Recommendations for the best air rifle?

Tra3

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Gents, thank you for all the good information!

I’ve been reading more and see a few additional questions:
Break force, some are 25 up to 50 lbs to break them. And complaints there? (My growing son is still only 100 lbs)
charging a PCP: is it a pain to use the hand pump? Am I just committing to buying an electric compressor with it? @ChrisG how many pumps does it take?
@EZRider do you use a hand pump or a compressor?
@Northman how do you fill the 97k?

Somehow, I suspect I will end up having to get two of these. With a 14 year old son who likes to shoot, I might just end up getting a hand pump workout.
No matter what, it will be cheaper than the trophy fees I planned to but didn’t spend last month.
 

ZG47

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@Tra3 If you buy an air compressor, it must have a filter that removes the moisture from the air AND it must not send any oil down the line. That is why PCP air gun users talk about using dive tanks, i.e. the dive shop will have that type of compressor.
 

ChrisG

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Gents, thank you for all the good information!

I’ve been reading more and see a few additional questions:
Break force, some are 25 up to 50 lbs to break them. And complaints there? (My growing son is still only 100 lbs)
charging a PCP: is it a pain to use the hand pump? Am I just committing to buying an electric compressor with it? @ChrisG how many pumps does it take?
@EZRider do you use a hand pump or a compressor?
@Northman how do you fill the 97k?

Somehow, I suspect I will end up having to get two of these. With a 14 year old son who likes to shoot, I might just end up getting a hand pump workout.
No matter what, it will be cheaper than the trophy fees I planned to but didn’t spend last month.
If you just want a gun for plinking and are willing to settle for significantly less power, buy a CO2 rifle. They are almost universally sub 12ft-lb guns that will kill rats, but 80-100 shots from a $0.75 12 Gram CO2 cylinder is cheap, long-lasting fun.

To fill my Hatsan which has a 160cc tank or thereabouts takes around 70 -100 good full pumps. I only use it for hunting so 20-25 shots is fine for an outing or a trip to the range. I don't find it bothersome at all. If I wanted to shoot 400 pellets in a 24 hour period it might be but I look at it like a hunting rifle and less like a plinking gun. It has a very specific place in my hunting arsenal. It works amazingly for removing pests when other houses are nearby and a loud bang would set people off.
The Diana Stormrider ($179) has a significantly smaller cylinder so I would put it somewhere around 50-75 pumps. The pumping is actually not that hard and if you break it up it is probably about 8-9 minutes of actual pumping. If you want to go the air compressor route, just buy an inline filter with a dryer. The compressor and dryer can be had for under $500 in a lot of cases. I got one (a dryer-filter) for my hand pump that has an oil filter in it (with about 50 relacements) and a lot of empty space, which I then filled with dried silica gel (you can use the same silica gel over and over by just bringing it up to 250F in the oven for a few minutes). This will remove any oil and moisture. The issue with oil is if it is the wrong kind of oil. petroleum based oils can diesel when fired and cause damage to the gun. Too much oil in the gun, even if it is silicone oil will start to gum things up.

I personally see the break barrels as convenient because they have their own power source, but a PCP is a better tool for hunting in my opinion because of its power, rapid fire capability and flatter trajectory with heavier pellets. Heck, If you want to spend the money, the Seneca Aspen is a fully self contained, multishot PCP. I have used both the Diana and the Hatsan to knock over a lot of rodents. Either of those rifles will work on animals up to 35-40 lbs on body shots and likely on coyote if you restricted yourself to headshots out to 40 yards or so. A lot of people underestimate airguns because they have never seen what a powerful PCP can do.
 
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Red Leg

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Gents, thank you for all the good information!

I’ve been reading more and see a few additional questions:
Break force, some are 25 up to 50 lbs to break them. And complaints there? (My growing son is still only 100 lbs)
charging a PCP: is it a pain to use the hand pump? Am I just committing to buying an electric compressor with it? @ChrisG how many pumps does it take?
@EZRider do you use a hand pump or a compressor?
@Northman how do you fill the 97k?

Somehow, I suspect I will end up having to get two of these. With a 14 year old son who likes to shoot, I might just end up getting a hand pump workout.
No matter what, it will be cheaper than the trophy fees I planned to but didn’t spend last month.
If you just want a gun for plinking and are willing to settle for significantly less power, buy a CO2 rifle. They are almost universally sub 12ft-lb guns that will kill rats, but 80-100 shots from a $0.75 12 Gram CO2 cylinder is cheap, long-lasting fun.

To fill my Hatsan which has a 160cc tank or thereabouts takes around 70 -100 good full pumps. I only use it for hunting so 20-25 shots is fine for an outing or a trip to the range. I don't find it bothersome at all. If I wanted to shoot 400 pellets in a 24 hour period it might be but I look at it like a hunting rifle and less like a plinking gun. It has a very specific place in my hunting arsenal. It works amazingly for removing pests when other houses are nearby and a loud bang would set people off.
The Diana Stormrider ($179) has a significantly smaller cylinder so I would put it somewhere around 50-75 pumps. The pumping is actually not that hard and if you break it up it is probably about 8-9 minutes of actual pumping. If you want to go the air compressor route, just buy an inline filter with a dryer. The compressor and dryer can be had for under $500 in a lot of cases. I got one (a dryer-filter) for my hand pump that has an oil filter in it (with about 50 relacements) and a lot of empty space, which I then filled with dried silica gel (you can use the same silica gel over and over by just bringing it up to 250F in the oven for a few minutes). This will remove any oil and moisture. The issue with oil is if it is the wrong kind of oil. petroleum based oils can diesel when fired and cause damage to the gun. Too much oil in the gun, even if it is silicone oil will start to gum things up.

I personally see the break barrels as convenient because they have their own power source, but a PCP is a better tool for hunting in my opinion because of its power, rapid fire capability and flatter trajectory with heavier pellets. Heck, If you want to spend the money, the Seneca Aspen is a fully self contained, multishot PCP. I have used both the Diana and the Hatsan to knock over a lot of rodents. Either of those rifles will work on animals up to 35-40 lbs on body shots and likely on coyote if you restricted yourself to headshots out to 40 yards or so. A lot of people underestimate airguns because they have never seen what a powerful PCP can do.
Ugh - All that sounds rather industrial. (n) Or you can go back to my first suggestion (however dated) and get the RWS. (y) Single stroke and powerful enough to kill any tree rodent in the backyard. The .22 versions will do 1000 fps + . All your son has to do is pull down the barrel, insert a pellet, lift the barrel, and let fly. The Germans also build a really accurate rifle. https://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Diana_RWS_350_Magnum/396
 

ChrisG

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Ugh - All that sounds rather industrial. (n) Or you can go back to my first suggestion (however dated) and get the RWS. (y) Single stroke and powerful enough to kill any tree rodent in the backyard. The .22 versions will do 1000 fps + . All your son has to do is pull down the barrel, insert a pellet, lift the barrel, and let fly. The Germans also build a really accurate rifle. https://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Diana_RWS_350_Magnum/396
I don't want to get this thread too off track, but the break barrel guns are never going to produce the velocities you see on the advertisements. These are tested with ridiculously light pellets for caliber to produce those velocities. Nor would you actually want them to. A diabolo style pellet becomes very unstable past around 950fps (this varies based on the pellet design, but supersonic is universally regarded as terrible for pellet accuracy). A super light pellet moving at 1,250 fps will very often A. not shoot worth a hill of beans, and B. carry energy downrange about as well as if it were made of Styrofoam.

A more reasonable range for these guns shooting lead hunting pellets is probably in the 650-900 fps range depending on the pellet weight. I wouldn't try to shoot really heavy pellets or "slugs" from these as they likely will not stabilize/shoot well and there just isnt' enough volume of air to generate the velocity you would need to hunt with them. i.e. a 21 grain .22 pellet might only make 550fps out of a gun like that, whereas even a cheap PCP will likely push it 150-250fps faster. So for the price of that gun you are topping out at around 24 ft-lbs, which is nothing to snuff at, and they are consistent, accurate guns, but you cannot modify them to do more than they are designed for. And yes, dieseling them intentionally does boost their power, but at the cost of destroying the gun and I think no one would ever recommend that.

My vote was for the equivalently priced, bolt action 30+ft-lb Diana PCP with a 12 shot magazine which will produce the same level of accuracy, with the only disadvantage being the recharge of the air reservoir. Plus you can put any scope you want on a PCP. A spring gun would test the warranty on a $1000 Leupold. I am not suggesting you should put a Leupold on there, but I think most of us have at least a few rifle scopes laying around gathering dust that could be added to a PCP with no additional cost, whereas a springer would need a special scope and decent glass for air rifles will add another $100+ to the gun anyway (About the price of a 4500psi hand pump).

Now, all that said, I think if you are fine with an air rifle which will have limited power and range, because you don't need it or they just want to shoot tin cans in the back yard, with the occasional rat, mole, or red squirrel, would I recommend a PCP? probably not. A CO2 air rifle has all the power necessary for head shots and even the small 12 gram cylinders will give many, many shots. You never need to pump them, you hardly ever need to maintain the seals because 950psi is hardly pushing the limits of o-ring technology. A break barrel will give you a little more of a boost in power over a CO2 gun, but at the cost of usability and ease of shootability, so it is a compromise.

I am just of the "Even if I don't need it now, I want something I can modify later to do more" So I am a big PCP fan. I will put up with recharging the reservoir so that I can just carry the gun afield and all I need to worry about is cranking the bolt and lining up my crosshairs.

now back to your regularly scheduled program.
 

Red Leg

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I don't want to get this thread too off track, but the break barrel guns are never going to produce the velocities you see on the advertisements. These are tested with ridiculously light pellets for caliber to produce those velocities. Nor would you actually want them to. A diabolo style pellet becomes very unstable past around 950fps (this varies based on the pellet design, but supersonic is universally regarded as terrible for pellet accuracy). A super light pellet moving at 1,250 fps will very often A. not shoot worth a hill of beans, and B. carry energy downrange about as well as if it were made of Styrofoam.

A more reasonable range for these guns shooting lead hunting pellets is probably in the 650-900 fps range depending on the pellet weight. I wouldn't try to shoot really heavy pellets or "slugs" from these as they likely will not stabilize/shoot well and there just isnt' enough volume of air to generate the velocity you would need to hunt with them. i.e. a 21 grain .22 pellet might only make 550fps out of a gun like that, whereas even a cheap PCP will likely push it 150-250fps faster. So for the price of that gun you are topping out at around 24 ft-lbs, which is nothing to snuff at, and they are consistent, accurate guns, but you cannot modify them to do more than they are designed for. And yes, dieseling them intentionally does boost their power, but at the cost of destroying the gun and I think no one would ever recommend that.

My vote was for the equivalently priced, bolt action 30+ft-lb Diana PCP with a 12 shot magazine which will produce the same level of accuracy, with the only disadvantage being the recharge of the air reservoir. Plus you can put any scope you want on a PCP. A spring gun would test the warranty on a $1000 Leupold. I am not suggesting you should put a Leupold on there, but I think most of us have at least a few rifle scopes laying around gathering dust that could be added to a PCP with no additional cost, whereas a springer would need a special scope and decent glass for air rifles will add another $100+ to the gun anyway (About the price of a 4500psi hand pump).

Now, all that said, I think if you are fine with an air rifle which will have limited power and range, because you don't need it or they just want to shoot tin cans in the back yard, with the occasional rat, mole, or red squirrel, would I recommend a PCP? probably not. A CO2 air rifle has all the power necessary for head shots and even the small 12 gram cylinders will give many, many shots. You never need to pump them, you hardly ever need to maintain the seals because 950psi is hardly pushing the limits of o-ring technology. A break barrel will give you a little more of a boost in power over a CO2 gun, but at the cost of usability and ease of shootability, so it is a compromise.

I am just of the "Even if I don't need it now, I want something I can modify later to do more" So I am a big PCP fan. I will put up with recharging the reservoir so that I can just carry the gun afield and all I need to worry about is cranking the bolt and lining up my crosshairs.

now back to your regularly scheduled program.
As I said in my first post, use a scope actually designed to be used on an air rifle.

I have never owned a PCP. However, during the decade we lived in burbs of Northern Virginia, I did own and use a scoped RWS. I used a simple pointed "hunting" rather than flat target pellet, and it accounted for cartloads of squirrels and crows. I even head shot a couple of groundhogs that were undermining the barn foundation. They are simple, accurate, and effective at backyard ranges. If I were looking for a plinker for a 14 year old, something that doesn't require a lot of pumping or a compressor (seriously?) would seem to be logical.

Anyway, simply wanted the OP to know that a traditional, quality air rifle can be very effective.
 

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As I said in my first post, use a scope actually designed to be used on an air rifle.

I have never owned a PCP. However, during the decade we lived in burbs of Northern Virginia, I did own and use a scoped RWS. I used a simple pointed "hunting" rather than flat target pellet, and it accounted for cartloads of squirrels and crows. I even head shot a couple of groundhogs that were undermining the barn foundation. They are simple, accurate, and effective at backyard ranges. If I were looking for a plinker for a 14 year old, something that doesn't require a lot of pumping or a compressor (seriously?) would seem to be logical.

Anyway, simply wanted the OP to know that a traditional, quality air rifle can be very effective.
Agreed
 

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I've got a Weihrauch HW95 in .177; break barrel and spring powered. It's one of their lighter models, but still good for squirrels, rabbits and pigeons.
 

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My Dad still has his RWS .177 break-open from the late 70's and it is insanely accurate, I knocked a starling out of a tree from +50yds. and it was 50 up, using RWS hunting pellets. It does not shoot supersonic, probably shoots around 7oofps now. He's shot pheasants, squirrels and rabbits with it, so there's no debate on its killing power (assuming proper shot placement). Modern RWS guns will shoot a .22 pellet 1000fps. or a .177 1200fps. Although pre-charged guns do look interesting, I prefer not to have my shots limited by an air tank.
 

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Para cazar kypos, es una variedad de nutrias, patos, liebres y martillos utilizo un Hatsan 125 cal. 22. Disparos de hasta 30 metros. Y para practicar disparos en el patio de casa...

 

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Tra3

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@JLF la bala pasa por todo el animal o para a dentro? Cuanto pesa la fuerza de armarlo?
Y lo más importante: cuál de ellos se come? Kypos tiene buen sabor?
 

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Yo uso balas de 20 granos, muy pocos quedan dentro.
No se toma mucha fuerza para romperse y cargarse.
Los coipos tienen carne sabrosa.
 

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Hi Tra3, you sound like someone who really appreciates quality. I am a bit of an air gun nut, graduated to the top of the springers being a tuned Diana 52 Luxus. Then moved on to the PCP's, started with an Air Arms S510, accurate, powerful, but not in the high quality stakes. Then came a Daystate Regal, better in my opinion, very accurate, but not quite there yet. Finally I bit the bullet, or pellet in this case, and got an FX Royale, rotary magazine, carbon fibre air reservoir the lot. Put a Swarovski z5 scope on it with the coloured ballistic turret calibrations, parallax adjustment. Opted for the high grade walnut stock too. WOW, at last, this is perfection! This set up is so accurate it is scary, with precision shots to 100m a breeze. It is super powerful too. You learn a lot about trajectory with an air rifle this good because you can predict its performance. As to calibre, i have 0.177, 0.20 and 0.22. The 0.22 in these modern high power PCP's will get to about 35 ft lbs without going supersonic, which is plenty power for small game hunting like pigeon, rabbits, squirrels etc. This set up is expensive, but you will not be disappointed.
FD68CA24-5923-4F8F-9C3A-4D57872A4B1B.jpeg
 

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The real question is whether the airgun is for yourself or your son ? If it is for your son then remember 50 shots are gone in the blink of a boys eye. You will be refilling that gun every 5 minutes. I bought an HW 25 (the baby springer) when my boys were about 5 and 3. They have been shooting from the bench for about 7 years and have been able to use the airgun for about 2 years offhand. The PCP's like Daystate/FX/Air Arms are pretty heavy for a young boy to lug around.

So if you want your son to spend many happy hours learning to shoot then you cant get better than a Weirhauch HW 97 or HW 80 ( if you prefer break barrel).In .22 calibre, he can shoot till he runs out of pellets. If you want a precision hunting machine then the rifles that Kevin Peacocke has given you are the best and in the rank that he gave you.You can even get slugs that put it into .22 LR territory. I have had some good fun shooting Vervet monkeys around maize lands with normal pellets and a Daystate Huntsman. My only problem with it was the weight-heavier than a rifle !

If you need a cheaper PCP then Gamo Coyote and BSA Bucanneer are ok. But remember a kid will blast through all your pellets and all your air cylinder in a weekend. (probably even a Saturday morning if my brother and I were anything to go by 1)
 

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Couldn't agree more, springers are ideal for kids. The Gamo's are the lightest, and good value, and not too difficult to cock for a young person. My girls all grew up on BSA's all of which were vintage then, and collectible now, like the BSA Airsporter S. One of the finest looking air rifles ever produced IMO, walnut stock, underlever, shotgun lines.
509440AE-B445-4E3F-8E16-7916D30D2726.jpeg
 

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@Kevin Peacocke I still have my Airsporter RB2 in .22. I need to take it out of the stock and tidy up the wood and metal this summer. Only thing wrong with the RB2 is the rubbish reversible front sight which will need to be replaced. I will try to get a ZKW 465 / Fox / CZ 527 foresight assembly and an assortment of different height foresights.
 

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Hi RG47, thats a blast from the past. Keep the original foresight somewhere safe so you can return it to original if you ever want to. My Arsporter fits me perfectly and I use it for my open sight practice. Elsewhere in these threads I have posted lines upon toying with red dots and scopes for my 375 double, and my eventual settling upon keeping the open sights. I was unsure as to what I could achieve with open sights and about 100 pellets later it was that very Airsporter that convinced me. Not something you could easily do on the range with a 375.
 

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The foresight arrangement on the RB2 is a plastic base screwed to the barrel with a reversible bead/blade foresight that cannot be secured for height! The bead is also ridiculously large for a spring air rifle, being almost unusable past 20 yards. I prefer to use that rifle with iron sights BUT the foresight makes that a bit of a joke. Time to get off my backside and sort it!
 

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@Nhoro the air gun will be for the both of us. (I’m sure I’ll end up needing more than one.) I’m inclined to start with a Very good, but not best, air rifle so I can work up! I appreciate the advice.
@Kevin Peacocke how do you charge the Fx royale? Did you buy a compressor? Scuba tank?
For this weekend, since I don’t have a good air rifle I brought along my son’s R8 professional with the .22LR barrel. With subsonic ammo it is quiet enough to shoot in the yard. Coffee, a firearm, and the waves of Lake Superior, A good morning!
 

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@Nhoro the air gun will be for the both of us. (I’m sure I’ll end up needing more than one.) I’m inclined to start with a Very good, but not best, air rifle so I can work up! I appreciate the advice.
@Kevin Peacocke how do you charge the Fx royale? Did you buy a compressor? Scuba tank?
For this weekend, since I don’t have a good air rifle I brought along my son’s R8 professional with the .22LR barrel. With subsonic ammo it is quiet enough to shoot in the yard. Coffee, a firearm, and the waves of Lake Superior, A good morning!
Hi Tra3, i have a diving bottle that i get filled and charge from that. The FX has a 400ml cylinder, so even at full power With the 0.22 you get about 40 shots if I recall. Then with 0.22 the magazine holds 10 pellets.
 
 

 

 

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