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Air rifles can be phenomenal choices for patrolling your property and getting rid of pests or for enjoying friendly backyard shooting competitions with your friends. .177 air rifles are among the most common and affordable you can find on the market, but finding the right rifle for your needs can be tricky without the proper research.
Below, you’ll find our comprehensive guide on the best .177 air rifles for the money. Let’s get started.
- 1 What is a .177 Air Rifle?
- 2 What Do You Use a .177 Air Rifle For?
- 3 The 5 Best .177 Air Rifle Reviewed
- 4 What to Look For in a .177 Air Rifle
- 5 Conclusion
- 6 Are Chinese Air Rifles Any Good?
- 7 Squirrel Hunting Tips
- 8 Top 5 Beginner Air Rifle Mistakes
- 9 Is an Air Rifle Considered a Firearm?
- 10 The Hatsan Model 95
- 11 Best Air Pistols for Home Defense
What is a .177 Air Rifle?
A .177 air rifle is, put simply, any air rifle that fires .177 caliber pellets. These air rifles utilize ammunition that is both the most common and one of the lightest types you can find for air rifles. Other air rifles will use .22 or .25 caliber pellets, but .177 pellets are faster and lighter and afford plenty of advantages to their rifles.
In general, .177 air rifles can fire pellets at an average velocity of about 900 ft./s, with plenty of rifles reaching even higher velocities. Faster velocity means that the pellet will stay on target more easily, especially if combined with a rifle built for exceptional accuracy.
.177 air rifles can be made with several powering or loading methods.
What Do You Use a .177 Air Rifle For?
Because a .177 air rifle uses a lighter pellet than others on the market, these rifles are more appropriate for hunting smaller game or for other casual uses. As examples, pigeons and rabbits are great pests to hunt with these types of weapons since the .177 pellets will deliver enough stopping power to ethically kill the animal. Larger animals won’t be killed by .177 pellets, so you’ll need something larger and more powerful.
You can also use a .177 air rifle for backyard plinking, which is essentially casual backyard target shooting. It’s something you can do with your friends while you’re relaxing without worrying so much about perfect accuracy.
Alternatively, certain .177 air rifles can’t be used for more serious air rifle target practice competitions, particularly if you equip the air rifle with a scope or other accuracy boosting attachments.
The 5 Best .177 Air Rifle Reviewed
Best Overall : Gamo Varmint
This air rifle is an affordable and versatile weapon in the break barrel design. It only fires a single pellet at a time, but each time you pull the trigger you’ll be able to eject a .177 pellet add up to 1250 ft./s. That’s phenomenal stopping power and makes this a great rifle both for common target practice or backyard shooting scenarios and for patrolling your property for pests.
The piston is particularly long-lasting, and the rifle is built with a fluted polymer jacketed rifled steel barrel. This boosts the accuracy of the weapon and will ensure that your shots remain on target even after multiple months of use. To facilitate even greater accuracy, the rifle comes with a 4 x 32 shockproof scope.
Even better, this air rifle comes with an adjustable second stage trigger. This means that it’ll take significant pressure to pull the trigger down, and it’ll fire without you accidentally pulling the weapon downward. It’s great for preventing misfires and improving your accuracy. The lightweight design and the ambidextrous all-weather stock are two more advantages, as is the rubber recoil pad.
All in all, the Gamo Varmint is a comfortable and accurate .177 air rifle that’ll be a blast to use for both beginners and experienced air rifle enthusiasts.
Runner–Up : Ruger Blackhawk Combo
The Blackhawk Combo Air Rifle is another affordable yet high-quality piece of equipment. It can fire .177 pellets up to 1000 ft./s and also includes a 4 x 32 scope to bolster your accuracy beyond your normal sightlines. It’s also automatically compensated for parallax up to 35 yards, which is something that many air rifle scopes don’t have built into their designs.
The stock of this air rifle is ambidextrous, so it’s fine for left and right-handed users, and it has checkered grip areas both on the forearm of the rifle and on the pistol grip. In a nutshell, this rifle is easy to keep steady and hold even if you move around often.
Mounting the aforementioned scope only takes a few seconds thanks to the dovetail grooves built into the blued receiver. Speaking of receiver, the blued finish helps the weapon to resist corrosive damage and gives it a particularly appreciable rubber aesthetic. The rubber recoil pad, just like our top pick’s, does a great job of cushioning your shoulder against any recoil that might come from this weapon.
We think this is an excellent second choice if you want something with a slightly different rifle design and a better grip. It’s affordable and effective for those with some or lots of air rifle experience.
Best for Hunting(Up to Medium Game) : Gamo Swarm Maximm
NOTE: If you’re looking for specific air rifle recommendations for hunting squirrels or small game, check out our article here.
The Gamo Swarm Maxxim Air Rifle is quite the high-tech piece of air rifle weaponry. It can shoot either .177 or .22 caliber pellets and uses an automatic cocking safety system. This safety system works in tandem with a 10-round rotary-style magazine, allowing you to rapidly load and fire up to 10 pellets in just seconds.
As a result, you’ll be able to fire multiple shots in rapid succession and hit small pests before they escape. The rifle is also equipped with a two-stage adjustable trigger that improves your accuracy and provides a smooth trigger pulling experience. What’s more is the sound suppression technology built into the barrel of this air rifle; it’ll keep things quiet and stealthy as you fire multiple rounds at your target.
The rifle is also equipped with a recoil-reducing rail that compensates for about 99% of every shot’s recoil. An additional 9 x 40 scope is included with every purchase to boost your accuracy even further.
Ultimately, this rifle is a perfect choice for those who want to hunt with a .177 air rifle thanks to its plethora of accuracy enhancers and sound suppression tech.
The Daisy Adult Red Ryder BB Rifle is a solid choice for casual backyard fun and target plinking. Its aesthetic is the first thing that will catch your eye; it’s modeled after old-fashioned rifles from Western TV serials and toy guns that most people play with as children. Despite its superficial reminiscence to these products, it’s a functional .177 air rifle that can fire up to 350 ft./s pellets.
This is a great casual air rifle for other reasons, too. It has a 650 shot BB reservoir hidden within the wooden stock, so you never have to go for your BB canister elsewhere. It also has a lever-action repeater design, making it easy to prepare for follow-up shots while reclining on a porch.
It also features several open sights to help your accuracy as you bet against your friends. The grip is comfortable, and the trigger pulls smoothly with each shot. It’s also not terribly loud even though there’s no sound suppression tech included with its design.
All in all, this casual .177 air rifle is an excellent toy or backyard plinking tool. It doesn’t deliver enough stopping power to effectively hunt pests, but it can do a number on any beer cans or other targets you place up in your backyard.
Best for the Budget – Crosman M4-177 Pneumatic Pump Air Rifle
The Crosman M4-177 Pneumatic Pump Air Rifle is an excellent .177 air rifle choice if you want something fun and affordable. It’s one of the most cost-effective air rifles on the market, featuring a five-shot pellet clip and a BB reservoir that can hold up to 350 individual BBs at once. It’s designed like the classic M4 popularized by the US military.
Indeed, it has a similarly adjustable stock and loop slots for a sling, so it’s easy to carry around on your back. There’s a dual aperture rear sight integrated into its top, which comes with windage and elevation adjustments to bolster your accuracy and compensate for the weather.
But that’s not all. There’s a removable magazine to make the weapon seem as close to the real thing as possible, plus an easy mount accessory rail on which you can place scopes, lasers, flashlights or more. Altogether, it fires pellets up to about 600 ft./s and BBs up to 625 ft./s. As a result, it’s great for casual air rifle fun rather than serious pest hunting.
This casual and affordable .177 air rifle is fun and easy to use and delivered repeat performance and customization options thanks to its accessory rail and BB storage reservoir.
What to Look For in a .177 Air Rifle
When you’re browsing the above or other .177 air rifles, keep these major aspects in mind and you’ll be more satisfied with your purchase.
.177 air rifles can come in three main types: CO2 powered, break barrel, or PCP (pre-charged pneumatic).
CO2 powered .177 air rifles are very affordable and let you take multiple shots before needing to recharge the air that propels the pellet from your weapon’s barrel. But these types of rifles also deliver the least amount of power to each shot, and you’ll need to purchase new CO2 cartridges every so often.
Break barrel .177 air rifles can deliver effective shooting power with each pellet ejected, but they may require you to cock the weapon after each shot you take, which slows down your firing rate. This type of weapon also takes significant upper body strength to work the barrel cocking mechanism.
Finally, PCP .177 air rifles are the most expensive type but provide the most power for each pellet they fire. They come with either a pump that you work by hand, which builds up pressure inside the weapon that is discharged when you pull the trigger.
Some .177 air rifles are made with phenomenal materials that afford the weapons great durability and a long lifespan. Look for air rifles that are made with stainless steel or black anodized finishes if you want to ensure that your weapon continues to work for a long time to come.
Some of the best .177 air rifles will come with scopes or excellent sights. These can help you hit long-distance shots or win those backyard plinking competitions you want to do with your friends. Some .177 air rifles will have mounting rails or rings that are pre-sized or shapes for particular scopes or optical systems, so keep this in mind so you don’t accidentally purchase, say, a Weaver scope for a Picatinny rail.
Keep the sound of your air rifle in mind. No air rifle is as loud as a traditional firearm, of course. But some air rifles can still be a bit too loud for your neighbors’ comfort if you live in a crowded residential area.
All in all, the best .177 air rifle for your needs will be the right budget and have the perfect features for you to enjoy. Consider your options carefully before finalizing a purchase. Good hunting!
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