AirForce, ASG, ATN, Aeon, Air Arms, Air Venturi, Anschutz, Ataman, Athlon Optics, Avanti.
All these are the air rifle brands starting with the Letter A.
Imagine if I had gone to Z, you would be really confused by now.
This is why you will find this “best air rifles of 2022” review of great help.
To get you in tune, it is good to look at the different types of air rifles.
Types of air rifles according to power sources
While a real gun uses powder burning to provide a ton of power source, an air gun only uses pressurized air as a power source
Which is much less powerful but safer, as well as legal in many more countries than real guns.
There are five mechanisms to produce pressurized air: Spring power, Variable Pump, Gas piston, Compressed CO2 gas, and Compressed air (PCP).
In general, these five types of rifles can be equally accurate, however, you need to get used to each’s recoil and speed.
The PCP air rifle has just a little recoil and the projectiles are fired from the barrel immediately
While the Springer recoils as much as a real gun and it takes time for the pellet to come out of the barrel.
So, when you shoot the spring-powered air rifle, you need to hold it steady or your projectile will fly way off course
But when you fire the PCP air rifle, you just need to pull the trigger and that’s it.
The CO2 rifle sits in the middle of the PCP and the Springer, faster than the latter but slower than the former.
The recoil is much more powerful than the PCP but still less so than the Springer.
The spring-powered air rifles do not require any gas or refills.
You only need to cock, load it and shoot.
However, the spring can experience fatigue over time and cause the rifle to be less powerful.
CO2 air rifles use bolt action so that you can fire shots in quick succession.
The spring-powered air rifles cannot shoot in such quick succession.
On the other hand, with spring-powered air rifles, you can just go on shooting endlessly.
The CO2 and gas piston air rifles can only fire a number of shots, after which they need to be refilled before shooting more.
For PCP air rifles, the air is held at a much higher pressure than in CO2 air rifles.
For CO2 air rifles, the maximum fill pressure is about 800 psi.
For PCP air rifles, the maximum fill pressure is about 3,000 psi.
This gives the PCP air rifles more consistency and accuracy when compared to the CO2 air rifles.
Generally, PCP air rifles are built better than CO2 air rifles.
PCP air rifles also incorporate regulators which further increase their consistency.
The better quality of materials used for PCP air rifles makes them even more accurate.
Many riflemen find the variable pump air rifles quite difficult to master.
The effort you use to pump the rifle will determine the power of the shot.
For PCPs, you only have to fill the air tanks to the maximum fill pressure and go on shooting.
It’s this that makes the PCP air rifle very popular, particularly with newbies.
However, shooting with a spring air rifle is so much fun as it will give you an experience similar to shooting a full-bore rifle.
If you can handle the recoil and still shoot accurately, you can consider yourself a great shot.
Spring power and compressed air are not affected by the temperature, while compressed CO2 gas works poorly when it’s too cold or too hot.
In terms of cost, Springer is the lowest because it does not need to be recharged, unlike the CO2 and the PCP.
To sum up, if you need a fun gun that’s close to a real rifle, choose Springer.
If you need a modern,easy-operating gun, choose the PCP.
If you think the PCP air rifle costs a little too much, go for the CO2 rifle.
The bigger the caliber size, the bigger the animal you can takedown.
.177 calibers are the most accurate, long-range, and the fastest in the air rifle world. They are suitable for small games like the pigeon.
.22 and .25 calibers have more power but less range and speed. They are suitable for medium games like raccoon and rabbits
Other less common calibers include .20, .30, .357, .45, .50, and the .58, among others .
The bigger calibers are super powerful and capable of bringing down big game such as deer or boar.
Remember to choose a suitable and accurate air rifle to kill your prey ethically.
Below are the top 27 best air rifles of 2022, categorized for specific purposes and criteria
Warning: this is a long, comprehensive list so sit back and enjoy the reading!
Gamo Whisper Silent Cat – The quietest air rifle in 2022
Gamo is a 60-year-old Spanish brand.
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 Whisper Silent Cat air rifle has a thin but solid plastic stock.
The gun uses spring power and is ambidextrous with two cheek pads on both sides.
There is a rubber pad in the butt plate to absorb the recoil.
The rifle is very lightweight and compact.
It’s only 5.3 lb and 46″ long, with a barrel length of 18.0 inches.
The short barrel helps the rounds come out of the barrel faster making it easier to shoot and fire long distances.
The Gamo Whisper Silent Cat air rifle fires .177 caliber accurately at 1200 fps with PBA, and 1000 fps with lead.
It’s a single-shot gun, and in terms of scopes, the Gamo Silent Cat air rifle features an 11mm dovetail tray.
As the name suggests, the rifle is designed for quietness.
It is in fact the quietest spring-powered air rifle, thanks to the noise dampener attached to the front.
However, when shooting PBA ammo, it does make a little more noise.
You should consider lead pellets to reduce sound.
The air rifle only costs about $150 – an affordable price, but it certainly doesn’t feel cheap.
AirForce Texan Big Bore – The most powerful air rifle in 2022
AirForce Airgun is one of the first manufacturers of PCP air rifles in the U.S.
It was founded in 1994 in Texas, and 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 gun is famous for its massively powerful shots.
It can be considered the most powerful PCP air rifle in the world.
The gun is designed to close the gap between a real firearm and an air rifle.
You should never underestimate the power of this gun.
The AirForce Texan Big Bore Air Rifle is designed for big game
And can discharge 257, .308, .357, or .457 calibers at speeds up to 1,000 fps with over 500 ft/lbs of energy.
You can hunt anything with this air rifle.
Deer and boar are no issue.
With a long barrel of 34 inches, the AirForce Texan Big Bore Air Rifle can shoot a faraway target even at 125 yards.
Although the power is deadly, you don’t need to worry about recoil – it’s not much since the power source is compressed air.
However, it is not equipped with AirFore’s Sound-Loc Technology though, so it’s not so quiet.
The stock is made from synthetic, comes in all back, and is really nicely finished.
The overall length is 48.5 inches and the weight is 8 pounds.
The 490cc air tank can be filled up to 3000 psi (200 bar — uses only compressed air or dry nitrogen).
The drawbacks are that the gun doesn’t come with open sights or scope and has only a 1 shot capacity.
The AirForce Texan Big Bore Air Rifle Price will set you back just under $1000 – but it is the best PCP air rifle available for that amount.
Crosman PCP Challenger – The most accurate air rifle
Crosman Corporation is a shooting sports manufacturer from the U.S.
The company was founded in 1924 with the name “Crosman Rifle Company”.
They are famous for their airgun design and the accuracy of their products.
The Crosman PCP Challenger has an ambidextrous design with a polymer stock.
The scope mounting rail is an 11mm dovetail.
The butt pad is adjustable to enhance the rifle’s length from 38.75 inches to 41.75 inches.
Its weight is 7.3 pounds.
It was recently approved as legal for use in Sporter Class air rifle competition by the National Three-Position Air Rifle Council.
This is a rifle made for competition, not for hunting.
The Crosman PCP Challenger fires .177 caliber pellet at 530 fps and 4-5 ft/lbs.
It features a Lothar Walther barrel for unsurpassed accuracy.
You can use either CO2 or compressed air for the rifle, you can fire about 70 rounds when filled to 2,000 psi.
If you want an air rifle for competition, the Crosman PCP Challenger is a good choice at about $650
Benjamin Marauder – Best air rifle overall
The Benjamin Marauder is evidently the most popular air rifle in 2021.
Perhaps what endears this air rifle to the masses is the high level of built-in tuning capability.
You can adjust the muzzle velocity, the number of shots per fill, the fill pressure, and also trigger settings.
All these customization options are clearly outlined in the owner’s manual
You do not need to be a pro to make this gun your own in every aspect possible.
Testing with the Gamo Raptor 9.7 grain pellets in the .22 caliber yields muzzle velocities of up to 1040 fps, with a muzzle energy of 23 FPE.
For heavier pellets, such as the H&N Baracuda Match 21.14 grain pellets, the muzzle velocity drops to 843 fps, which is equivalent to a muzzle energy of 33 FPE.
These energy values are more than enough to kill small and medium-sized games such as pigeons, raccoons, and rabbits or for pest control purposes.
You will also find the trigger action pleasant enough.
As mentioned earlier, you have the option to adjust the trigger pull weight, the position of the trigger blade and make changes to the first and second stages of pulling the trigger.
Just make sure you keep all things safe.
Crosman Repeat Air 1077 – Best budget CO2 air rifle
For less than $100, you can get this awesome CO2 air rifle.
Its 12-shot repeater feature has won the hearts of many.
You can have lots of fun with this air rifle.
In fact, the Crosman repeat air 1077 has been selected plenty as the rifle of choice for the biathlon.
The biathlon is a winter sport wherein the contestants do skiing and shooting in a single race.
If the contestant misses a shot, more time or distance is added to the overall figures for that contestant.
As such, they needed an air rifle that is both safe and had the rapid-fire capability. And they landed on the Crosman Repeat air 1077.
Also noteworthy is its 12-shot repeating capability.
Not many air rifles in the same price range include this feature.
Using lead pellets, you can achieve muzzle velocities of up to 620 fps.
This is at a temperature of about 20 degrees celsius.
The speed can rise when the rifle is used at a higher temperature.
Although very fairly priced, the accuracy of the Crosman Repeat is not compromised, only that you will need to purchase a good quality scope separately.
Crosman 2100B – Best entry air rifle for youth and beginners
Young shooters find it difficult when they purchase an air rifle that is either too heavy or too big for them.
The 4.81 pounds weight makes the Crosman 2100 B the best choice for teens, and the overall length of 39.75” is also a manageable one for them.
To achieve the highest velocity, you may need to use the Crosman Copperhead BB
Which yields a velocity of up to 678 fps, with a muzzle energy of 5.21 FPE.
Gamo Big Cat 1250 – Best .177 air rifle
Plinking calls for great accuracy, especially if you are aiming at coin-sized targets some 50 yards away and beyond.
The .177 caliber air rifles, and pellets for that case, can achieve such great accuracy.
The velocity of .177 caliber pellets is normally high, and therefore the trajectory of the pellet does not exhibit much deviation from the line of sight.
Using PBA platinum pellets, you can achieve an incredible muzzle velocity of 1250 fps and muzzle energy of 16 FPE.
With lead pellets, the velocity will be about 1000 fps, and the impact energy will be about 12 FPE.
To further improve accuracy, the Gamo Big Cat comes with an upgraded 3-9 x 40 scope and mount.
Both right-handed and left-handed shooters can comfortably use this air rifle, given it has a raised cheekpiece on both sides.
Do not worry about any shock from the recoil effects – the air rifle includes the Shock Wave Absorber.
Be sure to enjoy hours of fun plinking with this .177 air rifle.
Gamo Coyote SE – The best .22 air rifle in 2022
Gamo Coyote SE PCP Air Rifle has an ambidextrous design.
The beech stock material gives it a classic, “real gun” look.
The gun has a compact size and is quite lightweight.
Only 7 pounds without the scope, and a total length of 42.9″.
The gun is also available in multiple calibers: .177,.22, & .25, 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) – 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 that allows you to have 10 shots on load on a .22 caliber.
The maximum velocity is 1000 fps.
The performance of the gun is really good: easy to shoot, and really accurate – it can shoot perfectly up to 50 yards.
Airforce Condor PCP – The best .25 Caliber air rifle
In comparison with the .177 caliber air rifles, the .25 caliber air rifles have generally lower velocities but greater impact energy.
Therefore, they are best suited for hunting.
You probably understand that different game requires different impact energy to kill.
Have a look at the following recommendation by air rifle experts:
|Game||Minimum acceptable caliber||Minimum energy (FPE)|
It is immediately evident that the larger calibers are associated with greater impact energy.
If your objective of buying a rifle is hunting, you have to carefully choose the caliber and study the energy ratings.
We at Airgunmaniac recommend the Airforce Condor PCP air rifle as your best .25 air rifle.
With a maximum fill pressure of 3000 psi, you can get muzzle velocities of up to 1000 fps.
Just make sure you have the correct .25 caliber tank, otherwise, you may experience lower velocities and energy.
Air Venturi Avenger – The best PCP air rifle for the money 2022
High-end features at an entry-level price, the Avenger sets a new standard for similarly priced PCP’s to live up to.
Featuring an externally adjustable regulator and externally adjustable hammer spring, the Avenger provides the user a seemingly infinite amount of performance adjustability never seen at this price point.
A smooth side lever action allows for quick follow-up shots, and the fully shrouded barrel keeps your shooting quiet. Available in .177, .22 and .25 caliber.
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Air Arms S510 XS Xtra FAC – The best regulated PCP Air Rifle
When beauty and accuracy are your top considerations, you will find the Air Arms S510 XS Xtra FAC a truly invaluable air rifle.
First things first – the look.
The traditional wooden stock, walnut, in this case, will certainly charm you.
Coupled with the black barrel and other metal parts, you will certainly feel trendy and stylish with this air rifle.
Not only the looks – performance is not compromised with this air rifle.
It comes in three calibers, .177, .22, and .25.
Using the pellets that come with the air gun, the .177 caliber will give you a muzzle velocity of 1050 fps.
The .22 caliber will give you 920 fps.
The .25 caliber will give you 780 fps.
As expected, other pellets will yield different results from these.
At the rear end of the stock is a ventilated rubber butt pad that protects you from any recoil coming from the gun.
The butt also keeps you from getting tired when aiming at the target.
The air rifle’s barrel is the coveted Lothar Walther. With this, you can be sure of consistent, clean shots.
Benjamin Trail NP XL – The best gas-piston air rifle
This is one rifle every avid hunter and hobbyist should try.
Using lead pellets, the maximum muzzle velocity comes to about 950 fps.
This is made possible by the nitrogen gas piston used to power the shots.
Its ambidextrous hardwood stock is excellent and blends well with the black metallic parts.
The forearm grip is textured for a strong grip while shooting.
Given the air rifle weighs about 9.7 lbs with the scope mounted, you need to hold it tight otherwise it may get out of focus while shooting, causing you to miss your target.
Compared to other gas piston air rifles, the Benjamin Trail NP Xl is among the quietest.
You will, therefore, be able to maintain stealth when hunting.
The Crosman Nitro piston is particularly popular because of smoother cocking, smoother shooting, zero spring torque, zero spring fatigue,
Ability to shoot in cold weather, and greater durability when compared to metal spring.
You may feel the trigger pull is a little longer than what you are probably used to.
You can, however, adjust this to your best settings.
Air Arms TX200 – Best spring piston air rifle
Spring piston air rifles work by the force of a piston compressing the air in front of it to shoot a pellet.
The powerful compressed gas drives the piston when you pull the trigger.
The piston of these air rifles is powered by a spring housed in a compression chamber.
The Air Arms TX200 is very popular among both hunters and sportsmen.
It’s got power, an excellent finish, perfect fit, and accuracy!
The Monte Carlo stock will captivate you.
The cheekpiece is a bit raised for added stability when aiming.
It is professionally blued which further adds to the beauty of the gun.
For added safety, the Air Arms TX200 includes an automatic safety and a two-stage trigger.
Testing this air rifle with the pellets supplied with it, the maximum muzzle velocity for the .177 caliber comes to 930 fps, and 755 fps for the .22 caliber.
The only thing that may discourage you from purchasing this air rifle is the fact that it does not come with either a scope or open sights.
Make sure to get yourself a good quality one so as to fully realize the great accuracy of the rifle.
Crosman M4-177 – The best budget variable pump air rifle
Variable pump air rifles offer the user variable power.
Usually, the rifle is pumped using the forearm.
It is up to you to pump the rifle the number of times you want.
Just note that pumping up to and above 10 times may prove tedious.
The Crosman M4-177 multi-pump air rifle looks and feels like an M4.
The M4 firearm is very popular among the United States Armed Forces. It is fast replacing the once-famous M16.
This shift is major because of the better firing capability of the M4.
Moving on to our air variable pump air rifle, you would want to limit yourself to 40 yards.
This is the most effective range for this airgun, but it has the ability to shoot up to 100 yards.
You can, therefore, use it for both indoor and outdoor shooting.
The dead quietness of the gun further makes it the best for indoor shooting.
With the steel BBs offered by the manufacturer, the air rifle will deliver a muzzle velocity of 660 fps.
The gun allows you to use either BBs or pellets.
Winchester M14 – The best CO2 air rifle for target shooting
You will certainly love the Winchester CO2 air rifle if fun plinking is your number one goal.
At a street price of fewer than 100 dollars, you can quickly grab yourself one and head to the plinking field.
Being a CO2-powered rifle, the temperature affects its performance. Cooler temperatures lead to lower velocities.
It would, therefore, be wise to go plinking when it is sunny.
At a temperature of 16 degrees celsius, you can expect velocities of up to 550 fps and impact energy of about 3.13 fps with the Gamo Raptor Platinum 4.7 grain pellets.
Heavier pellets like the H&N Baracuda match 10.65-grain pellets fire at 355 FPS, giving impact energy of about 3 FPE.
These energy values are evidently small for meaningful hunting unless you are only looking at small insects like cockroaches.
Using the Winchester M14 for targets greater than 10 yards away may lead to some degree of inaccuracy.
I would, however, say that the accuracy levels are great for the overly fair price range.
This is not the kind of rifle with which you can fire several shots in quick succession.
Wait 5 seconds between shots for more consistency in the velocity of the shots.
Airforce Talon SS PCP – The best air rifle for small and medium game hunting
Hunting small game requires accuracy, simply because of the jerky nature of the prey, including the beaver, bobcat, bullfrog, coyote, grouse, muskrat,
North American River Otter, quail, woodcock, Wilson snipe, crow, Opossum, rabbit, raccoon, skunk, and snapping turtle, among others.
You will not go wrong with the Airforce Talon SS PCP air rifle.
Rated at an accuracy of 1” up to 50 yards, you are sure to hit the smallest of creatures.
The maximum velocity of the rifle is about 1,000 fps.
However, you can make use of the power-adjust wheel to set the rifle to the power level you want, down to 400 fps.
Of benefit to the hunter is also the removable 490 cc air tank which can be filled to 3000 psi.
You can fill this yourself with either a scuba tank, a hand pump, or an electric compressor.
There is no need to remove the air tank for a refill. Spin-Loc technology makes this possible.
However, it is advisable to carry one or two extra full tanks to the field, rather than carry the scuba with you.
Hammerli 850 air magnum – The best CO2 air rifle for the money
From the small-sized game mentioned right above, we move on to the medium-sized game such as rabbits, squirrels, hares, doves, turkey, and ducks.
To make it humane, you have to be fairly accurate.
Your first target should ideally be the brain.
If you aim properly, one shot is enough to kill the prey.
If you miss the head and shoot the animal elsewhere, it may or may not die, depending on the severity of the shot.
For animals with difficult-to-aim heads, aim at the heart or lungs.
Though they may not die with a single shot, you are in a better position to chase the partially demobilized animal and kill it at close range.
The Hammerli 850 Air Magnum CO2 rifle will give you energies of up to 13 fps when you use 21-grain pellets, and the temperature is favorable.
This is enough to down all rabbit-sized games with a single shot.
Overall, the Hammerli 850 Air magnum is a powerful, magazine-fed, bolt-action air rifle that stands out above the rest at the price range of less than $300.
Ruger Air Magnum Combo – The best Ruger air rifle for pest control
For less than $200, you can acquire this powerful pest eliminator.
The .177 caliber can reach velocities of up to 1200 fps and an energy of 26 FPE with lead pellets
While the .22 caliber is capable of 1000 fps and 32 FPE – quite some power is in your hands.
For hunting, I would personally recommend the .22 caliber – just for the sake of power.
The 2-stage trigger of the Ruger Air magnum will wow you – it’s very crisp and shoots consistently, a quality you won’t find in air rifles of the same price range.
The good-looking synthetic stock will assure you of many years of use, however rugged.
You may not find the 4 x 32 scope very accurate at longer ranges.
This should however not deter you from buying this rifle – you have the option of upgrading the scope to the quality you desire.
At an overall length of 48.5” and a weight of 9.5 lbs, do not be surprised that it feels a bit heavy in your hands.
Ruger Blackhawk – The best break barrel air rifle for target practice and plinking
The Ruger Blackhawk is a powerful spring-piston single-stroke break-barrel air rifle.
It features an ambidextrous stock finished in all-weather black material.
Both the pistol grip and forearm are checkered for a firm grip.
You can easily achieve speeds of 1000 fps with this break-barrel air rifle.
You may want to go for the easy-to-cock model that fires pellets at a maximum velocity of 490 fps.
What’s more, the fiber optics sights included will improve your accuracy considerably.
The rubber recoil pad will adequately shield you from the recoil effect of the gun.
The Ruger Blackhawk is ideal for target practice.
As a plinking enthusiast, you’ll need to shell out a little over $100 for this awesome air rifle.
Do not confine yourself to the regular targets.
- The AR500 8” round steel plate shooting targets, the tannerite single exploding extreme range target,
- The guide gear steel auto-reset and spinner shooting targets, the challenge targets 10” steel handgun target,
- And the IPSC harmonic steel handgun shooting target – quite a load of options for you.
Daisy Match Grade Avanti 753S – The best Air Rifle for competition
The Match Grade Avanti Model 753S by Daisy is designed especially for shooting competitions.
Such competitions test for accuracy, precision, and speed.
They involve the participation of both individuals and teams.
You can, therefore, expect lots of noise from the competitors and the impact of the projectiles.
As such, these competitions are carried out at designated shooting ranges or temporary shooting ranges at a good distance from people and “civilization”.
The Match Grade Avanti boasts a maximum shooting distance of 257 yards.
This guarantees you great accuracy, as long as you have mastered the basics of shooting.
The stock is adjustable length-wise for added accuracy.
The rifle also features the Lothar Walther high-grade steel barrel with a right-hand twist and 12 lands
And grooves that enable you to adjust the barrel to your perfect fit.
The barrel’s precision bore is accurately sized for match pellets.
This match air rifle will give you a maximum velocity of 495 fps when using the average match pellets.
This won’t cause excessive harm in case of a misfire towards a competitor.
Hatsan BullMaster Semi-auto – The best PCP air rifle under $1000
This PCP air rifle by Hatsan is great for shooters who value semi-automatic air rifles that fire fairly fast and hit the target hard.
Interesting is the fact that the air rifle has 3 rotary magazines.
The .177 caliber fires up to 14 shots.
The .22 caliber fires up to 12 shots.
You will, therefore, be able to focus on shooting rather than reloading the air rifle after just a short stint.
You can carry the 2 extra magazines inside the rubberized stock.
The airgun features a 500cc air tank that can be filled to a maximum pressure of 3625 psi.
For the .177 caliber, the maximum pellet speed is 1100 fps.
For the .22 caliber, the maximum pellet speed is 1,000 fps.
For the .25 caliber, the maximum pellet speed is 900 fps.
The Hatsan Bullmaster is particularly famous because of its gas-operated action – in contrast to the usual electrical action.
This makes it more durable and very reliable.
You may also want to mount a flashlight or laser sight for a more detailed sighting.
Given that it is fully shrouded, you won’t be disturbed by uncalled-for noise coming from the gun.
You can acquire this gun for slightly less than $1,000.
Umarex Morph 3x CO2 pistol and rifle – The best air rifle under $100
It’s ok to be limited in budget and still have the desire to shoot things!
Umarex has made this possible with their Morph 3x CO2 air rifle.
For less than $100, you can pick up this awesome air rifle.
Of course, you will not expect overly advanced features at this price range.
But be sure the specs are adequate for the low price range.
Umarex really won the hearts of many shooting enthusiasts by combining a rifle and pistol in one air rifle.
You can actually use it as a pistol or a rifle!
It comes with a detailed manual that illustrates the different combinations of the shoulder stock, forearm, and barrel extender.
As a rifle, the Umarex Morph 3X will give you a maximum velocity of 600 fps.
As a pistol, you can fire the pellets at a maximum velocity of 380 fps.
The 30-shot magazine is quite commendable.
It uses a 12g CO2 capsule as the source of power.
Its fixed fiber optic sights will also be of great help to you.
Crosman Vantage – The best Nitro Piston air rifle under $150
If you are looking for a budget-friendly air rifle for plinking, getting rid of vermins, or small game hunting, choose the Crosman Vantage Nitro Piston air rifle.
Its top features include:
- Authentic hardwood stock that gives it a stylish look
- An ambidextrous stock that favors both right and left-handed people; a rubber butt pad for reduced recoil impact
- A two-stage trigger that guarantees you accuracy and prevents misfires
- An 11 mm dovetail rail for adding accessories that will improve your shooting experience
- And a fibre optics sight for more accurate aims.
Testing with light pellets yields an incredible maximum velocity of 1200 fps.
Coupled with a rifled barrel, the fired pellets will move steadily up to 100 yards.
A rifled barrel typically has lands and grooves which make the pellet spin as it exits the muzzle.
A spinning pellet is more stable and thus flies very far.
On the other hand, a smoothbore barrel has no lands or grooves.
The pellet is not forced to spin as it exits the muzzle, and therefore may be quite unstable.
It will not go as far as a pellet fired from a rifled barrel.
Hatsan 95 Combo – The best air rifle under $200
The first thing you will probably notice with this air rifle is the beautiful walnut stock, then the $200 price tag!
Walnut is considerably hard and dense.
When properly seasoned, there is very little possibility of it warping or splitting.
However, you should still take care not to expose it to excessive moisture or heat.
The look of synthetic or laminate stocks will never match the beauty of wood, more so walnut.
Wood also feels practical enough, given the earlier firearms were all made of wood.
And if you pride yourself in the ownership of your air rifle, the hunting or shooting exercise will be the more enjoyable.
The Hatsan 95 Air Rifle delivers .177 pellets at a speed of 1000 fps. It has spring and vortex versions, which come in 3 calibers: .177, .22, and .25
With such a high speed, the manufacturer made sure to include a rubber recoil pad to save you from any recoil effect.
Also, the air rifle features a checkered pistol grip and forearm for a firmer grip when aiming at your target.
The Quattro 2 stage adjustable match trigger caps it all.
Diana RWS 34 – The best Air Rifle under $300
This is one of the most popular air rifles produced by Diana.
The full name of this manufacturer is Diana Mayer and Grammelspacher.
They are based in Rastatt, Germany.
As you may have figured out, they were named after Diana – the mythological goddess of the hunt.
The company has been in existence for close to 130 years.
You can imagine, therefore, how far they have come in perfecting the art of making air rifles.
The Diana RWS 34 break-barrel air rifle comes with a beech stock – it’s very beautiful to the eye.
It employs break barrel action, with the source of power being a spring-piston.
This gives you a whopping muzzle velocity of 1000 fps for the .177 caliber and 800 fps for the .22 caliber.
You need a 33 lbs effort to cock the airgun and a 3.3 lbs effort to pull the trigger to the firing point.
The trigger is also two-stage – very safe even for starters.
What I did not like about it is the plastic butt plate.
Though it reduces the recoil impact by far, I would have preferred a rubber butt plate.
Benjamin Discovery – The best air rifle under $400
The Benjamin Discovery is unmistakably a great hunting rifle.
When tested with Gamo Raptor platinum 4.7-grain pellets, the maximum velocity achieved is 1126 fps, and the muzzle energy is 13.3 FPE.
For the heavier H & N Baracuda Match 10.65 Grain pellets, the maximum muzzle velocity drops to 872 fps and muzzle energy rises to 18 FPE.
These energy values are enough for hunting medium-sized games.
The consistency in muzzle velocity is one commendable aspect of this air rifle. Its air tank is small, however – just 126 cc.
After about 20 shots, the velocity of the pellets may start declining significantly.
This tells you to refill the air reservoir for continued accuracy.
Having no silencer, the Benjamin Discovery air rifle is quite noisy.
A smart workaround is to use heavier pellets that fire at a lower speed than the speed of sound (which is about 1,100 fps).
The Benjamin Discovery air rifle is fairly priced at less than $400.
Diana RWS 34P Pro Compact – The best air rifle under $500
The Diana RWS 34P Pro Compact is one of the best spring-piston air rifles under $500.
It is particularly suited for small game hunting.
You can get a maximum velocity of up to 1179 fps and maximum muzzle energy of about 16 FPE.
This depends on the type and weight of the pellet used.
The rifle comes with an awesome 3-9 x 40AO scope and the RWS one-piece “Lock Down Mount”.
You will certainly find these very useful.
Selling at around $350, I can assure you it represents excellent value for money.
A final word
I hope this detailed review has given you great insight into choosing air rifles. Generally, you first have to identify your needs. Are you after hunting or plinking? If hunting, are you looking at small or big game? If plinking, what distances are you looking at? Additionally, what are the state guidelines for owning air rifles? What is your budget? If you can answer these, and several other questions, you will make an informed decision that won’t make you regret later.