caliber or larger and produces a muzzle velocity of at least 600 feet per second. Smooth or rifled air guns are allowed.
Air guns may be used to hunt squirrels, rabbits, ruffed grouse and furbearers that may be hunted (racoons and coyotes) and
unprotected species. They cannot be used to hunt waterfowl, pheasant or turkey. A current small-game hunting license is required.
For more information on the Gamo Bone Collector, go to www.-gamousa.com.