Sometimes finding the best pellet gun or air rifles depending on a variety of factors – from:
- shooting velocity measured by feet per second
- the ease of viewing through the scope
- the gun is made in an ambidextrous design for hunters of both dominant hands
- also a need for having a very quiet after sound when you are out in the field trying to get a good animal
Editor’s Pick: Gamo Whisper Air Rifle, .22 Caliber
Below are a series of air rifle reviews that will hopefully help one decide the type of air rifle they can use on their next hunting trip, whether they want to use .177- or .22-caliber rounds for birds, rabbits, smaller hogs and other targets.
Some want more pellet velocity and others wish for a less impactful recoil to be considered one of the best pellet rifles.
Caliber Comparison of Air Rifle For Hunting
Top Rated 10 best air rifle in the market 2021
… and that is exactly what you will find when I reviewed the 10 best hunting air rifles I researched.
Below is a summary of some of my favorite air rifles that will hopefully help you decide on the right of air rifle for your next hunting trip.
All of these air rifles have something to offer based on your needs.
Gamo Whisper Fusion .177 Caliber
Thanks to the Inert Gas Technology, the Gamo Whisper Fusion rifle is the company’s latest model that offers a reloading, pneumatic system that replaces the more common spring loading system to reduce the vibration of the gun’s stock, less internal friction and a consistently powerful and precise shot.
This single-shot that offers a fiber option rear sight with an 11 millimeter scope rail and works in conjunction with the Whisper Fusion’s double-integrated noise dampener to have almost 90 percent less noise, according to reports.
Additionally, the polymer barrel jacket with a shockwave absorber recoil pad also decreases the vibration by about 74 percent.
Like other Gamo pellet guns, this offers a stock that can be vertically adjusted – for either left- or right-handed hunters.
It offers a smooth action trigger with two stages.
One of the only things wrong with this model is the stock that requires readjustments every few shots. But many customers have replaced it with a newer stock to their liking.
- .177 & .22 calibers
- Manual safety switch
- Integrated noise dampening technology
Gamo Varmint Air Rifle .177 Cal
There aren’t many air pellet guns that will be able to handle several thousand rounds of shooting prey and targets at the range for less than $100.
But the Gamo Varmint can provide top-notch velocity with PBA Platinum pellets at 1,250 feet per second (fps).
It is considered an ideal hunting weapon for any kind of .177-caliber pellet, especially considering that this is a lighter model with a weight of about six pounds total.
In addition to all of the above characteristics that customers also enjoy using the cocking system found within the single barrel-break within a barrel that is composed of fluted polymer coated steel.
The other features include a ventilated rubber pad found within the gun’s butt plate, a grip and forearm that features a textured material that will not slip, twin cheek pads for hunters of both hands to rest their head while aiming through a 4 x 32 Shockproof Scope with rings and a grooved receiver for better targeting.
It has a synthetic ambidextrous all-weather stock with a rubber recoil pad.
Gamo Silent Cat Air Rifle
One of the big reasons hunters select this .177-caliber air rifle is for the with the ability to shoot at speeds of 1,200 feet per second with a performance ballistic alloy bullet and about 1,000 feet per second with a common lead bullet. Because this model can work with various types of ammunition, this model is considered a good choice for hunters in multiple conditions.
This air rifle comes with a durable black synthetic stock for all kinds of weather, along with a ventilated rubber pad designed for absorbing the recoil. There is also a manual trigger and automatic cocking system for a higher level of safety.
The Gamo Whisper Silent Cat features a base to mount the included 4×32 rifle scope. That scope is considered a good enough quality where it is easy to mount with a stop pin.
Another thing that makes this model easy to use for all skill levels is not having to use as much effort to cock the weapon, with the ability to do several during a long day of shooting without causing any arm fatigue.
Another feature that many hunters will appreciate is the noise dampener that reduces the noise from firing the rifle by more than 50 percent – although it cannot be removed to replace with a dampener the customer may want to use from before.
- .177 caliber
- Multiple conditions
- Manual trigger and automatic cocking system
- Noise dampener
- 4×32 scope included
Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2
This gas piston model offers a single-shot weapon that includes a steel barrel with nearly 16 inches of thickness. This Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2 also includes an enhanced two-staged trigger that can be adjusted, a clean break trigger, a picatinny optics rail and a manual safety stock that includes a black synthetic thumbhole that works for those who are left and right handed hunters.
The recoil pad also includes an integral sound suppression system, along with a Nitro Piston system that makes this rifle an upgrade from others with a metal mainspring – a smoother cocking and shooting with no spring torque or fatigue – even if it is kept in the cocking position for several hours. Because this model is designed to handle colder winters, this model has more longevity than some of its competitors on the market.
It is a heavier gun with about eight pounds, but it does maintain consistent accuracy from about 25 to 30 yards out.
The .22-caliber version is also very quiet that won’t disturb the neighbors if you practice in your backyard, while the .177-calber is a little louder while shooting pellets at a higher speed.
- .22 & .177 calibers
- Manual safety option
- Suppression sound system
- All weather types
Benjamin Trail NP XL
This is a hunter endorsed .22-caliber air rifle that can shoot a variety of alloy pellets up to 1,100 feet per second – a very good rate of speed for something that is a little bit smaller than some of the best air pellet gun models. The Benjamin Trail NP XL is also compatible with lead pellets up to 950 feet per second.
This sleeker model, which is only 49 inches long and weighs less than nine pounds, has no shortage of features that will attract hunters – a Centerpoint score that comes with windage and elevation adjustments that can be made, a Weaver style rail, a safety level and padded buttstock.
As this rifle is used more and more, the noise from each shot gets quieter while maintaining accuracy from a distance, which also gets better after using it more. Some customers have mentioned that their shot groups were about six inches wide during the first 150 rounds and then down to three inches later that day from 50 yards – eventually getting down to two inches the next day.
There is no sling that comes with this air rifle and it is not available to be shipped to states like California, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, District of Columbia and Massachusetts.
- .22 caliber
- Consistant accuracy
- Smaller type air rifle
RWS .22 Pellet Model 34 Combo Rifle
Similar to other models from RWS, this Model 34 is known as a very reliable rifle with the ability to consistently shoot with a combination of rifle and accuracy. It may not have some of the nicer and fancy features that other – more expensive – guns on this list include, but it is one of the company’s top selling rifles.
With a Monte Carlo style stock composed of hardwood based on German craftsmanship, this RWS gun is balanced very well throughout the frame that provides easier handling to shoot. Part of the top quality handling is having a cheek that can be used ambidextrously and is comfortable while aiming towards your target.
What makes this rifle very attractive to potential customers is having the compatibility for .177 and .22 calibers, with the latter better suited for hunting for small forms of game. The T06 trigger is also considered a perfect feel as it is light and breaks smoothly. After a few rounds, the cocking will loosen up after being stiff at first – call it breaking in the gun at the range before going on your next hunting trip.
Other features include a rifled barrel, adjustable rear sight and a fiber optic hooded front sight that is mounted onto the frame – which many customers have stated they light up perfectly without being too bright or flashy.
Benjamin Discovery Air Rifle
At this point in our air rifle reviews, we finally get to a gun that can shoot many rounds without having to cock between shots. For air gun hunting lovers who want a repeater that can easily take down small game at good distances the Benjamin Disovery .22 caliber is one worth taking a close look at.
Able to shoot groups of 3/4” inside of 50 yards, the accuracy allows you to humanely take down animals by hitting the tiny kill zone. This specific package includes a hand pump that lets you load compressed air into the PCP chamber located under the barrel. Using this method, the fastest way to get to the fill 2000 psi is pump at a deliberate pace, making full pumping strokes slowly.
If you don’t want to do manual labor, have the local diving shop load up a SCUBA tank and attach it to the adapter to quickly charge this PCP air gun. When shooting indoors or plinking, another option would be to use CO2 instead.
This is a small, light weight rifle that has a hardwood stock and fiber optic sights. It does not come with a scope but using one really improves the shooter’s ability.
Diana RWS 34 Combo
The German crafted Diana RWS 34 Combo airgun is our favorite choice at the $200 to $300 level. For anyone who’s looking for good value for money, this popular RWS offering is a very well balance rifle that is pleasing to the eyes. The cheek piece is ambidextrous allowing both left and right handers to enjoy themselves shooting it.
The RWS Model 34 is a spring driven break barrel air rifle that measures 45” in length and seven and a half pounds in weight. It has adjustable rear sights though it comes with a 4x magnification scope. When it comes to power produces 15 FPE making it a good additional to your hunting arsenal.
As for speed, the .177 caliber is rated at 1000 FPS while the .22 caliber clocks in at 800 FPS. You can expect to get consistent velocities of about 700 FPS using the heavier 14 grain pellets.
It also has a smooth T06 trigger that allows you to make shot groups of 5 that fall inside of 0.7 inches from 20 yards.
Hatsan 95 Air Rifle Combo
Hatsan 95 is single-shot gun includes a steel barrel that provides a two-stage trigger that can be modified while also including adjustments for the trigger’s pull weight between first and second stages and the length of the pellet’s travel.
The 95 combo air rifle from Hatsan is a gas-piston type and available in .22, .25 and .177 caliber. The .22 is the most expensive option while .177 is the best compromise which offers the best shooting velocity of 1000 feet per second.
3-9×32 optic system which will allow you to aim your target with much better precision. The rear sight of the rifle is fully adjustable while the front sight of 11mm is fixed.
The Shock Absorber System or the SAS feature is there which will virtually produce no vibration at all while you shoot using the gun. The cocking will be smoother and without taking too much of an effort from your body.
Heavier gun to use - 7.8 pounds for just the rifle, and is not meant for younger hunters by any means. But with strong weight, there’s some force to be able to take down different types of prey during your next hunting trip.
Ruger Blackhawk Combo Air Rifle
This is one of the most advanced rifles with 0.177 caliber air rifle weighs 9 pounds and contains a 4×32 scope which is decent. It is also ideal for plinking and dispatching rodents.
The rifle is deadly accurate and totally reliable. You can easily shoot a target from 30 yards and if you put on really good quality scopes with sturdy scopes ring you can even shoot from 50 yards.
The scope that comes with the rifle is not up to the expectation so getting a new one will be very good.
- Ideal for plinking and dispatching rodents
- Accurate and powerful
- Smooth brake barrel mechanism
- Auto safety on
- Needs cleaning for first time use
- Scope isn’t that good
- Proper pellets should be used
- Safety precautions should be taken
Air rifles come in various forms and have different features that cater to different needs and hunting requirements. You should be aware about all the important aspects for choosing the best air rifle for your use. In case you are a starter and have never bought an air rifle, then you should be very careful in making your decision to purchase an air rifle with scope, the ease of viewing through the scope. For this purpose you should be going through all the important information available about the rifles.
By comparing the features, capabilities and the styles of different rifles to your requirements and hunting needs, you will be in a better place to buy a best pellet rifle for you. A rifle that is less complicated, is light weight, has lesser noise and comes along with the desired caliber and power would be the best one for you to consider.
You should also be checking the overall design and material used in it. It is important because when a rifle is easy to grip on and has a design that is simple to handle is the best for everyone and would be of great help to get an accurate shot at your target.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
- What is better – spring piston rifles or pre-charged Pneumatic ones?
Both have their own pros and cons. The former type requires more skill from the shooter to shoot precisely than the latter type, but it costs less money and can be used without worry about air recharge.
- What is more accurate – fixed barrel riffles or break barrel ones?
In my practical experience, the former type is more precise than the latter. The reason is the connection between break and barrel is unchanged in each shot. However, the latter type delivers a feel which is nearest to using a real gun. So if you like it, you just need to pay more to own a better quality break barrel air rifle which can greatly shorten the gap in precision between 2 types.
- How can I determine the proper pellet for my air rifle?
The best way to answer this question can be found in reality. This means you should use several types of pellet and then find out which is the most suitable to become your air rifle.
- Which is the perfect measurement for pellet weight?
There is no accurate answer for this question. It mostly depends on your interest. However, you need to remember that net weight of pellet is one of the main factures which affect most to the velocity and range of fire of the pellet. So you need to choose wisely.
- Are there any differences between scope of air rifle and firearm?
In fact, the answer is yes. Because of having less recoil force, scope in air rifle is made is made to less withstand forward and rearward directions recoil. You can shoot targets more accurate with an air rifle compare to the firearm.
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Our Air Rifle Buyers Guide
Now that we know which products standout in their own price class, we set our sights into understanding which of the long air guns we should consider aside from just looking at the cost.
Step 1: What are you going to shoot?
Just like before you go out and put down your hard earned money on a product, you want to understand whether or not the product you’re considering is what you really need. People purchase airguns for a variety of reasons but for the most part these reasons fall under one of three categories. These are:
- General shooting – more commonly called plinking, where you and your buddies go to the back of the house, in the barn or onto the field to shoot home made targets that can be toy action figures, old cans or bottles. These are informal gatherings where the main goal is just to have fun and test each one’s abilities.
- Target shooting competition – these include serious shooters and often entail competing for prizes or position. Individuals and teams are formed and practice is done in shooting ranges or gun clubs where each shot is scored by judges. Air rifle events including the 10 meter competition are part of the Olympics and other major events.
- Hunting – this not only includes going into the woods and hunting game, but also pest elimination. Unlike the other two where you’re shooting at inanimate objects, in hunting and pest control you deal with live animals with the intent to take them out.
Once you’ve considered which of the three or which combination of the three (you can have more than one purpose) your intention with the air gun is, you’ll then be able to start narrowing down the gun choices.
Air Power: The 3 Types of Airgun Powerplants
We all know what makes a firearm go bang, but what about airguns? What exactly propels that pellet at close to the speed of sound at the pull of a trigger? In this article we’ll cover the 3 main types of powerplants used by airguns to send lead downrange.
Spring-Piston: Coiled and Ready to Strike
Most popular air rifles on the market today are of the spring-piston variety and use a break-barrel action. In this design, the shooter bends the barrel downward to compress and spring behind a piston. When the trigger is pulled, the spring releases all its pent up tension into the piston, driving it forward at a high velocity. The piston compresses air in front of it as it flies toward the pellet in the breech of the barrel. All the air pressure generated by this action pushes the pellet down and out the barrel just like a bullet in a traditional firearm.
- No recharging necessary, just break open the barrel
- Consistent once you know how to hold the rifle
- More recoil
- Inconsistent if held incorrectly
- Can’t remained cocked for long or the spring will fatigue
CO2: Power in a Bottle
Carbon dioxide, the same gas we exhale, can be compressed to high pressure and stored in small containers referred to as CO2 cartridges. Air guns using CO2 will have an outlet to plug a cartridge or powerlet into, and the gas from this canister will power the pellet’s trip downrange. Carbon dioxide is typically used in lower-end airsoft guns, but also finds fans in high-end match shooting.
- No need to physically break or pump the gun
- Plenty of power and consistency… as long as the temperature doesn’t change
- Pressure changes with slight variations in temperature, causing point-of-impact to change
- Loses pressure in cold weather, can become over-pressured in hot weather
- Must buy and replace CO2 cartridges
PCP: High Pressure Powerhouse
Pre-charged pneumatic air guns use highly compressed air to achieve outrageous amounts of pressure and power. With typically pressure rates up to 3500 PSI, PCP airguns are able to shoot lead hard enough to take down hogs or deer. With such high speeds comes great accuracy, so PCP guns are used in target shooting as well as hunting.
- Unrivaled power
- No manual cocking
- Low recoil in small calibers
- Needs a constant supply of very high pressure air (like a scuba tank)
- Requires special probe to air up