Best Air Rifle List For 2020

  • .177 / .22 / .25 Caliber
  • 650 - 1,000 fps
  • Spring-piston
  • Free Shipping
  • .177 Caliber
  • Up to 1,200 fps
  • Spring-piston
  • Free Shipping
  • .177 / .22 / .25 Caliber
  • 900 - 1,100 fps
  • PCP (Precharged Pneumatic)
  • Free Shipping

Top German Made

RWS Model 34
Air Rifle

  • .177 / .22 Caliber
  • 740 - 1,000 fps
  • Spring-piston
  • Free Shipping

A Guide to Choosing the Right Air Rifle

The best air rifle is affordable, meets your needs and fits within your skill level. While all levels can shoot a .177 caliber rifle, you wouldn’t expect a child to shoot a .357+ caliber. These models are too powerful and will have a higher recoil, which could potentially hurt the shooter.

Before reading any air rifle reviews, you need to know what you’re up against. After all, you want to make a smart investment.

Type of Air Rifle

There are four main air rifle types. These types dictate how the pellet is propelled out of the barrel. Mostly, you’ll find break-barrel models on the market, but there are other options available as well.

  • Spring-Piston / Break Barrel: The most common type. There’s no pumping or cartridges to worry about. Using an underlever, top-lever or side-lever, you’ll cock the rifle and be ready to take a shot.
  • Pneumatic / PCP: These are pump rifles. You force air into the rifle and prime it before a shot. You’ll find high caliber rifles often only come in PCP.
  • Gas Ram: Much like the spring-piston option, a gas ram is cocked using a lever. These gas ram cylinders last for years and are very easy to shoot.
  • CO2: These rifles use a CO2 cartridge, which can run out and require a cartridge switch. If you’re hunting, this may not be ideal. Temperature can also change the power of a shot, which isn’t ideal.

I don’t prefer CO2 models simply because cartridges can go dead and need to be replaced. PCP is good for bigger caliber rifles, but pumping is not ideal when hunting smaller game. Gas Ram and Spring-Piston / break-barrel are both great options. The springs can break and may need to be replaced, but this is not common.

Caliber Options and Shooting Needs

The caliber you choose will directly correlate to your shooting needs. There are a few facts to consider first:

  • Larger calibers are best for bigger game hunting.
  • Small calibers will travel faster than large calibers.
  • Large caliber pellets are more expensive.

For most people, you’ll want to choose a .177 or .22 caliber rifle. These are smaller and ideal for target shooting and killing pests or small game. Ideally, if your goal is to do some light hunting, choose a .22 caliber. The .177 is so small, it often goes through the animal, but doesn’t kill it.

Larger calibers, .357, .50 and .58, are normally found with PCP type rifles and are meant for killing medium to large game. Small deer or boar would fit into this category. However, these pack much more power, and you’ll have to deal with more recoil. For the beginner or younger shooter, these rifles may be too much to handle.

Honestly, it’s hard to find any .58 caliber options on the market today, so you’ll be lucky to find any of these models available.


Air rifle scopes allow you to zero in on a target and add magnification into the mix. You’ll find various scope magnification ranges. You’ll want to keep the following in mind:

  • Scopes that offer 1X – 4X are ideal for big game hunting if in a 200-yard range.
  • Scopes that offer 3X – 9X are ideal for big game hunting if you’re 200 yards or further away.
  • Scopes that offer 6X – 24X magnification are the right choice when tracking small quarry.

The standard for objective lens sizes is 40 – 44 mm, so this isn’t a concern. Turrets or adjustment knobs and parallax adjustments allow for fine-tuning and the utmost in accuracy.

Most shooters don’t like scopes that come on lower end rifles. You may even be able to swap yours out for an aftermarket scope if you like.


Feet per second, or FPS, refers to how fast your pellet will travel. The only time this is a concern is when hunting, but there’s a bigger issue: higher calibers always have a slower FPS. You can find models that boast as high as 1600 FPS or as low as 700 FPS.

The one issue is that the lightest pellets are used during testing, so you probably won’t get the same FPS as advertised.

Does it all matter? Not really. A .22 that has 800 – 1000 FPS will be a killing machine.


Weight only becomes an issue with a child or when you’re holding your rifle for an extended period of time. The norm is 7 – 10 pounds, but it can be higher or lower depending on the caliber of the gun.

When a heavy-duty scope is added, your rifle will weigh more.

If you’re just starting, try to find a rifle that weighs between 8 and 10 pounds.

Price Ranges

Prices can vary greatly with air rifles. The best air rifle can cost hundreds of dollars, but you can find some options that are very affordable and best sellers. Let’s take a look at a few price ranges:

  • $100 and under: You’ll find mostly .177 caliber options without scopes in this range.
  • $100 - $200: You can find great rifles in this price range. From .22 calibers with decent scopes to .177 and even the rare .25 caliber option, you’ll find it all. There are exceptional .177 with great scopes in this range. Check out the best air rifles under $200 here.
  • $200+: In this range, you’ll find all calibers with exceptional scopes. You’ll also be delving into the higher calibers, such as .357 where you can expect to pay $500 - $600 for a decent model.

Obviously, stick within your budget and read air rifle reviews before making your purchase. There are a lot of models in the $100 - $200 range that compete with models in the $600 dollar range.

If you’re new to shooting, stick with rifles that are below $300.


Many shooters worry about maintenance and upkeep -- it's crucial that you properly clean and take care of your air rifle, otherwise it may not shoot as well as you'd like. Lubing the trigger and cleaning out the barrel every 500 – 1000 shots is normal… and recommended. Make sure to read the owners manual of whatever air rifle you buy and keep it somewhere safe. It's always helpful to reference it if you ever forget the proper way to clean it. Remember, a well maintained rifle will always shoot better and last longer! If you lost or can't find your owner's manual, usually the brand's website will have a digital copy.

What’s the perfect air rifle for you? Following the advice I laid out, you should have a good understanding of what to look for with your next purchase.


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