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Spring-Piston Guns
Fully self-contained, relatively inexpensive, and widely available, springers are the entry platform for most people getting started with airgun hunting.

Walther LGV Ultra (.22)
I consider the German-made LGV one of the best-shooting conventional spring-piston rifles ever produced. Compact, with a well-designed stock, the LGV shot more accurately than any other springer in the test. The smooth firing cycle and match trigger are miles ahead of what you’d find with most springers on the market. In fact, this pricey production rifle is so smooth and well-finished that you might be forgiven for mistaking it for a custom-made air rifle.

Umarex Octane
A break-barrel that uses a spring-charged gas piston to generate significant power, the Octane generated 19 ft.-lb. (foot-pounds of energy), which is quite good for this small caliber. The .177 rifle provides accuracy and good ergonomics. The gas ram provides a smooth and consistent cocking action, and the noise- and vibration-free firing cycle made it a pleasure to shoot. Shot-to-shot, this was one of the most consistent shooters in the springer class.

Hatsan Big Bore Carnivore (.30)
The Turkish-made .30 Carnivore is a handful of gun. This rifle combines accuracy with a lot of power. But because the spring required to push a .30-caliber pellet is so stout, you need to work to make it a consistent shooter. Substantial cocking effort makes this a gun more suitable for hunters taking a few shots at a time, as opposed to an all-day plinker. Prior to this .30 Big Bore Carnivore, .25 was the largest caliber available in a springer.

Gas(PCP)-Powered Airguns
This category represents the cutting edge of hunting airguns. they are accurate, powerful, multi-shot rifles that are quiet, light recoiling, and expensive. When you consider that you also need specialized filling gear, these are investment-grade guns. But once you take one hunting, you’ll recognize the performance and shootability are worth the price.
Brocock Compatto (.22)
This British rifle incorporates all the elements we consider key for a small-game hunting gun. It is accurate, easily knocking out sub ?-inch 50-yard groups. It has plenty of power (28 ft.-lb.) for bigger varmints such as groundhogs. It offers a high shot count on each 3,000 psi fill of air. And it has a robust and reliable magazine design, a great trigger, and an innovative semi-bullpup style that delivers all the compactness you could want in a hunting rig. It’s a pure shooter.


Airarms TDR (.22)
The TDR stands for Take Down Rifle. This gun has been around for a while in the U.S., but because it was developed for the low-power British market, it didn’t gain much traction here. But a new high-power configuration allows this little tack driver to deliver pellets at 28 ft.-lb. of energy, making it a legitimate hunting rifle. The Take Down Rifle can be slipped into a pack and discreetly taken anywhere. It’s also one of the quietest guns in our test.


Hatsan Gladius (.25)
This is the first bullpup design from a company that has introduced many interesting guns over the last decade. The Gladius is a hefty package (10.2 pounds), but it’s powerful, remarkably quiet, and available in several calibers up to a .35, allowing you to size your gun to quarry from squirrels to hogs. The gun features plenty of rails to mount accessories. And because the cocking action is located in front of the trigger, it can be cycled rapidly.


Gamo Coyote Whisper Fusion
Gamo is one of the few names you’ll recognize here if you’re not already an airgunner. The company makes solid spring-piston rifles that are sold in big-box stores and other familiar outlets. This Gamo PCP (our sample was in .22) is new to the market and offers excellent performance in terms of power, accuracy, and shot count, all delivered in a quiet and ergonomic package. Most noteworthy is its price, well below that of most guns in its class.


Big-Bore PCPs
So you’ve been hunting for years and are looking for a new challenge. Try a big-bore airgun for predators, hogs, deer, and exotics. More states are opening seasons to airgunners, and the industry is responding with an ever-wider selection of guns.
 American Airarms Slayer (.357)
This lightweight .357 bullpup rifle is accurate and powerful, and thanks to an integral shroud design, it’s quiet and compact, too. The Slayer stands out with a six-round magazine, a premium trigger, and very good ergonomics. Its price puts it out of reach of the majority of shooters, but it’s a gun any big-game or predator hunter can aspire to.

AOA Bushbuck (.45)
Airguns of Arizona entered the industry as importers of high-end European air rifles. But the Bushbuck is a .45-caliber, 600 ft.-lb. hunting machine designed in-house and manufactured to the company’s specs. It’s a big rifle with adjustable power settings, letting you prioritize power or shot count, depending on the shooting or hunting situation.

 Quackenbush Outlaw (.457)
This is the original big-bore air rifle, and it remains the benchmark against which newcomers are measured. The Outlaw employs a simple double-bolt design; one allows access to the loading port, and the other serves as a cocking arm. This gun generates up to 500 ft.-lb., and with 320-grain pellets, I’ve used it to take African kudu.

Epox Badger (.40)
It used to be, if you wanted a gun that performed on par with the sleek .40-caliber Badger, you could expect to pay a significant amount of money. This single-shot, 250 ft.-lb. gun is not only a bargain, it’s very accurate, producing a three-shot cloverleaf at 75 yards. Powerful enough for hog-sized game, the shot-to-shot consistency is very good.


Airforce Texan
AirForce was the first American company to build production PCPs. Last year it released this innovative and very powerful .45-caliber rifle. This side-lever-cocking rifle generates more than 500 ft.-lb., making it one of the most muscular production air rifles on the market, capable of handling large deer and other big game. The company is extending the product  line to .357 and .308 calibers, giving coyote hunters a great airgun option.

New Technologies
Consider this a catchall grouping of products that don’t fit anywhere else but that are so innovative and interesting, they deserve discussion here.

Benjamin Airbow
Earlier this year, the American airgun manufacturer Crosman released the Pioneer Airbow under its Benjamin brand. This is a PCP that has had the standard barrel replaced with a small-diameter tube. A crossbow bolt slips over the tube, and utilizing the PCP technology, launches the bolt at velocities topping 400 ft.-lb. with good accuracy.

 Sig Sauer MCX (.22)
This CO2 replica is accurate and fun to shoot. And because it mimics the weight of an original MCX rifle, it is an excellent training gun. The reason we include it is because SIG will be releasing hunting airguns in the near future. When a major firearms company moves into airguns, it speaks volumes about the projected growth of the niche.