Best Pellet Gun
Finding a pellet gun which will suit your needs is no easy task. There are a variety of key factors to consider when looking for the best pellet gun and making a well informed purchasing decision will ensure you have the proper equipment for your air rifle needs. For example, will you be using your pellet gun for hunting? What size game? Are you buying the pellet gun for a youth? How about competition? These are just a few of the questions I ask customers everyday as they make their purchasing decision.
I began using pellet guns as a kid before it was frowned upon to give a child a pellet gun for his 9th birthday. Since then, I have kept myself informed on the introduction of new technology, pellet gun models, firing mechanisms and calibers. Our goal at PelletGunPro.com is to share this information with you so you can ensure you are buying the absolute best pellet gun for you!
As I am sure you might have already realized, there is an abundance of manufacturers hype on the internet which can often times be extremely misleading. We go beyond what the manufacturers are willing to tell you and provide you with hands-on in-depth comprehensive reviews on the best pellet guns and air rifles on the market.
What is a pellet gun?
A pellet gun which is also known as an air gun is essentially a gun that shoots a variety of caliber pellets by means of compressed air or other gas. For example, the pellet gun I first had as a kid was spring powered which means I had to cock the gun each time I wanted to fire it. When the gun is cocked, the piston compresses a spring inside of the chamber. When that compression takes place, a small hook engages the sear. When the trigger is pulled, the sear is released and the spring decompresses causing the piston to fire forward shooting the pellet via compressed air. These are my preferred type of air gun still to this day.
Other types of air guns which exist are known as Pneumatic guns and are powered by pre-compressed air. These are air guns which get there power from one of three ways:
Single-Stroke airguns are just as the name suggests. Similar to a water gun, users pressurize the compartment by pumping the gun. Obviously single stroke air guns take one stroke to cock while multi-stroke air guns take 2 to 10 pumps to be cocked and ready.
Pre-charges pneumatic guns are powered by pressurized air and could be relatable to a paintball gun. You might have to spend more upfront for a pre-charged pneumatic gun, but you’ll appreciate the ease of use when it comes to cocking the gun and the greater accuracy and practically zero re-coil.
What is the best pellet gun for me?
This is the real question you should be asking yourself as there is a wide range of options to consider. Depending on what you will be using the gun for, will ultimately depend on the type of pellet gun you will want to buy. Generally, pellet guns are used recreationally for casual fun or plinking and for these types of activities you won’t need anything beyond a .177 caliber gun.
If you’re hoping to take a pellet gun out into the field for hunting purposes, you’re going to want to get something with a little more power. In this case, you’re going to want to consider pellets in the .22 or .25 calibre field. You can also check out our recommendations for the most powerful pellet gun.
Best Pellet guns for Hunting
Keep in mind, pellet guns are limited in their ability to hunt. I don’t recommend going after anything bigger than a coyote as the ability to kill with a pellet is pretty limited. Going after smaller pests such as raccoon and rabbits is a little bit easier but you’ll want to be sure you are within close range as pellet guns typically become less effective after 50 yards depending on the caliber.
What Will You Be Hunting?
If you're going to be hunting small game, you're going to need a different pellet gun than if you plan to hunt larger game. Obviously with any of the best pellet guns, you're going to be limited by what you can hunt as the power can be lacking in some cases. If i'm going to be doing any hunting, the best pellet gun for me is on the stronger side as I want to be sure that any animal I hunt is taken down humanely.
What fits your budget?
Often times you can get a fantastic gun for a great price which will more than meet your needs if spend time properly researching what is appropriate for you. However, you can expect to spend $40 and up for a pellet gun and while there are some decent cheaper options, spending a little bit extra will provide you with noticeable performance improvements. If you're looking for one of the best pellet guns on the cheap, I suggest you take a look at our guide about the best pellet guns under $200.
Alternatives to Traditional Pellet Gun
There are a variety of different styles of pellet guns to consider as well. In fact, we have a fantastic guide about Pellet Pistols which is a growing trend among recreational shooters (particularly plinkers) as they are affordable and much safer than say a real firearm (and more obtainable as well).
And of course for the younger shooter, you have the best youth pellet guns to consider. Generally, for younger, and typically smaller shooters, it's ideal to start off with a pellet gun that's designed for youth. Youth pellet guns will be easier to load and shoot and will also have some safety features that adult pellet guns won't be able to offer.
Legalities to Consider
There are many states that do have any laws regarding pellet guns. As these laws are reviewed from time to time, I encourage you to check with your state police to ensure that your pellet gun is legally allowed to be used in whatever situation you hope to use it.
The following states do not have any laws:
Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Vermont, Maryland, West Virginia, Hawaii, and Alaska.
While the following states have some type of pellet gun law in place although the types of law vary from state to state:
Washington, California, Colorado, North Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
Pellet Gun Pellet Caliber Options
Knowing what air gun caliber is best for you will help you to make an informed decision in regards to what is the best pellet gun for you.
.177 Caliber Pellets
The bottom of the scale when it comes to shooting caliber, the .177 caliber pellet was introduced at the beginning of the 20th century and was used and still used today for general shooting. Considered the most accurate of pellet options, it’s the pellet most commonly used for target shooting sports.
This is the caliber I most commonly use today as I often recreationally use my pellet gun for plinking and other target shooting competitions. As .177 pellets are the lightest and smallest of pellets it is also the least expensive and most common pellet to find and shoot. And because of the size of pellet, a flat trajectory means a great accuracy from longer distances. .
.22 Caliber Pellets
The point .22 caliber pellet is larger in weight and size compared to the .177 and is a more effective choice if using the pellet gun for hunting. Once the most popular pellet gun caliber, it is still the top choice for hunting and pest elimination despite its effective range of 45-60 yards.
Something I am personally passionate about is hunting game humanely and it’s important to know what will actually be effective to avoid leaving an animal to suffer and die a painful death. Avoid shooting anything beyond smaller sized pests such s jack rabbit or wild woodchucks as the FPE (Foot Pounds of Energy) isn’t strong enough to take down larger animals.
.25 Calibre Pellets
The big calibre on the market, it’s heavier weight and greater size provides you the ability to hunt bigger game such as large racoons and coyotes as long as you’re hunting from an appropriate distance. The appropriate distance for hunting small and medium game will be around 50 yards or less, as the FPE begins to decrease quite rapidly beyond that.
The .25 calibre pellet is beginning to become increasingly popular and there is a wider variety of availability .25 pellet than their used to be. The one downside of the .25 calibre pellets is that it will have a shorter effective range than lower calibre pellets but boy does it pack a punch from a short range.
Reviewing the Best Pellet Guns
As you read the below pellet gun reviews, again consider what you'll be doing. If you're planning on plinking, hunting or competition, the characteristics of each pellet gun will be weighted a little bit different. I'll be honest in that we don't sell many competition level pellet guns, but we certainly review and sell a high volume of recreational and hunting air rifle. You can also feel free to reach out us if you have any questions regarding a particular air rifle which has made our list of the best pellet guns available on the market.
The classic! A beautiful wooden air rifle much like the Slavia 618 my father used to use when he was a kid only with today’s technology this thing is a hell of a lot more powerful. You might read some other reviews that the scope included is pretty cheap and this is accurate; or should I say unaccurate! The scope isn’t worth much but regardless, this model is worth it on its own especially at sale price!
When we received the Crosman Optimus at the office, we took it into the field for testing that very same afternoon. We found right away that a break-in period was needed and we found that after a little bit of tinkering and about 60-70 shots, it was firing as it should. We had set up our targets about 45 yards down the pitch and we were drilling them with ease after a little bit of practice.
With velocities up to 1200fps, it’s also not the quietest gun on the market but at the same time it isn’t bad either. I definitely recommend it to anyone especially someone who is newer to shooting.
The Gamo Whisper Fusion Pro might not whisper but it sure does pack a punch. Scope included, this is one of my favorite combo pellet guns on the market but be aware, it isn’t the quietest pellet gun and for good reason. Often time’s people will forget just how powerful a .177 calibre pellet can be and the Gamo Whisper Fusion Pro is no different as it shoots platinum .177 1400 FPS!!!!
The only complain I have ever heard surrounding this particular model is the loudness of it and while Gamo does its best to combat this with its ‘Whisper Fusion Dual Noise Dampening Technology,’ which does do its part in at least dampening the noise. The rest of the rifle is as slick as it is powerful featuring light weight synthetic stock, all-weather durability the Gamo Whisper Fusion Pro will be a rifle which will have you sniping targets for years to come.
The Ruger Yukon is a fantastic recreational rifle and makes for a great first time pellet gun or even for a grizzled pellet gun pro! Offering fine craftsman ship, this particular model both looks and feels great. And because it’s a combo package, it comes with rails and a scope which is perfect if you are doing using it for plinking or even hunting small game. Although the scope isn’t anything to rave about, it’s not a bad combo included scope and will provide you with some sight for those longer distance shots.
I did find that I did need to do a little bit more calibration than with other models so I guess one con of this particular model is that the break-in period can take a little bit of a time. However, once I got past that, I really enjoyed everything this gas-piston single-shot rifle had to offer. It’s also alot quieter and has a lot less recoil compared to other spring models which I think is great for those learning to shoot.
Hammerli 850 Air Magnum Air Rifle (.22 Calibre)
The .22 calibre CO2 powered Hammerli 850 Air Rifle is a fantastic choice for those looking for an option outside of the spring-loaded options. A high-tech, fixed barrel, 8-shot repeating rifle it can fire at a velocity of 760 feet per second. It’s rotary magazine holds up to 8 lead pellets and up to 200 shots can be fired from one 88g C02 cylinder.
I am not typically a fan of C02 pellet guns but the Hamerli 850 is a pretty great unit. The C02 cylinder screws in pretty easily which is nice as I have worked with many other C02 pellet guns which weren’t nearly as easy to deal with. Obviously the drawback to C02 is that if you run out of gas, your gun is now useless and this is the main reason I have never invested much time into C02 air rifles. If you are okay with this drawback, then I really recommend the Hammerli 850 as it’s brutally accurate. As far as .22 calibre pellet guns go, it’s both accurate and powerful straight out of the box.
The Benjamin Trail is a thing of beauty and boy does it ever pack a punch. Options in three different calibres, we couldn’t be happier with the versatility and options with this particular model. We had the pleasure of field testing the .25 calibre option for our review and although I don’t do much hunting with my pellet guns, but the Benjamin Trail is making me reconsider a new hobby.
Ideal for small game hunting and pest control, it shoots up to 900 FPS with alloy pellets and 725 FPS with lead. The power however comes from the 30 FPE which can really bring down small pests in a humane way which is what I prefer. The newer technology ‘Nitro Piston,’ was also something I was interested in using in the .25 calibre option as I had used it in lower calibre options before. I was pretty impressed with how quiet it was when fired and the increased durability a ‘Nitro Piston,’ provides definitely adds value.
I’ve spoken with a few of my friends who have been using this model for pest control and they are super impressed with the one-shot/one-kill power it provides. In our testing we did notice though that there was some stray with alloy pellets despite being tremendously fast. The lead pellets though did have improved accuracy while still producing 725 fps.
If you are looking to do some serious plinking, check out the video below. It will provide you with the basics of how to traditionally plink however the great thing about plinking is that you can adapt the rules to what works best for you. Have fun!