Looking to pick up a new air rifle for yourself? You’re in for a ton of fun.
Air guns are super easy to use and make for a fun day target shooting in the backyard or going on a local squirrel or rabbit hunt.
But there’s a lot to consider before picking up your next rifle. What sized gun do you need, what type of pellets does it take, how accurate is the gun at long distances, and so forth? Your experience level, as well as your intended use also play a huge role in your purchasing decision.
With tons of different models and manufacturers producing air rifles, how do you choose? Keep reading to find out how to pick the perfect air gun for you.
1. Clarify Why You Are Buying an Air Rifle
Before you even start looking for an air rifle, you need to know exactly why you want to get one, otherwise, you’ll have no idea where to start. Are you a new shooter and looking to learn marksmanship on an air rifle before moving up to a regular firearm?
Are you a regular shooter looking for a cheaper way to maintain your skills with regular target practice? Are you hoping to use your air rifle to hunt small game, such as squirrels or rabbits? Or do you need to rid your yard of pests?
Each of these reasons can lead you to a different gun. If you want an air rifle for all of the above, make sure to choose a priority. If hunting is the most important, get a hunting-specific air rifle.
It might not be as effective for target shooting, but it will still work fine. You can get an air rifle hunting and sport shooting enthusiasts will love.
2. Who Is the Gun For?
Decide who the gun is for? Are you buying it for one of your kids so they can learn how to shoot? Or do you plan on using the rifle far more than they do?
For kids, you’re going to want a gun that is small and light enough for them to handle. Depending on their age, you might want something a bit less powerful.
Also, consider the charging type. Make sure whatever type of air rifle you choose is something they’ll be able to reload on their own (if you want them to).
If you are getting a gun for your kids to learn how to shoot or to relax with some backyard plinking, you might not need to purchase the most accurate gun available.
But if you plan to invest time and energy into hunting or shooting competitions, you’ll definitely want a gun that can shoot accurately and consistently over long distances.
You can easily spend more than a grand on top-quality air rifles. But you can also spend less than a hundred bucks and have as much fun.
If this is just a backup, target shooting gun, you can get away without spending too much money. Typically, only competition shooters or air rifle superfans spend on the higher-end guns.
5. Get a Scope
How important is accuracy? If you are hunting, I’d say it’s pretty darn important. If you want your accuracy to be like that of a sniper rifle, you’re going to need a quality scope.
Rifle scopes are not just for regular rifles. There are also scopes specifically designed for air rifles, too. If you are using your air rifle to keep your skills high without having to pay for live ammo, then you need to be practicing with a scope.
The best air rifle scopes work just as well as the ones you’d put on any competition or hunting rifle.
If you just plan on using your gun in the backyard on occasion, you might not need the strongest, most durable gun available. But if you plan to take your air rifle out hunting, exposing it to the elements and rougher use on a regular basis, you’ll want a more durable rifle.
When out hunting, guns are often dropped, rained on, snowed on, covered in dirt, sand, or other unwanted substances. Make sure the gun you choose is strong enough to handle it.
You’ll also want to choose a gun that is easy to disassemble so that you can clean it on a regular basis. For backyard guns, you might not need to do this as often.
7. Propulsion Type
When it comes to propulsion type, there is no bet air rifle. Each type of gun has its own advantages and disadvantages.
CO2 air guns are probably the most popular due to their ease of use. You’ll just need a full CO2 tank, which is very affordable to purchase and refill.
You’ll use the CO2 tank to load the gun with compressed air. Each time you do this, the gun is charged with a certain amount of shots. You won’t need to add more air until you’ve fired all those shots.
The only downside is having to carry around a CO2 tank, which can be a bummer for hunting. You’ll also have to have the tank refilled, which may be inconvenient for some.
Pneumatic air guns are those that require manual pumping to load the chamber with the appropriate amount of compressed air for each shot. Some guns utilize a single pump, for a lower-powered, less accurate shot.
Better guns allow you to pump as much as you want, up to a maximum pressure level, to fill your shot with the power you need. This often works better for hunting, since no extra parts are needed to carry around, and since you generally take fewer shots when hunting than when target shooting.
Hitting the Target
When it comes down to it, just buy an air rifle that fits your budget. It will be a blast no matter what make and model you choose.
It’s better to spend less time deciding and more time out in the yard actually using it.
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