Everyone appreciates a good airgun. These guns are perfect for training new shooters in firearms safety, whether a rifle or an air pistol. Ammo is cheap, and these guns are much safer than other firearms. These guns are fun for target practice, plinking, pest control, and small-game hunting. (Seriously-introduce a squirrel's rear end to one of these air rifle pellets and there won't be a second meeting.) However, recent technological advancements have made some capable of more challenging hunts. Some are even capable of taking down big game. Here's a handful of airguns we've come to love over the years.
Daisy Powerline 880 Air Rifle
This classic pellet or BB air rifle has stood the test for decades. This multi-pump pneumatic rifle launches BBs at up to 750 feet per second and shots 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 use my grandpa's old Powerline 880 to harvest squirrels effectively. It's a solid option for anyone looking for a simple plinker or a gun to introduce a younger person to shooting sports.
Sig Sauer MCX .177 Caliber Air Rifle
Sig Sauer has made the MCX 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 much 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 gas cylinders feed the gun. 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 creatures, 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 bit heavy at 10.5 pounds, but this is one to consider if you are looking for a serious hunting and pest control gun.
Umarex Legends M1A1 .177
You may be looking for a unique airgun that will be fun for the whole family in the target range. Well, it does not get much cooler than this gun 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 will provide more kick than many replica airsoft offerings. The gun features a full metal frame, is powered with CO2 cartridges, and comes with two 30-round magazines. This rifle offers the perfect combination if you like fun and historic firearms.
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 chambering for both .177 and .22 caliber pellets and features a two-stage adjustable trigger. Stoeger says the .22 caliber can reach speeds of 1,000 fps and the .177 a blistering 1,200 fps. This rifle is fully ambidextrous and mounted with a 3-9x40mm scope, a Picatinny rail, and 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 airgun is one of the more expensive small caliber airguns on the market, but it's also a very well-made firearm from Crosman and sure to serve you well for years to come.
Seneca Dragon Claw PCP Air Rifle
This is the top rifle to consider if you're looking for a big-bore airgun for BIG game. The Dragon Claw is a .50 caliber air rifle that 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 taken everything from whitetail deer to dangerous game like cape buffalo. This rifle features a beautiful wood stock and forend, a raised cheekpiece, 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 looks more like a spear gun or something from a science fiction movie. Still, 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 100 yards, which is pretty 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 in the barrel protects your ears and keeps the 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.
Aside from having a cool name, the PCP Piledriver is another big-bore air rifle chambered for either .45 or .50 caliber. It delivers blistering muzzle velocities of 850-900 fps giving 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 will also ensure some great accuracy at a distance. 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 at around $1,100, but Hatsan has developed an excellent reputation for quality that is hard to beat.
This article was originally published on October 24, 2020.