Living With My .177 Gauntlet & Hand-Pump ... The Retriever Kitty
INTRODUCTION & BACKGROUND:
My first-buy was an Umarex Gauntlet in .177
Where to Find: 30mm Med-Height, Fully-Adj, Dovetail Scope Mounts
For sometime, I've been shooting my Gauntlet on a regular basis.
I must say, this rifle has performed reasonably well.
Powerful and displaying satisfactory accuracy with readily-available pellets.
The only major complaint, the sound-signature is not as quiet as I'd prefer.
The 3,000 psi, 13-cubic inch fill tank is not too-much-a-problem to-live-with using a hand-pump.
I have a Hill Mk4 hand-pump and it-takes between 150-to-200 strokes to fill ... depending how "empty" the tank is.
By the way, I never let the regulator "drop-off" ... the tank psi is always kept above 1.3K psi.
I generally refill the Gauntlet when the indicated tank pressure falls-to 1.5K psi.
About 16-strokes are required-to pressurize the compressed-air feed-line at approximately 1.5K psi.
Then, I count-off 20-to-30 strokes per fill-cycle with a 15-to-20 minute break between sessions.
Take note ... after reaching 2.0K psi, the pumping-effort increases noticeably.
As pressures above 2.5K psi are encountered, stroking the pump-handle becomes real-work.
Requiring ya-pay particular-attention that the pump-handle is pushed all-the-way-down.
And, to-be-certain the handle travels the complete-stroke-distance ... all-the-way UP and all-the-way DOWN ... follow-through.
I would question purchasing an airgun with fill-pressures above 3.0K.
The additional effort involved going beyond 3.0K psi would make hand-pumping very-unlikely for me.
Although, I do have a second/spare Hill/Air Venturi Mk4 pump rated at 300-bar/4500 psi.
I'm thinking, to routinely exceed 3.0K-psi, I'd have-to try-out a 4-stage FX hand-pump ... well, maybe - then.
I allow about 15-to-20 minutes between fill-sessions permitting for cool-off.
This intermission, I think, minimizes condensation from forming inside-the-tank as a result of heated-air cooling-off.
Normally, after every full-clip I refill ... this makes for expending a reasonable amount of effort per-tank-fill easy.
That's just what I like to-do to keep my shooting sessions uncomplicated and relaxed.
Now keep-in-mind, I don't put-many-rounds downrange with my Gauntlet on a daily basis.
I'm not plinking ... pest control is my Gauntlet's dedicated task.
And, shooting sparrows is something I usually leave-to a less-powerful air gun.
Under these circumstances, a hand-pump is not a major disadvantage ... just an inconvenience.
However, if I were to employ my Gauntlet for frequent and extended plinking.
The hand-pump certainly would-have to-be a more-negative-factor I would have-to contend-with.
in fact, I have two Hill-hand-pumps and several rebuild kits on-hand.
Such is my commitment to avoid purchasing an electric-air-pump.
However I must say, I dabbled-with the idea of acquiring a good-quality high-volume air-pump and a couple of air tanks.
Considering Crosman has gotten into-the-fray of home-use PCP air-pumps.
Crosman's well-known good-customer-service and reputation of honoring warrantees would be the determining factor.
Be that as it may, the high-initial-cost of an electric air-pump and the associated complexity are serious impediments to ownership.
This includes the necessary and routine maintenance along-with the it inevitable rebuild requirement.
That being said, during the last couple of weeks, I've noticed the Gauntlet has not been maintaining it charge.
After some troubleshooting (wishing I had an electric-pump and tank), I found the foster-fitting was the culprit.
I disassembled the air charge fitting ... I was surprised by what I found.
There was only a tiny check-ball and a small conical-shaped spring holding the synthetic-sphere in-place against the sealing-seat.
I cleaned the foster-fitting steel-body, the synthetic check-ball, the check-ball seating-area and the retention spring.
After cleaning, I lubed the check-ball, the spring & seating area of the foster-fitting with some silicone-grease used-on my Hill air-pump.
In short order, I installed the foster-fitting and aired-up the rifle to 3K psi.
The majority of the air-leak was corrected ... now, there is only a slight-seepage of air.
I can live-with-this until I find a better foster-fitting replacement.
This has been the full-extent of any problems directly related-to the Gauntlet that I've encountered so-far.
Take note: my Gauntlet is a pre-OEM barrel-band model.
I must take-care not to bump or touch the barrel ... changes the POI for a short duration.
It is a nagging inconvenience ... having-to gingerly take-care ... the barrel makes no-contact with anything.
Today, I experienced the best-shot I've ever performed with my Gauntlet.
While baby-sitting some of our cats outside in the backyard, I spotted a collared-Eurasian-dove on a telephone pole some distance away.
I rushed inside my home to retrieve the nearby Gauntlet and quickly readied the rifle for a shot.
Right-away while composing the shot, I realized this was gonna-be the longest-shot I've ever attempted with this rifle.
Estimating pellet drop was gonna-be a problem ... I wasn't familiar with the trajectory beyond 30-yards.
So, I placed the crosshairs of the scope dead-center on-the-head of the dove.
I figured the projectile POI could only-be lower further downrange.
The Gauntlet is heavy and long ... as such, I had to brace my support-arm aside a patio-trellis with a couple of my fingers.
While the remaining-digits formed a small-cradle for the massive forend to lay-in.
Setting-up for the shot made-me realize, this wasn't gonna be a rock-steady rest - but, it was gonna have to do.
I settled-in to compose the sight-picture ... cross hairs steady-on the head of the dove.
The bird was directly facing-me, presenting a full-frontal shot with the head at the 12-o'clock position.
As I started the shot-cycle ... coordinating all the basic elements of shooting ... breath-control, trigger-control, steady cross hairs ... had all my undivided attention.
In-short-order, the shot went-off ... slightly surprising me - perfect I thought.
Through the scope, I saw the bird tumble backward away from my line-of-sight.
All-the-while, flapping its wings, going no-where ... but, down.
I was surprised at the wing flapping.
Usually, after hearing the center-mass impact-slap of my Gauntlet launched pellet, most birds would-drop like a hacky-sack having lost momentum.
I put the rifle down and pulled my cell-phone camera from my pocket.
Ready to take a photo as soon as I reached the downed bird - had to out run the watchful alley cats.
I looked-for the POI ... to my surprise ... right on the head - inline with the beak.
On closer inspection, the POI was slightly above my POA.
Nevertheless, considering it was as standing-shot with my support-arm lightly-braced ... not an ideal shooting position.
With all this in-mind, I had a strong feeling-of-accomplishment in having made this shot.
I was impressed with the performance of the Gauntlet ... less-so with myself.
After coming-to the realization ... I was the weakest-link in this scenario.
Even more-so impressed, when I determined the shot-distance from my range-card.
My notes indicated over 37-yards ... but less-than 40-yards.
"You may ask yourself" ... what is happening-to the harvested collared-Eurasian-dove.
Well, they're being recycled by the ownerless/homeless neighborhood cats.
Any birds I shoot while defending the bird-feeders are picked-up and taken to a nearby-location adjacent-to some dumpsters.
Some of the cats feed out-of these trash receptacles.
I place the dead-birds next-to the bins for the cats to find and feed-on.
However, some collared Eurasian dove have gotten-wise to my activity.
They perch at a safe standoff-distance ... or, so they think.
The Gauntlet has extended the reach of the Crosman 2100's or Daisy 880's I normally used.
When I shoot-at Eurasian-dove beyond-the-fence-line.
More-often than-not, I find cats that have been waiting ... for their meals to fall-from-the-sky.
If ya look at the photos below, you'll see my view of the fence-line.
There's a hole in the fence the cats traverse through.
If ya look closer, you'll see one-of the cats waiting for its meal to arrive.
Like manna from heaven.
One cat in-particular is always Johnny-on-the-spot when I start shooting collared-Eurasian-dove.
When I drop-a-dove beyond the fence-line.
At the sound of my air rifle discharging and hearing the pellet-slap impact.
This kitty will race-into-action to beat the other felines to the downed bird.
If she's first to her prey, this kitty will find & retrieve the fallen bird.
All-the-while, fending-off the gauntlet (pun-intended) of other cats.
Then, climb over my backyard fence with bird in-tow.
To present me with her prize ... in-exchange for some very-tasty kitty-treats.
That's the deal, this ... for that.
And, she's very fastidious about enforcing the informal arrangement.
Although, She prefers some scrumptious-snacks instead-of eating a dirty-bird.
If I don't keep-up my-side of the bargain ... there's a penalty awaiting me.
When she's hungry-enough or I'm too-slow ... the fowl will become her meal.
There will be an accompanying-mess for me to clean-up.
And, heaven help-us ... both, if the wife sees kitty dining-on dead-bird.
Especially, when said "dead bird" is my handiwork with the Gauntlet.
By-the-way, this IS NOT our cat.
Of her own accord, she's taken-up residence in our backyard.
All-of-this, is enabled by the winged-bounty the Gauntlet provides.
Now that is a great story. Thanks for the pics as well!
Letting the pump cool off really does nothing to prevent condensation in the tank. Bleeding the feed line does help a little to get rid of condensation in the pump, but generally, if atmospheric air goes into a hand pump, it goes into the tank.
These are still my rules for pump filling...really haven't changed from my frist PCP (2003).
1. 50-60 pump stokes.
2. Bleed the pump,disconnect,wander off tor 7-10 min.
3.Reattach, put in another 50-60 stokes.
4. Repeat #1-#3 until full.
WHY?..becasue it lets your pump live for years without a proble and limits the moisture injected into the rifle.
1. The pump never gets hot,so the final stage o-rings don't cook themselves.
2. Pumps have a bit of a moisturte trap inside (often little chambers of glass beads) that can only hold so much moisture.
3. Bleading the pump every 50-60 pumpos blows out that little moisture trap, so it's ready to collect more moisute rather than just pass it along.
Bad news...it takes forever to fill up a large volume...or a smallish volume (like a 13cuin tank...which is only like 215cc's) over a WIDE pressure range (lets say from 1000-3000psi). Probably 5 sessions....so more like an an hour and a quarter.
BUT...we watch TV at night....and there are breaks (either commercial or personal bathroom/snack breaks).
So I learned to get BOTH...credit for family time (watching the TV) and a full fill (pumping during the breaks).
Family time...and a full air tube...double credit.
Can aslo tell how I got my prefernce for small volume PCP's that could be refilled in one session.
"pump-shoot-pump-shoot" had more appeal when hand pumping than "pump-pump-pump-pump...shoot-shoot-shoot-shoot".
Pump filling is NOT for the inpatient....to do it right,where the equipment lasts a long time, takes time.
On the other hand...when have we don't out best work/got the best results when we're in a rush?
What's Not-To-Like about the Gauntlet
Well, the most obvious ... the sheer size/mass of the rifle.
Not an air-rifle for small-framed shooters
As @ribbonstone observed in an earlier thread.
Agree about the size of the Gauntlet, it's bigger than folks expect and never really going to be a handy rifle.
Same has been said of the Marauder.
Don't mind that when just sitting at a bench, often get left home when I'm away from the bench.
The fully-adjustable synthetic-stock is a welcomed feature.
For my purposes, the Gauntlet is adjusted to the shortest Length-of-Pull possible and measures 13-1/2 inches at-that.
However, that's the LOP of a full-size rifle ... from-this-point, the LOP can only be increased.
That makes no-sense to me.
The bolt cocking-on-opening is a feature I don't-like.
This requires a bolt hold-open slot to-be-cut in the receiver to facilitate single-loading.
However when feeding-from-a-magazine, cock-on-open is not an issue.
I cannot consider the moderation system to-be quiet ... certainly-not Marauder quiet.
The discharge noise is not offensive ... but, it could use some improvement to be considered backyard friendly.
The early-model rifles lacked barrel-support ... no barrel-band.
If you're considering buying a used Gauntlet, be sure a barrel-band is included.
All new-production Gauntlets are equipped with an OEM barrel-band.
Although my Gauntlet displays satisfactory accuracy.
The expected accuracy "guarantee" by a well-known Gauntlet-tuner is 2-inches @ 50-yards.
Not exactly confidence inspiring for a .177-caliber rifle.
But, good-enough for a .25-caliber small-game hunter.
Lack-of iron sights.
What's To-Like about the Gauntlet
The receiver is all-metal ... unlike many-of the recent $300-Asian-whizz-PCPs that come-with synthetic receivers.
Moreover, the receiver very-long because the bolt is totally-enclosed during operation.
Accordingly, there are dovetail-grooves cut for the entire length of the receiver.
As such, for optic-mounting ... positioning is very flexible.
The Ninja regulator/tank is a unitized system that is readily-accessible and just as-easy to remove.
This is gonna-make troubleshooting for leaks much simpler.
The adjustable-trigger certainly contributes to accuracy.
My trigger was "stoned" and adjusted by New England Airguns.
And, I haven't touched any-of the adjustments since she came out-of-the-box.
There is an extensive aftermarket-support for Guantlet accessories and modifications.
Not to mention, a network of tuners and customizers available to improve/repair Gauntlet rifles
Like the Gauntlet...get to use buddies ,but not one I actually own.
Before there was a Gauntlet,folks makde HPA conversions to QB's.
I'd like the repeater fuction of the Gauntlet....just not like it enough to dump the two I converted...to pull up stakes and ride backwards, just to start all over again, has limited appeal.
Considering the hours of work ,HPA tank,tuning,,LDC....would have come out pretty close to "even".
Like the Gauntlet...
Before there was a Gauntlet,folks makde HPA conversions to QB's.
....just not like it enough to dump the two I converted...to pull up stakes and ride backwards, just to start all over again, has limited appeal.
Funny you should say that.
'Cause, I like my Gauntlet too ... but, I'm not enamored with this rifle - either.
My Gauntlet is my "get-dirty" air rifle ... unlike my various favored-and-pampered Teutonic pets.
But, the shortcomings of the Gauntlet ARE NOT sufficient-enough to-motivate-me to purchase another $300-Asian-whizz-PCP.
Read: Air Venturi Avenger or Umarex Origin.
At least, not now.
However, about a week-ago while at my dentist's office ... I had some time-on-my-hands in-between procedures.
I took a quick detour to a nearby Academy Sports store.
Lo-and-behold ... there in-the gun department, I spied two Umarex Origins in a display case.
I had "a-thousand-dollars" burning-a-hole in my pocket.
Being, I don't make-it to the big-city of Odessa very often, it-pays to be prepared with cash-in-hand, just in case.
And most importantly ... with CASH ... the wife ain't gonna know.
Well, I didn't buy an Origin ... wrong-caliber and after finding-out the receivers are synthetic - I have my reservations.
Gonna wait-for field-reviews from ordinary shooters ... rather-than, relying-on dealer's gushing reports and glowing videos.
I'm generally NOT the CONSPIRACY THEORIST type.
But me-thinks, I smell some RINGERS among the dealer-samples the Retailers are touting-about and bestowing accolades.
That said, I think I'm gonna-wait ... at least until the next-generation is on-the-market - well, maybe then.
Like I shoulda' waited with the Gauntlet.
WHAT'S IT GONNA TAKE TO MAKE
MY GAUNTLET A KEEPER ?
Well minimally, the Gauntlet needs a barrel band.
And, discharge noise has to-be reduced to make the rifle really backyard friendly.
These aftermarket baffles may drop-noise by 2db.
I'm not sure this will result in a sufficient noise reduction.
Ideally, what would be best-suited to properly reduce noise is a silencer.
Adding a silencer would make the already long-barrel ... even longer - not good.
There is a short-shroud and silencer-combination available that will allow-for keeping the OAL nearly the same.
And, has the potential of being quieter than an OEM Marauder.
However, this comes at-a-cost of nearly 3/4ths-the-value of the rifle.
Bringing the modified Gauntlet uncomfortably-close to the retail-price of an off-the-shelf Marauder.
Then came the Benjamin Fortitude Gen 2.
Had it been available at the time I was considering the Gauntlet ... I probably would have purchased the Fortitude.
Along-with a Lothar Walther barrel-upgrade to make the Fortitude "perfect" in my eyes.
The irony being, without the Gauntlet ... the Fortitude may have never become a reality.
Pump filling base line (not going to be pretty).
Basical level of a reasonably tuned rifle will be 10 foot poounds OUT for every fill pump stroke IN. Can make it considerly better with work, or considerably worsethan that 10:1 ratio.
It's kind of a reverse calculation of 1.2 FPE/cunin effiency.
Big tank....put 200 refill pump strokes (lets say from 2K to 3K).... should get 2000 foot pounds of TOTAL good energy back out.That could be 40 shots at 50 foot pounds...or 80 good shots at 25 foot pounds...or 160 good shots at 12.5 foot pounds...don't matter.
So you pump-pump-pump-pump-pump to get it refilled and then shoot-shoot-shoot-shoot until it needs refilling again.
Little tubevolume. Might put 60 pumps in to get it back up to 3K from 2K. Should give 600 foot pounds of total good energy back out.Could be 11-12 shots at 50 foot pounds to 50 shots at 11-12 foot pounds.
So you pump-shoot-pump-shoot-pump-shoot.
There isn't any magic here...energy going in vs. energy coming out...you can't get "ahead"of enthropy in this universe.
CAN swap it for someone else's labor by using a tank filled by someone besides you or a compressor running from electricty (although some are gasoline fired)….still going to equate to energy in vs. energy out....just don't have to be your phycal energy.