hunting air rifle for 50-100$ advice?


December 10, 2012, 02:48 AM
I am looking into air rifles and would like one that can humanely take small game. (squirrel, rabbit, ptarmigan) I cant justify spending 200$ on an air rifle though. I want to take the small critters discretely and dont want to use my .22

Any ideas? The ones i see locally look pretty cheap so i figured id ask you all and probably order one online to save a few bucks.

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December 10, 2012, 08:05 AM
You can get a refurb benjamin 392 pump or a Titan break barrel. Try pyramydair or air guns daily for deals, and gateway to air guns for info. You will have to add a sight to the Titan, which may put it out of your price range.

I have a tuned Titan that hits hard, but its tempermental wrt hold. I had a 397 which was very accurate, but I wanted a 22 and didn't like pumping.

Pete D.
December 10, 2012, 09:00 AM
+1 about the Benjamin 392. It is a classic air rifle and will last long enough to leave to your grandchildren of properly maintained.
New at for $160. If you can find one used and in good shape, so much the better.

December 10, 2012, 09:06 AM
I sold my FWB-124 years ago and got a Chinese piston gun around seven years ago.
.177, $100, 1000fps new. It's accurate, has around 10,000 shots through it and has killed a pile of stuff. it's sure worth $100.. I don't know the model etc but I got it at some mega-store.

December 10, 2012, 09:40 AM
I picked up a Crossman Nitro Venom Dusk in .177 with a 3x9 scope on GB for $79. Works very well on squirrels and crows out to about 60 yards with 10gr copper plated pellets. Reasonably quiet. I think you might want .22 cal for rabbits. Anything with 1200 + fps for PBA will work well out to 50 yds or so with hunting weight pellets.

December 10, 2012, 01:03 PM
A hundred bucks and you are talking a used air rifle and a lot of frustration with missed shots, and maimed animals... caliber makes a big difference, but at .177 you will need 1200 fps as a minimum. Air rifles also require "air rifle rated" scopes... don't think you can go to K mart and pick something cheap up... the recoil properties are entirely different.
Go to this forum and ask your question:

Their members will steer you best. I started with a Ruger AirHawk... fairly inexpensive and good power. I went through 3 scopes, after the second I found the thread I just linked for you .

Ultimately, you will want something that keeps the barrel solidly mounted in order to keep the POI solid. I have a RWS-48 in .177 that can consistantly place a heavy hunting pellet into an area the size of a dime out to 20 yards. Copper domed pellets give high fps readings, but lack take down power.

Note that I have a laser mounted below the barrel, with the scope above. When the dot is exactly centered in the cross hairs the target is 15 yards away... If the target is further out the dot will start to rise above the cross hairs. Closer the dot drops below the cross hairs. In each case I merely split the difference. Game I shoot drop like a wet tortilla, no crippled run offs. In the right lug hole and out in front of the left...


December 10, 2012, 01:52 PM
You will pay more for a quality air rifle than a firearm for similar power levels.
If you don't even want to spend what a decent .22lr costs on an airgun you are not going to get what I would consider good quality.

The mentioned 392 can meet the need at a low end but still costs almost $200 when you factor cost, shipping, and a decent quantity of .22 pellets which cost more than the more common .177.
It has a few limitations, brass instead of steel barrel being one draw back, but one I have not seen any problems as a result of using lead pellets. They put out an average 14-16 grain 22 pellet around 500-600 fps which will drop rabbit sized game humanely.
A .177 gun needs about twice that velocity to reliably and humanely take something rabbit sized.
You can build up or modify guns from existing platforms to have more power on a budget, but it takes some understanding of the various weak points and how to compensate for them.

There is a number of inexpensive break barrel guns out there. I personally don't like break barrel designs. They are popular because of the convenience of a single action to get the gun ready to fire again. However they have a piston flying around at high speed in the gun that gives the recoil characteristics that can damage optics.
With a pump you would actually likely be just fine using an inexpensive rifle scope from a big box store because rather than send a piston flying that then abruptly stops generating recoil in both directions they merely pop open a valve and release compressed air. So pump guns give recoil characteristics similar to a rifle, while spring piston guns like virtually all break barrels do not and damage scopes not specifically made for them.
Cheaper break barrels are also unlikely to keep the barrel returning to the exact same spot each time, and that means any type of scope mount behind the pivot point becomes gimicky. The level of reduced accuracy means you would be better just using the ironsights attached to the barrel to begin with. Which is fine, as long as you don't have expectations of longer range hunting with a scope.

Finally diabolo pellets bleed energy rapidly because of thier high drag design which is what partially stabilizes them. They lose energy much faster than bullets of similar weight or size.
This means what is a gun of plenty of power for your needs at 20 yards may not meet them at 50 with very different levels of remaining energy. As a result you need what is an overpowered gun at close range to be just adequate at not that much additional distance.

Pellet guns putting out either .177 or .22 projectiles at .22lr velocities (but lighter) are also similar in noise level to a .22lr firearm.
So with typical designs especially those in the lower price range don't expect to be able to plink or hunt and draw any less attention than you would with a .22lr firearm.

December 10, 2012, 03:35 PM
Ruger air rifles there for around $100. 177 caliber/ 1000 or 1100 fps
They are NOT all that quiet, but if the pellets don't break the sound barrier (somewhere around 1050 to 1100 fps I think) it won't be too terrible. Using lead pellets instead of the lighter PBA stuff will help here. Some more expensive airguns have built-in suppressors for muzzle blast, but if they break the sound barrier you'll still have a supersonic crack, which is louder than most people imagine it to be.

December 10, 2012, 03:47 PM
I use a Beeman dual barrel air gun that I got from Walmart for about 100. It comes with 2 removable barrels to fire .177 and .22 pellets so you can take larger pests. The scope on it isn't too bad either.

December 10, 2012, 05:16 PM
Same here Ehtereon11B
Beeman Sportsman R-S2. I use the 22 cal barrel & I wrapped the barrel tight with about a 1/2 inch of electric tape to quill the vibrations. This trick did a grate job of tightening up the groups. The other thing I learned is, it takes about a 1000 shots to really settle in or break it in. Any ways I have shot well over 300 squirrels in the last two summers. Many shots were taken using the hood of my truck as a rest in the front yard. & shooting at a squirrel at the top of the tree in the back yard sunning its self. these are 60 year old Pin-oaks & very tall trees. My best guess is its over 40 yards to the top of the tree to the hood of my truck. I hit them every time. I like this shot mostly because its far enough that I can hear the pellet hit. It has very nice WOP! sound.

My pellet's of choice for killing & long shots

The standard Cross-man 22 cal pellet is very accurate to.
I might add the 22 cal is much much quieter than .177. I dnt think 22 quite breaks the speed of sound.

December 10, 2012, 08:58 PM
I really do not see the point of an high powered air rifle even in the situations you described compared to a 22 LR, especially if you already own one.

You can get a low power load (subsonic) very quiet but still much more capable than an air rifle (specially a .177 cal)

If you own a pump 22 LR (or certain semi autos with tubular feeding) you can also use the very quiet and limited range 22 Short.

Heck, with a bolt action 22 LR you can use even a .22 CB (also known as 6mm Flober in Europe)

Not to mention the fact that the high powered air rifle pellets become subsonic very soon on their way to the target (the aerodynamic of your regular pellet is horrendous) significantly affecting accuracy.

Simply put, you get the flexibility that an air rifle cannot give to you.

December 10, 2012, 10:00 PM
Stay away from GAMO. I tried several air rifles as well as CB and subsonic .22lr.
The best answer I found is a QB78 CO2 22 cal pellet gun from Flying Dragon.
Mine was Chrono'd at 725 fps and is very accurate. The basic versions are under $100. The .22 has a lot more killing power and is a little slower and fairly quiet.
Also it uses 2CO cartridges. These can be converted to bulk fill.there is no recoil problem like on a spring rifle and more accurate and much quieter and more comfortable to shoot. For closer smaller game I got a Daisy 953 target pro. Theses are very accurate as they are 10 meter target rifles and very quiet. They are nice for practice as they are 5 shot repeaters and have no recoil, and shoot like a real rifle as does the QB78. For around $200 you can get the Target version of the QB78.

December 11, 2012, 02:27 AM
The reason why I asked this question was because I want to do some hunting/pest control on property im renting and dont want to be shooting anything loud, but at the same time, I want to be able to nab the squirrels that are in range. I feel like I might get looks with a pellet gun but with a 22 it would be unacceptable.

I am also intrigued with the being able to get game quietly aspect.

My .22lr is a marlin 60 and not a bolt action so if what ive been reading is true means i cannot shoot the CBs with them right?

December 11, 2012, 02:42 AM
I use Aguila Super Colibris in my Henry .22LR for squirrels with good results. They are quieter than my air rifle, but they just aren't quite as reliable as the the air rifle. They aren't terribly accurate, and they require a head shot at distances past 15 yards or so.

Now my air rifle is a Crosman Optimus. .177 Cal, shoots 1200 fps (advertised), and with heavier pellets (just the Crosman 10.5grn Ultra Magnum RN's), I can drop squirrels with chest and shoulder shots. I can also drop them pretty easy with the 7.5grn Hollow Points, but the rifle is just more accurate with the heavier pellets. I'm sure the premium ammo would do better still. I believe I paid somewhere around $60-$80 at Gander, and it came with a Center Point fixed 4x and rings of surprising quality. I'd completely recommend that rifle if your shots are under 30 yards or so.

December 11, 2012, 02:42 AM
I cant shoot real guns in Omaha. I can shoot air rifles legally in Omaha. & yes i have had the cops at my house over shooting squirrels with my pellet rifle. & was told by the OPD that as long as its in my yard or I have permission in my neighbors yard Im fine.

December 11, 2012, 03:05 AM
My .22lr is a marlin 60 and not a bolt action so if what ive been reading is true means i cannot shoot the CBs with them right?

The 22 CB in a Mod 60 are out of question I think (unless maybe you use them as single shot)
But you should be able to fire the 22 Short just fine, and they are very quiet.

However you may be in a situation at your rented place where you cannot disharge a "real" firearm (either city ordinance or landlord policy)

December 11, 2012, 04:19 AM

Yeah, id rather not test it. Thats why i was hoping to get a quiet, inexpensive, humane game killer. Id hate to grab a 40$ walmart special that cant humanely kill small game.

December 11, 2012, 04:40 AM
As long as the pellet is moving around 1000 FPS, and you take good shots, you'll get humane kills.

December 11, 2012, 04:52 AM
Go with .22 if you insist on an air gun. I've had lots of squirrel kills over the years with .22 and it makes a very noticeable difference over .177, regardless of the velocity. I'll take 600 fps with a .22 over 1200 with a .177 any day.
BTW my Henry .22 lever with CBs is quieter than most any decent pellet gun if you want stealth and can shoot an actual firearm.
BTW over in the airgun forum (non firearm weapons section) here I detailed the accuracy problems I had with a $200 Benjamin Nitro piston gun. It was all because of the factory "silencer". Take it off and accuracy was good, stunk with it on.

December 11, 2012, 07:55 AM
Couple more thoughts.

1200 fps is not needed. Energy kills, not speed, and the sonic/subsonic transition kills accuracy. Most of the time, a 1200 fps rating is for alloy pellets. Shooting these light pellets in spring guns damages springs and seals. Heavy pellets slow things down, prolonging component life and improving accuracy.

A lot of non-gun folks won't be able to tell the difference between an air rifle and a 22 shooting sub sonics, if that is a big reason for the need for an air rifle. You may be just as likely to get a visit from the police shooting an air rifle as you will shooting a rifle.

I bought a used Gamo big cat for my brother. It shoots great, and I almost kept it for myself. Not all gamo is junk.

December 11, 2012, 08:16 AM
Look at a 22 and Aguila sub sonic ammo. Very quiet and accurate enough at close range to do the job. Lots cheaper than an airgun too.

Sav .250
December 11, 2012, 08:37 AM
If you belong to the NRA you would have gotten the December 2012 issue.
On page 72 there is an article About the Airforce Condor.It`s an airgun.
What a unit that puppy is! Kind of looks like an AR-15. Adjustable power. Good to 70 or so yards. What a brute.
All that being said it`s a tad out of your $200 price range. Like most stuff you get what you pay for. Suggested retail price.......$670.
If I were into such stuff, I`d save my money and get one of these. Why buy crap why you can get one of these babbies? :)

December 11, 2012, 09:32 AM
I got a Hatsan 95 .22cal springer and I love it. I added a bushnell banner 3x9 to it and it has held zero since I sighted it in. Hatsan rates their fps with lead pellets so the fps on the box is accurate. This is probobly the best springer on the market under 200$ so this is my recommendation. I have a 3 plate plinking set and consistently ring it at 20 yards.

December 11, 2012, 11:03 AM
i have a mendoza rm-200 i picked up years ago. it's a .22 break-barrel, that's done a great job of taking care of pecan robbing squirrels and dog food stealing birds. i think i paid around $120, and added a cheap daisy 3-9x scope. it's not going to look like a child's bb gun though. at 8.5 lbs, it looks more like a .308 sniper rifle. that might be a concern with nosey neighbors. sometimes on smaller stuff at close range, my marlin 60 with aguila super colibri ammo, works pretty good and very quiet. it makes it a single shot, but with tube-fed mag i get faster follow up shots than with the break-barrel air rifle.

December 11, 2012, 12:22 PM
caliber makes a big difference, but at .177 you will need 1200 fps as a minimum.
Personally, with .177 I'd argue that 1000 FPS is an acceptable minimum, firing lead pellets (the new polymer pellets are lighter and thus faster, but I prefer lead for hunting. This will give you both reasonable trajectories and decent penetration for clean kills.

You will pay more for a quality air rifle than a firearm for similar power levels.

This is unfortunatly true. Generally, costs increase from pump-up guns and CO2 guns to spring piston to gas piston to pre-charged pneumatic (PCP). The pump-up and CO2 rifles are in my mind are more toys than serious hunting guns due to lack of power and/or accuracy (although some people do use them successfully in that role). Single-pump pneumatic guns are usually low power, target gun).

My first choice for a reasonably priced hunting air gun would be a spring-piston from Diana RWS. I believe they have at least one model near your price point, althought that's w/o a scope. Beeman used to sell some good springers under their brand name, although I'm not sure what they have anymore. I've heard so good things about the Ruger Air Hawk rifles, too. I'm not really that familiar with any of the other guns in this range (Gammo, Crossman, Stoeger, etc.) to comment on them.

December 11, 2012, 07:07 PM
PBA Raptors are about as fast as you can get with .177 pellets. I have seen those go about 1300-1400 FPS out of certain rifles. The .22 pellets out of my Beeman reach about 800-900 FPS which isn't bad considering the size over the .177

December 11, 2012, 07:19 PM
I really do not see the point of an high powered air rifle even in the situations you described compared to a 22 LR, especially if you already own one.

You can get a low power load (subsonic) very quiet but still much more capable than an air rifle (specially a .177 cal)

Because in many subdivisions, firing an actual "fire" arm will get you arrested

I use an RWS 34 for squirrels in my backyard - when I do my part they die quickly

December 11, 2012, 08:00 PM
I have a Gamo Hunter with the CharliedaTuna trigger kit and a cheap BSA airgun 4x AO scope. It works just fine for me with Predator .177 pellets. Small game up to rabbit has been no problem. I've even seen dead feral cats in the area.:eek:

December 12, 2012, 12:09 AM
A hundred bucks and you are talking a used air rifle and a lot of frustration with missed shots, and maimed animals... caliber makes a big difference, but at .177 you will need 1200 fps as a minimum..
I don't think so. I use an RWS Diana P-5 Magnum pistol in .177. It probably gets 650 fps.. I don't really know but it's about one of the most powerful spring pistols there is. I've killed about 200 squirrels with it. It's very deadly with cheap dome point Crossman's etc. Here's a net pic of one that pretty much looks like mine.

December 12, 2012, 03:14 PM
1212121401_0001.jpg (98.8 KB)

I shot these two about an hour ago. The one on the left was a walk-off 28 yards. Shot was probably 20-25 ft up in the tree. I had to stomp him after he tumbled out of the tree.

The one on the right was maybe 30 feet out of the Y of the tree, peaking out of my garage. Perfect shot. Hit the ground ran right back at the tree & fell dead at the base of the tree.


December 12, 2012, 03:26 PM
Man I am just Honorable with pics here. Any ways. I really like my Walmart 99 dollar Beeman 22.

The scope is a lil cheap-y that came with the REM 597. The air-rifle did eat up a couple cheap scopes. The one it came with & a cheap Simmons blazer neither could hold zero.

1212121402.jpg (110.4 KB)

December 12, 2012, 07:23 PM
The best money I ever spent was on a fine peep sight, I think it was a Beeman, for my Feinwerbau.

December 12, 2012, 09:29 PM
The hi velocity pellet guns are pretty loud. I have a 1200 fps PBA gun and it is useless. My slower .22 cal pellet gun is more lethal, more accurate and quieter and from a reputable online seller like Archer or Flying Dragon are under 200, some models are under 100 and will do what you want without the drawbacks of other types. Nitro pistons don't help all that much. PCP guns give you more power but also more noise, and much more expense. You look on an air rifle forum. That's where I found out about the QB 78.

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