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In the world of air rifles, one type of weapon stands out among the rest: the PCP air rifle. These fantastic weapons are the most accurate out of all air-based weaponry and can deliver power and performance unlike any other type of pellet gun. They’re more expensive, as a result, but are generally well worth the cost.
Yet finding the best PCP air rifles can be tricky if you don’t know where to look. Fortunately for you, we’ve already done the research and located the top PCP air rifles on the market. Keep reading for a review of our favorites as well as a guide to help you find the ideal PCP air rifle for your next pest hunting session or target shooting contest.
- 1 Review of the Best PCP Air Rifles
- 1.1 Best Overall: Benjamin Marauder Synthetic Stock PCP-Powered Multi-Shot Bolt-Action Pellet Hunting Air Rifle
- 1.2 Best for Budget: Gamo 6110017154 Varmint Air Rifle
- 1.3 Best for Hunting: Hatsan BullBoss Quiet Energy PCP Air Rifle
- 1.4 Best for Backyard Plinking: Hatsan 95 Air Rifle Combo
- 1.5 Best for Serious Target Practice: Gamo Swarm Maxxim Air Rifle
- 2 What is a PCP Air Rifle?
- 3 Why Are PCP Air Rifles Worthwhile?
- 4 What to Look For in a PCP Air Rifle
- 5 Conclusion
Review of the Best PCP Air Rifles
Best Overall: Benjamin Marauder Synthetic Stock PCP-Powered Multi-Shot Bolt-Action Pellet Hunting Air Rifle
We chose the Benjamin Marauder as our top pick because of its multiple high-quality aspects. It’s a single shot PCP weapon, but it delivers phenomenal accuracy and incredible power with that one shot. It can take .25 caliber pellets and can auto index up to 10 shots. It’s also incredibly easy to adjust for different final velocities.
The two-stage adjustable match trigger is made of metal and gives you extremely fine control over the accuracy of each shot. We also really like the ambidextrous synthetic stock that comes with the purchase, along with a reversible bolt. Overall, it’s a PCP air rifle that can work for most users and which can project fantastic power and accuracy.
This pricy PCP air rifle will be perfect for whatever you need: hunting, target shooting, or casual backyard shooting with your friends can all be accomplished with this phenomenal weapon.
Best for Budget: Gamo 6110017154 Varmint Air Rifle
On the budget side of things, you can’t beat the Gamo Varmint Air Rifle. It fires .177 caliber pellets and has a fantastic spring piston that can, when combined with enough compressed air, fire pellets up to 1250 ft./s. As you can imagine, this is more than enough to take down small animals or deter attackers.
Even with its low asking price, you’ll get to benefit from a 4 x 32 shockproof scope and an adjustable second stage trigger. The ambidextrous all-weather stock also features a rubber recoil pad to make it a more comfortable weapon for long-term use. All in all, this is a top choice for those looking for a high-quality but affordable PCP air rifle since it comes with so many features and user-friendly benefits.
This affordable PCP air rifle is arguably just as good as more expensive models in many respects.
Best for Hunting: Hatsan BullBoss Quiet Energy PCP Air Rifle
We chose the Hatsan BullBoss for hunting because it’s a weapon designed, through and through, to facilitate quiet elimination of pests on your property. It can work with three calibers of pellets and has an integrated sound moderator that keeps any noise emitted from the rifle muffled. This is helpful for any hunters because it will prevent animals from running away if you miss a shot.
But that’ll be difficult because of the rifled and choked barrel that improves your accuracy, as well as the checkering on the grip and forearm to improve your control over the weapon. It also comes with a ventilated rubber butt pad to reduce the effects of recoil and an anodized receiver to increase its durability and reduce its vulnerability to corrosive damage.
All in all, this effective PCP air rifle can deliver quite a bit of power, be combined with several scopes because of the included Picatinny rail, and the muffler that quiets every shot you take.
This PCP air rifle is a phenomenal choice for backyard plinking, and not just because of its old-fashioned aesthetic. The Walnut stock is comfortable to hold and feel and provides excellent balancing control each time you pull the trigger. The trigger is also two-stage adjustable, so each shot you take has a better chance of being accurate.
The other aspects are also great for general user comfort and fun. There’s a checkered pistol-grip and a rubber recoil pad to reduce any recoil from the weapon. It also comes with a 3 x 9 Optima scope: perfect for outshooting your friends while making it look easy.
Altogether, this classic PCP air rifle has everything you need to enjoy backyard target shooting with a reliable, comfortable weapon.
Best for Serious Target Practice: Gamo Swarm Maxxim Air Rifle
The Gamo Swarm is our choice for a serious target shooting rifle because of the overall quality of the build and the scope that comes with your purchase. This PCP air rifle uses a 10-round rotary-style magazine to let you take repeated accurate shots, plus a fluted polymer barrel that facilitates excellent accuracy.
It also has sound suppression technology to reduce distraction and keep your noise to a minimum. The two-stage adjustable trigger will further increase your odds of landing a distant shot, and the recoil reducing rail can compensate for about 99% of the shock you’d feel with each shot. Honestly, the 3-9×40 scope is just a bonus.
This scope is highly accurate and is loaded with features to make each pull of the trigger is smooth and easy as possible.
What is a PCP Air Rifle?
PCP air rifles are a type of air gun that were actually first created in the mid-1500s. PCP is an acronym that stands for pre-charged pneumatic. This means that a PCP air rifle is constructed with a long hollow tube that contains highly pressurized air. Most PCP air rifles can be compressed at a maximum of 3000 psi, although a few can go above this pressurization limit.
While the exact method of filling the air reservoir depends on the type of air rifle you choose, the vast majority rely on a hand crank or lever located toward the rear of the rifle. The operator of the rifle uses their arms to crank the lever back and forth, which loads and compresses air into the pneumatic chamber.
When the trigger of the rifle is pulled, the firing valve opens, and all the compressed air is exploded into the barrel which pushes a pellet or BB out of the weapon with great force and speed. To help users handle these weapons effectively, most PCP air rifles have a gauge located somewhere on their stock that will inform you about the air pressure currently in the reservoir. This gauge helps you optimize your firing speed and accuracy.
PCP air rifles are distinct from other types of air guns because they rely on this signature propellant method. Other air guns rely on disposable CO2 compressed gas cartridges, while spring-action air guns use a break barrel system to pressurize air into their firing chambers.
Why Are PCP Air Rifles Worthwhile?
PCP air rifles can be worthwhile for a variety of users because of their myriad benefits. As an example, many PCP air rifles allow you to fire between 20 to 30 shots with a single full compressed air reservoir. Unlike spring-action air guns, which only fire a single shot before needing to be restarted, PCP air rifles can often fire off multiple shots in rapid succession.
At the same time, PCP air rifles don’t require you to purchase new cartridges of compressed gas just to use your weapon. As a result, you can always use hand-pumped PCP air rifles so long as you have ammunition to feed them.
PCP air guns can also utilize higher caliber ammunition than lower power CO2 air pistols and rifles. As a result, these weapons are ideal for a variety of scenarios, from hunting to more distant target shooting and backyard competitions. These rifles can also produce pellets with enough force to reliably take down small game; these are great weapons for removing pests from your property.
In addition, PCP air rifles are the most accurate type of air gun compared to the others. Air rifle marksmen will more than likely have a firearm of this type than the other two.
What to Look For in a PCP Air Rifle
When you’re trying to determine the best PCP air rifle for you, keep these factors in mind to help you narrow down your search.
Caliber of Projectile
PCP air rifles can fire all three major types of projectiles, as well as a rarer fourth projectile.
BBs are the most common and most affordable type of projectile available for all air weaponry. Such projectiles don’t produce a lot of stopping power and aren’t very accurate, but these are fine for backyard plinking and casual target practice.
.177 caliber pellets are the next step up and are also typically affordable. These are a very common type of air gun ammunition and can be used for target practice and light pest hunting alike.
Next up is .22 caliber pellets. These are normally only used by PCP air rifles or other air guns that have enough projectile force to propel them out of the barrel with speed. These are great for hunting and for hitting more distant targets during competitions.
Finally, some PCP air rifles are powerful enough to handle .25 caliber pellets. These are even larger than the other sizes of projectiles and are the pellet of choice for those looking to hunt down pests pervading their property. .25 caliber pellets are also effective for self-defense, as they produce enough pain and injury to reliably turn away attackers.
Pay attention to the maximum projectable power of a PCP air rifle. Higher maximum power will enable you to kill small animals from farther away and maintain accuracy a longer distance.
Generally speaking, PCP air rifles will be able to maintain power at a minimum of 300 ft./s, with most models easily reaching 400 ft./s or higher. The most powerful PCP air rifles can reach 600 ft./s or higher to 7-or-800 ft./s, though this requires extensive experience with the weapon and its pneumatic loading chamber. You’ll also need to pair these with the right kind of ammunition to achieve power of this magnitude.
Most PCP air rifles use a hand pump or crank to charge the compressed air reservoir. This pump works just like a bicycle pump you would use to fill up a tire with compressed air. Others, however, have different air delivery methods that are less physically intensive.
Some PCP air rifles use probes, which are threaded units that you attach to a compressed air hose. These then jack into the air reservoir of your weapon.
Other PCP air rifles may use collars, which work very similarly to tire charging attachments. These, again, allow you to fit your air rifle to a pressurized air delivery tank or pump.
Finally, other PCP air rifles may use detachable compressed air bottles. This is a very similar method to the typical CO2 gas cartridges used by CO2 air pistols. These are great for rapidly charging your air rifle and require you to purchase more of them every so often.
Overall, the best PCP air rifle for your situation will depend on the caliber of projectile you need, the maximum power you’ll use, and the compressed air charging system that best suits your strength or preference. Find a great PCP air rifle and you’ll be able to rely on it for years to come. Good hunting!