We are still looking at budget conscience airguns and in this article we’ll tackle the Gamo Silent Cat. This is a very popular airgun that promises a lot on paper. Let’s take a look and see if what’s on paper translates and delivers practical performance.
Let’s talk aesthetics, features, and function…
The Gamo Silent cat is an upgrade from the entry level Big Cat. The Silent cat has an ambidextrous composite thumbhole stock that’s well suited for folks with smaller hands. I find the grip a bit constricting and uncomfortable after long shooting sessions. The overall package is extremely light weight which sort of makes up for the tight feeling stock.Gamo Silent Cat .177 Air Rifle with 4×32 Scope
The rifle has Gamo’s traditional front and rear open sights that are actually really decent. The fiber optic inserts reasonably fine which allows for better accuracy. Under the front sight is the Whisper NDS system. This helps keep the shot noise to a minimum but only if you are shooting heavier pellets. If you use lightweight alloy pellet that break the sound barrier, the Whisper won’t be effective.Gamo Silent Cat .177 Air Rifle Rear Sight Gamo Silent Cat .177 Air Rifle Front sight with NDS System
The Silent Cat is powered by Gamo’s 1000 FPS spring power-plant. It does a good job sending the 7.0 grain RWS Hobby pellets downrange at an extremely consistent 985.1 FPS. I’d say that’s close enough to the 1000 FPS benchmark to give it a thumbs up in the power department.
The cocking force is light as compared to other guns in this power range, but Gamo’s always done a really good job with the cocking lever geometry. Given the light weight and easy cocking, this is a great airgun for younger shooters and ladies that want to pull the trigger. My wife’s favorite break barrel is a custom Gamo Whisper Special Edition in .22 cal. It’s also light and very easy to cock.
Things that DON’T make the grade…
So far it’s been all good news, but there are a few things that you’ll want to be aware of with the Silent Cat. Gamo includes a 4×32 scope and a set of rings. The scope’s exterior is all plastic. This is the first sign that you’ll be hunting an upgrade pretty quickly. The optics are really fuzzy with noticeable distortion. It will “work” to get you started, but it really limits the rifle’s potential accuracy.Gamo Silent Cat .177 Air Rifle 4×32 Scope
The other item that makes accuracy a bit more difficult than it needs to be, is the stock Gamo Trigger. This is not their upgraded SAS trigger, but the standard plastic trigger. It has a very smooth pull, it’s just very, very long and heavier than I’d like. It requires extra concentration when shooting from the bench if you want to see repeatable accuracy.Gamo Silent Cat .177 Air Rifle Trigger
Lastly, the down side to having a light weight spring rifle is hold sensitivity. The recoil will bounce this little guy around quite a bit. If you lose concentration during the shot and follow-through, you’ll never see kind of consistent accuracy this rifle is able to achieve.
The Good, the Bad, but does it hit the mark?
I have to say that I’m pretty satisfied with the Gamo Silent Cat in the accuracy department. I found that it prefers heavier pellets, specifically the 10.3 grain JSB Heavies. It sends them down range at approximately 800 FPS. This puts the muzzle energy right at 14.64 FPE, perfectly suitable for small game like squirrel and rabbit. Given the shortcomings of the scope and the trigger, I’m very happy to see consistent groups in the sub .5″ CTC range.Gamo Silent Cat – 10 yards w/ JSB 10.3 – .412 CTC Gamo Silent Cat – 10 yards w/ JSB 10.3 – .264 CTC
I think it’s important to also note that I did not need to do anything extra to my test rifle. I haven’t even cleaned the barrel yet. I subscribe to the old adage: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…” So when I’m getting way better than I expected with minimal efforts, I’m likely to just leave things the way they are until the need arises.
I think that I’m going to call an audible on this one and take the time to see what I can get from our Silent Cat at longer ranges. For this I’m going to mount a Hawke Sport HD 3-9×40 AO MD scope and give it whirl. This is a suitable and affordable scope upgrade that should unlock greater accuracy and make the Silent Cat a bit more enjoyable to shoot. So be sure to check back on our blog for part 2!