Paul Austin tests three of the best 10-shot pre-charged pneumatic air rifles for under £500 and asks which offers the best value for money, accuracy and design for your style of shooting.

The S200 is a classic target rifle converted into a multi-shot PCP. Great accuracy but let down by the lack of a safety

Air Arms S200

The S200 is in fact a single shot PCP by design but McAvoy Guns sell them at £499 with a 10 shot conversion kit preinstalled. The S200 is definitely the classic of the rifles on test and it’s been in production for years. It’s essentially an old style target rifle and by far the simplest design of the three.

The reliable after-market multi-shot system of the S200 never missed a beat on test

Don’t be put off by its simplicity. In terms of accuracy it’s best of the bunch, not by much admittedly, but it isn’t considered a classic just because of its looks. If you’re in the market for a bench rest or target shooter you won’t go far wrong. In the field it has limitations but there’s no reason an experienced shot couldn’t add some sling studs and take it out on the land.

The aftermarket 10 shot conversion kit is produced by Air Arms and during testing it performed flawlessly. You do need to add a mark/sticker on the exterior of the removable magazine to make it easier to insert and remove but it cycled perfectly throughout testing.

If you intend to go hunting you are going to need an additional sound moderator. It ships with a plastic muzzle brake thing bolted on the front but it does nothing to moderate the sound and is purely an aesthetic addition. For plinking or range work you don’t actually need one, the rifle isn’t overly loud but in the field a moderator would be handy.

The S200 removable magazine can be tricky to insert or detach if you don’t mark mag cylinder

So what’s not to like? It’s a handsome rifle, ambidextrous stock, adjustable trigger, great build quality, short and easy to handle, detachable cylinder, lightweight and accurate. Sounds perfect? Well almost, unfortunately it does have an Achilles heel… It doesn’t have a safety.

Experienced shooters looking for a PCP after cutting their teeth on springers may not be too concerned but for beginners or young shooters I couldn’t recommend it for that reason alone. It’s too easy to spot an opportunity and cock the rifle but the target vanishes. Now you have a live round in the chamber and no safety – not a good situation, especially for a new shooter.

Technical specifications

  • Overall weight: 2.6kg (5.8lbs)
  • Overall length: 920m (36.25”)
  • Barrel Length: 485mm (19.1”)
  • Calibre: .177/.22
  • Stock: Ambidextrous
  • Muzzle energy: Sub 12ftlb
  • Shots per fill: 45
  • Fill Pressure: 200bar
  • Stock options: Beech
  • Price: £499 with S200 magazine kit
    Supplier: www.mcavoyguns.co.uk

Overall score: 7/10

  1. 1. Why are pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) rifles so popular?
  2. 2. Air Arms S200
  3. 3. Gamo Phox
  4. 4. Walther Rotex RM8
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