From backyard plinking to serious hunting and high-level match shooting, Shooting Times has rounded up a selection of air rifles to cover all the bases - with a couple of videos thrown in for good measure.
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Weihrauch HW100 K, HW100 TK
Weight: 3.3kg with moderator
What it offers: This impeccably finished pre-charged air rifle combines refined performance with rugged build quality. The HW100 K features a simple, yet remarkably smooth and reliable, 14-shot magazine-fed firing system that’s operated by a silky side- lever mechanism. Specifications also include a fully-adjustable two-stage match trigger and manual safety catch.
We like: The HW100’s stock is crafted from high-grade walnut and embellished with some crisp chequering – an eye-catching laminate model is also available. A 200BAR fill will return more than 50 consistent full-power shots, and the air level is displayed on a clearly marked gauge at the front of the cylinder.
RRP: HW100 KS and HW100 KT both £839; KT Laminate £916
Air Arms Pro Sport
What it offers: The Pro Sport is one of the most technologically advanced spring-and-piston airguns on the market. This ingenious air rifle offers fixed-barrel accuracy without the usual encumbrance of a typical underlever. Instead it features a recessed aluminium cocking lever, housed discreetly within the fore-end of the stock.
We like: The cocking stroke is exceptionally smooth, as is the firing cycle; the compression chamber and piston are fully supported on synthetic bearings, which results in minimal felt recoil.
Automatic safety catches are incorporated within the cocking mechanism and the crisp two-stage CD trigger unit, and the barrel shroud features baffling to soften the muzzle report. A sculpted stock with elegant laser-cut chequering, rollover cheek-piece and ventilated recoil pad give excellent balance and handling from this thoroughbred springer.
RRP: £512 with beech stock, £578 with walnut stock
Air Arms TX 200 MK111 (spring powered hunter)
Weight: 3.9kg (walnut)
What it offers: Several features work together to give smooth, full-power, consistent shooting – a balanced mainspring, guide and piston system, on synthetic bearings to reduce friction. Less energy lost to friction means higher efficiency, easier cocking and reduced recoil.
We like: If you want a quality air rifle that is self-powered, free of compressed air tanks and charging connectors then this is the one for you.
Walther Rotex MR8 Varmint
What it offers: Looks English but it is made in Germany. A tough plastic thumbhole stock. Made in 4.5 or 5.5 mm versions and with a muzzle energy of up to 30 joules, offering up to 180 shots at 16 joules. It comes with an 8-shot metal rotary magazine. The Lothar Walther barrel is equipped with a 1/2″ UNF muzzle thread for mounting a silencer. Deserves to be on our list of best airguns.
Weihrauch HW77 K
What it offers: The Weihrauch HW77 dominated the field target competition scene in the 1980s, but a rolling development programme has kept it among the finest spring-powered airguns available. It does have a reputation for being hefty, but its weight helps to absorb the modest recoil produced by its firing cycle, which churns out power close to the UK legal limit.
We like: The legendary Rekord two-stage trigger unit is fitted as standard and, combined with the fixed barrel, makes for precise shooting. Cocking is by means of an underlever, which also engages the anti-beartrap mechanism and resets the automatic safety catch. The HW77’s ambidextrous stock features sharp chequering on the fore-end and pistol grip, and has a rubber recoil pad.
BSA Scorpion SE
What it offers: This robustly constructed PCP combines field- tough build quality with target-level accuracy. Its bolt-lever cocking and loading action is fed by the latest version of the Birmingham gunmaker’s proven 10-shot magazine, which is made from a high- impact polymer that’s been impregnated with self-lubricating PTFE for ultra-smooth performance.
We like: Its ergonomically designed ambidextrous stock comes in a variety of options, including beech, walnut and a camouflage version. This gun is equipped with a very predictable, and fully adjustable, two-stage trigger, a positive manual safety catch and BSA’s famously accurate cold-hammer forged barrel. A 232BAR fill gives 65 full-power shots in .177 calibre and up to 100 in .22, and the pressure gauge set in the underside of the stock will tell you when it’s ready for a top-up.
RRP: £689 (walnut), £649 (beech), £629 (Realtree), £589 (Black Tactical)
BSA Comet EVO
What it offers: This affordable offering from BSA proves that entry level airguns do not have to be a compromise. Though an adult-sized gun, it’s well suited to newcomers and teenagers
We like: It has a relatively easy cocking stroke, especially as it produces power close to the 12ft/lb legal limit. Its ambidextrous synthetic stock is robust enough to stand up to bumps in the field. The Comet EVO comes with a tidy set of fibre-optic open sights, and is equipped with scope-mounting rails. An automatic anti-beartrap mechanism ensures that fingers are safe when loading, and there’s a resettable safety catch in front of the two-stage adjustable trigger.
RRP: Comet Evo and Comet Evo Silentium £152
Air Arms S510 Ultimate Sporter
What it offers: The Ultimate Sporter builds on British manufacturer Air Arms’ target-shooting pedigree. A fully adjustable cheekpiece and butt-pad ensure that there’s no compromise with the fit of this ambidextrous handle.
We like: The Ultimate Sporter’s 10-shot magazine is cycled by an extremely smooth side-lever action. A fully adjustable, match- quality two-stage trigger ensures crisp, predictable shot let-off, while the calibre-specific moderator keeps this airgun whisper- quiet. It has a discreet pressure gauge under the stock, and a 190BAR fill gives 70 consistent shots in .177 calibre and 80 in .22.
RRP: £919, includes 2 x magazines and fixed moderator
Anschutz 9015 One
Length: 75.5 – 86cm (adjustable)
What it offers: Made for the modern-match shooter, this gun combines absolute precision with almost limitless adjustment. The stock can be tweaked to fit junior and senior shooters, whether left- or right-handed, so it can grow with the shooter.
We like: This new Anschutz features optimised air-pressure control, stainless-steel barrel unit and muzzle tube, and an advanced firing pin- and-valve system for ultra-calm shot release. It also features the new 5065 4K trigger – one of the world’s best mechanical trigger units.
RRP: £2,499; Benchrest model RRP is £2,650
Daystate Pulsar Forest Laminate
What it offers: This hi-tech air rifle features Daystate’s Mapped Compensation Technology (MCT) motherboard, which acts as an electronic regulator to deliver excellent shot-to-shot consistency and a very fast lock time.
We like: The neat gizmos don’t end there; this airgun is also kitted out with a fully adjustable two-stage electronic trigger, integral laser sight, digital display screen to show air pressure, magazine count and battery level, and the computerised set-up also enables you to shift between power levels. Other features include a side-lever operated 10-shot magazine, crossbar safety catch and sound- moderating barrel shroud. At full legal limit power level, the Pulsar returns 250 shots in .22 calibre and 220 in .177 from a 230BAR fill. This stubby bullpup measures just 76cm and weighs around 3.5kg depending on which version of its adjustable stock you go for. Options include walnut, laminate and synthetic.
RRP: Pulsar Laminate £1,995; Pulsar Synthetic £1,595
What it offers: The eagerly awaited new release from British airgun manufacturer Brocock, the Compatto is a compact semi- bullpup pre-charged air rifle. Tipping the scales at around 3kg and measuring just 86cm, it’s a gun that will be manageable for most shooters, whatever their build.
We like: The Compatto is cradled in an eye-catching ambidextrous synthetic stock with adjustable butt-pad, and includes an adjustable two-stage trigger, resettable safety catch and a 10-shot magazine-fed firing system that’s operated by a slick side-bolt. Producing power close to the UK legal limit, the Compatto will deliver around 75 shots in .177 calibre and 90 in .22 from a 200BAR fill — air pressure is displayed on a gauge at the front of the cylinder. This neat little airgun even has a power adjuster so you can wind it down when shooting in confined places, and baffles within its barrel shroud keep the muzzle report discreet.
Cometa Orion (hunting)
Watch what our airgun reviewer, Matt Manning, has to say about it.
Gamo Black 1000 Maxim
What it offers: An ambidextrous stock, Whisper Maxxim silencing technology, anti-recoil system with RRR reduction and up to 29 joules of power.