KalibrGun Cricket 2 Tactical Review .22 Caliber
Testers: Doug Rogers, Matt Coulter, Stephen Archer
Model Number: Cricket 2 Tactical Long
Test Date: Aug 6, 2021
Serial Numbers: 22211802
Source of Supply: Supplied by KalibrGun
We Don't Like
Magazine loading still a little fiddly
We’d like a more comprehensive user manual
Not much else
- Value for Money 90%
- Speed and Accuracy 100%
- Trigger and Cocking Effort 90%
- Comparison to Makers Claims:100%
- Consistency 100%
- Noise Level 70%
- Sights 100%
- Shootability 80%
- Appearance and Finish 90%
- Buying and Owning 80%
HARD AIR MAGAZINE TEST CONCLUSIONS
In this Cricket 2 Tactical review, we find a highly-competent, accurate and powerful PCP air rifle. Consistency is a very strong suit. Indeed this Cricket is in some respects the most consistent air rifle that the HAM Team has tested to date!
Strong handling and high shot count are combined into a gun that ticks all the boxes for a high end bullpup PCP. If KalibrGun could just tweak the magazine-loading process a little more and supply a comprehensive user’s manual, it would score even higher.
There’s no question: it’s an easy HAM Gold Award winner!
VALUE FOR MONEY
For this Cricket 2 Tactical review, we’re looking at the gun in .22 caliber. More specifically, we’re exploring the “Long” version, or “60” model as it’s described on Airguns of Arizona’s website.
At a selling price of $1,795, the Long version is $100 more expensive than the “Short” or *45″ model. However it benefits from a longer barrel and larger capacity HPA tank. These provide more power and more shots per fill than the Short version, combined with a still relatively compact overall length of 34 Inches.
Although named “Cricket”, this PCP air rifle is almost a completely new model compared to previous Crickets. The provision of the large carbon fiber HPA bottle is a major change from other Cricket models, together with a range of other improvements.
Furthermore – compared to the Cricket 2 WSA model tested by HAM back in March – warranty coverage has been increased to a competitive 3 years. Combined with a price drop of $100 compared to the WSA model and the significant feature and performance improvements, that’s great news!
So, yes, it’s still expensive, but this gun delivers strong value for money, as we’ll see throughout this KalibrGun Cricket 2 Tactical review.
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SPEED AND ACCURACY
This Cricket 2 Tactical review found very strong performance from the .22 caliber test gun. Power ranged from 33.44 Ft/Lbs of Muzzle Energy with the lightest, H&N Field Target Trophy Green alloy pellets, up to 46.97 Ft/Lbs with 25.39 Grain Redesigned JSB Jumbo Monsters.
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 10.03 Grain||1,225.37 FPS||33.44 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|Predator GTO 11.75 Grain||1,156.71 FPS||34.91 Ft/Lbs||Excellent. Best Tested.|
|RWS Hobby 11.9 Grain||1,136.85 FPS||34.15 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|Crosman Premier HP 14.3 Grain||1091.18 FPS||37.81 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|JSB Jumbo Exact 14.35 Grain||1,097.66 FPS||38.40 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 14.66 Grain||1084.27 FPS||38.27 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
|H&N Baracuda Match 21.14 Grain||971.95 FPS||44.35 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|JSB Jumbo Monster 25.39 Grain||912.68 FPS||46.97 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
Interestingly, both the very light 11.75 Grain Predator GTO alloy pellets and the heavy, 25.39 Grain Jumbo Monsters shot very accurately at 10 Yards. The GTOs were slightly more accurate at that range. This replicated the results we found with the Cricket 2 WSA in .25 caliber. However we expected to see that change at longer distances.
At 25 Yards, there was a “circling” wind around the range that was blowing from left-to-right across the target. The result of this can be seen in this test target shot with the Monsters.
The next target shows the results from 10 shots at the same range with the GTOs. Here the vertical CTC was – if anything – very slightly better than for the heavy lead pellets. However, it’s clear that the wind blew the GTO alloys across to the right…
Note that HAM Tester Matt Coulter deliberately made no attempt to “aim off” to compensate for the wind. This was a test of the pellets, not the shooter!
With no wind, the GTOs could well have been just as accurate as the heavy lead pellets. But “real world” conditions came into play and – unsurprisingly – the Monsters gave better performance under these circumstances.
TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT
An average trigger pull weight of 1 Lb 8.9 Oz was recorded for the Cricket 2 Tactical tested by HAM. This was light and felt very consistent to the shooter.
The first stage was light and easy. This was followed by a clear break as the sear released and the gun fired.
Being a bullpup with an extended trigger linkage, this was not a complete “glass break” effect, but it was still very pleasant and controllable. HAM Tester Doug Rogers noted that “the trigger is good” in his test notes.
The safety is of the “push across” trigger block type. In this KalibrGun Cricket 2 Tactical review, we found that the safety was simple and reliable to use. The bright red anodized button is conveniently placed and the pictograms next to it make operation crystal clear. This is by far the best safety we have encountered on any Cricket air rifle to date!
The mid-mounted sidelever action is a little “gritty” in its travel. However, it’s far from unacceptable and is about in the middle of the pack for high end bullpups.
The sidelever can be changed to operate from the other side of the gun, should the user require. This is a good feature that will be welcomed by left-handers.
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
The Cricket 2 is available, of course, in a number of calibers and configurations, as follows…
|Caliber||.177||.22 Compact||.22 Long||.25||.30|
|Barrel Length||17.7 Inches||17.7 Inches||23.6 Inches||23.6 Inches||23.6 Inches|
|Max Muzzle Energy||22 Ft/Lbs||40 Ft/Lbs||55 Ft/Lbs||60 Ft/Lbs||90 Ft/Lbs|
|Max Muzzle Velocity||985 FPS||985 FPS||1050 FPS||985 FPS||915 FPS|
|HPA Capacity||477 cc||477 cc||627 cc||627 cc||613 cc|
|Shot Count||200 shots at 860 FPS||130 shots at 860 FPS||160 shots at 860 FPS||110 shots at 895 FPS||65 shots at 860 FPS|
|Overall Length||26.8 Inches||26.8 Inches||33.1 Inches||33.1 Inches||33.1 Inches|
|Weight||7.5 Lbs||7.5 Lbs||8.3 Lbs||8.3 lbs||8.3 Lbs|
|Magazine capacity||14 shots||14 shots||14 shots||12 shots||10 shots|
The manufacturer’s specifications for the Cricket 2 Tactical include a maximum Muzzle Velocity of 1,050 FPS. In HAM Testing, this was significantly exceeded with 1,225 FPS with alloys and 1,136 FPS using light RWS Hobby lead pellets.
KalibrGun claims a maximum Muzzle Energy of 55 Ft/Lbs. The maximum achieved in HAM testing was 46.97 Ft/Lbs with 25.39 Grain JSB Monster pellets. However, it’s clear that the power level claimed by the manufacturer would be achieved with heavier projectiles, like slugs.
The consistent shot count achieved in HAM testing was 154 at an average of 1,006 FPS. This compares very well to the KalibrGun claim of 160 shots at 860 FPS – maybe even exceeding it. (We would expect to see somewhat more shots at a lower velocity).
In addition, KalibrGun also claims to have improved magazine loading with this new model. From our practical experience, that’s definitely true.
As with the other Cricket 2 tested by HAM, we found consistency of performance to be outstanding!
The trigger pull weight varied by barely more than 1 Ounce about its 1 Lb 9 Oz average. That’s completely imperceptible for the shooter and right up there with the best HAM has ever recorded.
During the 80-shot “standard” performance test (targets below), The average Standard Deviation was just 2.09 FPS. As HAM Tester Doug Rogers commented:”This has to be about the best of any gun we’ve tested to date.”
The following graph shows the effect of filling the gun to a full 300 Bar (4360 PSI), then shooting it down to beyond the regulator set point with JSB 18.1 Grain pellets. As you can see…
There’s a couple of points to note about this performance. Firstly, all 154 recorded shots were within the 40 FPS Extreme Spread that HAM regards as “consistent” Muzzle Velocity. Secondly, the hammer spring tension was slightly low, as shown by the slight peak in FPS at around shot 130. This could easily be corrected – if required – by using the hammer spring adjuster. The result would be a smaller number of faster shots with even more consistency.
The Cricket 2 Tactical, as tested in .22 caliber, is certainly well silenced. Subjectively, it’s not quite as our benchmark Benjamin Marauder, however, it’s definitely backyard-friendly.
If an even quieter report is required, this Cricket is fitted with a 1/2-Inch UNF male thread at the muzzle. Normally covered by a knurled nut, this makes it easy to attach a dedicated airgun moderator, if required.
SIGHTS AND SCOPE
For this Cricket 2 Tactical review, we mounted a Sightron SIII 10-50 x 60 scope. Although big, the scope mounted easily onto the Picatinny rail. As you can see from the photographs, there was plenty of rail length available. It’s clear that pretty-well any scope will work well with this air rifle.
In addition, there was no need for very high mounts or rail risers to achieve a great sight picture, good eye relief and comfortable cheek weld. That’s a major contributor to strong practical accuracy in the field.
Again, the scope rail was sturdy and positively-attached to the receiver. This made it easy to benefit from the high magnification and outstanding optical clarity of the Sightron scope.
The HAM Team was impressed with the shootability of the Cricket 2 Tactical. HAM Tester Doug Rogers much prefers lull length air rifles. However his testing notes read, ” I’m not a fan of bullpups. But if I was to consider one, this would be at the top of my list.”
Matt Coulter and Stephen Archer both enjoy shooting bullpups. As we found during this Cricket 2 Tactical review, the provision of a forward, underside Picatinny rail made for very steady benchrest shooting. (That’s another benefit compared to previous Crickets).
Even with the big Sightron scope attached, the total weight was a reasonable 10 Lbs 14 Oz. Balance is very good, whether shooting offhand or from a bench. The Cricket 2 Tactical feels comfortable and well-balanced in the hand when shooting. This makes it very stable to hold in the field – a big benefit for hunters.
“Easy to hold and shoot.” That was another comment from Doug Rogers. However – given our previous Cricket 2 test back in March – he did wonder if the plastic molded cheekpiece of the Tactical would be quite as warm and comfortable as a wood cheekpiece in extremely cold weather!
The molded rubber buttpad certainly did its part too. It has just the right amount of grip and is well located low down at the rear of the buttstock. It has the capability for additional vertical adjustment, however even the long-necked HAM testers found this to be unnecessary. We used it in the “default” position and it worked just fine.
The magazines themselves are of the traditional “open” type found on Crickets since the beginning. They are easy to load and give some visual indication of when the last pellet is available. However, they will allow double-loading and blank-firing, so it’s good practice to keep count of the number of shots fired.
KalibrGun has further improved the Cricket magazine-loading process with this model. Yes, some dexterity is required to correctly insert the loaded magazine into the gun. However, operation of the Magazine Control Lever to correctly index the magazine is easier than we have found on previous models. It’s a knack that’s soon learned…
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
The HAM Team liked the looks of the Cricket 2 Tactical! This is a handsome bullpup that has a harmonious design. It avoids looking either too blocky, or too spindly as can be the case with some other bupllpups.
The wood pistol grip and buttstock were well finished and fitted well. They also provided a pleasing degree of contrast to the otherwise all-black appearance of the gun.
Overall, the levels of finish found in this Cricket 2 Tactical review were extremely high. Doug Rogers is a qualified and experienced machinist. His test notes contained this comment: “Metalworking very good.” That’s high praise indeed from Doug!
Unlike some other air rifles – even high end ones – the matt black surface finish of the metal parts was extremely consistent. The synthetic cheekpiece also matched-in very well with an extremely similar look. (It also matched very closely to the finish of the Sightron scope and UTG Pro rings).
Only the carbon fiber HPA tank stood out with a glossy surface finish, as is typical for such components.
BUYING AND OWNING
The vast majority of Cricket 2 Tactical airguns will be purchased online from dealers such as Airguns of Arizona. This – of course – is typical for most high-end air rifles due to the relatively low number of specialized airgun dealers with a physical store across the USA.
Comparing this Cricket 2 Tactical review with HAM’s review of the “non Tactical” version back in March 2021, we’re pleased to see that KalibrGun’s warranty has now increased to three years. This is another step forward for the marque, making it comparable with other high-end airgun brands.
The Cricket 2 Tactical is supplied with two rotary magazines and a fill probe. Note that this fill probe has a screw thread at the other end. This means that most US shooters will need an adapter to connect to the 1/8-Inch NPT standard quick disconnect on their tank or compressor hose. Don’t forget to order one with the air rifle.
The HPA fill port is covered by a pull-out plastic plug. This certainly prevents dirt and junk from making its way into the gun, but is almost certain to become lost in many cases. Including a second, spare, plug would be a really good idea – even though the large, 500cc, HPA tank reduced the number of times filling is required.
The test gun filled best with a very slow fill of High Pressure Air. Of course, a slow fill is always best for any PCP! That makes it ideal for filling from a HPA compressor, which you’ll most likely need if you want to achieve the full 4,350 PSI fill pressure.
The latest KalibrGun user manual is an “omnibus” publication which provides basic operating instructions for all current Cricket versions. It’s in English only and covers the basics of filling, loading and shooting the gun.
However, it does not cover topics such as adjusting hammer spring tension, trigger tuning or moving the cocking lever to the opposite side of the gun. It would be good to see such things covered by the manufacturer – even if it was via a link to the website.
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