I began looking into purchasing 1,000 fps air rifles after muskrats dug a huge pit in my front yard and a few other places. As I'm inside the city limits, there is a "no shooting" ordinance (air and BB included), except during duck season, where land owners may hunt ducks as long as they're shooting out over the water, and not causing other problems other than noise.
Around my house, the above ordinance is very loosely adhered to, as there's water on two sides, and plenty of room to shoot air guns. I always control the starling and grackle populations with pump up airguns, but the birds do relate the pumping up and discharge to danger rather quickly with those guns. I had tried an improvised silencer, which did reduce the pop of the discharge, and did cut down the spooking of the birds. However, the long pump up, still spooked them. I also wanted more power, as many times 700 fps guns would be defeated by flight feathers at 25 yards.
As I was shopping for a new air rifle, I ran across the Gamo Whisper. A silenced 1,000-1,200 fps .177 cal single pump air rifle! This is exactly what I had wanted! The $325 price tag didn't scare me, as I was already looking to spend $300-500. They have since come down in price, as newer rifles have come out. The package came with a 3-9 power 1" air rifle scope and 50 PBA pellets.
Out of the box, I was a little disappointed at the sharp sprue lines on the stock and other plastic components. I received a nice little slice from one of them. I then scraped them down with a razor blade. The fixed iron sights are raybar type beads, and work nice even in low light. And there is good adjustability in the rear sight block. I'm not too happy with the integral suppressor, as I'd like to be able to remove it for cleaning purposes. I learned that this was a trade off with the ATF. The ATF mandated that it must be fixed so that it couldn't be removed and put on a firearm. The scope for this rifle is excellent, but the mounts can strip easily, so be careful when torquing the screws. At low power, the scope will pick up the front sight hood and obscure things a little bit.
I was very surprised at the amount of recoil with this gun! It took a while to get used to an air rifle that kicks harder than my Ruger 10/22. Once I got the scope sighted in, I was snapping twigs at 25-50 yards with no problem. The main noise is from the spring, and is quite loud, but is similar to a cheap BB gun. No loud report is heard from the muzzle. I put out a 2x4 and found penetration of the Crossman pointed lead pellets to be 3/4ths of the way through. That is the equivalent to what I had seen CCI .22 CB shorts do!
While the lead pellets are supposed to be sub-sonic at 1,000 fps, they do break the sound barrier every so often due to dieseling of lubricants in the gun. You can blow smoke out of the barrel after every shot. At night you will see a muzzle flash every so often with a loud sonic crack that echoes off the neighbor's houses. With lead pellets doing this, I'd hate to hear what the PBA pellets can do at 1200+ fps!
I have noticed that with this air rifle storage position seems to have an effect on zero. If I lay the gun on it's side, zero will move to the side that was down. I think this is a problem with the plastic barrel warping over the steel sleeve. I now always store the gun in the same position and see no further zero changes.
For taking birds in the yard, they don't know what hits them! I shoot from a bedroom window which keeps the spring noise to a minimum, and only the barrel protrudes out the window. I'll shoot 5-6 birds before the flock moves on. Compare that to a normal air rifle in which the flock bolts on the first shot.
On muskrats, more power would be nice, but this gun has dropped them at 50+ yards. Muskrats are hard targets in the water, as you have a very reduced target that is in constant motion. The head is 1/2-3/4" above the water, in motion, and then you have waves adding more motion. The water and fur together seem to make excellent body armor for the muskrat, and only an exact head shot will kill them. My favorite method is to wait for low twilight to complete darkness, as they can't see well. The streetlight bouncing off low clouds or moonlight will work with the scope set to mid power. You can still see the muskrat in the water enough to make a kill shot. Beware: After you "brain" a muskrat, it will sit still for a few seconds before all hell breaks loose!!! They will then toss and turn violently for a good minute or more before dying. Let them lay till they're good and dead! (Don't stick your hand in there and get bit!)
One thing I was surprised at was the lack of ricochet when shooting at the water. Only very low angles seem to do it.
After every 100 rounds it is a good idea to clean the bore. These will lead up the same as a rifle or shotgun bore will. Patches will come out dark from all the carbon from dieseling, and also from the lead pellets. Cleaning kits are available from Hoppe's for air rifles. With the silencer, again I wish that it was removable for cleaning as patches can come off the jag into the silencer. They can be removed by dry firing a few times in which it will work it's way out. Gamo does have felt pellets for cleaning.
Overall, I like this gun. It's quiet, and does the job. I would like to see a .22 cal version at the same velocity, but so far, nothing yet. I am now stocking a total of 5 of these, and plenty of pellets and cleaning gear for them. - Captain Nemo