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An air rifle is a is a portable long-barreled air gun designed for precise and long-range shooting. When shooting, we hold the gun with both hands and braced against the shoulder for stability. As an air gun, the power source behind the pellet is the pressurized air. The power of an air gun cannot be compared to the power of a firearm which uses powder burning as the power source.
An air rifle is much less dangerous than a real rifle. Therefore, an air rifle is used in hunting and sporting. If you are a newbie, or just want a “toy” for hunting around, or want to be a responsible hunter, you should choose an air rifle. A lot of people get in trouble with a real rifle when hunting. It happens when they miss their target and the round travels too far and causes risk to others. When it comes to an air rifle, if you miss, the round won’t do much damage elsewhere.
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Advantages of an air rifle – Who should buy a .22 air gun?
There are some other advantages of an air rifle to a real rifle. First, air rifles are quieter, thus less harmful to your ears. You don’t even need to wear ear protection with most air rifles. Second, air rifles are less dangerous and have less recoil, so they are suitable for newbies to train how to shoot a rifle. Third, the price to buy an air rifle is much lower than a real rifle. Moreover, the cost to shoot of an air rifle is much lower as the ammunition costs considerably less. A day of real rifle shooting can cost you several hundred dollars, while 500 rounds of .22 air rifle costs only $20. The last, an air rifle is also easier to find and purchase as real rifles are banned in many countries, and owning one often requires safety courses and applications.
The two most common pellets for air rifles are .177 caliber and .22 caliber pellets.
Comparing .177 vs .22 air rifles
While .177 is more accurate, more long-range and faster, .22 is more powerful but shorter and slower. .177 is suitable for target practice, plinking, small pests like rats or pigeons, while .22 cal is suitable for bigger pests like rabbits, squirrels, or skunks.
Here are the top 5 best .22 air rifles for money:
Gamo Coyote SE PCP Air Rifle
Gamo is a Spanish brand with over 60 years 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 Coyote SE PCP (Pre-Charged Pneumatic) Air Rifle uses compressed air as the power source. PCP is the most powerful .22 air rifle type as in comparison to other types of power sources, compressed air is held at a much higher pressure than the CO2 and the Spring. Pressurized air is also not affected by temperature changes like CO2 is. These rifles are powerful, consistent, and accurate. Therefore, hunting deer with a PCP air rifle is not a big deal.
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. Only 7 pounds without 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 tap on .22 caliber. The max velocity is 1000 fps.
The performance of the gun is really good: easy to shoot, and really accurate — shooting perfectly up to 50 yards.
The only drawback is the noise when shooting. However, I guess it’s not an issue when you’re hunting.
The gun’s price is $500 – PCP air rifles always have a higher price than other types. This is one of the best hunting PCP air rifles at the price.
Hammerli 850 Air Magnum CO2 Air Rifle
Hammerli is a Swiss gun company that has over 100 years of experience. As precision target shooting has long been a strong tradition in Switzerland, Swiss gun technology is really advanced. Hammerli has the experience of making Swiss army guns, and their guns have won many World Shooting Championships. Hammerli is a gun brand that you can trust.
The Hammerli 850 Air Magnum CO2 Air Rifle has compressed CO2 gas as the power source. Compressed CO2 is cheaper and easier to charge than compressed air. However, it’s also much less powerful and accurate as the pressure that CO2 can be compressed is about one third the pressure that air can be.
The Hammerli 850 Air Magnum CO2 Air Rifle has durable polymer stock that is ambidextrous. Despite being made from polymer, the stock is weatherproof – it won’t be fragile. The air rifle comes with a scope and a silencer, though the scope is not very good.
The gun is compact in size and lightweight: 6 pounds without scope and silencer and 41.0 inches in length. The Hammerli 850 Air Magnum CO2 Air Rifle is a bolt action rifle with an 8-shot rotary magazine. 3,000 psi CO2 tanks will work for Hammerli 850 Air Magnum CO2 Air Rifles. The max velocity is 655 fps. The shots are smooth and accurate.
Hammerli 850 Air Magnum CO2 Air Rifle is one of the most powerful .22 gas piston air rifles on the market.
The gun is the best .22 air rifle at $330.
Hatsan Predator PCP Air Rifle
Hatsan is the most famous manufacturer of air guns in Turkey. They were founded in 1967 and now are available over 90 countries worldwide. They are ISO 9001 certified. They have a high-standard production process, from initial processing of materials to final product testing. The raw materials are very carefully selected, using things such as Turkish walnut and very high-quality steel. The end products are high-quality and durable, like the champion of the wood: Hatsan 95.
The Hatsan Predator .22 pcp air rifle uses PCP as the power sourc, so that it’s powerful and accurate.
The stock is made from advanced polymer with integrated pistol grip and integrated picatinny rail beneath the forearm. The overall length of the Hatsan Predator PCP Air rifle is 43.3 inches, and the weight is 11.2 lbs. The gun will give you a good grip feeling.
The Hatsan Predator PCP Air rifle is available in .177, .22 and 25 caliber. It is a bolt action air rifle, with an extremely high shot capacity: a detachable 17-shot magazine in .177, 14-shot magazine in .22 and 13-shot magazine in .25. The max velocity on .22 caliber is 1150 fps. The fill pressure is 200 bar. You can have 130 shots per fill (48 shots at optimal velocity). This is considered the best PCP air rifle for hunting.
The price of the rifle is about $630.
Hatsan 125 .22 Air Rifle
This Hatsan 125 .22 is also a considerable choice. This is a spring powered air rifle. Spring power is the simplest and the most classic of the three power methods available when it comes to airguns. Although it has many disadvantages, such as recoil and noise, spring will give you the most real feeling when shooting. Using a spring rifle regularly can improve your marksmanship. If you can handle the recoil and shoot accurately, you might be ready for a full-bore rifle. The spring rifle also doesn’t require any gas or refills, and isn’t affected by the weather. You’ll have so much fun with this rifle.
The Hatsan 125 .22 air rifle comes with a large silencer in front, shock absorber system, adjustable cheek pieces with a nice rubber pad, a scope, and a big bipod which is not really for shooting but for display. It has some rubber inserts on the forearm and on the piston that gives you a nice grip. It also has a dual Weaver and Dovetail scope mount. The weight is 11.6 pounds and the length is 50 inches – very long due to the large silencer.
The Hatsan 125 .22 air rifle is as powerful as any other PCP air rifle. Its max velocity is 1,000 fps, max energy 31 ft.lbs. The big silencer does a great job, the rifle is quiet while shooting. The recoil makes the gun a hunting rifle, not a target shooting rifle.
The gun costs about $250 – really affordable. Spring air rifles always have lower prices than others, but the quality is not necessarily any lower.
RWS 34 .22 caliber air rifle
The last rifle is a sexy one. RWS is a German manufacturer of airguns. The brand is famous for its design,and accuracy for hunting and pest control pellet guns. You have nothing to worry about with German quality, in fact, RWS offers lifetime warranties for all of its guns.
The RWS 34 .22 caliber air rifle will bring you back to the 1800s with the classic straight hardwood stock and the spring pistol – which 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. It is fully ambidextrous with automatic safety. This is the most popular rifle sold by RWS.
The RWS 34 .22 caliber air rifle is powerful and accurate. You can shoot down a pigeon out to 70 yards. On .22 caliber, its velocity is 800 fps.
This is the best .22 air rifle at $300. You can read the full review here