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Phill Price looks at the new version of the incredible Phox
The debate over which is better, ‘proper spring-piston’ guns or pre-charged pneumatics is no closer to being resolved, but a recent entry to the market has swayed many people.
The Gamo Phox shocked the industry at its launch because it offered the ordinary shooter a pre-charged pneumatic rifle with a bolt-action, multi-shot magazine, a scope and mounts, a silencer, a pump to fill it with, and a gun bag to carry the whole lot home for less than £500! Surely, that was an offer too good to be true? Well no, it was quite true and they flew out the factory door as fast as they could be built.
How could it be that you could buy an English-made PCP of that quality with everything you need, other than a tin of pellets, for than little money? For that answer you’ll need to ask the Gamo management team, but actually I don’t care! I just think it’s brilliant that anybody on a budget who wants a PCP can now get into the market at such a low price.
To understand why I think that this is such a big deal, we need to get down to the nuts and bolts of the ‘PCP versus springer’ debate. It goes like this; spring-piston guns are ‘proper’ airguns that you cock with your own muscle strength and they recoil and jump as you pull the trigger; by comparison, a PCP is filled by a compressor and is almost dead as it fires. A springer needs careful and dedicated training to shoot accurately, whereas the PCP is more forgiving of mistakes and the point of shooting is hitting, right?
You need to choose on which side of the argument you stand. Are you a traditionalist or are you an ‘accuracy is all that matters’ type? I’ll confess to being the latter and I’ll say now that I think the Phox is a landmark for our industry. PCPs have changed the airgun shooting world beyond recognition, allowing anybody with modest skills the chance to hit their target more often.
The Phox kit was put together with carefully selected components that work seamlessly as one, so that there’s nothing for the new owner to worry about. Just assemble all the parts, pump up the air reservoir and zero the scope. After that, it’s just fun!
The scope supplied is the universally popular 3-9 x 40 specification that offers good all-round performance. This is attached with a substantial one-piece mount that locks it securely to the action. The Phox’s magazine sits low in the action so there’s no cut-out in the scope rail, so a superior, one-piece mount can be used without compromise.
Speaking of the magazine, it’s a slick and reliable unit that just happens to be exactly the same as the ones found in the current generation BSA rifles, giving us the strongest possible clue to where these fine rifles are made. Loading the mag’s is simple once you have the knack, and once loaded you have 10 shots at the flick of the substantial bolt, making shooting effortless and relaxed. Of course, for hunters it means a quick follow-up shot if you miss or need a coup de gras.
Now in .177
The first generation Phox was available in .22 only and had a silencer permanently moulded to the barrel, but over time, the factory received more and more requests for a .177 version and also questions about a screw-on silencer. With sales being so buoyant they decided to make this, the Phox Silenci model, that answers both requests, and as a dedicated .177 shooter, I’m pleased to see this update. The new silencer is all-metal and looks quite long when, in fact, it’s much the same length as other popular models on the market.
Getting a pump included with the rifle makes you fully independent, able to top up your air reservoir any time, any place, without the need to get a dive tank refilled at a shop. Of course, you’ll be burning a few calories to get there, but hey, we all need the exercise, right?
I checked the power over the chronograph and, just as I’d expect from this company, it was set spot on at 11.2ft.lbs. with my standard test pellet, the Air Arms Field Diablo .177. Happy with that, I set about accuracy testing, even though I was confident in what I’d find. The Phox Silenci uses an English-made, cold-hammer-forged barrel that I know from experience is one of the best you can buy. With the same test pellet I was soon getting ½” groups at 30 yards as easily as you like, which for me is just superb. I’d hunt with this rifle tomorrow.
This is a great package and will welcome many undecided shooters into the wonderful world of PCP rifles. It has everything you need, and all the performance you could hope for, at a price that many shooters can reach. If you were undecided before, then this could be the rifle that changes your mind.
Country of manufacture: England
Model: Gamo Phox Silenci
Type: Pre-charged pneumatic
Action: Bolt-action, magazine-fed
Fill pressure: 232bar (70 shots per charge)
Calibre: .177 & .22
Length: 41” (104cm)
Weight: 7.7lbs (3.5kg)
Spare magazine: £46.20
Kits also includes: 3-9 x 40 scope, one-piece mount, screw-on, silencer, gun slip, pump
Check out our first test of the Gamo Phox Silenci here.
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