Air guns were not what they used to be, so if you still believe that air guns are only just as good as toy guns, well we gotta tell you, times have changed. You can now even hunt some larger game like small deer with the big bore air guns available in the market these days. And the best part is, since these air rifles aren’t exactly classified as firearms, you don’t have to go through extensive background check or long waiting times to get them.
With hundreds and thousands of options available in the market, there’s no one fit for all. And depending on whatever your skill level is and whatever your needs are, you can figure out the one that’s right for you. If you’re a beginner, you’d ideally want to go for a smaller caliber, less expensive and simple air rifle for simply plinking or pest control. On the other hand, if you’re rather more advanced, you can probably allocate a larger budget towards buying an air gun, that’s chambered in a larger caliber and is also more sophisticated. However, if you really are looking to hunt small game or want to try out long range shooting, you will most probably need a big bore rifle in .45 or .50 caliber.
So, to help you guys out, we’ll be sharing with you 5 different air rifles today. The first two are better entry level options for beginners, who don’t want something too hefty but still need a rifle that works for soft shooting. These entry level air rifles usually come chambered in .177, .22 and .25 caliber. So lets dive into our first contender of the day:
The NP Xl is another break-barrel air rifle by Benjamin and it features the patented Nitro Piston Power Plant, a gas-powered piston system that Benjamin engineered. The gas powered Nitro Piston results in low noise and vibration, low recoil and allows for the rifle to stay cocked for longer periods. This makes this air gun super easy to shoot with, making it ideal for beginners.
You can get the NP XL in .117, .22 and .25 calibers and it’s quite accurate up to a 100 yards. The wood stock at the end adds a traditional look to the gun whereas the baffled barrel is a bonus since it allows for even quieter shots. It comes with a 3×9 scope, which might be enough for some but you should consider getting it replaced with a more capable after-market model. The .25 caliber is a good option but this caliber is quite divisive since the larger pellet size takes more pressure to reach usable velocities.
The NP Xl retails at $225, making it a rather affordable option for beginners.
Just like the NP XL by Benjamin, the Mach 1 is also a great rifle for those looking to shoot some shots quietly. But this one only comes chambered in .177 and .22, so you don’t get the option for a .25 caliber. This rifle will definitely attract those new to the world of air guns because of its extreme ease of use. In order to operate the rifle, you just pull the barrel down, break it open, put your pellet in, close the barrel and boom. You’re ready to fire.
This model also comes with a gas-powered piston which means you’d be using compressed gas to power the gun instead of a spring. This again has advantages like less recoil, lower weight and damper vibrations. Alongside these benefits, the break-barrel Mach 1 features a synthetic stock, a two-stage trigger, integrated iron sights and even a scope. Even though the recoil is already minimal, the gun still does come with a buttstock pad, making handling very easy for beginners.
The Mach 1 does come with a 3×9 scope but we recommend switching it up with a more advanced scope such as the Simmons Truplex .22 Mag 3-9×32. You put this on and you’ll see one hell of a difference. The rifle is accurate to about a 100 yards; however, if you plan on hunting for small game, a good scope like the one mentioned earlier is definitely something you should consider for better accuracy.
The Simmons Truplex .22 Mag 3-9×32 scope retails at a mere $40 whereas the Fusion Mach 1 itself clocks in at $236.
Now that we have covered the entry level rifles, lets move onto the next 3 air rifles. These 3 pack some serious air power and can shoot all the way up to .50 caliber. Experienced shooters or people looking for a rifle with more punch should consider choosing a pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) rifle as compared to a break barrel. PCP systems are more expensive but they do really achieve a greater energy output, which has made using larger calibers in an air gun possible. Hence, they’ve also come to be known as big-bore guns. Well, that’s just a small general overview of the rather more powerful guns.
Powered by .45 caliber, the Texan and Texan SS are PCP-Powered, big bore air rifles which are perfect for those who want a lot of power in a portable and convenient platform. Since these hefty rifles are pushing an immense amount of pressure, they do tend to be quite loud. But a fully shrouded barrel, such as the one on the Texan SS, can seriously dampen noise output. Both these rifles are pretty accurate and can easily take a small deer, if fired accurately and from within an appropriate range.
But these beastly guns do come with a heavy price tag. The Airforce Texan goes for $999 and the more advanced Airforce Texan SS goes for $1150, making them one of the rather expensive air guns on the market. But with these specs, we believe they’re worth the price tag.
Even just that name is enough to make us all go crazy for this one. This one is another PCP air rifle by Benjamin, with quite a few innovative features and customizability from Crosman. The bullpup layout means that the barrel runs almost the entire length of the gun, which in turn helps keep the rifle compact while retaining the velocity required to push the .357 caliber slug out with power.
Even though it does have similar features that a bullpup firearm might have, the difference lies in its integrated 5-round rotary clip and it’s fully shrouded barrel. This makes the rifle quiet and relatively light, meaning that you’d have to fire quite a few rounds before you feel the need to put the gun down and take a break. It’s a good choice for quiet hunting as well; however, we do believe you can get better options if you want to go hunt a deer.
This Bulldog .357 will cost you $660, which seems like a decent price considering its quietness and the amount of energy it pushes out.
It is last on the list but definitely not the last in our hearts. This single-shot PCP air rifle pushes a .50 caliber slug at speeds of 650 fps. I mean, that’s a heck of a punch isn’t it? The charging handle is located on the right side of the gun and each slug has to be manually hand-loaded and then the handle pulled back to ready the gun to fire.
The tank on the Dragon Claw sits underneath the barrel and can be filled from a tank of compressed air. Or if you’re in the mood for a workout, you can try filling it up with a special high-pressure air pump but we do warn you, this isn’t an easy task at all. A filled tank will deliver anywhere between 8-10 shots, depending on several different factors such as environmental pressure and conditions etc. Also, just a heads up for you guys planning on buying this, the Dragon Claw does not automatically regulate its pressure. It has to be done by using a selector which allows you to toggle between high and low pressure configurations to adjust air output based on the target.
It comes with a wooden stock and blued steel making this PCP rifle the perfect fit for shooters looking to take on medium-sized game, and even small deer if you believe in your abilities. And with a price tag of $700, you sure as hell won’t just be using it for plinking now would you? Another special feature of the Dragon Claw has that it can fire the specially made Air Venturi Air Bolts, which are somewhat of a cross between a crossbow bolt and an arrow. This makes the Dragon Claw a dual-purpose rifle. However, these bolts aren’t cheap either and retail at $99 for a pack of 6.