What Makes a Great Air Rifle or Air Pistol

What Makes a Great Air Rifle or Air Pistol

What Makes a Great Air Rifle or Air Pistol


A few years ago, when I first went out to buy an air rifle, I spent nearly £300 on what I thought was the best air rifle money could buy. There were cheaper options, but I figured if I spent a bit more, I would be sure to get the best. However, I was so wrong! In the end, the gun was okay. But for £300, I wanted more than okay. You can imagine my frustration. Finding the best air rifle seems easy, but it’s a huge challenge. So, to try and make it a little easier, I have put this blog together to help you get the best air gun for the job. It is important to us you find what you are looking for. We don’t want anyone to feel the way I felt when I found out I paid more than double what I should have.

First decide what you want an air gun for, is it for target shooting or pest control and hunting? When you have decided, take into consideration the following…


In general, the longer the barrel of the rifle, the more accurate it will be. Of course, accuracy depends on many factors, the most important being your ability, but getting something that is a bit longer will help you hit your target more often. But you don’t want to get something that is too long, as this will end up making the gun heavy and hard to handle. A total length of between 40 and 50 inches is a good size for an air rifle.


One of the main advantages of an air rifle is that it is lighter than a traditional rifle. Yet this doesn’t mean all air rifles are light. In fact, if you’re not careful, you could end up with something that is extremely bulky and a real pain to carry around. You should look for something under 10 pounds, as anything more than this is excessive.

Pellet Calibre

The two most common pellets out there are .177 and .22. For air rifles, .177 calibre rounds are often preferred for target shooting and .22 for pest control. Most replica pistols today will use a 4.5 steel BB or .177 pellet.

Firing velocity

One of the most important things to look for in your air rifle is how fast the pellet comes out of the gun. Because they are lighter, .177 calibre bullets will come out of the gun faster, usually over 1,000 feet per second (fps). Anything under this is a sign of an under-performing weapon unless it is using .22 calibre rounds, which usually come out of the barrel around 900 fps.

Firing mechanism

One of the most distinguishing features of an air rifle is how they actually fire. There are a variety of different mechanisms out there that each serves a different purpose. For example, there is the variable pump, which is a manual pump used to build up the pressure needed to fire the pellet. These are reliable but can be a real pain to operate, especially if you want to fire multiple rounds quickly. They are best for beginners who are just learning how to shoot.

The other most common mechanisms are spring pistons, nitrogen pistons, and CO2. They all work in roughly the same way: compressing air. However, they do it in very different ways. Spring pistons build up pressure using springs, obviously, while nitrogen pistons use compressed nitrogen gas to fire the pellet. CO2 rifles are used for repetitive firing and are less common and more expensive.


Another important aspect of your air rifle is its action or loading mechanism. Most air rifles have either a break or bolt action. Break action rifles tend to be easier to use, clean and maintain, but they only allow for one shot at a time. Bolt actions allow for multiple shots to be fired simultaneously, but they are slow to load and harder to maintain.


We test every air gun on this website and do not stock any rifle or pistol that we do not think meets our recommendation. Please take your time looking over our products and please get in touch if you have any questions.


For more information or see all our air guns please see our website.

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