Best .177 Air Rifle
When you are considering what is the best .177 caliber air rifle, there are number of different features one must consider. Keep in mind, what is best for me might not be best for the next shooter so it’s important to first identify what your needs are with an air rifle before making a purchase. In the case of this air rifle review, I wanted to consider a variety of different factors to determine which pellet rifle is the all-around best .177 pellet rifle on the market today.
Can I hunt with the Best .177 Air Rifle?
Something I want to make very clear about .177 caliber air rifles is that are not intended for hunting purposes by any means. Something that people get very confused about when talking about power of air rifles is the difference between FPS (Feet Per Second) and FPE (Foot Pounds of Energy) which are two completely different measurements of force. Just because a .177 caliber air rifle can shoot a higher FPS, it’s FPE will typically always be lower than say a .22 caliber or .25 caliber air rifle.
The reason this is important is because although a .177 caliber air rifle can shoot a pellet extremely fast, the weight of the pellet is too small and light to transfer much any energy over to the intended target. As the caliber of air rifle get’s higher, the weight and size of the pellet gets larger as well which in turn increases the FPE which ultimately results in more damage.
So basically, if you are shooting a .177 caliber air rifle at animals, the chances of doing enough damage to kill an animal humanely is slim as often times the pellet will not carry enough force to strike through the brain or heart of the animal. What typically ends up happening the animal will instead become injured and will often die a very slow and painful death which I am sure nobody desires.
Competitive or Recreational?
Instead, the best .177 air rifle should be used for either target shooting or plinking which are two of my favorite activities with a pellet gun for sure. Target shooting can either be completely recreational in the backyard with friends or can also be extremely competitive. For example, target shooting is a sport which the world competes in every two years at the Olympics as the sport of target shooting is featured in both the Summer and Winter Olympics.
For both plinking and competitive target shooting, the most important factor in a pellet gun is accuracy. Because all the pellet guns we review will all provide the necessary power, I want to really focus on accuracy as there is nothing more frustrating than lining a target up perfectly and having the pellet fly off into the distance, completely missing the target.
Given my old age and experience, I like to lean a little bit in favor of the classic spring piston air rifles or one of the similar but newer technologies including the nitro/gas piston options. One of my favorites, which naturally isn’t very cheap is the Walther LGV Competition Ultra.
One of the classics, the Walther LGV Competition air rifle really is a thing of beauty. Although it doesn’t come cheap, it also won’t let you down as it’s one of my picks for the most accurate air rifles available on the market today.
A spring-piston technology air rifle, this break-barrel single shot air rifle will allow you to hit the target every time with consistency. The only drawback to this baby is that if you miss, you won’t be able to blame the rifle! Walther has also thrown in some vibration-reduction technology which minimizes noice as well as kick back. In our testing, the kickback was only 3/8 of an inch which is pretty impressive given the power of this beauty.
As this is a competition air rifle, you can expect everything to be made of quality including a beautiful and very adjustable 2-stage match trigger. Plus, with a limited lifetime warranty, you can be rest assured that it might be the last air rifle you ever do buy.
Now although the Walther is one of my favorites, it by no means affordable for everyone. With a listing price of over $1000, it can often be found on sale for around $700 or even less but is still extremely expensive for someone looking for an air rifle for recreational purposes. The Walther LGV is definitely suited for the more experience shooters out there who are looking for a great rifle for serious or competitive shooting. If you are looking for something a little more casual AND affordable, I recommend the Gamo Whisper Fusion or Gamo Whisper Fusion Pro.
Both options provide both fantastic performance at a fantastic price which is why when I consider everything, I really like the Gamo line as the best option for the recreational target shooter and plinker. Both the Gamo Whisper Fusion and Gamo Whisper Fusion Pro are very similar however the Whisper Pro does offer increased power firing pellets up to 1400 FPS. Be warned however that at 1400 FPS, those pellets are breaking the sound barrier which results in a bit of ‘crack’ so if you’re concerned about noise, I’d stick with the regular Whisper Fusion as it’s a bit quieter.
The Whisper Fusion Pro is a bit more of a balanced rifle and a little bit longer and heavier. If you have lots of experience shooting I’d recommend the ‘Pro,’ series but if you’re new to shooting I think I would stick to the Gamo Whisper Fusion as it’s a little bit easier to handle!