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  • Ray Campbell

The Best Air Rifles Are Actually Cheap (And Durable)

It's hard to find the perfect air rifle. Luckily for you, these 11 affordable options come highly recommended by reviewers who really know their stuff. Read their hands-on reviews.

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


1. Daisy Powerline 880 Air Rifle .177 Caliber Kit

Top-rated: 3,653 ratings | 436 answered questions


Daisy Powerline 880 Air Rifle .177 Caliber Kit

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

Helpful review: "I don't think there's a better air rifle available for the cost, whether buying one all by its lonesome (around $35-$45.00) or as part of the handy and practical Daisy Poweline 880 Kit (around $55-$65.00). The airgun is very easy to set up and start using, the accuracy is almost unbelievable, the trigger is easy and responsive and it's phenomenally easy to pump up, click off safe and fire with no kick whatsoever. The sights on the air rifle are pretty good too; especially if, like me, you're one of those lucky enough to find yours dead-on right out of the box (once you find its favorite pellet), which absolutely amazed me. It seems that this actually happens fairly often, based on reviews I've read from buyers at websites everywhere. Unfortunately, if it isn't dead on right out of the box, you may have some work ahead to get it sighted in, as some users have reported trouble making adjustments to the rear sight, but you might get lucky there too. Regardless, once you do get it sighted in, if that even proves necessary, this little gem is accurate, powerful (dangerously-so if used irresponsibly), super easy to use, has no notable recoil and even can stand up to a little rough handling, more so maybe than one might guess considering the majority of the construction material is some type of plastic. Even so, all the plastic, metal and other material was very carefully considered for its purpose in and on the rifle; was put together just so and the end result is obviously a very well-thought-out and fairly well-engineered air rifle that should last for years and decades with care. Of course, Daisy could and almost certainly does have the occasional flawed product end up on the shelf for sale, but judging from the vast majority of excellent reviews and professional press I've seen, it doesn't happen often and the model 880 Powerline Daisy air rifle often is included in just about any and every list of 10-Best Air Rifles one will find online or in print.
If you bought the kit, you probably ended up with the Black version of the 880, which I very much prefer over the Brown version, which is actually brown and black: brown plastic where wood might be on a firearm and black plastic everywhere else. I think she looks much better with everything the same color, and besides, with the all-black version, you know nobody is trying to convince you some of the plastic should be mistaken for wood, fake molded-in woodgrain or no (which the Black version has too). :-) Also included in the handy kit is a very basic, no-frills 4x "Daisy Model 808 Air Rifle Scope" (or equivalent) with reticle, adjustable windage and elevation controls, front, rear and control cap-covers and installation hardware. The built-in sights are no longer visible with the scope mounted, which is a shame. Still, many find the product helpful, although many others don't, and users already familiar and experienced with telescopic sights probably will be underwhelmed at best. It can be useful, but really isn't meant to to be anything more than an 'introductory'-level unit, so it can be tough to get your rifle zeroed in with it, it's lacking in features and the optics aren't fine enough for long periods of continued use without causing eye-strain (the included manual warns against this). New shooters especially might enjoy trying it out and even putting it to use, but in my opinion, all users without exception should learn how to sight in and use their rifle first with only the 'iron' sights provided. Master those and you're basically ready to try aiming at a target with just about any rifle made, since nearly all have such sights built-in (although all may not have the same kick!). Even if the scope isn't particularly appreciated by a user, it can always be sold for a few bucks on eBay for those who'd like to try it. Also included in the kit is a decent pair of useful safety glasses, cheap, simple and basic but no worse than the less expensive models available alone at Amazon, Walmart and elsewhere for ~6-10 bucks. Daisy also thoughtfully includes a large tin of 500 lead, flat-head (wadcutter) pellets and a tin of 500 steel BBs (the rifle can fire both and has a 50-BB storage area built-in) so everything necessary to get going right away is included. Not bad at all! Figuring the rifle costs about $35-$45.00 alone, the glasses are about $6-$10.00 and the ammo at least $5 or $6.00 per container, so the cost of the kit is pretty much covered even if the user hates the scope and chooses not to inflict it on anyone else. :-) Such a deal!
It's not like I'm a die-hard, Daisy-only air rifle fanatic either. I am gettin' up there in age now, so I've tried and used MANY other air rifles over the decades. I've also owned a few, including four different Crosman air rifles over the years. All were nice and for the cost, I was happy enough with them at the time, but unfortunately, only the one around $150.00, more than twice the cost of the Daisy kit, was even close to this incredible and inexpensive air rifle. I can't remember the model off the top of my head (maybe 1077W?), but it was made with real wood and was totally gorgeous, used very handy 12-pellet 'magazines,' was semi-automatic, very well made and pretty accurate, but the trigger was awful and being CO2 powered, it wasn't nearly as powerful as the Daisy Powerline 880. In fact, none of them were, although one claimed to be in advertising, but fell well short in reality! The first two were essentially the same and comparable to the Daisy in terms of being entry-level and able to use .177 pellets and BBs both, but the Crosman I had when a very young man, although made with real wood, wasn't even close to the Daisy in accuracy and power. The second, bought to replace the first one many years later was the new version and I had high hopes. It turned out to be pretty much exactly the same as the first, although the nice wood had been replaced completely with plastic by then and it was just as entry-level in performance and power as the first. I hardly used it and eventually quit altogether and don't even know where it is now. Not that long ago, I moved up to a mid-level Crosman pumper at just about $100.00, more in-line supposedly with middle-of-the-road quality air rifles, and while it was adequately accurate and nice enough, it too was man-made materials only and wasn't really nicer than the Daisy! To top it all off, yet again it lacked the power of the much cheaper airgun! I sent it back and I have to say I think I am a Daisy convert now. :-) If you happen to be interested in starting or restarting an Air Rifle Hobby, or introducing a mature young person, friend or spouse to shooting and money is a major consideration (when is it not?), this absolutely is the air rifle to get.
Sure, there always will be the possibility of a rare lemon coming off the assembly lines, but short of that unlikely event occurring, this is a great choice and in my opinion, the best you could do for less than twice its cost! The Daisy Powerline 880 has a fabulous reputation, it is very accurate, it's more powerful than anything comparable and nothing else comes even close to matching the performance at the cost. Do some research of your own and I feel sure any remaining doubts you might have pretty much will be dispelled and eventually disappear. The Daisy 880 is an inexpensive air rifle and even looks the part, but it's well made and absolutely the best performing air rifle around for less than twice the cost. The Daisy Powerline 880 almost certainly is the very best choice possible for an introductory or entry-level airgun for less than $100.00 to $150.00. Others may come close to matching its low price, but they won't match the performance of the Daisy. Do yourself or someone you love a favor and give the 880 a shot. ;-) I love it!" — Bubba Pearson

Get it from Amazon now: $94.99 & FREE Returns

 

2. Umarex Ruger Blackhawk Pellet Rifle .177 Caliber Kit

Top-rated: 3,398 ratings | 437 answered questions


Umarex Ruger Blackhawk Pellet Rifle .177 Caliber Kit

Highlight: Scope and mounting rings included.

Helpful review: "We have a great fruiting Benton cherry tree and this year the crows and squirrels stripped the tree completely of the delicious fruit. Last year we harvested 6-1/2 pounds of the delectable treats and relished in their awesomeness over late spring and early summer. This year we got 5 cherries. I guess the word is out in the animal kingdom...we have goodies! My beautiful sweet wife with a gentle loving soul, while sampling the last 5 cherries said, "These trespassing thieves must die"!!!! Don't get between and Asian woman and her cherries :)) So as a loving doting husband I set out to find a solution and behold Ruger had the answer. Mind you, this is all for marital bliss! Not only is this complete package but it's as well built and heavy as my Marlin lever action 30-30. Of course I can't be knockin' crows and squirrels out of a cherry tree with a 30-30!? Waaaay too loud! My big surprise was this rifle was quietly driving 10.65 grain Crossman domed projectiles clean through 5/8" plywood, and several heavy card board boxes before lodging into a 4 ft. burm in my backyard. BWAAAHAAAHAAA I exclaimed in my best Dr. Evil laugh! Looks like booty is back on the table boys, as I reassured my angelic wife, next year the trespassers don't stand a chance.
The 4 X 32 scope was easy to mount and fairly easy to sight. This rifle has a kick - more than a .22 rifle - and while sighting the scope it loosened the screws quickly and I had to re-tighten everything. After a few adjustment I was putting rounds inside a quarter at 12 meters, (36-40 feet) consistently. Oh small woodland usurpers beware! I only put about 40 to 50 rounds after the second tightening. If the screws come loose again I'll set them with Lok Tite. It takes a fair amount of force to cock the weapon and I like the trigger pull. It has a little slack before you feel the resistance and then a nice squeeze to release the projectile. I'm not sophisticated enough to have a rifle vise and chronograph like some. Just the basics, small table, lawn chair, and canvas tool bag to rest the rifle and viola, pinpoint accuracy! Some friends tried it out and couldn't believe how accurate shot placement was for such an inexpensive rifle. Now, come next spring, when the varmints are busy creeping about, I'll be ready. Hiding in my blind waiting for the little pillagers to strike. When I have a couple of carcasses to show my bride I have defended her honor and her cherries. Maybe just maybe she'll ravage me relentlessly for protecting her delicious wonderful sweets. Thanks Ruger for making me feel like a sniper! Through the maple, over the bush, under the apple, into the cherry, on the branch, nothing but crow!!!! PRICELESS!!" — Stixxnstones
Reassuring review: "This is an awesome gun to use in an urban setting to kill destructive pests. For me that's primarily the rabbits destroying our garden, shrubs and other plantings. Honestly this gun is so accurate out of the box I have yet to mount the scope. In addition, I do all my rabbit reduction at night or early morning when they're most active. I spot them with my head lamp and then shoot them. It kills rabbits no problem. The gun is a little loud. Some have said it's as loud as a .22 but I don't agree with that at all because basically there's no explosion because there's no gun powder. I'd say it's more like a loud mechanical sound from the air piston in the gun. However it's not loud enough to disturb anyone in an urban environment. At the same time I am not putting myself on display eliminating pests in my yard. Some have said on these reviews that this Rugar is junk. I disagree whole heartedly. The other thing I would say is that it's fairly heavy. But this is not a problem for a grown man but it might be for a child or woman. Nuisance critters do not have a chance with this Rugar. I've had mine since July and I put away about 20 rabbits. I highly recommend this gun for eliminating unwanted pests. For the record I've had some success with live traps but only in late fall, winter and very early spring when forage is hard to come by. So this gun was a good solution for me." — HeadsAndTails

Get it from Amazon now: $130.00 & FREE Returns

 

3. Daisy Adult Red Ryder BB Gun

Top-rated: 3,011 ratings | 80 answered questions


Daisy Adult Red Ryder BB Gun

Highlight: This is the adult full-sized version of the American Red Ryder classic.

Helpful review: "I bought the gun to target shoot and shoot squirrels. Does both great! Can hit a moving squirrel and with 10 shots I can get a sliver dollar radius of hits at 50 ft. This gun could be a bit cheaper but overall good price. I got the best experience with the "Daisy steel plated BBs." This gun WILL NOT kill squirrels or Agama Agama lizards that is the job for a gun like a Gamo pellet gun. This gun can't even shoot through a fence picket but it can go far so still be mindful of others around you. I haven't had a jam for these past 4-5 months and. This is a great beginner BB gun!" — Andrew Johnson
Trending review: "A few years ago, I wrote a one star review of the Red Ryder BB gun after a string of defective and broken-by-the-third-shot Red Ryders. At the time, Daisy products in general had suffered a massive decline in quality to the point that dollar store airsoft guns were better buys than a Daisy product. I'm happy to say that Daisy has made a full comeback and now lives up to their motto of "Take pride. It's a Daisy" again. You only need to look at the pictures to see the level of quality and craftsmanship that Daisy is putting into their products again. The gun looks just fine without doing that few seconds of polishing. As for accuracy, it's not as accurate as the one I had as a boy, but it's still accurate that I can hit a dish sized target from quite always away without aiming. Daisy still isn't back up to the level of accuracy that they're known for, but they've gotten pretty darn close. As for quality, it's not as good as the one that I had as a boy, but it's getting there. The wood feels like a fruit wood like apple or pear as opposed to something nicer like oak or walnut and the metal feels like it's aluminum instead of steel. It's still worth the price though. The leather tassel and the engraving on the side are top notch. Durability: ask me if it held up twenty or fifty years from now. That's how long Red Ryders used to last. I don't know if this one will go that long without repairs, but it feels durable. All in all, I'm glad I can recommend Red Ryder BB guns again. Definitely buy one!" — Simon Kidd

Get it from Amazon now: $49.99 & FREE Returns

 

4. Crosman Legacy 1000 Variable Pump Air Rifle .177 Caliber Kit

Top-rated: 2,455 ratings | 200 answered questions


Crosman Legacy 1000 Variable Pump Air Rifle .177 Caliber Kit

Highlight: 4x15mm scope included!

Helpful review: "The gun can put BB's into a 3" circle at 50'. BB's will go thru a cardboard target and stick into barn siding with 7 pumps (3-10 recommended). Does not jam. Has a very good green plastic / steel front sight and an adjustable rear sight. But do not consider the scope included to make your decision to buy this gun. Scope is junk. The eye relief does not allow for the slightest movement of your head. And the scope is fuzzy and it cannot be adjusted out. I don't know why Crossman devalued their gun with such a crappy accessary. But remember, you are buying a cheapo gun." — Indiana Tim
Trending review: "The accuracy of this air rifle puts every other one I've used to shame. Even with only three pumps(the recommended minimum, iirc), you can hit within about a 5 inch circle(though typically much tighter) at 75+ feet in moderate wind, or with more pumps you can hit within 1-2 inches very consistently with moderate wind. With no wind, it's pretty much dead on (within an inch, remember it's a BB gun) at essentially any distance that you can see your target with the included scope (in my case, I tried from up to 200 feet away because that's as far as I could get from my tiny target I had set up). The overall construction is good, there are only a few flaws in design. The most obvious flaw is that it is difficult to get BBs from the reservoir to the "magazine", you kind of have to twist and shake the rifle and hope for the best. The next most significant flaw(which is extremely minor) is the orientation of the loading door for the BB reservoir; it slides towards the back of the gun, which makes it very easy to accidentally open with your palm when moving your hand on the stock, as the door is on the bottom of the grip portion of the stock. Another pretty minor thing is that while the iron sights are good, the front sight is a little bit large(as is typical on air rifles), so at great distances for very small targets it can be a little bit more difficult to aim; they are, however, perfectly functional. Overall, I highly recommend this air rifle. Firing Zinc-plated BBs, you can visibly damage concrete with just 3-5 pumps, so keep that in mind before getting any ideas about shooting a living thing with a weapon that is in fact intended for killing living things. If you shot a person or animal at close range, you could definitely cause serious harm. Don't be like those psychopaths who want to use these kinds of things for "airsoft events"..." — Namington

Get it from Amazon now: $78.92 & FREE Returns

 

5. Gamo Raptor Whisper Air Rifle .177 Caliber Combo

Top-rated: 2,300 ratings | 359 answered questions


Gamo Raptor Whisper Air Rifle .177 Caliber Combo

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

Helpful review: "Bellow is my GAMO RAPTOR WHISPER .22 CALIBER review divided into sections:
TESTING PELLETS: .22 caliber H&N barracuda hunter 18.21 grain pellets. These are very accurate out of this rifle, the longest range in my backyard is 20 yards and at that distance it puts them in one big hole measuring about 0.5"- 0.75". After testing accuracy I then used my chronograph to see what velocity I'm actually getting, this part was kind of surprising and was lower than what I expected. The average velocity was 580.8 FPS giving me 13.64 FPE with these pellets. HOWEVER this rifle & pellet combo has already proven itself as I have taken down pigeons, crows, squirrels, rats, and moles and laid em down stiff with 1 shot. The EXCELLENT accuracy lets you put those 13.64 FPE where you need it. CHECK OUT INCLUDED PICTURE.
- OVERALL QUALITY SUMMARY: This rifle is an absolute tack driver. Will put my shots into the same hole at 20 yards and it does hit hard. Sufficient power for squirrels, birds, rabbits, etc... The cocking effort is very light and easy. Please note the included scope and rails is ULTRA CHEAP, When you purchase this rifle also purchase a separate scope and rings. I purchased the hammers 3-9x32 and rings. This rifle recoils very lightly and I have actually switched out to a regular (non airgun) scope (vortex crossfire II 3-9x50) and it is holding up and working just fine. The general consensus on gas pistons is to shoot with the artillery hold and not to rest directly on sandbags, well that's baloney, atleast with this rifle. I rest it directly on my Caldwell sandbags and as mentioned I get great consistent accuracy. At the current price its an EXCELLENT DEAL.
- ACCURACY: The rifle itself is VERY ACCURATE. This is probably more dependent on the pellets you use, your scope and how its mounted and MOST OF ALL, YOU. I noticed some reviewers saying the rifle has terrible accuracy, UHH NO. ITS YOU.
- NOISE LEVEL: At first it will be pretty loud but it does quiet down quite a bit after 50 shots or so. It's never too loud for backyard shooting though you will be fine. Use heavier pellets to help.
- SCOPE/RINGS: I'll make this short and to the point. the included scope sucks ash and you need to order your own rings and scope along with this rifle. Don't waste your time.
-CONCLUSION: If you want to see more testing results using different pellets hit the "helpful" button and leave me a comment so that I know. Currently the next testing pellet I will use is the "H&N TERMINATOR". Besides that, like I said this rifle is a excellent buy. Put a different scope on it, different rings, try out different pellets. You will not be disappointed. Also I will be leaving a review on the "Hatsan 135 vortex QE .25 caliber" air rifle if you want to check that out.." — VINE VOICE

Get it from Amazon now: $129.99 & FREE Returns

 

6. Gamo Wildcat Whisper Air Rifle .177 Caliber Kit

Top-rated: 1,978 ratings | 224 answered questions


Gamo Wildcat Whisper Air Rifle .177 Caliber Kit