Mat Manning has sifted through what's on offer and come up with some winners that won't break the bank.
One of the greatest attractions of airgun shooting is that it’s such an affordable sport to take up. Here are seven reliable full-power air rifles under £300.
Webley VMX Classic £163.99 (without scope)
This traditionally styled spring-powered break-barrel has a muzzle energy close to the UK legal limit and features a long-life Powr Lok mainspring. It’s housed inside a hardwood stock which has tidy chequering on the fore-end and pistol grip and a ventilated rubber recoil pad. It is 1090mm long and weighs 3kg.
The rifle comes supplied with fibre-optic open sights and also has dovetail rails for scope mounting. Other features include a two-stage trigger and precision rifled steel barrel. Available with gas-ram powerplant for an additional £30. Highland Outdoors
Weihrauch HW99S £240 (without scope)
This solidly engineered offering from German airgun supremo Weihrauch churns out a full 11.5ft/lb in .22 calibre and a very healthy 10.5ft/lb in .177. It’s a spring-powered break-barrel and tips the scales at 3.2kg and measures a fairly compact 1050mm from end to end.
Its sleek beech stock has panels of chequering on the fore-end and pistol grip and has been deigned to ensure correct eye alignment with the supplied micro-adjustable open sights – the cylinder is also machined to accept mounts for a telescopic sight. This airgun’s quality exceeds its modest price tag, and features include the excellent two-stage adjustable Rekord trigger unit. Hull Cartridge
Hammerli Hunter Force 900 Combo £259.95 (with scope)
This elegant full-power .177 calibre spring gun from Hammerli features underlever cocking for fixed barrel accuracy. Its classic lines are enhanced by a dark beech stock that features a high cheek-piece, grippy chequering on the fore-end and pistol grip and a ventilated rubber recoil pad.
Although adjustable fibre-optic sights come as standard, the Hunter Force 900 Combo is supplied with a 6×42 telescopic sight and mounts and has an automatic safety catch to keep fingers safe while loading. This adult-sized air rifle is 1150mm long and weighs just over 4kg. Bisley
Rabbit Sniper Mk2 Kit £189.99 (with scope)
Pellpax put together some great affordable airgun packages. This one is based on a .22 SMK XS19 Supergrade rifle and includes a 3-9×40 scope with mounts, silencer, padded gun bag and pellets.
The rifle is 1160mm long and weighs 3.8kg with the large Backdraft silencer and scope fitted. The stained hardwood stock is more or less ambidextrous, although the cheek-piece has a slight righthand bias.
This break-barrel springer produces 11.5ft/lb at the muzzle. Open sights are supplied but this kit includes a very good 3-9×40 scope with two-piece mounts. Other features include a decent two-stage trigger and manual safety catch. Pellpax
Hatsan Breaker 900X £65 (without scope)
Despite being remarkably inexpensive, the Turkish-made Hatsan Breaker is solidly-built, produces power right up to the UK legal limit and is capable of impressive accuracy when matched with the right pellet. Its ambidextrous hardwood stock features some tidy chequering around the pistol grip and a soft rubber recoil pad with a neat white spacer.
Tipping the scales at around 3kg and measuring 1120mm inches from muzzle to butt, it is designed for adults but should still be manageable for younger shooters. Features include sound suppressor, fibre-optic open sights, adjustable trigger and resettable manual safety catch. Edgar Brothers
BSA Meteor EVO £175 (without scope)
British gunmaker BSA has a reputation for building tough airguns that can stand up to heavy use, and the Meteor EVO is a great example of that. This robust spring-powered break-barrel is built to withstand a few knocks and bumps, yet its full-power action has the grunt and precision to tackle live quarry.
Available in .177 and .22 calibre, this airgun is 1090mm long and tips the scales at a comparatively light 2.8kg. Its beech stock features chequering on the fore-end and pistol grip and is finished with a soft rubber recoil pad. Other features include adjustable trigger, open sights and scope-mounting grooves. BAS Guns
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Gamo Maxxim Elite £289 (with scope)
The Gamo Maxxim Elite must be the most feature-packed airgun at its price point. This airgun has long-life, low-maintenance gas-ram powerplant and runs an innovative ten-shot magazine that’s driven by its break-barrel action. If that’s not enough, it even comes with a 3-9x40WR zoom scope and mounts, and has an adjustable trigger and a shrouded, silenced barrel.
This adult-sized full-power air rifle weighs 3kg and measures a fairly lengthy 1150mm. It is available in .177 and .22 and in a choice of beech or tactical synthetic stock options, both of which feature ventilated rubber recoil pads. This fast-fire break-barrel is at home in the field and great fun on the plinking range. Gamo