What’s on this page
For novice shooters, I have listed the suggested-features to look for if there’s just too much information:
- Power Source
|Crosman 760||0.177||625||Multi-pump Pneumatic||$||<4.0|
|Gamo Big Cat 1200/1250||0.177||1250||Spring-piston||$||4.1-4.2|
|Air Arms TX200 MkIII||0.22||930||Spring-piston||$$$$||4.9-5.0|
|Diana RWS 34||0.22||800||Spring-piston||$$||4.9-5.0|
|Ruger Air Hawk||0.177||1000||Spring-piston||$||<4.0|
|AirForce Talon SS||0.22||1000||PCP||$$$||4.9-5.0|
|Hammerli Pneuma Elite 10||0.177||1070||PCP||$$||4.6-4.8|
|Benjamin Titan GP||0.22||950||Gas piston||$||4.3-4.5|
|Benjamin 392||0.22||685||Multi-pump Pneumatic||$||4.3-4.5|
|Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper IGT||0.177||1300||Gas piston||$$||4.3-4.5|
|Crosman Nitro Venom Dusk||0.22||950||Gas piston||$||4.1-4.2|
|Benjamin Trail NP XL 725||0.25||900||Gas piston||$$||4.3-4.5|
|RWS 34P Pro Compact||0.177||1000||Spring-piston||$$||4.6-4.8|
|Hammerli 850 AirMagnum||0.22||655||CO2||$$||4.9-5.0|
|Gamo Shawn Michaels||0.177||1400||Spring-piston||$$||4.9-5.0|
|Crosman Remington Vantage||0.177||1200||Gas piston||$||4.3-4.5|
|Benjamin Trail NP All Weather||0.177||1200||Gas piston||$$||4.3-4.5|
|Crosman PCP Challenger||0.177||530||PCP/CO2||$$$$||4.9-5.0|
|Benjamin Shockey||0.177||1200||Gas piston||$$||4.9-5.0|
|Benjamin Shockey||0.22||950||Gas piston||$$||4.9-5.0|
The question of “what is the best air rifle” is a trivial one, and finding the best one is even more difficult when you’re just starting out on this hobby. But there are some questions I recommend asking ourselves.
Do you want to target practice? Or do some animal control?
Just answering these two questions will significantly alter your choice of air rifle. And to put it simply, there isn’t the best hunting air rifle, but a series of them; and one of them is tailored to your specific need.
That is why the chart above was created; it will help you find the one you need based on your specific needs because to find a good rifle is to match it up with its user, so the ideal air rifle is based on the the individual’s preference. If you ask a gun expert, most likely they’ll tell you the same thing and ask you a series of questions to help you choose your best air rifle.
So don’t be bummed you couldn’t find the ultimate air gun, because there isn’t. There maybe the most powerful air rifle–shooting at blistering speed, piercing through trees, but chances are, you won’t be needing one. You may even have to settle for less than that.
What Is An Air Rifle
There are a few titles given to this category–BB gun, pellet gun, and even gas gun. BB rifles are solely for shooting spherical ammo, while pellet and gas rifles shoot spherical and other types.
Now if you compared an air rifle to an air-soft gun, that is a different story. There are very noticeable differences hence, the names–air and air-soft. Go figure.
Aside from that, the air rifle has been present for a while now–approximately 433 years (wikipedia). Its usage have been seen in big game hunting using calibers as big as .51. It has also been used in the military back in the old days.
However, air guns were too delicate to manage compared to a regular powdered weapon; valves and reservoirs would burst, so their usage in military combat was limited.
Regardless, these guns still found their way into the consumer world and have become a popular alternative of shooting and hunting. Because of its low-noise levels, air rifles are ideal for hunting and target practices.
Choosing The Best Air Rifle For You
When choosing a rifle, there are a lot of specifications you must consider. It wouldn’t be right to buy a Benjamin Marauder Air Rifle so you can go boar hunting. Rifles do not work that way. Every gun is built for a specific need, even the Red Ryder. Some are built for target practices and some a built specifically to shoot a certain animal.
With that in mind, the outline below entails the necessary details you should consider when choosing a rifle. The outline has been referenced from the above chart, which a good amount of research went into. I think these are what a hunter would mostly consider when choosing a gun. Features like, scope, trigger type, butt-plate, etc are optional, so they won’t be mentioned here. But first, know what you want to shoot.
1. Price. Believe it or not, but most of our audience out there have a tight budget and do care a lot about pricing. So I’ve also taken that into consideration and believe that you can get a descent hunting rifle even with a budget.
2. Caliber. Is the definition for the approximate diameter of the barrel, which is directly correlated with the size of the pellet/BB. Four of the most popular calibers are .177, .20, .22, and .25. Some rifles also come in multiple sizes of caliber also. For example, the Benjamin Marauder comes in the .177, .22 and .25 calibers. You can read more about caliber sizes at Pyramyd Air.
3. Velocity. Or more properly called, muzzle velocity is the speed (measured in feet-per-second) at which the ammo travels. Rifle velocity can vary from 240 fps to over 1200 fps. Rifles aren’t determined by their fps.
4. Power Plant. There are five types of power sources are used in the air rifle industry–
- Spring piston – Guns that are powered by springs are the most common and produces the most constant velocity because unlike gas powered rifles that loses velocity after the first shot, springs last a lot longer. However, the powerful kick-back from the released spring makes it difficult to handle for novice shooters.
- Nitro piston – Are not affected by temperature, therefore making it a growing popular source of power as it makes cocking the gun a lot simpler. It is also 70% quieter than Spring pistons.
- Pneumatic – Is one of the most accurate air rifle power source because there is hardly any kick back from the gun. These guns are pump-action guns, so the more pumps there are, the more power, but usually one pump is enough.
- CO2 gas – Cheap and excellent propellent, CO2 is first in liquid form and then gas when shot. However it lags in extreme temperature, whether if it is too hot or too cold. The gun can lose power in cold weather or valve-lock in hot temperatures.
- Pre-charged Pneumatic (PCP) – As the name suggests, these guns are either charged up through a hand pump or scuba tank. And if you want to stretch it, that is probably the only down fall of these, but once the reservoir is filled, you’ll have more than plenty of time to shoot. This is why so many hunters prefer this kind of source, especially when hunting bigger animals.
All in all, there are definitely more specifications in an air rifle, but I hope the above information will at least get you started. Not only that, the interactive chart above includes a little bit more features that will narrow down your search and find you that perfect air rifle. See the chart here.
Air Rifle Reviews
With all the great rifles in stock it is definitely hard to pick out the right one, but I have some of the Amazon favorites and would love to review it for you all. So below is a review of a couple of great rifles that I personally think you should consider if you’re still having a hard time finding the best air rifle.
Crosman Phantom .177 Caliber Break Barrel Air Rifle ($)
This rifle is one of the few in its price range that is ideal for entry shooting. Not only is this gun inexpensive, but the quality of its built top notch.
The Crosman Phantom shoots only .177 caliber and the speeds can reach upwards of 1000fps with one cock. The break-action of this rifle allows you to control the power; the more breaks, the more power.
The Crosman Phantom is perfect for entry-level hunting. The scope that comes with the rifle does a good job, but many users recommend getting an aftermarket scope.
In addition to Crosman Phantom, I also want to introduce the classic 2100 multi-pump pneumatic that is by far one of the best air rifle under 100 dollars. At $60, anyone who’s new and serious about getting into air rifling, this is where you start.
The rifle is actually a new and improved version of the Crosman 766 and they have definitely done a great job on the successor.
This gun shoots .177 calibers at 755fps, but will still knock down those pesky pigeons. The rifle also comes with a great scope that will surprise its user with superb accuracy. And weighing in at under 5 pounds (4.81Ibs), this rifle is super light-weight and can be carried around with ease.
Many who have owned the previous generation loved it and are extremely satisfied with this new version.
Crosman Nitro Venom Air Rifle ($$)
This rifle can also be bought in .22 caliber in addition to the .177 for superior accuracy and maximum power. And since its powered by a nitro piston that means from the cocking to the shooting–every aspect performs smoothly.
This rifle is perfect for small game and plinking. You can expect the 1200fps pellet to penetrate through and out your target.
The rifle also features a great scope that keeps your group shots within a dime-shot area.
Overall, stepping up a notch towards this gun is a great investment. Users say that this rifle outperforms their expectation.
Benjamin Marauder Air Rifle ($$$)
No matter how much I worried about the price of this gun, we just couldn’t leave it out, so those who are on a budget, please bare with me. I promise that for the price of this gun, you’ll be getting your money’s worth.
At just $40 shy of $500 (you can use the extra 40 to buy a nice scope), the Benjamin Marauder is an incredible PCP rifle for its price and level. It is as quiet as you can get and there is practically no recoil.
The rifle comes in three calibers: .177, .22, and .25, and though the velocity is just a tad bit slow at 1100fps, it won’t affect the power of this rifle, which will definitely pack a punch in bigger games like coyotes–making this one of the best hunting air rifles.
The rifle comes pre-charged right out of the box and weighs a little over 7Ibs. The gun quality is top notch with added features like fixtures for a shoulder strap and a pressure manometer that gauges the air pressure.
This rifle is an excellent PCP rifle and it is one you should get if your in the market for this type. You’re getting quite a lot out of a bolt-action professional air rifle.
Gamo Silent Cat Air Rifle ($$)
Its velocity reaches over 1200 feet per second reaching supersonic speeds. This creates a sonic boom in which is held back by the suppressor that also comes with the rifle and protects the muzzle. This makes the loudness of this gun around 3-medium.
The barrel length is 18 inches from front to back, which is a tad bit shorter than the Benjamen Marauder even though it look likes the opposite. But for small game, this rifle is no novice.
The gun comes with a 4×32 scope in addition to the skeleton stock as an added feature that makes handling a lot better. Pyramyd Air sells this rifle at $199 with a free Gamo Gun Buddy rifle sling, while Amazon sells the gun only for $169. You can choose which one you’d prefer.
Not just us, but 38 users recommend this gun for novice shooters.
This concludes the section on finding the best air rifle. Visit the blog section for in-depth reviews!