Are you an airsoft fan? Maybe you’re looking for a new rifle for your collection, or a first model? Airsoft covers a range of activities, including sports shooting, tactical competition, and more. Depending on your chosen activity, there’s a range of air rifles to suit your needs.
From semi or full-auto assault-style weapons to traditional long guns, there’s a model to suit your airsoft or small game hunting needs. Finding the best air rifle is a challenge, and there are plenty of great models online from dozens of manufacturers.
Settling on the right air rifle for your hobby can seem intimidating if you don’t know what you’re looking for in the best air rifle. In this review, we’ll look at the best models for your new weapon.
Our Top Picks
- 1 Our Top Picks
- 2 Air Rifle Reviews
- 3 Other Best Selling Options
- 4 Air Rifle Buyer’s Guide
- 4.1 How Are You Using Your Air Rifle?
- 4.2 What are the Propulsion Systems for Air Rifles?
- 4.3 How Do I Choose the Right Air Rifle Caliber?
- 4.4 What are the Types of Air Rifle Pellets?
- 4.5 Purchase a Pellet Sampler Kit
- 4.6 Air Rifle Sights
- 4.7 Air Rifle Maintenance Accessories
- 4.8 Air Rifle Maintenance Accessories
- 5 Air Rifle FAQs
- 6 Air Rifles – The Verdict
We scoured through dozens of listings, looking for the best air rifle models we could find. We settled on a diverse range of assault-style weapons and traditional long guns. You’ll find an air rifle to suit your needs from our top picks.
Best Pick: DPMS Full Auto SBR
- FULL SIZE, REAL FEEL, DUAL ACTION - Durable synthetic design and up to 1400 rounds per minute
- FUELED BY (2) 12-GRAM CO2 CARTRIDGES - Delivers speeds up to 430 fps (CO2 cartridges not included)
- ADJUSTABLE STOCK - 6 adjustable positions make the rifle easy to handle and shoulder
- 25-ROUND DROP OUT MAGAZINE - Compatible with traditional 4.5 mm steel BBs (BBs not included)
- REMOVEABLE POP-UP SIGHT AND ADJUSTABLE REAR SIGHT - To stay on target
This DPMS model wins our award for the best overall air rifle. This CO2 model comes with a full-size, lifelike frame emulating modern assault weapons—you geta 25-round drop-out magazine, with a capacity for .177-cal 4.5mm BBs. The adjustable stock features six extension settings, and you get flip-up sights on the Picatinny rails. This model comes with full-auto or semi-auto firing options and a front hand mount for driving the weapon. There’s a thumb-selector safety, and the magazines work with 12-gram CO2 canisters.
Premium Pick: Benjamin Bulldog .357 PCP
- DURABLE SYNTHETIC DESIGN - With a short 36-inch overall length bullpup configuration
- REVERSIBLE SIDELEVER BOLT ACTION - For left or right-handed shooters with lever safety
- BAFFLE-LESS SOUND TRAP - For big bore sound suppression
- RIFLED-STEEL BARREL - Delivers up to 910 fps
- 26-INCH PICATINNY RAIL - For your choice of accessories
Small game hunters looking for the best air rifle will enjoy this Benjamin Bulldog model. You get a .357-caliber weapon, with a 5-round magazine, producing 910-fps from the PCP-powered firing mechanism. This model comes with Picatinny rails on the rifle’s top and bottom and a rifled steel barrel for enhanced shot accuracy. This bullpup design on this model gives you the gun’s semi-auto operation, with baffle-less sound suppression for quieter shots.
Budget Pick: Daisy Powerline 901
- Multi-pump pneumatic rifle
- .177 cal. (4.5 mm) BB or pellet
- 50 shot BB or single shot/pellet capacity
- Fiber Optic front sight. Adjustable rear sight
- Tough black composite stock
The Daisy Powerline 901 is the ideal choice for long-range target practice. This model shoots .177-cal pellets at muzzle velocities of 750-fps. The long rifled barrel makes it suitable for distance shooting, with an ergonomic handle, smooth trigger action, and fast reset. This model comes with a blackout design and multi-pump pneumatic operation. It’s an affordable model and the ideal air rifle to teach kids the principles of long guns.
Air Rifle Reviews
After reading through the reviews on your top picks, let’s unpack them in detail. We’ll also look at other models that qualify for the title of the best air rifle.
After you finish the reviews, check out our buyer’s guide. We’ll offer you some useful tips on selecting the best air rifle for your shooting requirements.
DPMS Full Auto SBR
This DPMS model wins our award for the best overall air rifle in this review. It’s the only rifle with full or semi-auto selection, shooting 4.5mm steel BBs (1.77-cal), with a 25-round, drop-out magazine for fast reloading.
It features a life-like assault rifle design, with high-powered action and lightweight design to reduce fatigue in the hands. The only gripe we have with this model is that it doesn’t come with a sling.
This model comes with an adjustable composite stock, featuring 6-rifling positions for easy handling. The charging handle is easy to operate, with Picatinny rails and pop-up sights on the front and back. This model is a great all-round choice for self-defense, airsoft, and sports shooting small game.
However, the full-auto capacity doesn’t come with an adjustable trigger velocity. Therefore, using the full auto function depletes your ammo quickly, considering it offers functionality for up to 1,400-rounds per minute or 23-rounds per second.
The mags fit 2x 12-gram CO2 cartridges, with shotting speeds up to 430-fps. The thumb selector safety is easy to activate, and you get an AR-style grip with an easy trigger action. The front rail underside features a collapsing hand stock for easy driving of the gun in QCB scenarios.
- Full-size realistic shooter experience
- Full or Semi-auto operation
- M-Lok and Picatinny rails with front hand stock
- Flip-up sights included
- Adjustable stock
- 25-round magazine
- CO2 operation with 430-fps
- Shoots 4.3mm BBs
Benjamin Bulldog .357 PCP
The Benjamin Bulldog .357 Bullpup wins our award for the best premium air rifle in this review. This Bulldog model is a top choice if you’re into hunting and looking for the best small-game gun available.
The Bulldog comes with a drop-out 5-round magazine, shooting .357-cal pellets at velocities up to 910-fps. It’s an accurate small-game hunting rifle, featuring a hybrid design between classic and modern rifle styling.
The Bulldog comes with a pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) operation, providing 10-shots from a fully-charged 3,000 PSI air reservoir. The Benjamin Bulldog comes with a Bullpup design, featuring semi-automatic operation from the fully charged air reservoir.
The PCP operation means that you get consistent shot velocities and performance from the rifle in colder temperatures and higher elevations. The rifled steel barrel enhances shot accuracy, with a range up to 100-feet with this model.
The 25-inch Picatinny rail on top fits your scope, with a shorter one on the front from attaching torches. The baffle-less sound trap suppresses shot noise, preventing the unnecessary startling of your target.
This model comes with a reversible side-lever bolt action, suiting left or right-handed shooters. There’s a safety lever included and a 36-inch length from stock to muzzle. The composite stock is lightweight, with a padded rear plate for recoil absorption and shooter comfort.
- Baffle-less sound trap
- Rifled steel barrel
- High-powered operation up to 910-fps
- 5-shot magazine
- Cleaning kit included
- 26-inch Picatinny rail
- Reversible side-bolt calibration
- PCP operation
Daisy Powerline 901
The Daisy Powerline 901 is a new take on an American classic. This model is a top choice if you’re looking for a rifle for target practice of small game hunting. Its affordable price tag earns it the title of the best budget air rifle in this review.
The Daisy Powerline 901 features a .177-cal design, shooting 4.5mm steel, alloy, or plastic BBs. The built-in magazine comes with a 50-round capacity, with bolt-loading multi-pump pneumatic action. Using alloy pellets in this air rifle, you can achieve shooting velocities up to 750-fps.
The Daisy Powerline 901 comes with a lightweight composite stock and forearm, with ergonomic hand grips for total control over the rifle in use. This model includes an adjustable rear sight with fiber-optic front sight for enhanced shooting accuracy.
You get a rifled steel barrel for enhanced accuracy, a bolt-style loading action, and a stealthy blackout color design. The Daisy Powerline 901 is a great choice for hunting trips or some fun at the range.
- A modern touch on a classic air rifle design
- .177-cal (4.5mm) BB pellets
- 50-shot capacity
- 750-fps with multi-pump pneumatic action
- Fiber optic front sights
- Composite stock
- Affordable quality
Gamo Shadow Whisper
Small game hunters looking for a high-powered hunting rifle will get excellent use from the Gamo Shadow Whisper. This model comes with compatibility for .177-cal BBs, with muzzle velocities up to 1,250-fps.
The Gamo Shadow Whisper comes with a lightweight, weather-resistant composite stock. The ventilated rear pad helps with absorbing recoil, and the open-frame design reduces weight. The adjustable 2-stage trigger comes with a wall for accurate shots and a fast reset. There’s a manual safety for clearing on the range and a break-neck design for easy flagging.
The Gamo Shadow Whisper comes with rear and front fiber optic sights. For additional accuracy on long-distance shots, you get a high-quality 4×32 shockproof optic, with a mounting system included. The Gamo Shadow comes with a unique three-stage baffle system, suppressing shot sound.
This model is a top choice for small game hunters. It comes with a spring-piston fluted and rifled barrel, ensuring you get your shot on target.
- .177-cal BB pellets
- All-weather synthetic stock
- Up to 1,250-fps
- Precision rifled fluted barrel
- A two-stage trigger for safety
- Scope included
- Ventilated rear pad for recoil absorption
DPMS Nitro Piston Powered
Airsoft enthusiasts will enjoy shooting with this DPMS model. You get a semi-automatic operation, featuring shot velocities up to 1,250-fps using allow ammo. This model comes with a .177-cal design, suiting 4.5mm BBs, and a 50-round magazine capacity.
This DPMS model comes with an assault-style look and a weather-resistant tactical stock. You get sling points included, but no sling. However, the lightweight design is easy to carry, feeling balanced in the hands.
This DPMS air rifle features a patented nitro-piston-powered shooting action, a single-pump brake barrel, and a fluted design for accurate shots. The top of the gun features a 4x32mm scope for sniper work, and you get a front Picatinny rail for accessories like torches.
The long-barrel design helps keep your shots on target, and it’s the ideal choice for airsoft sports in QCB scenarios.
- .177-cal BB pellet gun
- Tactical design with safety included
- All-weather tactical stock
- Front and rear Picatinny rails
- Scope included
- Up to 1,250-fps with alloy BBs
- Single pump brake barrel
GameFace 52004 Sniper Carbine
The GameFace Sniper Carbine comes with a tactical shotgun look and a sleek, streamlined, and functional design.
This model is a great choice for tactical airsoft and self-defense around the home. You get a precision-built weapon with a matte black finish and ergonomic stock and handle design.
The GameFace sniper carbine comes with links for your sling and Picatinny rails on the carbine’s top and front. This model features a spring-powered design, shooting 6mm BBs at muzzle velocities up to 400-fps. It’s a great choice for the tactical range or protection around the home.
This sniper carbine features a precision filed barrel, allowing for effective long-range shots. You get a speed-loader magazine with a 29-round capacity and a synthetic, lightweight stock for comfort. This model also comes with a cleaning rod for easy maintenance.
- Precision design
- Top and bottom Picatinny rails
- Speed load magazine with a 29-round capacity
- Spring-powered operation
- Shoots 6mm BBs up to 400-fps
- Precision rifled steel barrel for long-range shots
Winchester is a trusted name in hunting rifles. This 77XS air rifle is another example of a high-quality product from the leading brand. This air rifle comes with a .177-cal multi-pump pneumatic operation. Load up to 50 BBs into the port, and cock the bolt-action slide to charge the weapon.
This model comes with muzzle velocities up to 800-fps using steel BBs and an ergonomic composite stock and handle. The thumbhole gives you better control, aligning the bore with the top of your wrist for better shots and less recoil.
This Winchester air rifle comes with a 4x32mm scope included with your package and front fiber optic sites. This model features a textured stock and foregrip, allowing for control over the rifle in wet weather conditions and wearing gloves.
It’s the ideal choice for small game hunting and a maximum shot velocity with 10-pumps of the charging handle. This model is an excellent choice for target training, with a precision rifled barrel for accurate distance shots.
- .177-cal BBs
- 50-round capacity
- A multi-pump pneumatic operation
- Up to 800-fps
- Scope included
- Lightweight composite stock
Umarex NXG APX
The Umarex tactical sniper rifle is another excellent choice for small game hunters. This model comes with an innovative design, featuring a lightweight composite stock that absorbs recoil. The stock also includes a tactical handle and neck, with textured chin and cheek rests.
This Umarex model is excellent value for money, offering you’re an 11mm dovetail rear sight mount and fiber optic front sights. This rifle includes a flat blackout design, with a comfortable, smooth trigger and fast reset.
You get a pump lever in front of the trigger guard, with 10-pumps offering you maximum charge. With a full-charge, you can expect muzzle velocities up to 800-fps, with a .177-cal suitable for shooting 4.5mm BBs.
The Picatinny rail on the top of the barrel includes a mounted 4x15mm scope with rings for accurate shots. This model comes with a safety lever and a steel rifled barrel for incredible accuracy in the field and on the range.
- Multi-pump action
- 11mm-dovetail Picatinny rail
- Scope included
- Composite stock
- .177-cal BBs
- 800-fps with alloy BBs
- Fiber optic front sight
Barra 1866 Cowboy Series
Take a time-warp back to the Wild West with this Barra 1866 Cowboy series airsoft rifle. While this gun might have a novelty appearance, we assure you it’s a highly-functional rifle.
You get an authentic, classic western-style look to this rifle. The gold-plated finishes provide an eye-catching aesthetic, with the hardwood finishes accenting the metal. The steel rifled barrel provides accurate shots, and it comes with a 20-inch length and octagonal design, hailing back to 1866.
The Barra features the classic stock loading lever, with 10-pumps achieving maximum muzzle velocities of 800-fps. You get a .177-cal design, shooting 4.5mm BBs, and bolt-action loading. This model includes a 50-pellet reservoir, with a synthetic wooden stock for an authentic look and feel to the rifle.
This model comes with incredible accuracy, producing 1.2″ CTC groups at distances of 25-yards. This rifle is an aesthetic masterpiece, and we love the gold electroplated “1866” butt embedded into the rifle stock.
- Authentic Western look
- Excellent balance and weight in the hands
- Metal octagon-style barrel
- Synthetic wood stock
- Gold electroplating finish
- .177-cal shoots up to 800-fps
- 50 shot capacity
Other Best Selling Options
- .22 Cal pellet single cocking break barrel, 1020 fps with PBA Platinum
- Powerful, quiet, accurate. Thanks to the IGT MACH 1 gas piston that delivers higher muzzle velocity, less vibration, and smoother cocking. It also features the Whisper Fusion technology, the quietest noise reduction technology patented by Gamo.
- Gamo 3-9x40 scope with RRR (Recoil Reducing Rail) - Absorbs the recoil of the rifle increasing the lifespan of the scope. Manual Safety. It is equipped with a Gamo 3-9×40 scope
- CAT (Custom Action Trigger) - Independently adjust 1st and 2nd stages, adjust your trigger to your personal preference, make it predictable. Comfortable all-weather synthetic ambidextrous stock.
- 5 YEAR WARRANTY. Made in Spain
- .22 Cal pellet single cocking break barrel, 975 fps with PBA Platinum. Weight: 7.50 pounds
- The IGT (Inert Gas Technology) is a gas piston that replaces the spring delivering more terminal velocity (975 fps), less vibration, more consistent power and a constant and smooth cocking effort.
- This air rifle also features the well known WHISPER noise reduction technology patented by Gamo. The SAT (Smooth Action Trigger) has a smooth action pull, it maximizes the pinpoint accuracy and has a clean, creep and crisp feel.
- 4 x 32 Shockproof Scope. It has a synthetic ambidextrous all-weather stock. The SWA (Shock Wave Absorber) is a recoil pad with rubber inserts designd to absorb the recoil. Lightweight design.
- 1 YEAR WARRANTY. Made In Spain. Manufacturer item# 611006795554
- Muzzle velocity 1300 FPS
- Whisper Noise Dampening
- IGT 10X Quick Shot
- Standard trigger and 4X32 optics
- Sport type: Exercise & Fitness
- The most powerful production air rifle on the planet; Dumps a ton of energy into its target instead of carrying the energy with it through the target
- One full tank delivers 4 full power regulated shots + 1 finishing shot (4 shots total)
- Ultralight 4500 psi, 24 cubic inch carbon fiber air tank; Modern stock design with M-LOK locations for accessory mounting and a Picatinny rail for optics mounting
- Very quiet shooting; Includes two 2-shot linear mags; Straigh pull bolt with a 2-pound pull weight and 2 inches of travel; Two safeties: mag lock-out (won't fire without mag) and trigger block safety
- Shoots .50 caliber pellets at up to 1130 fps
- PCP-POWERED . 25-CALIBER AIR GUN – Great for target shooting and medium-sized game hunting
- REVERSIBLE BOLT-ACTION – For right and left-handed sportsmen
- MODULAR DESIGN WITH RIFLED BARREL – Quiet and versatile with on-board air pressure gauge
- 8-ROUND ROTARY CLIP MAGAZINE – Multi-shot capable, delivers speeds up to 900 fps
- MACHINED RECEIVER AND 5-INCH PICATINNY RAIL – Add your favorite accessories
Air Rifle Buyer’s Guide
After reading through the reviews, you probably have your eye on a few prospective models. This section unpacks everything you need to know about the features of air rifles. Choose the model that suits your sport and shooting requirements.
How Are You Using Your Air Rifle?
When choosing the best air rifle, you need to consider how you want to use the weapon. There are several sports for using air rifles, with the three most common applications being the following.
- Hunting – Air rifles with larger .22 and .357-calibers are suitable for small game hunting. You can use them for taking down birds, hogs, and smaller animals. Most models come with Picatinny rails for adding scopes.
- Airsoft – This popular combat sport involves two teams attacking each other using airsoft guns. There are several airsoft strategies and different styles of gameplay. The rifles used in airsoft tend to have an assault-styler look and functionality. Some models offer semi-auto or full-auto operation, with drop-out magazines for easy changes on the range.
- Long gun Target Practice – Long guns feature long, rifled barrels for shooting targets at distances of 300-yards or more. These models often feature compatibility with rifle scopes to improve shot accuracy. These models also feature spring-piston or PCP propulsion for single-shot functionality.
What are the Propulsion Systems for Air Rifles?
There are several propulsion systems used in air rifles. Choose the right one to match your shooting needs.
The primary propulsions systems for air rifles include CO2 powered, spring-piston, and pre-charged pneumatic (PCP).
CO2-powered air rifles are one of the most common versions. However, CO2 is not the preferred gas of choice for powering your rifle. CO2 lacks consistency during use. You might find that the shot power significantly drops after taking the first five shots from a 12-gram canister.
CO2 offers inconsistent performance in colder weather, affecting shot power. However, CO2 is easy to use and doesn’t require and cocking.
The firing mechanism pierces the CO2 canister, giving you propellent. Therefore, CO2 is the ideal choice for airsoft sports where you don’t have the time to load manually on the range.
A spring piston model features high muzzle velocity, with accurate shots. Professional adult shooters commonly use these air rifles in competition and target practice. The firing system utilizes a sturdy spring and piston for propulsion.
The spring retracts when you load the rifle and release when you pull the trigger. When the trigger releases, it sends air into the barrel, propelling the projectile to the target. Spring piston systems come with several cocking mechanisms.
- under-lever cocking
Spring piston air rifles are available in .177 and .22 caliber models.
PCP rifles feature an air reservoir containing pressurized air. The PCP system is the most accurate, offering you the best firing consistency for semi-auto and full-auto applications. CO2 might lose efficacy after multiple shots, causing power to drop-off. However, you get consistent shot power from the first to last shot using a PCP propulsion system. These are the most expensive systems, found on top-level professional hunting and self-defense equipment.
How Do I Choose the Right Air Rifle Caliber?
You’ll need to choose the right caliber air rifle to match your shooting requirements. The .177-cal and .22-cal are the most popular calibers for air rifles.
The .177-cal pellets are a good choice for airsoft sports and target shooting. The .22 is the caliber choice for small game hunting birds, rodents, and smaller deer. The .22 has a lower velocity than the .177. therefore, the .177 makes the better choice for plinking and target practice. .177-cal is also the more affordable ammo option.
Some hunting air rifles, such as the Benjamin Bulldog model, come with a .357-cal for taking down larger deer. A .357-cal round gives you plenty of punching power and penetration when shooting small game.
What are the Types of Air Rifle Pellets?
Most modern air rifles use pellet ammunition instead of BBs. However, airsoft sports riffles sometimes accommodate both. Pellets have less ricochet, making them safer and more accurate. Pellets also move at higher muzzle velocities than BBs.
Here are the basic pellet types for your air rifle.
- Plastic pellets – These pellets are suitable for use in airsoft sports.
- Wadcutters – These pellets feature a flat nose and are a good choice for close-range target shooting.
- Domed or Round-Nosed Pellets – These pellets offer excellent aerodynamics, providing the best flight with minimal drop-off over distance. These pellets are a top choice for hunting and target shooting.
- Hollowpoints – These pellets expand on impact, creating more damage. They’re a good choice for hunting small game. However, it’s important to note that the accuracy with these pellets drops after 50-yards.
- Pointed – Pointed pellets act as mini-bullets, providing better penetration in small game targets. They offer streamlined flight and better accuracy than other types.
Purchase a Pellet Sampler Kit
A sampler kit contains various pellet types, allowing you to get a feel for each type in your air rifle. Typically you receive 10 to 50-rounds of every kind of ammo.
Air Rifle Sights
Most air rifles come with sights to improve shooting accuracy. Tactical models feature flip-up sights for easy use in CQB scenarios. Long guns feature front and rear sights, with the rear sight being adjustable for elevation and length.
Air Rifle Maintenance Accessories
- Scopes – A scope helps you shoot targets at a distance. You get accurate shots with long guns at distances up to 300-yards.
- Reticle point sights – Also known as “red dots,” these sights are effective for distance and sports shooting.
- Tripods – These accessories give you stable shots, avoiding feedback from your body going through the rifle.
Air Rifle Maintenance Accessories
- Gun oil – Your gun requires maintenance and cleaning after every 500-rounds or so, depending on the model. The oil keeps the components like the firing pin in working order.
- Cleaning pellets – You shoot these pellets to clean the magazine and barrel.
- Cleaning rod – A cleaning rod helps you clean the barrel.
Air Rifle FAQs
What distance should I use when zeroing my air rifle?
Zeroing the sight on your rifle is critical for your accuracy. We recommend zeroing at a range of 30-yards to 45-yards for long guns and 20 to 25-yards for assault-style air rifles.
Can I kill a deer with a .177 air rifle?
Yes, it’s possible to kill a deer with a .177-cal air rifle. However, you’ll need to use lead pellets and get within a few feet of the animal to have the projectile penetrate its hide.
What is the effective range of an air rifle?
Air rifles have severe limitations on range compared to real firearms. According to research in forums, the average .177-cal long gun, like the Daisy Powerline 901, has a range of 400-yards, with power and accuracy dropping off heavily after 150-yards of travel.
Where can I purchase the best air rifle?
We recommend picking up your airsoft rifle through Amazon. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you get fast and free shipping directly to your doorstep. If there are any problems with your order, you get buyer protection and hassle free returns. Amazon has the best prices and widest range, giving you the best chance of finding the right air rifle to suit your requirements.
Air Rifles – The Verdict
By now, you should have your eye on the best air rifle to suit your needs. Whether you’re playing airsoft, shooting long-distance, or going small game hunting – there’s a model in this review for you. If you’re having trouble settling on the right air rifle, why not go with one of your top picks?
The DPMS Full Auto SBR is our top choice for the best overall model in this review. It’s the ideal rifle for airsoft sports, with an assault-style design and full-auto operation. You get a .177-cal design, with a 25-round drop-out magazine, adjustable stock, and flip-up sights. This model is the ultimate option for airsoft sports, turning you into the best player on the tactical range.
The Benjamin Bulldog .357 PCP is a top-quality choice for small game hunting. This model features a high-powered design, shooting .357-cal rounds at muzzle velocities of 910-fps. This air rifle is the closest thing you get to a real gun, with a 5-shot magazine, Picatinny rails, and a padded stock to reduce recoil.
The Daisy Powerline 901 is our top choice for the best budget air rifle in this review. Daisy is an American brand with a history of producing top-quality air guns at affordable prices. This model features a tactical blackout look, with adjustable rear sights, pneumatic operation, an ergonomic handle, and stock with a smooth trigger action.