Hunting with a pellet gun is a lot of fun – and can actually be very successful if you pick the right one.
A break barrel air rifle is a type of air gun that uses a single-shot, spring-powered mechanism to shoot pellets or BBs.
The name “break barrel” refers to the action of breaking the barrel open to load and cock the rifle.
Once the barrel is closed, the spring is compressed, and the trigger is pulled, releasing the spring and propelling the pellet or BB out of the barrel.
Break barrel air rifles can offer plenty of power without the need for all the complexity and cost of pumps or tanks that PCPs require. They are also relatively inexpensive.
Break barrel air rifles are particularly popular as they require minimal maintenance, offer good accuracy, and are relatively affordable compared to other types of guns.
They are also lightweight and easy to use – making them the perfect choice for beginners.
In this best break barrel air rifle reviews 2023 article, we will talk about a variety of different models that you can choose from in order to find one that best fits your needs!
There are many options for the best break barrel hunting air rifle, and depending on what your needs are, it may be hard to narrow down your choices.
You may be wondering what is the best break barrel hunting air rifle?
This is a very good question, specifically because of the wide variety of air rifles that are currently on the market today.
To answer these questions, let us take a look at some of the features that are important for this type of firearm.
Minimum Caliber Required For Hunting
As you can kill the listed animals with less FPE than the stated values if you are more accurate.
|Game||Minimum acceptable caliber||Minimum energy (FPE)|
|Squirrel sized game||.22||9|
|Rabbit sized game||.22||9|
|Racoon sized game||.22||25|
|Possum sized game||.22||25|
|Fox sized game||.22||35|
|Coyote sized game||.30||50|
|Javelina sized game||.357||90|
Top Rated Break Barrel Air Rifle Comparison
|Rifle||Weight (lbs)||Max Velocity|
|Ruger Blackhawk Combo||6.95||1000||See Price|
|Crosman Benjamin Trail NP XL||9.7||1500||See Price|
|Gamo Whisper Silent Cat||5.28||1200||See Price|
|Crosman Nitro Venom||7.4||1200||See Price|
|RWS Model 34 Combo||7.5||800||See Price|
1. Umarex Ruger Blackhawk .177 Caliber Pellet Gun Review – Best break barrel air rifle 2023
The Umarex Ruger Blackhawk .177 Caliber Pellet Gun Air Rifle is a powerful and durable air rifle that shoots at 1200 fps with alloy pellets and 1000 fps with lead pellets.
This gun is awesome. It’s very easy to use and has a lot of power. It has a 14.5 inch length of pull, and the cocking effort is 30 lbs.
The Ruger has an ambidextrous hardwood stock that is designed for comfort, especially for right-handed shooters.
The stock has checkered grip areas in both the pistol grip and forearm that allow for a better grasp on the rifle.
The Umarex air rifle is also equipped with a fiber optic front sight that enables quick target acquisition.
The black finish on the gun is nice and shiny and there are no scratches on it. Also, the scope attached to the gun is made well.
This Ruger Air Rifle’s stock is ambidextrous (for both left- and right-handers) and has checkered grip areas in both the pistol grip and forearm.
The Umarex .177 caliber pellet gun comes with a 4 x 32 scope to aid in accurate shooting. This scope can be removed and replaced with another one if necessary, but the additional scope must be 4 x 32 as well to fit on the Ruger Blackhawk air rifle.
The break barrel action on this quality air gun makes cocking effort easier without adding excessive stress to your wrist or arm.
A single breech pellet is loaded into the barrel’s breach, which causes the barrel to break open upon trigger pull, which then allows the pellet to exit at high velocity out of the rifled barrel.
The only complaint I have about this product is that it does not come with a cleaning kit or any other accessories for it. Other than that, I would recommend this product to anyone who likes shooting guns or hunting.
A lot of people think that some BB guns are not very good, but after using the Umarex Ruger Blackhawk .177 Caliber Pellet Gun, my opinion about the quality of BB guns has changed completely.
- It’s light but also sturdy, and it feels fantastic in the hand.
- Beautiful textured grip on a stock that catches the eye.
- Mind-boggling precision
- Fiber optic sight that is sleek and attractive
- Extremely low upkeep is required.
- Dovetail scope rail with a wide, low profile.
- Made in China
2. Crosman Benjamin Nitro Piston Air Rifle – Best break barrel air rifle for small game hunting
You can shoot pellets at nearly 1500 feet per second and hit a squirrel in the head, too. I think it’s a great gun.
The Crosman Benjamin Trail NP XL air rifle is perfect for the small game hunter who wants to take down their prey with a single shot.
A hardwood stock and a bull barrel give this gun a classic look, while its Nitro Piston technology offers increased power with less noise.
The XL1500 is .177 caliber, which means it can be used to hunt small game like squirrels and rabbits.
With 70% less noise than a spring-powered airgun, the Crosman Benjamin Trail NP XL leaves your prey unaware of your presence as you close in for a clean kill.
The .177 caliber pellet has muzzle energy of 25 ft/lbs, enabling it to travel at speeds up to 1500 fps.
With less recoil and noise than a traditional air rifle, this .177 is an excellent choice for new shooters or those who are simply looking for a quieter option when taking down prey.
The 3-9×40 mm CenterPoint precision scope that comes with this model features an adjustable objective and range estimating reticle.
The bull barrel gives the gun stability, while integrated sling mounts make it easy to carry along on your hunt.
It also has a ventilated rubber recoil pad, giving you comfort as you aim at your next target.
- Nitro piston technology
- A beautiful hardwood stock
- Excellent craftsmanship
- Supersonic velocity
- Easy to cock
- For some players, the notion of a delayed trigger may be off-putting.
3. Gamo Whisper Silent Cat – Best .177 break barrel air rifle
An excellent starter air rifle, the Gamo Silent Cat is perfect for those looking to experience the fun of shooting without the noise.
You’re looking at the Gamo Silent Cat, a moderately powerful air rifle that fires .177-caliber pellets at speeds of up to 1200 feet per second.
The gun shoots pellets at 1200 feet per second with PBA and has a maximum effective range of 80 yards.
The skeleton stock, adjustable butt plate and ambidextrous cheek piece ensure a comfortable shooting experience for all ages and sizes.
It has a built in 4 x 32 scope, adjustable rear sight and an ambidextrous hardwood stock with rubber butt pad.
The ambidextrous cheek piece makes it easy to switch from right- to left-handed shooting.
The Silent Cat is built around a shrouded barrel. The barrel shroud fully encompasses the barrel and provides a lot of extra protection against the elements.
This rifle would be perfect for any kind of pest control where you really don’t want to announce your presence by firing a gun.
The Silent Cat’s fiberglass synthetic stock and skeletonized metal barrel add to its feathery weight.
It weighs only 4.5 pounds, making it easy to hold steady, even with a few shots under your belt.
- Higher accuracy than Ruger Blackhawk Combo
- 52% less noise than Gamo Big Cat
- Less wait than Crosman Trail NP XL and Ruger Blackhawk Combo
- Ergonomic designed stock
- The 3.79 lbs trigger pull feels exceptionally heavy, making it difficult to shoot accurately.
4. Crosman .22-Caliber Valiant Wood Nitro Piston – Best .22 break barrel air rifle for hunting
The Crosman Valiant Nitro Piston Air Rifle is a great option for the person that wants a powerful air rifle at an affordable price.
This gun features a . 22 caliber pellet that has a muzzle velocity of 950 feet per second and a maximum effective range of 60 yards.
The air rifle can be used for small game hunting, plinking, target practice and pest control.
This gun is powered by a Nitro Piston Elite engine that also features a custom noise canceling system to make shooting more enjoyable for users.
The Nitro Piston Elite system generates less vibration and noise than other break barrel rifles, letting you shoot without disturbing the neighbors or your prey.
The two-stage trigger helps you get your shot off quickly, but it also gives you the option to make a more accurate shot on your target.
The overmolded barrel is made from mahogany and includes the SBD Gold noise reduction system, which makes it quieter to shoot than other air rifles.
The Crosman . 22-Caliber Valiant Nitro Piston Air Rifle comes with a CenterPoint 4×32 mm scope and rings, so you can see your targets clearly.
The gun weighs 6 pounds and has an overall length of 41 inches when fully assembled.
However, there are some cons, such as the quality control of Crosman needing an overhaul, and it has a harsher recoil than the Vantage, making it require more effort to cock.
- Nitro Piston Elite technology
- SBD Gold noise reduction system
- Hardwood stock with thumbhole
- Ventilated stock pad
- Adjustable rear and fixed front sight
- CenterPoint 4x32mm scope
- Quality control issues
- Harsher recoil than the Vantage, requiring more effort to cock
If you’re looking for a small game hunting air rifle that is stylish and precise, then the Crosman Valiant is a good option to consider, but do keep in mind the drawbacks mentioned above.
What are Break barrel air rifles?
A break barrel air rifle is a gun where the tension inside the barrel (which propels a pellet) is released by breaking it open and pushing down on an arm.
The best part of these guns, though, is that they can be loaded easily and quickly while standing; you don’t need to sit or kneel to load-a nice plus for hunters who have been sitting in one spot for hours, waiting for that perfect shot.
Break-barrel rifles are very common too – they’re often used by shooters who have just started hunting simply because they’re pretty forgiving if you shoot them from an awkward angle or jerk your trigger during take-down. They also offer a lot more power than a pistol, but less than a traditional rifle.
The best break barrel air rifles can be used for target practice, plinking and small-game hunting as well as pest control, but they’re also perfect if you want to try your hand at some informal long range shooting!
A couple of important things that you need to keep in mind when purchasing a break barrel gun is that they can be a bit harder to maintain and clean than those with built-in air tanks.
Also, if you want something small and lightweight, then this best break barrel gun is not for you – these rifles are usually relatively long (although there are some models on the market that have shorter barrels) and heavy.
The break-barrel single-shot air rifles are commonly found in the market for hunting. The reason is that this type of rifle is ideal for small game hunting and pest control because of its higher killing power. In addition, it is easily portable and can be handled by almost anyone.
- Break barrel air rifles are very affordable.
- They can be used for many different purposes.
- The best break barrel air rifle is accurate and powerful.
- A break barrel gun is easy to load while standing.
- Break barrel guns require more maintenance than other types of guns because the barrels need extra attention when shooting corrosive ammunition.
- Some models are heavier than others, making them less ideal for carrying around all day or doing any type of long range shooting.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Break Barrel Air Rifle
Power and Velocity
Power and velocity are two of the most important aspects of any physical activity, whether it is sports or everyday activities.
Power is the ability to produce a large amount of force quickly while velocity is the speed at which an object moves.
The power and velocity of a break barrel air rifle are determined by several factors, including the spring tension, piston stroke, and barrel length.
Generally, higher-powered air rifles have longer piston strokes and larger barrel diameters, resulting in greater compression and acceleration of the air behind the pellet or BB. However, higher power also means greater recoil and noise, which may not be suitable for certain shooting situations.
Accuracy and Precision
The accuracy and precision of a break barrel air rifle are largely determined by the quality of its build. A rifle with good craftsmanship will typically have better performance than one with cheaper parts or construction.
A good air rifle should have a smooth and polished barrel that minimizes friction and turbulence, a trigger that releases the pellet or BB with a consistent force and minimal creep, and a stock or bipod that provides a stable and comfortable shooting position.
Some air rifles also feature adjustable sights or scopes that help the shooter aim at the target more accurately.
Caliber and Ammunition
The caliber of a break barrel air rifle is determined by the size of the pellet or BB that it uses. The most common calibers are .177, .20, and .22. A higher caliber usually means greater power, but also reduces accuracy and increases recoil.
For target shooting and small game hunting, .177 caliber pellets are the preferred choice due to their superior accuracy. If you’re looking for something more suitable for larger game or long-range shooting, consider using a .22 or even a .25 caliber pellet.
The type of ammunition used, such as pellets or BBs, also affects the performance and accuracy of the air rifle.
Design and Features
The design and features of a break barrel air rifle can have a huge impact on its performance and usability.
Some rifles come with adjustable stocks that allow the shooter to customize their fit, while others feature built-in moderators or sound suppressors that reduce the noise created by firing.
Some popular features to look for include adjustable stocks, recoil pads, safety mechanisms, and suppressors that reduce noise and muzzle flash. It is important to consider which features are necessary or desirable for your specific shooting needs and preferences.
Price and Budget
When searching for a break barrel air rifle, it is important to consider your budget. Higher-end models are usually more expensive but offer better performance than the cheaper alternatives.
The price and budget for a break barrel air rifle can range from under $100 to over $1000, depending on the brand, model, and features.
It is important to set a realistic budget and weigh the cost against the expected performance and longevity of the air rifle. While cheaper models may be tempting, they may also have lower quality components and require more frequent repairs or replacements.
How to Maintain a Break Barrel Air Rifle
Like any piece of equipment, a break barrel air rifle requires proper maintenance to ensure optimal performance and longevity. Here are some tips for keeping your air rifle in top shape:
Regular cleaning is essential for preventing corrosion and maintaining accuracy. Use a cleaning rod and patches to remove any dirt or debris from the barrel and action, and apply a thin layer of oil to protect against rust.
When not in use, store your air rifle in a dry and cool place to prevent moisture buildup and damage to the components. Use a soft case or gun safe to protect against scratches and dings.
Periodically inspect your air rifle for signs of wear or damage, such as cracks in the stock or loose screws. Replace any worn or damaged parts as needed, and have a professional gunsmith check the gun if you suspect any major issues.
Choose high-quality pellets that are suitable for your air rifle’s caliber and intended use. Avoid using damaged or dirty pellets, as they can affect the accuracy and performance of the gun.
Apply a small amount of lubricant to the moving parts of your air rifle, such as the trigger and action, to ensure smooth operation. Use a high-quality lubricant that is specifically designed for air rifles to avoid damaging the components.