When I was asked to review The Crossman Rat Catcher by a local gun shop, I thought how can I review a gun I basically know nothing about?. However as if his ears where burning a Mucker who has just purchase one of these guns asked me to fit a scope and zero it for him, so this was the perfect opportunity to spend a little time with this little gun and review it for the gun shop who are hoping to stock them.
As an RFD, gun tester and tough old country boy I get to play test & review all sorts of products such as clothing, decoys, hides, lamps, night vision and all sorts of guns. You name it and over the years I have either had some input into it or tested it and in many cases I have given ideas on how to improve these products.
I have never been paid for my reviews and in this way you can be assured you are getting my honest humble opinion on a product. If I have not reviewed something then either I have not been asked or it probably has not done what it said on the tin for me so I send it back and say try harder etc.,I am not overly harsh as whatever I am reviewing for me it has to be able to do what it was designed for within the limits of what it is.
So going into the Crossman Rat Catcher review I went in with no pre-set ideas or convictions. I have heard all sorts of rubbish from all sorts of people on many things and what I say is this; if you ask something to do something either more than you are capable of or the product is capable of then what then you can expect nothing but poor results.
So with this in mind I set my longest shot limit at 30 yards, which is a perfect distance for walking about around the farm yard dealing with pests like rats, feral pigeons, rabbits and corvids. But in reality I wanted to use field craft to get within 20 yard and really see what this little gun could do.
I also did a static test after zeroing the gun with the range set at 25 yards and then did a pellet test with three different brands of pellets, namely the Air Arms Field Diablo, AccuPell and the cheap budget Bull Dog Pellets. And I will say I was pleasantly surprised with them all.
The Pellet Test.
I started off in the barn at 25 yards and zeroed it with the Air Arms Field Diablo which are my favourite pellet on the market. I know you all have one that works for you and I am not saying mine is better I am just saying it hits the nail in the hole every time for me. In this small test the Air Arms was by far the most accurate and consistent with a 5 pellet shot on each target. Next I used the AccuPell and again these performed very well. That being said I got the occasional flyer (shot off target) with these but that’s nothing un usual with pellets and it could of been a slightly deformed pellet or a bit of wind. Next came the Underdog or in this case the Bull Dog pellets, and I will say my result with these cheap pellets were quite astonishing and they held a good tight pattern in this little CO2 gun.
The Crossman Rat Catcher takes little CO2 silver canisters to power it and this is something to think about as cold and heat affect them? As the day was quite cold I kept the little silver CO2 canisters from Umerex in my trouser pocket to keep an even temperature and this seemed to help? Why? I don’t know I don’t go in for all that technical stuff like I have said before I look for weather it works or not. For me this means does it kill small vermin humanely out to 30 yards. If you want all that technical stuff go on the forums and you will get everything a thousand times over about pellets, their weights, barometric pressures etc. but that’s not my bag at all.
Well after the eye opening pellet test I chose the last of the target cards for the pics as I got a feel for the gun after each pellet had five shots each of the three targets. You can see the groupings in the picks and there isn’t much in it really so I decided to start the hunt with the Air Arms pellets around the farm yard and in the grain mills. I must admit I was a little apprehensive to whether or not this little gun had enough power to deal with the vermin I was after and weather it would kill humanely with one shot.
I stealthily stalked into the grain mill to see if there was any vermin sat in there feasting on my farmer’s expensive grain and as always there was. I had the choice of two targets a feral pigeon sat up on a rafter or a rat sat cleaning itself on a wall ledge. I decided to go for the rat as it had a nice back stop as I slowly raised the gun I positioned the cross hairs on its head and squeezed the trigger. The gun made that distinct CO2 pop as the Air Arms Pellet struck the rat just below the eye at 18 yards and it dropped stone dead without even a twitch it did not know what had hit it and it was a big bore rat too.
No time to sit and ponder as the feral didn’t fly out it hopped onto another beam next to the wall. So I re loaded another Air Arms pellet lines up on its head approx. 20 yards away and squeezed the trigger again that distinct pop of the CO2 as the pellet left the gun and struck middle for diddle on the feral’s head as it fell flapping to the floor. I took a breath and walked over thinking bugger I am going to have to dispatch this one but no the pigeon was as dead as door nail. That made me breathe easier and again this little gun impressed me.
I disposed of the rat and feral into the farms incinerator and loaded up with Accu Pell pellets this time. Oh I also before going hunting put a brand new CO2 canister in the gun as you don’t want to run out half way through a hunt. I always carry a spare and considered 20 shots adequate from one canister as I wanted to know I had maximum power when hunting. On targets I was not so worried as that’s only paper not taking an animal’s life. You see even a rat deserves a humane dispatch I know many a person who says oh it’s only a rat but that’s not how my Pappy (grandfather) taught me. He said to hunt every shot must be humane and whatever the animal you hunt it deserves your best and respect too.
I decided to have a stalk around the calf sheds as there is always some vermin in there what with milk and feed always about as well as warm bedding and shelter. I was not wrong as I snook around the inside of the barn I could see a magpie hopping from feeder to feeder so I knelt down and waited for it to come to me as I had a clear view of a shot on a feeder with a perfect back stop. Right on cue this murderous corvid hoped onto the feeder that I was already at the ready on as it looked up and saw me but too late the pellet had left the gun as it starred down the barrel of the rat catcher, THWACK the pellet sailed true just under its beak catching it in the throat and breaking its neck as it fell stone dead to the barn floor.
I didn’t move as the calves startled at the pop of the gun some other movement caught my eye it was another rat that dashed under a water trough. I could see it clearly so I re loaded with another Accu Pell pellet put the cross hairs between its eyes and let rip. The rat jumped in the air with a load squeak as the calves startled again but settled down as fast as before. I got to the rat and it was stone dead as was the magpie so I used a shovel again and disposed of them into the incinerator with the other rat and feral pigeon.
I decided I need a coffee so sat back in my truck with the Crossman Rat Catcher sat on the crook of the wing mirror and this time I loaded it with the Bull Dog pellets just in case any vermin decided to land in on the silage pitts. I call having a coffee playing my joker card as you can bet as soon as you have a sarnie or a coffee everything comes out to play its always like that when I am pigeon shooting and pigeons pitch in the decoys.
Well this time was no exception as the huge flock of Collard Doves that plague this farm descended upon the silage pit not 25 yards from me. I put my half-drunk mug of coffee down and picked the closest bird that presented a good shot approx. 22 yards away. I lined up on the back of its head and squeezed the trigger pop goes this little gun as the pellet struck the dove just at the base of its head and it flipped over doing back flips then dropped stone dead.
All the other doves took off in a startled flight, circled and landed again with the nearest being approx 30 yards away. I re-loaded with a Bull Dog again and lined up on this nearest bird going for a head shot. I squeezed the trigger and there was that distinct pop of the CO2 as the pellet sailed towards the doves head. Just at that point a sharp draft of wind came from the right and a big puff of feathers came from the dove as it bowled over backwards. The pellet had struck it in the crook of the wing as the wind had blown the pellet off target and all though it had been mortally wounded the dove was not dead so I dispatched it quickly and humanely by hand. Thus proving for me the only shot is a head shot with this gun.
My final words on the Crossman Rat Catcher are; She is a sweet little feisty gun and accurate too. Not a bad starting gun for a hunter of small vermin or occasional target basher and she definitely packs a punch if used within her limits and no further than 30 yards. On the day it impressed me and I may have to get one to grace my gun safe. I know my daughter Emilie will love to splat a few targets with this little gun and possibly do some hunting with it as I found it quite fun to use. All in all a good value little gun with a modest price of around a £90 or £150 in package that includes the gun, scope, mounts, bag, pellets and some CO2 canisters. This is the deal my local gun shop is putting together but prices may vary depending on where you go.
I hope you have enjoyed this review and if you would like something reviewing then please get in touch and I will only be too happy to take a look and give you The Ole Hedge Creepers thoughts on your products.
Regards Rob Collins.