Best Air Rifle Reviews, Comparisons and Buying Guide

A mix of primitive and modern technology, air rifles and air guns are one of the few weapons that have managed to successfully combine both. These weapons can trace their roots back hundreds of years to the original blow pipes and dart guns that were used by primitive tribes from South American, Australia, and Africa. A review of an air rifle is actually telling readers a story as it explains the history and functions of the pneumatic weapon. With the growing popularity of using an air rifle for hunting, pest control, and leisure shooting, finding reviews of the best air rifles just got easier.

Air Guns versus Traditional Guns

The most obvious and basic difference between air guns/rifles and traditional guns is the latter requires gun powder. That being said, air rifles also have several advantages over more traditional firearms. The first advantage is that pneumatic guns are safer to use, since they do not require gun powder for firing. This helps to eliminate the risk of flash powder burns on your hands and face. Air rifles are also quieter than regular guns, making them less likely to scare game away when hunting and easier on your ears. The most important advantage of air rifles is that they can be used for both hunting and sporting activities while still being legal in almost all places.

Recommended Air Rifle Comparison Table

Note – You can click on any of the columns to sort the data

Air Rifle
Overall Length (inch)
Weight (lbs)
Caliber (inch)
Velocity (ft/sec)
Price
Amazon Ratings
Crosman Optimus Break Barrel
457.130.1771200$$4.8
Crosman Nitro Venom Break Barrel powered by Nitro Piston
44.57.3750.22950$$$4.4
Gamo Silent Cat
465.280.1771200$$$4.2
Marines Airsoft SR01 Spring Powered Rifle by Crosman
2820.236325$4.6
Ruger Blackhawk Combo
44.86.950.1771000$$$4.3
Benjamin 392 Bolt Action Variable Pump Air Rifle (.22)
36.255.50.22685$$$4.3
Crosman M4-177 Pneumatic Pump
33.753.750.177600$$4.3
Daisy Outdoor Products Red Ryder Gun
35.42.20.177350$4.5
Gamo Silent Stalker Air Rifle with IGT, Whisper Technology
437.150.1771300$$$$4.2
UTG AccuShot Competition Shadow Ops Sniper Rifle
458.50.236480$$$4.4
Note – Since the prices change frequently based on availability and promotions. But generally speaking, this is the criteria: $ = under $50, $$ = $50 to $100, $$$ = $100 to $200, $$$$ = $200+.

As you know its not possible to list all the air rifles here, however many exceptional air rifles from variety of quality manufacturers at every price range are included in the list above.

Types of Air Rifles

As you begin to familiarize yourself with all of the fun and useful activities and jobs that the best air rifle can do, it is time to start considering which type of air rifle is right for you. Before buying an air rifle, there are just a few more things that you need to know.

Spring air rifle

This type of air rifle is used by both experienced and amateur shooters. It is easy to use and to maintain, as well as being extremely affordable. These are just some of the reasons why the spring air rifle is often referred to as one of the best air rifles on the market.

The spring air rifle works just as its name implies. The rifle uses a mechanical spring to compress the air, which then causes the pellet to be expelled from the gun. The procedure in which this process of firing a pellet takes place is called “cocking”, and this is what starts the spring compression process.

There are several types of cocking based on the different types of levers which are: barrel cocking (barrel lever), side cocking (side lever), and under lever cocking (under lever). The one must commonly used in spring air rifles is barrel cocking, and it does require a great deal of skill and technique to be able to fire the gun accurately. On the other hand, side cocking can help you get a more accurate shot though they are often heavier than the barrel levers. The under lever will give you the most accurate shot since it is the easiest one to operate, and this is also the main selling point of air rifles with these types of levers. While they may be easy to cock and fire, under levers can also be dangerous for inexperienced shooters.

A less common type of air rifle is the gas ram pneumatic rifle which operates similarly to a spring air rifle. It does require that the firearm be cocked before shooting, though it does not use an actual mechanical spring. Instead, nitrogen or pressurized air acts as the spring to cause the pellet to fire. Some of the advantages of a gas ram air rifle commonly listed in air rifles reviews include their low maintenance since they are spring free, and an increased rate of speed for the release of the pellet, or the lock time.

Recommended for: hunting/pest control and target shooting

  • Pre-Charged Pneumatic (PCP) air rifle. This is another type of air rifle that does not use a mechanical spring. Instead, these pneumatic guns are equipped with a small storage tank that holds compressed air. The tank is filled by using a small air pump that is normally included with the rifle. One of the advantages to this type of air rifle is that it’ll let you fire single or multiple shots since the tank will only release that amount of air that you need at a time. The downside to a pre-charged air rifle is the cost. They are normally priced higher than other models, and some require the additional expense of the air pump. With this in mind, the PCP rifles are also the best air rifles to use for target shooting and competitive hunting events.

Recommended for: hunting/pest control and target shooting

  • CO2 air rifle. The CO2 is the periodic chart symbol for Carbon Dioxide, and this type of air rifle uses either CO2 canisters or cartridges to fire the pellet. The most common being the 12 gram CO2 cartridge. Not only are these rifles easy to aim and use, they also do not need cocking in between each shot. Most air rifles reviews consider this one of the best air rifles for backyard target shooting and simply for entertainment. These types of air rifles are normally priced lower than other models, but the CO2 canisters or cartridges do need to be frequently replaced.
  • Recommended for: backyard shooting and plinking
Hit It: Pellets and Their Calibers

The most common types of air rifles are the .22 caliber and the .177 caliber which take corresponding caliber pellets.

  • .177 caliber: This caliber is more common in target shooting, pest control, and even in hunting small game. Since it is a lighter pellet, it can travel farther, faster and has a relatively flat shooting trajectory.
  • .22 caliber: This caliber pellet is perfect for hunting larger game and for pest control. These heavier pellets deliver a harder impact than the lighter pellets.

While there are recommended uses for the specific types of air rifles, it is ultimately your choice on which one best suits all of you needs. Your skills and preferences just might have you choosing an air rifle that you’d least expected. Here are our top 5 air rifle reviews featuring our picks for the best air rifles.

Review of Recommended Top 5 Air Rifles

Crosman Optimus Break Barrel Air Rifle .177

The Crosman Optimus Break Barrel Air Rifle is a top of the line product that comes under the $100 tag price. Rarely can you get a product with such price tag, given the performance of this air rifle. If you are after something that is powerful and handy, this is a product that you may want to look into. With a 7.13 pound weight, this product is a lightweight air rifle that you can carry around hunting or looking for pests. The 45” length of the air rifle gives you a handy type of experience whenever shooting as it generates around 1200 feet per second for alloy pellets and 1000 feet per second for lead pellets.

In terms of aesthetics, the Crosman Optimus Break Barrel Air Rifle is a good looking piece of equipment. With ambidextrous design for the grip, this is an easy to use air rifle for both the left and right handed users. As for the accuracy that you can get from the Crosman Optimus Break Barrel Air Rifle .177, you can incorporate the adjustable rear sight and fiber optic front sight. As for those looking for feedback, this is a product that received a perfect feedback from its users.

Gamo Silent Cat Air Rifle

Gamo Silent Cat Air RifleQuite pricey for the air rifle products, this $147 piece of equipment is worth it. Receiving around 4 out of 5 stars from its users, this can potentially be your favorite air rifle. As for the velocity of the pellets, it can propel a projectile up to 1200 feet per second. It also comes with a 4 by 32 scope that can give you the best accuracy that you need with your shooting experience.

For a very compact air rifle, this has a powerful design that can easily change the way your thinking of an air rifle. This product has a non removable noise dampener that can reduce the noise by 25%. This is something that will come in handy in hunting or in pest control. It also has a durable all weather design that can give every single shot worth the price. In terms of user experience, the Gamo Silent Cat Air Rifle reduces the recoil. With an automatic cocking safety system, this is a great product both for those who are beginners in the air rifle hobby, and those who are considered experts in the industry.

Ruger Blackhawk Combo Air Rifle

Ruger Blackhawk Combo Air RifleThe Ruger Blackhawk Combo Air Rifle is a top of the line product that can compete with both Crosman and Gamo. It was able to become part of the industry’s best because of its superb design, not to mention durable construction.  In terms of quality, it has superb material comparable only to the best in the market. Also, it ha s a 4 by 32 scope, similar to what Gamo releases on their air rifles. This adjustable scope will allow you to increase your shooting.

This product has been known for eliminating rodents and other pests. This product is an all weather product that you can easily bring anywhere. This means that this piece of durable equipment can still be functional despite the foggy environment or whatever constraint that you may be facing. With the shockproof and weather proof design of the Ruger Blackhawk Combo Air Rifle, this is a really great product that you can purchase at any given time. Whether you bought it for serious pest control, or for some hobby, this can fit your preference.

Crosman M4-177 Pneumatic Pump Air Rifle

Crosman M4-177 Pneumatic Pump Air RifleWith a 4.5 out of 5 rating, the Crosman M4-177 Pneumatic Air Rifle is a good buy. It includes 5 shot pellet clip. Also, the BB reservoir can handle up to 350. With an adjustable stock and loop slots for sling, this product can easily be carried around for your outdoor activity. It has a dual aperture rear sight that allows you to adjust according to how your eyes find comfortable. The sight also has a windage and elevation adjustments that you can simply tweak according to the situation.

In contrast to the Gamo air rifles though, this can only shoot up to 600 feet per second, half of what the Gamo air rifles can do. With a weight of about five pounds, this is a user friendly lightweight product that you can easily enjoy without any problem. If you will look at the reviews for this piece of air rifle, you will never go wrong for the reason that it has been praised by the aficionados/experts.

If you will look at the construction of the Crosman M4-177 Pneumatic Pump Air Rifle, it looks similar to the AR15. The stock being adjustable, this allows different body frames to enjoy the air rifle. Also, among the things you will see in this product is the presence of 4 Picantinny rails. For those who are asking about the range of the air rifle, it can reach from 50-75 foot effective shooting range.

Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper IGT Air Rifle

Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper IGT Air RifleGamo Silent Stalker Wispher IGT is a great product that can provide the best performance for hunting aficionados. With a lightweight design that allows you to carry this air rifle, it reduces stress on your shoulders. This air rifle can shot 1300 feet per second and can be used not only for controlling pests abut also for hunting.

If you are looking for a product that can cut the noise of your shots, this is the air rifle of choice. According to the reviews, the product can cut as much as 52% of the total noise generated by each shot. This is the reason why this product is a good hunting air rifle. It is all because of the ND52 noise dampener that made this product a smooth air rifle that can operate covertly. In terms of the design of the Silent Stalker Whisper Air Rifle, it is very durable and could withstand the different weather.

As for the specification of the product, this is a gas piston rifle which means that there is no stress on any mechanical part just to propel its bullet. In terms of people who are pleased with the product, you can see on Amazon that a lot have managed to give the product a perfect score. Pros for this product would have to be its accuracy, the outstanding sights and the rifle stock that gives stability to the users.

There are a few other things to consider when you are trying to decide which air rifle is the best one for you. Some of the basic facts we’ll cover are the differences in the firearms’ designs and what functions they were intended for. For we’ll also look at durability and other factors that can affect your aim, line of sight, and your entire shooting experience.

How to Choose the Best Air Rifle for You

There is not a definitive answer on which air rifle is best for you, it truly depends on what you need and want from a pneumatic firearm. Whether you are an experienced shooter or you are just getting started you need to know the different ways in which air rifles can be used.

  1. Pest Control. One of the most practical uses for air rifles is to control small pest around farms and homes. Mice, rats, possums and other rodents can be kept under control or even eliminated, and the rifles can even be used to keep birds out of gardens and crops.
  1. Hunting. Air rifles can be used to hunt smaller game such as squirrels, raccoons and other animals that might also be considered pests, but they can also be used for larger game animals such as deer and wild turkeys.
  1. Target Shooting. The sport of target shooting can be done indoors or outside at any one of the numerous shooting ranges located across the country. As this sport continues to grow in popularity, the number of registered clubs and shooting competitions will continue to grow. This has caused an increase in the features and available options for many of the best air rifle models.
  1. Plinking. This training exercise is designed to improve a shooter’s aim and focus. Commonly practiced in fields and backyards, plinking gets its name from the sound of the pellet hitting the tin cans used as targets. Whether you are training for a competition or simply having fun with friends, plinking is an entertaining way to spend an afternoon with your new air rifle.

Accessorizing

Your air rifle gives you new ways to accessorize it and yourself. Once you have found the best air rifle that meets all of your needs, there is nothing wrong with adding a few personal touches that will make it all yours. Clothing is another important consideration, especially if you are planning to go hunting. The wrong outfit can quickly turn a hunting trip into a disappointing outing.

Loose clothing is important on hunting trips, you should be able to move unrestricted without your clothing getting in the way. Certain brands make long lasting and comfortable hunting cloths, that include color muted designs and waterproof materials.

Accessories for your new air rifle can include everything from mounts, sights, and scopes. Shoulder straps and even rifle stands are common additions on many hunting rifles. For hunters sitting in blinds and stands for long periods of time, there are even cushioned chin rests available which can help make the uncomfortable wait almost bearable.

Code of Responsibility

Even though air rifles are considered to be recreational “toys”, there are still firearms and should be treated with respect and handled with the responsibility that owning a weapon entails.

Responsibility- as the owner of an air rifle you are responsible for your actions and for your firearm. Here are a few reminders that will help to keep you, and your friends and family safe from any accidents or painful injuries.

  • The air rifle is dangerous while it is in use and when it is not being used. Remember to always keep the air rifle unloaded when it is not in use. This is a standard safety measure for all firearms whether they are considered professional or recreational.
  • Always aim the weapon away from yourself and any bystanders and remember that the pellets can ricochet off of some surrounding objects. No matter how good of a shot you are, misses do happen. Before firing your air rifle take note of where any objects and bystanders are too prevent any unfortunate accidents.

Air Rifle Safety Review

In the eyes of the public and according to federal law, it is your responsibility to know and understand all of the safety requirements for your air rifle. Which is why it is important for you to know all of the safety practices that come with owning the best air rifle.

There are a seemingly endless number of safety tips and precautions that air rifle owners can and should follow, and it is up to you to stay current with all of them. Some of the basic safety tips to help you get started on safe gun ownership include:

  • Know your state or country’s laws and regulations regarding ownership of pneumatic firearms. States and countries have varying gun laws and regulations and many do require licensing of any air gun or rifle used for hunting or competition shooting. In general though, most countries and states are in agreement that a person must be at least 18 years of age before they can purchase a firearm.
  • Register for your license and any other required permits.
  • Practice and train. Be sure to practice your target shooting skills before heading out to the range or a gun club. Not only will this save you time, money, and embarrassment, it is also a good safety measure.
  • Always treat your rifle as if it is loaded. Never assume your rifle is unloaded and point directly at yourself or someone else. Always treat your weapon as if it is loaded and never pretend to fire it without first looking around the perimeter.
  • Notice where hunting is legal and where it is prohibited. Even though you might be hunting with a recreational rifle, it is still considered hunting and it is illegal unless otherwise posted.

With this air rifle review, we hope that we have made choosing the best pneumatic rifle easier and less complicated. With reviews of the top 5 air rifles, and the different types of rifles clearly explained, you should be able to find the best air rifle that suits all of your needs. Whether it is for hunting, target shooting or even recreational plinking with your friends, we have you covered. We’ll also go over the different safety guidelines and tips with you, so you and your friends and family can have fun with an air rifle.

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