Everybody likes to pull a trigger and hear a bang, the bigger the bang the better. There is something gratifying about the report of a large caliber rifle and the smell of gunpowder. In reality, for most survival situations a traditional rifle is technically overkill. In all but self-defense between another human or dangerous animal and hunting large game a powder driven rifle delivers far more force than is necessary to achieve your objective. When considering what goes into preparing for a prolonged survival situation with a powder fed rifle there is an alternative that is very attractive on several fronts. That alternative is the air rifle, in this case, the Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper IGT.
While the Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper is the air rifle I am reviewing, let’s take a moment to go over some of the benefits of owning an air rifle as a prepper. With an air rifle you need not worry about reloading or storing expensive ammo. Bulk air rifle pellets, such as the ones fired by the Silent Stalker are so inexpensive nearly everyone can stock up a lifetime supply. As I write this you can get 1250 pellets for around $25. Storing enough ammo for a grid down situation will not break the bank when compared to even .22lr. With all of that ammo one can afford to practice and become a deadly shot.
Second, everyone dreams of bringing down big game, one shot; lots of meat, but consider that the air rifle can put plenty of food on the table. In reality, Squirrels, Grouse, Rabbits, Turkey, Possum, and pheasant and many more small animals become fair game for anyone deftly wielding an air rifle. There is plenty of punch with this air rifle to put food on your table.
Loose bolts, useless scopes
Let us talk about the Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper itself. In the end it was a really good air rifle, so read on, but not before I had to spend time tweaking it. Out of the box many of the bolts were loose and required tightening. It actually affected the accuracy of the weapon. The bolts that secured the stock were loose and gave the barrel side to side play. While not a huge deal, it was easily corrected and once corrected the accuracy was much improved.
The scope that came with the gun was also a throw away. No amount of tweaking could put the crosshairs on where the gun was actually shooting. I ended up replacing it with a Leapers UTG 3-9×40 AO Rifle Scope. It was when the bolts were properly tightened and the scope zeroed in that the rifle began to show it’s true colors.
This gun is NOT a toy. A surprising amount of power is on tap at the squeeze of the trigger. Using the GAMO’s premier pellets it can easily blow a hole right through a substantial amount of wood. I was shooting at a piece of pallet wood and without fail the pellets passed completely through, every time. In fact, quite a few times the pellets traveled right through the pallet and securely lodged themselves in a wooden chair that was securing my target. While intended targets of this rifle might be small game it certainly has the power with a properly placed shot to bring down larger game in a survival situation in a last resort. The same goes for self-defense, I would not want to be on the receiving end of this air rifle.
Once properly sighted in with the Leaper’s Scope the Silent Whisper proved to be very accurate. Using the Artillery Hold from about 25 yards I was able to toss most pellets through a 2” circle with all of them landing within the second circle that measures 4”. While not a sub-MOA sniper rifle, the accuracy of the Silent Whisper is good enough to confidently shoot within its effective range.
The Silent Stalker employs a feature that is newer to the air rifle, namely the Inert Gas Technology piston. Instead of relying on a spring this rifle calls upon a gas piston for its power. There are a few significant advantages of this system. First, you can leave it cocked without compromising spring integrity. Leaving a spring powered rifle can compromise the power of the gun over time. With the IGT system you don’t have to worry about that. The gun also fires well in all temperatures. A springer has grease and oils on the spring and in cold weather the lube will thicken causing the gun to lose power. This is not the case with IGT. It smoothly fires in all conditions.
Silence..most of the time
Well, the gun is called the Silent Stalker Whisper. When using regular pellets this is the case. Being quiet when firing regular bulk pellets tells me one thing, they are subsonic. There are many survival situations where a silent weapon is beneficial, namely you can use the weapon without alerting an adversary as to your position. The premier pellets are a different story. Travelling at up to 1300 fps means they are supersonic and are accompanied by a mini sonic boom. While the extreme speed of these pellets can increase accuracy and also adds to the stopping power the report is something to consider. You will not be practicing with premier pellets in a suburban back yard without attracting some major attention, think “almost .22”.
The Silent Stalker also includes a few added bonuses not found on some air rifles:
- Ambidextrous thumbhole stock with dual raised cheek pieces
- Fiber Optic front and rear sights (rear fully adjustable)
- ND52 Noise reduction, reduces noise by 52%
- 2 Stage adjustable smooth action trigger
In a prolonged grid down situation you have to consider the reliability of any tool. Machines with moving parts wear out and an air rifle is no exception. One broken part and your rifle becomes a club. I might suggest if you are considering a rifle to also purchase some of the more common spare parts, like O-rings. Gamo offers these parts on their site. A few extra spare O-rings can vastly extend the life of your air rifle.
An air rifle is a must on any prepper’s list. In lots of cases it may be all you can afford when stocking up on a lifetime of ammo is considered. Once the aforementioned tweaks are made to this rifle it is a competent machine. If I was making a decision on an air rifle the Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper would be at the top of the list.