I’ve been quite pleased by the performance of the Career rifles and carbines that I’ve shot, and when I came across this low cost PCP rifle offered by Cobra Airguns, I really wanted to give it a try. Following is a review based on experience off the bench and in the field
I recently obtained a Career III 300 in .22 caliber, and took it to the range for a day of shooting. This is a substantial gun that weighs a little over eight pounds, with a 22â€� barrel and 41â€� overall length. The stock is a nicely figured Asian hardwood, which has machine checkering on the pistol grip and forearm, and a rubber recoil pad. The comb on this stock permitted a good line of sight with the low profile scope rings Iâ€™d used to mount a Leapers 3-9x 50 scope. The height of the receiver allowed enough clearance for this large aperture scope to sit in these low profile rings without contacting the barrel.
The gun is driven by a precharged pneumatic power plant, a stacked reservoir under the barrel is charged using a fill probe (shipped with the gun) that inserts into a port located at the distal end of the top air reservoir. The reservoir has a capacity of 300 cc and is filled to a pressure of 3000 psi. There is a power adjustment wheel situated just in front of the trigger which can be used to optimize the gun for various applications or a specific pellet.
The guns action is solid with a somewhat blocky receiver design and a grooved dovetail for mounting a scope. The gun does come equipped with a decent ramp style iron sight, but since I scope all of my hunting air rifles, not a lot of time was spent shooting with these. Cocking is achieved with a side lever that takes very little effort to cycle. When the lever is pulled back the cylinder magazine can be pushed out to the left side which allows six pellets to be inserted. With the loaded magazine in place cycling the cocking lever automatically indexes the cylinder. The trigger is stated to be a multi- stage design, but out of the box the trigger on my gun was set up as a single stage that broke at just over three pounds, which I liked and saw no reason to fool with.
After shooting a few different pellets, I settled in on the RWS Superdomes as a good all around performer, and shot several groups for accuracy and velocity off the bench. The gun yielded fifty yard groups that averaged a little under 7/8 of an inch at medium power. But as my intention was to use this gun for small game hunting, I decided to shoot a few offhand groups at full power. This resulted in an increased spread as one would expect, but I was still able to keep the group inside the kill zone of a rabbit. I have always been the first to admit that I am a competent, but not a great shot. As far as I’m concerned if a gun allows me to cleanly and consistently kill a rabbit at fifty yards, Iâ€™m getting all I need out of a small game rifle!
On a single fill, I’d fire ten or fifteen shots before topping off the gun. Again, since the intention is to use this as a hunting arm, I decided to look at the velocity of the first ten shots. The spread averaged a first shot velocity of 1225 fps and a tenth shot average of 1050; corresponding to a first shot energy of 40 fpe to a tenth shot energy of 30 fpe. This rifle is a powerhouse! It is also one of the loudest air rifles Iâ€™ve shot, sounding almost as loud as a .22 subsonic rimfire round.
The next test was to get the rifle out in the woods for a squirrel hunt. Shooting predator polymer tipped pellets this time, the accuracy was sufficient to allow me to bag a couple of bushytails at about thirty and forty yards respectively. I dialed down the power a bit, as I found the Predators behaved a bit better in this gun at lower velocities, but the terminal performance was quite impressive. The Career 300s rotary magazine had no trouble digesting these pointed pellets.
As mentioned at the beginning of this review, the gun is substantial. However it was comfortable to carry and I did not feel at all over-burdened carrying it around for a few hours of still hunting.
So what are my final thoughts on this gun? I like the overall design, finding that it is comfortable to carry and comes naturally to the shoulder. I was able to get a consistent hold and the stock design facilitated good sight alignment with a scope. The gun is very powerful, and while not a tack driver offered more than adequate accuracy as a fifty yard small game hunting rifle. I like having six shots on tap, and the rotary magazine fed a wide range of pellets without malfunction. There were two aspects that I was not crazy about; Iâ€™ve never been a big fan of safety mechanisms that are situated close to the trigger. And secondly, this gun is a bit on the loud side. However when all is considered, I do think this is a very cool hunting rifle. It would be an excellent entry level hunting PCP that the shooter would not outgrow in a hurry
There was a steady drop in velocity over the first ten shots, starting out at 1212 fps and dropping to 1050. This gun yields very high velocities and makes effective use of the air charge. The target below was shot at 30 yards offhand, as I wanted to see how it would perform under hunting conditions