There are plenty of reasons why you might be looking for the best air rifles. You might want to buy an air rifle to teach your child the responsibilities of owning a gun in your household. Another popular reason for owning an air rifle is plinking. Plinking is a fun and relatively inexpensive way to practice and improve your shooting, and it’s loads of fun besides. And some might use such a rifle to get rid of their pests problems.
Now, there are so many air rifle models available on the market today that it’s hard to determine which model is good and which is not. That’s why we decided to make a list of air rifle reviews with some of the top ranking models currently available.
Below is a brief explanation of the best pellet guns or, in other words, best air rifles based on Editors!
For more detailed explanations, follow the links under each air rifle review.
Overview: The Best Air Rifles
|CROSMAN M4-177 PNEUMATIC PUMP AIR RIFLE (.177)||Check on Amazon|
|GAMO BIG CAT 1250 .177 CALIBER||Check on Amazon|
|RWS .22 PELLET MODEL 34 COMBO RIFLE (WOOD, LARGE)||Check on Amazon|
|BENJAMIN MARAUDER PCP AIR RIFLE||Check on Amazon|
|CROSMAN NITRO VENOM BREAK BARREL AIR RIFLE (22)||Check on Amazon|
|Umarex Ruger Targis Hunter||Check on Amazon|
|HATSAN 95 AIR RIFLE COMBO, WALNUT STOCK AIR RIFLE||Check on Amazon|
|RUGER BLACKHAWK COMBO AIR RIFLE||Check on Amazon|
|BENJAMIN TITAN GP NITRO PISTON AIR RIFLE||Check on Amazon|
|GAMO WHISPER SILENT CAT AIR RIFLE||Check on Amazon|
|880 POWERLINE KIT, DARK BROWN/BLACK, 37.6 INCH||Check on Amazon|
|Daisy Red Ryder BB Gun||Check on Amazon|
Best Air Rifle Reviews (Updated List)
1. Crosman Pneumatic Pump Air Rifle .177 Caliber
The rifle’s magazine is removable and you can store pellets and BBs in it for easier and quicker reloading. The rifle has Picatinny rails, so it will be compatible with most accessories available on the market, such as flashlights, lasers, sights, or scopes.
The pumping mechanism will determine the shot’s velocity. Any number of pumps between 3 – 10 will provide sufficient velocity to fire a pellet, but more than 5 pumps will be difficult to achieve, as the pumping gets harder.
- Adjustable Stock – This rifle has an adjustable stock, so every member of the family will be able to use it comfortably, children or adults.
- Looks Great – This rifle has been modeled after the real AR15, which makes it look great. The finishes make it look real, so be careful not to carry it on the street unless your state laws allow you to.
- Plastic Pieces – Some of this rifle’s pieces are made out of plastic, and this lowers the rifle’s aspect and overall durability. You should be careful when handling the rifle as the plastic pieces can break.
2. Gamo Big Cat 1250 .177 Caliber Air Rifle with Scope
This break barrel air rifle is capable of shooting PBA Platinum with a velocity of 1,250 FPS and lead pellets with a velocity of 1,000 FPS. The rifle comes with a 4x magnification rifle scope for increased accuracy.
The rifle’s stock is made out of a tough synthetic material suited for all types of weather. The butt plate has a rubber pad specially designed to absorb part of the recoil, and the stock has cheek pads on both sides so the rifle can be used for ambidextrous shooting.
This rifle is not a toy, and it should not be handled by people under 16 years of age. The high velocities reached by the pellets fire with this rifle makes it suitable for pest control. You should always check your local laws and regulations before using the rifle.
- Powerful – This rifle is powerful. In fact, if you use proper pellets, they will break the sound barrier leaving the barrel.
- Perfectly Balanced – The rifle’s manufacturers know what they’re doing. The rifle is perfectly balanced so acquiring the target is easy.
- Bad Scope – This rifle comes with a 4x magnification scope. The scope is not good, lowering the overall value of the purchase. If you want an accurate scope, you should buy another.
3. RWS .22 Pellet Model 34 Combo Rifle
The rifle’s stock is made out of hardwood and it’s very well balanced. The stock has cheekpieces on both sides so you can handle the rifle comfortably if you’re left or right-handed.
The .22 caliber pellets can be used for pest control or even small game hunting in some states. Always make sure you check your local laws and regulations before you go hunting with this rifle.
The .22 pellets will reach a velocity of up to 1,000 FPS when leaving the barrel, but this velocity will provide the energy for a higher impact on reaching the target than other .177 pellets with a higher velocity.
- Accurate Scope – The rifle comes with a scope that’s very accurate. The scope also provides a graduated distance indicator to account for the pellet’s drop you’ll find useful when shooting over long distances.
- Comfortable Shot – The rifle’s hardwood stock is well balanced and acquiring your targets will be easy and comfortable.
- Poor Quality Control – Even though this is a good overall product, the manufacturer should be more careful at quality control. Some rifles and scopes can be delivered damaged
4. Benjamin Marauder Synthetic Stock Pellet Air Rifle
The synthetic stock has an ergonomic grip and an adjustable cheek piece. The cheek piece is ambidextrous, so it can be used comfortably by left or right handed shooters. The rifle has a 250 cc. reservoir that can be filled up to 3,000 PSI.
To help you keep track of the usable pressure, the manufacturer mounted a pressure gauge in the forearm. The rifle does not have open sights, so you’ll have to use the 11 mm rail provided.
Keep in mind that you should fill your reservoir only when the rifle is unloaded and the safety is on as a precaution.
- No Recoil – Firing the Marauder won’t cause a recoil, and you can shoot multiple pellets one after another. This is a fun way to shoot at targets.
- Quiet – This is a quiet rifle. In fact, you could use it for backyard plinking without any trouble, and then use it for vermin or small game shooting because it can be really powerful.
- PCP – PCP rifles have the advantage of being powerful and quiet, but they also need an external filling source. If you choose to manually pump the PCP reservoir you can consider that working out because it takes 50 -90 pumps to fill the reservoir, and that can be exhausting.
5. Crosman Nitro Venom Break Barrel Air Rifle
This break barrel rifle can shoot lead pellets with a velocity of up to 800 FPS and alloy pellets with a velocity of up to 950 FPS. The wide forearm and the fluted muzzle brake make this rifle ideal to shoot from the Artillery Hold position.
This rifle uses a nitro piston instead of a standard spring coil to generate the pressure needed to propel the pellet. This makes the rifle easier to cock and will lower the recoil. Nitro pistons are also more resilient to bad weather and handle long-term storage in any gun safe much better.
The rifle is powerful enough to use in different scenarios, such as plinking, target practice, vermin control, or even small game hunting if your local laws allow it. The .22 caliber pellets have a high impact velocity, but they shouldn’t be used for larger small game species.
- Nitro Piston – The nitro piston makes this rifle more suitable for beginners or inexperienced shooters because the recoil will be easier to manage and the loading will be easier.
- Good Scope – This model doesn’t have iron sights, so you’ll have to rely on the scope if you want to shoot accurately. Fortunately, the scope is good and accurate.
- Heavy Trigger – This rifle’s trigger can be heavy and some people could have problems with it. If you want to reduce the pull weight, you can follow the tutorials posted online.
6. Umarex Ruger Targis Hunter
The Ruger Targis Hunter air rifle shoots .22-caliber pellets. This model comes with an adjustable fiber optic rear sight and a fixed front sight that will give you the possibility to take accurate shots. Moreover, the rifle comes with a 4×32 scope that will improve the accuracy of your medium-distance shots.
We were impressed by this rifle’s power and accuracy. This air rifle shoots the pellets at about 800-1000 FPS, depending on the pellet’s weight and build, so it’s very powerful for a .22 cal. The rifle’s break-barrel design is top-notch, and reloading it is easy and straightforward.
- Quiet – This air rifle is quiet, making it perfect for those who enjoy plinking in their own backyards
- Good Scope – This rifle comes with an accurate scope. Of course, you will need to sight in the scope before using it.
- Heavy – The rifle is quite heavy. The weight of the rifle and its powerful recoil might not make this model the perfect choice for children or beginners.
7. Hatsan 95 Air Rifle Combo, Walnut Stock Air Rifle
This break barrel rifle has a two stage adjustable match trigger. The rifle uses .22 caliber pellets and shoots led pellets at a velocity of 800 FPS, while alloy pellets could reach higher velocities.
The rifle’s stock is made out of Turkish walnut. The stock has a checkered pistol grip, checkered forearm, and a rubber recoil pad which will absorb part of the recoil, so the shooter will have a more comfortable experience.
The rifle has good quality fiber optic rear and front sight produced by TrueGlo. The front sight is fixed, but the rear one is adjustable. The scope that comes with the rifle is accurate at short to medium distances and should handle well in many shooting scenarios.
- Open Sights – This model benefits from good TrueGlo open sights. These sights have a high quality and you’ll be able to use the weapon without relying only on the provided scope.
- Simple Security Lever – Unlike many other models, this rifle’s security lever is positioned behind the barrel, not next to the trigger. This makes the shooting experience more comfortable.
- Loud – This is not necessarily a major disadvantage, but the rifle uses a coil spring to generate the necessary pressure for shooting, and it can be very loud.
8. Ruger Blackhawk Combo Air Rifle
The rifle’s stock is made out of a composite material which is able to withstand all sorts of weather conditions, and the rifle has open fiber optic sights mounted front and back. The front sight is fixed, but the rear one is fully adjustable.
The rifle comes with a nitrogen filled 4x magnification scope which is shockproof, waterproof and fog proof. Keep in mind that the scope should be re-zeroed when using different types of pellets, as they have a different flight pattern.
- Serviceable Scope – This rifle’s scope is not one of the best out there, but it will do its job just fine, as long as you zero it correctly.
- Accurate – This rifle is very accurate if you shoot it properly. The open sights are very good and you’ll be able to group your shots well once you get used to the rifle.
- Big Recoil – The rifle produces a recoil similar to that produced by other .22 caliber models. This is a disadvantage when using an air rifle, as the recoil affects the pellet in a small measure. Make sure you shoot from the Artillery Hold position if you want good results.
9. Benjamin Titan GP Nitro Piston Air Rifle
The Benjamin Titan break barrel rifle offers two models with different calibers. The first model shoot .177 pellets, and if you use high-quality alloy pellets they can reach velocities of up to 1,200 FPS, while the second model can shoot .22 caliber pellets that can reach up to 800 FPS when using regular lead pellets, or 950 FPS when shooting alloy pellets.
Both models use a gas piston to produce the necessary pressure to shoot the pellets. Unlike metal springs which are usually used to power pellets, the gas pistons produce less recoil, they are more silent, are easier to cock, and the piston handles weather and moisture better. Models using gas pistons can be left cocked for a longer time and still shoot, and they can be stored for longer periods of time without problems.
The rifle comes with a CenterPoint 4x scope you can use for increased accuracy.
- Gas Piston – Rifles using a gas piston have a smaller recoil, and that’s very important for an air rifle because the recoil can affect the pellet’s flight.
- Hardwood Stock – This model’s hardwood stock is ergonomically designed and very well balanced, providing a nice shooting experience.
- No Open Sights – This rifle doesn’t have stock open sights, so you’ll have to use the scope every time you want to shoot.
10. Gamo Whisper Silent Cat Air Rifle
This barrel break air rifle can shoot .177 caliber premium pellets with a velocity of up to 1,200 FPS, or regular lead pellets with a velocity of up to 1,000 FPS. The noise dampener will reduce the noise produced by this rifle by up to 52% than a similar rifle of the same caliber. The noise dampener is not removable.
The rifle’s stock is made out of durable black synthetic material which should handle all types of weather without problems. The stock also has a rubber recoil absorption pad which will lower the recoil felt by the shooter.
Keep in mind that the noise dampener will not lower the noise level made by PBA pellets which will pass the supersonic barrier.
- Silent – When you fire normal lead pellets, the sound level will be similar with the one produced by a pellet gun with a 650 FPS velocity, even though this rifle will shoot pellets at a velocity of 1,000 FPS
- Comfortable Stock – This rifle’s stock is very well balanced and comfortable to use. This feature will improve your shooting experience.
- Trigger Needs Adjusting – Even though the trigger is adjustable, the factory setting makes the trigger almost unusable when you try to shoot the rifle straight out of the box.
11. 880 Powerline Air Rifle Kit
This variable pump air rifle will shoot regular lead pellets with a velocity of up to 715 FPS and BBs with a velocity of up to 750 FPS when it shoots at its highest pressure capacity. The velocity and power of the shot are easily adjusted by the number of pumps you use to load the rifle.
The rifle’s stock is made out of a synthetic material which should be able to withstand various weather conditions. The stock has raised cheekpieces and checkering both on the forearm and the grip for an increased easiness of handling and a more comfortable shot.
Besides the rifle, this kit contains a 4x magnification scope, 750 tin BBs, 500 tin pellets, and shooting glasses, so once you get the kit you are ready to go out shooting.
- Great Plinking Rifle – This rifle is one of the cheaper models available on the market, and it can shoot both pellets and BBs, making it an ideal choice for plinking or target practice.
- Good Shooting Glasses – The shooting glasses included in this kit are good, and you’ll be able to use them for a long time.
- Not Very Powerful – This rifle is not powerful enough for small game hunting, but you can still use it for vermin control.
12. Daisy Red Ryder BB Gun
The Daisy Red Ryder BB gun is a lever-cocking spring air action rifle that shoots 177-cal BBs. This model comes with a solid wood stock, an adjustable rear sight, and a blade and ramp front sight that make it easy and fun to use.
One of the things we liked about this model is that it has a sturdy build. Even though the lever is made out of plastic and not metal, it’s strong and durable. Reloading the Red Ryder is easily done, and you can shoot an impressive number of pellets every minute.
- Surprisingly Accurate – Despite the fact that the Red Ryder is a BB gun, it’s surprisingly accurate. This model will make a great addition to every plinking enthusiast’s arsenal
- Easy Reloading – The lever-cocking mechanism is easy to use, so the rifle is suitable for children who shoot under adult supervision.
- Gets Stuck – Even though this is a great air rifle, it can sometimes get stuck. However, forcing the cocking lever while the safety is on might clear any internal jams
BEST PELLET GUN BUYING GUIDE
Overall information that a rifle enthusiast should know
( Calibers / Velocity / FPS )
A rifle enthusiast should know the type of caliber a rifle uses, its shooting velocity, if it can perform under extreme weather conditions like extreme cold weather or wet weather, the type of material the rifle is made of, the power source or mechanism of the rifle, if the rifle can be added some accessories, what it can be used for, its safety systems, if its BB round shots or pellets are affordable or fit the budget, whether ownership of the rifle is legal in the jurisdiction or state they live in, and finally the hazards or cons that come with ownership of that particular rifle. When it comes to the type of material a rifle is made of, you should check if it’s wooden, synthetic, steel or what not. Power source or mechanism of the rifle pertains to it being either pneumatic, spring piston powered or CO2 powered.
What is Your Intended Use?
So what are you planning to do with the rifle you are buying? Well, the following are the commonest uses of rifles. The first use is to mainly hunt small game, rodents, and pests. These small animals are like squirrels, rabbits, mice, birds, weasels, etc. The second use of air rifles is target shooting. An individual can do this alone or it can be done by many competitors in a professional field competition full of spectators and rewards. The third use of rifles is plinking. This is basically shooting at targets like cans as target practice and also for fun.
How Far Will You Be Shooting?
Do you want to shoot at targets which are 35 yards, 50 yards or 80 yards away? Well, this is a question you have to ask yourself before you buy a rifle. Rifles are divided into four categories which are light, medium, high, and super high powered rifles. Light powered rifles perform best at distances of 35 yards, medium at 50 yards, high powered at 60 yards, and super high powered at distances of 80 yards. Super high powered rifles are the most recommended because they can do what other rifles can do and more.
How Much You Want To Spend?
Are you a spendthrift or a frugal type of person? Well, fortunately, it doesn’t matter how you label yourself for there are all kinds of rifles out there that fit the bill. If you want an expensive rifle that is expensive to use and maintain then you should buy yourself a CO2 powered rifle. If you are a common type of person that budgets every cent then you are lucky too for you can buy yourself a spring piston powered rifle at a low price. Spring-piston rifles are known for their low maintenance needs and long product life.
Most Useful Air Rifle Accessories?
The most useful air rifle accessories are the scope, targets and traps, chronographs, cleaning and maintenance tools, glasses and goggles, clips and loaders, grips, green gas, and CO2 cartridges. The scope is important for precision aiming and helps you hit the target easier. Targets and traps are important for target shooting and improving your accuracy. Chronographs measure how fast in feet per second a pellet is shot by a rifle. Glasses and goggles prevent eye damage in case of minor accidents when firing. CO2 cartridges are important for maintaining the power of a CO2 powered rifle. Clips and loaders are the parts of the rifle that hold pellets or BB rounds in place in the rifle. Grips help in giving you a strong grip on the rifle when firing. The green gas helps in lubricating and conditioning your gun to prevent unwanted friction. Also, you might consider having a trail camera to monitor deer and other animals.
Check out this personal air rifle buyer’s guide from an enthusiast:
What Are The Types Of Air Rifles?
There are three (3) types of Air Rifles and these are the Pneumatic (Pump) Air Rifles, Spring Powered Air Rifles, and the CO2 Powered Rifles. In here we will be discussing the difference between the three types, their advantages, and disadvantages.
Pneumatic (Pump) Air Rifles
These are the type of air rifle that is powered by a pumping level which pumps air into its chamber. After each shot, you need to manually pump the rifle about 5 to 10 times. This type of rifle will enable you to shoot pellets and bbs.
- Great for target shooting or plinking
- Can help you shoot down pests because you can shoot them with pellets
- Its capability to alter the FPS
- Good for training young people to shoot safely.
- Much safer than a semi-automatic rifle.
- Can be used as a beginners gun for young kids.
Spring Powered Air Rifles
This is a kind of rifles that utilizes a spring that will compress the air in its chamber as a power source. And there are 3 different kinds of spring designs and these are the side lever, underlever, and the break barrel.
- Side lever- the cocking lever is located at the right side of the air rifle that you can pull back to cock the gun
- Underlever- the cocking lever is located beneath the barrel. For you to cock the rifle, you need to pull down the side lever that opens the breach in which the pellet is inserted.
- Break Barrel- the barrel is actually hinged and you need to pull the barrel down to cock in the spring.
- Easy to use
- Hard to cock with younger weaker person or female.
Spring powered air rifles is the overall best choice for pest control and hunting because of its ease of usage, accuracy, and power.
CO2 Powered Air Rifles
The CO2 powered air rifles use compressed gas or cartridges as their power source when firing the gun.
- There is no need for you to stop and pump your rifle at the start of a shot.
- Normally, you will only use a 12 gm CO2 cartridge and this will give you an average of 50 shots before you need to use one again or refill it.
- It is not as powerful as the spring or pump powered air rifles.
- Over time, the use of CO2 once you add it all up becomes expensive.
Other things you need to consider when choosing which type to buy:
- There are accessories that need to be checked when buying the air rifle.
- Materials that are used can vary
- You need to know how to maintain your air rifles by cleaning it properly so that it can perform at its best.
- And lastly, who will use it. Will it be for hunting, for pest control, or just for training kids or young adults?
What Can You Shoot With An Air Rifle?
Shooting with an air rifle is fun, challenging and demanding. Aside from its ease of usage, you can easily be a good marksman when you use an airgun.
So what can you Shoot with an Airgun?
You can either do target shooting or live quarry shooting. Target shooting is when you use papers or tin cans as the target. They have placed a few meters away from you strategically. It is usually done for beginners or for people who aren’t interested in hunting or just want to simply have fun.
There are many places or clubs that offer target shooting however it can be done in your own backyard. Target shooting in your own place is easy and its cheaper than going to the club and pay fees. But if you want to do practice shooting in your own place, you need an effective backstop. A backstop could either be made of a brick wall or soft soil bank that has no stones. This will prevent the pellets from going to another man’s property. Keep in mind that you can kill or hurt another man with this rifle so extra care should be taken when you want to do it on your property.
Live quarry shooting is when you are shooting live animals on a certain n property some are considered pests that destroy crops like squirrels, rabbits, minks, brown rats, squirrels, stoats and crows given that the landowner gave you permission. Other animals are also considered in hunting but only when it is the open season like foxes and deer. You can also shoot games or wild ducks when it is in the season which is covered with general licenses. Always remember that even though they may be seen as pests those creatures are still living and it still deserve humane kind of death.
The reasons that a landowner may give you permission to hunt in his lands are these:
- He thinks that by hunting it down he will be able to preserve safety and public health
- Conserve and protect the fauna and flora
- Prevent spread of disease
- Prevent damage to his livestock and crops
- Only practice on targets and not on a live quarry.
- You need to know your capability to shoot and know the distance in which you can reach your target
- Practice, practice, and practice. This will help you aim better and execute clean shots.
- Tips on how to clean kill a prey.
- When hunting a mammal, the best way to kill it is by its temporal area which is at the side of his head.
- When hunting for birds, the preferred placement for a shot is the head; however it is hard to do that, so consider hitting in the breast area or body and under the wings of the bird.
- Before you start shooting, make sure that your scope is clear and the rifle and sights are in its proper alignment.
- When dispatching rodents such as rats, never ever carry them, instead use a shovel because they might be a carrier of a disease.
Best Pellet Gun Comparison Chart
|CROSMAN M4-177 PNEUMATIC PUMP AIR RIFLE (.177)||$||7.9 or 10.5||0.177||Upto 1100|
|GAMO BIG CAT 1250 .177 CALIBER||$$||6.1||0.177||1250|
|RWS .22 PELLET MODEL 34 COMBO RIFLE (WOOD, LARGE)||$$$||9.6||.22||up to 1,000|
|BENJAMIN MARAUDER PCP AIR RIFLE||$$$$||8.9||.22||Up to 900|
|CROSMAN NITRO VENOM BREAK BARREL AIR RIFLE (22)||$$||7.375 lbs||.22||950|
|HATSAN 95 AIR RIFLE COMBO, WALNUT STOCK AIR RIFLE||$$||11.7||0.177||1000|
|RUGER BLACKHAWK COMBO AIR RIFLE||$$||9.6||0.177||1000|
|BENJAMIN TITAN GP NITRO PISTON AIR RIFLE||$$||9.0||0.177||1200|
|GAMO WHISPER SILENT CAT AIR RIFLE||$$||7.3||0.177||1200|
|880 POWERLINE KIT, DARK BROWN/BLACK, 37.6 INCH||$||5.2||.177||750|
Based on our analysis of air rifle reviews;
For the most powerful air rifle is the Gamo Big Cat with a shooting velocity of 1250 FPS. The best pellet gun for the money is the Gamo whisper silent which is been sold cheaply but shoots at a velocity of 1200 FPS. The Ruger Blackhawk combo definitely belongs in the class of high-powered air rifles because of its shooting velocity of 1000 FPS. The most accurate air rifle of them all is the Benjamin Marauder PCP which also may qualify to be the best air rifle of them all. Crossman nitro venom is the best air rifle for hunting amongst all of them.