SIG Rattler Canebrake Air Rifle Review
August 4, 2021
Supplied by SIG SAUER
No full auto
VALUE FOR MONEY
At a Street Price of $209.95, the new SIG Rattler Canebrake air rifle is priced just on the high side of average (about $200) for CO2-powered, longarm replica airguns. Interestingly, it’s also more expensive than the apparently similar existing models from SIG Air, such as the MPX ($169.95) and the MCX ($185.95).
That’s the Rattler Canebrake (with additional cost bipod) compared to an MPX in our photograph below.
Of course, it can be argued that this is a “real deal” SIG, as it’s marketed and sold by the company itself, rather than a third party. That will undoubtedly count for many potential buyers.
The Canebrake is also – like the other SIG models – a pellet-firing air rifle. Most of the competition shoots BBs. This is both good and bad. The upside is that most people expect a pellet-firing airgun to be more accurate than a BB shooter.
The downside is that many of the competitive BB-firing replica long guns have outstanding full auto and semi-auto capabilities. The pellet-firing SIGs do not. They fire one shot each time you pull the trigger. There’s no full auto capability.
Testing reveals that the SIG Rattler Canebrake air rifle reviewed by HAM is, indeed, more powerful and accurate than the BB-firing replica long guns at longer ranges (10 – 25 Yards). It also shows increased accuracy, power and FPS compared to the SIG MPX and MCX CO2-powered models. These are all good things and make the Canebrake great value!
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
SIG Sauer MCX Rattler Canebrake CO2 Pellet Rifle 0.177
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
SIG SAUER MCX Rattler Canebrake
REALISM – LOOK AND FEEL
The SIG Rattler Canebrake air rifle is a close representation of the MCX Rattler Canebrake centerfire model in most respects. All – that is – except for the buttstock. Instead of the firearm’s side-folding stock, there’s the fixed tubular stock of the existing MPX and MCX airguns, containing the 88/90 Grain CO2 cartridge.
There’s no way out of this situation: it’s just how the airgun platform is designed.
Moving on from the stock, the SIG Rattler Canebrake air rifle has representations of all the major features and controls of the centerfire model. The ambidextrous safety, magazine release and charging handle are all functional. However, the bolt catch and left side mag release are not, nor is the ejection port cover.
Like the firearm, the Canebrake air rifle has a plethora of Picatinny, M-Lok and QD sling mounting points. So there’s a huge range of possibilities for accessorizing your air rifle.
For example, we added UTG Recon Flex M-Lok bipod legs from Leapers, as you can see from the photographs. These provided a solid, firm mounting for shooting the Canebrake from a fixed position.
Although the SIG Rattler Canebrake air rifle is a close match for the firearm, it’s actually slightly longer and heavier than the centerfire model.
|Canebrake Firearm||CO2 Version|
|Trigger Pull Weight||4.5 Lbs (Spec.)||8 Lbs 8 Oz (Test Ave.)|
|Length||29.25 Inches||30.13 Inches|
|Loaded Weight||7 Lbs 8 Oz||8 Lbs 3 Oz|
It’s also the heaviest of the SIG Air long guns, as we can see here.
|MPX||25.75 Inches||6 Lb 14 Oz|
|Canebrake||30.13 Inches||8 Lb 3 Oz|
|MCX||34.75 Inches||8 Lbs 0 Oz|
|Virtus||37.25 Inches||8 Lb 1 Oz|
If you want to change the Canebrake’s pistol grip for a different feel or look, aftermarket M4-type pistol grips will fit. For example, here’s a Leapers UTG PRO grip we installed. It fitted perfectly and HAM Tester Stephen Archer preferred the larger proportions. But a black one might have looked prettier!
The SIG Rattler Canebrake air rifle is fitted with a heavy fitting around the end of the barrel. This is not actually a silencer (although it easily could have been). Instead, it’s a close approximation to the “inert training device” – or “non silencer” that’s fitted as standard to the centerfire model. It unscrews, as you can see, revealing the “soda straw” barrel…
ACCURACY AND POINT OF IMPACT
The SIG Rattler Canebrake air rifle is supplied with SIG Air’s standard fold down iron sights. These are adjustable for elevation and windage in the standard manner of “M16” sights. The front sight is elevation-adjustable (using the supplied tool).
The rear sight has windage adjustability, also using the same tool. It also includes small and large rear apertures, just like those of the centerfire models.
However, the Canebrake also includes a long and very solid top Picatinny rail. Given our hopes for accuracy with this gun, the HAM Team decided to shoot it with a scope. Our choice was a Leapers UTG Bugbuster 3-9×32 AO scope.
The Bugbuster matched well with the Canebrake for size and looks. It also is suitably compact and – with its close-focusing capabilities – ideal for the typical types of shooting that a Canebrake owner would have.
Note that the Rattler Canebrake tested by HAM shot well enough that HAM Tester Doug Wall shot it out to 25 Yards. This is MUCH further than any other “replica” long gun we have tested. The results were certainly satisfactory for the SIG Rattler Canebrake air rifle’s intended use as a trainer and plinker.
And we have to remember that the centerfire Canebrake itself is not exactly a dedicated sniper rifle! This level of accuracy is probably at least comparable to the firearm, if not better.
Using 8.64 Grain H&N Field Target Trophy pellets, Doug found that the Canebrake easily kept all 10 pellets within the size of a soda can at 25 Yards. This makes it – by far – the best “long range” plinker CO2-powered replica tested to date by HAM.
Given the adjustable iron sights supplied with the gun and – of course, if using a scope – the point of impact can be adjusted to be “dead on” with no problems. This is another benefit of the SIG Rattler Canebrake air rifle compared to some other replicas which have fixed sights.
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
SIG claims that the Canebrake “mirrors the same design cues as the original”. That’s certainly true. In fact, we’d say more than that. With the exception of the stock – it’s a very close replica of the centerfire original, although a little heavier.
“Up to 600 FPS” is the manufacturer’s claim for Muzzle Velocity. The SIG Rattler Canebrake air rifle tested by HAM completely blew away those numbers! As you can read below, we achieved a test maximum of 721 FPS at 69 Degrees F. This represents no less than 760 FPS at 90 degrees F with the lightest alloy pellets.
So the Canebrake has the potential to exceed SIG’s claim by no less than 160 FPS. For those customers who value pellet speed, this makes this model a “no brainer”.
But HAM does disagree with SIG’s claim that the Canebrake has a semi-auto action. This claim is made only on the back of the retail box where – possibly – it might impress purchasers in “big box” retail stores.
However, it’s not correct. At least in the normally-accepted meaning whereby the firing of a shot automatically chambers the next round, that is.
The SIG Rattler Canebrake air rifle may FEEL like a semi-auto, but it actually uses a double-action revolver mechanism to advance the next pellet. That’s why the trigger pull weight is so heavy!
If you look up inside the open magazine well, it’s easy to see that pulling the Canebrake’s trigger operates a lever that engages the toothed magazine belt and rotates it by one chamber. That’s DA revolver operation and it’s the same as is used in all SIG’s pellet guns.
Of course, many owners will not care about this. There’s no doubt that the Canebrake goes bang each time the trigger is pulled. It feels like a semi-auto and that’s probably good enough for many. Knowledgeable owners will understand and accept the action for what it is…
The SIG Rattler Canebrake air rifle tested by HAM produced generally very good consistency.
Standard Deviation – the measure of FPS variability within a shot string – was very acceptable for a CO2-powered airgun at an average of 13.5 FPS for the range of standard HAM test pellets. As HAM Tester Doug Wall highlighted in his test notes “The large 90 Gram CO2 cartridge gives a pretty good temperature buffer, particularly if shooting fast.”
Accuracy, too, was consistent across the HAM test pellets. In fact, the demonstrated consistency was much better than we often find. Really, any of the HAM test pellets would be suitable for plinking at soda cans. However the 8.64 Grain H&N Field Target Trophy pellets clearly showed to best advantage in accuracy testing.
Trigger pull weight varied rather more. There was a variation of -12 Oz to +14 Oz around the average of 8 Lbs 8 Oz pull weight in HAM testing. However, due to the trigger pull weight being so high, this variability was not readily noticeable to the HAM testers.
REALISM – TRIGGER AND ACTION
We’ve reviewed the action in the “Comparisons” section of this review above. So there’s no need to cover it further here except to mention that there’s no blowback effect in the Canebrake.
Like other SIG Air pellet guns, loading is a deliberate affair. You have to treat the loading process with respect and have a solid table top (or similar) to do it on. Each pellet should be seated correctly in the magazine belt links using the “seating” part of the supplied multi-tool. This is not a process you want to undertake in the field!
Given the potential for lots of shooting with the Canebrake, it makes sense to buy at least one additional magazine. Each spare SIG magazine is supplied with a total of three belts. So, with a spare magazine, you have a total of four belts for your gun. That gives you a total of 120 pellets that can be loaded before you start pulling the trigger. That’s the way to do it!!!
Sliding the loaded belts into an open magazine is quick and easy. This can be done without the support of a table. Once the pellets are loaded into belts, the re-loading speed is likely quicker than that of re-loading a BB-shooting gun.
In addition, the SIG’s large – 88 or 90 Gram – CO2 supply means that stops to reload CO2 cartridges are happily infrequent compared to other fast-firing CO2-powered firearms replicas using 12 Gram cartridges.
Note that the magazine does not drop free, however. Two hands are required for removal. Of course, this is not an issue for plinkers, however it’s a disadvantage where the CO2-powered Canebrake is used as a training tool for firearm users.
The large CO2 cartridge, combined with the lack of energy-absorbing blowback action, means that the Rattler Canebrake air rifle gives a good number of shots before re-filling.
In HAM testing, we achieved no less 290 shots from one 88 Gram CO2 cartridge before the Muzzle Velocity with RWS Hobby pellets fell to 500 FPS. This is a 150 FPS fall from the 646 FPS achieved with a fresh cartridge.
Could you continue and achieve even more shots per fill? Yes, definitely. But the HAM shooters decided that this represented the minimum FPS we would be happy with before changing CO2 cartridges. We had already exceeded or expectations for shot count, given the Muzzle Velocities the Canebrake was producing.
Your mileage may vary depending on your shooting conditions, but it should be in the 250 – 300 shots range.
The SIG Rattler Canebrake air rifle tested by HAM gave strong performance for a CO2-powered replica airgun. Muzzle Energy peaked at 7.31 Ft/Lbs with heavy 10.65 Grain H&N Baracuda Match pellets, while the maximum velocity was 721 FPS, achieved with the light Gamo alloy pellets.
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|Gamo Raptor Platinum 4.7 Grain||721 FPS||5.43 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 5.56 Grain||711 FPS||6.25 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|RWS Hobby 7.0 Grain||646 FPS||6.48 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|Crosman Premier HP 7.9 Grain||617 FPS||6.69 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
|JSB Exact Diabalo 8.44 Grain||616 FPS||7.10 Ft/Lbs||Very Good.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 8.64 Grain||616 FPS||7.27 Ft/Lbs||Excellent. Best Tested.|
|H&N Baracuda Match 10.65 Grain||556 FPS||7.31 Ft/Lbs||Excellent.|
This level of power is around 100 FPS greater than HAM achieved when testing the SIG Air MCX
Note that – as the Canebrake is powered by CO2 – the muzzle velocity will increase as ambient temperature rises. At least up to about 90 degrees F. (This is a phenomenon common to all CO2-powered airguns, of course). The increase is approximately 2 FPS for one degree F change in temperature.
As HAM velocity testing was undertaken at 69 degrees, that 721 FPS peak Muzzle Velocity would actually rise to around 760 FPS at 90 degrees, simply due to the higher temperature of the gun.
This is a very respectable Muzzle Velocity for any CO2-powered airgun in .177 caliber. However – in spite of this – HAM agrees with the manufacturer’s suggested use for the Canebrake: plinking. It’s really not sufficient power for any type of hunting – even for small critters at close range – if the desired result is a humane, one-shot kill.
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
As with all SIG Air products, the appearance and finish of the Canebrake air rifle is outstanding!
The quality of the cast and molded parts that comprise the majority of the external surfaces is very high, as you can see from the photographs throughout this review.
BUYING AND OWNING
Given SIG’s enormous distribution capabilities, it’s likely that you will find the Canebrake air rifle in big box stores, gun shops and online. So it’s easy to buy. Spare magazines are also readily available.
The SIG SAUER MCX air rifle has the expected 12 month warranty with normal return to manufacturer terms. This compares favorably with the warranties offered by other manufacturers of CO2-powered firearms replicas.
The English-only operator’s manual accompanying the Canebrake was clear and well-illustrated. However, it doesn’t inform the user that it’s necessary to cock the gun using the charging handle before first use (although not when changing magazines).
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
SIG Sauer MCX Rattler Canebrake CO2 Pellet Rifle 0.177
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
SIG SAUER MCX Rattler Canebrake
This entire article including scoring, test targets etc is Copyright Hard Air Magazine and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the publisher.