Best production air rifle for hunting small game?


August 1, 2014, 10:22 PM
Just curious about what's best out there without breaking the bank (around $150). I let my last air rifle go a while back. Thought I'd grab another, but am not schooled on what's out there these days.

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midland man
August 1, 2014, 10:42 PM
I just bought the ruger air magnum in 22cal and I like mine but costs $200 tho but shoots hard like a hammer! :)

August 2, 2014, 12:47 PM
I bought my granddaughter a benjamin np regal 22. Hits hard and very accurate. Right at the $150.00 mark. I got myself a rws 34. Well worth the money.

August 2, 2014, 03:27 PM
Benjamin marauder in 25 cal. Super accurate and hits like a brick. Super fun to shoot. Once you find the right pellets it likes and wind being low you can do 1/2 to 3/4 inch groups at 50 yards!

Pete D.
August 2, 2014, 08:35 PM
Budget = $150
Benjamin Marauder = $500+
What is wrong with that picture?

Benjamin 392 - great gun but still a bit over at $170.

August 4, 2014, 01:01 AM
Hmm... A lot of factors to consider. Some stuff I've researched, as I don't hunt (nothing against it, just easier to catch meat at the butcher shop):

First is power. If you're looking at up to rabbit and squirrel sized game, you'll want 6FPE on target for a clean kill. So, you'll want a bit of muzzle energy. Anything bigger than squirrel/rabbit, you're looking at a much more powerful and expensive gun to handle.

Second is lies. All FPS statements from manufacturer's are based on using very light, non-lead pellets. You'll have to read/watch some reviews with chrony results from hunting-weight pellets to get a real idea of the FPE any given gun produces. Fortunately, YouTube is full of this stuff.

Third is accuracy. Your kill zone is about a half an inch on small game with an airgun. The range you can do half inch or smaller groups consistently is the range you'll want to take your shots at. That'll factor in to how much power you need, too. Also, airguns are like .22LR in regards to ammo sensitivity. Fortunately, pellets are pretty cheap, so it shouldn't cost too much to find your gun's favorite pellet. Crosman guns tend to like their brand pellet, so if you get one, start with those.

Fourth is optics. You'll probably want a scope to squeeze the most accuracy out of your air rifle. If you get a spring piston or nitro piston gun, you'll need a scope designed specifically for airguns, because those two types recoil both backward and forward. Springers also have side to side torque.

Fifth is subsonic. A lot of guns can push lighter pellets at supersonic speeds. This screws up accuracy. Fortunately, most of them can't push heavier pellets supersonic, and I don't know if any in this price range can, so it may be a moot point. But you don't want supersonic pellets for accurate shooting, that's just sales gimmick stuff.

Sixth is caliber. There's a lot more variety of .177 ammo available, but .22 tends to hold energy a bit further out, and hit harder on game. Probably something worth researching on an airgun board.

Pyramyd Air is a good site for researching. I've never bought from them, so this isn't an endorsement, per se, but there are three things that are good about their site for doing research. 1) They frequently put their own observations and/or test results in the item description as comments, which is helpful. 2) They do their own video review series, and they link those to the models they have them on. They also have a video series with a lot of general info on airguns. 3) The customer reviews are going to be (on average) a cut above sites like Amazon, since they're a niche store, much the same way as Newegg reviewers tend to be more techie-inclined.

I was going to list a few models to look at, but it's probably easiest just to go to Pyramyd Air and sort by price. They have quite a few that would fill the bill. A combo might be the most economical option, but check the comments on the included scope. Usually, they aren't great, but some will do fine until you can get an upgrade.

August 4, 2014, 05:11 PM
I've been looking at this Hatsan 95:

Looks suitable for hunting, too. Tested at a bit over 19 FPE with 14.2 gr pellets in the video above.

Here's a blog post on it, with some additional info:

August 4, 2014, 08:23 PM
Pete, do a little research. I'll bet you can find a 392 for under 150 shipped if you do your homework.

Don't be afraid of a re-manufactured one either. They are a great gun and would be nice for hunting. When you get more money, get a scope.

No recoil, only eight pumps for max velocity and they are light and compact.

August 6, 2014, 04:42 PM

Coming in at $149.95, includes a .177 barrel, and a .22 barrel, rings and scope, and carrying case. I think is what may be your final answer.

1,000 fps in .177 cal, 830 fps at .22 cal. 4x32 scope, but has iron sights too, adjustable for height and windage. This was my first - love it.

August 6, 2014, 05:25 PM
It seems like there's a lot of good stuff out there in the price range. Just have to research and weigh the pros and cons of each.

August 7, 2014, 05:51 PM
For $150 you will get a rifle with all of the abilities you need advertised but you will very likely receive a rifle with defects and shortcomings that may render the rifle to be virtually useless for its intended application.

Springers going for less than $300 are a pure gamble. You will either get a gem or a lemon.

If you spend $300+ for a quality German springer, then you will likely get a dependable heirloom or at least an iron clad warranty.

PCP's will run around $500 starting and are known to be much easier to shoot than magnum springers.

Go to dedicated air gun forums to get a quality discussion about airguns. The fellas here mean well, but it doesn't even scratch the surface if you are serious about airgunning.

August 8, 2014, 10:29 AM
$150 was a good price for a half-way decent airgun about 20 years ago

August 8, 2014, 11:09 PM
You may want to try a Benjamin Discovery in .22cal. You can use open sights or a scope, you can use CO2 or high pressure air, however, the price is a little higher than you quoted (the Discovery is about $250 for just the gun and about $399 for the gun and a hand pump and no recoil.

Spring guns cost less, but there is a learning curve to be able to hit center target. They are also known for breaking scopes, as there is a "double recoil", they recoil forward and reverse, hard to keep zero'ed, etc/. unless using an HW30S or a HW50S. MAKE SURE the model has the "S" in the model. With the "S", you get the top of the line trigger, as it is adjustable, however, both models of guns are top of the line, great shooters, I would not consider them "hunting guns". Both seem to do better with .177cal.

Be aware of GAMO. They are cheap, overpriced, heavily advertised and made to sell. Claims of up to 1,500fps are not only exaggerated, but even "IF" they did shoot at that speed, pellets are NOT designed for that speed and hitting a target, consistently would not happen. IMO, 930 - 950fps is about perfect for hunting, however, with a pellet gun, you should concentrate on FPE (energy), as that is a MUCH better "ruler" of what you are getting. As an example, say a GAMO rifle is advertised at 1500 - 1600fps and let's say they actually shoot at that speed. In order to do so, a light weight "specialty pellet" would have to be used, say 3 or 4 grains. 1,500fps "sounds impressive" until you realize the energy is 14.99 fpe - 19.99 fpe for a 3 grain and a 4 grain "test pellet". It will sound like a 22lr rimfire being shot because of the sound barrier being broken, which in turn makes the pellet VERY INACCURATE and a waste of time and finances.
On the other hand, with something like the Discovery (using high pressure air), you can shoot a LOT more accurately at 850 fps and using a 16 grain pellet, get 25.68 fpe, using a .22 pellet instead of a .177 pellet. A (.22cal) pellet, larger diameter plus a MUCH HEAVIER Pellet moving at a speed under the sound barrier will make for shots hitting where you are aiming, making accuracy, shot placement, so much more reliable as well as a much more actual humane varmint kills.
Next to a GAMO, the Benjamin Discovery is so much easier to shoot, accurate, you can use high pressure air for hunting or CO2 for 100's of shots when plinking, etc.
I started with spring guns, however, there are so many cheap made "springers" on the market, you really know what you need to look for, the problems they can create, that a high pressure air gun is a MUCH better choice. Sure, there are good springers that will shoot where you aim, such as an Air Arms TX-200, but you will pay for one, a LOT more than a GAMO. BTW, stay away from the newer Webley's and BSA's as GAMO own's them now. If you can get an older, used model, not made in China, Turkey, etc, they "were" GREAT GUNS and high grade guns, however, you also paid for the QUALITY of a British built BSA rifle, but notice, high end air gun stores are no longer selling them. (There is a reason for that), after so many are defective, do not shoot correctly and returned, it is no longer profitable to sell them.

Now, if you just have your heart set on a "springer", this is a good buy on a factory refurb. I only recommend you get a better scope and a one piece set of rings/mount and you would be MUCH MORE SATISFIED than with many other cheap air guns. Here are a couple of links. You can search the pages and also find the discovery there- (you may have to copy/paste links)

Refurbished Benjamin Titan™ NP (.22)- $80 Link-

Sell the scope and rings and get a better set-
For the Discovery because there is no recoil, I would recommend the-
Tasco-Varmint-2-10-x-42 with Mil Dot and Adjustable Objective. AO is needed on any air rifle, IMO. $60.39 minus the $20 you sold the 4.32 non AO scope and rings for and you are down to $40.39 for this scope!!

For the springer rifle, you will NEED a scope built for a springer's "double recoil", such as this one-
CenterPoint Illuminated-4-16x40mm Scope with A/O for $67.32, and again, after the sale of the 4x32 for $20, you end up paying only $40.32 for this scope. It is always in stock in Wal-Mart, but not always online

Both scopes recommended are 1" tubes, so, you will need the medium mounts. DO NOT skimp on the mounts, it is not worth it and will be a big PITA trying to keep the scope zero'ed without something that holds onto the rail.
For $16.23 you can get a good set of mounts/rings (for their purpose). Medium height, 2 screws per mount for a total of 4 screws holding the mounts to the rail, 4 screws per ring to hold the scope tight, for a total of 8 ring screws holding the scope and 4 more screws to hold the mount to the rail. These rings also have "tape" on the inside to keep your new scope from getting scratched and more importantly, to keep the scope from moving at all.

So, in the end, you would have a total of aprox. $135 for the springer, scope and rings.
For the Discovery, it would be a bit more, however, like most guns, you get what you pay for.
Air guns have come a LONG WAY in the last 25 years or so and continuing to amaze us air gunners every year!!

August 9, 2014, 12:28 PM

Coming in at $149.95, includes a .177 barrel, and a .22 barrel, rings and scope, and carrying case. I think is what may be your final answer.

1,000 fps in .177 cal, 830 fps at .22 cal. 4x32 scope, but has iron sights too, adjustable for height and windage. This was my first - love it.
Dad still has his he bought back in the 1960's. I sent back to the factory in the 1980's and they rebuilt it for 60 bucks. It stills shoots greats and hits hard.

August 9, 2014, 09:50 PM
Dad still has his he bought back in the 1960's. I sent back to the factory in the 1980's and they rebuilt it for 60 bucks. It stills shoots greats and hits hard.
The Beeman's of the 60's, 70's and 80's were made in Germany with pride by Weihrauch and sold by Beeman. Those were GREAT guns and hold their value and could sell it for more than it was bought for. The "Made In Germany" Beeman spring guns that are high quality (like the one you have), the model begins with an "R" prefix. (such as R7, R1, R9, etc., RX has a gas piston instead of a metal spring and also good guns).

Several years back, after the death of Dr. Robert Beeman, Beeman company decided they wanted to get into the low end, Made In China or who had the lowest price to manufacture air gun's with the Beeman name to compete with Crosman, GAMO, Daisy, etc. At that time, Beeman was known as one of the best made air guns available at a mid price level and worth every penny. Well, since that time, prices began to get higher and higher and Beeman needed a "new market" and began to contract out "Wal-Mart" air guns. They are hit or miss if you get a "good one" (no pun intended).
At that time, a lot of the air gun manufacturers either sold out (several quality names were sold to GAMO, the guns kept their high end names and model designation, but quality hit the bottom), such as Webley, which was a highly sought after quality air gun. People did not know GAMO bought Webley (me included) and all of a sudden we thought we were getting a great price on a quality gun. I bought a "GAMO" Webley .22cal break barrel. The velocity was in the 400's FPS with a 14.3 pellet. I have CO2 pistols that shoot more accurate, have more FPE and FPS using the same pellet. BSA is another high end air gun that GAMO now owns.
Be "careful" when buying air guns, as the "Brands" that were top of the line, no matter which model you bought, now have different marketing plans. Like everything else, it is no longer "If it is a Beeman, it is a good gun", and many others also went the way of low quality guns so they could compete on the low end, entry level air guns and also keep making or contracting the high end, quality guns. It is just a money thing, so, when it started, people that were not "air gun fanatics" did not know the marketing strategy, but knew Beeman was a quality gun and thought that if they bought a Beeman from Wal-Mart (or anywhere else) for a low price, they were getting a "real Beeman", just like their friend, the air gun fanatic, only to be let down when their friend shows them the "Difference" in the $500 Beeman he shoot's and the $100 Beeman his friend "got a deal on" that included multiple barrels, a scope, a sling, mounts/rings for the scope, pellets, shooting safety glasses or some combination of the above. Things just are different now, you can no longer go by a "brand name" to judge if a product is quality, you now have to either know someone "in the know", a fanatic, someone that is into whatever it is you want to buy.

Here is an idea, visit some air gun web site's, review's, etc. and see what people talk about as being a good or a low quality gun.

Here is a good review site-

And, IMO, the best air gun site on the internet, it has a LOT of great information and quite a few "biggies" in the industry on the forums, there are a lot of different forums, everything from specialized, customizing, links, classifieds, advertising (to find the best deal), etc, etc-

Hope this helps:)
I am an "air gunner" and here to learn about "firearms" and hope for help with my questions, so, thought it would be good to start by helping with a subject I know about..., (I will be needing help soon too:)

August 10, 2014, 06:10 PM
A cheap gun is a cheap gun, regardless if it uses powder or air for the propellant.
Quality costs money.
My favorite hunting airguns are my .22 Marauder, my Weihrauch made (forget the model #) EAA badged R9 with an R1 length barrel .177, my RWS 48, and my Benjamin 392.

My Weihrauch only puts a Beeman Crow Magnum pellet out at about 830 fps but it kills squirrels dead.

The very first squirrels I hunted were with a Crosman 2100, back in the 1980s.
Shot placement and range are everything.

August 10, 2014, 10:07 PM
What model is your Beeman? The older Beeman's, IMO, were the best built Beeman's. I would love to see a couple pics of it. I would hold on to it and not sell it, it is a classic:)

I agree 100%. You get what you pay for.
I have a 25cal Mrod and had several Beeman R9's in .177 and .22, however, the prices really jumped on quality air guns. I have always regretted selling my last R9 as it was accurate, tuned and more power than advertised (which is rare), it was one great shooter, I only have several springers left since I was in an accident years ago. I "Had" over 100 air guns at the time and had to sell most as it took our government 5 years to get me my first disability check, so, sold most of the springers as it was too hard to cock them with 8 herniated disks, L1, L2, L3 and L4 back bones broken and part of my left shoulder removed (I am left handed)
(I was a government contractor at the time of the "accident".
So, most of what I have are PCP air guns or CO2 and a few lower powered springers (such as 2 Beeman R7's, an HW30S, HW50S), and some cheaper, but nice shooters, such as (2x Baikal 512M, 2x of the Benjamin air guns I posted a link to in my first post, but bought them new and the gun in the link is a refurb..., and nothing wrong with that as it is 1/2 price and does have a warranty) and kept some for sentimental reasons, such as the Air Arms TX200.

If you ever get a chance and have extra cash, try an AirForce Condor in 25cal if you want a powerhouse with accuracy (they have a Walther Barrel and sooo many parts, both factory and custom so you can make your gun "fit you perfectly".
Also, the FX air guns are amazing and multi-shot, VERY accurate and quality made, however, they are expensive. In the FX line, I have a 22cal Monsoon that is a "Real" semi-auto, shoots 16 grain pellets at about 930fps just as fast as you can pull the trigger, which the trigger is fully adjustable and the semi auto is "run" by the excess air as the pellet leaves the barrel (like an AR using the gas tube to run the bolt).
I also have an FX Gladiator that has 3 settings, low, medium & high. On high it is shooting 16 grain pellets well over 1,000 fps, so I use heavier pellets when shooting on high. On low setting you get over 100 shots per air fill and medium setting for plinking or even on low it is still more powerful than most springers "actual velocity", as I use a Chrony to keep a record of all my air guns velocity and also calculate the energy.
Then a cool little FX Verminator. Very small, 8" barrel, also low, medium and high setting and again, lots of shots as both the Gladiator and Verminator have an air tank as a screw on butt stock (and a cover that goes over that in order to make it more like a "real stock" and they both also have an air tank (or air tube) under the barrel, so, 2 high pressure tanks on the air guns give you a lot of shots.
You can find these at-

You know, thinking about lower priced air guns, the "OP" should check out Archer Air Guns-

The guns are cheaper, I have 3x of them (before Archer was in business). The "difference" is that Archer takes a "cheap" air gun and takes it apart, cleans it, removes sharp edges, replaces and rings that need to be replaced and on and on in order to make a good gun. I have one that has a 9oz CO2 tank on it and you can literally shoot all day with that size bottle.
I have another that has a 3oz bottle and some custom work.
then another one that was custom built by a big name in building big bore air guns now. That gun is a high pressure custom gun, so, no CO2 used in it, only air.
The nice thing about the guns he sells is you can just buy a stock gun or a full custom gun or order the gun and parts and do the work yourself.
If you guy's have not checked out his page, it is worth it and he is a good guy with a good reputation for service, work, attitude, etc, etc. Just a good guy to work with.

Also, do a search on "HATSAN" air guns. You get a good deal with them and the velocity advertised is "honest", unlike so many that will jack up the velocity for marketing purposes. I have had MANY air guns that advertised a velocity, only to test it's velocity using a Chrony and find out they shoot 200, 300, 400+ FPS Slower than advertised and then there are some honest companies, such as AirForce, Air Arms, FX and some others that shoot the same numbers as on the box. Before buying, check out the review link and the forum link I poster in an earlier post.

Glad to see other "air gunners on the forum" :)
I was going to "introduce myself", but did not notice a forum for that, so, here I am, LOL!!

August 12, 2014, 10:53 PM
I just ordered this in 22 cal;
We'll see how it goes.

August 13, 2014, 02:19 PM
Who makes it for Ruger? Somewhere in China or?????

August 13, 2014, 09:22 PM
Who makes it for Ruger?
I think it's made in China :(

Unlicensed Dremel
August 13, 2014, 11:58 PM
Well my long reply got wiped out in transit, so I'll just say "RWS / Diana" is the best value, or at least WAS 10 years ago. Get a real German made RWS model 34 or similar.

August 14, 2014, 06:13 PM
Dad's is a pump up one the 300 series.

August 15, 2014, 02:50 PM
I have one of these

Just use it for plinking
Scope mount needed locktite

its my first air rifle so don't have anything to compare it to

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