Best Air Rifle 2017

Air rifles have been in existence for a while now since they were first invented around the 15th century. The first rifles weren’t high powered air rifles but were still of good use. Since then all have been used for hunting, target practice, and shooting in formal competitions. One general characteristic of an air rifle is its long barrel. Different types of air rifles exist each with its pros and cons. A rifle can be classified as either being a pneumatic rifle, spring piston powered or CO2 powered.

Today, modern air rifles are extremely powerful and sophisticated weapons, more than capable enough to accurately land target shots or hunt small game. Modern air rifles are also designed to be far quieter than standard firearms, giving hunters many advantages in stalking, hunting and successfully bagging pests, rodents and small game. Users also gain the advantage of no muzzle flash with air rifles, disguising and obscuring the source of fired shots. Other advanced options such as sophisticated scopes and multi-stroke compression chambers allow for greater accuracy at longer distances and the ability to rapidly reload and fire again.

Compare: The 10 Top Rated Air Rifles

1Crosman Nitro Venom Dusk Break Barrel Air RifleCrossman$$$4.9
2Gamo Whisper Silent Cat Air RifleGamo$$$4.8
3Ruger Blackhawk Combo Air RifleRuger$$4.7
4Winchester Model 1400CS .177 Caliber Break-Barrel Air Rifle with ScopeWinchester$$$$4.6
5Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2 Air Rifle with ScopeBenjamin$$$$4.6
6Umarex Octane Air Rifle ComboUmarex$$$$4.6
7Black Ops by Bear River Holdings Junior Sniper RifleBlack Ops$$4.5
8Crosman M4-177 Pneumatic Pump Air RifleCrossman$$4.5
9Daisy Model 1938 Red Ryder 75th Anniversary Special Edition RifleDaisy$$4.4
10Crosman Optimus Break Barrel Air RifleCrossman$$4.4

Our Air Rifle Reviews

Ruger Blackhawk Combo Air Rifle – Best Cheap Air Rifle

From the legendary manufacturer of firearms, the Ruger Blackhawk is an outstanding entry-level air rifle to get rid of squirrels, birds and other smaller pests. With an included advanced 4×32 scope and powerful break barrel single pump action, the Ruger Blackhawk is designed to be quickly and easily “zeroed”, allowing users to fire accurate, powerful and extremely quiet shots.


  • Projects pellets at 1,000 feet per second
  • Includes 4 x 32 scope
  • Comes with a one-year warranty


  • Very heavy

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Gamo Whisper Silent Cat Air Rifle – Best Air Rifle for the Money

This sophisticated and advanced Gamo Whisper Silent Cat has the stock and appearance of an advanced military weapon yet is simple and intuitive enough to operate that even beginning firearms enthusiasts can accurately and easily target, place and land shots. Using a convenient, simple “break barrel” design, the Gamo Whisper Silent Cat is designed to be pumped with one motion.


  • Looks like a sci-fi sniper weapon but uses reliable and time-tested break barrel spring-piston technology to create sufficient air pressure


  • The Gamo Whisper Silent Cat is only equipped to fire one shot before needing to be re-pumped back up to the necessary pressure to fire another shot

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Crosman Nitro Venom Dusk Break Barrel Air Rifle – Best Air Rifle Overall

This advanced air rifle is packed with so many features that it allows anyone to easily, simply and accurately eliminate pests, rodents and other small targets. It includes an advanced gas piston design to rapidly ramp up to the correct pressure, allowing users to quietly fire projectiles at speeds just under the speed of sound.


  • The gas piston technology functions equally well in cold and warm weather, and is much more durable than ordinary spring pistons used in other models of air rifles
  • One of the quietest air rifles available for sale anywhere on the market today


  • Although the scope is very advanced and comes with a large eye relief, it is difficult to accurately land shots at 100 yards distance or greater

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Our Top Rated Air Rifles


Best Overall

Best For The Money 

Best Cheap 

What Is An Air Rifle?

Air rifles were first invented hundreds of years ago using the burgeoning science of pneumatic pressure to fire a BB, pellet or other projectile at high velocities down a rifled barrel to improve accuracy and muzzle velocity. While many varieties of air rifles exist today, all of them are constructed using the fundamental physical properties of releasing compressed air or other gases to rapidly fire a pellet or other projectile at a target via a mechanical hand pump or by other method, air or other gases are compressed until they are under atmospheres several times greater than the normal pressure of open air.

When the trigger is pulled, the compressed gas is released nearly instantaneously, expanding rapidly down the barrel of the rifle, pushing the projectile ahead at high velocity. Some people refer to air rifles as “BB” guns, referring to the standard BB type round ball bearing used by many weapons, but air guns can be engineered to fire almost any sort of projectile, including arrows.

Just about everyone is familiar with the basic history of firearms, starting with the original discovery of gunpowder in China, which was first used exclusively for fireworks and pyrotechnic displays, and then later was developed for cannons, rifles and handguns. But many people are unaware that a parallel development in firearms technology has been ongoing for hundreds of years using compressed air and other gases to propel projectiles rather than using gunpowder or other propellant charges to fire bullets or rounds.

Amongst many others, the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804 to map the western United States, the party was equipped with air-powered rifles to defend themselves and hunt game during the lengthy journey.

What Are The Advantages Of Using An Air Rifle?

Depending on your local jurisdiction, laws and restrictions against the use of traditional firearms may be more lax and permissive concerning air rifles. The majority of air rifles are designed to fire projectiles at subsonic velocities, and can be fired without the loud and startling sounds that accompany standard gunshots from traditional firearms.

Because all air rifles depend on a form of compressed gas to propel projectiles, there is no explosion or incendiary reaction such as with gunpowder and traditional weapons, meaning air rifles can be fired without generating a muzzle flash. Air rifles are also impervious to rain and wet weather, as humidity or moisture in the chamber will not affect the explosive reaction needed for traditional gunpowder firearms. Air rifles are also popular with target shooting and sporting enthusiasts, as they are safe, reliable and very effective weapons.

Air rifles are often cheaper to buy, operate and use, and may save users additional money because they are not subject to taxes, licensing fees and other regulatory expenses associated with traditional gunpowder firearms. So what are you planning to do with the rifle you are buying? Well, the following are the commonest uses of rifles. The first use is to mainly hunt small game, rodents and pests. These small animals are like squirrels, rabbits, mice, birds, weasels, etc.  The second use of air rifles is target shooting. An individual can do this alone or it can be done by many competitors in a professional field competition full of spectators and rewards. The third use of rifles is plinking. This is basically shooting at targets like cans as target practice and also for fun.

What Are The Different Types of Air Rifles?

Today’s air rifles come with a dizzying array of options, technologies and firing systems. Some air rifles contain a chamber that is pumped by hand until sufficient pressure has been acquired while others use spring-powered pistons or cylinders of pre-compressed gas. Generally speaking, air rifles are divided into three categories: those that achieve firing velocity through the use of a spring piston, those that use pneumatic pressure, and those that use pre-compresed gases other than air, most typically carbon dioxide (CO2).

Some air rifles are designed specifically only for target shooting or competitive sporting matches, while other rifles are better suited for hunting or personal self-defense. Spring-piston type air rifles use a large spring that is compressed by the user until sufficient air pressure has been achieved to fire a projectile at the desired muzzle velocity. Pneumatic-type air guns use a pump, either operated by hand or powered separately, to build up enough pressure in a chamber to fire the projectile at the desired velocity.

Air rifles using compressed CO2 are powered by pre-charged capsules that usually can only be used once and then must be replaced. Air rifles can be used to fire BBs, lead diabolo pellets, darts or even arrows. While most air rifles generally use .177 caliber projectiles, other air rifles exist have calibers as large as 0.87 for use when hunting big game.

Considerations for Choosing the Best Air Rifle

Much like other guns, there are lots of choices available. The good thing about this is that you’re sure to find an air rifle that works for your needs. The bad part is that you have to weed through hundreds of options and hope you make the right choice. Before you throw money away on an air rifle that doesn’t fit your needs, make sure that you check out these considerations before you purchase:


Although air rifles do not use traditional bullets, they are still rated according to the same caliber scale, referring to the internal diameter of the rifle’s barrel.

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Muzzle Velocity

The faster a projectile can be pushed through the air, the greater its physical impact energy when striking a target. But projectiles fired faster than the speed of sound will create a small sonic boom, which sounds very similar to a traditional firearm being shout.  If you are looking for an air gun that is powerful enough to take out small or medium game, you will require a break barrel or pneumatic rifle. Of course, it is not always necessary to utilize a high-powered or magnum-powered air rifle, if you are not planning on shooting from long distances. The CO2 air rifle may be sufficient, if you are shooting from 20 yard distances. Most hunters like to sneak upon their prey and get up close, before they aim and take their shot. This will allow them the opportunity to improve their chances of hitting their target.


Many advanced air rifle models today come with sophisticated scopes, allowing users to accurately hit targets are greater distances. Accuracy is important, when aiming and shooting a moving or fixed object. Of course, if you are aiming at a target that is 35-50 yards away, you should consider using a scope, since it will make mark or object more visible. If there is a lack of accuracy provided, then it can tend to cause the gunner to become frustrated and loose interest in the sport.

Additional Features

Since the air rifle market is so competitive, many manufacturers include additional beneficial features, including special stocks, supports for firing when prone, and different barrel designs.


At the end of the day, there are many different reasons for an individual to switch to air rifles and guns. They’re much more economically friendly and will be able to help the hunter or marksman save a tremendous amount of money. Still, it is crucial to remember the different types of guns. By using all of the information above you will be able to figure out exactly which gun will work perfectly for your specific situation and needs.

Many people across the country are beginning to learn that air rifles are far more than the old beloved childhood toys featured in classic movies. Today’s modern, powerful air rifles can accurately fire projectiles at targets, rodents, pests or other small game. With advanced scopes and powerful compression technologies, modern air rifles allow users deliver maximum kinetic energy to their targets. Whether used in competitive target shooting matches or to rid back yards of annoying squirrels, rabbits and birds, advanced air rifles can accurately and powerfully land every shot with great accuracy.

Although the market is replete with many excellent air rifles made by respected firearms manufacturers, only one model of air rifle stands head and shoulders above the rest: the Crosman Nitro Venom Dusk. With its powerful CenterPoint Optics 3-9×32 scope and ambidextrous synthetic stock, the Crosman Nitro can accurately land shots even in colder weather. The unique engineering of the muzzlebrake and barrel allow the Crosman to be fired up to 70% more quietly than similar break barrel air rifles. Squirrels, birds, rodents and other small game don’t stand a chance against the unparalleled accuracy and high kinetic punch delivered by every shot fired by the Crosman Nitro Venom Dusk Air Rifle.

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