Banish the bunnies with one of these top 10 airguns. Michael Yardley suggests the top options for every budget
Airguns are essential for ‘garden work’ and make an excellent first gun for young shots. Michael Yardley suggests the top 10 airguns on the market now, for every budge.
For more on airguns, follow our airgun guide, what to shoot and what to buy, including which pellets to use, how best to shoot your quarry and what to look for in an air rifle.
TOP 10 AIRGUNS FOR THE FIELD
Michael Yardley selections to top airguns available to buy now to suit every budget.
ECONOMY MODELS (BOTH SPRING-POWERED)
Remington Express (RRP £160)
A traditionally styled, no-frills, good-value gun. The wooden stock is good (although the comb is a little low for a scope). It comes with open sights as well as a simple but adequate 4×32 scope.
Hatsan AirTact PD (RRP £99)
Again, this offers lots for the money. It’s a lighter gun with an ergonomic polymer stock of modern form and adjustable open (fibre-optic) sights. A £50 scope would still give you a sub-£150 outfit.
MID-RANGE UP TO £500
Weihrauch HW35 (RRP £320)
The definitive, old-school, spring-powered airgun – big, long-barrelled, quite heavy and almost indestructible. The trigger is excellent, there’s an automatic safety and precision open sights. A scope may be fitted easily, too.
Stoeger XM1 (RRP from £395)
Good, new, entry-level, pre-charged pneumatic at a competitive price. Chinese made with Italian design and styling. It comes with sound moderator, 3-9×40 scope, mounts and two rotary, magnetically indexed magazines in .177 (nine shot) or .22 (seven shot). Distributed by GMK.
Weihrauch HW77 (RRP £449) and 57 (RRP £318)
The HW77 (below) is especially well regarded in airgun circles, another rock-solid Weihrauch. The 57 is lighter (and cheaper) with an unusual automatic rising breech. It’s well suited to anyone wanting a handy gun. Contact Hull Cartridge.
Walther Rotex RM8 Varmint (RRP from £500)
A compact, cleverly designed PCP with a rotary eight-shot magazine (two supplied), a polymer stock and a silencer. The gun feels solid and handy and has the advantage of manoeuvrability as well as a multi-shot capability. It’s also available with a wooden stock for slightly more. There is an even shorter RM8 Ultra Compact (RRP £449.99).
Gamo Phox (RRP £499)
Another PCP, this one made by Gamo in Birmingham. The Phox comes in a special deal package that offers excellent value. Not only do you get a good, if modernistically styled, pre-charged-type repeating air rifle, you get a sound moderator, telescopic sight with mounts, pump and a gun bag in the same well-priced outfit.
MORE EXPENSIVE PCPS
Air Arms S410 (RRP from £741)
Not the priciest of PCPs but well proven, well made (in Britain) and hugely popular. It has 10-shot capability, a well-proportioned, traditional wooden stock (available in beech or walnut) and slick bolt action with a rotary magazine. A bit like a standard Beretta or Browning, this is one with which it is hard to go wrong. It’s available as a carbine as well as with a standard barrel length. There is a left-handed version with a walnut stock and an ambidextrous wooden-stocked gun in poplar wood.
Weihrauch HW 100 (RRP from £900)
A side-lever cycling rotary magazine PCP regarded by many as one of the finest air rifles ever made. A quality, well-engineered product, it is available in a variety of stock configurations, including laminate, synthetic and thumb-hole (the stocks are ambidextrous but the cocking lever remains on the right-hand side). Magazine capacity is a useful 14 shots and, thanks to its clever mechanism, the gun can’t be double loaded. The HW 100 has a stainless-steel air reservoir with a manometer and comes equipped with an efficient sound moderator. If you want to treat yourself, this is probably the one to go for. It’s also discrete to use thanks to a premium silencer.
BSA R10 SE (RRP £859)
BSA did much to popularise and develop pre-charged pneumatics. This is the latest, walnut-stocked version of the firm’s flagship R10. Well made and solid, it’s a bolt action with a 10-shot rotary magazine. These rifles have a strong following and are known for both dependability and accuracy.
FX Crown (RRP from £1,399)
This is an extraordinary new air rifle that is distinguished by interchangeable ‘smooth twist’ barrels (with .177, .22, .25 and .30 calibre options – different liners in the same sleeve) and a wide range of possible adjustments to the mechanism. Not only is the trigger adjustable but so is the hammer tension and airflow. The air reservoir is carbon fibre. It has a 22-shot magazine in .177 and 18-shot in .22, achieving as many as 400 shots from one charge when regulated sub-12ft/lb. Not inexpensive but this is the gun that really has the airgun boys talking.