Cricket 1 or 2? A Tale of Two Crickets, Part Two…
In the second part of his analysis, Matt Coulter bring his conclusions on which is the better air rifle. Cricket 1 or 2?
Is There an Elephant In The Room? (Yes, And What It Is!)
No discussion about either Cricket platform is complete without bringing-up one issue. The patience and fine motor skills needed to insert a magazine into the action of the gun…
The kindest I can be when describing this process is to say that you get used to it. And it’s not too bad if you can rest the gun on a surface while attempting it. The magazine itself is very simple…
However, if you are attempting to load a fresh magazine into the gun when holding the gun: Good Luck! On both the Cricket 1 and Cricket 2, you will need to keep both the magazine lever and cocking arm pulled back while inserting the magazine.
Kalibrgun has published this YouTube video showing how the magazine can be swapped out with one hand. So it is possible – just be sure to be resting the gun when doing it!
It has also been reported that the latest iteration of the Cricket 2, which is the Tactical version, will have “improved cocking action with simplified magazine loading.”
That sounds to be not quite the fully resigned magazine and loading that the Kalibrgun Argus line has. But not having to hold back the magazine lever will be a welcome improvement!
Lessons I Learned From My Ski Boots (And Why It Matters Here!)
Downhill ski boots are horrible contraptions designed to squish and punish your feet on the coldest of winter days. They’re really miserable (but necessary) things to have and try to get used to wearing. Back in the 1980s I had a pair of boots that had a dial, strap, air bladder and every other conceivable mechanism to help you customize the boot’s fit to be somewhat less painful to wear.
In the end I don’t recall if they were that much more comfortable than more simple boots, but I do remember that the cable connected to the dial snapped and the air bladders eventually leaked.
From that experience, I have generally leaned towards finding and selecting the simplest tool to get a particular task done. Tying this back to airguns, in my opinion, Crickets have all that I need and nothing that I don’t need. Give me an externally adjustable hammer spring (like the Crickets have) and I’m happy.
And speaking of adjustments, the Cricket 2 has a very snug fit on the hammer spring adjuster (the knob poking out of the back of the receiver). It does not back itself out as the more loose-fitting adjuster does on my older Cricket 1. This can easily be fixed by a drop of Vibra-Tite (not Lock-Tite) on the threads.
This hammer spring adjustment is an area that would further benefit from some lines or markings to make changes to the spring tension more easily seen and documented. I have seen other Cricket owners drill little dimples or use a dab of white paint on the adjuster as a visual marker.
Cricket II And Conventional Wisdom (Oh Really?)
Everyone knows there is a specific and sometimes narrow window of velocities that you’re supposed to find for your gun to shoot accurately. Shhh! Don’t tell my Cricket 2 this! This may be somewhat of a hyperbole or it might just be a fluke with the particular batch of pellets I have right now (FX 18.13 grain pellets), but my Cricket 2 just does not care how fast I shoot them.
In my last backyard shooting session at 50 Yards, I got outstanding 5-shot groups with the FX pellets from velocities of 870 FPS all the way up to 970 FPS. It was only when I dropped close to 800 FPS when I saw my groups start to open. In many cases, I would have 3 or 4 of the five shots touching if not in the same hole.
Take a look at these three 50-Yard targets…
This particular barrel has also managed to shoot most pellets well. The one notable exception is that it definitely did NOT shoot the original JSB Monsters well. (Resigned Monsters shot great.)
The Question NOBODY Likes To Answer (And Me Neither!)
“So, is it Cricket 1 or 2? If you had to pick just one – which one would it be?”
My answer: It would have to be the Cricket 2 in .22 caliber. In the distances I shoot in my yard (out to 70 Yards) the larger .25 caliber Cricket just does not have as big of an advantage over the .22. The forward cocking really is a game-changer for this gun.
But I’m not selling the .25… at least not yet. I have learned so much from it and I still want to explore how it will perform at higher regulator settings. It’s a gun I know and feel very comfortable working on.
And for what it’s worth, the Cricket 2 should be essentially the same on the inside. It’s been the well-behaved, well-mannered, drama-free gun that just seems to keep on ticking! I haven’t yet needed to make any substantial changes to it!
Matt thanks for a great story! Now we’re all better prepared to answer the question: Cricket 1 or 2? If you haven’t yet read the first part, just follow this link. There’s also this comprehensive HAM review of the Cricket 2 in .25 caliber to check out.