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You already know that Ruger makes some of the best quality guns in the world. Ruger is a recognized brand name with good reason, and this is no let down. The Air Hawk is an imitation of the Diana RWS 34 but with a cheaper price tag. It has received lots of rave reviews and stands at the top of the best 5 air rifles under $100. Let’s find out if this air rifle is overrated or not in this review.
Table of Contents
The Ruger Air Hawk is a spring piston gun. As the name suggests, there is a coiled spring and a piston inside the chamber. When you cock the gun, you make the spring compress until the little hook at the rear of the piston engages into the sear. When you pull the trigger, you release the hook and make the spring decompress. The decompressed spring moves forward and applies pressure on the air inside. As a result, the pellet is pushed out of the barrel due to the propellant force from compressed air. Spring piston guns tend to be simple to use, self-contained, and have impressive accuracy. You can read more about spring piston guns’ pros and cons in this post.
The Ruger Air Hawk is a break barrel gun which means that you have to cock it each time you want to shoot. Break barrel guns are easy to load pellets into because the breech is exposed when it breaks open. Furthermore, it gives you an unlimited shooting capacity and the convenience to repair it, because the mechanism is so simple. Finally, a break barrel gun is easy to clean because you have direct access to the bore.
This is a single shot gun: you can shoot only once at time. Single shot guns give you control over the ammunition and make you a better shooter because you know you have to make your first shot count before the required reload.
The barrel has a caliber of .177 inches (4.5 millimeters). .177 is a popular caliber for target practice and plinking but this gun promises to do well in the pest control field, and we’ll get into that later.
The barrel is rifled with helical grooves inside so it makes the bullet spin before it exits the barrel. Spin stabilizes the pellet, improves accuracy and enhances the shooting range. The barrel and compression tube are made of semi-gloss bluing steel to prevent it from rusting.
The stock is made of hardwood so it brings the intimate, authentic feel to your hand and withstands impact, shock, and abrasion. It can be refinished easily at any time so it has a very long life span. The stock is ambidextrous so you will have the same shooting experience whether you are left-handed or right-handed. Also, the stock has a rubber recoil pad to reduce kickback in shooting.
The stock is designed in a Monte Carlo style with a raised comb and low heel. The Monte Carlo stock has lots of advantages including improved accuracy since the shooter’s eyes are lined up more naturally with the sight, it absorbs a small amount of recoil and therefore allows faster follow-up shots.
The front sight is fiber optic: it uses optical fibers for the dots and channels the ambient light to the rear sight so that it’s brighter than the dark surroundings. Fiber optic sight comes handy if you don’t have perfect eyesight or if you are shooting in low-light conditions. Besides, it provides fast target acquisition and more accuracy in normal conditions. What else? The rear sight is fiber optic. It is fully adjustable for air resistance and windage, allowing you to adjust left and right, and for elevation as it allows you to adjust the sight up and down.
In addition to the handy fiber optic sight, Ruger has added the 4×32 scope in case you get bored with iron-sight shooting. 32 is the diameter of the front lens, measured in centimeters, while 4 is the magnification of the scope i.e. it magnifies the picture 4 times bigger than real-sight. This scope is good enough for plinking but I suggest you upgrade to a better scope if you want to go hunting.
Velocity, accuracy and power
With hyper mag pellets 5.2 gr, lead free pellet( I don’t recommend this pellet for this air gun, it’s way to powerful for the synthetic pellet ,it’s generally for your less powerful air rifle where you want to get some extra speed with it): 1142.41 FPS – 1154.5 FPS – 1145.55 FPS (15 FPE), with JSB exact jumbo this puppy has 799.48- 805.06 – 802.65 FOS (extreme spread less than 5 FPS , it’s consistent out of the box which is surprising), 925 FPS with Crosman premier light 7.9 gr (15.01 FPE), 222.6 MPS – 223.8 MPS – 222.4 MPS with Crosman premire 10.5 gr, 256.7 MPS – 252.4 MPS – 255.9 MPS – 255.4 MPS – 254.6 MPS – 252.6 MPS – 249.8 MPS – 252.1 MPS with JSB Exact Diabolo, 1045 FPS with Stoeger X speed precision pellet, 726.5 FPS with Crosman Premiere super domed, 734.3 FPS with Crosman wadcutter, 737.4 FPS with RWS superdome 8.3 gr, 746.1 FPS with Crosman pointed pellet,1093 – 1499 – 789 – 797 – 766 – 803 – 810 – 755 769 – 806 – 750 – 771 FPS with RWS Hobby pellet,659 – 757- 665- 534 – 553 – 536 – 550 – 593 – 555 – 546 – 631 – 581 – 559 FPS with JSB exact heavy 10.34 gr, 882- 970 – 892 – 904 – 854 – 835 – 816- 877- 814- 799 FPS with RWS Max lead-free pellet, 630 – 644- 677- 722- 720- 699- 706 – 1080- 790 – 1089 FPS with RWS Hobby, 750 – 810 FPS with RWS Hobby, 572 – 893 with JSB heavy, 906 – 1203 FPS with RWS 5.2 gr Hyper Max lead-free pellet, 996 FPS with RWS Hobby, 1098 FPS (12.58 FPE) with Gamo Raptor platinum alloy pellet, 1131 – 1579 FPS with H&N Field Target Trophy green 5.56 gr, 996 FPS (15.43 FPE) with RWS Hobby 7.0 gr, 939 FPS (15.45 FPE) with Crosman Premiere HP 7.9 gr, 820 FPS (12.6 FPE) with JSB Exact Diabolo 8.44 gr, 863 FPS (14.3 DPE) with H&N Field Target Trophy 8.64 gr, 788 FPS (14.88 FPE) with H&N Baracuda Mathch 10.65 gr, 920 FPS with CPHP, 1463 FPS with Crosman SSP 4 gr, 1182 FPS with H&Ntarget trophy green 5.56 gr, 929 FPS with Field target trophy 8.64 gr, 989 FPS with Crosman premier 7.9 gr, 817 FPS – 965 FPS with RWS 9.3 gr super mag, 927 FPS with CPHP, 760 FPS with premier heavy 10.5 gr, 1189 FPS with PBA gold , 990 FPS with lead, 895 FPS with 7.9 gr destroyer, 915 FPS with 7.71gr gamo match, 925 FPS with 7.9 gr, 1180 FPS with Raptor, 850 FPS with CPHP 7.9 gr, 842 – 849 FPS with CPHP in 40 degrees weather , 859 – 869 FPS with CPHP in 80 degrees temperature, 980 FPS with standard hollow point pellet, 900 FPS with RWS Superdome. These numbers prove that Ruger Air Hawk delivers consistent velocities among different kinds of pellets which is a good thing to know.
The common shooting groups are: ¾” at 20 meters with JSB exact jumbo, 2 ½” at 60 feet, 0.61” – 0.64” at 22 yards, 0.493” at 10 meters with AirARm Falcon pellet, 0.411” at 10m with Crosmn Premiere 7.9 gr, ¼” at 8 yards, 1 hole 5 shots group at 10 yard with polymag, ¼” with destroyer, 3/8” with CPHP, less than ½” at 40 yard with Baracuda match 10.64gr, 1/6” at 25 yards, 2-3” at 100 yards, hit a penny at 10m, dime size at 20 yards, 1” at 50 feet out of the box, 0.75” at 10 meter, 0.86” at 25 yards with H&N target trophy green, 0.91” at 25 yards with H&N field target trophy 8.64 gr, 0.61” at 25 yards with Crosman Premire 7.9 gr, hit 1.5” square block at 40 yards and 32 oz bottle at 100 yards, ¾” at 30 yards, nickel size at 13 yards with Crosman destryoer, 1.5” at 30 yards, 1 ½” at 30 yards with CPHP, dime size at 60 feet, 0.65 “ at 10 yards, hit penny at 25 yards with Kodiak and RWS super mag, ½” at 20 yards with CPHP, dime size at 15 yards, less than ½” at 25 yards, hit a 2.5” tin at 55 yards with CPHP, dime sized group at 30 yards within 30 shots, 1” at 25 yards out of the box, 1” at 15 yards, 0.5” at 10 yards with Gamo match, hit 1” knot on pine tree at 36 yards using open sight, a dime at 50 yards, ¾” at 20 yards, 1” at 30 yards, 2” at 50 yards, 2” at 100 yards, 50 cent size at 50 yards, 1” at 30 yards, group 3 shots through beer bottle cap at 30 yards, dime size at 30 yards, quarter size group at 15 yards, 3” at 80 yards, stack up pellet at 50 yards, hit a pack of cigarete at 60 yards, hit a 7” frying pan at 50 yards in average 2 seconds after loaded (quick follow up shot), 1 – ½” at 30 m with H&N Baracuda Match, 1” at 30 feet, sight in at 20 yards , hit street light at 30 yards, 1” at 25 yards, ½” at 30 yards, ¼” at 30 yards, 1” at 75 yards, 3/8” at 165 feet, ¼” at 30 yards, ¼” at 20 yards out of the box. As you can see, the Air Hawk is incredibly accurate with different shooting ranges.
How about the power? Surprisingly, Ruger Air Hawk can hit tin can at 80 yards, blow 8 oz pop can at 30 yards, kill squirrel ground hog, penetrate ¼” phone book with Crosman Premiere pointed pellet at 45 yards, picking off crow at 50-80 feet with Beeman Crow Magnum, kill bird at 30 yards, go right through a hard piece of ½” plywood like it wasn’t even there with H&N Baracuda , penetrate 8” deep in a cardboard box at 8 yards. Pick off crow at 50-80 feet with Beeman Crow magnum, go right through ½” plywood like it wasn’t even there with H&N Baracuda Match, dispatch squirrel and birds at 20 meters, pick off 12 oz can at 25 yards with easy. Kill 10 squirrels and 26 woodpecks , went completely through a chest of a squirrel at 30 yards, shatter beer bottles at 30 yards, pick off a pop can at 50 feet using open sight, 1 shot kill a crow at 50 yards, blow a turtle’s head out at 7 yards with CPHP, went through tin can and ¾ way into a 2×4 board with Raptor gold pellet, shot a bird at 30 yards on the first day with the gun, headshot a couple of foxes at 50-60 yards, shoot squirrel at 80 yards, hit squirrel at 50 feet, headshot opossum at 20 feet with 6.5 gr flat tip target ammo, nail a squirrel at bird feeder at 20 yards- pellet gothrough the pest and feeder cleanly, headshot crow at 83 yards, shot robin at 50 yards and squirrel at 40 yards, went through both fence at 31 yards, kill squirrel at 12-15 yards, shoot through 3/8” phone book up and ¼” plywood behind it. To sum up, common pests like squirrels, rabbits, ground hogs,etc don’t stand a chance before this heavy-hitting rifle.
This trigger is almost an exact replica of the T06 trigger on the RWS 34 rifle. The trigger plate is metal, not plastic. Furthermore, the trigger pull test gives us amazing numbers: The trigger pulls at only 1 lbs 155 ounces, 3 lbs 6 oz, 2 lbs 14 oz, which makes it a dream for young shooters. The safety is automatically on when you cock the gun so you don’t have to worry about misfiring.
Cocking and loading
To cock the gun, hold the pistol grip with one hand, place the stock on your hip, and break the barrel all the way down to its limit.
Load it with the breech open after you cock the gun, put the pellet into the chamber (with the pellet’s nose lying forward), pull the barrel up to its original position and you are ready to shoot.
The noise test result of this gun is 100.7 decibels, which is in the medium range: not so loud and still backyard friendly
At first you can get banging noises due to excess preservative oil burning off. Just clean the barrel and shoot a lot of light pellets and you’ll be fine.
Oil it with 2 drops of RWS air chamber lube every 1000 shots, into the compression chamber port. This keeps the piston and main spring working. Protect the barrel by coating it with RWS spring cylinder oil if you are not going to use this gun for a long time. A tip to increase accuracy more: just tighten the screw, fit a better scope, select the right pellet, and hold the gun correctly.
The price of a Ruger Air Hawk is so cheap: just below 100 dollars for a gun that’s solid, hard-hitting and extremely accurate. For that cheap price, if you take care of it, you‘ll have a good gun for a long time and squirrels and rabbits will hate you.
Customers are content with the power and accuracy of the Ruger Air Hawk at its price level. They love its quality build, beautiful fiber optic sights, solid weight and crisp trigger. Most negative reviews mostly concern defective products or damaged scopes. They are item specific and do not affect every single gun. Some customers complain that the rifle is made in China But so what? Ruger will not let any Chinese company produce their air guns without strict provision because cheap production lines can ruin the entire reputation they worked so hard to build up.
- Caliber: .177″ (4.5mm)
- Max velocity : 1000 FPS
- Loudness : 3-Medium
- Barrel Length: 18.7″
- Overall Length: 44.8″
- Shot Capacity: 1
- Cocking Effort 30lbs
- Barrel: Rifled
- Front Sight: Fiber optic
- Rear Sight: Fiber optic (Adjustable for windage and elevation)
- Scopeable: 11mm dovetail
- Trigger: Two-stage adjustable
- Buttplate: Soft rubber recoil pad
- Average trigger pull: 2 lbs
- Action: Break barrel
- Safety: automatic
- Powerplant: Spring piston
- Function: single shot
- Weight: 8.16 lbs
- Scope: 4×32
- Cocking effort: 31lbs
- Made in China
- Distributed and imported by Umarex
- Suggested for: small game hunting/ plinking/target practice/pest control
- Warranty: 1 year
This gun weighs more than 8 lbs, making it pretty heavy for young shooters but very nice if you have a medium to large build. Also, the heft makes the gun feel solid and helps a little bit with accuracy.
The price of Ruger Air Hawk is around $100. It is a steal for a rifle that is beautiful, hits like a tank, and can last for years.
There are a couple of listings with different prices but the listing I found with the lowest price is the cheapest price among online retail stores like Amazon, Walmart, PyramydAir, etc.
This rifle is hard to beat in its price class, it has good bluing, good metal, and the accuracy that you come to expect from Ruger name, and the stock is comfortable. If you want better accuracy, just replace the scope. Furthermore, it has so much power that it doesn’t matter that it’s a .177 rifle. The Air Hawk is an inexpensive rifle that’s worth putting a quality scope on down the road.