As we know, hunting has a personal space in the lives of every hunter. Therefore, though choosing the best hunting air rifle seems like a very easy task, but when you are faced with so many options and calibers, it becomes a very tough choice.
A hunter’s bond with his rifle is undoubtedly an unquestionable affair. It is more than a tool to just gather food. It is like a family member. This is why most people treat their family rifle with a lot of respect. They clean it and care for it more than they would do for their kids. And when the life thread of the hunter depends on his rifles, there develops an extraordinary friendship.
As the potential for gun regulation looms, many are turning to the benefits an air rifle can provide for their hunting needs. With the right level of experience, hunters can work around the requirements and costs of modern ammunition without changing their effectiveness while hunting. However, with so many products on the market today, how do you find the best air rifle for hunting? This guide will hopefully answer that question and many more you may have.
Choosing the right air rifle means more than picking a favorite brand. It means selecting the right tool that meets your hunting desires, your at-home needs, and other specific uses you may have. The chart below will help you find the right combination of features at the best possible price from some of today’s top air rifles.
What is best hunting air rifle?
A hunting air rifle is one of the best friends for a hunter. If you have some hunting experience, you can realize what your life will be without a rifle. But then, choosing one was also never easy. Imagine you are standing in a shop that has a good collection of rifles. There are rifles in different sizes, varieties, shapes, materials, and prices. Which one will you choose and why? What do you need to check? What things should you definitely avoid? Sounds pretty tiring, right? But before that, let us check the types.
There are various types of hunting air rifles that are out in the market. You should get one that suits your purpose well.
- Bolt action rifles: These types of rifles allow the hunters to manually open and close the breech of the gun so that a spent casing can be replaced easily with a new one.
- Lever action rifles: These rifles use a lever that is located around the trigger guard area. This facilitates the loading of the fresh cartridges into the barrel chamber.
- Semi-automatic rifle: In this rifle, a single bullet is fired on every pulling of the trigger. This also loads a new cartridge automatically from a magazine. These rifles are quite lightweight and easy to hold and carry.
Coming back to the questions, all your doubts will be answered. This brings us to our next topic, that is how you can choose the best hunting air rifle.
Reviewing The Top 5 Hunting Air Rifles Of 2020
Now it is time to check out few of the hunting air rifles that you can find in the market.
1. Gamo Whisper Silent Cat
What do you hunt the uninvited rodents at your home with? There are several approaches in which you can get rid of them, but air rifles sound like a safer option than most other methods. You shoot and kill it once and for all in one strike. No need to wait for it to accept the bait or something else like that.
- Noise reduction: Gamo Whisper Silent Cat Air Rifle is an example of a weapon that can assist you in this work. There is a non-removable noise dampener that is mounted to the barrel. This is really effective in reducing the noise to almost half of what is produced. This is more noticeable in higher velocity shots. Plus, your neighbours will stay happy.
- Accuracy: If this impressed you, there is a lot more in the store for you. The rifle is a lot accurate. Thus, it comes as a solid choice for shooting and hunting for fun. The design allows for clean and quick shots, thereby killing your prey in one shot itself, and avoiding the wrath of dying slowly in pain. The comfortable hold of the stock design is an added advantage. Thus, you can carry the rifle all day long without affecting your precision.
- Cocking and loading: Another point of importance is the dependable break barrel. This makes the gun quite easy to use. Plus, whether you are just a first timer or even a child, you will be able to cock and load it.
- Power: It has PBA ammunition and can fire at 1200 fps. However, if you are using 0.177 lead bullets, it will decrease to 1000fps.
- Looks: The rifle is black in color, hence blends easily with the surroundings. It can also hide effectively in the dark.
- Scope: There is a 4X32 scope attached to it. It helps you to stay accurate despite the target moving. Plus, there is an additional base that helps in mounted shooting.
2. Pro-hunter Benjamin Trail Nitro
This rifle has definitely moved the bar of hunting even higher. Pro hunter Benjamin Trail Nitro Air rifle makes use of the break barrel technology. Thus, you have great power in your hands.
- Noise reduction: There is an integrated sound suppression system that allows for quiet shots. Thus, there is lesser noise and vibration.
- Accuracy: Next, this rifle has a Clean Break Trigger system which allows for a crisp and clean break each time thereby enhancing your accuracy as well.
- Cocking and loading: There is an innovative, reverse piston design that cocks easily thereby making the unloading and loading process more convenient.
- Power: It has the break barrel powerplant which increases the effective shooting range by almost double. The powerful rifle can launch the alloy pellets up to even 1200 fps from the rifled steel barrel, each having 26-foot lbs of energy on the behind.
- Looks: The rifle looks stylish with checkered hardwood, thumbhole stock.
- Scope: This rifle comes with a decent CenterPoint 3-9X40 AO parallax adjustable scope. This is a decent scope in this budget.
3. Hastan Air Rifle Combo
If you are out hunting in the spring season, this is one of the best hunting air rifles to carry along. With the lucrative price tag, this rifle attracts more hunters. The Turkish walnut stock adds to the beauty of it and marks an impression at first sight. And when you actually take the gun in your hands and fire it, you are bound to fall in love with it.
- Noise reduction: There isn’t anything inbuilt for noise reduction. You can stuff some wool though in the stock to dampen the noise.
- Accuracy: There is an adjustable Quattro two stage match trigger. This allows you control of the rifle, and the SAS reduces the felt recoil. All of this leaves the hunter spellbound.
- Cocking and loading: There is a rubber recoil pad and a shock absorber system which reduces the felt recoil.
- Power: It is very powerful and has spring technology embedded.
- Looks: It has a checkered pistol grip and a forearm. A great looking gun according to the users.
- Scope: There is a 11mm optics dovetails. The rifle has a 3-9X32 Optima scope. It also has a Fully adjustable TruGlo fiber optic sight (green-0.035”) and a Fixed TruGlo fiber optic front sight (red-0.060”).
4. Umarex Ruger Yukon Combo
This is another feature laced and budget friendly hunting air rifle that you can get that stands up against all of the competitors in the same price range. Read on to find more about this rifle.
- Noise reduction: A reason why you might just love this rifle is that it is very quiet. Who wants to wake up their neighbours anyway while they are killing the pests invading their homes? The steel barrel of this rifle is fitted with the Ruger’s SilencAIR integral silencer. This takes care of all the noise that is made while firing the hunting air rifle. So if you are thinking about target shooting, pest elimination or even backyard plinking, this is a good choice for you.
- Accuracy: It has a fantastic accuracy. Once sighted in, this is going to give you a huge range for shooting.
- Cocking and loading: Though some people may find it a little difficult, but on comparing the cocking with that of the other guns, you will realise this is relatively easier. You might feel a little struggle during the break in period, but other than that, it is going to be just fine.
- Power: This has a powerful gas ram. The reported velocities are as high as 1050 and 850 fps for .177 and .22 calibre Thus, estimates suggest that these rifles produce about 20-foot pounds of energies in the former and almost 22 FPE in the latter calibre. This should not leave room for any discomfort when you are using this rifle.
Usually, finding a good trigger in the cheap rifle as this is very difficult. In fact, even the expensive ones have heavy and uncomfortable triggers. This hunting rifle breaks all these stereotypes and comes fitted with a very crisp, light two stage adjustable trigger. What more, it is only 3.3 pounds of pull! This helps you get a good hold of the gun and yet be able to maintain your accuracy.
- Looks: Another reason why you can think buying this hunting rifle. The body is built of rich wood and has ambidextrous stock adorned to it. There is a detail checkering where the trigger is located and under the barrel. There is a rubber recoil pad.
- Scope: This rifle breaks all the barriers once again and comes with a decent scope attached to it. While most rifles lag behind in this, this piece of work has really got something to it. You might get better than this 3-9X32 scope for obvious reasons, but this is well suited if your hunting range is about 30 yards.
5. Benjamin Bolt Action Variable Pump
- Noise reduction: This rifle produces sound. So don’t use it in residential areas.
- Accuracy: Know this, the rifle is accurate. Like deadly accurate. It makes use of compressed air and therefore, there is no springer recoil. Additionally, they are good to use right out of the box. Sometimes, however, you may have to adjust the elevation or the windage. And if you want laser-like effects, get a decent scope and reach the next level of hunting.
- Cocking and loading: This gun is already pressurized from the inside. So, you need to apply more pressure when cocking and loading it.
- Power: Though it is a multi-pump rifle, yet it is quite hard The .22 calibre has the potential to send a traditional lead pellet at speeds as high as 685 fps and alloys at 800 fps. This gun has led to the energies reach as much as 14.9 FPE. Thus, it is evident that you can use this rifle to take down many small animals and dispatch the huge targets.
- Looks: It is compact and light weight. The durability is near legendary. The construction is outstanding, and the components are of high quality.
- Scope: You don’t need a scope if you have a good vision. The iron sight is enough for it. However, if you do need one, you will have to buy on your own. There is no scope rail in it.
What Are the Features of the Best Rated Air Rifles?
Whether you’re looking for the best .22 for squirrel hunting or you’re looking for a pellet gun with an effective range of 50+ yards, it is necessary to look at the features of the air rifle you’re interested in purchasing to determine if it can meet the demands you’ll be placing upon it. For starters, you’ll need a good scope or sight on the air rifle that allows you to comfortably aim at your target. If you’re not comfortable, then you won’t be accurate.
You must also take a look at these additional features to determine which are important to you.
- Caliber. There are four standard calibers for an air rifle today. They are .177, .20 [5mm], .22, and .25. Please note that these calibers are for pellets and not ball bearing [BB] ammunition. Each caliber has certain advantages and disadvantages, so compare these to your needs before making a decision.
- CO2. Some air rifles come equipped with a CO2 cartridge, which allows them to be fired with semi-automatic features. Others require you to manually pump the rifle to create pressure that will fire the ammunition.
- FPS. Once you’ve considered power, it is essential to consider speed as well when shopping for an air rifle. Smaller caliber pellets will travel faster, but they might not take down your target. You must find the right combination of feet per second and overall power to have success.
The final consideration in features to think about is accuracy. For this reason, many hunters are also looking at the best scopes for air rifles to accompany the gun itself. When combined with a good checkering pattern, you can receive the stability you need for every shot. Even a great scope won’t help an inaccurate air rifle, however, so look to best air rifles reviews, both public and on this site, to get a feeling of what your preferred gun will be able to do.
How to Find the Best Air Rifle for Hunting
This is where we must talk about the different calibers that are available in the modern air rifle. Explore what each caliber of pellet is able to do and you’ll know what kind of air rifle you need. It is also important to note that some air rifles are equipped to fire multiple caliber pellets and/or BB ammunition.
- .177 Caliber. The smallest caliber of pellet is also the one that is easiest to obtain. The pellets are relatively inexpensive as well and some air rifles can propel them up to 1,300 FPS. This caliber works best for small game hunting, removing pests, or targeting small birds.
- .20 Caliber. This caliber can be difficult to locate at times, but the benefits of using it can be tremendous. You receive the flat trajectory that a smaller caliber provides, but a weight that is nearly equal to the caliber above it.
- .22 Caliber. If you’re looking for the best .22 for squirrel hunting, plinking, or all-around use, then it is important to understand that the trajectory of this caliber changes. This caliber has more knockdown power and is an effective hunting tool for small- to medium-sized game.
- .25 Caliber. This is the air rifle you need if you plan on tackling bigger pests, like opossums, raccoons, or even coyotes. The ammo is heavy, so most air rifles are specifically designed to work with this caliber. Many offer pre-charged systems that come with a higher price tag as well, but the quality is almost first-rate in every brand.
Once you determine the proper caliber for your air rifle, you’re ready to have the accuracy vs. velocity conversation. Do you need something that has blistering speeds to take down small pests? Or do you need stopping power from your pellets so that you can still hunt effectively? Most hunters find that a heavier pellet at 1,000 FPS or slightly less tends to provide the most accuracy without sacrificing velocity, but specific needs can vary. Meet those needs and you’ll know how to find the best air rifle.
What Are the Prices of the Best Air Rifles for Hunting Today?
The good news is that you can still pick up an entry-level air rifle for practicing shooting and limited pest control for around $50. If you’re looking for a higher FPS, entry-level models tend to be priced right around $100. You’ll find numerous options between $100-$200 that will meet the needs of most hunters in various brands. Premium air rifles with superior velocities and accuracy, along with semi-automatic features and alternative power chambers, are priced between $200-$600.
The best air rifle for hunting will help you control pests, hunt squirrels and other small game, and be one of the best tools at your disposal. Invest into one today and you will find that it doesn’t cost a lot to receive a tremendous amount of value in this category.
How To Buy The Best Hunting Air Rifle And What To Check
The best way to check and choose a rifle is called backward induction. It is similar to game theory reasoning. This means starting from the end and moving to the first step. Thus, if you look at hunting, your end step is the thing you hunt. So now when you decide what you want to hunt, whether using a pellet gun or the BB gun, we will check what type of rifle you should choose. This will also determine what kind of bullet you will need.
After that, everything that you decide will be your personal choice.
Let us assume you are out to hunt small animals like rabbits, squirrels, and the maximum would go to a deer, elk, and Black bear.
- Game size: You need to decide what you want to hunt. The rifle size depends a lot on that. For rabbits, you need a .22 rimfire that will go up to a distance of maximum 100 yards. If you have a 17 Hmr mag or a .22Mag, it will add another 40 yards. If you want to hunt prairie dogs that are at longer ranges, you will need a .223 or even better than that for a clean shot. To hunt down coyotes or deer and antelopes, you will want a .243. And yet, in case you wish to put down an Elk or a Black bear, you should start from a .270 or even bigger.
- Manageable recoil levels: This is an important step. You should try out as many calibres possible to find out which is the most comfortable one to shoot. Also, you need to have a lot of practice so that you can be confident enough for the actual shoot. If you talk about the muzzle brakes, they can reduce the recoil, but then they will increase the muzzle blast. Generally, people are comfortable with 3600 recoils. But you should choose the one with which you are cool.
- Ammo cost and availability: When you are out hunting, it is important that you do not run out of ammo. Therefore, stock up on good ammo and keep enough so that it lasts your entire hunting expedition.
- Rifles are accurate: You should remember, most rifles that you will see are going to be accurate. You will find accurate bolts, levers, and autos. You can even check for foreign rifles. They are efficient but a tad too expensive.
- Scopes are important: Now, if you are getting a rifle, you need to get a scope as well. Remember, these are as important as a hunting rifle. You are going to need it for mounting and bore sighting. For example, if you are hunting a deer, you can get a 3*9 all around scope magnification.
The above discussion leads to the following results. Although, we cannot declare a specific winner, because where one is good, the other lags behind and vice versa, we still can choose the best among these. Here are the ratings.
|Noise reduction||Accuracy||Power||Looks||Scope||Cocking and loading|
|Benjamin Trail Nitro||4||4.5||4.5||4||3||4.5|
|Hastan Air Rifle||0.5||4||4||4||4||3|
|Umarex Ruger Yukon||4.5||4||4.5||4.5||4||3|
|Benjamin Bolt Action||0.5||4.5||3.5||4||2||3|
Thus, we see that Gamo Whisper is the winner in this comparison chart. Though you may get better looks than this at cheaper rates, but then you will have to compromise with the quality. Not so good a deal!
These were just a few products that are on the market. There are many more such products and some may be better according to you. So whenever you are making a purchase, just ensure that you know what exactly you want from the rifle that you choose.
Few More Hunting Air Rifles Recommendation
Crosman Nitro Venom
Coming with a standard scope from CenterPoint, we appreciate the fact that you can get about 200 shots in before the air rifle needs to be calibrated again. Alloy pellets work a bit better in this air rifle, but the accuracy is relatively similar no matter what type of pellet is used. The wide forearm is nice for stability and the fluted
You’re first attracted to the beautiful wood stock on this air rifle. When you pick it up, you’ll notice that the balance is nice for either righties or lefties. The thumbhole is placed in a good location, adding to the overall comfort you receive when aiming. The recoil pad is made from rubber and it is ventilated, but prolonged aiming will still create some sweat at the shoulder. Once you calibrate the rifle, you’ll find the accuracy is pretty consistent. At this price, it’s tough to beat all of the benefits this air rifle is able to provide.
This .177 caliber air rifle clocks in at a nice 1,200 FPS when using Raptor ammunition, making it a great tool to use for the small, fast-moving pests or for hunting squirrels. The cocking system is a single break-barrel, which is protected by a manual trigger safety. The air rifle itself weighs just over 6 pounds, so it can feel a bit heavy when you’re in a prolonged stance, but the nonslip checkering on the forearm and grip help to keep things in place. You might need a well-placed shot for some game, but this air rifle can make it happen.
For many of us growing up, the Daisy brand was our first air rifle. It can be one of the best air rifles for hunting now that we’re passing our legacy to the next generation. You’ll get the full kit with this air rifle, including safety glasses and ammunition. It’s a standard multi-pump design that is powerful enough for squirrel hunting, even with just 5 pumps. We found the pellets are your best option for accuracy with this air rifle, but BBs will also perform fairly well. Expect about 25 yards for range with this entry-level tool.
This combination air rifle is one of the best .177 calibers we’ve seen to date. The velocity is spot-on at 1,000 FPS, giving you a good combination of velocity and accuracy. Plinking and small game are perfect options for this spring piston rifle. It’s a break action single shot and allows you to shoot through 0.5 inch plywood at 10 yards. A standard scope also comes with this rifle, but you may wish to upgrade to a hunting scope if that’s how you plan to use this air rifle. It does take some practice to get used to the firing, but the black composite body stays solid and will provide consistent results.
Q. How to clean a hunting air rifle?
A. That is a very lengthy answer. There are many aspects to cleaning a hunting rifle. However, the most basic cleanup that you can do includes a regular basis cleaning with the best gun cleaning kit . Keep your barrel clean of debris. It should look clean and that is enough for a daily thing.
Q. What should I consider before buying a hunting air rifle?
A. There are a few factors that are a must to check when you are buying a hunting rifle. However, what you must be clear with is the size of animals you will normally shoot. Other than that, you should check the price, power and accuracy. Also, get to know beforehand if you need any scope or not.
Q. Should I get a used gun?
A. Yes, of course you can get a used gun. Though you should check it carefully first. Fire with it. Use it for a couple of weeks. Then only seal the deal.
Q. How to hide my rifle from the animals’ sights while hunting?
A. You have two options. You can either paint it to hide it, or attach natural things like twigs and leaves so that you rifle blends in with the environment. Choose whichever you find convenient.
Hunting guns are an excellent option for anyone who loves to hunt down animals. These make sure that your target is killed in one shot, instead of the slow painful death. Use the best hunting air rifle wisely and it will always ensure that you never fail in your mission.