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Air Rifles: 10 Options For Everything From Squirrels to Deer


These are some of the best air rifles on the market for a variety of uses.

Everyone can appreciate a good airgun. Whether it's a rifle or an air pistol, these guns are perfect for training new shooters in firearms safety. Ammo is cheap and these guns are much safer than other forms of firearm.

For target practice, plinking, pest control and small game hunting, these guns are a ton of fun. However, recent advancements in technology have made some capable of far more serious hunting applications. Today we're looking at some of the top air rifles on the market for a variety of applications.

These guns aren't that old lever action Red Ryder you had as a kid. Most are much more powerful. Some are even capable of taking down big game.

Daisy Powerline 880 Air Rifle

This classic pellet or BB air rifle has stood the test of time for decades. This is a multi-pump pneumatic rifle that launches BBs at up to 750 feet per second and pellets at 665 fps. The hand pump is easy to use for all ages and the gun weighs a light 3.7 pounds, making it easy for anyone to operate. Newer versions of this gun are fitted with TRU GLO fiber optic sights to make targeting easier. At $60, it's also very affordable. I've used my grandpa's old Powerline 880 to harvest squirrels effectively in the past. It's a solid option for anyone looking for a simple plinker or a gun to introduce a younger person to the shooting sports.


Sig Sauer MCX .177 Caliber air rifle

The idea behind this rifle is a good one. Sig Sauer has made the MCX to closely resemble the size, weight and feel of their popular MCX semi-auto sporting rifles. Except this gun fires .177 caliber pellets instead. Now you can train for speed and form without spending a ton of money on expensive centerfire rounds. That idea is even more meaningful during the ammo shortages much of the country is experiencing right now. This semi-automatic rifle features the picatinny optics and accessory rails you may be familiar with on the real thing. The magazine holds 30 rounds and the gun is fed through gas cylinders. User reviews rave that this is one incredibly fun airgun.

Crosman Remington Model 725 VTR .25 Caliber air rifle

If you are looking for a solid break barrel air rifle for small varmints, the .25 caliber Crosman is a good choice. It should get the job done on a variety of small game animals. This rifle comes fitted with a Center Point 3-9x32mm scope and is fully ambidextrous as far as controls go. This rifle also features a two-stage adjustable trigger, something you'd probably only normally expect on a high dollar bolt action centerfire rifle. This rifle uses nitro gas pistons to push pellets out at a blistering 900 fps. With speeds like that, this is not your average pellet air rifle! It is a little heavy at 10.5 pounds, but if you are looking for a serious hunting and pest control gun, this is one to consider.

Umarex Legends M1A1 .177

Maybe you are just looking for a unique airgun that's going to be fun for the whole family at the target range. Well, it does not get much cooler than this gun, which is styled after the M1A1 Thompson submachine gun. While you can't own a full auto Thompson anymore, you can own a full auto pellet gun and that's just what this offering from Umarex delivers. The .177 caliber pellets are going to deliver a bit more kick than many replica airsoft offerings too. The gun features a full metal frame and is powered with CO2 cartridges and comes with two 30-round magazines. If you like fun and historic firearms, this rifle offers the perfect combination.

Gamo Swarm Fusion 10X Gen 2

Another serious break barrel air rifle chambered for .22 caliber pellets but this is not a single-shot. This gun uses cartridges to load up to 10 shots at a time. This rifle uses an inert gas piston system to push pellets up to 975 fps. The squirrels will never know what hit them. It comes fitted with a 3-9x40mm scope straight out of the box. Just grab some ammo and head to the range for some fun shooting. This rifle gets excellent user reviews for simplicity of use and accuracy.


Stoeger S8000-TAC Suppressed

This rifle is offered in chamberings for both .177 and .22 caliber pellets and it features a two-stage adjustable trigger. Stoeger says the .22 caliber version can reach speeds of 1,000 fps and the .177 a blistering 1,200 fps. That's some serious speed for an air gun. This rifle is fully ambidextrous and is mounted with a 3-9x40mm scope, a picatinny rail for accessories and even spacers for the stock to adjust the fit to each shooter's frame.

Benjamin Marauder PCP-Powered Multi-Shot

This bolt-action pellet rifle is available in .22, .25 and .177 calibers. As the PCP indicates, this is a pre-charged pneumatic air rifle that can deliver up to 1,000 fps speeds on target. This rifle is quiet, ambidextrous and exceedingly accurate. The magazine holds up to 10 rounds allowing you to get a second shot on target quickly and easily. It also has an adjustable, match grade trigger. This is one of the more expensive smaller caliber airguns on the market, but it's also a very well made firearm from Crosman and one that's sure to serve you well for years to come.

Seneca Dragon Claw PCP Air Rifle

If you're looking for a big bore airgun for BIG game, this is probably the top rifle to consider. The Dragon Claw is a .50 caliber air rifle looks like a cross between an over-and-under shotgun and a traditional elephant rifle. Don't let the looks fool you, this rifle has been used to take everything from whitetail deer to dangerous game like cape buffalo. This rifle features a beautiful wood stock and forend, a raised cheeckpiece, a pressure gauge for the dual air chambers and a scope rail. In addition to bullets, it also fires arrows at great speed. Perfect for the archery enthusiast who feels like they've run out of challenges in the deer woods.


Gamo Big Bore TC-45

This gun may look more like a spear gun or something from a science fiction movie, but this single-shot PCP rifle pushes a .45 caliber pellet out at 900 fps, making it a solid larger caliber hunting gun. Gamo says this rifle can easily reach distances of 100 yards, which is pretty darn impressive for an air gun. This rifle has a two-stage trigger and the barrel is 24 inches long to help with accuracy. A sound suppressor is integrated into that barrel to help not only protect your ears but also to keep impact on the wildlife in your area to a minimum. At $1,000 MSRP, this rifle isn't cheap, but it has gotten outstanding user reviews for performance.

Hatsan Piledriver

Aside from having a really cool name, the PCP Piledriver is another big bore air rifle chambered for either .45 or .50 caliber and it delivers blistering muzzle velocities of 850-900 fps delivering a maximum energy of up to 800-foot pounds. That's some serious power for an air rifle. We also just like the look of this one with the bullpup design and side lever action. The 33-inch barrel is going to ensure some great accuracy at a distance too. This rifle should put plenty of hogs and deer in the freezer season after season. It has an optics rail and picatinny mounts for the optics of your choice. These guns start around $1,100, but Hatsan has developed a great reputation for quality that is hard to beat.


For more outdoor content from Travis Smola, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his Geocaching and Outdoors with Travis YouTube channels