Air rifles are an ideal option for affordable target practice, pest control and to teach a beginner or younger shooter the basics. There are many different models so in the following post I will highlight the best air rifles that are currently available as well as the key information you should know before purchasing.
Included in this post is a detailed guide on things to consider before making your purchase as well.
Best Air Rifles Available
This Benjamin Marauder is a highly accurate and lightening fast air rifle that is hard to beat in terms of quality. A pre-charged pneumatic air rifle that uses 3000 psi. Built into the rifle is a pressure gauge which allows you to check the power when used for extended periods.
The air rifle includes a dovetail mount but the sights are not actually attached. Although, this will not hinder your shooting accuracy and you could also include a laser scope or red dot sight if you want.
The match grade trigger can be adjusted in two different stages. Suitable to .17 caliber pellets with a firing speed of 1100 feet per second. There is also the option to use .25 caliber pellets on an 8 shot repeater.
The synthetic stock has an adjustable cheek piece as well as an ergonomic grip for ease of use. Regardless of your hand orientation the cheek piece can be adjusted for both right and left handed shooters.
As mentioned, there is a gauge in the forearm to measure the usable pressure. When it comes time to refill the reservoir be sure to follow all the necessary safety steps.
Included with the Benjamin Marauder air rifle is a limited one year warranty.
- Gagged barrel for excellent precision
- Reversible jolt – switch from right to left side
- No recoil
- Great grip and stability
- Suitable for hunting small game
- Dovetail does not include sights
- A bit heavy
Incredibly accurate and high powered, this air rifle is an amazing purchase. Although fairly expensive the Benjamin Marauder rifle is designed to last and perform again and again.
The Diana 52 Air Rifle is a classic styled air rifle that uses a fixed barrel side cocking system. This is a single shot rifle with a dark stained beechwood rifle.
With a pronounced cheekpiece, checkered pistol grip and front stock this is a quality gun that performs well.
Velocities for the two different calibers include:
- .177 caliber at 1150 feet per second
- .22 caliber at 850 feet per second
Due to the high speeds reached at .177 many adults purchase this gun, although achieving accuracy at that speed is incredibly hard. For this reason the .22 caliber is generally the best seller and is the gun listed here. Offering power and accuracy this is a smooth rifle to use.
The overall length of this rifle is 43″ and the barrel length is 17.3″, weighing approximately 8 pounds and 8 ounces this is a well crafted piece.
Cocking this gun is easier than any other spring loaded gun, although it does offer a fair bit of recoil. A ratchet safety is used to hold the compression chamber until the button on the stock is pressed. Simplistic yet effective.
- Powerful and accurate
- Ergonomic handles
- Beechwood finish
- Designed to last a lifetime
- Fairly weak scope mounting system
For precision and power the Diana 52 Air Rifle is excellent. Made from wood this rifle is built to last and will perform exceptionally with each use.
Another high quality air rifle the Air Arms TX200 is self-powered meaning it is free of any compressed air tanks or charging connectors. Superb quality, this rifle has a worldwide reputation as being one of the best competition rifles.
Smooth to operate, offering full power and consistent shooting the TX200 is a combination of a few high quality features. A balanced mainspring, guide and piston system as well as synthetic bearings to reduce friction work together perfectly.
Reduced friction means less energy is lost and the gun can perform at a higher efficiency as well as making it easier to cock and significantly reduced recoil. Fine tuned within the TX200 this rifle is top of the range for a reason.
Polished and finished this rifle has a fully checkered sporter stock which adds to the elegant style of this gun.
Caliber .22 the velocity is 755 feet per second, this allows for excellent precision as well as power.
- Direct barrel loading Built-in moderator (country dependant)
- Automatic safety
- Secondary ‘bear trap’ safety
- Adjustable two stage trigger
- Elegant finish
Included with the purchase of a Air Arms TX200 is a one year warranty although the craftsmanship of this rifle is built to last a lifetime.
The Walther LGU Air Rifle is a spring piston, underleve single shot rifle. Another high quality product, this rifle is well suited to those competing in field target or pest control.
Setting this rifle apart is the trigger which gives you control of the pull weight and travel. The pull weight is adjustable allowing you to adapt and change the air rifle as you please.
Using super silent technology this gun is quiet, especially important for hunting but also good for target practice without disrupting the neighbors.
Featuring 11mm dovetail grooves this is a 37 pound rifle that has an automatic safety lock. Suitable for both hand orientations, this ambidextrous beech stock rifle has twin raised cheekpieces.
The checkered pistol grip and ventilated rubber recoil pad add to the style and overall feel for the gun. No doubt it will be the pride of your gun safe!
- Vibration-reduction technology
- Adjustable 2-stage trigger
- Super silent technology
- Vibration-reduction System
- Smooth to operate
- Lifetime warranty
Included with your purchase of the Walther LGU Air Rifle is a lifetime warranty which speaks volumes of the quality you can expect.
The Gamo Silent Cat Rifle is a .177 caliber rifle with a velocity of 1200 feet per second. This is incredibly powerful but you may find it difficult to shoot accurately at such a high speed.
With a noise damper the noise of this rifle is reduced by roughly 52% when compared with other rifles of this caliber. This feature is not removable but there really isn’t a need to do that.
In addition to the noise damper there is also a rubber recoil which absorbs and lowers the recoil when using this rifle. The stock is made of synthetic materials which can be used in all types of weather without issue.
When compared with other air rifles the cocking force is light in this power range but this also means it is easy to cock. For this reason it is well suited to younger shooters and ladies as well.
- Single Shot
- Spring Piston, breakbarrel design
- Automatic Cocking Safety system
- Manual Trigger safety
- Fluted Polymer Bull barrel
- Quiet to use
- Second Stage adjustable SAT™ (Smooth Action Trigger)
- Twin cheek pads
- Butt Plate: Ventilated rubber pad for recoil absorption
- 1 year warranty
- Included scope is not the best
The Gamo Silent Cat Rifle is a great hunting gun that is silent, powerful and accurate. With a lighter cocking mechanism this rifle is good for beginners and ladies who may struggle with other models.
A .177 caliber rifle the Ruger Blackhawk is a top rated rifle in this price range. It presents great value for money so if you are budget restricted then this might be the rifle for you.
This pellet rifle is a spring piston, single stroke break barrel gun made for an all-weather composite polymer.
Suitable for both right and left handed users this has checkered grip areas in both the grip and forearm on both sides.
Velocity is 1000 feet per second and this along with the fiber optic sight helsp with target acquisition and accuracy.
The ruggedness of the Blackhawk Rifle is enhanced with the blue metal finish as well as the rubber recoil pad to reduce the kick.
- Suited to all weather conditions
- Open fiber optic sights
- 4 x magnification scope included
- Big Recoil even though it has a rubber pad
The Ruger Blackhawk presents great value for money for those wanting a powerful and accurate rifle without a high price tag. Well suited for beginners, target practice and small pests this rifle won’t disappoint.
The Hatsan Model 95 is a .22 caliber rifle that is affordable yet good quality. With a Turkish walnut stock this is a break barrel single shot air rifle.
The precision rifled steel barrel has an integrated muzzle brake as well as automatic safety and an anti-bear trap mechanism.
A textured grip and forearm have been molded into the polymer synthetic stock. Built into the design is a rubber recoil shoulder pad to absorb and reduce vibrations from the recoil.
High powered the rifle has a maximum velocity of 1000 feet per second with alloy and 800 feet per second with lead.
The open sights use trego fiber optics and the rear sight is fully adjustable. A 2 stage adjustable quattro trigger adds to the quality of this rifle.
- Good quality open sights
- Simple security lever
- Powerful and accurate
- The rifle is fairly loud
The Hatsan Model 95 is a high quality yet affordable air rifle that packs power and precision. The Turkish walnut stock adds to the feel and look of this gun and although quite heavy it performs well.
The Daisy 880 Powerline Kit is a popular entry level air rifle that comes in a kit including safety glasses, a scope, pellets and BBS all at an affordable price. The ideal young or beginners shooters rifle, this makes for a fun and cheap plinking gun.
This is a multi pump pneumatic rifle of a .177 caliber that shoots BBs at 750 feet per second or pellets at 715 feet per second. The rifle has a BB capacity of 50.
A woodgrained, molded Monte Carlo stock and forearm, this rifle is a single load gun that requires three pumps for target practice and up to ten pumps for maximum velocity.
Suitable for pest control the scope included is adjustable for both windage and elevation. Using a cross-hair reticle it is fogproof, shockproof and color corrected.
- Shoot up to 291 yards
- Cairable power options
- BBs and pellets included
- Safety glasses included
- Pre pumping provides variable velocities and distances
- Can be difficult to load pellets and BBs
- Pumping between shots can become tiresome.
A great entry level air rifle, the Daisy 880 Powerline Kit is the ideal gift for a young shooter or someone interested in starting. The kit includes the rifle, 4×15 scope, PrecisionMax 750 count BB tin, PrecisionMax 500 pellet tin, as well as shooting glasses.
The Crosman 2100X Single Shot air rifle is a versatile, well made gun that uses a multi pump pneumatic shooting mechanism.
One of the great features of this rifle is that the reservoir can store 200 BB rounds meaning reloading is significantly reduced. This rifle can also shoot pellets although you will need to load them one at a time.
The stock is made from a synthetic material that has a metal receiver, this makes it lightweight yet efficient. Synthetic materials mean it will withstand all weather conditions including humid climates.
With a textured grip and forearm this provides friction and prevents slippage when aiming. A rubber butt pad is incorporated into the design to reduces the kickback and makes it comfortable for extended target practice.
This rifle produces a medium velocity and can realistically and accurately shoot up to 30 yards. Suitable for target shooting, plinking or small pests such a birds.
The gun is very quiet- there are yet to be complaints with noise from this gun. Great for pest control but even better for keeping your neighbors happy.
- Included with the purchase is a 4×15 precision scope
- Easy to use
- Made in the USA
- Great fiber optic sight
- Pumping action is tiresome and takes time to learn
The Crosman 2100X Single Shot air rifle performs very well especially considering the low price. For a fun BB/pellet combination this air rifle is a great choice.
The Ruger Targis Hunter is a .22 Caliber pellet gun that is a good hunting rifle. Included with the purchase is an adjustable fiber optic rear sight as well as a fixed front sight for improved accuracy.
The scope included with this rifle is a 4 x 32 that is great for improving your accuracy with medium distance shots.
A high velocity and high impact air rifle pellets can reach speeds of 1000 feet per second depending on the weight and build. This gun also has a silence air noise damper which really does minimize the noise when shooting. The damper is due to a non-removable suppressor that has five chambers to reduce the muzzle noise.
Relatively easy to cock compared with other models in this price range, it is a break barrel making reloading easy. The stock is suitable for all weather conditions and the trigger is a 2 stage adjustable.
- Accurate scope included
- Suited to all weather conditions
- Easy to load
- Quite heavy
- Powerful recoil
The Ruger Targis Hunter is an impressive rifle for this price range, the power and accuracy make it well suited to hunting as target practice.
The Benjamin Titan Nitro Piston is a break barrel rifle available in two different calibers. The first is a .177 caliber and the second a .22 caliber. Depending on which model you choose pellets can reach speeds of 1200 feet per second and 800 feet per second respectively.
Working by a gas piston, this produces ample pressure to shoot the petals. Gas pistons are known to produce less recoil, are more silent and are easier to cock.
Durable hardwood means this gun handles shock well, although it is on the heavy side.With an adjustable two stage trigger this rifle is suited to both left and right hand orientations and also has an ergonomic thumb hole stock.
Included with the purchase is an unmounted CenterPoint optic 4 x 32 scope and mount although it doesn’t include open sights.
- Gas piston mechanism
- Quiet, less vibrations and smooth to operate than other rifles
- Durable, strong build
- Great for small game hunting
- Quite heavy to use
Overall theBenjamin Titan Nitro Piston is a well made, durable rifle that will stand the test of time. Available in two different calibers this rifle uses a gas piston mechanism making it much quieter and smoother to operate than other rifles.
The Crosman Pneumatic Air Rifle is a popular and very budget friendly rifle that is best suited to a beginner or young shooter.
A variable pump air rifle that has the capcity to shoot .177 caliber pellets and reach speeds of 600 feet per second or 625 feet per second with BBs and at maximum pump.
This rifle needs to be pumped, 3-10 pumps will fire a pellet but the more you can do the faster the velocity. It becomes fairly difficult to pump after the 5th or 6th time.
With a completely removable magazine, storing your pellets or BBs in it makes for quick reloading.
Compatible with the majority of accessories on the market, this gun has Picatinny rails.
- Safe and easy to use
- Fast pellet/BB velocity
- Reservoir capacity of 350 BBs
- Quite noisy
The Crosman Pneumatic Air Rifle is a great entry level air rifle, well suited to younger shooters, ladies and beginner shooters. At a very affordable price, it is hard to overlook this air rifle.
What Types of Air Rifles are There?
When purchasing an air gun there are three options – pneumatic air rifle, spring powered air rifle and CO2 powered air rifles.
Pneumatic Air Rifles
Powered by a pumping lever, after firing a shot you need to manually pump the rifle between 5 to 10 times. These rifles can shoot pellets and bbs
These are the type of air rifle that is powered by a pumping level which pumps air into its chamber. After each shot, you need to manually pump the rifle about 5 to 10 times. This type of rifle will enable you to shoot pellets and bbs.
- Ideal for target shooting or plinking
- Suitable for pest control
- Can alter the speed (feet per second)
- Safer than a semi-automatic rifle
- Great beginners gun – especially for younger kids
Spring Powered Air Rifles
Spring powered air rifles are most commonly used for pest control and small game hunting. This is because they are easy to use, pack a lot of power and are accurate. Using a spring that compresses in the chamber, there are three different spring designs to consider.
- Side Lever – Cocking lever is on the right side of the air rifle.
- Underlever – Cocking lever is underneath the the gun barrel. To cock this you need to pull down the lever that opens the breach.
- Break Barrel – The barrel is hinged and pulling the barrel down will cock the spring.
- Easy to use
- Low to no maintenance
CO2 Powered Air Rifles
These are the more affordable air guns on the market and use a compressed gas or cartridge to fire the gun. This type is not as powerful as a spring or pump powered rifle and the CO2 cartridges need to be replaced.
- No pump action required
- 1x 12gm cartridge will provide 50 shots before needing to be replaced or refilled.
Best Air Rifle Buyers Guide
There are a few key things to consider and understand about pellet guns before purchasing. In the following, all key considerations are examined to help you make an informed purchase.
When it comes to understanding an air rifle, knowing the caliber it uses as well as the shooting velocity is pretty important. Along with this, it pays to understand the material composition, power source mechanism, if it can be adapted with different accessories, the safety features, price of the pellets and the legalities behind owning one.
Purchasing an air gun means you should be well aware of any hazards as well as any cons that come along with it
Generally air guns are either pneumatic, spring piston powered or CO2 powered.
Using stored pneumatic potential energy that is pressurized and compressed within the gun. Upon pulling the trigger this energy is released through valves which fires the ammunition.
Pneumatic guns can come pre-charged meaning the reservoir is filled from an external source with a high pressure hand pump or through a dive cylinder. The other method is pump pneumatic which means with single storke and multi stroke guns an on-board pump is used to pressurize the air in the internal reservoir.
These function by way of a coil spring-loaded pistol pump that is contained within a compression chamber. Before firing, the gun needs to be cocked which drives the pump piston backward and compresses the spring until its rear engages in the sear. Once the trigger is pulled this disengages the sear, allowing the spring to release the elastic potential energy stored. This pushes the piston forward which compresses the air into the pump cylinder.
These air guns use a pre-filled and removable CO2 gas cylinder that powers the gun. Similar to pneumatic guns but different in the sense that CO2 guns can offer repeated shots in a compact package. There is no need to cock the gun between shots.
CO2 powered guns are commonly used for paintball guns as well as training guns as the ammunition is relatively inexpensive and safe to use.
There are a few different uses for air rifles with the most common being for hunting small game such as rodents and pests. The secondary use for air rifles is an affordable way for target shooting practice. This is because air rifle pellets are significantly cheaper than ammunition. The third way to use a rifle is for plinking which includes shooting targets such as cans.
Expected Shooting Distance
Rifles are divided into light, medium, high and super high power which means you can select your rifle based on how far you hope to shoot. The following shows the distance achieved when performing at their best with the following four rifles:
- Light powered rifle = 35 yards
- Medium powered rifle = 50 yards
- High powered rifle = 60 yards
- Super high powered rifle = 80 yards
From this breakdown, choosing the right rifle for what you want to use it for is easier. Generally super high powered rifled are recommended as they offer great range as well as other features.
There are rifles that are suited to all different budgets so finding one that matches your needs and price range won’t be too hard. The more expensive rifles are CO2 powered whereas the spring piston rifles can be bought at a fairly low price. The other thing about spring piston rifles is that they require very little maintenance.
What are the Best Air Rifle Accessories?
Once you buy the rifle there can be a few other things to add to it to make it even better. These include:
- Targets & traps
- Safety glasses & goggles
- Clips & loaders
- Green Gas
- CO2 cartridges
As well as these accessories you could also consider a cleaning kit and some maintenance tools.
While all of the listed accessories are not required there are a few I would strongly recommended. The first being the scope, this is important to get your aim right which will lead to increased shooting accuracy.
Chronographs are a good way to understand how fast your pellets are firing, they read the speed in feet per second.
Glasses and goggles are important for safety purposes and to prevent any injuries whether on accidental or on purpose. Grips are also good for giving you a firm grip on the rifle when shooting.
This changes from state to state and country to country. The laws will be different from one jurisdiction to the next so be sure to check your countries laws before purchasing.There may be minimum ages for both sales and possessions as well as ammunition. In some states there may also be permits and background checks to own an air rifle.
What Can You Shoot with an Air Rifle?
Air rifles are an affordable and fun way to practice shooting but they are most commonly use for hunting small game such as rodents and other pests.
Using paper or tin cans, using an air rifle is a great way to practice your aim and accuracy. Strategically place your targets and challenge your accuracy and skills. A great way to introduce people to shooting and having fun.
If you don’t have access to a club to practice then your backyard is fine. For those who choose this option you’ll also need to purchase or make an effective backstop. This could be from brick, soft soil or even stones. The key thing is that it stops the pellets from travelling any further and potentially harming your neighbor or animals.
Live Quarry Shooting
Considered pests, landowners can give permission for those with air rifles to come and shoot these animals. Generally pests that destroy crops including squirrels, rabbits, minks, rats and stoats can easily be killed with an air rifle.
Hunting pests can benefit both landowners and the state in a few key ways:
- Conserve and protect the fauna and flora
- Prevent the spread of disease
- To prevent damage to crops
- Prevent damage to livestock
With other animals, such as foxes, deer and ducks you need to ensure it is the right season and generally need to have your license.
Before hunting it is advised that you are familiar and confident with your air rifle. Be sure to practice as much as possible on live targets to improve your accuracy and aim.
Air Rifles and a Clean Kill
Hunting pests still needs to be done in the most humanely way possible which can be achieved with the following tips.
- Kill mammals by targeting the temporal area which is located at the side of it’s head.
- Birds are best shot in the head, although this can be difficult so the breast or under the body is good too.
- Ensure your scope is clear before shooting.
- Do not pick up and handle any dead pests as they may be carrying disease- especially rodents.
Air rifles are a great gun to have for beginners or those looking to improve their target practice and accuracy. Ideal for pest control, many people use air rifles to hunt rodents and other pests out of their property. There are many different models to choose from so take your time to read through the reviews before making a decision.