- 1 Best Pellet Gun Reviews
- 1.1 1. Crosman Nitro Venom Break Barrel Air Rifle (.177)
- 1.2 2. Optimus Air Rifle (.22) with Scope
- 1.3 3. Benjamin 392 Bolt Action Variable Pump Air Rifle (.22)
- 1.4 4. Ruger Blackhawk Combo Air Rifle
- 1.5 5. Gamo 6110065654 Big Cat 1250 .177 Caliber Air Rifle with Scope
- 1.6 6. Benjamin Titan GP Nitro Piston Air Rifle
- 1.7 7. Black Ops Tactical Sniper Air Rifle Combo
- 1.8 8. Crosman Optimus Break Barrel Air Rifle (.177)
- 1.9 9. Hatsan 95 Air Rifle Combo, Walnut Stock
- 1.10 10. Crosman MTR77 Tactical Style Air Rifle with 4×32 Scope
- 2 How To Choose The Best Pellet Gun?
- 3 What are the Types of Air Rifles?
- 4 How Does an Air Rifle Work?
- 5 How To Use an Air Rifle?
- 6 Best Air Rifle Comparison Chart
- 7 Final Thoughts
Do you ever think about going to the range to shoot at some targets so you can keep your marksmanship skills on edge, but you simply don’t have the time? Did you ever think about teaching your son how to properly use a rifle, but you can’t reach the range as often as you’d like? Do you have problems relaxing? There is a perfect solution for you: an air rifle. With the help of an air rifle, you can go out in your backyard, line up some bottles and tin cans and start shooting. You can teach your son; you can teach your whole family and have a great bonding experience. If you want to buy the best pellet gun, just read the following air rifle reviews and the buying guide and Tactical.org Editors will help you to find the best air rifle and the most powerful air rifle on the market in no time whatsoever.
- Crosman Nitro Venom Break Barrel Air Rifle powered by Nitro Piston
- PRICE $$$
- DIMENSIONS : 45.6 x 6.8 x 2.3 inches
- WEIGHT : 9.6 pounds
- CALIBER : .177
- 1200 FPS (alloy) 1000 FPS (lead)
- Optimus Air Rifle with Scope
- PRICE $$$
- DIMENSIONS : 2 x 1 x 1 inches
- WEIGHT : 3.4 pounds
- CALIBER : .22
- 950 FPS (alloy) 800 FPS (lead)
- Benjamin 392 Bolt Action Variable Pump Air Rifle
- PRICE $$$$
- DIMENSIONS : 39.5 x 5.2 x 2.2 inches
- WEIGHT : 5.5 lbs
- CALIBER : .22
- Up to 685 FPS
- Ruger Blackhawk Combo air rifle
- PRICE $$
- DIMENSIONS : 47 x 3 x 6.5 inches
- WEIGHT : 9.4 pounds
- CALIBER : .177
- 1000 FPS
- Gamo 6110065654 Big Cat 1250 Air Rifle with Scope
- PRICE $$
- DIMENSIONS : 45 x 7 x 2 inches
- WEIGHT : 6.1 pounds
- CALIBER : .177
- 1250 FPS
Best Pellet Gun Reviews
1. Crosman Nitro Venom Break Barrel Air Rifle (.177)
The Crosman Nitro air rifle measures 44.5 inches and weighs 7.4 lbs. The rifle has a hardwood stock and a sculpted rubber recoil pad. It also comes equipped with a CenterPoint precision scope. This model uses a single-shot system. It fires .177 caliber pellets. If you use alloy pellets, they can reach a velocity of up to 1200 fps, while lead pellets can reach up to 1000 fps. This model utilizes a break barrel mechanism as a power source and a nitro piston for propulsion. The piston is cocked by a lever located under the barrel.
The barrel is made out of rifled steel for higher accuracy. It can accurately shoot targets up to 35 yards. You can use this rifle for target practice, plinking or pest control. In some states, it is legal to use it for small game hunting. You have to check with your local authorities before using this rifle for hunting.
Because this rifle uses a nitro piston, it is quieter than a spring-operated rifle. The cocking lever is easy to use and packs quite a punch. There is less recoil, as well. The Picatinny/Weaver rail allows you to change the scope with other accessories, like an electric sight. The scope offers a clear view when you zoom in up to 8.5x. At 9x, the maximum capacity, it gets a little fuzzy.
Some users complain about the plastic stock, so it would be better if you stick with the hardwood one, like we did. But it is still one of the best .177 air rifle.
2. Optimus Air Rifle (.22) with Scope
The Optimus air rifle measures 45 inches and weighs around 8 pounds. This rifle uses a spring powered break barrel to shoot the .22 caliber pellets. Alloy pellets can reach up to 950 fps leaving the barrel, while regular lead ones reach a velocity of up to 800 fps.
The rifle comes with adjustable rear sights, a fiber optic front sight and a CenterPoint precision scope on top. This model uses a coiled spring to propel the pellets. Because of that, the gun has some downsides. Until you give the coil some exercise, it will be hard to cock the rifle. You’ll struggle a lot with the cocking lever. If you don’t have more than average upper body strength, you won’t be able to pull it back all the way.
Another disadvantage of the coiled spring is the noise. This is a noisy weapon. If you fire it repeatedly in a populated environment, such as a suburban neighborhood, you will have to answer to police reports constantly. The noise it produces is slightly louder than the one made by a nail gun. The spring is also affected by weather conditions. You have to be careful to use this weapon in a dry environment.
One of the major advantages is the power it packs. The .22 caliber pellets can do some serious damage when fired from this weapon. You’ll be able to put holes in both sides of a tin can from 25 yards. The precision scope is pretty difficult to zero in, but once it’s zeroed, the scope is effective.
3. Benjamin 392 Bolt Action Variable Pump Air Rifle (.22)The Benjamin 392 air rifle measures 36.75 inches in length and weighs 5.5 lbs. This weapon uses a variable pump power system. This means that every time you want to make a shot, you have to pump the gun to gather pressure in the pressure chamber. The more you pump, the more pressure accumulates, and the more velocity the pellet has. This rifle uses .22 caliber pellets. When the weapon’s pumped to the limit, the pellets can reach velocities up to 700 fps.
The barrel is made out of brass and it’s rifled for increased accuracy. The stock has a Monte Carlo design and it’s made out of American hardwood. This is has a bolt action loading system. After each shot you make, you slid the bolt backward, put the pellet in, and push the bolt in place to load the weapon.
In order to pump the weapon, you pull the lever under the barrel for as many times as you want (maximum 8). The more you pump, the more power the shot will have. The rear sights can be adjusted for windage and elevation. The front sight is fixed. This weapon will accurately hit any target within 20 yards when it’s pumped right. The .22 caliber pellets can be destructive at this range. The only disadvantage this rifle has is the pumping mechanism. It is easy to pump for 4 or 5 times, but it may be difficult to pump it at maximum capacity. It is quite silent for a .22 caliber rifle.
4. Ruger Blackhawk Combo Air RifleThe Ruger Blackhawk measures 47 inches in length and weighs 9.4 pounds. This rifle uses a spring-based mechanism to launch the pellets. The .177 alloy pellets can reach up to 1000 fps leaving the muzzle. The rifle stock is made out of hard plastic composite, just as a real rifle stock. The stock length is 30.25 inches and the barrel measures 16.75 inches from the breakpoint to muzzle.
This rifle comes with a mounted scope. The scope can be pretty hard to zero, but once it’s zeroed, it’s accurate. To zero the scope, you need to use the adjustments built into the side and on top of it. Have the rifle mounted on a tripod or on a sack of sand? To make sure it stays in the same shooting position fire some shots at a target. If you notice the shots miss right or left, low or high, adjust the scope again. Use the screw adjustment to bring the shot in the center of the target. You will have to make several shots until you zero the gun properly on the vertical and horizontal axes.
The rifle must be cleaned before you use it for the first time. If you don’t own a gun cleaning kit, just take it to your local gunsmith. If you try to fire it before cleaning, it will most likely miss most of the shots. That’s because it has residue in the bore. After you zero in the rifle and clean it, it will shoot accurately in a 25 yards radius. The spring can be quite noisy the first times you use it, but it will quiet down with time.
5. Gamo 6110065654 Big Cat 1250 .177 Caliber Air Rifle with ScopeThe Gamo Big Cat measures 43.3 inches and weighs 6.1 pounds. The barrel is 18 inches long. This rifle uses a coiled spring to propel the pellets. It has a break barrel system for cocking. This gun uses .177 caliber pellets. If you use FPS pellets, they will be able to reach a velocity up to 1250 fps leaving the muzzle. The normal, lead pellets will reach a velocity of up to 1000 fps. The barrel is made out of steel but has a fluted polymer jacket over it.
The stock is made out of a synthetic polymer able to withstand all types of weather conditions. It may be effective, but it feels a little cheap. The butt plate has a rubber padding to absorb some of the recoils. The stock also has cheek pads on both sides, so it will be comfortable to shoot by the left and right-handed people. The grip and forearm have a checkered, non-slip texture.
This is a formidable rifle. Once you have it zeroed in, it will be accurate within 30 yards. If you’re an experienced air rifle shooter and use premium pellets, you’ll be able to hit targets from 50 yards without too much trouble. The only downsides of this weapon are the lack of sights and the low-quality scope. It doesn’t matter if you have 10 years experience with zeroing scopes, you’ll have a tough time with this one. So you may need to search for the best rifle scope. Also, it is loud for a .177 caliber, but that because it’s stronger than most models, as well. You can say it’s one of best high power air rifles.
- Benjamin Titan GP Nitro Piston Air Rifle
- PRICE $$$
- DIMENSIONS : 43.5"
- WEIGHT : 6.75 lbs (without scope & mount)
- CALIBER : .22
- 950 FPS
- Black Ops Tactical Sniper Air Rifle Combo air rifle
- PRICE $$$$
- DIMENSIONS : N/A
- WEIGHT : 9.6 pounds
- CALIBER : .22
- 1250 FPS
- Crosman Optimus Break Barrel Air Rifle
- PRICE $$
- DIMENSIONS : 47.8 x 7 x 2.2 inches
- WEIGHT : 7.8 pounds
- CALIBER : .177
- Pellet Velocity: Up to 1000 fps Alloy Pellet Velocity: Up to 1200 fps
- Hatsan 95 Air Rifle Combo, Walnut Stock air rifle
- PRICE $$$
- DIMENSIONS : 44.3"
- WEIGHT : 7.8 lbs
- CALIBER : .177
- 1000 FPS
- Crosman MTR77 Tactical Style Air Rifle with 4x32 Scope
- PRICE $$$
- DIMENSIONS : 3 x 42 x 10.5 inches
- WEIGHT : 11 pounds
- CALIBER : .177
- Pellet Velocity: up to 1000 FPS Alloy Pellet Velocity: up to 1200 FPS
6. Benjamin Titan GP Nitro Piston Air RifleThe Benjamin Titan GP is 46 inches long and you can choose to buy the .177 caliber or the .22 one. Both models have a hardwood stock with raised cheekpieces so you’ll feel comfortable shooting. Both models can be spring or piston powered. Both models come with a CenterPoint scope and without open sights. To cock the rifle you need to break the barrel and load the pellet. That will pressurize the rifle.
The Nitro piston technology is superior to the spring-based one. If you choose the piston-based model, you’ll be able to cock the rifle more smoothly. There is less recoil when you take your shot. There won’t be any kind of spring torque or fatigue. You can use it without any concerns related to the weather. You can cock the weapon and leave it like that for an extensive period of time without any damage. It also has an extended life period.
If you pick the .177 caliber model, your pellets will go further and will drop less on longer distances. The .22 caliber won’t match the distance the .177 can travel accurately and will start dropping faster because they’re heavier. But they are designed to do more damage than the .177 ones. If you place a tin can at 30 feet and shoot at it with a .177 caliber, you’ll be able to penetrate both sides. If you use a .22 caliber pellet, you’ll probably shoot right through it and blow it away from its stand.
7. Black Ops Tactical Sniper Air Rifle Combo
The Black Ops Tactical offers two models. One can fire .177 caliber pellets, the other can shoot .22 caliber pellets. Both models come with a scope, bipod, and adjustable stock. Both weigh around 10 pounds.
This rifle uses a gas piston as a power source. A gas piston is better than the classical metal mainspring for the following reasons: It offers smoother cocking. This might not be very important for you if you are a well-built man, but if you want this weapon to be used by a woman or an elderly man, cocking the gun might be difficult with some models. It offers a smoother shooting experience. There is less recoil when you use this kind of system. There is no spring torque or fatigue, even if you leave the gun cocked for hours at a time. No worries when you use the rifle in humid or cold environments.
This rifle has a bolt installed, but the bolt is not functional. Its only purpose is to make the rifle look better. It also comes with a clip. The clip is non-functional, as well. It only acts as a storage space you can use to deposit your pellets. The loading mechanism is break-barrel. A great feature of this gun is the bipod. The bipod can extend from 9.625 to 11.5 inches. Placing the rifle on the bipod ensures the fact that you have the same shooting position, making zeroing easier and faster. Once zeroed, the gun is accurate within 20 yards.
8. Crosman Optimus Break Barrel Air Rifle (.177)
The Crosman Optimus is 45 inches long and weighs 7.13 lbs. It comes equipped with a well-designed hardwood stock. The butt of the stock is padded with rubber, so it’s able to absorb some of the recoils. This rifle has a fixed fiber optic front sight and an adjustable rear sight. This is a break-barrel single shot rifle that uses a metallic spring as the power source. The .177 caliber lead pellets are able to reach a velocity up to 1000 fps leaving the muzzle, while the alloy pallets are able to reach velocities up to 1200 fps.
The break-barrel mechanism of this rifle is smoother than that of most models on the market. This might make it a perfect fit for a woman, a younger or an older shooter. It only takes about 25 pounds force to cock it. The hardwood stock balances well with the barrel so this weapon will prove to be pretty accurate when it’s used right.
Remember you have to clean the bore before you shoot the gun for the first time. If you don’t, the small caliber pellets will be perturbed in their trajectory by the accumulated residue and you won’t be able to shoot accurately. The rear sights are adjustable for windage and elevation. They are visible in almost all light conditions, so you’ll be able to aim all day long. If you want to shoot at targets placed further than 25 yards, you’ll have to exercise in order to do it accurately. You will be able to hit them, but not with too much force.
9. Hatsan 95 Air Rifle Combo, Walnut StockThe Hatsan 95 offers two types of caliber. One is able to shoot .177 pellets, while the other is capable of shooting .22 ones. Both models weigh over 8 pounds. Both come with a stock made out of Turkish walnut. The overall look of this weapon is great. Nice finishing touches on the stock and on the barrel, as well. The grip and forearm have checkered patterns for extra mobility. The stock butt has a rubber shock absorbing system that reduces the recoil felt by the shooter. This rifle comes with a scope, mount, lens covers and hex wrench. The scope takes a while to zero, but it’s pretty accurate once it is.
A great feature of this air rifle is the presence of open sights. The front sight is a fixed TruGlo fiber optic unit, while the one in the rear is a TruGlo adjustable. The front sight is red and the rear ones are green, so you’ll get a nice contrast between them. This is a nice feature for every shooter used with sight aiming.
This is a spring-based model, so it’s pretty loud, especially the first times you shoot it. After a time, the spring loosens and it gets quieter. It is also pretty difficult to cock. The rifle is well balanced and accurate. It should hit every target within 40 yards if you shoot it properly. The only disadvantage this model has is the lack of a gun sling. For a rifle this heavy, it’s tiresome to carry it around in your hand all day. They do also have pellet pistols.
10. Crosman MTR77 Tactical Style Air Rifle with 4×32 ScopeThe Crosman MTR77 Tactical is 40 inches long and weighs around 7 pounds. This model is powered by a Nitro Piston, so it will be easier to handle than a spring-operated one. Once the piston pushes the pellet out of the muzzle, it can reach velocities up to 1200 fps. This is a break-barrel model, so if you want to load it, you bend the barrel downwards. This is also the cocking mechanism.
This rifle has a rifled barrel for increased accuracy. It also has a magazine. The magazine is non-functional. You can only use it as storage for your pellets. The stock is made out of synthetic polymer. It is able to withstand all kind of weather conditions. The rifle comes with a CenterPoint Optic scope and a mount. You can mount the scope by yourself without any problems. Zeroing in the scope might take you some time, but once it’s zeroed, it will be very accurate.
The gun is powerful. It will pass right through a tin can at 45 yards. It is accurate enough, so you’ll be able to put pellet after pellet in a target. A great feature of this rifle is the general aspect. It looks great, it has very nice finishing touches on the barrel and on the stock, as well. A slight downside of this weapon is the noise. It is noisier than other Nitro piston rifles. But if you want to buy an air rifle that looks like the AR, you might want it to be loud.
How To Choose The Best Pellet Gun?
If you want to buy an air rifle, you need to know what to look for. Sure, you can just read all the air rifle reviews we prepared for you, but you need to think of the reason you’re buying it. Do you want to buy it for target practice or plinking? Do you want to buy it for a survival situation? Do you want to use it to teach someone how to shoot? There are different features you should look for in a rifle, depending on its purpose. Read the following guide to find out how to buy the best air rifle.
Caliber size is really important in a rifle. But bigger is not necessarily better.
- .177 Caliber – This is the caliber most manufacturers use for their rifles. The main advantage of the .177 caliber is that it can travel long distances without dropping very much. The usual drop of a pellet fired from 40 yards is a few inches, but this drop depends on the gun’s power. The more power a gun has, the more velocity it imposes on the pellet, the most accurate pellet gun. The more speed a pellet has, the faster it will hit the target. Because of the short time, it travels through the air, it maintains its speed and drops only a little.
This kind of pellets are best suited for accurate shots over large distances, but they don’t have a powerful impact.
- .22 Caliber – This kind of caliber is generally harder to find than the .177, but there are several rifles on the market that uses it. These pellets are bigger and heavier than the .177. If you want to fire this kind of pellets accurately over long distances, you need a very powerful weapon. But a weapon with the same power will shoot the smaller pellets further than these ones. Once you shoot a .22 over long distances, you have to take the drop into account. They tend to drop several inches over 30 yards. But they have a powerful impact. At this distance, they will be able to go right through a tin can without any problem, probably blowing it away from its place in the meantime. They are perfect for shooting at close-range and mid-range targets. From this distance, you don’t have to calculate the drop, just point, aim, and shoot.
Power is a crucial part of any rifle. The more power it has, the longer shots can you take accurately, and the more damage you do. Power is generally translated in the velocity the pellet acquires. Of course, there are more decisive factors for determining the velocity, like the spiraling inside the barrel, or the barrel’s length, but power is also decisive.
- Low-powered Rifles – Low-powered rifles have the capacity of shooting pellets with velocities of up to 800 fps. Most of the rifles that fit in this category are pump actioned, but there are some spring actioned ones, as well. This kind of rifles is able to shoot accurately within a 15 – 20 yards radius if they fire .177 pellets. If they fire .22 pellets, they’ll hit anything in a 10-15 yards radius. Shooting further might be difficult, as you have to take the drop into account.
- Medium-powered Rifles – Most of the models we included in our reviews fit into this category. They have the ability to propel a pellet to velocities from 800 – 1000 fps. You can rely on them to shoot accurately within 30 yards. If you use .22 pellets, they’ll hit anything within 25 yards, without any problems. Most of these rifles use a spring-based system, but some have gas pistons or Nitro pistons.
- High-powered Rifles – High-powered rifles are harder to find than the ones in the previous categories, but there are several models available on the market. They can shoot a pellet with a velocity of up to 1000 – 1250 fps. With this kind of velocity, a .22 caliber pellet can hit accurately at 30 – 40 yards, while a .177 pellet can hit targets placed at 50 yards, or more. The impact of these pellets is very powerful.
Every air rifle uses a locking mechanism. Most use the barrel break, but there are some differences within that mechanism, as well. Other rifles use the pump mechanism. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
- Pump Mechanism – The pump mechanism is used by several manufacturers. To cock the rifle, you use a pump that’s usually placed under the barrel. Each time you pump the rifle, pressure accumulates in the pressure chamber. The more you pump, the more pressure accumulates. The main disadvantage of this mechanism is the fact that after the first 4 or 5 pump, the pressure inside the chamber will offer resistance to your pumps, which will become harder to achieve. That’s why sometimes you can’t fully pump the rifle.
- Barrel-break – This is the most used cocking mechanism. You will find it with most models available on the market. The barrel break is brilliant in its simplicity. When you pull the barrel down to load the pellet, the barrel acts as a cocking lever. Cocking the rifle makes the piston contained within the compression chamber to compress. When the piston is compressed, it engages the sear. When you pull the trigger, you release the sear and the piston decompresses, pushing the air in the chamber directly behind the pellet. Because the air pressure overcomes the friction power, the pellet is pushed forward through the barrel, pushed by the expanding column of air. The main disadvantage of this method is that sometimes is hard to overcome the cocking resistance. More power means more resistance.
Spring-piston or Gas-spring
Cocking mechanism relies on a vital component – the piston. In order to compress the piston, it is attached to a metallic spring or a gas spring.
- Metallic Spring – Spring-piston guns have a coiled steel spring attached to the piston. When the cocking begins, the spring compresses, bringing the piston to the sear. Pulling the trigger will make the spring decompress. These types of guns have an upper-velocity limit of 1250 fps when shooting a .177 pellet. The high-powered spring piston guns have a high recoil. It may not be as high as one resulting from shooting a cartridge firearm, but it can make the gun hard to shoot accurately, as the recoil starts while the pellet is still in the barrel. This recoil can damage scopes that are not designed especially for spring actioned guns. Spring guns can suffer from spring vibrations over time, reducing the rifle’s accuracy. These vibrations can be kept under control with aftermarket tuning done by specialized gunsmiths. A common fix is the addition of silicone grease on the spring, which reduces the vibration. Most manufacturers recommend caution when you use the spring-piston in humid or cold environments.
- Gas Spring – Some manufacturers use a gas spring instead of a metallic one. A chamber is built into the piston, and it’s filled with pressurized air or nitrogen. This gas is further pressurized when the rifle is cocked. Once the trigger is pulled, the gasses expand and push the air behind the pellet, pushing it forward down the barrel. Gas springs require better technologies and higher precision to develop, so they are usually more expensive than the metallic spring. Gas springs have many advantages, like allowing smoother cocking, lower recoil, and the ability to leave the rifle cocked and ready to fire for a long time, without any damage.
Before you go ahead and buy the first air rifle that you can put your hands on, think of the main reason you’re going to purchase it for. Do you want to use it in a survival situation? To you want to use it for pest control? Do you want to use it for teaching? Depending on the purpose, the best pellet gun for you should have different features.
- Pest Control – Some shooters buy an air rifle to put down pests, like rats or mice. If this is the case, the best pellet gun for you should be able to propel the pellets at high velocities. If you choose a .177 caliber weapon you will be able to shoot more accurate over longer distances, but a .22 caliber weapon will definitely make more damage, especially at short-range. It doesn’t matter that they are pests, you should put them down humanely. The same principle applies if you want to buy a rifle for small game hunting. You should buy a weapon capable of penetrating soft and hard tissue without any difficulty. Before you go out hunting, remember to check with your local authorities, to see if you’re allowed to. Some states don’t allow air rifle hunting, no matter the caliber.
- Teaching Rifle – If you’re looking for a rifle in order to teach someone how to shoot, you should purchase one that has a gas spring. It will be easier to load and cock, and easier to aim. The recoil of these weapons is smaller, so it will be more accurate.
- Target Practice and Plinking – For target practice and plinking go for high velocity. After you get used to shooting, you’ll want to increase your shooting distance, so it’s better to spend more money from the start and buy a decent rifle than to go for a cheaper one you need to change in two years.
What are the Types of Air Rifles?
There are more types of air rifles, depending on how you want to sort them.
Based on the power they pack, there are three types:
- Low-powered – These rifles are capable of propelling the pellet to velocities up to 800 fps. They should be used for short-range or mid-range shooting.
- Medium-powered – This type of rifles are able to shoot a pellet with a speed of up to 1000 fps. They can be used for short-range, mid-range and long-range shooting.
- High-powered – They can shoot a .177 pellet with a velocity of up to 1250 fps. They can be used with accuracy and precision in any kind of situation.
Based on the cocking mechanism, there are two main types:
- Barrel-break – This is the mechanism used by most of the manufacturers. In order to cock and load the weapon, you need to pull down the barrel. By doing this, you activate the piston that builds up the pressure. When you pull the trigger, the accumulated pressure is released and a column of air is pushed directly behind the pellet, pushing it forward.
- Pump – This mechanism is widely spread, but less efficient. In order to build up the pressure in the pressure chamber, you need to activate a lever. The lever is usually located underneath the barrel. Once you have enough pressure in the chamber and pull the trigger, the air pushes behind the pellet to drive it forward.
Based on the type of spring they use, there are two types:
- Metallic Spring – The piston is attached to a metallic spring, so every time you cock the rifle, the spring is compressed. This brings the piston level with the sear. Once you pull the trigger, the metallic spring is released, the sear is opened and all the air is compressed behind the pellet, driving it forward.
- Gas Spring – The piston has a chamber built in it. The chamber contains pressurized nitrogen or air. Once you cock the rifle, the gas is further compressed. When you pull the trigger, the gas expands and pushes the air behind the pellet.
How Does an Air Rifle Work?
As a general rule, every air rifle works by pushing air behind the pellet and pushing the pellet forward. The way this is done varies on the mechanism the rifle uses.
Some rifles use the pump mechanism. This means that with the help of a lever, air is compressed in the pressure chamber. The more you pump the rifle, the more pressure accumulates. The more pressure accumulates, the more force the air column will put on the pellet. Once you have the pressure chamber filled with compressed air and you pull the trigger, the air is released right behind the pellet. Because the air pressure is higher than the friction force that’s keeping the pellet in place, it will be pushed forward. The pressurized air will go forward toward the only opening in the barrel, the muzzle, thus pushing the pellet forward and out of the barrel.
Other rifles use the metallic spring mechanism. This kind of rifles has a piston that’s attached to a spring. Every time you cock the rifle by breaking the barrel, the spring is compressed. This compression pushes the piston at the same level as the sear. When the trigger is pulled, the metallic spring is decompressed, the sear is opened, and all the air is pushed by the movement of the piston directly behind the pellet, driving it forward through the barrel and out of the muzzle.
There are some models that use a gas spring. There is a chamber built inside the piston. There are compressed gasses inside the chamber, like air or nitrogen. Once the cocking mechanism is activated, the gasses are compressed even further and the piston is leveled with the sear. Once the trigger is pulled, the compressed gasses rapidly expand, driving the piston through the sear. The piston pushes a column of air behind the pellet. Because the air pressure is higher than the value of the friction that keeps the pellet in place, the pellet will start moving forward. It will speed along the barrel and leave the muzzle, as the air expands.
Most air rifles are single shots. This means that every time you make a shot, you have to reload the weapon. If it’s a break-barrel model, the reloading process acts as cocking, as well. If it’s a pump model, you have to pump until you reach the desired pressure and only then can you fire the weapon.
How To Use an Air Rifle?
An air rifle has many uses, depending on its purpose. As a general rule, you should treat an air rifle as you would a cartridge one. Never leave a rifle near unsupervised children. Never point the rifle towards people, animals or objects. Never look down the muzzle of a loaded weapon. Never use the rifle as a toy. Don’t walk around town carrying it. People might call the police.
- Teaching Rifle – Air rifles are great for teaching youngsters how to handle a weapon. They are not as dangerous as a real rifle, but they have similar weights and accuracy. Another advantage of using an air rifle as a teaching weapon is the fact that it has little recoil. Some models have a recoil so small, you can barely feel it. This also makes the rifle accurate.
- Survival Situation – Air rifles have been a long time favorite for the so-called preppers. This is a group of people that believe the end of this era of technology will happen during their lifetime and prepare for the worst. They usually stock up on food, water, and other necessities. Most of them have firearms, but they have air rifles, as well. The advantage of the fire rifle is that is self-powered. It doesn’t need anything else than pellets. And pellets are cheap, easy to come by, and you can make your own in a worst-case scenario. The only things you need to make pellets are a fire, a pen, a metal you can melt and a mold. They can be used for hunting small game in a survival situation, or even for self-defense.
- Target Practice – You can use an air rifle for target practice. It is a fun way to spend your spare time. Target practice not only makes you a better shooter, it has been scientifically proven that it’s a great way to get rid of stress and relax your mind.
- Plinking – If you are a busy person and you can’t get to the range often, a way to practice your marksmanship is plinking. All you need to do is to take out some bottles, tin cans, and old dishes in your backyard or in a forest and place them at different distances. This is a great past time activity for any family man. You just take your children, your brother, your father, or all of them together and have a blast. It’s a great bonding experience.
- Small Game Hunting – Most air rifles are capable of putting down squirrels, birds, or even rabbits from a considerable distance. But before you take your rifle out for hunting, make sure you check your local laws. Many states forbid air rifle hunting. But most states allow you to use your air rifle on pests, like mice and rats. You can equip yourself with premium pellets and start getting rid of them. You’ll be able to get the job done in no time whatsoever.
Best Air Rifle Comparison Chart
|CROSMAN NITRO VENOM BREAK BARREL AIR RIFLE||$$$||45.6 x 6.8 x 2.3 inches||9.6 pounds||.177||1200 FPS (alloy) 1000 FPS (lead)|
|OPTIMUS AIR RIFLE (.22) WITH SCOPE||$$$||2 x 1 x 1 inches||3.4 pounds||.22||950 FPS (alloy) 800 FPS (lead)|
|BENJAMIN 392 BOLT ACTION VARIABLE PUMP AIR RIFLE||$$$$||39.5 x 5.2 x 2.2 inches||5.5 lbs||.22||Up to 685 FPS|
|RUGER BLACKHAWK COMBO AIR RIFLE||$$||47 x 3 x 6.5 inches||9.4 pounds||.177||1000 FPS|
|GAMO 6110065654 BIG CAT 1250 .177 CALIBER AIR RIFLE WITH SCOPE||$$||45 x 7 x 2 inches||6.1 pounds||.177||1250 FPS|
|Benjamin Titan GP Nitro Piston Air Rifle||$$$||43.5"||6.75 lbs (without scope & mount)||.22||950 FPS|
|Black Ops Tactical Sniper Air Rifle Combo air rifle||$$$$||N/A||9.6 pounds||.22||1250 FPS|
|Crosman Optimus Break Barrel Air Rifle ||$$||47.8 x 7 x 2.2 inches||7.8 pounds||.177||Pellet Velocity: Up to 1000 fps|
Alloy Pellet Velocity: Up to 1200 fps
|Hatsan 95 Air Rifle Combo, Walnut Stock air rifle||$$$||44.3"||7.8 lbs||.177||1000 FPS|
|Crosman MTR77 Tactical Style Air Rifle with 4x32 Scope||$$$||3 x 42 x 10.5 inches||11 pounds||.177||Pellet Velocity: up to 1000 FPS|
Alloy Pellet Velocity: up to 1200 FPS
Owning a pellet rifle is a great thing for the survival situations. You can use it to get rid of pests, to practice your marksmanship skills by shooting at targets, and you can even use it to hunt small game. But the one thing an air rifle certainly does better than a regular rifle is to offer a great past time activity for your friends and family. If you’re thinking about purchasing an air rifle, but you don’t know what to look for in one, read our air rifle reviews and the buying guide and you’ll be able to find the best pellet gun in no time. It doesn’t matter if it’s low-powered or high-powered, if it comes with a scope or with sights, if it has a pump or a spring mechanism, the one thing the best air rifle does best is entertain.