How to choose the best air pistol for you
Whether you’re a novice shooter looking to get into airguns as a hobby, a competitor, or a small game hunter, choosing the right airgun is one of the most important factors in enjoying the sport. There are many different air pistols on the market today from companies like Crosman, Gamo, and Ruger, and they range in price from $80 to over $400. Knowing what to look for will help you save money and effort, and you’ll get a rifle that it will give you years of fun and functionality.
Plinking, hunting or competition?
First ask yourself, “What am I going to use this rifle for?” If you’re new to airguns and want something you can shoot in your backyard to try out the sport, you should probably focus on factors like cost (of gun and ammo), noise level (to make sure that he won’t win). not disturb your neighbors) and range (a lower magnification range is fine unless you have a large backyard). Plan on spending around $100 to $150 on your air rifle to get one that is high quality to last, but won’t break the bank. Caliber wise, the .177 is much less expensive to shoot than a .22, and less likely to go through your backing. Nitrogen piston rifles tend to be much quieter than their spring-powered brethren, but read the reviews first to find out if a particular rifle has a reputation for being a quiet ninja or a loud nail gun.
Hunters, on the other hand, should look for something light, powerful, and accurate. Depending on the type of game you’re after, a .22 caliber air pistol might be more appropriate than a 177 caliber. Look for a rifle with a high velocity for its given caliber, such as 950 feet per second for a .22. A higher magnification scope will serve you well when targeting small game from a distance, so look for a scope/rifle combo with a 3-9x scope or purchase one separately. Portability is extremely important if you are going to be hiking on your hunting trips, so a lighter weight rifle that can use a sling would be ideal. Plan to spend at least $150 to $200 on a quality air rifle with enough power to kill vermin cleanly and humanely.
For the competitive shooter, accuracy is paramount. Various factors affect the accuracy of it, such as the barrel, trigger, recoil, and sights. If you’re going to be shooting off the bench, a heavy gun won’t be a bother, and the extra weight helps control recoil. A crisp, light trigger is a must, but keep in mind that you can often buy an aftermarket trigger if the one that came with your gun isn’t quite up to your needs. Shooting buckshot at subsonic speeds (less than around 1000 feet per second) will keep your shots accurate. A quality scope that holds zero is a must, and a solid stock with cheek risers will help you get the perfect image and alignment.
Choosing your air gun
Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to choose the right air rifle for you. Do your research online first and check the specs and prices of each rifle, even if you plan to buy in a store. Major brands to watch out for include Gamo, Crosman and Benjamin. Be sure to read the reviews to find out if a given gun actually meets the specs or just looks good on paper.
setup and shooting
Once you have your rifle at home, all that’s left is to mount the scope, set up your aim and backing, and break the gun down by sending a few hundred buckshot down. Enjoy your new hobby and rest easy knowing you purchased the perfect air rifle for you.