Of the different types of air rifles for hunting, which should you choose?
The experience of hunting with an air rifle is a really interesting, adventurous one.
For an even better experience, make sure you choose the right air rifle.
This all depends on your targets, hunting experience, and style.
.177 vs .22 vs .25 vs .30 vs .357 caliber
The bigger the caliber size, the bigger the animal you can takedown.
.177 calibers are the most accurate, long-range, and fastest of air rifles, but they lack power.
They are suitable for small games like pigeons and squirrels.
.22 and .25 calibers have more power but less range and speed.
They are suitable for a medium game like hunting raccoons and rabbits
.22 is the most common choice since the best .22 air rifle for hunting can suit most shooting needs.
.30, .357, and above calibers are super powerful, which are suitable for big games like hunting deer or boar.
Remember to choose a suitable and accurate air rifle to kill your prey ethically.
Table of Contents
Spring Powered vs CO2 vs PCP
These are five main power sources of air rifles: Spring power, Compressed CO2 gas, Variable pump, Gas- piston, and Pre-charged Pneumatic (PCP).
All five types of rifles are equally accurate. However, you need to get used to each’s recoil and speed.
The key things are the PCP is much easier to shoot and the projectiles exit the barrel immediately when pulling the trigger
While the springer is much harder and the CO2 is in the middle.
Keep in mind that PCP air rifles offer some of the most powerful heavy-hitters for hunting!
Top-rated Air Guns For Hunting 2022
If you are in a hurry, here is an overview of the best air rifles for hunting candidates in our list:
|Gamo Big Cat 1250|
|Diana RWS 34|
Best For Big Game
|Airforce Texan SS|
|Gamo Coyote SE|
1. Gamo Big Cat 1250
Gamo is a Spanish brand with over 60 years of market experience.
They specialize in rifles, bullets, and BB guns.
Airguns and pellets need to be precise in every detail, so they develop and manufacture them in the local facilities in Spain for the best quality control.
Gamo Coyote has innovative products at an affordable price, which is the reason why they are available in over 90 countries.
The Gamo Big Cat 1250 .177 Caliber has an all-black lightweight and durable synthetic stock.
The tough material is well suited for all types of weather.
It has a rubber pad at the end of the butt plate to absorb the recoil.
The rifle has a balanced design so both the left-handed and the right-handed can use it easily.
The weight of the air rifle is 6.2 pounds, the length 43.3 inches, and the barrel length 18 inches.
As the name suggests, the Gamo Big Cat 1250 Springer uses .177 caliber.
It’s really powerful with the velocity at 250 fps with PBA ammo and 1000 fps with lead.
The rifle can easily take down small animals like birds, squirrels, and rabbits.
It does have recoil as it uses spring as the power source.
However, you won’t need to worry about recharging.
The drawbacks are that the integrated scope is not particularly great, the gun is pretty loud
And there is only a single shot capacity, meaning you have to reload after each and every shot.
It has an affordable price of about $200 – this gun is the best air rifle for hunting small game at the given price.
2. Diana RWS 34
RWS is a German manufacturer of airguns.
The brand is famous for its design, its accuracy for hunting and pest control pellet guns.
You have nothing to worry about with German quality engineering.
In fact, RWS offers lifetime warranties for all of its guns.
RWS 34 .22 has an ambidextrous design.
The classic straight hardwood stock makes it look like a real gun, and the spring pistol makes it shoot like one too.
The whole gun is made by German craftsmen and will last for decades.
Although the gun is spring-powered, it is really compact and easy to hold and shoot.
The barrel is 19.5″ long.
The overall length is 45 inches.
The gun weighs around 9 pounds.
The RWS 34 .22 caliber air rifle is powerful and accurate.
The rifle also comes with a very accurate scope.
You can shoot down a pigeon up to 70 yards away.
It does have recoil as it uses a spring as the power source.
However, you won’t need to worry about recharging.
On .177 caliber, its velocity is 1000 fps.
On .22 caliber, its velocity is 800 fps.
The rifle is suitable for medium game hunting like rabbits, raccoons, etc.
Drawback: It has a single shot capacity.
When it comes to medium game hunting, you need a .22 air rifle, and the RWS .22 pellet model 34 air rifle is one of the best .22 air rifles for hunting at $300.
This is the most popular rifle sold by RWS.
3. AirForce Texan SS – Best air rifle for big game
The rifle has a slightly higher price but it’s definitely worth it.
AirForce Airguns is the first manufacturer of PCP air rifles in the U.S.
It was founded in 1994 in Texas, so the Texan and Texan SS are their main products.
AirForce has some serious airguns for the serious shooter.
Their rifles offer an advanced design, performance, and versatility for every shooter.
The Texan was released in 2015.
Since then, it has been a monster in the airgun world.
The Texan SS is the upgrade of the original Texan.
They have the same solid aluminum frame, the same side lever action, and trigger.
The Texan SS has a shorter barrel and advanced sound suppression technology.
AirForce Texan SS has a 24.75″ barrel.
The overall length of 45 inches.
The weight is 8.45 pounds.
The gun comes with an 11mm dovetail.
The 490cc air tank can be filled up to 3000 psi (200 bar) (only use compressed air or dry nitrogen).
The shorter barrel makes the Texan SS less powerful than the Texan
However, it’s easier to shoot and it’s more effective when shooting large caliber rounds.
You can shoot .308, .357, or .457 caliber with this rifle.
The velocity can be up to 930 fps, and the energy is up to 500 ft. lb.
Yes, this rifle is made for big games, you can take down a deer quietly.
The AirForce Texan SS is quiet, powerful, and reliable – it’s perfect except the only drawback: It has a single shot capacity.
The gun costs about $1000. This is absolutely the best air rifle for hunting but comes at a cost.
4. Umarex Gauntlet PCP Air Rifle
The Umarex Gauntlet is known for its consistency and power for a more attractive price.
You’ll be impressed with its accuracy and performance considering the lower price tag,
As well as the attractive features that are a must-have for the shooting range.
Good Shooting Ability
When comparing different kinds of air rifles, the Umarex Gauntlet has a similar look and length, of about 46 inches.
It weighs about ten pounds with a scope and has a good grip that offers stability when shooting.
I also appreciate the fact it comes with a degassing key and the flexibility when filling it with HPA.
In fact, you won’t need to fill it to 3,000 PSI to utilize full performance.
The consistency is satisfactory with this air rifle — it produces 30 consistent shots at a spread of 18 FPS.
This is actually the typical and average performance you would find from a high-quality PCP air rifle!
Additionally, you’re able to use various pellet types without the gun being “picky”.
Besides its shot consistency, the weight of the trigger is constant and comfortable, as well as the overall grip when holding the gun.
UMAREX GAUNLET PRODUCED 30 CONSISTENT SHOTS AT A SPREAD OF 18 FPS
Speed and Accuracy
When testing out the Umarex Gauntlet, you’ll be shocked by its quick response and accuracy!
I tested it out using 16.54-grains alloy pellets and it had a velocity of almost 1,000 fps, though take note: I did use lightweight pellets.
With hazier grain pellets, it achieves a velocity of almost 800 fps, which is still good enough for the claimed 1,000 fps from the manufacturer.
The accuracy was excellent when shooting, and for me, that’s the best feature of this rifle.
Pros and Cons
The Umarex Gauntlet isn’t the absolute best as it does have its downfalls, such as the long and gritty trigger and slightly higher noise level.
But when thinking about the price and other specs that improve its consistency, it’s well worth the investment.
I don’t think you can get better value for a beginner PCP air rifle than this!
5. Gamo Coyote SE
.22 PCP air rifles are the most common air rifles.
They have both powers for all types of games and ease to shoot.
For the best PCP .22 air rifle at $500, I recommend another Gamo product, the Gamo Coyote SE PCP Air Rifle.
Gamo Coyote SE PCP Air Rifle has an ambidextrous design.
The beech stock material makes it look classical and like a real gun.
The gun has a compact size and lightweight: 7 pounds without a scope, and a total length of 42.9″.
The gun can shoot .177,.22, & .25 calibers, so you can choose the best type of caliber for your shooting needs.
The cylinder is capable of being filled to 232 bar (3,365 psi) – a really high pressure.
You can expect 30 good shots (optimal velocity) when it’s full.
If you only fill about 2900 psi, you’ll have about 20 good shots with higher deviation.
The Gamo Coyote SE PCP Air Rifle is equipped with a multi-shot mechanism with a 10-shot rotary magazine, which is super convenient.
The max velocity is 1000 fps.
The performance of the gun is really good — it’s easy to shoot and really accurate, perfect up to 50 yards in fact.
This is the best .22 air rifle for hunting at $500.