Date Published: 2021-02-10

Best Break Barrel Air Rifle: Reviews to Save You Money


Best Break Barrel Air Rifle: Reviews to Save You Money

By Adelia Ladson

When the Markham Rifle Company produced the first spring piston air rifle, in 1886, it was a wooden design meant for use as a youth training gun. Two years later, the company that was to later become Daisy produced the first all-metal air rifle, making their BB gun a household name. And as they say, “the rest is history”! Since that time, BB guns have evolved into powerful, quick and accurate air rifles that offer features and accessories that you might find on a real firearm. These are definitely not your grandfather’s BB gun!

What is a Break Barrel Air Rifle?

Basically, a break barrel air rifle is just what its name says. The barrel splits or “breaks” in half so that you can load the ammunition and prime the rifle for firing. Once you lock the barrel back into a straight position, that compresses the charging mechanism and you’re ready to go. Just pull the trigger and it releases the gas-piston or spring to send the ammunition down the barrel and out of the muzzle. So, you have two types of break-barrel rifles: Spring-powered and Gas-piston.

Spring Powered

A spring-powered air rifle has a charging mechanism that consists of a spring and piston that’s compressed when the barrel is cocked. On breaking the barrel, the spring coils up and locks into place, ammunition is loaded and once the barrel is locked straight, it’s ready to fire. Pulling the trigger releases the spring and forces the piston forward to generate the energy necessary to propel the ammunition forward.
Pros
  • No external charge source is needed to operate.
  • It can be upgraded, and parts are easily accessible.
  • The overall design is age-old and time-tested.
Cons
  • There’s a possibility of the spring rusting or fatiguing.
  • It is heavier than a gas-piston rifle.
  • It’s more expensive.

Gas-Piston

A gas-piston air rifle’s charging mechanism consists of a gas-filled piston that is compressed when the barrel is cocked. The gas in the piston is already compressed but is compressed even further, holding immense pressure once the ammunition is loaded and the barrel is locked straight. When the trigger is pulled, the gas piston is released and pushes forward, generating the energy that propels the ammunition down the barrel. Typically, a gas-piston air rifle has more power than a spring-powered air rifle.
Pros
  • No external charge source is needed to operate.
  • It can be left cocked without any negative effects.
  • The gas-piston will not rust and is more durable than a spring-powered rifle.
  • There is less recoil than with a spring-powered rifle.
Cons
  • The internal mechanism is not as easy to access and fix.
  • It’s going to be a little less expensive.

Other Types of Air Rifles

All air rifles have a charging mechanism to compress a piston, spring, gas piston or air tank to push the ammunition forward out at top speed and force. In addition to gas-piston and spring-powered, you will also find pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifles and Co2 powered rifles.

Pre-Charged Pneumatic (PCP)

A pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifle is loaded with compressed air, using a variety of methods, before it’s shot. The air rifle consists of a hollow tube that is filled with compressed air of around 3,000 psi and once it’s filled, it’s ready to shoot. Pulling the trigger opens the firing valve and releases the pressurized air in the barrel and the ammunition is propelled forward by the force of the pressurized air. A small amount of the air and pressure is reduced inside the air reservoir after each shot. The air reservoir can be filled with a hand pump, scuba tank, carbon fiber tank or, most often, a high-pressure PCP rifle compressor.

Comparison

In comparison to break-barrel air rifles, the bottom line is that a PCP rifle is going to be more expensive, especially, since it requires other equipment to make it work. You have to have a way to fill the air reservoir. On the other hand, because of its power, this type of air rifle can actually shoot large caliber bullets like a .46, .58, or even .72. It also has very little recoil and is pretty quiet compared to a break-barrel.

CO2-Powered

A CO2-powered air rifle follows the same principle as the PCP rifle because it also uses air to propel the ammunition out of the barrel. The difference is that they use CO2-filled cartridges as their power source, which provide enough power to shoot repeatedly without having to refill. The cartridges are pretty easy to load and only a specific amount of gas is released during each shot, allowing you to keep shooting. With CO2-powered air rifles, semi-automatic shooting is also possible with some models.

Comparison

In comparison to break-barrel air rifles, this type of air rifle is perfect for youth because cocking a break-barrel can be a little difficult and they are usually pretty lightweight. Also, the repeatability is a big draw for air gun users. However, you do have to buy the CO2 cartridges to keep you shooting and these air rifles tend to be a little less rugged and durable, if not maintained.

What to Look For Before Buying

Depending on your reason for purchasing a break-barrel air rifle, there are some things to consider. Are you using it to teach a youth shooting skills? Are you just getting it to plink in the backyard and for target practice? Are you getting it for competition purposes? Or for shooting backyard pests?

Velocity

The velocity that the ammunition travels from the barrel is measured in feet per second (FPS) and, generally, the higher it is, the more you’re going to pay for the air rifle. Be aware that the FPS is also based on the weight of the ammunition that you’re using. Sometimes, with a higher FPS, you lose a certain amount of accuracy, so, it may not be ideal for target practice or pest control. However, the higher the FPS, the more powerful the air rifle, which is pretty good for home defense without having to get an FFL.

Noise Level

A spring-powered air rifle is louder, when fired, compared to a gas-piston air rifle, which typically uses a sound suppression technology. So, it’s not ideal for backyard shooting or a skittish first shooter. Because of this fact, the gas-piston air rifle has become more popular worldwide. If you’re teaching a youth to shoot, noise level is definitely something you need to consider. Also, if you plan on using it to plink in your backyard and don’t want to disturb the neighbors.

Recoil

Recoil is the quick movement in multiple directions that the air rifle makes after being shot. Since, the recoil of the air rifle, can affect its accuracy, especially, when shooting long distances, you need to make sure that you always adjust for it, when using a spring-powered or gas-piston air rifle. If you don’t want to have to learn to do that, look for an air rifle like the PCP, which has almost no recoil.

Expert Recommendations

Here are some excellent break-barrel air rifles from top manufacturers with long histories of success in the air gun market.

Crosman Benjamin Prowler Nitro Piston Air Rifle

The Crosman Benjamin Prowler Nitro Piston Air Rifle is a .177 break-barrel air rifle that boasts a lighter and smoother cocking force than others in its class. With Nitro Piston technology, it has reduced recoil and shoots with 70 percent less noise and 25 percent more accuracy. It features a durable, all-weather synthetic stock and foregrip, rifled steel barrel, Quiet Fire sound suppression technology, a two-stage adjustable trigger, lever safety and a 4x32mm scope. The Prowler generates velocities up to 1,200 fps and delivers power and accuracy in a contemporary package.
Key Features:
  • With Nitro Piston technology, it has reduced recoil and shoots with 70 percent less noise and 25 percent more accuracy.
  • It features a durable, all-weather synthetic stock and foregrip, a rifled steel barrel, a lever safety and a 4x32mm scope.
  • This air rifle generates velocities up to 1,200 fps and delivers power and accuracy in a contemporary package.

Gamo Swarm Maxxim G2 Air Rifle

The revolutionary Gamo Swarm Maxxim G2 Air Rifle is the world’s only ten-shot break barrel air rifle. Ideal for hunting and pest control, the 10x Quick-Shot Technology enables you to shoot up to ten pellets without reloading. Simply break the barrel and fire for lightning-quick follow-up shots. With Inert Gas Technology, it will send .177 caliber pellets at 1,300 fps from its fluted, polymer-jacketed steel barrel. It has a tough all-weather, molded synthetic stock with a no-slip texture design on the grip and forearm and a Custom Action Trigger. The stock also features a Shock Wave Absorber Recoil Pad with up to 74-percent recoil absorption. Also included with the 45 3/10” overall air rifle is a 3-9×40 air rifle scope with rings and a Recoil Reducing Rail.
Key Features:
  • Ideal for hunting and pest control, the 10x Quick-Shot Technology enables you to shoot up to ten pellets without reloading.
  • With Inert Gas Technology, it will send .177 caliber pellets at 1,300 fps from its fluted, polymer-jacketed steel barrel.
  • The textured, molded synthetic stock features a Shock Wave Absorber Recoil Pad with up to 74-percent recoil absorption.

Ruger Targis Max Break Barrel Air Rifle

Maximize your small game hunting and target shooting with the Ruger Targis Max Break Barrel Air Rifle. This hard hitting air rifle is designed by Umarex Airguns with the outdoorsman in mind and was made for getting out in the woods. The foundation of the Targis Max is its ergonomic all-weather stock. Both the stock wrist and the forend have checkered rubber grip inserts for a sure grip in the hot or cold or wet or dry. The stock is also fitted with a comfortable rubber recoil butt pad. Topping off its stock is the industry’s only integral scope rail. The exclusive Umarex Nucleus Rail provides a sure and steady mounting platform for the included 3-9X32 Adjustable Objective scope. It also helps to minimize the rifle’s sound output and provides vibration distribution. Maximizing stealth is built into the Targis Max with the SilencAir non-removable suppressor, which provides noise reduction for years of quiet shooting performance.
Key Features:
  • Both the stock wrist and the forend have checkered rubber grip inserts for a sure grip in the hot or cold or wet or dry.
  • The Umarex Nucleus Rail provides a sure and steady mounting platform for the included 3-9X32 Adjustable Objective scope.
  • Stealth is built in with the SilencAir non-removable suppressor, which provides noise reduction for quiet shooting performance.

Umarex Syrix Break Barrel Air Rifle

Built as an affordable tack driver, the Umarex Syrix Break Barrel Air Rifle is a worthy small game hunter and backyard plinker. Featuring an all-weather synthetic body, the stock features molded handholds and a rubber buttpad that provide the shooter with a secure grip. Set into the stock is Umarex’s Turbo Nitrogen Technology, a gas piston that delivers .177 rounds at speeds up to 1,000 fps. Gas pistons function well year round and can even remain cocked for hours-a serious advantage to shooters in colder regions of the country. For optics, you have options. The Syrix is ready to shoot right out of the box with an adjustable fiber optic rear sight and fixed front sight. For a close and personal approach, mount the included 4x32 scope to the integral 11mm dovetail rail. If you want to make the leap from multi-pumps to break barrels, or just want a reliable plinker and hard-hitting target spinner, the Umarex Syrix Break Barrel Air Rifle is ready for its range debut!
Key Features:
  • Set into the stock is Umarex’s Turbo Nitrogen Technology, a gas piston that delivers .177 rounds at speeds up to 1,000 fps.
  • Gas pistons function well year round and can even remain cocked for hours, which is a serious advantage in colder regions.
  • With an all-weather synthetic body, the stock has molded handholds and a rubber buttpad that provide a secure grip.


Shop All Air Rifles Here

Related Products