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  • Writer's pictureRay Campbell

I Tested And Ranked The Best Air Rifles For The Money In 2024

Looking for a serious air rifle for training or hunting? I tested and ranked the best options for the money. Read hands-on reviews of my top picks.

best air rifles for the money

FYI, Prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.


1. Gamo Varmint Air Rifle .177 Caliber Combo


best air rifles for the money

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: This bundle includes both the Air Rifle and the Air Venturi .177 pellet pen.

Helpful review: "This rifle and scope are AWESOME! My experience level: Certified NRA L.E. Firearms Instructor (Patrol Rifle/Pistol) with hundreds/thousand hours of instructing time, USMC 8th award rifle expert and 4th award pistol expert... but just a regular shooter now and then these days. Why is this combo great for the price? For starters, I opened the box and read all of the literature. I took apart the scope mounts and cleaned the lenses before assembling onto the rifle.
I installed according to the instructions with Loctite on all hardware threads, ensuring my cross hairs were as level as possible... but I'm not certain this is a huge issue. Anyone who has used an Etch-a-sketch would know how fine adjustments to your Y and Z axis will get you a good zero.
How did I "zero" the included scope? Once the scope was mounted, I screwed each vertical/lateral adjustment knob to its fully seated position. Grabbed a beer... then I slowly counted each click as I adjusted them back out to their full maxed out positions... this was like 420ish clicks... YIKES! Divide your clicks in half to find your CENTER POINT of reference. Adjust each knob to its center point by counting those individual clicks... Opened a second beer. Now you are ready to ZERO the .177 beast. Then, I determined what my "AVERAGE" distance was I'd be shooting; for my purposes I'm really only concerned with plinking squirrels and birds in my backyard about 10-20 yards. I set up a good prone position with a semi-soft mat and barrel rest.
NOW, the scope says 1 click = 1/4 inch @ 100 yards, or 4 clicks for 1 inch @ 100 yards. As I'm shooting 50 feet (16 yards) and my math is horrible, I rounded up to 25 yards for easy math. Knowing this 1/4 conversion, 4 clicks @ 25 yards "should" yield me 1/4 inch of movement on target; for an inch, I'd have to adjust 16 clicks.
One thing that can make zeroing with this rifle a pain is you have to change your position for each reload. Your average shooter will have different positions each time they reload and assume the prone position. It's just how it works with this break barrel design. This might be where people give up because they can't get consistent groups.
With a semi-auto weapon, your prone position doesn't change much if you have a stable position to begin with, unless you are shooting .50 Cal I guess.
Opened a third beer - this is where patience is your friend. I chose my target to be a palm tree in the backyard, so I could see horizontal/lateral impacts due to the dark bark breaking and showing white flesh underneath. Wife might have been mad, but I made her dinner to ease the anger!
HOLY SMOKES I didn't know how fast and deep those little rounds would penetrate... be careful of your backstop, i.e. neighbors house, cats, etc... These are more powerful than one would imagine (if you've never shot pellets before).
Since my target reference point was a dark black knob, I always used the same spot and walked in the rounds through fine adjustments after each shot placement. Once on point, I put the adjustment knob covers on and waited for some friends to show up... From the off-hand standing position: 1 squirrel down @ 9 yards, 1 sparrow down @ 12 yards, 1 Oreol or Starling (with orange circles on wings) down @ 18 yards.
Pros: Over 250 rounds and zero held; good weight; decent quality for price; fun and cheap to operate; good for basic skills brush up as it's very accurate within 20 yards - haven't gone out further; rifled barrel.
Now, I don't really know how pellets are affected, but I do see rifling wear marks on the lower edge of retrieved pellets after shooting into lemons. BTW, the Crosman Destroyer will go through 3 lemons @ 12 yards no problem.
But let me point out that my way is only my way. There are many other ways to set up a weapon and get good with it. Remember what my mission is - to neutralize varmints who want to feast on my fruit crop in the backyard.
Keep in mind this isn't going to have match-type groupings, but it's really good for the price. And after some more thought, the first two upgrades will most likely be a bipod and scope to really see how far out I can take this. The intent is to teach my kids with this thing in my CA backyard. I'm not so fortunate to have acres like some out there. It's really quiet too, so hopefully the LAW doesn't show up. And treating your neighbors kindly is key!" — James T.

Get it from Amazon now: $104.90 & FREE Returns

 

2. Hatsan 95 Air Rifle .22 Caliber Combo


best air rifles for the money

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Features a stock made from high quality walnut, a precision rifled German steel barrel, and Hatsan’s fully adjustable 2-stage Quattro Trigger system.

Helpful review: "I do a lot of small game hunting, specifically squirrel, and I wanted to give air rifles a try just to change things up a bit. Originally purchased a Gamo Swarm Maxxim 22 and after about 200 pellets something broke internally and I was so disappointed I didn't even want to bother sending it back. Scrapped it and started looking at other options.
I came across the Hatsan 95 which was a bit cheaper in price but had better reviews and seemed like it might be a better deal for the money. Have NOT been disappointed so far. I've had this rifle in 22 cal for about 2 weeks now and I've shot a ton of pellets through it and hunted with it.
First of all, the stock was nicer than I expected. I thought it might feel cheap and fake at this price but it's beautiful and feels sturdy. The checkering is sharp in a good way and the stock in general really reminds me of something you'd see on a more expensive deer rifle. That's also how I would compare the weight of this gun. It's got some heft to it but it's manageable and feels like I'm carrying a center fire rifle.
The only plastic on this gun is the sights and trigger guard, but they look and feel like a hard composite plastic and not some cheap junk. Speaking of the sights, they are nice and bright, but my shooting experience with them was only 2 shots since I mounted a scope right away.
When I unboxed it, I wanted to see the overall accuracy of the gun so using the fixed sights I shot at a target 10 yards away. Bullseye!!! Backed up to 15 yards. Bullseye!!! So at those distances the fixed sights were dead on from the factory but that was my only experience with them.
The scope that came with it actually seemed really clear, but air guns at this price aren't exactly known for coming with high end scopes, and I already had a Hawke Vantage 2-7x that I ordered for the Gamo. So that's what I put on it instead.
I did, however, use the mounts that came with the gun. They are nothing special, and I made sure to use blue loctite on all of the screws. So far, after many hundreds of pellets, it's been just fine. Time will tell if I feel the need to replace them later on.
Now, let's talk about accuracy. This was my main concern. Above all else, I was really hoping that this gun would be capable of headshots on small game at 20 to 30 yards. And this one gets the job done.
I was shooting at 20 yards indoors due to bad weather during the first week, and tried about 6 different pellet styles from H&N, Crossman, and Gamo. I was using a rest, and started with the H&N pellets, and it shot all of them pretty well but not as good as I was hoping. Don't get me wrong, it was accurate enough for hunting, but I wanted to see atleast quarter sized 5 shot groups.
Well, I tried the Crossman Premier Pirahnas and that's what I got. It was stacking them right on target and tearing the bullseye out. My 5 shot groups could be covered with a dime. That weekend I was able to shoot outdoors and used those pellets to zero at 30 yards. At that distance I was getting closer to quarter sized groups which was perfectly fine with me.
The trigger in my opinion is outstanding. The first stage is very light and short and then you hit the second stage which has absolutely zero creep. It's just a matter of applying enough pressure and it breaks clean.
It's very easy to learn exactly when this thing is going to fire. The trigger is adjustable, but the way it came from the factory suits me just fine, and, again, feels like something you'd expect on a much more expensive rifle.
First time I took this gun out hunting, I killed 3 squirrels and hit every single one in the head. 2 right in the ear hole and 1 just behind the eye. It thumped them hard at distances of 15-25 yards, and had no trouble passing straight through and dropping them. They looked like they'd been shot in the head with a 22lr. I'd have no problem using this gun on any small game or varmint animal.
Noise level: very quiet. Even when shooting indoors you just hear a slight twang from the spring and vey light blast of air. It would absolutely be usable in an urban setting without anyone knowing what you were doing.
Overall. this is an easy 5 stars for the price and I really can't think of a single complaint. Nobody would pick up this rifle and think you only paid around $200 for it.
On a side note, springers often start to shoot even better and get quieter once they break in, and this was certainly the case with mine.
My worst groups on day 1 were with H&N Crow Magnums, but now this gun is shooting those even better than the Crossmans and every other pellet group has tightened up considerably. I have not hunted with the Crow Mags yet, but at 20 yards it's now putting 5 shots almost through the same hole. Also, before shooting on day 1, I did run a 22 boresnake through the barrel several times (with no brass brush attached) to help remove any factory gunk.
I will update if anything goes wrong in the future, but for the time being this is one of those rare products where I feel like I got much more than what I paid for.
UPDATE:
Have hunted 2 squirrel seasons with this rifle now and it's still doing great and shows no signs of slowing down. I've never had to readjust the scope or had any issues with the rifle whatsoever.
My state got hit with a really bad ice storm last winter, the worst in state history, and I was basically stranded for a week with no power.
Used this rifle to kill several squirrels during that time which I skinned and fed to my dog because I ran low on dog food and had to ration it. Could've easily kept myself and the dog fed if I had to. So I've definitely put this rifle through its paces and used it in different environments. I have really grown to love it even more. Money well spent." — Tom McFoolery

Get it from Amazon now: $214.00 & FREE Returns

 

3. Umarex Ruger Blackhawk Pellet Rifle .177 Caliber Kit


best air rifles for the money

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Scope and mounting rings included.

Helpful review: "I bought this rifle as a gift for my son on Christmas. First off this is not a Red Rider BB gun, nor is it designed to shoot BBs. This is relatively high powered .177 caliber spring air piston rifle.
It is powered by retracting a very heavy spring inside the gun by snapping the breech of the barrel open where the barrel meets the stock of the air rifle. You fully compress the spring inside which becomes your stored energy, load a pellet into the breech and then reorient the barrel in line with the air rifles stock with a positive lock.
Hold gently for accuracy. When you pull the trigger it releases a spring. The energy from this release generates a recoil action very similar to a .22 rifle (firearm). That recoil is the spring directing energy into a air compression piston. That piston action rushes forward to compresses air and then sends that shot of air to propel the pellet out of the barrel.
This is important because spring air rifles require finesse to keep your pellets on target. The felt recoil happens prior to the pellet leaving the barrel. Which is why it is ever so important to learn how to hold this air rifle so that is essentially resting on your support hand instead of being actively held and pushed back into your shoulder, which is something you would normally do for a firearm or other types of air rifle.
A very light touch is all that is needed while you let the air rifle gentle pat [recoil] into your shoulder. This method is called the "Artillery Hold" and I highly recommend it.
This is NOT a toy!
The black composite body feels very good in the hands and has an excellent weight to it. The balance favors the back of the air rifle which is just fine in this application because you will be resting the rifle on your body instead of pulling it into your shoulder.
Speaking of shoulders, the butt plate has a nice oversized rubber stopper on the end. The break barrel mechanism holds the barrel true and provides a positive un/locking action. The piston spring locks positively in place at the end of spring cocking travel.
Out of the box, I had a very straight shooting rifle, using the adjustable fiber optic sights. Zero on windage was actually zero. I always like to do skill shots with the iron sights [fiber optic] before I put the scope on.
The shots went exactly where I pointed them. They were also within the accuracy I was striving for in my excitement to get this air rifle set up for my son to shoot.
The 4x32 scope that came with it was DOA. I contacted Ruger / Umarex for a RMA and they sent out a brand new scope with rings after I shipped the broken scope back to them.
That all happened within 2 weeks of Umarex receiving it (insured / return receipt). Once I received the functional brand new scope I set about to getting it zeroed. Zero is when the gun and the scope point at the same place on the target. Anytime you remove or place the scope it MUST be zeroed while mounted on the gun to the range you plan on shooting in.
Since the new scopes arrival I have been driving tacks with this thing at 100 Feet. And by driving tacks I mean that I am able to consistently group shots through the same hole (or a hole about the size of a plastic thumbtack) in my targets.
Some people will tell you to ditch the scope for something better. I don't necessarily agree with that. This air rifle system is extremely accurate for a off the shelf air rifle. But it is NOT a Match level air rifle.
Putting a huge scope on this rifle would be like putting high performance tires and a spoiler on a economy car. You will see very little benefit for the cost, and you may wind up with too much scope for the ranges you will be shooting.
As far as pellet selection goes, while wad cutters (flat nosed) pellets will work just fine in this rifle at close ranges, as you move your target out longer distances you may find that the wad cutters are breaking the sound barrier.
If you hear that distinct crack or you are not getting neat round holes punched into your targets, you will know that your pellet is tumbling instead of flying straight. Tumbling affects accuracy. So keep that in mind. Unless you are specifically hunting rodents/varmints, you will gain no advantages in accuracy or range from pointed and / or hollow point pellets.
I would highly recommend dome shaped pellets for maximum accuracy, as well weight and being able to handle the velocity created by this air rifle. I am not going to endorse a specific brand. But I will encourage you to get samplers for each brand and run 10 shots groups and see which ones perform best for you. Every gun is different.
All in all, if you are an amateur looking to get into a nicely powered spring air rifle, or looking for something to handle varmints/rodents, or simply looking to get more trigger time, this is a great beginner - intermediate air rifle. The price with scope was a pretty good deal through amazon prime when I purchased it.
This air rifle is great fun to shoot, consistent and accurate. Personally, I have dusted off the daisy of my youth and purchased this rifle for my son so that I can teach him marksmanship and gun safety.
I think I was able to create an opportunity for quality family time for the whole family. You see, if you can't find ammo for your firearms or can't afford to shoot your firearms as much as you like, then air rifles are a great tool to improving your skills and correcting flinch, grip and recoil habits." — Jason McGillivray

Get it from Amazon now: $130.00 & FREE Returns

 

4. Gamo Whisper Fusion Mach 1 Air Rifle .22 Caliber Kit


best air rifles for the money

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Equipped with a Gamo 3-9×40 scope.

Helpful review: "A BIG thank you to Amazon for getting out to me within 4 days of ordering it... sending it all the way to Kauai for me. Have toyed with the idea of getting a Gamo for some time, fully aware of the condemnations and applauds it has gotten based upon the reviews that I have read.
Honestly, one of the things which kept me from doing so, was that I have become so spoiled in dispatching Feral creatures within my property with my Ruger Air Magnum .22. But I finally took a chance and got it.
I was initially worried about the contents of the package prior to opening it. The box in which Amazon used to cover the manufacturers box was pretty beat up, even had a few holes in it. A sigh of relief was exhaled when I opened up the box, unwrapped the paper padding which Amazon had used, and got to the Gamo box, in pristine state it appeared to be.
I was really impressed by the build of the Gamo. I have never owned one, yet of the other 5 air rifles of various manufacturers that I do currently have, I was impressed by the build on this air rifle.
I proceeded to mount the scope and zero in. The first thing I noticed was the amount of effort it took to cock this rifle.
Despite the initial surprise of the cocking effort, this rifle fired fine and HARD. The stock scope, as some have mentioned, was crap. Period. Setting the scope, and proceeding to zero in, the cross hairs on this darn thing completely slanted to a complete 45 X on it instead of it being 4 corners of 90 degrees within the third shot. I may or may not inquire about a new scope from Gammo about it. Meanwhile, I put on a fairly new Center Point 4x that I had on another rifle. Within 15 minutes I had it zeroed in.
This rifle is NOT a competition target rifle by any means. However, I have comfortably gotten it zeroed in to groupings (knowing that what I've been dispatching of in regards to Feral creatures here in Hawaii, I'll have no problem dropping them.
Having run about 60 pellets through it today, I have noticed that the 16 to 19 grain pellets shoot fairly well, and appear to hit the intended target with authority and more than acceptable accuracy. Actually while sighting in the scope, an errant Myna Bird made the mistake of perching itself within a Java Plum tree about 35 yards up.
At the time, I had a predator Poly mag in the chamber and dropped it like a stone, no problems, no twitch. I'm most certain the pellet went right through the bird.
As for range and distance, I can consistently hit a man sized target at 100 yards very well with good pellets and good placement.
This is a rifle for iron sights most of the time, and a 100 yards shot is impressive for any .22 air rifle. Anyway, I like this rifle and am very satisfied with it. At about 6 lbs it is heavier than some, but not too heavy. This is just the weight and power of an ideal air rifle.
Maintenance and care are important for this design, and you would do well to keep the finish and exposed moving parts as clean and LIGHTLY oiled as possible. Rust makes me angry and I get a large amount of travel time with moisture, sweat and dirt exposure.
Also noted, this thing is pretty loud as some have mentioned. Pretty much on par with loudness as my Ruger Air Magnum.
All the air rifles I own are .22 caliber. I am happy with it thus far, pretty light, which is fairly surprising considering the solid build of this rifle. It should do exactly what I had hoped it would in regards to eliminating feral creatures within my Cow Pasture." — Max Fisher

Get it from Amazon now: $266.99 & FREE Returns

 

5. Benjamin Marauder Hunting Air Rifle .22 Caliber


best air rifles for the money

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Backed by a 5-year warranty.

Helpful review: "I'm 62 and have been target shooting high powered rifles for 40 years. I have owned several break barrel air guns including the NP2 Trail. And after reading so many reviews it was hard to make a decision on trying this gun.
I called several companies including Crosman to discuss the barrel issues and was assured they had been fixed for several years now. Still I read many blogs about tuning and mods to fix accuracy problems. Most all of the blogs complaining of accuracy problems are 3 or more years old.
Still, I come from the world of high power firearms and target shooting and it was my goal to purchase an accurate rifle to plink and hunt with. It had to be at least equal to my NP2 Trail in power. I like my NP2 Trail, but it's hard on scopes and is a little touchy about holding when fired. Mine hates a front rest, even if the back is supported. The NP2 is very powerful, but as stated, a little finicky about shooting hold.
The Benjamin Marauder is not picky about hold. It's just like a high powered rifle, except you don't have to worry about recoil. There is none! And the specs on the Marauder indicated all I wanted in an air rifle. I choose 22 because its easy to find pellets and all my other guns are of that caliber. True, the 25 has almost double the power, but since hunting is not my primary use the 22 once again was the better choice for me. And, 22's have been used for hunting for more than 100 years and are known in almost every country in the world. And, I would imagine that this gun in 22 would drop anything you could with a 25 caliber if you can place your shot right.
Being a target shooter first, and hunter second, accuracy was a big issue for me. The marauder I received was extremely accurate for what it is. You must note that shooting pellets of any kind is like shooting a flat nose bullet in high power because they are not very efficient in flight due to their shape. Right out of the box it placed less than 1/2 inch groups at 20 yrds all day long. This is the distance I sighted it in for to test accuracy. And this was using cheap pellets.
Anyone with high powered target shooting experience will appreciate the adjustable comb stock, the 2 stage target trigger, which is adjustable, and the floating barrel with a good crown finish. A fully encased barrel for sound reduction is added plus and one of the reasons I bought this gun. It is very quiet, with the target making as much noise when hit as the shot did from the gun...
SOME THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW:
A floated barrel is a little delicate. They are not designed to be bumped or moved and I suspect that some peoples accuracy problems were from the barrel moving on them. BTW, floating a barrel is one of the first things you do to accurize a high powered rifle. So take care not to bump it into things, and if you do, make sure it is centered in the barrel ring and not touching.
Pumping this thing up with a hand pump is a real workout for someone my age but it is fun and like most people say, about 60 pumps will take you from 2000 psi back up to 3000 psi which is a full recharge as long as you don't go much below 2000 psi. And if you don't touch the factory adjustments for power and such, you can get 40 usable shots or more depending on what you call usable.
For me and a friend, we moved out to 50 yards or so and used soda pop cans for targets, and with a good scope, it was boringly accurate. If you missed, it was because of you, not the rifle. I ran 50 shots on a single fill and it was still shooting that distance but the last 3 or 4 shots started to loose accuracy, still that's not bad for 50 yard shooting. That 50 shots took the gun from 3000 psi to 1900 psi based on the built in gauge on the rifle. A squirrel wouldn't have much of a chance at 50 yards with this gun.
So if you're looking for a fun gun with an excellent trigger and accuracy, I don't think you can beat the marauder. Handling and weight are also very good, not too heavy and the stock just fits your grip. A lot of thought has gone into this gun and its design. And honestly, I cannot think of anything I would change except to maybe support the floated barrel a little for carrying.
Time will tell if that is an issue. But I am happy as a clam, all smiles.... even if it is a workout to recharge. Coming from high power target, this is a keeper for me. And I don't think you will be disappointed with it either as long as you respect the design and handle it appropriately." — Bran Thomas

Get it from Amazon now: $441.79 & FREE Returns

 

6. Hatsan Invader Semi-Auto Air Rifle .22 Caliber


best full auto bb guns

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Kit includes 250 pellets and 100 targets.

Helpful review: "Let me start off by saying that this air rifle is the work of some incredible engineering. And look, this gun is not a joke. It has been used for military training. If you are new to air rifles, ESPECIALLY PCP or anything that uses a rotary magazine, you should look into something else for your first rifle. A lot of the negative reviewers and naysayers are probably people with little to no experience with this type of powerful rifles.
The rifle shoots expectedly well. I could snap off 10 rounds in under 3-4 seconds. Some people are complaining about the trigger. But I have been shooting ALL TYPES OF GUNS, both firearms and airguns, my entire life, so this trigger was not a problem for me. Creep was short and the wall is very predictable breaking in the 5-6lb range. Almost similar to a DAO Firearm. The Sig P250 comes to mind.
I have rapped off about 10 magazines without any issue. If any should arise I will definitely report it back here. BUT... AND THATS A HUGE BUT... I had to adjust each Magazine accordingly, hence cleaned, adjust the spring tension by either loosening or tightening the Phillips screw on the front of the Magazine.
I also applied ***SILICONE*** spray and lube to the magazine, bolt area, fill probe o-rings (which I converted to foster male quick connect). If you disassemble the Magazine (I did this by accident), be aware that it is under tension and the entire thing will "jump" off the table if you loosen the Phillips screw too much. If this does happen, don't worry. RELAX!!! If you look closely at the inner wall of the red center piece that separates the pellets, you will see a tiny hole on the INNER WALL, and at the BOTTOM of the black section of the magazine you'll see another tiny hole. THESE 2 HOLES ARE where you will seat the Magazine tension spring. Wind the tension spring TWICE COUNTER-CLOCKWISE. I'm not going to kid you. This is not an easy task. But it's absolutely crucial for the magazine to have proper tension to reliably index the next pellet into the firing position (behind the bolt).
The reason I am going in such depth about the magazines is because ALL THREE OF MINE DID NOT WORK STRAIGHT OUT OF THE BOX!
TRUST ME, I WAS PISSED. I ALMOST SENT IT BACK. But after cooling down and watching a few more videos on the rifle, everything panned out. That was the easy part. Putting them back together PROPERLY wasn't so easy. But you have to do it properly if you want a properly-operating semi-auto air rifle.
After I properly adjusted and lubricated all three magazines, they all functioned flawlessly. You see, the magazines are the heart of this particular rifle and more than likely all Hatsan Semi automatic rifles. The biggest complaint seems to be jams and failure to feed issues. These problems will 90% likely be due to some sort of Magazine issue. I already know what you are going to ask: "Why in the hell do I have to do all that crap just to have a little fun and get some semi auto trigger time on an air rifle?"
Well, to tell you the truth, I kind of didn't like it at first, but then realized this is something I need to know anyway. So I dove in and took care of it. I have been using, building, fixing, collecting Airguns for well over 35 years with 15-16 years on PCPs. So this is obviously something I love to do. And this is one hard hitting, fast firing, fun shooting, very accurate rifle.
This rifle is still new to me. I'm familiar with some of its basic functions, while not so much with others. I'm sure that over time I will be learning more and more about this incredible gun. To sum up, save yourself a headache and get something else if you are new to all this. But if you are experienced, and want the most powerful bad ass air rifle at a reasonable price, this is the one you should get!" — Carl Gantz

Get it from Amazon now: $549.99 & FREE Returns

 

7. Benjamin Marauder Air Pistol/Rifle .22-Caliber


best air rifles for the money

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Ideal pistol for small game hunting.

Helpful review: "Purchased this Marauder pistol because I wanted a stealth gun for squirrels and rabbits that could fit into a backpack without raising eyebrows. The "p-rod" fits the bill almost perfectly. Here are some strengths and weaknesses.
WEAKNESSES:
- Very pellet picky: I was shooting 2-3 inch groups at 20 yards with crosman hollowpoint premiers. Absolutely horrible. Then I tried H&N Field Target Trophy pellets (5.53 head size) and I can now shoot dime size groups at 25 yards. Awesome!
- Pretty Loud: I know marauder rifles are very quiet and assumed the same with this pistol, but this gun is actually loud. Would not call this backyard friendly. I installed a TKO muzzle brake (but the gun was still too loud). I then purchased a Neil Clague LDC and this quieted the gun down perfectly.
- Pitiful stock: As many have mentioned. I purchased an AR stock adapter and ACE folding stock kit. It's now a perfect fit for the backpack and looks awesome.
STRENGTHS:
- Great power efficiency for relatively small air tank. I get about 24 shots (3 clips) at about 650 fps. The small tank also makes it fairly easy to pump up manually.
- Very accurate gun to 40 yards once you get the right pellet. Perfect for squirrels and rabbits.
- Love the carbine configuration. This is perfect if you need a portable stealth gun but want the accuracy and look of a tactical rifle, especially if you have a folding/collapsible stock.
- Lots of aftermarket tunes and accessories to customize to your needs.
BUYERS NEED TO KNOW:
1. You need a source of High Pressure Air (HPA). This gun needs 3,000 psi of compressed air.
2. Crosman sells a hand pump that delivers this HPA without too much work.
3. You have to weigh over 120 pounds to use the Crosman hand pump. Just need the weight to push down.
4. This is not kids toy. Adult supervision is needed.
5. The included stock does work fine. But there are much better butt stocks that can be purchased.
6. Put a little oil on the magazine tray to make easier to insert and remove the magazine.
7. Sights are not included. You'll need to add some kind of optical site.
8. Red dot 1 power (no magnification) works real well on this gun at very close ranges and keeps it light.
9. Buy pellets by the thousand. You're going to need them. It is that much fun!
10. Expect 40+ shot per fill of HPA.
11. Fill to 3,000 psi to start shooting.
12. Stop shooting when the HPA gauge reads 1,000 psi.
13. For long range shooting you will want a good scope.
14. For long range shooting you may need to restrict the air psi range and not use the full 3K to 1k range.
15. At long ranges the delta in pellet speed really matters and air pressure in the gun will impact pellet speed.
To sum things up, I can say that this air pistol is accurate right out of the box. No issues at all. Sized just right for small framed people (women and children, for example). This is especially true if you upgrade to an adjustable AR style stock. The air tank is pretty small and it fills quickly with a hand pump. You can also use SCUBA tanks and such to fill it. I highly recommend it. It's actually worth the money!" — Bruce Seals

Get it from Amazon now: $489.99 & FREE Returns

 

8. Daisy Powerline 880 Air Rifle .177 Caliber Kit


best air rifles for the money

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: The kit includes the rifle, safety glasses, a 4x15-millimeter scope with rings, 500 Daisy pellets, and 750 BBs.

Helpful review: "First off, I must say, this is the first pellet/BB rifle, I've purchased in a long time. I'm 32 now, and when I was in my early teen years, I had an older Daisy Model 225, one-pump BB gun. So going from that rifle to this, well, WOW! This rifle is so powerful and accurate, it just blows me away!
To me, it seems like Daisy always had made very high quality rifles and pistols, and this seems to be no exception to that rule.
I've owned a BB rifle and BB pistol before, and have played with various other friend's rifles growing up. However, to me, this is by far the most powerful I've used. I haven't even pumped it up to the recommended limit of 10 pumps yet, and it still seems so powerful, I'm just positive it is deadly to all small game, and would do some serious damage to a human, and possibly kill someone if pumped enough, and the shot was placed in the right area.
This I definitely wanted to mention, because to me, I wouldn't suggest a parent to buy this for child, or give it to a child as a present. I think it just has to much power with it, and I would recommend less powerful models for kids.
But on the same side of that coin, if you have responsible parents, that will usually be present when their child is shooting this rifle, well then I would think it's okay to buy for them.
Keep in mind, though, that the world isn't that lucky to always have that kind of good parental supervision, so parents beware, and always follow and read all safety rules. And of course, always wear the safety eye protection, regardless of age.
I'm not an avid air rifle shooter, so I don't possess a large amount of technical knowledge and jargon, regarding this sport, but I'll do my best to give my impression of the rifle.
I've been shooting about 25-45 feet, and I've been able to accurately hit my target zone, in decent size grouping, with only about 2 to 4 pumps.
I prefer to just pellets most of the time, and I have the Daisy Flat Head pellets that came with this kit, which are really good. And I also have some Crosman Destroyer pellets that I bought a while ago, and I really recommend those! They just absolutely tear and rip up anything you shoot at. So if you're looking for more clean shots, like with shooting at targets, the flat head one's seem to show better, where you shot.
The safety glasses that came with this kit are outstanding. I love the yellow tint these have, and they are really clear, and seem very well made, and would most likely stop most pellets or BBs that hit them. They also seem to have adjustable arms on them, so I would think they would fit a wide variety of faces.
The BBs that came with the package are your standard silver BBs, they appear to be very good quality. And they all seem uniformed, and have no dents or imperfections that I could find.
Now on to the thing that most people have a problem, and I'm no exception in this area either, the Daisy 4x15 scope.
Although, to be fair, I have no prior knowledge of attaching any kind of scope to a any kind of rifle, so honestly, I'm not sure I can judge this scope. I found it annoying to try to get on by myself, I'm sure it would be easier with someone to help hold it, or have the proper tools like a vise to hold the gun while you work.
Once I did get it on, I found all of my shots went to the bottom right of my target, almost exclusively. But like I said, I have no experience with scopes, so take my review on this particular part of the package, with a grain of salt.
I should add that, within the myriad of instructions that came with the kit, nowhere does it provide information on how to attach the scope properly, nor sight it in.
I would have liked to have had that, because to me, without knowing what I'm doing, I haven't found a lot of helpful information on the net so far, but I'm going to continue to search. I would so the rifle's normal front and rear sights are very accurate, and I usually do just fine, using them only.
So overall, I would say this is an outstanding air rifle, for the beginner or for the expert.
Of course, there are a lot more superior rifles out there, but for the price, well, I just think you can't do any better. This is really a rifle of outstanding accuracy and weight. I'm enjoying mine daily, and I assume that if you get it, you'll be just as happy as I am :)." — Frank Salisbury

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9. Gamo Raptor Whisper Air Rifle .177 Caliber Combo


best air rifles for the money

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: The Gamo-patented Whisper Technology makes this gun really quiet.

Helpful review: "Rifle has been great. I specifically purchased it due to a squirrel problem. Well, now the squirrels that are chewing up my eaves and accessing my attic nightly have the problem!
I first tried passive traps, large glue traps baited with nuts, which are very expensive and as far as I can tell a complete rip off. I also tried different spray repellants.
None of these attempts worked. The squirrel just ignored or found a way to beat them. Last Sunday morning, at the crack of dawn, when I knew the critters would go out to forage, I sat patiently with my morning coffee on the back Verandah. After 15 minutes or so there they were, Chip and Dale, out doing their thing, coming from the direction of my ROOF!
My first shot was from approx. 40' away, and 20' high. Released my breath, held, fired, & one shot Chip was down, deceased, and fodder for the neighbors dogs. Could not believe the rifle had executed a kill shot on a very large, fat with winter coat, squirrel, but it did.
Second shot was much more remarkable, and I am still in awe of the rifle because of it. I spotted Dale high atop a 75' pecan tree just a couple minutes after. The tree was a good 70 yards from my vantage point. Dale had come to rest in a vertical position, head upright, and was half the size in body mass as Chip.
Since even if I had missed my shot there was nothing behind the target to damage, or hurt, I figured it would be a great test of the rifle's abilities/accuracy. Dale was holding his position nicely for me, seemed content to show me his left side being nice and still, so released breath, held a little longer this time, and pow!!!
No sooner did I squeeze the trigger than Dale was tumbling to his demise. I had to take a second look because I just couldn't believe the rifle was that capable, but it was and is. This shot that was 100 yards, was as if it was an inch.
Even with my upgraded scope, and the fact that I did my best to aim at Dale's head, I was unable to retrieve the carcass to check the projectile entry because once again the neighbor's dogs got to sit before I could. I am assuming it must have been a head shot, because at that distance I'm not so sure the projectile would still have enough kill velocity to take a healthy squirrel off a limb like that if hit anywhere else. I could be wrong, but since I had no way to verify I don't want to over sell the rifle's power.
I am simply amazed that a pellet rifle is capable of such accuracy and power. It's been 35 years since owning one of these things, and the last one I had could barely penetrate a cardboard box, let alone make a 100 yard kill shot of a squirrel.
Who needs a long barrel .22 anymore? Not for rodent hunting you won't. These pellet rifles are all you will need.
So, since that Sunday morning, I have heard no more rustling around in my attic and have found no new holes in my Eaves created by squirrels. The rifle has been retired to it's wall mount since it is also put together well enough for display. It will remain on the wall until the squirrels decide, if they ever do, to start destroying my home again. Until then it's merely a show piece.
FIVE stars for its rodent control. Let me just quickly add that I have had training, and was a member of our military, so I am a very capable shot. If you share that quality, then this rifle will not let you down within the parameters of my explained experiences with it. Happy hunting." — TX proud

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10. Barra Airguns Sportsman 900 Air Rifle .177 Caliber Combo


best air rifles for the money

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: The pump arm can be pumped 1 to 10 times to reach a maximum velocity of 800 FPS, making it capable of long-range target practice or short-range, small-game hunting.

Helpful review: "Sweet little pump gun for the money! Very accurate! I grew up shooting a Daisy Powerline 856 as a kid and loved its accuracy, light weight and ease of use. After the Daisy started malfunctioning (20 years of use in), I sought a modernized replacement and this Berra seemed to fit the bill. From my first time out shooting her, I can tell you it will shoot inch-sized groups at 30 yards if you have the skill. You just need to know how to shoot, and keep things consistent (same pellets, same number of pumps, use a good rest).
Many people who say these guns are inaccurate are introducing too many variables by pumping the gun a different number of times each shot, using multiple types of pellets, etc. Even one pump makes a difference, especially at longer ranges. Why not just pump it ten times every shot? At ten pumps, the power is substantial and will easily kill small game (squirrels, rabbits, birds, etc.) or put a good ding on my 1/8" steel silhouette targets and send them flying. These pump guns are easy to shoot accurately as well since there is no recoil.
The butt stock on this gun is quite cheap-feeling plastic, very hollow. However the rest of the gun uses a thicker plastic that actually feels pretty nice. I do not use open sights, but the included fiber optics on this gun seem nice, easy to see and usable.
The bolt is plastic as well, but I like that it has the "flip-up-then-pull-back" motion of a real gun. And it works. At first I did find it hard to load pellets in the small opening at the breech, but after a while you will get used to it. There is a method of sort of "rolling them in." Once you do, it's very easy to seat them right up in the breech to guarantee consistent delivery into the barrel.
The pistol grip feels nice in-hand and gives a more relaxed shooting position versus a traditional rifle stock. I wasn't sure how I would feel about the slide-type safety on this gun, but I can happily report that I actually prefer it to a standard crossbolt safety now!
For me, it's more intuitive and feels somewhat like operating the trigger. The trigger itself is not the best. Kind of a "grip-it-and-rip-it" motion, but again I stress you will adapt. It's not a terrible trigger, but I did prefer the lighter trigger on my old Daisy.
Yes the scope is cheap but it will work. At least you get one! Try screwing the rear aperture all the way out for maximum zoom (the largest piece that you look directly into).
All things said and done, I truly believe that fitted with a halfway decent 3-9 scope, this is a 40 yard gun for target shooting and/or small game hunting all day. If you're in the market for a low cost pump gun, I'd say this is one of your best choices!" — Jack Ritchie

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11. Umarex Ruger Air Hawk Break Barrel .177 Caliber with Scope


best air rifles for the money

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Shoots .177 caliber pellets at up to 1200 fps.

Helpful review: "This is a great gun. Some reviews complain about the Chinese manufacturing and proclaim a deep seated hatred for the low build quality. If you have any questions, you can always talk to Ruger about it. These are Ruger designed and inspected parts made in China. Trust me... this is the finest quality varmint gun you can find for the money.
The barrel is a real chunk of blued steel as is the spring-piston housing. The wood stock is surprisingly nice, although it's varnish, not poly. It's a heavy gun. Roughly as heavy as my Winchester model 100 .308. It's also a fairly large gun at 3" longer than the previously mentioned rifle.
My only complaint is that Amazon had clearly smashed the box nose-first into something and threw the rifle through its packaging and out the front of the box. That said, the gun was fine, the open sights were visibly out of alignment, but easily fixed with the windage knobs and a few rounds of practice.
The scope rings are useless unless you want to file a sharper point on the dovetails like I did (15minutes). After the filing they work great. I would recommend that you not use the included sight rings unless you plan to modify them, as I believe you'll probably damage the sight rails trying to make them stay put.
The scope is excellent by low-end air rifle standards, solid and clear. The Airhawk balances much more comfortably with the scope installed, and the accuracy-increase is well worth the time spent.
The trigger is a little sloppy but there is more than enough feel to get the job done. The safety will frighten you at first until you see how it works. It's safe. The open sights are highly visible and comfortable to look through. The windage knobs are an added bonus. The spring effort is about what I expected and the loading is quick and easy compared to my previous Remington 780 pump.
Once you learn the finer points of shooting this thing, the Air Hawk is vicious and accurate.
Is this your first spring piston air rifle? You need to spend some time on youtube learning what an artillery hold is and how to use it. I own five "real" firearms, and this gun is a unique experience. However, with an afternoon's practice I was repeatedly shooting 2" groups at 100yds in a light breeze (I have a lot of space in the boonies).
The first two or three rounds are louder than you'd expect, but it quiets right down to what I might call a strange noise due to the spring's action.
Heavy ballistic point ammo is the most accurate and hits surprisingly hard at range. 10 gram domes hit hardest close up (20-40'), and all around I really like the Gamo red fires (7.8 Gr). This gun with red fires is a squirrel's worst nightmare. A chest impact nearly knocks the eyes right out of their heads literally. The damage is instant and catastrophic. I won't describe a head shot, but it doesn't end well.
The Verdict: Finally an air rifle that belongs on the gun rack. Nice job China, nice gun. Fun, low cost, low maintenance shooting. Dead squirrels." — Mark Ritchey

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12. Crosman 760 Pumpmaster BB Repeater .177-Caliber Starter Kit

Top-rated: 1,248 ratings


best air rifles for the money

Credit: Amazon.com


Highlight: Kit Includes 4x15 Scope, Target, and Safety Glasses.

Helpful review: "I’m shocked, but for a cheap air rifle with a scope in it’s been worth the money. I bought this to take care of a family of squirrels that have been wrecking my roof, garden, and peeling the bark from my trees.
For some reason they were a snipping off all the new growth on my pear tree.... anyhow. I just wanted something more accurate than my more expensive air pistol that has dealt with dozens and dozens of soulless empty eyed rabbits, but with terrible accuracy.
Keep in mind- that this is a cheap air rifle... it comes with safety glasses, about 10 BBs, and 10 pellets, so order a box of whichever you plan on using. When you get it out of the box, go over it with a Phillips head and tighten all the screws.
When I first got it out of the package I was like- “oh no this is going right back.” But I read the instructions and while the “internal magazine” is unreliable- breech loading is just fine. I’m not sure if breech is correct but you get what I mean. After I sighted in the scope I went to town on squirrels.
I was floored by how accurate it is! The scope is actually decent and is easy to sight. In two days I took down 5 tree rats. And day two isn’t yet over.
The rifle feels really cheap, and it is. But it works. I was able to manage 4 head shots at ten pumps at about 20-28 feet away. 2 required a second shot, so I might switch back to pellets. With 4-5 pumps you could sting them in the butt and try to scare them away, which I’ll try in the future... but these 5 had to die- they committed unspeakable acts for months and scaring them off was too much of a gamble. The one with the big balls barked at me all the time and really overstepped his bounds. I wasn’t sad to see him go. The others were just necessary to cull and a little part of me died doing it. But at least I didn’t miss a bunch of times.
If you think you are missing target after you’ve sighted in the scope, then verify that the bolt is actually picking up the BB.
If you are looking for an air rifle to teach a young one target shooting, invest a little more and get them something that has less plastic parts. If you just need a simple rodent tool- this is a good way to go. Traps don’t work, and poisons kill the owls and hawks. YouTube a video of an owl dying from eating a eat a mouse that died of rat bait poison... you’ll wish you never saw it and you’ll die a little inside too.
I’d love to have gone another route, one that was less graphic. But this seems to be the fastest and most humane way for the animals. For the human, it’s still awful. Unless it’s a big squirrel with big balls that goes out of his way to terrorize you and chew on your solar panel connectors. I waited until their youngsters were pretty grown up and I was able to get them all inside of 24 hours.
One of the siblings I got in the first day. Clean Kill. But I knew it had a sibling and I’ve been anxious all day to get it as soon as possible. It was just laying an a branch near the nest I removed two days before.
The internal magazine didn’t work so the first two shots were just air and didn’t scare it off. It just looked at me, probably heartbroken for it’s sibling. I had to yell for my son to bring me more BBs so I could breech load and it didn’t even take off, just looked at me.
I managed a decent head shot from the angle I was at and it was dead within 20 seconds. 20 graphic spastic seconds of fight or flight. When you order the extra BBs, order some malox. Or maybe a soul if they have those on Amazon." — Renee Magee

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