Looking for the best air rifle? You are right place!
Air rifle is a general term which everyone understands. Going by the standard definition, any gun that requires compressed gas or air to fire a projectile can be termed as a gun rifle.
Its legal standing varies country to country.
In some countries, one doesn’t need to fill out any legal papers to own it, while in others an air rifle is considered a firearm and its purchase entails certain formalities.
There are various ways in which an air gun can be used. Some of them are mentioned here:
The most common use of air guns is casual hunting. For many years air guns are used for casual hunting of small animals.
Air guns are also used for pest control. A good quality air gun is more than perfect for animals like squirrels, rats and crows. For small time hunting, magnum powered .20 and .25 are a perfect choice.
Air gun is ideal for formal target shooting and competitive sports. Air gun competition is also a part of Olympics event in both men and women category. A side cocking .177 spring piston air rifle works well for this purpose.
Big game hunters usually use air rifles for practising in the off season. They are cheaper, noise free, recoil less and can be used in the backyard without disturbing the neighbourhood. Several weeks of practicing with the air gun improves the shooting skills considerably.
What is an Air Rifle?
An air rifle is often a good alternative for people who don’t want to deal with live firearms and the risks and dangers that come with them. That’s not to say air rifles are toys, because they aren’t. In fact they should be handled with extreme care because they can injure and kill.
The main difference between live firearms and air rifles is they don’t use gun powder in their ammo. Instead they used pellets or BBs. Because of this, the mechanism used to propel the projectiles from the weapon makes use of compressed air or different types of gas.
Air rifles come in many forms and types, and can be used for a variety of purposed ranging from plinking, which is just recreational shooting of cans, bottles, action figures and other small items in the backyard, to going out and hunting game.
In both hunting and target shooting there are professionals, such as those that live off what they hunt as well as Olympic level athletes who are very precise with their air rifles.
Understanding the Types of Air Guns
When people mention the word air gun, the one thing they most often mean is a pellet gun. A pellet gun uses pellets as its ammo. But in reality air guns shoot both pellets and BBs. And the differences between them often confuses some beginners looking for the best air rifle for them.
To make a distinction, here are the common types of air guns today and how you can tell one from the other. The difference between the air guns really comes down to the type of ammo they use, which in turn also affects what propulsion mechanism that’s put in it.
- Pellet Gun
As mentioned earlier, in today’s terminology, air guns often refer to pellet guns. This means they shoot pellets, which are often made from lead, though some lightweight pellets use non-alloy material.
Pellets come in what is called a Diabolo shape where it has a head, small waist and a wide skirt. These types of air guns come in both pistol and rifle form, and offer the most power of the three.
High end spring piston air rifles today shoot in excess of 1000 ft/sec making them easily capable of being used for hunting small game. Today, these are the most common types of air guns and rifles used.
- BB Gun
In contrast to the pellet, BBs come in a spherical shape. They are metal or copper round balls that fire from the weapon’s muzzle. Most BB guns fit in a .177 caliber bore.
These BBs measure slightly less than than 4.5mm barrel diameter and are just enough to fit in pistols and rifles that also shoot pellets. When selecting BB guns, you’ll want to check whether or not the item you’re looking at shoots both pellets and BBs or just BBs.
The first type is common among lower end air rifles allowing owners to choose between pellets and BBs. In general, BB guns shoot with less power and muzzle velocity compared to pellet guns.
- Airsoft Gun
The difference between pellet guns and BB guns are often more simple to distinguish because they substantially differ from one another. However, when airsoft guns come into play things get a bit more confusing.
One reason for this is the terminology used with airsoft. Many people refer to this shooter’s ammo as airsoft pellets, others call them airsoft BBs, even worse, some just call them pellets or BBs, easily confusing them with either of the two types of ammo above.
To simplify things, airsoft guns shoot plastic BBs, as opposed to the metal ones for BB guns. That’s because they’re meant for the game where competitors shoot one another. The softer material makes them less dangerous and less harmful. In contrast the other type types of ammo previously mentioned shouldn’t be used to shoot a other people. Another difference between airsoft BBs and metal BBs is their size and weight. Airsoft ammo are larger measuring 6mm, and weight anywhere from 0.12 grams to 0.48 grams. Most airsoft gunners use the 0.12 gram or 0.20 gram BBs.
Top 10 Best Air Rifle Reviews
Gamo Silent Cat .177 Air Rifle Review
The Gamo Silent Cat Air Rifle is a gun that will make you rethink your opinion on air rifles. This .177 caliber air rifle is in a class by itself. Many people think that air rifles feel more like toys than weapons, making them a poor choice for hunting. However, even if you do feel this way the power and stability of this gun will change your mind. It really packs a punch, those rabbits are history after you lock and load the Silent Cat!
Read the rest of the Gamo Silent Cat review below:
Power and air rifles are not two terms you often here in the same sentence. You will find that the Gamo Silent Cat tries to bridge the gap between air rifles and other firearms. Power is important if you are trying to kill varmints, a one-shot kill is ideal. This offering by Gamo is recommended for those over the age of 16 who are already comfortable with firearms. While it can be a good beginner gun, it is vital that users are properly trained to deal with the recoil that a gun this powerful offers.
Time and time again gun enthusiasts rate this as one of the most accurate air rifles on the market. Reported accuracy at up to 200 feet mean that this is great for chasing off pests and wildlife, even at a distance. Same shot accuracy of up to 35 feet is not at all uncommon with the Gamo Silent Cat.
For a gun of its price range, the Gamo Silent Cat Air Rifle is relatively durable. Though it does have plastic parts, it is still solid and not likely to disappoint. The only major complaint with regards to durability is the scope. However, most serious hunters will be replacing the basic scope with a more advanced scope.
Reliability is very important for air rifles. Nothing is more annoying than needing to take care of a rodent problem, or even just wanting to take your gun out for some target practice and finding that your gun is failing. This gun performs well in all weather, another important test of a gun’s reliability. The trigger is known to feel a bit sticky, but with some adjustments it shouldn’t fail at a critical moment
The Gamo Silent Cat weighs in at 5.28 pounds and is 46’ in length. The barrel is a full 18 inches. Most users find that the gun feels sturdy and not too light, but at that weight, it will not be too cause too much strain to hold it for long periods while hunting.
Sights and Optics
One of the biggest complaints about this weapon is that the stock scope is not as high quality as one expects considering the overall quality of the gun. Luckily, this can be replaced.
The stock scope is a 4×32 air rifle scope with 1 piece mount, making it easy to install. There are front and rear fiber optic sights and a grooved area that accommodates most air gun sights.
The Gamo Silent Cat features a manual safety and second stage adjustable trigger. Some users have found the trigger touchy at first, but after some practice and experimenting find that it works perfectly. One aspect of this gun that draws many people to it is the built-in noise dampener. There is up to a 52% noise reduction, which is quite good for one that is built in.
Like most air guns, there are hard-core fans as well as those that feel the gun has problems. However, there is an overall positive rating of this gun on both Amazon.com and the manufacturer’s website. It has 4.1 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com. Further reading the customer reviews you find that the same things are mentioned again and again, most notably the below-average scope and the surprisingly high power rating for an air rifle.
- Noise Reduction
- Affordable Price
- Very Accurate
- More powerful than other similar guns
- Included scope is below average
- Trigger can be touchy at first
- Can be tricky for beginners
The retail price, as listed on the Gamo website is $$$$. However, the price varies from location to location. Check out the best discount for Amazon.com which includes free super saver shipping.
Based on overall customer satisfaction, the Gamo Silent Cat is considered a good buy, especially for the price if you can get it at a discount. Take time to read up on all the specs; however, it seems to be a good mid-range gun for those ready for something a bit more advanced than a intro air rifle, but not ready to spend big bucks. It is especially noted for its use in small game hunting/pest control.
Black Ops Tactical Sniper Spring
It is probably the best air rifle that you will see in 0.177 caliber range. This spring piston type has an extra cocking leverage with rail, adjustable comb along with synthetic stock.
The rifle has an enormous shooting capacity to hit with a velocity of 1250 feet per sec.
The 4 x 32 scope allows you to aim your target with great precision. It is a break barrel gun but the producer has equipped it with bolt to give it more of a tactical look.
If you need a prices shot with ease of handling then it could be your best companion.
#2. Gamo Silent Cat Air Rifle
One of the most popular rifles among the buyers is the Gamo Silent Car Air rifle. It has a very attractive sleek modern design.
It gives a good velocity to pellets up to 1200 feet per second and a good accuracy that is essential for a shooting experience.
It is a very compact powerful air rifle that is very much appreciated by its users.
The rifle comes fitted with non-removable noise dampener mounted to the barrel.
The noise of the rifle is reduced down to half which is one of the best-selling points of this rifle.
The rifle is also very accurate which makes it a good choice for sport shooting and backyard pest control shooting.
The break barrel and spring piston systems are suitable for both beginners and professionals.
The gun is easy to use and require very low maintenance.
Cocking the rifle is very convenient and first time user will not face any issue in it.
Another advantage is that the rifle also comes fitted with deluxe ventilated rubber pad on the end of the stock for a better recoil absorption.
The Gamo Silent Cat Air rifle, however, seems to have a couple of drawbacks.
The gripping area of the stock is a bit small which makes it uncomfortable to operate for people with bug thumbs.
In addition, some user feels that the trigger mechanism of this rifle is a bit too heavy, which in turn may reduce the accuracy of your shots as too much force is required to pull the trigger.
Different ammunitions used in air guns
One can use different types of ammunitions in air guns. Some of them are listed below:
• Pellet: Most common ammunition is lead diabolo pellet. This projectile has a hollow base and comes in different head size.
• BB: A small ball typically made of steel with copper or zinc coating, BB is used for indoor practice, casual plinking and training.
• Darts: Darts and arrows are also used as ammunition in air rifles.
Advantages of air guns
The most basic difference between an air gun and traditional gun is that the latter requires gun powder.
Air guns are comparatively safer to use since while using them there is no risk of gun powder burns on the hands and face.
Another major advantage is that the air rifles are less noisy and easy on the ears of users.
The most important advantage, however, is that they can be used conveniently for both hunting as well as sporting activities.
Air rifles also have an advantage over conventional rifles when it comes to pricing—air rifles are a lot cheaper. In addition, unlike conventional rifles, air rifles can have a variety of uses.
Types of air rifles Technology
There are mainly three main types of air rifles.
Spring Air Rifle
This type of rifle uses a mechanical spring which propels the pellet out of the gun.
It is highly recommended for hunting and target shooting. It is also easy to use and extremely affordable which makes it suitable for amateurs as well.
Spring air rifles are very consistent, accurate and are often very powerful. While the spring piston is the only propulsion method used in all air rifles, the cocking mechanism may vary.
The most common cocking mechanisms are barrel-cocking, side-cocking and under lever.
Pre-charged Pneumatic Air Rifle
This type of rifles is fitted with a small storage that holds the compressed air.
Normally priced higher than the other type rifles due to additional cost of the tank, pre-charged pneumatic air rifles are most suitable for backyard shooting and plinking.
These guns are extremely powerful —
— in fact they are the most powerful air guns —
— and accurate. Most of these guns are made of high-quality parts and craftsmanship.
The only real downside to most pre-charged air guns is that they are costly.
This rifle uses CO2 cartridges or canister to fire the pellet. CO2Air Rifles are convenient and are best for casual shooting.
The main advantages of CO2 powered guns are that they are easy to use. These guns can be crafted in almost any shape.
CO2 powered guns are limited in power and are more expensive to shoot on a per shot basis due to the cost of the CO2 canisters.
While buying a new air rifle one should be well aware of all the features and types to make the right decision.
How to choose the best air rifle
When it comes to air guns, there are so many options available today which can confuse a buyer. The key to buying the perfect air rifle for yourself is to first understand your needs and then see which rifle addresses your needs best, while being in your budget.
To help you make the right choice, here are the most important things which you must consider while buying an air rifle.
What is the intended use of the gun?
The answer to this question will help a lot in deciding the type of gun you should own. Not all guns are designed for the same purpose. For example, some guns are designed for casual hunting while some are for competitive sports. While it is true that an air gun can be used for many purposes, but a professional will always tell you that guns are designed for specific purpose. If the gun bought for a particular intention is used for another purpose, the results will never be satisfactory. You should pick only that gun that is meant for the purpose you will be using it for.
How far you are needed to shoot?
There are four types of gun depending on their shooting range.
1. Light- suitable for a radius of 35 yards
2. Medium- covers a radius of 50 yards
3. Magnum – covers a radius of 65 yards
4. Super-magnum-covers a radius of 75-80 yards
If the answer to these two questions is clear in your mind, then it becomes quite easy to decide the right air gun. Some other things you must keep in mind while purchasing an air gun include:
One should decide between Spring gun, Gas Ram or PCP. Springer and Gas Ram air rifles do not require any charging. They are developed to just cock and shoot while PCP requires charging equipment. On the other hand, PCP has more power and less recoil. Spring gun are cheaper to buy than its counterparts. Gas Ram air rifle performs consistently and comes with an automatic safety catch. However, it is more expensive and does not include a recoil feature. In case of PCPs, there are many multi shots to choose from. You can also add several add-ons like silencers, bipods and custom parts in it. PCPs, no doubt, are very accurate but they also have a huge initial setup cost.
Airgun’s trigger quality is depended on its initial use and is usually directly proportional to its price use—more expensive ones offer better quality. Trigger fitted in the gun hugely affects the usability and overall experience of the gun.
For most of the shooters, look and fine finish of the gun are very important factors. Shape of stock, look of the rifle and the way it fits in your hand will help you use the air gun better, for accuracy increases substantially when you are comfortable in holding and using the air gun.
Now that you are aware of the different kinds of air guns available in the market and the things you must look into while buying one, here is the detailed review of three popular air guns.
All the three rifles discussed here are good and offers users a decent value for their money. However, everything considered, the Gamo Silent Cat Air Rifle definitely comes across a winner among the three products discussed here. It is not only the most accurate of the three, but it is also the most powerful. With that said, if budget is a constraint, one can opt for the Crossman Nitro Venom Break Barrel Air Rifle. On the other hand, if plinking or causal hunting is your thing, the Benjamin Trail NP XL is best for you.