Gun test: BSA Meteor Evo Silentum springer

Tim Finley shooting a BSA air rifle

Making full use of that commendable pointability and the Comet's perfect open sights. - Credit: Archant

Priced at just £175, BSA’s beginner’s break-barrel air rifle is better than ever and an absolute bargain, making it a fun rifle to own for newbies and experienced shooters alike...

The BSA Comet Silentium air rifle

The Comet Silentium is equally suited to a scope or its excellent set of fitted open sights. - Credit: Archant

Entry-level air rifles are extremely important. BSA’s beginner air rifle is the Comet, and the latest model is the Evo Silentum – the name gives you a clue that a moderator has been added, and that addition does add the ‘cool’ factor to the rifle. This is a spring-powered, break-barrel, definitely my preferred type of gun for anyone beginning their shooting journey. It’s just how I and millions of other shooters started, and that’s why their importance cannot be overstated. I started with a BSA, and it’s great to handle and shoot their latest offering to new shooters.  

The Comet came out in 2006, and I first tested one back in 2010, and then a Comet Silentum in 2016. The new rifle is made by BSA’s parent company, Gamo, in Spain. I always look for nods back to BSA’s past in their new rifles and hope with all my heart that they will continue to honour that past – and the Evo Silentum didn’t let me down. 

BSA comet silentum air rifle

That cocking arc is long, and the required effort is entirely manageable. - Credit: Archant

RECOGNISABLE FEATURES 
It has a few instantly recognisable BSA design features; the cap at the rear of the steel action looks like a Meteor cap of old – the top of the cap has a ribbed band running across the top, just like the old ones. The stock on the rifle is completely up to date, though, made of tough, synthetic materials.  

The front of the fore end also has the same rounded shape as an old Meteor, with raised grip panels and an ambidextrous cheek piece, these also cleverly conceal the front stock screws. The hand grip has four panels of multiple rhomboid raised detail forming the grip areas, and the rest of the surface finish is not totally smooth, but has a stippled effect. They really thought about a new shooter using the rifle; giving them a firm grip on the rifle will instil confidence even before they shoot it!  

BSA comet silentum air rifle

At the tip of the moderator/cocking aid, the hooded foresight is enhanced with a hi-vz element. - Credit: Archant

OLD-SKOOL 
The Comet comes in two forms; the standard and the Silentum. The latter has an integral moderator fitted to the end of the barrel and normally, this would preclude the fitting of open sights, but it has a front-post sight on the top of the moderator – a hooded, red fibre-optic rod, with cut-outs in the metal protecting hood, to allow light to get to the rod and make it bright.  

The rear sight, I really like! You can call me a sentimentalist, but it is ALL old-skool BSA, and looks almost exactly like the rear sight on my first BSA Super Meteor back in 1979. I say ‘almost’ because it has been thoroughly modernised by fitting a green U-shaped, fibre-optic rod to give the shooter hi-viz 
dots on each side of the rear notch. The adjustment system is brilliant and way above its price range; the windage and elevation adjustments have positive clock adjustment, with a satisfying audible ‘click’. 

BSA comet silentum air rifle

At the tip of the moderator/cocking aid, the hooded foresight is enhanced with a hi-vz element. - Credit: Archant

OPEN SIGHTS FIRST 
I am of the opinion that all new shooters should learn with open sights first, and the ones fitted on the Comet are perfect. Once proficient in safety and gun handling techniques, the new shooter can move on to an optical sight. The rifle has a 171mm 11mm dovetail machined into the top of the steel cylinder for a scope, or for real beginners, a red dot. Importantly, it has a hole on the top of the action between the rails for a scope arrestor pin.

The action is break-barrel with a manual safety catch, which is easy to flick on before you cock the rifle – get into the habit of doing so. It has a long cocking stroke, the barrel coming back to within 190mm of the rear stock; it is smooth, the rifling cycle predictable, and there was no hint of spring noise upon cocking on the test rifle I was sent. It also has an anti-bear trap system.  
The moderator’s sloped base makes for an ideal place to slap the barrel to break the barrel lock.  

BSA comet silentum air rifle

The Comet has an excellent rear sight, again complete with a hi-viz aiming system. - Credit: Archant

CONSISTENT PERFORMANCE 
Over the chronograph, it was consistent with 7.9 grain domed pellets coming in at 11 ft.lbs. In fact, the variation was less them eight feet per second. Good pellets combined with a well set-up springer gets you this sort of performance.                            

Shooting the Comet Silentum was the best part, for me, both with its superb open sights and with a scope, it did not disappoint. The patented breech design and chronograph consistency means that it’s accurate, but also very ‘pointable’, a lovely gun to shoot. It is a light rifle, not only good for younger shooters, but also older airgunners struggling with heavy springers. It might be aimed at new shooters, but it is a very capable rifle and a variety of shooters will certainly enjoy using it.    
Thanks to Jon for help in production of this article. 

BSA comet silentum air rifle

The rear of the cylinder has a cap reminiscent of the BSAs of the 1960s. - Credit: Archant

SPECIFICATION 

Distributor: BSA (UK) Ltd 0121 7728543 
Maker: BSA 
Country of origin: UK 
Model: BSA Meteor Evo Silentum 
Type: Spring-powered 
Barrel length: 370mm  
Calibre: .177, .22, (.177 on test) 
Action: Break-barrel 
Stock: Beech sporter 
Sights: Open (with fibre-optic rods)  
Trigger: Two-stage adjustable with manual safety catch and anti -bear trap 
Trigger weight: 1.8kg 
Overall length: 1100mm 
Length of Pull: 350mm 
Weight: 3kg 
Features: Fibre-optic open sights, scope rail, manual safety catch, and vented recoil pad.  
Price: £175 RRP 

BSA comet silentum air rifle

The grip and trigger position is accommodating and well designed. - Credit: Archant

Observation 
The Comet Evo Silentum is a quality beginner’s air rifle; well-designed, well-made and accurate. BSA have made yet another rifle to start many a shooting journey, but don’t just think it’s young person’s rifle – the lightness can benefit the older shooter, too.

BSA comet silentum air rifle

Solid, reliable barrel lock-up comes as standard with the Comet. - Credit: Archant