The Best Air Rifles Of 2023

0
29
Video what is the best air rifle

Most outdoorsmen grew up with a Daisy, Crossman, or Benjamin air rifle. Many hours of my childhood were spent knocking tin cans off of the backyard wood pile or attempting to pop squirrels off of my momma’s bird feeder (ideally without knocking a hole in it). Air rifles provided a relatively safe and inexpensive way to hone marksmanship and gun handling skills, and were the first stepping stone towards responsible firearm usage.

Most adults “graduate” to centerfire firearms and leave their Red Riders behind them. But sportsmen looking to reconnect to their childhood may be surprised with the new offerings air rifle manufacturers are churning out. Today’s air rifles are more powerful, more accurate, and more capable of handling game than ever before.

What Is An Air Rifle?

For those not familiar, air rifles are guns that use compressed air to fire projectiles. They usually fire BBs or pellets, but recently designs have been introduced that allow for the firing of arrows. They’re usually not legally considered “firearms” since they don’t use modern, smokeless powder, so the regulations on their usage are more relaxed. This also makes them quieter, more user-friendly, and cheaper to shoot.

Like other firearms, they come in various types and calibers. Read on, and we’ll discuss the pros and cons of different designs and how to choose between them so that you get the best “bang” (or “pffft”) for your buck!

Air Rifle Points To Consider

When purchasing an air rifle, there are several points to consider to ensure you choose the right one for your needs. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

Intended Use: Determine the primary purpose for buying the air rifle. Is it for target shooting, plinking, pest control, or hunting? Different models may excel in specific areas, so choose accordingly.

Power Source: Air rifles can be powered by various mechanisms, including spring-piston, gas-piston, CO2, or pre-charged pneumatic (PCP). Each type has its advantages and limitations, such as ease of use, power output, and shot consistency. Consider which power source suits your preferences and requirements.

Caliber: Air rifles are available in different calibers, such as .177, .22, .25, and more. Smaller calibers like .177 are generally suitable for target shooting and plinking, while larger calibers like .22 and .25 offer more power for hunting or pest control. Choose a caliber appropriate for your intended use.

Velocity and Energy: The velocity of the pellet and the muzzle energy it generates are important factors. Higher velocities are often desired for flatter trajectories and longer-range shooting, while greater energy is beneficial for hunting or pest control to ensure humane and effective kills.

Accuracy: Look for an air rifle known for its accuracy. Consider features like a quality barrel, adjustable sights or optics, a consistent trigger, and overall build quality. Customer reviews and expert opinions can help you gauge the accuracy of a particular model.

Ergonomics and Handling: Consider the weight, balance, and overall ergonomics of the air rifle. It should feel comfortable to hold and shoot. Check if the stock fits well with your body type and shooting style, and assess the ease of cocking or charging the rifle, especially for spring or PCP models.

air rifles
There are a multitude of different options when it comes to air rifles.

Noise and Recoil: If shooting quietly is a priority, consider air rifles with noise-reducing features like suppressors or shrouds. Additionally, certain power sources like gas-piston or PCP rifles tend to have less recoil compared to spring-piston rifles, which can affect accuracy and ease of shooting.

Safety Features: Check for safety mechanisms such as automatic safeties, anti-beartrap systems, or trigger locks. These features help prevent accidental discharge and ensure safe handling.

Accessories and Upgradability: Consider the availability of accessories and the ability to upgrade your air rifle in the future. This includes options for mounting scopes, bipods, slings, or other attachments based on your shooting needs.

Budget: Determine your budget range and look for air rifles that offer good value for money within that range. Remember to consider the cost of additional accessories, ammunition, and maintenance.

By considering these points, you can make a more informed decision and find an air rifle that aligns with your shooting requirements, preferences, and budget.

Types Of Air Rifles

(Pre Charged Pneumatic) PCP Air Rifles

PCP air rifles fire projectiles by releasing a high-pressure burst of air stored in an on-board reservoir. This reservoir is usually located in the stock or forend of the air rifle, making it fairly unobtrusive. They have gained a huge following due to their high power, accuracy, and consistency shot-to-shot.

Benefits of PCP air rifles include:

  • Power and accuracy: PCP rifles can generate high velocities and muzzle energies, making them ideal for hunting applications. Their consistent shot-to-shot velocities contribute to improved accuracy as well.
  • Multiple shots per fill: PCP air rifles usually fire multiple shots before requiring a refill. The number of shots depends on the rifle’s reservoir size, pellet weight, and desired velocity. This makes them much more convenient to operate, and is a huge advantage for hunters who might need a follow-up shot on wounded game.
  • Quieter operation: PCP rifles tend to be quieter compared to spring or gas piston air rifles, since there’s no noise produced by the piston slamming forward internally. The only moving mechanism is the trigger-activated valve. This makes them ideal for use in backyards and other areas where noise is a concern.
  • Reduced recoil: Their lack of a piston also reduces recoil and vibration. This makes for a very pleasant shooting experience.

Air Venturi Avenger

Air Venturi Avenger

Features

  • Sidelever Cocking
  • Synthetic Stock
  • Externally Adjustable Regulator (Up to 3,000 PSI / 210 BAR)
  • Easily accessible Hammer Spring Adjustment Screw
  • Two-Stage Adjustable Trigger
  • Max Fill Pressure: 4,351 PSI (300 BAR)
  • Fully Shrouded Barrel
  • Picatinny Rail on Fore-end of stock
  • Holes in front and rear of stock for mounting swivel studs for a sling
  • Dual Gauges – Reg Pressure (RH Side) and Fill Pressure (LH Side)
  • Male Quick Disconnect Fill Fitting
  • Easy Access Degassing Screw
  • Manual Safety
  • 11mm dovetail/weaver combination scope rail
  • Magazine Capacity: 10 rds. (.177 & .22), 8 rds. (.25)

This affordable option fills a void by offering maneuverability, compatibility with various accessories, and excellent performance. The Avenger weighs just over 6 lbs and features mounting points for easy carrying. It also has a versatile rail system for scope mounting and accessory attachment. The externally adjustable regulator, in conjunction with the adjustable hammer spring, allows users to fine-tune the rifle’s performance. The regulator’s pressure can be adjusted up to 3000 PSI, and adjustments can be tracked using the pressure gauge. The Avenger boasts a smooth sidelever action and comes with two magazines for quick reloading. The trigger is two-stage and adjustable, while filling the rifle is convenient with the male quick disconnect fitting. The Avenger offers exceptional value for those seeking a customizable and budget-friendly PCP rifle, making it a top choice for tuners, modders, and budget-conscious shooters.

Hatsan Blitz Full Auto PCP Air Rifle

Hatsan Blitz Full Auto PCP Air Rifle

Features

  • Pre-charged pneumatic
  • Full/semi-automatic selector switch
  • 580cc carbon fiber bottle on forearm
  • 1,000 rounds per minute cyclic rate
  • Max Velocity w/ Lead Pellets: 1050 FPS
  • Max Energy: 36 FPE
  • Shots at optimal velocity*: 130
  • Magazine Capacity: 21 rds
  • Gas-operating cycling mechanism requires no batteries
  • QuietEnergy fully-shrouded barrel
  • Detachable SwingLoad Magazine (Includes 2)
  • Magazine winding tool stored in stock
  • Elevation Adjustable Comb
  • Adjustable rubber butt pad
  • Combo 11mm dovetail and 22mm Weaver** optics rail
  • Carry handle with integral adjustable open sights
  • 3 Picatinny forearm accessory rails
  • 250 BAR / 3,625 PSI fill pressure
  • Integral manometer
  • All-weather synthetic stock with textured rubber pistol grip
  • Includes fill probe with 1/8″ BSPP Male threading

The Hatsan Blitz is the first fully-automatic air rifle that shoots .30 caliber pellets. It features a SwingLoad rotary magazine, a QuietEnergy barrel, and a Full/Semi selector switch. The rifle has a non-removable 580cc carbon fiber bottle that can be filled to 250 BAR, providing over 100 shots at optimal velocity. The Blitz offers options for accessories and optics, with a carry handle, adjustable open sights, and a combination dovetail and Weaver optics rail. It also has three Picatinny accessory rails. The rifle’s ambidextrous pistol grip and forearm are made of textured all-weather rubber, and the cheek comb and butt pad are adjustable for maximum comfort. The Hatsan Blitz is a highly satisfying full auto PCP rifle, available in various calibers, guaranteed to bring a smile to your face with every shot.

Spring Piston Air Rifles

Spring Piston Air Rifles use a coiled spring and a piston to generate power. They are a popular choice for both recreational shooting and competitive target shooting. To operate them, you compress a spring and piston assembly by cocking a lever. When you fire the trigger, the spring and piston rapidly release, producing a strong puff of air that fires the projectile.

Spring piston air rifles are known for their simplicity, reliability, and affordability compared to other types of airguns. They are generally single-shot, requiring you to manually load a new pellet into the barrel after each shot. Some models may feature a break-barrel design, where you break the barrel to load the pellet and cock the rifle simultaneously.

See also  Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at San Angelo

A major advantage of spring piston air rifles is that they do not require external power sources such as CO2 cartridges or pre-charged air tanks. The power is generated solely by the spring and piston mechanism, making them independent and convenient for shooting without the need for additional equipment.

Umarex Diana RWS Model 350 Magnum

Umarex Diana RWS Model 350 Magnum

Features

  • Spring-piston
  • Breakbarrel
  • Rear is adjustable
  • Raised cheekpiece
  • Monte Carlo buttstock with ventilated buttpad
  • Beech stock
  • 11mm scope rail
  • Deeply blued
  • Ideal for hunting
  • T06 Trigger

The Diana 350 is a high-quality spring-piston rifle designed for backyard plinking and small pest control. Its Monte Carlo beechwood stock and adjustable 2-stage T06 trigger enhance accuracy and shooting comfort. Available in .177 and .22 calibers, this rifle achieves speeds of 1,000 to 1,250 fps, making it suitable for long-range shots and small game hunting. The 350 comes with adjustable rear sights and an 11mm Dovetail for scope mounting. Its renowned Diana T06 trigger can be customized for pull weight, first stage length, and sear engagement. If you appreciate the power and simplicity of a spring-piston breakbarrel, the Diana 350 Magnum is a must-have for your next plinking session.

Beeman R9 Elite Series Combo

Beeman R9 Elite Series Combo

Features

  • Breakbarrel
  • Spring-piston
  • 11mm Dovetail rail
  • 2-stage adjustable Rekord trigger
  • Checkered hardwood stock
  • 14.25″ Length of Pull
  • Includes open sights
  • Fully-adjustable rear sight
  • Includes Mantis 4-12×40 AO Rifle Scope (mounted)

The Beeman R9 is a well-built spring-piston breakbarrel rifle designed for backyard shooting. It comes equipped with the renowned Rekord trigger, known for its exceptional performance and adjustability. The R9 boasts excellent fit and finish, featuring a finely crafted hardwood stock with checkering for a secure grip and a deeply blued metal barrel. The R9 Elite Series includes a Mantis 4-12×40 AO Rifle Scope for precise targeting, but it can also be used without the scope for open sight shooting. Once zeroed, this springer rifle offers enjoyable shooting experiences with its accuracy, quality, and overall fun factor.

Gas Piston Air Rifles

A gas piston air rifle, also known as a gas spring or gas ram air rifle, is a type of airgun that utilizes a gas-filled cylinder instead of a coiled spring to generate power. This design offers several advantages over traditional spring piston rifles.

In a gas piston air rifle, the power plant consists of a gas-filled cylinder, typically filled with nitrogen. The cylinder is positioned parallel to the barrel and is attached to a piston assembly. When you cock the rifle, you compress the gas in the cylinder by either breaking the barrel or using a lever mechanism, similar to a spring piston rifle.

The compressed gas stores potential energy, which is then released upon pulling the trigger. When the trigger is pulled, the sear mechanism releases the compressed gas, allowing it to rapidly expand. As the gas expands, it pushes the piston forward with force.

The forward movement of the piston compresses air in the chamber located at the front of the rifle, similar to a spring piston rifle. This compressed air is then forced out through the transfer port into the barrel. The compressed air propels the pellet or BB forward, providing it with velocity and energy.

Gas piston air rifles offer several advantages over spring piston rifles. They often have a smoother and more consistent shooting cycle, resulting in improved accuracy and reduced recoil.

Gas piston rifles are known for their durability and longevity. Unlike a metal spring, which can weaken or break over time, the gas piston is not prone to fatigue, providing a more consistent shooting experience throughout the rifle’s lifespan. Additionally, gas piston rifles can be left cocked for extended periods without affecting their performance, unlike spring piston rifles that may experience spring fatigue if left cocked for too long.

It’s important to note that while gas piston air rifles offer advantages over spring piston rifles, they do require periodic maintenance. The seals and other components of the gas piston mechanism may need to be inspected and replaced if necessary to maintain optimal performance.

Gamo Swarm Fusion 10X Gen3i

Gamo Swarm Fusion 10X Gen3i

Features

  • 10-shot repeater
  • Break-barrel action
  • IGT (Inert Gas Technology) gas piston power plant
  • 1,300 FPS (.177), 975 FPS (.22)
  • Whisper Fusion sound dampening
  • 10X Quick-Shot system
  • 3-9×40 scope
  • RRR Recoil Reducing Scope Rail
  • Patented polymer jacketed steel barrel
  • 11mm dovetail scope rail
  • Custom Action Trigger (CAT)
  • Automotive-grade, glass-filled nylon, all-weather stock
  • SWA (Shock Wave Absorber) recoil pad
  • Two-stage adjustable trigger
  • Manual safety
  • 5-year limited warranty

Gamo’s Swarm Fusion 10X Gen3i is a groundbreaking break-barrel air rifle that has gained significant attention since its introduction. It inherits the innovative technology of its predecessor, making it an excellent choice for plinking, pest control, and small-game hunting. The rifle features a unique design with a horizontal magazine orientation, allowing for low-profile scope mounts or open sights. The magazine flips up during the breech opening to load the next pellet and rests horizontally when not in use. This reloading system, combined with other impressive features, creates a budget-friendly airgun capable of achieving high velocities. Gamo reports muzzle velocities of up to 1300 FPS in .177 caliber. Additionally, the Whisper Fusion sound-dampening system ensures a backyard-friendly shooting experience. The Gamo Swarm Fusion 10X Gen3i offers a whole new level of shooting, reloading, and repeating, making it a must-have for airgun enthusiasts.

CO2 Cartridge Air Rifles

CO2 cartridge air rifles use carbon dioxide (CO2) gas stored in small disposable cartridges to propel projectiles. These rifles are popular for their convenience.

The basic operation of a CO2 cartridge air rifle involves the use of a pre-filled CO2 cartridge that is inserted into the rifle’s gas chamber or cylinder. The cartridges typically come in standard sizes, such as 12 grams or 88 grams, and contain compressed CO2 gas under high pressure.

To prepare the rifle for shooting, you insert a CO2 cartridge into the designated compartment in the rifle. The cartridge is punctured or pierced by a mechanism in the rifle, allowing the CO2 gas to escape into the gas chamber or cylinder. The gas then expands rapidly, generating pressure within the chamber.

When you pull the trigger, the released gas is directed towards the projectile, which is typically loaded into a breech or magazine. The gas propels the projectile down the barrel, providing it with velocity and energy. The speed and power of the projectile depend on factors such as the design of the rifle, the weight of the projectile, and the temperature of the CO2 gas.

One advantage of CO2 cartridge air rifles is their ease of use and convenience. The cartridges are readily available and can be quickly and easily replaced when they are depleted. This allows for continuous shooting without the need for manual cocking or reloading between shots. Some CO2 rifles feature semi-automatic or even fully automatic firing modes, which can provide a rapid rate of fire.

CO2 cartridge air rifles are often used for plinking, target shooting, and other recreational purposes. They are generally less powerful compared to spring piston or gas piston rifles, making them suitable for close-range shooting and lower-impact applications.

SIG Sauer MPX

SIG Sauer MPX

Features

  • Caliber: .177 (Pellet Only)
  • Semi-auto
  • Metal Housing
  • 30 Round Magazine – Roto Belt Mag (Patented Design)
  • Integral Weaver/Picatinny Optics Rail and Accessory Rail
  • Flip-up Front and rear Sights
  • Adjustable Front Sight
  • Adjustable Rear Sight
  • Life Tested 15,000 Shots (Guaranteed)

The Sig Sauer MPX is a highly authentic replica of the firearm used by law enforcement and military worldwide. It offers a similar weight, feel, and controls, making it an ideal option for practicing at home. These compact semi-automatic rifles come with adjustable flip-up sights, Picatinny top and side rails, and a 30-round magazine. Available in .177 caliber, the Sig Sauer MPX rifles are ready for action.

Air Rifle Calibers

.177 Air Rifles

The .177 caliber is known for its relatively high velocity compared to larger calibers. The smaller size of the pellet allows for higher speeds and flatter trajectories, making it suitable for precise target shooting and pest control at shorter distances. The increased velocity can enhance accuracy and reduce the effects of wind drift.

One of the key advantages of .177 air rifles is the wide availability and variety of pellets in this caliber. The market offers a vast selection of pellet types, including wadcutter, domed, pointed, hollow point, and alloy pellets. These different pellet designs cater to various shooting needs, such as target shooting, hunting, or plinking.

For small game hunting and pest control, .177 air rifles can be effective within their range limitations. The high velocity can provide sufficient energy to dispatch small pests, such as rats, squirrels, or birds, with proper shot placement.

Benjamin Trail NP XL 1500

Benjamin Trail NP XL 1500

Features

  • With Nitro Piston Technology
  • 70% Less Noise then the competitor’s “quiet” break barrel
  • Gas Piston Technology uses Nitrogen as the power source, instead of a steel Spring
  • Dramatically reduces felt recoil by eliminating the “double hit” and “spring torque” of a steel spring
  • Quicker lock time leads to increased accuracy
  • Velocity up to 1500 fps (w/ alloy); 24ft lbs of downrange muzzle energy.
  • Hardwood Ambidextrous Stock w/Thumbhole Grip
  • Integral Rail Mounting System – make mounting optics quick and easy
  • Sling Mount and Swivel Studs Included
See also  How to make catfish jugs

The XL1500 is equipped with a stylish checkered hardwood stock. With a powerful muzzle energy of 24 ft-lbs and velocities reaching up to 1500 fps*, it proves to be a formidable option for small game hunting. Independent research conducted by Intertek reveals that the Nitro Piston technology reduces shot cycle noise by 70% compared to traditional steel spring break-barrel rifles.

.22 Air Rifles

The .22 caliber is larger than the .177 caliber and offers several advantages. The increased size of the pellet allows for greater energy transfer upon impact, making it more effective for hunting purposes. The larger caliber pellets typically carry more mass, resulting in higher kinetic energy and better penetration compared to smaller calibers.

The .22 caliber is well-suited for hunting small game such as rabbits, squirrels, or birds. The larger pellet size, combined with the appropriate energy levels, provides sufficient power to dispatch these animals effectively and humanely. However, it’s important to ensure proper shot placement to achieve clean kills and minimize suffering.

Target shooting with .22 caliber air rifles can also be enjoyable and challenging. While the .22 caliber may not offer the same flat trajectory and high velocity as the smaller .177 caliber, it still provides adequate accuracy and range for target shooting at medium distances. The increased pellet size can also make it easier to see the impact on the target, aiding in scoring and adjusting aim.

BROCOCK Commander XR

BROCOCK Commander XR

Features

  • Ergonomic sidelever operation
  • Huma-Air Regulator
  • Precharged from a dive cylinder or high pressure pump delivering a shot capacity.
  • Multiple power settings via side power adjuster
  • Removable 10 shot (.25), 11 shot (.22), 13 shot (.177) self indexing magazine
  • Polymer ambidextrous stock with AK grip
  • Collapsible stock with folding option
  • Threaded muzzle
  • Underside picatinny rail
  • Revised hammer and valve assembly
  • Two Stage trigger
  • Resettable safety catch
  • Barrel: 431mm
  • Full length, built in fully baffled silencer with adaptor for second stage silencer

The integrated XR range offers modularity and compatibility with AR upgrade parts and accessories. The Commander XR, featuring advanced CNC machinery, combines performance and style in a versatile package. Equipped with twin air gauges, it incorporates a state-of-the-art regulator system developed in collaboration with Huma-Air. This exclusive regulator system, in conjunction with the XR’s latest hammer design, ensures precise air release and eliminates power curve issues. The controlled air release enhances shot-to-shot consistency, improves downrange accuracy, and maximizes the number of shots per fill-up. The Commander XR is a highly practical and versatile rifle with advanced technological features.

Hatsan Blitz Full Auto PCP Air Rifle

Hatsan Blitz Full Auto PCP Air Rifle

Features

  • Pre-charged pneumatic
  • Full/semi-automatic selector switch
  • 580cc carbon fiber bottle on forearm
  • 1,000 rounds per minute cyclic rate
  • Max Velocity w/ Lead Pellets: 1050 FPS
  • Max Energy: 36 FPE
  • Shots at optimal velocity*: 130
  • Magazine Capacity: 21 rds
  • Gas-operating cycling mechanism requires no batteries
  • QuietEnergy fully-shrouded barrel
  • Detachable SwingLoad Magazine (Includes 2)
  • Magazine winding tool stored in stock
  • Elevation Adjustable Comb
  • Adjustable rubber butt pad
  • Combo 11mm dovetail and 22mm Weaver** optics rail
  • Carry handle with integral adjustable open sights
  • 3 Picatinny forearm accessory rails
  • 250 BAR / 3,625 PSI fill pressure
  • Integral manometer
  • All-weather synthetic stock with textured rubber pistol grip
  • Includes fill probe with 1/8″ BSPP Male threading

The Hatsan Blitz is the first fully-automatic air rifle that shoots .30 caliber pellets. It features a SwingLoad rotary magazine, a QuietEnergy barrel, and a Full/Semi selector switch. The rifle has a non-removable 580cc carbon fiber bottle that can be filled to 250 BAR, providing over 100 shots at optimal velocity. The Blitz offers options for accessories and optics, with a carry handle, adjustable open sights, and a combination dovetail and Weaver optics rail. It also has three Picatinny accessory rails. The rifle’s ambidextrous pistol grip and forearm are made of textured all-weather rubber, and the cheek comb and butt pad are adjustable for maximum comfort. The Hatsan Blitz is a highly satisfying full auto PCP rifle, available in various calibers, guaranteed to bring a smile to your face with every shot.

Big Bore Air Rifles

Big bore air rifles, also known as large caliber air rifles or big bore airguns, are air rifles that fire larger diameter projectiles compared to traditional air rifles. While there is no strict definition of the calibers that qualify as big bore, they typically refer to calibers larger than .35 (9 mm). Common big bore calibers include .45, .50, .58, .72, and even larger.

Big bore air rifles are designed for specific purposes that require more power, increased energy, and larger impact on the target. These rifles are often used for hunting large game, long-range shooting, or as an alternative to firearms in regions where firearm use is restricted.

The key characteristics of big bore air rifles are their ability to deliver high power and energy. They use larger projectiles, which are heavier and carry more mass compared to smaller calibers. This allows for increased impact and penetration, making them suitable for hunting larger game animals such as deer, hogs, or even large predators.

Due to the increased power and energy, big bore air rifles often require specialized charging systems. These can include high-pressure air tanks, such as carbon fiber or steel reservoirs, or powerful air pumps to provide the necessary pressure to propel the heavy projectiles.

In addition to hunting applications, big bore air rifles can also be used for long-range precision shooting. They offer increased accuracy and the ability to shoot at extended distances compared to smaller calibers. Some models are designed with features such as adjustable stocks, long barrels, and advanced sighting systems to optimize accuracy and performance.

AEA Zeus .72 Caliber Airgun

AEA Zeus .72 Caliber Airgun

Features

  • Bigger Air tank capacity
  • Foster Fitting fill
  • Picatinny Top Rail
  • Barrel sizes: 16″, 24″, 32″
  • Weight: 9.4lbs, 10.3lbs, 11.6lbs
  • Air capacity: 300CC, 400CC, 660CC
  • Muzzle velocity: 800 FPS, 925 FPS, 1025CC
  • Side lever cocking system
  • Max Air Filling Pressure: 300 Bar/ 4500 PSI

Introducing the Zeus GEN 2 by AEA Precision Airguns, the world’s most powerful mass production air rifle. The Zeus, available in .72 caliber, offers an astonishing level of power, delivering a staggering 1500 foot-pounds of energy with 850-grain slugs.

Seneca Dragon Claw 500cc Air Rifle

Seneca Dragon Claw 500cc Air Rifle

Features

  • Precharged pneumatic (PCP)
  • Single-shot
  • Rifled barrel
  • Bolt-action
  • Fixed front sight
  • Fully adjustable, removable rear sight
  • Dual air chambers (500cc total air capacity)
  • 3,000 psi max fill pressure
  • Built-in manometer (pressure gauge)
  • 11mm scope rail (use only compact scopes)
  • 2 power levels (first bolt stop is low power, second is high)
  • Hardwood Monte Carlo stock with checkered forearm & grip
  • Raised right-hand cheekpiece
  • Includes Male Quick-Disconnect Foster Fill Connection on rifle

The Seneca Dragon Claw is a powerful .50-caliber air rifle with 230 ft-lbs. of muzzle energy, allowing it to compete with firearms for hunting purposes. It is capable of swiftly and humanely taking down various animals such as feral hogs, javelinas, coyotes, and more. The rifle is versatile, offering the option to shoot lead ammo or air bolts for even higher muzzle energy. The rifled barrel ensures exceptional accuracy with air bolts. Thanks to its two large air reservoirs, the Dragon Claw provides more shots per fill, allowing for extended hunting sessions. In a test with a 500cc Dragon Claw, the tech department obtained 20 shots at varying velocities, starting from 669 fps and concluding at 456 fps on low power, with a remaining tank pressure of 800 psi. Keep in mind that individual gun performance may vary in terms of velocity and psi levels.

Air Bows

Air bows, also known as air-powered arrow rifles or air-powered crossbows, are a type of weapon that combines the power and projectile design of a crossbow with the air propulsion system of an airgun. These rifles use compressed air to launch arrows or bolts instead of the traditional crossbow mechanism involving a bowstring and limbs.

One key advantage of air bows is their ease of use compared to traditional crossbows. Instead of manually cocking and loading the crossbow, air bows typically employ a lever or bolt-action mechanism to chamber the arrow and prepare it for firing. This allows for quicker and easier reloading, which can be particularly advantageous during hunting or shooting scenarios that require rapid follow-up shots.

They are also more compact than conventional crossbows, since they do not require moving bow limbs and cables to propel and arrow forward.

Additionally, air bows often have adjustable power settings, allowing users to modify the velocity and energy of the projectiles. This can be beneficial for tailoring the rifle’s performance to the specific shooting situation, such as adjusting for longer range shots or hunting different types of game.

Prospective buyers should be aware that legally, air bows are usually not considered archery tackle, and may not be legal for seasons requiring use of conventional archery gear. Typically their usage will be allowed for under regulations governing hunting with air rifles or conventional firearms.

See also  Buying Guide & Reviews

Seneca Dragon Claw Dual Tank

Seneca Dragon Claw Dual Tank

Features

  • Includes 6 pack of .50 cal Air Bolts ($120 value)
  • Includes UTG Bug Buster IR 3-9×32 AO Scope & Rings ($100 value)
  • Single-shot
  • 500cc Dual Air reservoir chambers
  • 3,000 psi max fill pressure
  • 2 power levels (first bolt stop is low power, second is high)
  • Hardwood Monte Carlo stock with checkered forearm & grip

This complete package is the same setup that Cameron from TWANGnBANG uses and reviewed on his channel. It includes the impressively powerful .50 caliber Dragon Claw PCP air rifle, a pack of 6 .50 caliber Air Bolts, and a 3-9×32 Bug Buster IR scope. The scope is an ideal match for Air Bolt hunting, as the 3-9 power is perfect for distances within 50 yards. Additionally, the illuminated reticle aids in target acquisition in low-light conditions. This Dragon Claw Twang N Bang Air Bolt Combo is truly a hunter’s dream setup.

Air Rifle Accessories

Air rifle accessories are additional items that can enhance your shooting experience, improve performance, provide convenience, and aid in maintenance. Here are some common air rifle accessories:

Optics: Scopes, red dot sights, holographic sights, or magnifiers can improve aiming and accuracy by providing a clear sight picture and precise target acquisition.

Tanks, Pumps, and Compressors: If you purchase a PCP rifle, you will need a way to charge it with compressed air. Compressors are usually the most expensive, but also the most convenient route. Compressed air tanks are cheaper and quicker, but require periodic refilling. Hand pumps are inexpensive, but time-consuming and labor-intensive ways to charge your PCP.

Mounts and Rings: These accessories are used to attach optics securely to the air rifle. They come in various sizes and styles to fit different scope diameters and rail systems.

Bipods and Tripods: These support accessories provide stability and help steady the air rifle when shooting from a prone or rested position. They are particularly useful for target shooting or hunting scenarios that require steady aim.

air rifle shooting stand

Suppressors or Silencers: These devices attach to the barrel of the air rifle and help reduce the noise signature by dampening the sound of the muzzle blast. They can make shooting quieter and more discreet.

Pellet Holders or Magazines: These accessories facilitate quick and convenient reloading. Pellet holders are small containers that hold extra pellets for easy access, while magazines are spring-loaded mechanisms that allow for quick and efficient pellet feeding.

Targets and Target Holders: Targets come in various types, such as paper targets, reactive targets, or resetting targets. Target holders or stands provide a stable platform to hang or mount the targets for practice and shooting sessions.

Shooting Bags and Rests: These accessories provide additional support and stability when shooting from different positions. Shooting bags can be placed under the front or rear of the air rifle to steady the aim, while shooting rests offer a stable platform for consistent shooting.

Pellet Sorters: Pellet sorters are used to sort pellets by weight or size, ensuring consistency in performance and accuracy. They are particularly useful for competitive shooters or those seeking optimal precision.

Cleaning Kits: Cleaning kits specifically designed for air rifles help maintain and clean the barrel, action, and other internal components. They usually include brushes, patches, cleaning rods, solvents, and lubricants to keep the air rifle in good working condition.

Chronographs: Chronographs are devices used to measure the velocity of the pellets as they leave the air rifle’s barrel. They provide valuable data for tuning the air rifle and ensuring consistency in performance.

Custom Stocks and Grips: Upgrading the stock or grip of an air rifle can improve ergonomics, comfort, and aesthetics. Custom stocks are available in various materials and designs to suit individual preferences.

Airgun Cases: Protective cases or bags designed specifically for air rifles help transport and store them safely. They often feature padding, compartments, and straps to secure the air rifle and accessories.

These are just some examples of air rifle accessories available on the market. The specific accessories you choose will depend on your shooting needs, preferences, and the compatibility with your particular air rifle model.

Air Rifle FAQs

How do you charge a PCP air rifle?

To charge a PCP air rifle, you will need a suitable air source such as a high-pressure hand pump, a scuba tank with a filling adapter, or a specialized air compressor that can reach the required pressure level. Here’s a general step-by-step guide on how to charge a PCP air rifle:

  • Check the rifle’s user manual: Different PCP air rifles may have specific instructions or pressure requirements for charging. It’s important to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines before attempting to charge the rifle.
  • Prepare the air source: Ensure that your chosen air source is properly filled and in good working condition. If you’re using a hand pump, make sure it’s lubricated and the seals are in good condition. If using a scuba tank, ensure it’s filled to the appropriate pressure level.
  • Identify the filling port: Locate the filling port on your PCP air rifle. It is usually located on the air reservoir or a designated area of the rifle. The filling port may have a threaded cap or a quick-connect adapter.
  • Prepare the air rifle: Ensure that the rifle’s magazine or chamber is empty, the safety is engaged, and the rifle is in a safe and secure position.
  • Connect the air source: Attach the appropriate connector of your chosen air source to the filling port of the air rifle. Make sure the connection is secure and properly aligned.
  • Start filling: Begin charging the air rifle by operating the hand pump, opening the valve on the scuba tank, or activating the air compressor. Follow the recommended pressure guidelines for your specific air rifle model. Most PCP air rifles require pressures ranging from 2,000 to 3,000 psi (138 to 207 bar).
  • Monitor the pressure: Keep an eye on the pressure gauge of your air source and the pressure gauge on the air rifle itself. Once the desired pressure is reached, stop filling the air rifle.
  • Disconnect and secure: Disconnect the air source from the filling port of the air rifle, ensuring a smooth disconnection to avoid sudden pressure release. Close any valves on the air source or bleeding valves on the rifle if applicable. Replace any protective caps or covers on the filling port.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines for your specific PCP air rifle model. Proper maintenance and regular inspection of seals, O-rings, and fittings are essential to ensure safe and reliable charging of your PCP air rifle.

What can you hunt with an air rifle?

Most people automatically think “small game” when it comes to air rifles and hunting. But today there’s an air rifle for every type of game imaginable. With the advent of big-bore air rifles and air-bows, everything from starlings and chipmunks to deer and wild boar is fair game for properly-equipped air gunners.

wild boars
Today’s air rifles can are built to take down all sizes of game.

What is a good scope for an air rifle?

Choosing a good scope for an air rifle depends on several factors, including your shooting preferences, intended use, budget, and the specific characteristics of your air rifle. However, here are some general considerations to help you select a suitable scope:

  • Optimal Magnification: Consider the shooting distances you typically encounter while using your air rifle. If you engage in short-range shooting or pest control, a scope with lower magnification (e.g., 2-7x or 3-9x) may suffice. For longer-range shooting or varmint hunting, you might prefer higher magnification (e.g., 4-12x or 6-24x).
  • Objective Lens Diameter: A larger objective lens allows more light transmission, resulting in better image clarity and brightness, especially in low-light conditions. However, keep in mind that larger objective lenses can add weight, bulk, and cost to the scope.
  • Reticle Type: There are various reticle options available, such as duplex, mil-dot, ballistic reticles, or illuminated reticles. Choose a reticle that suits your shooting style and preferences. Illuminated reticles can be particularly useful in low-light situations.
  • Durability: Air rifles, especially gas and spring piston designs, can produce significant recoil and vibration, so it’s important to select a scope specifically designed to withstand these conditions. Look for scopes with shockproof, recoil-proof, and rugged construction. Ideally, choose a scope with a one-piece tube and quality materials.
  • Parallax Adjustment: Parallax adjustment allows you to focus the reticle and target image on the same plane, improving accuracy and eliminating parallax error. Consider scopes with adjustable parallax or side focus for better clarity at different distances.
  • Budget: Determine your budget range and explore scopes within that price range. While there are high-end scopes available with advanced features, there are also reliable and functional scopes at more affordable price points.

Final Thoughts On Air Rifles

Advancements in air rifle technology mean that today’s air rifles are more accurate, more powerful, and more user-friendly than ever before. Whether you’re looking for a soda-can plinker, varmint eradicator, or something to take down deer and wild hogs, there’s an air rifle for you.

Full Disclosure: This post may include affiliate links. There’s no extra charge to our readers for using these.

Previous articleHow fast does a bullet travel mph?
Next articleMoose Size Comparison: How big are they?
Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>