Date Published: 2021-03-24

The Best .22 Caliber Air Rifle for The Money


The Best .22 Caliber Air Rifle for The Money

By Adelia Ladson

The Differences Between .177 and .22 Caliber Air Rifles

Basically, the main difference between a .177 caliber air rifle and the .22 caliber air rifle is the size of pellet that it will shoot. More or less, the caliber is the size of the internal barrel diameter of a gun, so, ammunition is sized accordingly to fit. A .177 air rifle is the lowest caliber currently in use and tends to be popular for its overall versatility. If you’re looking for power, however, the .22 caliber has a large gain in pellet weight and size and is only useable in the highest powered, hunting air rifles.

Benefits of a .22 Caliber Air Rifle

Having a .22 caliber air rifle is pretty close to having a licensed firearm because it has more dropping power than .177 caliber air rifles and BB guns. You can use it to hunt small game like birds and rabbits and use it against backyard pests like squirrels. In a pinch, this air rifle, since it has more power, can be used as defense. A .22 caliber pellet can do some damage, giving you time to get help or even deter the intruder altogether. It’s like having a firearm without having to get an FFL.

What to Look For in a .22 Caliber Air Rifle

Type

There are several types of .22 air rifles to choose from. It just depends on what you’re looking to use it for. Are you looking for speed and power, which you get with a nitro piston or are you looking for excellent accuracy, which you get in a spring-powered? Is the air rifle for small game hunting or just plinking and target practice in the backyard? Also, is the air rifle for a first time shooter?

Velocity

The thing to know is that the higher the velocity an air rifle sends a .22 caliber pellet, the less accurate it will be and that has to be accounted for every time you shoot. The higher velocity does pack quiet a punch, though! If you are going to be primarily hunting with your air rifle, it’s probably best to choose accuracy and go with a little less velocity, unless you’re a great shot. Your higher velocity .22 caliber air rifles are going to ones that are gas-piston powered or nitro-piston powered.

Trigger

The trigger is what moves the sear out of the way and releases either the hammer or piston so that the air rifle will fire. Many manufacturers use a two-stage trigger design as a measure of safety, so that when the trigger is pulled, it takes two actions to release the sear instead of just one. This helps reduce the chance of a misfire since, the sear is released immediately until the trigger is pulled all the way. Manufacturers also offer an adjustable, two-stage trigger, giving you a screw that can be turned to adjust the length of the pull.

Build Quality

When it comes to shooting and carrying an air rifle, you might just look at what it’s made of. Some are heavier than others and this could affect your accuracy when shooting. Does it have a wooden or plastic stock? Is it an air rifle with a full-metal construction? Also, consider who you’re buying it for and what weight would be comfortable for them to carry and use.

Sound

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.

Our Recommendations

Crosman Mag-Fire Ultra Multi-Shot Air Rifle

The Crosman Mag-Fire Ultra Multi-Shot Air Rifle features a refined approach to multi-shot, break-barrel innovation raising the bar over current technologies. The patented multi-shot design delivers the lowest profile in its class and utilizes fewer components to reduce failure or jamming. Featuring Quietfire sound suppression, an adjustable stock, a Picatinny rail and a 3-9x40AO scope, the result is the ultimate in performance and reliability whether you are on the range or in the field. The Crosman Mag-Fire Ultra features a refined approach to multi-shot, break-barrel technology raising the bar over current technology. The patented 10-shot design delivers the lowest profile in its class and utilizes fewer components to reduce failure or jamming.
Pros:
  • With the Nitro Piston Elite powerplant, it will send .22 caliber pellets up to 800 fps.
  • It features Quietfire sound suppression technology, making it nice and quiet.
  • You’re also getting a 3-9x40 AO scope to ensure accuracy downrange.
Cons:
  • The magazines aren’t as tough and durable as compared to others.
  • At this point, extra magazines are not available.

Crosman Benjamin Prowler Air Rifle With Scope

Powered by Nitro Piston technology, the Crosman Benjamin Prowler Air Rifle With Scope will blast .22 caliber pellets up to 950 fps. This technology provides you with a quieter shot, reduced recoil and greater velocity and energy consistency. The break barrel air rifle features an all-weather synthetic stock and a muzzle break for ease in cocking for the next shot. The Benjamin Prowler includes a 4x32mm CenterPoint precision scope.
Pros:
  • Powered by Nitro Piston technology, you can blast .22 caliber pellets up to 950 fps with consistence.
  • The break-barrel rifle features a muzzle break for ease in cocking for the next shot.
  • A 4x32mm CenterPoint precision scope is included with the air rifle.
Cons:
  • Requires some effort to cock and requires lubrication after unboxing.
  • The scope will not stay zeroed sometimes.

Crosman Drifter Pump Air Pistol/Rifle Kit

The Crosman Drifter Pump Air Pistol/Rifle Kit is packed with everything you need to start shooting right out of the box. You’re getting a versatile, variable pump airgun that is dipped in a carbon fiber hydro-dip with fiber optic front sights and a peep/open rear sight. It will send a .22 caliber pellet at up to a velocity of 550 fps. The removable shoulder stock and pistol grips lets you use the air gun as either a pistol or a rifle. The kit also includes a universal rifle stock ammo pouch, a roll-up case and 400 rounds of .22-caliber Piranha pellets.
Pros:
  • The removable shoulder stock and pistol grips lets you use the air gun as either a pistol or a rifle.
  • The kit includes a universal rifle stock ammo pouch, a roll-up case and 400 rounds of .22-caliber pellets.
  • The variable pump airgun is dipped in a carbon fiber hydro-dip, making it extremely tough and durable.
Cons:
  • A variable pump action air rifle takes more time to cock so not great for hunting pests.
  • A scope is not included in the kit.

Umarex SurgeMax Elite Air Rifle With 4X32 Scope

Packed with modern airgun technology, the Umarex SurgeMax Elite Air Rifle is high-powered with consistent velocity and a smooth cocking effort. The .22 caliber, gas-piston powered air rifle will send a pellet at a velocity of up to 1,000 fps from its rifled barrel. It has an ambidextrous, thumbhole stock with a rubber recoil pad and features a five-chamber noise dampener silencing system. The air rifle also has an adjustable two-stage trigger and an automatic safety. The micro-adjustable fiber optic rear sight and fixed fiber optic front sight lets you quickly acquire your target. The included 4x32 air rifle scope mounts easily to the Nucleus Integrated Rail Platform and the Airgun Shock Reinforced Technology in the scope handles the double recoil of an air rifle.
Pros:
  • The .22 caliber, gas-piston powered air rifle will send a pellet at a velocity of up to 1,000 fps.
  • The micro-adjustable fiber optic rear sight and fixed fiber optic front sight allow quick target acquisition.
  • The included 4x32 air rifle scope mounts easily to the Nucleus Integrated Rail Platform.
Cons:
  • As with any gas-piston powered airgun, it won’t work at all if gas happens to leak.
  • The higher velocity can may it less accurate.

Umarex Synergis Air Rifle With 3-9X40 Scope

The single shot is no more with the Umarex Synergis Air Rifle, which lets you shoot 10 shots without having to reload. Powered by a TNT Gas-Piston and Airflow Boost Technology, the airgun with send .22 caliber pellets at up to 800 fps. It has an in-line design, which allows for inherent accuracy, and a quiet, fully-shrouded barrel for noise control. The air rifle has an under-lever charging system and a two-stage trigger.The included 3-9x40 air rifle scope with rings easily mounts on the metal LockDown Picatinny mounting rail. Two 10-round, RapidMag pellet magazines are included in the package.
Pros:
  • Powered by a TNT Gas-Piston and Airflow Boost Technology, it with send pellets at up to 800 fps.
  • Two, 10-round RapidMag pellet magazines are included in the package.
  • The included 3-9x40 air rifle scope easily mounts on the metal LockDown Picatinny mounting rail.
Cons:
  • It doesn’t have front or rear sights.
  • Under-lever air rifles tend to be a little heavier.

Umarex Gauntlet 2 Air Rifle

The Umarex Gauntlet 2 Air Rifle gives you more, more, more! More shots. More velocity. More energy on impact. The 4,500-psi, 24 cubic-inch removable tank will send .22 caliber pellets at 1,100 fps from its auto-indexing rotary magazine. The state-of-the-art pressure regulator means that you get consistent shot strength. The PCP air rifle has an aircraft-grade aluminum receiver with a single-stage, adjustable trigger and an easy-to-grip, large, knurled bolt handle. It also features a quick-disconnect sling mount, slots in the forearm to accept M-LOK accessories and a Picatinny mounting rail. Two 10-round auto-indexing rotary magazines, a single-shot tray and a degassing tool are included with the airgun.
Pros:
  • The 24 cubic-inch removable tank will send pellets at 1,100 fps from its auto-indexing rotary magazine.
  • The state-of-the-art pressure regulator means that you get consistent shot strength.
  • It features a sling mount, slots in the forearm to accept M-LOK accessories and a Picatinny rail.
Cons:
  • A PCP air rifle can be more expensive than other models.
  • A scope is not included in the kit.

Who Should Buy a .22 Caliber Air Rifle?

The .22 caliber air rifle is probably not the best to start your kid out on. This is an airgun that you can actually use for hunting small game or getting rid of pests. It’s perfect for women, who may not feel comfortable or want to deal with the kick of a licensed firearm.


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