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  • Writer's pictureNoah O. Thompson

I Tested And Ranked The Best Pellet Guns For Hunting In 2024

I always recommend the .177 caliber for varmint hunting and pest control. But for small game hunting, take the more powerful .22 caliber. Although I did hunt small game with my .177.

best pellet guns for hunting

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

1. Benjamin Trail NP XL .22 Caliber

best pellet guns for hunting


Highlight: 70% less noise; deal for small game hunting.

Helpful review: "I believe this is close to the top of the Benjamin line. It is a heavy gun, so not great for younger kids, but fine for adolescents on the verge of upgrading to a rimfire rifle. For sheer power, I'm pretty impressed. Just for fun, I shot it into the sidewall of a loose/worn tire about 25 feet away, and the pellet embedded half way into the rubber. I'd need pliers to remove it.
Crosman Premier HP .22, 14.3 grain.
- Very short break in period! The first ~40 shots got me from 1" groups at 20 yds, to dime-sized groups.
- Scope is great! Very clear and crisp image of both cross hairs and scenery.
- Scope can focus images of both cross hairs and scenery. All magnification levels can be in focus. Up to 9x magnification!
- Gun is extremely powerful and accurate.
I shot a dollar coin from 33 yards away in 5 shots (had to zero in the scope). The coin bent where I hit it!
Immediately after zeroing on the dollar coin, I shot a beer bottle cap from the same distance in one shot. It punched a clean hole right through the center.
I taped a penny to a phone book and took a shot at it from 33 yards away. It took me 2 tries (partly because I was shaky) to hit it. Get this: THE IMPACT OF THE PELLET ACTUALLY BROKE THE PENNY INTO TWO PIECES. I could not find the smaller piece, but what I had left of the other piece looked like a pie that was missing two jagged slices!
- Definitely weighs more than 10 pounds when scoped! It's more like 15 pounds at least!
- Some people that I showed the gun to could not cock the gun, with cocking effort being 50 lbs.
- Sometimes I was sure I was shooting a zeroed scope, hitting everything I was aiming at and all. Then I would set the gun down for a bit, come back to shoot, and be way off target! I'm talking about consistently hitting 3 inches to the right and 2 inches too high! I had no idea what caused this, so I just zeroed in my scope again and kept shooting like nothing happened. This could just be a problem with setting the scope down: applying pressure to a tightly mounted scope could cause it to move ever so slightly.
Always use heavier grain pellets with this magnum air rifle. Achieving supersonic pellet speeds is cool, but your accuracy game will be way off. Pellets will quickly lose in-flight speed, causing the sound barrier to implode on the pellet. This phenomenon causes the pellet to fly in an unpredictable manner. IT IS KEY TO NOT BREAK THE SOUND BARRIER IF YOU WANT ACCURACY. The Crosman Premiers HP works great for me. Cheap too, at $9 for 500 rounds.
This gun is a complete beast. My original backstop was 4 pieces of plywood when I used my Daisy 880s. This monster chewed through all layers in an hour. My new backstop is now a cinder block, and even that is chipping away pretty fast.
I decided it was time to try squirrel meat, and I hadn't had breakfast yet. So you know where this is going. I shot a squirrel in the head, but I missed the brain completely, entering its mid-jaw region and exiting the same region. The pellet hit nothing vital, yet the shot produced a clean kill. My only hypothesis is that the impact of the pellet was so great that the concussive blow alone is what killed the squirrel." — Trey Walks

Get it from Amazon now: $399.99 & FREE Returns


2. Gamo Varmint Air Rifle .177 Caliber Combo

best pellet guns for hunting


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.
- 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.
- Breaking the barrel does require some force, my 7 year old has to put the buttstock on his leg and wrench down really hard to cock the action. So, expect to help kids around this age and younger as they might get tired after a few reload evolutions. For me, not a big deal as I reload my mouth with IPA each time I reload a pellet!!! HAHA
- 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 (by the way, 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. Also, 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!" — Stephen Cunningham

Get it from Amazon now: $139.99 & FREE Returns


3. Hatsan 95 Air Rifle .22 Caliber Combo

best pellet guns for hunting


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: "Let me preface this by saying: this is not for kids. This is an adults gun in every single aspect. You better start doing some push ups because this gun is going to make you work for it. While that might be a bad thing for some, it's actually a really good thing for me. It makes it feel tougher and of better quality. This gun is also heavy. The box claims a little over 8 pounds, but it feels like 15 in your hands.
I gave it to my girlfriend to hold and she nearly dropped it when trying to hold it with one hand. In the her defense, she's 5'3 and barely weighs 100 pounds.
As soon as you look at the weapon you will see why it's so heavy. The attention to detail and the quality surpasses its price range. I have seen $250 guns that feel cheaper than this one. The stock is made of dense hardwood. Everything that isn't the suppressor, trigger guard, and butt pad is either made of German steel or Turkish walnut.
I cannot praise the quality of this gun enough. everything clicks into place with a hard thud. The trigger is on the heavy side just like the rest of this rife, but that first stage is smooth as butter, and I couldn't feel any creep at all in the second stage.
You never feel like you're in limbo as you pull the trigger, wondering when it's gonna fire. You know exactly when it's gonna fire! Every time! Another thing I like is, this gun definitely has some kick to it. I know that can be a draw back to some shooters, but I like it. It makes it feel more like a weapon and less like a toy, at least in comparison to Gamo pellet guns.
If you've ever shot ANY centerfire rifle, this will be absolutely nothing to you. It's extremely accurate and powerful. I shot this at a half inch piece of wood that I had left over from when we did the fence in our back yard.
The round went clean through, and still had enough energy to smear lead on the concrete wall behind it. I didn't care much for the scope that came with it, but that's the case with almost any air rifle. Fear not though... the fiber optics on this gun are clean and easy to see!
- This gun is powerful, probably one of the most powerful air guns you can get in this price range. It will make quick work of any bird, rat, squirrel, rabbit, or possum.
- Amazing quality and attention to detail. It truly feels like a rifle twice its price.
- Incredibly accurate. I didn't care much for the scope but the iron sights on this thing are amazing.
- Exceptional trigger. It might be a bit too heavy for some shooters, but I have yet to come across a trigger with a cleaner break from any rifle in this price point.
- It is a heavy gun. You could beat a man to death with this thing, and it also has quite the cocking effort. I would not recommend this to kids. if you're a small man or woman, you're definitely gonna have a tough time with it. My girlfriend couldn't manage to fully cock this weapon without my help.
- It is loud. If you're planning on shooting this indoors, you might have to wear ear protection depending on the layout of the room and your own tolerances for noise. I'm a metal head, so it doesn't bother me.
- This weapon has quite the kick for an air rifle. It's definitely nothing close to a center fire rifle, and it's really more of a nudge than a kick. However, I know that in the air gunning community, the last thing anyone wants to feel is recoil. So unless you're super uptight about that or you're 6 years old, it shouldn't bother you. Half the time I don't even notice it.
- The scope is kind of crappy, but all guns in this price range have crappy scopes anyway.
In conclusion, this gun isn't perfect. It's got its drawbacks. But for $250 you really can't beat it. This is easily one of the best (if not THE best) springer you can buy. Hands down, I picked this over the Gamo raptor whisper and the Benjamin titan NP, and I couldn't be happier!" — Daniel Diaz 

Get it from Amazon now: $214.00 & FREE Returns


4. Umarex Ruger Blackhawk Pellet Rifle .177 Caliber Kit

best pellet guns for hunting


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 a 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 rifle's stock with a positive lock.
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 it 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 gently 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 brake 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 and within the accuracy I was willing to strive for in my excitement to get this air rifle setup 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 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 an 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 an 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.
While wadcutters (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 and the price with scope is a pretty good deal ~$120 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, gun safety and created an opportunity to have quality family time for the whole family.
Finally, if like me 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 improve your skills and correct flinch, grip and recoil habits." — O. Bauer 

Get it from Amazon now: $130.00 & FREE Returns


5. Benjamin Marauder Hunting Air Rifle .22 Caliber

best air rifles for the money


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...
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. Gamo Swarm Whisper Air Rifle .22 Caliber

best pellet guns for hunting


Highlight: The 10X Quick-Shot technology enables you to shoot up to 10 pellets without reloading: simply break the barrel and fire for lightning-quick follow-up shots.

Helpful review: "Okay, I've shot this thing hundreds of times by now. I love the gun, idk why people think the scope sucks cause I can hit a silver dollar at 35 yards first try.
There's just one thing about it. About 15 shots and I figured out that the little spring that keeps the magazine loader in place actually came loose and was getting caught and jammed in it and not loading the pellets. I can use my thumb to move the loader up and just load it one at a time but man I bought this one because you can load ten and just have to cock it at the time you shoot instead of reloading each time.
All that aside, without a doubt It's powerful, goes through an aluminum trash can that's like a half inch total of aluminum and goes through 3 lids so idk how much that comes out to but that's just a 15 grain sharp pointed hunting pellet. I also have 21.34 grain target pellets which are massive and pack a punch. I hit a thermos and it almost went through one side and left a massive dent, shot it 20 times and it looks like it got hit by a .22 multiple times haha. These are bad pellets, crappy lead pellets with zero quality control. Now... imagine what happens when you load a 22 grain grain slug in that sucker, I wanna know.
I'll also try a 30 and 40 grain slug and see if it even fits or shoots accurate or strong enough cause it says a thousand feet per second but that's probably just for .15 grain pellets which still comes out to a whopping 33.32 foot-lbs. But if we get a 22 grain slug it comes out to 44.1 foot-lbs if it's going 950 feet per second. And if we go 30 grains at 850 feet per second it we can squeeze out an extra 4.1 ft-lbs which comes out to 48.18 ft-lbs total.
And maybe I'm wrong on how much slower the weigh will make the pellet/slug go. But I think if I put a 40 grain .22 slug in this rifle, it will go about 800 feet per second coming out to a crazy 56.86 ft-lbs (150 if it was traveling at 1300 feet per second), which is about what you want to kill a white tail deer.
This pellet gun is awesome. The 10 shot magazine works flawlessly and it is super accurate. Everybody complains about the scope. And yes it’s a little blurry. It’s not the best quality lenses but it’s adequate for the range. The best thing about this gun is how light it is. It weighs half of what any other pellet rifle I have tried weighs. It’s nice and light and accurate. I don’t know about that whole sound baffling because it sounds just like every other pellet rifle I have. And anyway, that’s not an issue for me as I live alone with my dog on top of a mountain... who cares if the bears hear it lol;) I definitely recommend this pellet rifle. I am very very happy with it. And since putting a new scope on, I'm even more impressed. I was able to take out a crow from literally 75 yards with a heavy copper plated 21 grain pellet with one shot. That’s incredible for a break barrel air rifle.
I have had quite a few break barrel guns. This one is just the right weight size and power. It will punch the 22 bullet right through a half inch piece of OSB plywood. The 10 pellet magazine is genius, makes the gun so much more fun and useful when hunting. It does take a bit more of a manly pull to get it cocked but really no problem unless you have weak arms. I should’ve gone with a Gamo the first time around." — Brandon Short

Get it from Amazon now: $169.99 & FREE Returns


7. Daisy Powerline 880 Air Rifle .177 Caliber Kit

best pellet guns for hunting


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 think it was, 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, and 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 is worth mentioning, because to me, I wouldn't suggest a parent buy this for a child, or give it to a child as a present. I think it just has too 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 who will usually be present when their child is shooting this rifle, then I would think it's okay to buy for them. But 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 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, but well, I haven't compared other safety glasses. But I love the yellow tint they have, and they are really clear, and seem very well made, and would most likely stop most pellets or bb's 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 bb's that came with the package are your standard silver bb's, they appear to be very good quality, and they all seem uniformed, and have no dents or imperfections that I could find.
Now onto 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 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. But 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, and also 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, with a rifle with the fps that this has, and just the outstanding accuracy and weight to it. I'm enjoying mine daily, and I assume if you make the choice to get this package, or the gun by itself, you'll be just as happy as I am :)." — Z. Glover 
Get it from Amazon now: $94.99 & FREE Returns

8. Gamo Wildcat Whisper Air Rifle .177 Caliber Kit

best pellet guns for hunting


Highlight: Features the WHISPER noise reduction technology patented by Gamo.

Helpful review: "I just bought the .177 version of the wildcat. I was completely uninformed about air rifles, so this is a beginners learning curve. I was looking for a very quiet air rifle to shoot squirrels out of my bird feeders.
Sighting in, I was very concerned, as shots were all over the place. Eventually I took the action out of the stock, and on reassembly I tightened up the screws more than factory settings, including the scope rings and mounts. I tried 5 different pellets. The pointed ones did not shoot well. But the Gamo Match shot well, as did the Gamo Hunter and the Crossman Premier.
Other peoples reviews often recommended the Crossman product. In reading up on this gun, I think what I learned is the 1300 fps is the rating using the lightest pellets, and the heavier pellets shoot slower and more accurately. The Hunter and the Premier both shot to the same point of aim, the Match shot about an inch to the left of the other two at 10 yards.
So, I made an arbitrary choice, I settled on the Crossman Premier 7.9 grain pellets because they got great reviews from other people, they are cheap, they are available locally, and they are the heaviest of the lot. I have shot several squirrels now, and the results are: None of my kills were instant. All were about 15 to 18 yards away, and all ran off into cover. All were hit behind the front legs near the bottom of the rib cage. All died within 15 yards of where they were shot, all were still on the ground.
My dogs had to find them, I could not. In one case the pellet passed through the animal, in another the pellet was under the skin on the opposite side. I recovered that pellet, there was about .008 of an inch expansion, not enough to matter. I cannot shoot off hand well enough to do head shots, so I was shooting center of mass, and I will probably try to shoot further up into the rib cage in the future. The last time I shot a squirrel with a .22 rimfire it died exactly the same way, however that does not mean the two guns are in the same league.
I will not try to kill anything beyond 20 to 25 yards away with a pellet gun. I wish it was quieter, but I was unaware that there were quieter guns until after I bought this. The quieter guns appear to be much more expensive. In addition, the noise is probably partly related to the pellet breaking the sound barrier. This gun is light years ahead of the last BB gun or pellet gun I fired. I would have to say I was pleasantly surprised.
I was pleasantly surprised with this gun. I took a flyer on it as I knew nothing about it other than the reviews I read across several sites. Was on the fence over this or the .22 sized ones and went with this and had no complaints. It nails a standard size 10oz can at 50 yards with a nicely wider exit hole cleanly through the other side. It will take anything up to a rabbit at that distance. It would probably work much farther, but I have not tried at those distances, and can't say on the knockdown/penetration power past 50 yards. Targets get small out that far too, but give it a try. Very powerful on squirrels within that 50-yard or less range. The gun shoots very fast so getting the sighting requires a paper target and some glasswork, but once you get it set it's highly accurate, very little drop, and not too much adjustment up/down. Left/right was almost dead on out of the box. I sighted it from about 25 yards then verified at 40, and found it still works to 50.
Use the rear focus feature to set it up so you can see the target WITHOUT your eyeglasses on, and then do NOT wear your corrective glasses when you shoot - that messes the refraction up. No corrective lenses and it's focused and nails the target. Re-tighten the scope screws every now and then and it's good to go. I only gave 4 stars on the noise level - it's not Hollywood whisper quiet, but I've missed squirrels, and the sound doesn't spook them so I could reload and shoot again. it's just not super quiet, but I may not have enough experience with other air-guns and clearly the game doesn't care. The directions aren't clear on loading - just break the action downward and put the pellet flush into the hole on the barrel half and close it up. Good luck!" — Craig T. Aldridge

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9. Umarex Ruger Targis Hunter Max Pellet Rifle .22 Caliber with Scope

best pellet guns for hunting


Highlight: Includes a 3-9x32mm scope, and features the Umarex integral Nucleus Rail Platform engineered to reduce scope movement and vibration.

Helpful review: "Great for the money. It didn't take long to sight in the iron sights, so far I've shot only crosman domed pellets and it is extremely accurate. I feel like a lot of people aren't used to the quirks of air rifles as far as how to handle them unlike firearms, which brings me to the sling. The sling is very soft and doesn't have ragged edges so your neck won't be rubbed raw.
However I never bothered to put it on because unlike firearms air rifles need to be able to jump a bit and aren't made to be tight to your body. I found just holding it loose in my left hand on the groove in front of the trigger guard and using my shooting hand to pull it in my shoulder was giving me my most accurate shots.
The iron sights, I fully bottomed out and am not used to "lollipop sights”, but again - airguns are different from what I usually shoot. It's quiet. Really quiet, and easy to cock like the ads everywhere say. The scope impressed me, though it's not like my first focal plane. It works great for a pellet gun. I was able to shoot tent caterpillars who's nest was about 100m away. My groupings were very close. I can't think of anything I'd change about it, I realized depending on the pellets I put through it the fps will vary between roughly 650-1000 fps, I didn't expect much but was blown away by the quality of this air rifle.
I did a lot of research on pellet rifles before purchasing the Ruger Targis Hunter Max. I am familiar with the brand which got a star for that. However, the reviews on Youtube were the real deciding factor. Just reading the features of this rifle are enough to make you want it. I especially like the noise suppressor. The Youtube videos really brought this feature home. It arrived on time and I was surprised at the high quality rifle and scope which has yardage parallax compensation. Out of the box, I mounted the scope and took 10 shots at 25 yards to zero in a quarter size pattern. I had warned my next door neighbors that I would be shooting a pellet rifle so they wouldn't call 9-1-1. They did not hear the shots but did hear the pellets hitting my plywood backstop. I then put out a beer can at 40 yards and, using the parallax compensator, I hit the can 8 out of 10 shots. Pretty darned good for the money. air rifle. Here in Hawaii, we have a lot of feral chickens that drive us crazy with crowing and tearing up gardens. No more!
I have fired this pellet with the open sights right out of the box and it is dead on. I am hitting a 3 inch and a 2 inch target at around 50'. It is not any louder than my .177 Gamo Elite. Has much more knock down power too. I like the design and weight of it, it is a little on the heavy side but I like that feature. For rabbit hunting it may get heavy after a while but it does have a sling.I have not tried the scope and don't have any intentions of using it at this time. I tried the pellets that came with it and I couldn't hit the side of a barn, tried some RWS Super point Extra and RWS Superdome and they were right on. I just picked some Crossman Premier Hollow Point Pellets 14.3 Gr.. I used the Crossman's in my .177 and they worked great. It's amazing how different pellets can make such a big difference. I do need to fire it at around 25 to 50 yards but my back yard isn't that big. Taking it camping and will try it out then, with an update. I bought it just for fun and practice. I don't think I will actually hunt with it But from what I've seen this pellet rifle can do some damage. Hope this helps, my friends are very impressed and are adventure hunters." — Justin Davis

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10. Gamo Whisper Fusion Mach Air Rifle .22 Caliber Kit

best pellet guns for hunting


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

Helpful review: "Purchased .22 calber Gamo Mach 1 Fusion Whisper in August 2021. Before shooting, used blue LocTite to set and torque stock / barrel screws. Barrel clean and shiny on arrival but used bore snake with Ballistol to remove all manufacturing residue. Currently mounted with a UTG AccuShot 4-12x44 AO scope on medium UTG 30mm rings. Using Crosman Premier hollow point 14.3 grain pellets, have fired about 750 rounds.
Note on scopes.: have returned a couple UTG True Hunter and Hawke Vantage scopes due to failure after ~100 shots. For this gun, suggest investing in the best scope you can, similar to a firearm. That is, pay at least as much for the scope as you do the gun.
Added an Airgun Detectives trigger adjustment screw, which is essentially longer than the stock screw, thus reducing pull weight. This is NOT recommended by any manufacturer, and must be done very carefully, as you can override safety features and fire the gun while cocking it or if it is bumped. That said, pull is down to around a pound.
Textured synthetic stock gives positive grip. Gun is well-balanced and sculpted. Grip has a comfortable angle for prolonged shooting. Gas-piston vs. spring technology removes the double recoil of spring guns. Recoil is upwards and back, similar to a .22 caliber firearm. Cocking effort is moderate to stiff - you are creating a lot of pneumatic pressure, but gaining velocities in the 1,000 fps range with lead. I find a firm grip and cheek weld - similar to a .223 firearm - works well for this rifle (vs. the artillery hold for a spring-piston gun).
Zeroed the gun at 30 yards. Resting on a chair back, can consistently shoot 1/3-inch groups at that range. Groups of 1/2-inch at 40 yards, 1 inch at 50 yards, and same hole at 10 yards. Need to raise the scope ~2.5 MOA at 10 yds. and also at 40 - 50 yds., but very predictable trajectories. Windage adjustments were not required under 40 yds, ~1 MOA drift at 50. Weak link in the accuracy chain is me... have not fired from true bench rest yet, but this sucker is a tack driver.
Pellets will penetrate a 3/4-inch pine board at 30 yards, and I drilled a gray squirrel with 1 shot at 35. Effective range for 1 and done likely around 50 yards for grays. This is an air gun for responsible adult use, because of its power, full-size, and cocking effort. With the scope it is probably in the 9-10 pound range.
The gun arrived on schedule as promised and in ready-to-go condition in the box. While I shoot with a scope, the stock open sights are very good. After testing scopes and pellets on two other spring guns and one gas-piston (all in .177) the Gamo Mach 1 is my hands-down go-to. I highly recommend this pellet gun to anybody interested in small game hunting, pest control, or just target practice." — B. Shaffer

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