Discover the Best Air Rifle: Ultimate Air Rifle Comparison Guide!
If you were bitten by the air rifle bug when you first picked up your dads air rifle or you want to get into the air rifle game then you have come to the right place on finding the best air rifle. Nothing much has changed in the air rifle game since I picked up my dad’s air rifle all those years ago other than the fact that they become much cheaper and much more accurate as well as packing much more power.
When I was younger I was set the task to find my own air rifle by my dad this was to help me learn the ins and outs of air rifles something I am happy he did nearly 25 years later. The task was a daunting one and I suspect it’s much more daunting these days with the extra types of Air rifle Propulsion Methods (powering methods) and this was the main reason that I have put together BestAirRifleHQ.com.
We have broken all the key element of an air rifle down to help you decide what type best suits you and once you decide what type of air rifle is for you we have then put together our comparison guides making it easier for you to find the air rifle that best suits your needs and budget making a decision that much easier.
Air Rifle Power Selection
There are 4 different types of systems that power an air rifle, these come in 4 different groups Spring-Piston, Gas Ram, Co2 and Pneumatic below we will explain each one as each one have their advantages and disadvantages.
Spring-Piston Air Rifles
The Spring-Piston has got to be the most common power plant on the market and one that most air rifle owners will have owned at some point. They come in 3 different cocking mechanisms Break Barrel, Under Lever and Side Lever. The biggest advantage of the spring-piston is it reproduces the same power shot after shot it is a really simply power system whereby when you cock the gun you simply compress a spring, once the trigger is realised the spring is shot forward generating high pressure to fire out the pellet. The problem with this system is when the spring is released you can get some recoil so a heavier gun to combat this can help but this is all part of the learning curve in shooting a spring-piston air rifle and very enjoyable once mastered and is all part of the sport.
Cheap, Self-contained, Reliable, Great value for money
More often only single shot, Recoil, Heavy to make them more accurate, Noisy
Gas Ram Air Rifles (Niro Piston)
This is very much like the spring-piston but where there is a spring there is a gas unit replacing the spring and is very much the next step up from the spring piston. They still have recoil but a lot less than the spring-piston. You can leave a gas ram system cocked and as there is no spring you will not have to worry about the spring weakening like you would with a spring-piston also a spring-piston air rifles springs can be negatively affected by changes in temperature the gas ram system is not. Making it an all-weather unit it’s also easier to cock. In general terms they are a better built air rifle with nicer stocks.
Cheaper than a Co2 air rifle, Consistent power, No wearing spring, Automatic safety catch
More expensive than a Spring-Piston air rifle, Still some recoil
Co2 Air Rifles
Don’t like to sound of recoil then a Co2 air rifle could be the answer at a cheaper price. The Co2 is what generates the power to fire the pellet the Co2 is stored in bottles that is screwed into the air rifle and will need replacing the bottles are at relatively cheap. A co2 air rifle is recoilless and generally lightweight and purchased by beginners who are looking for a fun air rifle for target shooting and younger shooters who struggle with the weight of a spring-piston. The main disadvantage is how sensitive they are to temperature and can cause inconsistent accuracy in extreme heat and extreme cold weather. The Co2 air rifle can come in multi shot format so are ideal for plinking.
Cheap for recoilless shooting, Easy to use, Fun, Multi shot available, generally lightweight
Can be expensive (Co2 bottles), Can be built cheaply (get what you pay for), Average accuracy
Pneumatic Air Rifles
Pre-Pneumatic Air Rifles (PCP’s)
The pre-pneumatic or as then more widely know as PCP’s is a high power, accurate system that has made huge advances over the last 10 years. There is a reservoir within the air rifle that is filled using a stirrup pump giving a highly pressured chamber that can fire the pellet to levels between 1500 to 3500 psi some go higher. As this is a very powerful system it is the air rifle of choice if you want to hunt large game they make a perfect air rifle for someone that wants a recoilless air rifle for easy accurate shooting.
Accurate, Recoilless, Quiet, Powerful
Pump-Up Pneumatic Air Rifles (PCP’s)
The Pump-up air rifle works in a very similar way as the pre-pneumatic but were they differ is as the name suggest you pump the air rifle by a lever filling the air chamber the amount of times you pump 1-10 can vary between makes and models and the more you pump the more power the air rifle will produce. These are generally just as accurate as the pre-pneumatic and recoilless making them a great air rifle but are generally only a one shot so pumping between shots can become annoying but if you are just target shooting they can be good to go with one pump and your ready to shoot and they are cheaper than the pre-pneumatic making them a great entry level pneumatic air rifle.
Accurate, Recoilless, Quiet, Powerful , Cheaper than pre-pneumatic
Pumping (charging) can become annoying
Air Rifle Caliber Selection
If you are new to buying an air rifle then the caliber is the internal diameter of the rifles barrel witch determines the size of pellet you can use. There are 3 main caliber selections to choose from .177, .22 and .25 each one having its advantages and disadvantages we will take a look at each one to see what best suits your needs.
This is the most popular caliber on the market and is a highly accurate pellet at longer distances the .177 is ideal for target shooting and plinking but can take out small pests (squirrels, birds, rats) so a bit of an all-rounder. With the .177 being so popular they are the easiest pellets to obtain and generally much cheaper.
A pellet with a larger weight and size over the .177 giving it much more knock down power so making it ideal for people looking at hunting larger pests (rabbits, wild woodchucks). They are good for general shooting but the pellets cost more than the .177.
The largest pellet of the common 3 caliber’s so lending itself for hunter lager pests (coyotes) they are much harder to shoot at longer range but ideal around 50 yards or less.
Over To You
I have hopefully helped you understand a little more about air rifles it’s now up to you to pick what air rifle best meets your needs, is in your price range, and overall help you in your shooting adventures. The air rifle comparison guides should help make finding one that much easier and with new air rifles being added to the market all the time the air rifle comparison guides will be constantly updated. If you feel we have missed an air rifle that should be in the list then let us know.