Recommendations for the best air rifle?

Tra3

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I’m looking to buy a very good air rifle for plinking in the back yard. Likely a break open pump style, but I’m open to suggestions. I’d like to be able to hunt squirrel with it.

What would you all recommend?
 

Red Leg

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Anything made by RWS. Their single stroke models are powerful and accurate. Most are designed to accept a scope (use one designed for air rifles!).
 

Tra3

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@Red Leg thank you for the input. Knowing your appreciation for the R8, would you consider the RWS to be similar quality?

My son and I have been enjoying the .22 LR barrel on his R8. If Blaser made and air rifle I would buy it!
 

Ray B

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For hunting I'd prefer a compressed air model to avoid a lot of movement between shots.
 

cal

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I've recently bought a PCP style air rifle made by air arms in the UK. I am very happy with the quality and accuracy.
 

BeeMaa

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First I would recommend a PCP (Pre-Charged Pneumatic) bolt action for a design.
Second would be caliber, and for squirrels, rabbits and small game, a .22 caliber is in order.
They take down small game much faster than the .17 caliber.
Lastly is brand, but I won't be specific except to say don't go cheap...buy once - cry once.
Expect to pay about as much for a quality air rifle as you would for a centerfire rifle.

Check out this website https://www.airgundepot.com/

PS - Make sure whatever scope you get for your air rifle is designed to be on an air rifle.
They experience recoil in a different direction and are manufactured that way to prevent damage.
 

Red Leg

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@Red Leg thank you for the input. Knowing your appreciation for the R8, would you consider the RWS to be similar quality?

My son and I have been enjoying the .22 LR barrel on his R8. If Blaser made and air rifle I would buy it!
In all fairness, I am almost a decade out of date with regard to air rifles. The PCP designs look interesting, and are clearly designed with squirrels and things in mind.
 

ZG47

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The big difference with airgun scopes is, apparently, that the reticle is bolted in place. Basically the top third of the Bushnell product range should all be good for Airgun use. NB All the Weaver Classic Rimfire scopes are rated for Airgun use.
 

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I have researched PCPs, and they look really good for hunting...but...very expensive and a lot of pumping!
Nitro pistons are much quieter than springers. This is an advantage for hunting. I have shot a lot of rabbits and squirrels with my old Crosman springer (imported from Diana which is another good name in springers). It is only a .177 and I agree at least a .22 or even a .25 caliber dumps more energy. Still, a head shot is the way to go if at all possible.
Be certain to use a more modern hunting designed pellet. Just like a .22 rimfire, each rifle can be picky with different brands.
Best of luck! It’s a fun challenging way to hunt.
 

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I've got a break action Rem. Vantage 1200 that I use on squirrels and such. It's only .177 cal but it kills squirrels and birds out to 30 yards maybe little further. I'd recommend a decent scope for small targets that's designed for air guns . No matter what you end up with I'm sure it will be a blast lol
 

Northman

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Weihracuh HW 97K.
Best there is!!
Air Arms Prosport or TX200 a close second.

A fellow on another forum, just shot his 600+ groundhog this year with his .22 HW 97K.

I myself have one in .177.. one tiny hole accuracy at 30m. (as far as I have shot mine)

 

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BeeMaa

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I have researched PCPs, and they look really good for hunting...but...very expensive and a lot of pumping!
Nitro pistons are much quieter than springers. This is an advantage for hunting. I have shot a lot of rabbits and squirrels with my old Crosman springer (imported from Diana which is another good name in springers). It is only a .177 and I agree at least a .22 or even a .25 caliber dumps more energy. Still, a head shot is the way to go if at all possible.
Be certain to use a more modern hunting designed pellet. Just like a .22 rimfire, each rifle can be picky with different brands.
Best of luck! It’s a fun challenging way to hunt.
Admittedly a 3000# scuba tank is not a handy item to lug around for hunting.
However you can get as many as 5o shots of .22 caliber on a single 1500# charge.
And the shots will be consistent in FPS making accuracy very good as well.
Keeping the tank on the truck nearby is an option as well.
 

EZRider

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I've recently bought a PCP style air rifle made by air arms in the UK. I am very happy with the quality and accuracy.

I have an Air Arms .22 PCP rifle. It will shoot 1/2 moa @ 50 m with my Leupold rimfire scope.
I get about 50 shots off of a charge from a 20 l cylinder.
They have really good triggers and accuracy that will compete with your centre fire rifles at shorter ranges (up to 50 m).
 

WAB

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I’m not in the same league as you guys, but I’ve been very pleased with my game whisper deluxe fitted with. 3-9x scope. The integral silencer is very effective with lead pellets as they are just subsonic. It is not very effective with alloy pellets as they are supersonic.
 

WAB

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I’m not in the same league as you guys, but I’ve been very pleased with my game whisper deluxe fitted with. 3-9x scope. The integral silencer is very effective with lead pellets as they are just subsonic. It is not very effective with alloy pellets as they are supersonic.

Accuracy is roughly 5 shots in a dime at 20 yards with lead target pellets. It opens up some with alloy. The lead pellets pass right through a squirrel.
 

TOBY458

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I've owned a. RWS break barrel spring gun for around 34 years and it still shoots great today. The spring guns are very easy to deal with, and have quite a lot of power. However, if you have access to a scuba shop and a tank, the precharge guns are probably the way to go these days if money is no object. Otherwise get you an RWS, Beeman or maybe even a Benjamin with a nitro piston. 22 Caliber all the way.
 

BWH

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Umerex & Benjamin are a couple great place to start.... depending on your need & budget, there’s a lot to choose from.
 

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As others have mentioned buy the best you can stay away from the cheaper end of the market that applies to the pre charge and the springers. Good quality air rifles here in the uk hold there value well. You can't go wrong with Weihracuh, Air arms, or Theoben but you may not be able to get the thoben in the states. I did find my air arms under leaver quite heavy though.
 
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Ridgewalker

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Another good information source:
https://www.pyramydair.com/

Sights...I’ve destroyed a couple of scopes and a red dot on springers including ones designed for them. Personally at the ranges a pellet rifle shoots, I like a red dot. But if you are training a kid to use a scope for the future, then you may want to stick to a scope. Just a thought.
 

ChrisG

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I went pre-charged and never went back. I ended up getting a .25 Hatsan Flash, which I tuned, regulated to 150 bar and put a nice vortex rimfire scope on. It will print 0.3-0.75" groups all day at 50 yards and do it so quietly, the game doesnt even know you are there.

Charged to 3200psi, I get about 23 full power shots out of it. 10 round magazine makes follow ups easy and it will easily take fox sized game out to 55-60 yards. 34 grain JSBs at 760 fps for 43 ft-lbs at the muzzle. I know that doesnt sound like much but it will pass through an Opossum or raccoon on a quartering shot from 20-30 yards. I have done it several times and it is pretty effective on that size animal.

I shied away from springers because they are very difficult to get to shoot well from certain positions (they need a soft support or the spring will make them jump before the pellet leaves the barrel.) They are also very limited in the power they can deliver and arent easily tunable. Going from firearm to a pcp is an easy transition for a firearms guy as they shoot just like a powder burning gun.

My advice is skip the break barrel single shot phase and get something like a diana stormrider. 22 kit with a hand pump. They are reasonable and much more powerful than an equivalently priced spring gun, they are super accurate and are highly tunable (regulators, accuracy improvements, etc.) I had one for a while till I realized I wanted a .25 for bigger rodents. It will put 30+ full power shots out that will pass through a 3/4" pine board. At the end of the day, if it isn't something you like, they werent really that much money and hold their value better than an equivalently priced break barrel.
 
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