If you decide to take on hunting, you will have to get necessary equipment. You may be unfamiliar with this term but hunting device that uses compressed air dated back to the 1500s. It means that this device is one of the oldest hunting methods. Air guns, as well as air rifles, are becoming more and more popular over time since then. There is wide range of air rifles, from the inexpensive and basic ones for beginners to the premium one that cost thousands of dollars. With various types, sizes as well as various caliber options and pellets, it is essential that you understand about them before deciding to buy the best Air Rifle/Pellet Gun that fits you and your needs the most.
- How to choose the Best Hunting Air Rifle / Pellet Gun for the money
- Top 6 Best Air Rifle / Pellet Gun Reviews 2016
- 1. Gamo Whisper Silent Cat Break Barrel Air Rifle, .177
- 2. Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2 Break Barrel Air Rifle
- 3. Daisy 880 Powerline Multi-pump Pneumatic Rifle, 37.6 Inch
- 4. Winchester 990004-402 CO2 Semi-Automatic Action Hunting Pellet Gun
- 5. Daisy Outdoor Products Model 1938 Red Ryder Lever Action Rifle
- 6. Benjamin 392 Bolt Action Variable Pump .22 Air Rifle
- COMPARISON CHART
- When Do You Use Air Rifle?
- Final Thoughts
How to choose the Best Hunting Air Rifle / Pellet Gun for the money
There are three main types of hunting air rifles which are categorized by the power plant that these rifles used to launch the pellets.
Pros: CO2 powered hunting air rifle comes with many shapes and sizes. They are also very easy to use and do not required pumping as well.
Cons: The power from CO2 is normally weaker than other kinds of power. The CO2 pressure is not stable and changes according to the ambient air temperature. When the temperature increases, the pressure will also go up and affect the direction of the shot.
- Pump-up air rifle:
Pros: You can expect the medium power which adjusted by changing the number of pumps for each shot. It is also cheaper than using the CO2 cartridges.
Cons: You need to spend time and effort to prepare for each shot. Furthermore, the noise caused by this type of gun when you shot will scare small game.
Pros: You can recharge the air tank easily by using a SUBA tank. This type of rifle gun offers the most powerful and accurate shots.
Cons: Any pre-charge pneumatic air rifle is a real investment. You also need to buy a SUBA tank as well.
Pros: You can expect consistent and accurate shots when using air gun.
Cons: Spring piston is harder to use than other types. Also machine will wear down over time.
The most common calibers are the .177, .20, .22, and .25.
- .177: is one of the best calibers for small game because of its very high speed as well as sharp penetration.
- .20: this one is also very common used for small game hunting. However, its speed is not as great as the .177 caliber.
- .22: this caliber air rifle has high speed and flat trajectories. It also leaves sufficient energy on small game upon contact.
- .25: this is the least common type of caliber with a much slower velocity but also has a significant impact on small game upon contact.
There are various types of pellets when choosing the best pellet gun, most of them are safe to use as well as very accurate and can leave a significant impact on the targets. The best pellets to be used are for different types of air rifles.
- Wad Cutters: They have flat nose and clean cutting on the targets.
- Round Nose: Like the name suggest, they come with round noses and also leave a clean cut upon contact of the target.
- Pointed Pellets: They are the best pellets when you want the maximum penetration, thanks to their pointed and really sharp head.
- Hollow Point: These ones offer the best energy to transfer to the target.
- Polymer tip hollow-head pellets: Many hunters prefer these with their sharp and ballistic tip which could go with high velocity and cut the air strongly for maximum accuracy.
In general, heavier pallets will provide better accuracy as they will not be affected by the movement of the air. They will also carry a much larger transfer weight to the target which is very important when you want to have humane kill. They are suitable for long range shooting.
Lighter pallets will be useful for short range shooting. They bring less accuracy but higher speed.
There are two reasons why power is one of the most characteristics of an air rifle. First, you would definitely want your shots to be strong enough to kill the target. Secondly, you will also want a humane kill for the game when shot will die quickly and painlessly.
Beside proper techniques as well as skills, a good air rifle will help you achieve these two things with its strong power.
Make sure that you do not get confused with power and speed. Put it in another way, you can check a rifle for a high velocity. You also need to check for the energy it leaves on target as well, which is the FPE- foot pounds of energy. You can also check this statistic when choosing pellets.
Of course, you would want an air rifle with the best accuracy to make sure you hit the targets without scaring them away. Especially when you hunt small game- which is known for being easily scared and escaping quickly.
As I mention on all of the features above, different types, calibers, and pellet options will provide you more or less accuracy.
For example, you can expect the most accurate shots with a pre-charged pneumatic rifle using the caliber of .177 and the polymer tip hollow-head pellets.
Another important contributor to a greater accuracy is the consistency of pallets. Make sure you store all of your pallets in a package where they cannot rub against others which could affect their forms and sizes.
Also worth noting that the air spring piston is the best air rifle to provide consistent shots.
Remember that you cannot change the configurations of an air rifle to fit your size, so make sure it is the perfect fit since the beginning.
The power plant of your rifle also affects the ease of use. For example, the pump-up air rifle will require you to pump before each shot which will cost your time and effort. At the same time, the pre-charged pneumatic rifle will require you to bring along a Scuba tank for a long hunting session. In this case, CO2 powered rifle and spring piston are much easier to use.
If you are a beginner, you should go for a cheaper air rifle. When you gain more experiences and clearly know about your preferences, you can opt for a more expensive one with all the options and features you need.
Top 6 Best Air Rifle / Pellet Gun Reviews 2016
When considering guns for hunting, one of the most common types that many people recommend, especially for beginners is an air rifle or pellet gun.
Air rifle or pellet gun is suitable for beginners in hunting because it is easy to use. Also, it is very compact and easy to carry around. Also, air rifle and a pellet gun are suitable for hunting small game for two reasons. It causes less noise when you shoot, and it can shoot quite powerful in a short range as well.
There are various kinds of air rifles in the market for different power plants, different calibers as well as other features such as sizes, weights, and accuracy.
I will provide you general information as well as the pros and cons of the top 6 air rifles on the market. You can also read customer reviews to make the most informed choice of your own.
1. Gamo Whisper Silent Cat Break Barrel Air Rifle, .177
One of the most powerful air rifle with the velocity of up to 1200 fps, it offers you powerful shots and guarantees the most humane kill on small game. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation. The trigger is also adjustable which makes it easier to use and load the gun.
- This is one of the most powerful guns with highest velocity. This comes with a very reasonable price.
- This air rifle is also very quiet, which will help for multiple shots and you will not scare away the small animal
- The simple yet strong design makes it very easy to use.
- The scope is kind of useless to many hunters. It is also not durable.
- The double recoil is quite hard to operate, especially for beginners.
- For some types of pellets, the shots will be inconsistent.
You can use this gun to shot for small game such as rabbits, squirrel and pigeons. This is one of the best starter guns for anyone who just stars having a liking in hunting. You can also use this air rifle for pest control.
2. Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2 Break Barrel Air Rifle
The most outstanding feature of this air rifle is that instead of the mental mainspring, it comes with the Nitro piston, which makes the spring action smoother and causes less noise. Besides that, this model comes with an enhanced 2 –stage trigger that is adjustable for taking up. The innovation also helps to reduce the cocking effort by 10lbs and increase the speed as well as a shooting range.
- You can shot almost effortlessly with this air rifle: only 28 lbs. cocking effort and no spring torque.
- You can leave it cocked for hours and there is still no spring fatigue.
- Thanks to the Nitro Piston, it works well under all kinds of weather.
- This air rifle is relatively heavier than other models of air rifles.
- After few hundred shots, the gun will not cock.
This gun is perfect to use when you go hunting in extremely hot and cold weather. Besides, it is suitable for small game hunting and medium sized game hunting such as squirrels and raccoons.
3. Daisy 880 Powerline Multi-pump Pneumatic Rifle, 37.6 Inch
This is an 880 multi-pump pneumatic rifle with woodgrain Monte Carlo stock and forearm. Another outstanding feature is the front sight which is made from fiber optic and the rear sight which is fully adjustable. It is also equipped with a laser for more accuracy aim at the targets.
- You can adjust the power of a shot based on the pumps you make.
- This air rifle is one of the only rifles which allow you to load lead balls from the BB magazine.
- With extra help from the red dot on sight, you can expect more accurate shots.
- The plastic receiver may not last as long as the metal one
- The pull weight is quite heavy and long
This is suitable for pinking and recreational activities as well as pest control. You can also use this gun for really small animals such as rabbits, squirrels, and pigeons.
4. Winchester 990004-402 CO2 Semi-Automatic Action Hunting Pellet Gun
This powerful air rifle is designed with a smooth bore steel barrel and collapsible composite stock. The receiver is made from metal as well as pistol grip and forearm. This rifle can be able to shot 16 times before changing for a new CO2 tank. You can load 2 CO2 tanks inside this.
- This air rifle is suitable for any kind of pellet that you have such as steel BBs and lead pellets.
- The materials are very durable.
- Also this rifle offers very powerful and consistent shots with high accuracy.
- It carries 2 tanks of CO2. You might need to bring more CO2 Cartridges if you intend to go on a long hunt
- The gun kicks heavier than you would expect.
This air rifle is best used to hunt small and medium-sized game such as rabbits, raccoons and squirrels. It is also very suitable when you need a semi-auto long gun.
5. Daisy Outdoor Products Model 1938 Red Ryder Lever Action Rifle
This classic and legendary Daisy BB gun has been on the market for almost 80 years. This lever-action spring rifle is one of the most common guns used for teaching purposes with its lightweight, easy to load and cock. The design of the forearm and wood stock is very convenient for younger shooters.
- It is one of the lightest and most compact BB guns which can be carried around easily by even teenagers.
- It is very easy to operate and load this gun as well.
- You can only shot accurately within a very short range of 5 meters.
• The types of animals it could shot are quite limited.
This is suitable for pinking and recreational activities. You can also use this gun for teaching purposes. You can also use this gun for really small animals such as rats and small squirrels.
6. Benjamin 392 Bolt Action Variable Pump .22 Air Rifle
This air rifle is one of the most American classic guns with the multi-pump pneumatic power plant. Because of its velocity and caliber, it is very suitable for hunting small and medium game such as rabbits, raccoon, and squirrels. With special design of a swelling in the forearm and an adjustable rear sight, it makes your experience in hunting more fun and enjoyable.
- The hardwood Monte Carlo stock finish gives the air riffle a classical look and also makes it lightweight.
- You can have very consistent shots.
- This can also shoot target from very far distance.
- The barrel needs to have a better coating.
- Lastly, you will see that you don’t need the iron sights at all.
This air rifle is best used to hunt small and medium-sized game such as rabbits, raccoons and squirrels. It is also very suitable when you need a gun for pest control
Here is the table for you to easily compare among these products’ features:
|Gamo Whisper Silent Cat||0.177" (4.5mm)||1200 (PBA) 1000 (pellets)||Break barrel||Single-shot||5.28 lbs|
|Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2||0.22" (5.5mm)||1100||Gas piston||Break barrel||Single-shot||8.3 lbs|
|Daisy 880 Powerline||0.177" (4.5mm)||750 (BBs)715 (pellets)||Pneumatic||Multi-Pump||Repeater||5.2 lbs|
|Winchester 990004-402||0.177" (4.5mm)||700||CO2||Semi-Automatic||Single-shot||7.4 lbs|
|Daisy Outdoor 1938 RedRyder||0.177" (4.5mm)||350||Spring-piston||Lever||Single-shot||3.4 lbs|
|Benjamin 392||0.22" (5.5mm)||685||Multi-pump pneumatic||Bolt||Single-shot||5.5 lbs|
As you can see, there are many kinds of air rifles with different calibers as well as consistency and accuracy, to name just a few. To look for the best air rifle, you need to look for all of the specifications as well as your specific needs such as how much you can carry and what animal that you often go hunting for.
I hope that this article is very informative and could help you a great deal while you are looking and choosing the best air rifles for yourself.
When Do You Use Air Rifle?
Air rifles are perfect for small game hunting such as rabbits, squirrels, and pigeons, thanks to the accuracy and humanly kill when shooting. For these types, it is best that you use high-powered rifles with the calibers of .177, .20 and .22.
There are also certain large calibers such as .25 which you can use to shoot large targets such as deer and elk. There are also many customized calibers which go as far as .50.
Besides small game hunting, people also use air rifles for pest control. Their power and quite sounds are perfect for targeting rats and magpies in a small garden.
You can also see people using this type of air gun in various recreational activities and sports. There are many competitions which are held each year in all kinds of levels from the local to the national wide. Furthermore, there are some several categories in the Olympic that use air rifles such as the 10-meter air rifle with 60 shots and 10-meter air pistol for both men and women.
An air rifle is cheaper and creates less noise than other bigger guns. That is the reason why it could be an excellent substitution when you want to practice before going hunting for big game. You can also do it everywhere, even in the backyard.
Other hunting weapons
Beside air rifle, hunters can have access to a wide range of hunting tools such as recurve bows, compound bows, crossbows, shotguns, handguns as well as single-shots firearms, multiple-barreled firearms, and revolvers.
Benefits of Using Air Rifle For Hunting Over Other Weapons:
- First and foremost, air rifles are normally quite compact in comparison with other hunting methods. A normal air rifle would weight around 3 to 4 kg, which makes it easier to be carried around
- Secondly, shooting with air rifles does not require much space. You can use your air rifle within the bound of your backyard or even your silos when you go hunting for pest control.
- Another benefit of using air rifle is that it is quieter than most of the firearms. Because most of the air rifles has sub-sonic movement, which prevents the pellets from creating sounds. You will definitely hunt small game effectively, especially for multiple shots, because they will not be alert when you shoot.
- For beginner, the air rifle is excellent not only because of its ease of use but you also can use this rifle as the practice tool before you advance to more sophisticated firearms.
Overall, air rifles definitely have many uses besides hunting such as pest control, sports, and competition materials. Even if you use this type of rifle for hunting, you can target a wide range of animals, from the small one like rats, rabbits, and squirrel, to the medium like raccoon, and large animals like deer and elk.
There are also many types of air rifles with different powers, calibers, and pellets, which all contribute to different levels of accuracy and ease of use. I hope that this Air Rifle/Pellet Gun Reviews and Buying Guide will be able to provide you a deeper insight of these. In addition to careful consideration about cost and perfect fit, these details will hopefully help you to make the most informed decision.
If you decide to take on hunting and want to go shopping for all of the necessary equipment, one of the most common items on a should-buy list among proper clothes, gun safe, trail camera, and hunting boots is the best air rifle.