Best Air Rifle Reviews 2016 – My Experience and Buying Guide!

I have observed that over the passage of time buying and maintaining of ammunition and rifles has become an expensive affair.Before sharing my recommendations for you, I would first like to explain the criterion that I follow to select the rifles.

5 Best Air Rifle Recommendations

Air Rifles Brand

Type:

Rating:

Price:

Gamo Silent Cat

Most popular

$$

Crosman Nitro Venom

Hunters

$$

Benjamin Marauder

Long Ranger

$$$

Gamo Big Cat .22

Beginners

$$

Ruger Blackhawk Combo

Most recommend

$

  • Gamo Big Cat .22 calibers are most recommended for beginners
  • Crosman Nitro Venom for intermediate level hunters having keen interest in the sport
  • Benjamin Marauder is recommended for long range hunting / shooting
  • Gamo Silent cat is the most popular recommendation and the most silent rifle available.
  • Crosman Recruit Multi-pump is highly recommended where pump action is the priority

Best Air Rifle Buying Guide

New hunters especially the ones on a budget find it hard to own a variety of rifles and guns. Now the hunters need to identify their requirements clearly and then decide on the weapon they want. Shotguns and air rifles have become more popular as they are cheaper yet serve the same purpose of hunting as do other guns.

​Selecting an air rifle requires knowing the air rifles well enough to understand which one is best for you. There are a number of makers and models of air rifles and they are all good in their own capacity for the purpose they are manufactured or assembled.

Although this guide would help you select and compare the various options available in the market, you need to keep in mind that the best air rifle varies individually meaning what is best for one person might not be best for the other.

​You need to be very specific about your requirements and usage before deciding on which air rifle to purchase. The selection of the rifle also depends on your experience in using them. If you are a first time user then a different air rifle will be good for you but if you are an expert hunter and rifle user then you might want to select a different rifle.

​Hopefully, my experience and comparison will help you to understand where you stand and what you want. The basic points you should consider while deciding which rifle is good for you are:

Accuracy:

The obvious point is the accuracy of the rifle because the purpose of shooting is that you would want to hit the target in one go. Accuracy is all the more important while hunting because if you miss the target, you might scare the animal and ruin the hunt for yourself and others.

So the more accurate your gun is, the more chances you have of having a successful hunting trip. I feel this is the most important feature to be considered. Infact I always choose my rifles based on their accuracy.

Power and speed:

Another important feature that an air rifle must possess is power. Most hunters including me are humane and don’t like the animal to suffer. I would want to kill my hunt immediately so that they are not tortured.

Hunting is a sport and most of the people participating in it don’t want the animals to feel the pain or be tortured. So for this purpose, your air rifle should have enough power and the size of the pallet should be the right size to give the desired result. The right amount of power and speed is a must for successful hunting.​

Ease of use:

Trust me when I say that your hunting trip can take you to a number of different environments and weather. Handling the rifle in rain and swamps can be challenging, so along with speed and power, a rifle should be easy to use as well.

Although you can find best rifles in the market but they might not be best for you. If you are starting your way into the sport of hunting then you might want to use a break barrel rifle which has speed and power and is also easy to use especially for beginners.​

Affordability:

There are a lot of very good rifles out there but you need to consider your budget before selecting a rifle that suits you. This is a very important point that needs to be taken under consideration as no rifle can be good if it drains your funds and proved to be heavy on the pocket.

​Best Manufacturers Of Air Rifles

The are air rifle brands that I trust not because of being there in the market for some time now but because i have used their rifles. I can assure you that even if you are comparing them, the competition is very close. In the end the choice comes to your preference.

The quality of their rifles always varies among different models they produce. But there are companies which you would want to consider while buying your air rifle especially the first time. Following are the names of some renowned rifle companies that I would recommend.​

  • GAMO
  • BEEMAN
  • CROSMAN
  • WINCHESTER
  • RWS
  • UMAREX
  • BENJAMIN
  • RUGER

They make the most dependable and popular air rifles. The popular types of air rifles manufactured by these brands are:

  • Break barrel air rifle
  • PCP air rifle
  • Pneumatic pump models

Top 10 Best Air Rifles On The Market 2016

According to my expertise the best air rifles available in the market are as follows:

1. Gamo Whisper Silent Cat Air Rifle

– BEST OVERALL PICK #1 –​

This air rifle is a very safe rifle with a dual safety mechanism, one is manual and the other is automatic. The automatic safety system is the automatic cocking safety system while the manual is the manual trigger safety system. But I appreciate the fact that you can have this rifle lying around in the house without the fear of any mishap.

Gamo whisper silent cat air rifle is probably the best air rifle for the small animal. It has a noise absorbing feature as well. The noise dampener is a fixed component which lessens the noise by almost 50%. This feature alone is my favourite one and based on this I would recommend the rifle.​

It is also ideal for target practice and hunting for smaller animals in less dense areas. If you want to teach your kids about how to hunt and hit the target then this is an ideal rifle. They can start by targeting small animals in the back yard to get the hang of it.​

The rifle lets you shoot at a faster pace as it has a single cocking system enabling you to shoot, cock and reshoot within seconds. Another reason you and your family will enjoy this rifle.

It also has twin check pads, rifle scope with fiber optics sights and it is powered with spring piston and break barrel cocking system. It is a high powered air rifle with high accuracy, it is easy to use and handle and the noise is minimal. All in all, it is a very reliable air rifle with affordable price to pay.

There are a few cons as well for this air rifle and these are:

  • The trigger is a bit heavy for an air rifle.
  • The grip for the thumb is smaller than usual.
  • The quality of the scope is not that high.

The rifle is very powerful so heavier rounds are needed.

Apart from these, every aspect regarding the ease of use, accuracy, less noise and price makes it a very advisable purchase.


2. Crosman Nitro Venom Break Barrel Rifle (.22) powered by Nitro Piston

This rifle is extremely suitable for an active hunter who takes this sport not just as once in awhile thing. In my opinion it’s a hunter’s rifle more than the first time rifle. Its performance is exceptionally impressive and I consider it as a must have in your hunting equipment.

Being lightweight, the Crosman Nitro venom is easy to carry around while moving after your prey. The rifle is 44. Inches in length and this makes it excellent to grab and aim quickly, which by the way is a very important requirement while you are trailing your game.​

Being a break barrel pump rifle it is relatively easy to load the gun, aim, and fire and then cock before the next fire. That feature helped me to fire faster.​

The rifle, however, is not very accurate until you practice a lot and get the hang of it.

Even I had to get the hang of it before i use it the first time. But for professional and active hunters, who are accustomed to the rifles it is relatively easy to use.

However, for beginners and first timers, lots of practice with the rifle is recommended.

This rifle makes the noise lesser by almost 70% because of the nitro piston it is equipped with. The nitro piston also keeps the recoil to the minimum as well.​

But still I would recommend The Gamo whisper silent cat rifle over this one for first timers because of the accuracy. But for experts this rifle is perfect.

The Nitro venom rifle is also very effective and efficient in rainy weathers.

The conclusion is that apart from accuracy issue, which can be helped with practice.The Crosman Nitro Venom break barrel rifle is definitely a worthwhile purchase for the hunting season in my opinion.​


3. Gamo Hornet Air Rifle .177 Calibers

I have always found that Gamo Hornet is a perfect option for the beginners especially because of its affordability and ease of use. It is a very durable air rifle and can be used for a longer time without issues.I have owned this rifle for more years than i can remember and it still works like a charm.

Although there is one glitch and that is its barrel is made of solid steel which lessens its otherwise long lasting life. The rifle is ideal for short range shooting, however; it requires energy and extra strength to cock it after firing. So for teenagers and first timers it can be a bit of a challenge at first.​

The positive aspect is that the rifle is lightweight and is 43.3 inches long with 18-inch barrel making it easier to carry around and aim. The weight of your weapon plays an important role in hunting as to hit your target you need to be agile and heavy weapons can cause you to be tired before shooting.

Another important element included in the rifle is its high quality and firmly attachable scope which is a 4x32 scope. You know the scope is the part that interests me the most. It gives your rifle a professional feel just like in the action movies.

Another special feature is the thick rubber butt plate. The pad is very comfortable and is well ventilated to give your shoulders a comfortable cushion from the impact of the fire. It is very important especially when you have just started using rifles.

Overall it is a good rifle for target practice and hunting small animals especially for beginners. The rifle is highly recommended because of its ease of use and lightweight.​


4. Ruger Blackhawk Combo Air Rifle

If you are looking for an accurate and affordable air rifle then this might be what the doctor just prescribed. It is a .177 caliber weapon that gives an accurate long distance shot.

This is a break barrel rifle and you need to repeat cocking the gun. The noise is also a bit louder than the above-mentioned rifles but is the quietest one in its own category. It also has a good quality 4x32 rifle scope attached to its barrel.

The speed and power of this rifle make it very effective hunting rifle is it’s best feature. With this much power and speed ensures that your prey doesn’t escape. Which is the basic goal of hunting.

The Ruger Blackhawk Combo air rifle is a very affordable rifle and is covered by a warranty. So if you are looking for an air rifle under $100 which is very effective for longer distance shooting and kills the game instantly without torture which is a more humane approach to this sport. And trust me we hunters are very humane.


5. Benjamin Trail NP XL 1100 Break Barrel Air Rifle

If i have to bet on a rifle for being the most suave one it will be Benjamin Trail rifle. Its hardwood finish and nicely placed thumb hole gives it a very classy look. The rifle is not just elegant looking but is also very durable, efficient in all weathers and is very accurate.

The Benjamin trail rifle does not have a regular coiled spring but rather a gas piston which makes cocking the rifle easier and comfortable. It is equipped with a nitro piston which kills the noise by 70%. This makes it is a very silent rifle just like the Gamo whisper rifle.

The nitro piston is also the reason that the rifle doesn’t rust due to moisture in the weather. The rifle gives you multiple options for different caliber ammunition. This amazing rifle can be so easy to store as well due to the barrel that can be broken away and easily assembles when required.

The accuracy of the rifle is ensured by the scope given with it. The Benjamin trail rifle has a 3-9x40 scopes which are pretty good and works fine but gets more accurate long distance shots you can always upgrade it.

Although the rifle is very dependable for smaller game and is very impressively stylish along with being accurate and powerful, there is, however, a tiny drawback. The drawback is that the weight of the rifle which is more than 8 lbs. This makes the rifle very heavy and you can get tired after lesser time than the other rifles.​


6. Gamo Big Cat 1250 air rifle with 4x32 rifle scope and PBA platinum pellets .177 Calibers

Gamo big cat rifle is probably one of the few rifles which give the look and feel of a solid real gun. This is one of the reasons why I included it in this list. The power and speed are good enough for small game hunting and target practices for beginners and expert huntsmen.

As per the name the pellets (platinum ones) are fired at 1250 feet per second, which is pretty good for an air rifle.​

I have used this rifle in almost all weathers as it is made of polymer even the barrel. Since in hunting you need to face all kinds of weather conditions and outdoor environment, this feature is especially notable and worthy. This feature also makes this rifle one of the most durable rifles as well.

The Gamo big cat is a breakaway barrel rifle which requires cocking after every shot, but it is very comfortable to do that. This rifle requires less force to cock it than other regular air rifles. This makes the shooting quick and fast and the impact more effective. Another reason why I like this rifle.

The grip of the rifle is another brilliant feature. During hunting, your hands can get sweaty or slippery because of a lot of reasons and a good grip on the gun is very important. The Gamo big cat rifle has a special non-slip design for grip and forearm of the rifle.

The power of the rifle and its accuracy is exceptionally good. It also comes with a very useful 4 x 32 rifle scope.​


7. Benjamin Marauder PCP Air Rifle, Synthetic Stock Air Rifle

As per my experience air rifles usually don’t give many options to users but the Benjamin Marauder gives you to customize your velocity by adjusting the auto indexing component. It is a bit expensive but it is worth the money you pay for it.

This air rifle is available in different calibers and arrangements.

The Benjamin Marauder is perfect for wide range shootings. It is lightweight yet powerful. It is easier to carry for a longer period of time but the power of the fire is enough to get the job done neatly.

The length of the rifle is 48 inches. Although it can be used by anyone but handling such rifles require a bit of expertise.

The accuracy of this rifle is above the rest of air rifles making it one of the best rifles as far as performance is concerned. You will find that the power is immense yet the recoil and noise of the shot are minimal.

The rifle is best suited for target shooters. It can effectively hit the target at approximately more than 40 yards. Which is a good shot for practicing at targets for new hunters and old ones like me who should polish their skill more often.

The trigger is easy to pull and comfortable to use but the best feature is that you can adjust that as well according to your personalized requirements.

The rifle is also equipped with a very good quality scope that can be used for long distance shooting with perfect accuracy. The rifle also comes with a stand and adjusting the gun to the stand can make it look and used like a sniper rifle. Which kind of excites me when i am using it.

In short, the Benjamin Marauder PCP air rifle is a highly recommended rifle for every hunter.​


8. Crosman M4-177 Pneumatic Pump Air Eifle .177

This rifle is ideal for target practicing and can be used by people of all ages to shoot a few dummy target bottles. Just arrange some bottles and tins in your backyard and try your hand at it.

The Crosman M4-177 pneumatic pump rifle gives multiple options for ammunition as both pellets and BBs can be used in it.

The Crosman rifle has an air chamber that can hold air this eliminates the need for a co2 cartridge. However you will need to pump the lever before the shooting, actually, the lever is an important component that is to be used while performing manual actions of any kind.

The rifle can be used with different add-on accessories like mounts and rails and even laser and lights to guide you for an accurate shot.

The shooting range is very important, especially for a moving target. The range for the Crosman is approximately 60 yards which are a good range of small animals and young shooters.

The rifle, however, falls back short on accuracy and power but is very good and recommendable purchase for beginners and youngsters for target practice. Also, it is a very affordable air rifle with good durability.​


9. Hammerli 850 Airmagnum Air rifle

Although the Hammerli 850 is a bit costly rifle but comes with a warranty. The design and functionality of this rifle are more serious and professional giving it the feel of a traditional gun. So I would advise experienced hunters to use it. It might work for you if you have used rifles before and are familiar with how to handle them.

The design is clean cut and slim giving it the look of a shotgun or a real weapon. Another feature that gives it an authenticated feel is that you do not need to pump the barrel again and again between shots as the rifle has its own co2 cartridge. Which adds to its credit

The power and velocity of the rifle are very good and the magazine holds 8 shots in a row one after another. The rifle is very durable and the weight is manageable too.

The weapon can be used for serious hunting by using .22 caliber pellets. The biggest drawback is that the rifle is sold without the co2 cartridge and you need to purchase it separately, this makes the rifle an expensive purchase. Separate scopes can be bought and attached to make the accuracy impeccable.

The conclusion for this rifle is that although the price is a bit high but the rifle does make up for it on matters of accuracy, power and ease of use. The Hammerli is probably the most powerful rifle on my list.​


10. Crosman 1077 Repeat Air Semi-automatic CO2 Pellet Gun Air Rifle

The Crosman 1077 is a very affordable and reliable co2 pellet rifle. The name co2 is a synonym to the fact that you will not be required to pump the rifle after every shot. The gun is a semi-automatic rifle with a removable magazine that fits 12 shots. This is my favourite most rifle in the list.

The distance and power of the rifle are only suitable for target practice and not for actual animal hunting.

The rifle is easy to use and the accuracy is very good too. The Crosman 1077 is a very lightweight rifle so carrying it for a longer time and moving with it is not an issue. Also it is easier for youngsters to carry around.

The length of the rifle is 37 inches and the overall look and feel of the rifle are pretty real. The rifle is made of plastic, steel and metal parts, but most parts of the gun are made of plastic. The durability of the rifle is good too if maintained properly.

It is not good for long distance accuracy in shots but otherwise it is a good air rifle that gives a semi-automatic feel in affordable price.​

Conclusion:

Purchasing or selecting a rifle depends on upon so many factors that you cannot sum up in one go and select one rifle or make one the ultimate best. You need to first identify your individual requirements before selecting an air rifle for yourself.

​However, there are rifles selected by experts for different purposes and the following list is recommended for respective purposes.

  • Gamo Big Cat .22 calibers are most recommended for beginners
  • Crosman Nitro Venom for intermediate level hunters having keen interest in the sport
  • Benjamin Marauder is recommended for long range hunting / shooting
  • Gamo Silent cat is the most popular recommendation and the most silent rifle available.
  • Crosman Recruit Multi-pump is highly recommended where pump action is the priority
  • Ruger Blackhawk Combo most recommended under the $100 price tag
  • RWS .22 pellet model 34 is recommended under $300 price tag
  • BEEMAN HW97K is just perfect for long range shooting / hunting
  • Benjamin 392 is also recommended for its pump action
  • Benjamin discovery PCP is highly recommended for the shooter with medium level expertise.

To get the best out of your money invested in an air rifle please take time out for research about different rifles. If you have a bit knowledge or interest about guns and rifles this will not be a difficult task.