The Gamo Big Cat .22 Caliber air rifle is one of the best guns you can get for the price. Please note the last three words, because they will play a big part in this review. I wouldn’t say that it’s a terrible rifle by any stretch of the imagination, but you have to understand that this is a starter gun, something that will get you into the sport, and not something that you will be shooting for years.
There is a very clear distinction between what you will initially feel about this gun and what you will come to feel about it. When you first open the package for the Big Cat, it’ll certainly feel really nice in your hand. This is not a toy, and it doesn’t feel like one either.
Mounting the scope is actually pretty easy and you should have no problems with the tools that come with it. The scope itself isn’t the greatest thing that you’ll use, but it’s decent quality and works fairly well. However, this is where the problems start to come in.
When you first take this to shoot, you’ll be anywhere from slightly to wildly inaccurate. It takes roughly 100 shots for the gun to be able to zero, and on some of them the scope doesn’t seem to be able to hold zero very well.
Once it does zero, you’ll get some excellent accuracy, and that’s roughly the time that you’ll notice the dieseling from the factory lube wearing off, but it’s a bit disappointing to have to run through 100 rounds just to be able to get a decent shot off.
This is where this gun is at its best, when you’ve gotten past though first few shots and you’re just using it. Once you do, you’ll notice that it actually comes with quite a bit of power behind it and surprisingly little sound for a .22.
There are really no problems with hunting small game like squirrels and rabbits, and you should be able to get a clean kill from a decent distance without any problems using this gun. However, where it really excels is for pest control, since its near accuracy is actually excellent through the life of it.
After a While
The close accuracy stays pretty consistent, but you’ll notice that after a while, the screws will start to come loose, you’ll begin to lose accuracy over about 20 yards, and if the gun doesn’t fall apart on you, you may want to break it against a wall. Many of them have more problems maintaining zero at this point, so distance shooting just becomes impossible, and keeping it from shaking itself to pieces after a few shots will just become a chore.
The Gamo Big Cat .22 Caliber Air Rifle is pretty solid for a while. It has some great power behind it and good accuracy which it maintains at close ranges. You can also pick it up at a reasonable price.
The Big Cat .22 may be powerful, but it isn’t built to handle that power for long, and will eventually start to shake itself apart. The scope isn’t bad, but you will eventually have trouble maintaining zero and will have problems finding it for the first 100 shots or so.
The Bottom Line
This is not a competition gun. It is not a gun that you want on a long hunting trip. It is a reasonably inexpensive gun to invest in if you want to try out shooting with an air rifle. Most often when I read another review of these, I see that people who really like it haven’t used it much, and many end up disappointed when it doesn’t keep working at the initial level.
That doesn’t make it a bad gun, but you really have to manage your expectations. This is one of the best guns to start with until you’re ready for a bigger investment, then to just keep around the house for shooting gophers. Once this one starts to go, get a Crosman Nitro Venom or similar to replace it.