Bone Collector Bull Whisper Airgun Review

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[ This post was written by Dr. Jim and Mary Clary. ]

When you enter the world of air rifles most folks are overwhelmed by the variety of models within each brand, not to mention the price range. To put things into a bit of perspective, let’s look at some general characteristics. Most air rifles range in weight from 5 lbs to 8.5 lbs, with velocities ranging from 600 – 1450 fps and prices from $65 to $1,600. No, that isn’t a misprint…. a top end Beeman air rifle sells for $1,600 bucks and change. If you are going to be a competitive shooter, there is no question that you would spring for the Beeman. However, for the rest of us who want an air gun for plinking and small game hunting, you don’t need to drain your bank account to get a good one.

Gamo is the largest producer of airguns in the world and have been in the business of making them since the 1950s. They now distribute their products in over fifty countries. With that kind of production and distribution, we decided that even though Jim and I are high-power rifle shooters, that it might be fun to “have a go” at an air rifle.

The Bone Collector Bull Whisper is a gas piston (IGT, Inert Gas Technology) break barrel gun. Thanks to the IGT the air gun has more velocity and does not have the vibration that other spring rifles make. The fluted polymer jacketed steel barrel Bull Whisper reduces the noise characteristic of most air rifles by more than 50%. This is a very positive feature for folks living in communities which have an aversion to loud noises, not to mention the advantage when hunting squirrels. The Bone Collector comes in 0.177 and 0.22 caliber. We decided on the 0.177″ for its higher velocity, upwards of 1,300 fps with PBA Platinum.

After a month of waiting, the rifle finally arrived. The Bone Collector Bull Whisper is a lot better looking than most air rifles and the synthetic stock does not detract from its appearance. In fact, knowing that we were going to take it into some very unfriendly country with lots of rocks and fallen trees, a tough polymer stock will be more advantageous than a wood stock…. no worries about dings, chips or scratches.

Not wanting to wait for a day at the range, we took it out back and set up a target in front of our barn. We quickly determined that like most guns, it does not like all brands or weights of pellets. The Gamo PBA Platinum pellets at 5.2 grains shot very well at 25 yards and easily penetrated the 3/8″ wafer board backing our target. Hence, switched to 1/2″ board to prevent any more holes in the barn. The 6.8 grain Gamo PBA copper-plated pellets were all over the paper. They simply would not group. However, at the slower velocities out of our future son-in-law’s air pistol, they were incredibly accurate. He now has a good supply of these for his plinking.

We picked up a tin of Gamo 7.9 grain Red Fire hunting pellets at our local sporting goods store and began shooting them. Now these were just what the doctor ordered. Not only did they group well at 25 yards, but penetration into the wafer board backstop was excellent. There is no question that these pellets, and the PBA Platinum are more than adequate for squirrel, rabbits and small varmints. We would not recommend these for coyote or wild hogs. I know that some folks have taken wild pigs and coyotes with the Bone Collector Bull Whisper and other air guns; however, just because you can do something, doesn’t mean that you should. A well placed 22 LR will take down an elk, but it is more likely to wound or anger the animal, instead of resulting in a clean kill.

As with all air rifles, the wind is a major factor when it comes to accuracy. Anything above a light wind will adversely affect your accuracy past 10 yards. However, on a calm afternoon, Jim was able to put eight Platinum pellets into the “bull” at 25 yards. He obtained similar results with the Gamo Red Fire pellets. Final conclusion, the Bone Collector Bull Whisper, in the hands of an experienced shooter is a “tack driver”.

25 yard target with Gamo PBA Platinum

Although the SAT, smooth action trigger isn’t target rifle quality, it is more than adequate for a hunting and/or plinking air rifle. Out of the box, it had a 4 lb pull. After turning the adjustment screw it’s maximum, we got the pull down to 3.25 lbs. The two stage trigger is relatively crisp, but could be improved if Gamo were to replace the plastic blade with one made of metal.

SPECIFICATIONS
- Ammunition: Any .177 Pellet
- Caliber: .177
- Length: 44.6
- Barrel Length: 19.2 in
- Trigger Pull: 3.74 lbs
- Cocking Effort: 32 lbs
- Weight: 5.28 lbs

MECHANISM
- Velocity: 1300 feet per second (fps) with PBA Platinum
- Break Barrel: IGT (Inert Gas Technology) Single Cocking System
- Automatic Cocking Safety system
- Manual Trigger Safety
- Barrel: Bull Whisper Noise Dampener. Fluted Polymer Jacketed Rifled Steel
- Trigger: Two stage adjustable SAT (Smooth Action Trigger)

STOCK
- Stock: Durable All-Weather Green Synthetic with Dark Grey Rubber grips
- Twin Cheek Pads for ambidextrous shooting
- Butt Plate: SWA (Shock Wave Absorber) Recoil pad with up to 74% recoil absorption
- Rubber grips on grip and fore end

OPTICS
- Scope: 4×32 GAMO VFLC 4X32 WR Air Rifle Scope
- Gamo Standard Reticle

The Bone Collector Bull Whisper has an MSRP of $289.95, which is a very reasonable price for a quality hunting air rifle. We both recommend this as a fun gun to shoot which is more than adequate for small game. You could spend more or spend less, and still wouldn’t have an air gun as nice as the Bone Collector. We are looking forward to hunting squirrels with it in the fall and any prairie dogs that happen to venture into our back pasture (their holes are hazards for horses).

Related

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Lee

    That pba ammo did better in the rifle than I would of thought for being so light and going so fast. I would recommend to using heavier pellets such as the JSB 10 grain and crosman premiers in 10 grains as well. The eunjin 16 grain pellets would be worth looking into as well. In doing so, you will keep your pellets subsonic which will aid in greater accuracy and less noise while shooting. It is also easier on the mechanics of the gun of such power. Lastly, check out charlie at http://www.charliedatuna.com/ for after market triggers. Besides a scope, they are the best accessory you can upgrade on your air rifle and for under $35, they are reasonable.

    http://www.pyramydair.com/ is the best place to purchase pellets and if you buy 3 you get the 4th one free!

  • mike

    I’m not very knowledgeable about air rifles. Where does the air come from? CO2 canisters? Pump? It’s not clear in this review, and it’s not clear on the manufacturer’s website either.

    • Lee

      Common Airguns have 4 different power plants as they are referred to. Spring piston, pump pneumatic, Precharged pneumatic, and CO2. This gamo is spring powered and has an upgraded gas spring that works just like a gas spring/ram that is found on cars and doors but much more powerful that drives a piston really fast after the trigger is pulled that pushed air to the pellets that drives it down the barrel. Traditional spring powered guns use a metal coil spring whereas this air rifle is a gas spring that can be left cocked with worrying about weakening the main spring as you would have to consider when using a traditional spring powered air rifle.
      *Note: Never dry fire a spring powered air rifle.

    • Bagworm1

      If this is the kind of action I think it is, the power comes from a piston that compresses the air in the chamber to a point where the pellet is forced out by the high pressure of the air behind it. The air is from the atmosphere – not from a tank of any kind.

      • Lee

        That is correct. The neat thing about spring powered air guns is that everything is self contained. Just the rifle and ammo is all you need. All you have to do is break the rifle open much like a shotgun until the barrel cocks the spring in the locked position, load a pellet, close the barrel, aim and fire.

    • Komrad

      A canister of gas (nitrogen if I remember correctly) is compressed and acts as the spring pushing a piston that pushes air from the atmosphere against the base of the pellet, propelling it forwards.

    • Zane

      The compressed air for this rifle is generated by a gas piston when the barrel is “opened” at the breech, hence being called a ‘break barrel’ rifle.

  • Leonard

    Since air rifles rarely appear on TFB, I have a side question regarding their popularity and use in the US: How many people in the US shoot olympic disciplines such as 10m air rifle or 10m air pistol? I guess with large calibre firearms more prevalent in the US than in any other western countries, air guns probably occupy a niché in sports shooting?

    Would be interesting for comparison, as here in Germany it is the other way around, with millions of shooter shooting with air rifles and pistols weekly, but anything above .22 lr being rather rare.

    • fred johnson

      That’s a good question and one I truly don’t know the answer to. I can say that all the adult airgun shooters that I’ve seen here in the USA only hunt small animals (mostly pests), do casual target shooting, and shoot at plinking targets.

      There is one airgun club that I know of in my county here in Southeast Texas. It is a private club and from what I remember they do some of the Olympic shooting as well as other types.

      However, the firearms ranges around this county outnumber that airgun club at least 15 to 1.

      • http://crosman.com Chip @ Crosman

        CMP and JROTC competitions are quite common. National Match Air Rifle is gaining popularity and with the introduction of our MAR177 upper for your AR, the price point to enter suddenly got less expensive.

        Airguns are no longer just for tin cans and paper targets – today’s adult air rifles are serious business. Benjamin’s .25 caliber PCP rifle has been known to knock down hogs. Then there are the big bores. Benjamin has a .357 that can knock down coyotes at 75 yards and hogs at 50.

        http://crosman.com/hunting

  • Steff Davies

    Interesting that Gamo are doing gas piston now. I know Weihrauch had to license that from Theoben for the HW90. Wonder if Gamo have done the same or if the patent has expired. I have a Theoben Evolution which, while I don’t get to shoot it these days, is a very nice rifle (albeit we’re limited to 12ft/lbs in the UK).

  • fred johnson

    I sure wish I could shoot a break barrel airgun as accurately as shown in the review. I can only achieve that level of accuracy with CO2 or pump up air guns.

    • Komrad

      I remember reading something about it in Shotgun News. You have to use a special stance/hold so that the gun can recoil and vibrate freely. Standard hold/stances for non-spring powered guns are detrimental to accuracy.

      • fred johnson

        I’ve read that too and I don’t doubt it to be true.

        I seem to be very inconsistent in my holds for guns like this.

        • Dave T

          consistency of hold and pellet selection are key to spring gun accuracy.
          I repair airguns and have shot, repaired and tuned dozens of different designs and models

          • AirgunVic

            Actually, consistency of hold is necessary for any kind of shooting. Spring-piston rifles just happen to be more hold-sensitive. Most need to be held loosely, and you MUST follow-through.

    • http://crosman.com Chip @ Crosman

      The artillery hold dictates that you keep your palm flat and let the gun do its thing. Gripping the forestock tightly will have you fighting the vibration and thus being less accurate.

  • DrewN

    $1600? Psshaw. A Feinwerkbau will run you $2700 and I’m sure you can spend well more than that. Anyone who loves accurate rifles owes it to themselves to shoot a match grade air rifle at least once, they really are unbelievable shooters.

    • Leonard

      Agree with that. I bought a used (built in 1997) Feinwerkbau air rifle in 2004 for 700€, and it wasn’t even a bad price (if you consider inflation and exchange rates, that would probably be well over $1000 today). Anschütz and Walther also make some incredibly accurate air rifles. Shooting them is amazing, though shooting really good with them is also quite difficult (after years of training I still only rarely manage to get more than 85 points out of 100 in 10 shots)

  • Rangefinder

    Crossman is marketing an .177 PCP that replaces an AR/M4 upper. Not cheap!

    • http://crosman.com Chip @ Crosman

      The MAR177 upper is nearly $1400 cheaper than the only other opton for precision match rifle competition. For $650 you get an upper that allows you to use the trigger you’re accustomed to. Not bad for being able to practice in bad weather or in your basement!

      http://www.crosman.com/airguns/rifles/pcp/MAR177

  • http://www.cheapbbguns.co.uk/ Nathaniel

    That’s one of the Cheap BB Guns iv’e seen in the similar models and it looks so classy and stylish that i’d love to flaunt it to the world. The specifications were also really helpful. thanks a lot.

  • Sam

    Which air rifle would be best?
    The Original Bone Collector or the Bone Collector Bull Whisper
    The Bull Whisper has a gas piston while the other has a spring.

  • jess

    Can anybody tell me the grouoing size size of this test??

  • ReBeL

    i can’t get this thing to shoot straight at all! what am i doing wrong??!!

    • Denny

      That’s my problem too! I have several firearms ,both rifles and pistols and this Damn pellet gun won’t shoot true for nothing, not even close!!! Ahhhh

      • Gabe

        My advice to you both is to get a wide range of pellets and to use the heaviest you can find. If you regularly use the light PBA pellets to achieve maximum FPS you probably wont get good results. Airguns operate differently than firearms, that standard pellet design is not intended for supersonic flight. Heavier pellets will slow your FPS down but increase accuracy but do try multiple brands as they will all shoot differently out of different guns.