Mastering Vermin Control: Essential Preparations for Airgun Hunting

Introduction: Airgun hunting has gained popularity among outdoor enthusiasts as an effective and challenging way to control vermin populations. Whether you’re a seasoned shooter or a beginner, proper preparation is crucial to ensure a safe, ethical, and successful experience. In this blog post, we will guide you through essential steps to prepare before heading out for vermin controlling with an airgun. Discover the key factors to consider and equip yourself with the knowledge to make your airgun hunting trip a resounding success.

  • Know the Local Regulations: Before venturing out into the field, it is vital to familiarize yourself with the local regulations and laws concerning airgun hunting. Research the specific vermin species you intend to target, understand the permitted hunting seasons, bag limits, and any licensing requirements. Complying with legal guidelines not only ensures ethical hunting but also prevents potential legal repercussions.
  • Selecting the Right Airgun and Accessories: Choosing the appropriate airgun and accessories is crucial for a successful vermin control outing. Consider the specific vermin species you will be targeting and the environment in which you will be hunting. Opt for an airgun with sufficient power and accuracy to dispatch the vermin cleanly and humanely. Additionally, invest in quality optics, such as scopes or red dot sights, to enhance your aim and precision.
  • Practice Proper Marksmanship: Achieving accuracy with an airgun requires consistent practice. Familiarize yourself with the operation of your airgun and spend ample time practicing marksmanship skills. Set up targets at various distances and practice shooting from different positions, mimicking real-life hunting scenarios. Remember to focus on proper stance, breathing control, trigger discipline, and follow-through. Regular practice will increase your confidence and ensure accurate shots when it counts.
  • Research Vermin Habits and Patterns: Understanding the behavior and habits of the vermin you intend to control is crucial for a successful hunting trip. Study their feeding patterns, preferred habitats, and movement routines. This knowledge allows you to strategize your hunting approach, increasing your chances of encountering the vermin in the right place at the right time. Online resources, books, and local experts can provide valuable insights into vermin behaviour.
  • Plan Your Hunting Location: Identify suitable hunting locations where the vermin populations are known to be abundant. Consult with landowners, farmers, or local wildlife management authorities to gain permission and access to private or public hunting grounds. Ensure you have a clear understanding of the property boundaries and adhere to any specific rules or guidelines provided by the landowner.
  • Safety First: Safety should always be your top priority. Before heading out, familiarize yourself with basic firearm safety practices and protocols. Ensure you have appropriate safety gear, including ear protection, eye protection, and appropriate clothing for the hunting environment. Always be mindful of your surroundings, especially when shooting in areas with potential human activity. Adhere to safe shooting angles and never shoot at targets that may cause a ricochet.

Conclusion: By following these essential steps, you can maximize your chances of success and ensure a safe and responsible airgun hunting experience. Remember to research local regulations, select the right equipment, practice your marksmanship skills, study vermin behaviour, plan your hunting locations, and prioritize safety. With the right preparation, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a skilled vermin controller while enjoying the thrill of airgun hunting. Happy hunting!

Choosing Between a Spring-Piston and CO2 Airgun: Making an Informed Decision


Are you torn between a spring-piston airgun and a CO2-powered airgun? We understand the dilemma! To help you make an informed decision, we’ve created this comprehensive guide comparing the two types of airguns. By exploring their differences, benefits, and limitations, we aim to assist you in finding the perfect airgun for your shooting preferences. Let’s dive in!

  1. Understanding Spring-Piston Airguns:

Spring-piston airguns are renowned for their simplicity, reliability, and affordability. They operate by utilizing a coiled spring mechanism to generate power and propel the pellet. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Power and Accuracy: Spring-piston airguns generate considerable power, making them suitable for target shooting, small game hunting, and pest control. While they can be accurate, mastering their shooting technique is crucial for consistent results.
  • Recoil and Noise: Spring-piston airguns have a noticeable recoil due to the spring’s release, which can affect shooting accuracy. Additionally, they tend to produce more noise compared to CO2-powered airguns.
  • Maintenance: Spring-piston airguns require minimal maintenance, usually consisting of periodic lubrication and spring tension checks. They are relatively robust and can withstand rough handling.

See More Spring Powered Airguns

  1. Exploring CO2-Powered Airguns:

CO2-powered airguns use pre-filled CO2 cartridges to propel the pellet. They are known for their ease of use, versatility, and consistent shot-to-shot power. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Power and Accuracy: CO2 airguns offer consistent power levels throughout the shooting session, providing reliable accuracy and predictable trajectories. They are ideal for plinking, target shooting, and recreational use.
  • Recoil and Noise: CO2 airguns generally have less recoil compared to spring-piston counterparts, resulting in improved shot-to-shot consistency. They also produce less noise, making them suitable for backyard shooting and areas with noise restrictions.
  • CO2 Cartridges: CO2-powered airguns rely on disposable CO2 cartridges. While convenient, it’s essential to consider the ongoing costs of purchasing new cartridges as part of your shooting expenses.

See More CO2 Rifles

  1. Factors to Consider When Deciding:

When deciding between a spring-piston and CO2 airgun, several factors can help guide your decision-making process:

  • Shooting Purpose: Determine whether you intend to use the airgun for target shooting, pest control, plinking, or recreational shooting. Each purpose may favor a particular type of airgun.
  • Power and Range: Consider the power and range requirements for your shooting activities. Spring-piston airguns generally offer higher muzzle velocities and energy, while CO2 airguns provide consistent power across multiple shots.
  • Budget: Evaluate your budget, considering both the upfront cost of the airgun and the long-term expenses. Spring-piston airguns tend to be more affordable initially, while CO2 airguns may have ongoing cartridge costs.
  • Shooting Environment: Assess whether noise restrictions or limited shooting areas play a role in your decision. CO2 airguns, with their reduced noise levels, may be more suitable for urban or backyard shooting.


Choosing between a spring-piston and CO2 airgun ultimately depends on your shooting preferences, purpose, and budget. Spring-piston airguns offer affordability, power, and durability, while CO2-powered airguns provide ease of use, consistency, and reduced recoil. Consider factors such as shooting purpose, power requirements, budget, and shooting environment to make an informed decision.

At Pellpax, we offer a wide range of high-quality airguns to cater to various shooting needs. Visit our website to explore our selection and find the perfect airgun that aligns with your needs.

Rifles and Shotguns: 5 Frequently Asked Questions

Pellpax is a company well known for a reliable, face-to-face delivery service. Each weekend, our own drivers cover the whole of England and Wales, delivering firearms to the doors of our customers. We’re able to do this because Pellpax is a Registered Firearms Dealer.

The UK has the strictest firearms regulations in the world. Fortunately, shooting sports are surviving Britain’s legislative measures to prevent gun crime. If you’ve ever bought a gun from Pellpax, you’ll be familiar with the procedure.

As a registered firearms dealer, Pellpax carries a huge responsibility. We don’t take this responsibility lightly. In fact, we consider our licence to sell firearms a privilege.

Customers ask a lot of questions about airguns and firearms and their ammunition. Today we’re going to have a go at answering five of the most common questions that people ask about live-fire guns.

1.    Do I need to have a Firearms Certificate (FAC)?

For a start, you’ll need a firearms licence if you own a live-fire weapon.

Firearms Act 1968 Section 1 (1)

It is an offence for a person

  • to have in his possession, or to purchase or acquire, a firearm to which this section applies without holding a firearm certificate in force at the time, or otherwise than as authorised by such a certificate.
  • to have in his possession, or to purchase or acquire, any ammunition to which this section applies without holding a firearm certificate in force at the time, or otherwise than as authorised by such a certificate, or in quantities in excess of those so authorised.

Firearms Act 1968 Section 2 (1)

Subject to any exemption under this Act, it is an offence for a person to have in his possession, or to purchase or acquire, a shot gun without holding a certificate under this Act authorising him to possess shot guns.

That covers all rimfire and centrefire guns and their ammunition. For possession of both a shotgun and a live-fire rifle, you’ll need an FAC (firearm certificate) for each. The licence will specify the calibre and action of your gun, and there’ll also be a restriction on the amount of ammunition you’re permitted to possess at one time.

Firearms Act 1968 Section 57 (1), defines a firearm as

a lethal barrelled weapon of any description from which any shot, bullet or other missile can be discharged.

Clear as a bell – apart from the word lethal, which is a matter of interpretation. For the purpose of this law, a lethal weapon has the potential to discharge a missile with 12 ft/lb or more of muzzle energy. This definition, of course, includes some air rifles.

There’s no central issuing authority for firearms licences. Each regional police force deals with application, issue, and renewal of FACs. Although the Firearms Act 1968 presents clear guidelines, much of its execution is down to interpretation by experienced police officers who have in-depth knowledge of firearms and a clear understanding of firearms law.   

The Firearms Act 1968 Section 27 (1) says

A firearm certificate shall be granted where the chief officer of police is satisfied

  • that the applicant is fit to be entrusted with a firearm … and is not a person prohibited by this Act from possessing such a firearm
  • that he has a good reason for having in his possession, or for purchasing or acquiring, the firearm or ammunition in respect of which the application is made
  • that in all the circumstances the applicant can be permitted to have the firearm or ammunition in his possession without danger to the public safety or to the peace.

Basically, you must have a legitimate reason for owning a gun, and the licencing officer needs to be satisfied that you’ll abide by the law and not put anyone at risk … and you have to be a ‘he’. Just kidding.

2.    How does a shotgun shell work?

A shotgun shell – or cartridge – is made up of the following components:


The plastic casing (or shell) of the cartridge holds everything together and forms a seal within the barrel, allowing the pressure of expanding gasses to build. At the base of the casing, a protruding metal (usually brass) rim acts as an anchor. The crimped top forms a lid to keep the contents secure, and when the gun is fired, the leaves form a sort of funnel for the shot.


A small amount of primer is contained within a central recess of the cartridge’s flat base. The firing pin crushes the primer, and the impact causes a chemical reaction that ignites the primer, creating enough heat to ignite the propellant. 


The propellant is the exploding black powder or smokeless powder (a term used chiefly in the US). When black powder burns, the product is approximately half gaseous and half solid. When smokeless powder (‘propellant’ in the UK) combusts, the product is mostly gaseous, and therefore a lot less smoky than traditional gunpowder.


The wad, which is made up of three plastic (or fibrous) components, serves multiple purposes.

Wadding separates the explosive from the shot and creates a seal to prevent the propellant gas from passing through the shot and thus losing power. The centre piece of the wad is the cushion, which acts as a shock absorber by compressing under pressure; this helps to prevent deformation of the shot. Another part of the wadding cups the shot, keeping it together as it’s propelled down the barrel.


Shot cartridge projectiles come in various forms – from a single slug, to a dozen buckshot pellets, to hundreds of tiny birdshot. Shot pellets are usually made of lead, but can also be of other metals, such as tin, zinc, bismuth, or steel.

3.    How does a rifle cartridge work?

A rifle cartridge is made up of the following components:


A rifle cartridge case is made of metal – usually brass. The case contains the primer, propellant, and projectile.


The primer is a shock-sensitive substance that combusts when hit by the firing pin. Its purpose is to ignite the propellant.


The propellant is an explosive substance that quickly produces hot, expanding gas as it burns. The pressure of this explosion propels the bullet in the direction of least resistance – i.e. down the barrel.  Traditionally, the propellant was gunpowder (also known as black powder), and it’s still used today. However, it’s now more usual for the propellant to be smokeless powder (in the UK, known simply as ‘propellant’).


The projectile in a rifle cartridge is a bullet, which is usually a single flat-bottomed dome, made of lead or lead alloy, weighing between 15 grains and around 750 grains. Some are long and narrow, and others are squat. Some bullets have pointed tips, and others have tapered bottoms.

4.    What’s the difference between rimfire and centrefire?

The difference between a rimfire and a centrefire cartridge is down solely to the way in which the firing pin strikes the primer.

Centrefire cartridge

In a centrefire cartridge, the primer is contained in a metal cup within the centre of the base. The primer is all in one place, so when it’s struck by the firing pin, the resulting combustion is consistent and predictable. A centrefire cartridge is more expensive than a rimfire cartridge, but it’s safer to transport, store, and handle, because of a thick metal casing and protective position of the primer.

All shotguns are centrefire.

Rimfire cartridge

With its thin-walled case, a rimfire cartridge is easier and cheaper to manufacture, and therefore cheaper to buy. The rimfire cartridge, though, is not as reliable as its centrefire equivalent. With the primer spread around the rim of the cartridge and struck by the firing pin at just one point, the level of chemical reaction is inconsistent.

5.    What do the numbers on a shotgun shell mean?


The gauge, or calibre, of the shell case is a measurement of its diameter, which is represented in this way:

Imagine a pure lead sphere that fits perfectly into the barrel of a specific gun. The weight of this imaginary sphere is expressed as a fraction of a pound – e.g. 1/12 or 1/20.

A 12-gauge cartridge is the right size for a barrel that would, in theory, be a perfect fit for a lead sphere that weighs 1/12 of a pound. A 20-gauge cartridge fits a barrel that would hold a lead ball that weighs 1/20 of a pound. So, the 20-gauge cartridge is smaller than the 12-gauge cartridge.


Pellet size is expressed as a code. Below are a couple of examples.

Shot Pellet Size Pellet Diameter Pellet Weight Count per 28g
7 Shot 2.5mm 0.08g 340
6 Shot 2.6mm 0.1g 270

In a Hull Cartridge Imperial Game 6 shot cartridge, with a 26g load, there’ll be approximately 250 (270/28 x 26) to 260 (26/0.1) pellets.

A Hull Cartridge ProSteel 7 shot cartridge, with a load of 19g, will contain approximately 230 (340/28 x 26) to 237 (19/0.08) pellets.


The load is the combined weight of the shot.

A birdshot cartridge containing approximately 460 pellets might have a total weight of 492 grains (32g); each pellet weighs 1.07 grains (0.07g). Nine 60-grain (3.9g) pellets in a buckshot cartridge will have a combined weight of 540 grains (35g). And a single slug weighing 383 grains (24.8 grams) carries the shell’s total weight in one unit.


The measurement given is the length of the cartridge with crimps open – its length after being fired.

Using a shell that’s too long for the chamber can cause serious bodily injury and considerable damage to a gun A shorter shell, though, is fine.

There’s usually a manufacturer’s warning on the cartridge box – e.g. Use only in guns with a minimum chamber length of 76mm or These cartridges are suitable for use in guns with a chamber of 2 ½” (65mm) or longer.   

Contact us

These are just a handful of the questions that people ask about live-fire guns. For more information about firearms or any of the products we sell, just give us a call on 01263 731 585 or email [email protected].

CZ 455 Varmint Walnut Rimfire for Vermin Control

Shooting and Conservation

Vermin control plays an important part in the UK’s rural economy. Two-thirds of the UK’s rural land area is managed with the involvement of shooting. And there are around 600,000 people in the UK who shoot live quarry.

Let’s have a look at a couple of small mammals that cause havoc to farmers.

Grey Squirrel

Because a squirrel buries nuts, but doesn’t remember where it buried them, it’s a useful fertility aid to many tree populations. But this doesn’t cut much ice in the popularity stakes. The harm done to woodland by the little grey squirrel far outstrips the benefits.

The grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) is an opportunist feeder, thriving on a wide variety of food, including berries, fruits, seeds, nuts, flowers, leaf buds, fungi, insects, birds’ eggs, and fledglings. It also has a penchant for the phloem tissue (sweet, sap-filled layers) just beneath the bark of trees, which is responsible for the movement of sugars within the plant. Removal of bark and phloem tissue can cause permanent damage to a tree.

It’s important to remember, though, that your target must be in front of an adequate backstop. In most cases, this means that the animal is on the ground. Never shoot at a squirrel when it’s in a tree.

Brown Rat 

The rat is a pest to urban societies as well as rural ones. There are other ways of culling vermin, of course, besides shooting. But as we’re talking here about shooting pests with a rimfire rifle, we’ll have to leave town dwellers to sort out the problem as best they can. Those of us who live in rural communities do have the option of shooting them.

Of the two species of rat in the UK, the most common is the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus). It carries diseases – salmonella, listeria etc – which can spread to humans; it eats the eggs of ground-nesting birds; and it destroys property. Not a popular fellow.

A rat needs to gnaw constantly in order to wear down its incisor teeth, which never stop growing. The rat will cause floods by gnawing through lead pipes; dangerous gas leaks by chewing through gas pipes; and fires as a result of stripping insulation from electrical cables. It’s been estimated that 25% of electrical fires in the UK are caused by rats.

CZ 455 Varmint

A consistent feature of CZ rimfire rifles is the hammer-forged barrel. The rifling of the bore is created by inserting a reversely rifled mandrel, and then machine-hammering along the outside of the barrel in order to impress the rifling pattern onto the new rifle’s bore. This method of fabrication gives the barrel tremendous strength and accuracy.

CZ 455 Varmint Walnut

The CZ 455 Varmint Walnut .17 HMR Screw-Cut Barrel is a great favourite with Pellpax customers.

The beautifully crafted walnut stock feels good in the hands …

“There’s a traditional feel to this rifle. A sort of timelessness. I use it for shooting rats by our compost heap.” (Jane)

With CZ rifles, you know you’re getting a top-quality product …

“I like the smooth bolt action and two-stage trigger. The trigger can be adjusted, too, to suit the shooter. Squirrels are destroying the trees on my land. They’re sneaky little buggers, and I don’t want to make a bad shot, and leave an animal badly wounded. I need to get a clean kill every time. With this rifle, I do.” (Thomas)

At the end of the 525 mm (20.5”) barrel, there’s a ½” UNF (unified fine) thread for the attachment of a silencer …

Swift Silencer Proofed 1/2″ UNF

“I use a Swift silencer with my CZ 455 Varmint. I think Swift is the best you can get. It’s very lightweight. Super piece of kit.” (Oliver)

This rifle is fitted with a two-stage safety system and a rubber shock absorber on the butt. It comes with a detachable 5-round magazine, and an additional 10-round magazine is available to purchase separately. And it’s also available in .22 calibre.

Live-Fire Rifles Delivered to Your Door

 As a Registered Firearms Dealer (RFD), Pellpax has a legal obligation to adhere to the UK’s rigid legislation surrounding the ownership and sale of firearms. However, we are also committed to facilitating the purchase of firearms. If you own a Fire Arms Certificate (FAC), we’ll deliver your purchases right to your door.

For more information about any of our products, or about the Pellpax delivery service, give us a call on 01263 731 585.


The Best Air Rifle On The Market?

Here at Pellpax we are constantly on the lookout for the best of the best when it comes to air rifles. To help you make the choice on what air rifle you want we have put together this list to answer the age old question : what is the best air rifle on the market?

First of all, the question we are asking is almost impossible to answer in its current form, so lets split it up into categories; jump to

Spring Powered Air Rifles
CO2 Air Rifles
PCP Air Rifles

Spring Powered Rifles

Technology has moved on greatly since these rifles were considered basic; there are now spring-powered rifles capable of shooting with all but the best PCPs.

3rd PlaceAir Arms Pro-Sport Walnut Stock

springbronze Great Springer Action: Air Arms Pro Sport

Pros :

The stock of the Pro-Sport is absolutely beautiful and one of its key selling points, and the walnut wood has been selected not only for its strength, but also its great finish and colouring. Trust me when I say, the pictures online do it no justice; you need to see it in person to really appreciate.

Another great feature of the Pro-Sport is the underlever. Now I’m not usually a fan of underlevers, because of the extra weight they add to the front of the rifle, which can make the rifle quite unbalanced. Air Arms have got around this by cleverly locating the underlever inside the stock to make this perfectly balanced between the hands.

The Pro-Sport also features a great trigger, which is crisp and precise and makes this rifle a joy to shoot. The barrel is also of exceptional quality, and the accuracy and precision of the rifle are truly excellent.

Cons :

Weighing in at nearly 4.5kg, the Air Arms is a very heavy air rifle, and when shooting in the hands and not on a rest, this weight is very noticeable. There are spring rifles available that are half the weight of the Pro-Sport, and when combined with the underlever that must continually be cranked, shooting the Pro-Sport can be quite a workout. Now, it’s not exactly running a marathon, but tired arms equate to inaccuracy – definitely something to consider when going on long shoots.

The Pro-Sport also comes without iron sights, so a scope is an essential extra purchase. Including a rest, and considering that the Pro-Sport is one of the most expensive spring rifles on the market, investing in one of these rifles is not something to be taken lightly. Also, the silencer on the Pro-Sport is fixed, and although it’s a nice one, it would be good to have the option to upgrade.

Read more about Air Arms rifles here

View the Air Arms Pro-Sport Walnut Stock


2nd Place : Walther LGV Master Pro

springsilver 2nd Place Springer: Walther LVG Master Pro

Pros :

The LGV features an ingenious super-silent vibration-reduction spring and piston system that dramatically reduces recoil whilst improving shot-to-shot consistency. This, along with the full 12ft/lb power that the rifle possesses, makes the LGV an absolute joy to shoot, fantastically accurate, and perfect for both pest control and target shooting. This system also makes the rifle far quieter than traditional spring rifles, an important feature when it’s used for pest control.

Walther rifles also feature German engineering, which is famously reliable. Of the many that we’ve sent out the door here at Pellpax, very few have come back to us, and I can’t think of one that wasn’t the fault of human error. The stock of the LGV Master Pro is cleverly shaped to be comfortable to shoulder for both left- and right-handed shooters.

The XM trigger of the Walther is also fully adjustable for both stage force and travel, and makes the LGV customisable to suit your preference. The trigger, when set up correctly, is crisp and precise with a predictable let off.

Cons :

The LGV Master Pro comes with a barrel weight in place of silencer, and while the spring system is quieter than most rifles, it would be nice to have a silencer included. The Walther also doesn’t have any iron sights, so you can’t get shooting straight out of the box.

Although the stock of the LGV is ambidextrously shaped, the finish of the Walther is not nearly as nice as the Pro-Sport. It’s not as glossy, and the chequering is not as precise as some others that we sell.

See more of our Walther range here

View the Walther LVG Master Pro


1st Place : Weihrauch HW98

springgold Weihrauch HW98

Pros :

The HW98 has been designed with target shooting in mind and is consequently one of the most accurate spring rifles on the market today. Seriously, I put a few different kinds of pellet through this rifle – a few JSB Exact, as well as some Daystate Sovereign, as well as some cheaper H&Ns – and the HW98 was grouping incredibly well. Impressive stuff. I put this down to the Weihrauch’s bull barrel, which is superbly well made and is fully shrouded, eliminating the need for a silencer.

The way the stock of the HW98 is perfectly balanced between the hands and the adjustable cheekpiece and butt pad is a nice touch; it ensures shooters of all sizes can shoulder this rifle effectively. The textured panels of the HW98 provide a superb level of grip, even in wet conditions.

The Rekord trigger of the 98 is fantastically crisp and is perfect for all kinds of shooters. The trigger can be finely tuned to your personal requirement whilst providing a crisp let off for each shot. The HW98 is not only one of the finest spring rifles available, but has got to be one of the best shooting air rifles on the market today. Whether it’s target shooting or pest control, the HW98 has got to be the way to go.

Cons :

The look of the rifle, particularly the stock, is not going to be for everybody. Personally, I quite like it, but Weihrauch’s decision not to go for either a traditional or a tactical look, but to go somewhere in between, has left them with something that is certainly unique.

The rifle also comes without iron sights, although the top mounted rail makes adding scopes easy. The fully shrouded barrel also eliminates the need for an additional silencer, but it would be nice to have the option.

Read more about Weihrauch air guns range

View the Weihrauch HW98


Honourable mentions :

The Pellpax Rabbit Sniper Kit is perfect for those on a budget, as it comes with a break-barrel spring rifle, a Hawke scope and screw mounts, a barrel silencer, a padded gun bag, and two tins of ProShot Precision Pellets, all for under £200. The rifle is German made and great quality for the price.

Another rifle that is perfect for those looking to acquire a quality rifle at an affordable price is the Gamo Whisper Sting. The rifle comes complete with a Gamo Scope, and the rifle is fitted with a barrel silencer and fibreoptic iron sights.

CO2 Powered Rifles

CO2 rifles are refilled with 12g or 88g CO2 capsules, making them easy to use, and giving some CO2 rifles the ability to be semiautomatic. They will fire as fast as you can pull the trigger until the magazine is empty. CO2 rifles are often inexpensive and require little maintenance, but there are some seriously good quality guns out there if you know where to look.

3rd Place : Walther Winchester Lever Action

co2bronze The Walther Winchester Lever Action

Pros :

The look of this rifle is perfect for fans of Spaghetti western movies or those who admire the Old West. The look of the Winchester is perfect, and the use of metal and wood perfectly encapsulates the feel of this historic time period. The finish on the stock is of the absolute highest quality and is hard wearing and durable, just like the originals would be.

I gave this over to a few friends of mine; they couldn’t believe it was an air gun, and were sure that I’d just handed them a fully loaded Winchester 30/30, due to its realistic look and weight. Impressive stuff.

The lever action of the Walther is reliable and effective and just great fun to use. It combines excellently with the rifle’s 8-shot magazine to make this rifle great for taking out cans or balloons in the back garden. The accuracy of the rifle is also impressive, but due to the reloading action, I wouldn’t recommend it for anything other than informal or practice target shooting. The Winchester also gets around 8 magazines’ worth of full power shots per refill, which equates to around 72 individual shots – pretty good for a rifle of this kind.

Cons :

Although in keeping with the time period, the Winchester is a little lax when it comes to options. There is no fitting for a silencer, or rail for a red dot sight or scope, which really limits the ability to use this gun effectively and prevents the Winchester from becoming a serious rifle instead of just a piece of fun.

There’s also quite a bit of plastic that has been used in the construction of this rifle; the sights, the barrel bands, and the butt plate are all plastic. This doesn’t detract from the overall look, as they are cleverly finished in matte black, but I would have preferred metal. Metal is just a more hard-wearing material, and the use of plastic is purely to save cost. Which would be fine, but the rifle already costs almost £350 – quite a lot for a CO2 rifle.

See more of our Walther range here

View the Walther Winchester Lever Action

2nd Place : Sig Sauer MCX


Pros :

The Sig Sauer is one of the finest-looking air rifles on the market, and if you’re looking for something in a military/police style, then there really is no better option than the MCX. The use of flip-up iron sights, as well as the tactical rails, make you feel like you’re holding a real firearm. The rails also mean this rifle can be customised with various accessories and tailored to suit your needs. The rifle comes complete with a silencer and front grip, making the rifle both relatively quiet and accurate. The accuracy is also enhanced by its rifled barrel.

The rifle also features a 30-round magazine, which is one of the largest of any CO2 rifle. One of the main selling points of the Sig is its semiautomatic action, which means this rifle will empty its magazine as fast as you can pull the trigger, making this rifle great fun. The MCX also uses an 88g CO2 capsule instead of 12g, greatly increasing the shot count.

Cons :

The MCX does feature a lack of precision in some of its details, such as the selector, mag release, and charging handle. All have quite a lot of play in them and lack the crispness expected of a rifle of this quality. The two-stage trigger is also a little wobbly, with a long uptake before the second stage, and again lacks that extra bit of finesse I expected.

The magazine itself is made from plastic and requires some work to be reloaded effectively. The pellets must be loaded into a belt, and then the belt is added to the magazine. This gives a lot of opportunity for error: if the pellets are not inserted perfectly correctly, the accuracy of the rifle is affected. Another small thing about the magazine is that the belt must only be moved in a clockwise direction, and if moved counter clockwise, will cause “serious damage to the magazine”. Now this is a simple instruction to follow, but get it wrong and your magazine is broken – something to bear in mind.

See more of our Sig Sauer range here

View the Sig Sauer MCX


1st Place : Crosman Ratcatcher 2250 XL

co2gold Going For Gold: The Crosman Ratcatcher XL

Pros :

One of Crosman’s longest-serving CO2 rifles, the 2250 XL is really the only sensible choice when it comes to picking a CO2-powered pest control rifle. The accuracy of the 2250 XL is greatly improved with its extended 18” barrel, which is fully rifled and will have you taking out rats at around 40 metres.

Despite taking just a single CO2 capsule, the Crosman will provide around 30 full-power shots per refill, and the lightweight skeleton stock makes this rifle superbly manoeuvrable in the hands, with the whole rifle weighing just 1.6kg. The updated version of this rifle also features an improved bolt design and makes this rifle extremely smooth to reload.

The Ratcatcher also comes complete with a 4×32 Centre Point scope, although the top rail makes changing your choice of optics a doddle. The barrel is also fitted with a silencer that greatly reduces muzzle noise, an important and often overlooked attribute in a rifle designed for pest control.

Cons :

The look of this rifle is not going to be for everybody. The skeleton stock, while perfect for saving weight, doesn’t exactly make this rifle a display piece. It’s definitely a case of function over looks with this rifle.

The 2250 XL also is only available in single shot, meaning it must be reloaded after every trigger pull. This means that if you miss your shot, it’s going to take slightly longer before you can get your next shot off. Thanks to the accuracy of this rifle, however, one shot is likely all you need.

Read about Crosman here.

Honourable mentions :

The Super Stealth Rat Controller Pro Kit is only available in .22, but comes with a scope, mounts, silencer, bipod, capsules, and pellets – all for just over £200. This makes this kit ideal for those looking to deal with a pest problem quickly and effectively on a budget.

Another great CO2 rifle is the letcher M1891 Sawn Off, a relatively cheap and reliable rifle with an impressive finish. The only downside of the rifle is that it’s only available in 4.5mm BB instead of pellet, limiting its accuracy and effectiveness.

View the Sig Sauer MCX


PCP Air Rifles

PCP rifles utilise a refillable air cylinder to propel their pellets with precision accuracy. PCP rifles are often the most effective and most sought-after air rifles on the market, and consequently there are several options available with prices ranging from £300 to £3000, so there’s a rifle out there to meet everybody’s needs.

3rd Place : Daystate Pulsar Synthetic

pcpbronze A Great PCP: The Daystate Pulsar Synthetic

Pros :

Daystate are known for their attention to detail, and even by their high standards, the Pulsar truly is of the very highest quality. The fit and finish of the Pulsar is fantastic and a step above almost any other rifles; it seems almost a shame to shoot it.

The air cylinder provides around 250 shots in .177, and 300 in .22, which is truly a staggering amount per refill. That’s over half a tin of pellets before needing a recharge, and with the Pulsars internal electrics, the power stays the same no matter the amount of air left. The pulsar features an onboard computer, which feeds data to an LCD screen and tells the Pulsar how hard the solenoid needs to hit the valve to let out the exact amount of air each time, leading to unrivalled shot-to-shot consistency. This could be argued to be a case of over engineering, but there is some seriously clever stuff going on inside the Pulsar, and the results are outstanding.

Cons :

Being a bullpup, the Pulsar is not going to win any beauty contests, but also because your head is resting right above the action, the scope has to be mounted angled slightly downwards to be zeroed effectively at range; this makes knowing your distance and trajectories important if you want to shoot the Pulsar effectively. This is not just a pick-up-and-shoot rifle.

The Pulsar is also pretty heavy, weighing in at almost 4kg, and being a bullpup, the weight is concentrated towards the back of the rifle. Initially, this can make the rifle quite awkward when shooting standing up, but it’s something that can easily be compensated for. Chances are, you’re going to be shooting this from a rest or sandbag anyway.

Another thing that is large about the Pulsar is the asking price. I’m just going to come out and say it: the pulsar costs close to the £1600 mark, without any accessories, which, let’s be honest, is no small investment. You do get a lot of gun for the money, but £1600 is still enough for a decent car or a week away in southern France. I’d still rather the gun than both of these, but there are other rifles out there that cost a fraction of the price.

You can read up on Daystate here

View the Daystate Pulsar Synthetic

2nd Place : BSA R-10 SE

pcpsilver The BSA R-10 SE

Pros :

The stock of the R-10 is made by Minelli, an Italian company that make stocks for prestigious brands, including Daystate, and the walnut wood used in the R-10 is a thing of beauty. Its ergonomic shape includes a raised cheekpiece for comfortable shouldering, and the butt pad is excellently shaped and textured for superb grip.

The BSA features a Customer Configurable Shroud (CCS) system which allows the R-10 to be changed from either bull barrel or a standard barrel with a full-length silencer attached. The difference between these two options is negligible, but it’s always nice to have the option. The regulator has also been greatly improved since the last version of the R-10, and now provides 11% more shots per refill for a greatly increased shot count of around 165 in .177 and 225 in .22.

The barrel and trigger system of the R-10 is expertly manufactured and provides precision and accuracy, making this rifle ideally suited to competition and serious target shooting, as well as pest control.

Cons :

The stock of the R-10, although well shaped, is extremely high gloss, which reflects the light a little too well, and if you’re out hunting, the resulting glare can not only be distracting while shooting, but can also alert animals to your position; so a matte, or at least semi-matte, finish might be a better option.

The cocking mechanism must also be carefully operated, as the magazine can be cycled without cocking the trigger. This means that the rifle can quite easily be double loaded, with one pellet behind the other in the barrel. Firing the gun in this scenario can cause serious damage to the inside of the barrel, although a careful cocking regime can eliminate this issue.

The rifle can also be fired without fully closing the catch, which will result in poor accuracy when firing. In fact, when testing, I fell into this trap. I put it down to youthful exuberance, and was confused by the rifle’s poor accuracy. Rest assured that when the catch is fully closed, the rifle is extremely precise, but this mistake is easily made.

Check out our BSA range here

View the BSA R-10 SE

1st Place : Weihrauch HW100 T

pcpgold PCP Gold Goes To: the Weihrauch HW100 T

Pros :

For the money, there is simply no better rifle. The rifle comes complete with two 14-shot magazines, a removable quick-fill air cylinder with a pressure gauge, and Weihrauch’s own half-inch UNF silencer – everything you need to start shooting.

The HW100 is available for under £800 and can compete with rifles that are more than twice the price. This thing needs to be shot to be believed.

As well as its incredible accuracy, the HW100 T features a fantastically manufactured stock, which is ergonomically shaped with a generous thumbhole shape that fits the hands beautifully and provides a secure and sure grip, even in wet conditions – perfect for outdoor hunting.

The gun is superbly easy to use and to load, and also cycles and cocks with reliable precision. In fact, the magazine of the HW100 is one of the key selling points and can be easily unclipped. Thanks to the magazine being open, you can also easily see how many pellets you have left, so you can be confident you are shooting more than just air when sighting up your next rat.

Cons :

The air cylinder of the HW100 is quite heavy, particularly when filled with air, and can make the rifle unbalanced when shooting. The thumbhole stock does a good job of counteracting this, but this uneven balance, along with the rifle’s high weight, can make for a tiring shoot when you’re out all day.

Honourable mentions:

The Kalibrgun Cricket, another bull-pup rifle from a less well-known brand, is incredibly accurate and comes with four 14-shot magazines. This rifle is not the best-looking rifle ever made, but is an impressive shooter for the price.

The Hatsan AT44X  is great for those looking to buy a PCP rifle of high quality whilst on a budget, and is available for under £400. The inbuilt cylinder features a pressure gauge, and the rifle also has an auto safety – features not often included with rifles of this price.

Read more about Weihrauch air guns range

View the Weihrauch HW100 T

To Conclude

So there you have it: the definitive list of the best airguns on the market.

Everyone has their own preferences, but keep this list as a guide and you won’t go far wrong. When it comes to the best pistol, that’s another conversation entirely, and one that won’t be answered here. Frankly, I’m sure you feel like you’ve read enough.

Stay tuned to the Pellpax Blog for more articles coming soon and keep checking back for our latest offers.

Pellpax sponsors another young Olympic shooting hopeful

Sixteen-year-old Olivia Hill, a sixth-form student at Paston College, North Walsham, is a champion in the making.

Olivia HillThis talented young shooter, who took up the sport less than two years ago, has already reached a high competitive standard, and is training hard for her climb to the very pinnacle of success: the Olympic Games. Combined with unwavering support from her mum, Lisa, the financial assistance from Pellpax will provide Olivia with the means to train hard and to attend competitions.

Olivia – currently the only competing 10m Precision Air Rifle shooter in Norfolk – is a member of the Norfolk County team, the National Scout Rifle Squad, and the GB Rifle Talent Squad. In March this year, Olivia was accepted by the England Rifle Academy (an ESSU project), established for the enhanced coaching and training of talented individuals. Besides shooting practice at North Walsham Rifle and Pistol Club, and Norwich City Target Club, Olivia’s training schedule includes balancing exercises, dry firing, and a conditioning programme for stamina and strength.

Gaining Personal Bests

In February this year, Olivia took part in her first international competition, the 41st InterShoot event in The Hague, Holland. She performed well and was delighted to achieve a personal best score. In 2018, there will be many more opportunities for Olivia to build on her experience.

In April, Olivia will be competing in the British Open Airgun Championships at Bisley Shooting Ground, in Surrey. This year, the competition has been pushed back from its usual slot in February, so that competitors can enjoy the new rules that see women and juniors shooting a 60-shot match (as opposed to the former 40-shot), which brings ladies’ and juniors’ events in line with the men’s. Later in the year, Olivia will be taking part in the ESSU competition, also held at Bisley.

Over the coming months, Olivia will be doing some product testing for Pellpax. Keep an eye on the Pellpax blog page to find out how rifles from some of the top manufacturers fare in Olivia’s capable hands.

Olivia Hill
Olivia Hill scorecard

Amy Brown – A Star of the Future

Based in Norfolk, Pellpax is a nationally recognised company, led by a strong ethos of giving something back to the community. Sponsorship of twenty-year-old Amy Brown, an exceptionally talented Olympic skeet shooter from Newcastle upon Tyne, is one way in which Pellpax helps to nurture the future of British shooting sports.

Darren Kirk, Pellpax Managing Director, explains: “Occasionally you stumble across someone with an exceptional talent or skill. Left un-nurtured, that talent may blossom, or it may not get the chance to grow to its full potential. Sometimes all it needs is some help – a little push, or encouragement. We feel that, in some small way, we can help those who have the potential to be the stars of the future.”

The first step on Amy’s shooting career ladder was success at the Target Tokyo trials, after being scouted by an APSI (Association of Professional Shooting Instructors) coach during the summer of 2015. Since then, she has competed in national competitions all over the UK, and in international events in Holland, Serbia, Málaga, the UK, and Malta. Amy’s performance at the 2017 International Malta Grand Prix was testament to her enormous capacity for focus and perseverance; knocked back by illness, she won bronze, just days after being discharged from hospital.

Amy says, “Winning a bronze medal at the International Malta Grand Prix last year was my proudest moment to date. I came back after illness and persevered through the entire competition. I came third in my first ever senior competition.”


Amy is a student at The University of Northumbria. Juggling higher education with a sporting career isn’t easy, but Amy’s tutors have always been sympathetic to her athletic commitments, and this support from Northumbria University has been extended to a Performance Athlete Scholarship. Her daily routine involves a tight schedule of lectures and seminars, fitness training with the university sports team, and shooting practice with her coach, Iain McGregor, one of the most highly qualified and experienced shotgun coaches in the UK.


Amy talks about the logistics of balancing study and training: “I take my work with me and complete assignments whilst I’m away training. The university are extremely understanding with this, and we work together to fit my academic studies in with my training.”

But intense training comes with financial cost.


“Pellpax have made all the difference,” says Amy. “I use approximately 1200 cartridges per month, and they’re expensive, so the harder I train, the higher the cost.”


Pellpax supplies Amy with Hull Pro One cartridges, which deliver such high performance that they have been selected by the World Class Performance Programme as the Olympic training load.


Pellpax contributes to Amy’s travel costs, too. “There are plenty of competitions I couldn’t have attended without their help.”


During training and competitions, Amy wears Pellpax clothing, and gives a glowing review of the warm sweatshirts and joggers that she has been enjoying during this winter’s low temperatures.


“There’s a strict training regime at the university, which has continued throughout the cold weather and heavy snow. My warm Pellpax clothing has been wonderful!”


Training to be a world champion, as well as studying for a university degree, might be enough on most people’s plate – but Amy is an exceptional lady. Together with her younger sister, Erin, she co-ordinates a ladies’ and girls’ shooting club. Proceeds from monthly meetings are donated to charities such as Bloodwise, an organisation striving to defeat all 137 types of blood cancer, and the Great North Air Ambulance.

This year, Pellpax’s Golden Girl will be shooting at international competitions in Malta, Italy, and Spain. And after that?


There is no hesitation from Amy: “I want to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. That’s my dream.” Then she adds, “I’m enjoying the journey towards it. I’m training hard and meeting so many people. It’s a really nice experience.”


… And Pellpax will be with her all the way.

If you are interested in providing further sponsorship for Amy, please contact Amy at [email protected].

On Target for a New Range

Based in Norfolk, Pellpax is a nationally recognised company, led by a strong ethos of giving something back to the community. Sponsorship of Reeds Target Shooting Club, in Kent, is one of the ways in which Pellpax contributes to the accessibility and inclusiveness of shooting sports.

Reeds Target Shooting Club was established approximately 100 years ago, as part of an in-house sports and social club at Aylesford Paper Mills. The mill was owned by the philanthropic newsprint tycoon, Albert Reed (1846-1920), a man who believed in fostering a happy working environment for his employees and their families. Aylesford Paper Mills became one of the largest paper-making plants in Europe, and its sports and social club thrived.

In the 1990s, however, Reeds International pulled out of paper manufacture and sold the Aylesford site, leaving Reeds Target Shooting Club without a home.

John Lucas, the current club secretary, and former Reeds employee, says, “We’ve been nomads, renting space from two other local clubs: Bearsted & Thurnham Rifle Club, and Tubslake Shooting Club. Once a month, we hire space at Bisley Shooting Ground. But it’s not the same as having your own place.”

Creating a disability friendly shooting range

For many years now, the members of Reeds Target Shooting Club have been fundraising for a new, disabled-friendly range, incorporating a clubhouse with office and storage space. The money is slowly accumulating, but there’s still some way to go.

With approximately 100 members, aged between 10 and 80, the club has a thriving social atmosphere; the driving factor is safe, competitive fun. But, as John explains, it’s difficult to cater for those who want to progress and reach exceptional standards.

“Because we don’t have our own shooting range, there isn’t the opportunity for coaching and intense training. Years ago, the club did really well, competitively, and we had quite a few high fliers. Now, we simply do not have the facilities to nurture this sort of ambition.”

Lack of premises also has an impact on the club’s growth, but the demand for shooting doesn’t decline with disability or older age. By law, each new member must receive a certain amount of instruction; however, with restricted availability of facilities, it’s impossible to provide the necessary instruction for an unlimited number of new members. As a result, there’s a lengthy waiting list – frustrating for everyone concerned, but a positive reflection on the club’s reputation.

How Pellpax have helped

Much of the fundraising takes the form of social events, such as quiz nights, barbeques, and the annual Christmas dinner – with a raffle, of course.

John says, “Pellpax have been very generous. They’ve donated all sorts of shooting-related prizes, from pellets and accessories, to archery equipment – which has proved to be very popular – and even air rifles.”

Another popular event is the ‘race night’. You might think (or maybe it was just me) that this is a kind of sports day, with sack races and the like. But it’s much more exciting: you bet on filmed horse races, with the club playing bookie. If you take part often enough, you might even strike lucky and catch a repeat!

Reeds Target Shooting Club is 100 years old, and has been homeless for 20. After years of hard work and perseverance, its members are at last in sight of their goal; more than half of the required money has been raised, and several landowners have expressed an interest in the project. Pellpax is very proud to be a part of their endeavours.

For more information about Reeds Target Shooting Club, visit the website:

Or email John Lucas at [email protected]

Brand Focus: Air Arms

In our continuing series, we take a look at the work of leading airgun manufacturer, Air Arms, and their range of products.

Air Arms are a producer of high quality air rifles, in both Pre Charged Pneumatic, and Spring powered action types. They export their rifles all over the world, and their airguns are used by hunters and target shooters with huge success, for example at last year’s 2015 World Hunter Field Target Championships.

Origins: Sussex Armoury & NSP Engineering

Machined FTP900 Block
A breech block from a FTP900, fresh off the CNC milling machine.

The company that we know today as Air Arms has an interesting history and company set up. Back in the 1980s there was a company called Sussex Armoury who produced a number of different airguns such as the Jackal Woodsman, and a number of components for that rifle and many others were produced by a local engineering company called NSP Engineering. The Sussex Armoury company then folded in the early 80s, and one of the original three owners of the NSP Engineering, Bob Nicholls, took over NSP.

Air Arms as we know it was born when he then decided to carry on and begin producing his own range of air rifles gained from the knowledge of the sub contract work gained by Sussex Armoury. These were sold under this new brand name, and all of the components were built and assembled at their facility in Sussex.

NSP Engineering still continued to produce Air Arms rifles as well as carrying out sub contract work up until the 90s, until they decided to concentrate on the production of Air Arms and move away from sub contract work. From this point onwards NSP Engineering and the brand of Air Arms has increased dramatically with their rifles now used all over the world, and today Air Arms continue to pioneer the airgun business using the latest in production techniques to produce high quality and technically advanced products.

Cutting Edge Technology

Minelli Stocks
Rifle stocks from Minelli waiting to be mated with the appropriate action

Air Arms use CNC (computer numerically controlled) machines which cut out the metal of solid blocks of material in specific places to produce the components for their rifles. This process is very precise, and as they are produced from one piece of metal the strength is immense. Air Arms also polish all their components on site with polishing machines to achieve a mirror like shine, which is then chemically blued off site to achieve the deep blued finish that Air Arms rifles are renowned for. The stocks are made by Minelli in Italy, of which most gun manufacturers use today to ensure a very high quality finish as well as conformity across the range.

PCP & Hunting Rifles

Air Arms’ range of rifles range from hunting rifles such as the TX200 and S410, right up to the out and out target shooting rifles such as the FTP-900 and MPR Precision. Air Arms have a rifle for almost everyone’s requirements and use, and being based in the UK their production time scale and customer service is absolutely superb.

One of their top selling ranges of rifles has to be the S400 and Air Arms S410 PCP air rifles which are tried, tested, and trusted and have been for many years. The S400 is a single shot action, and the S410 has a 10 shot multi shot magazine, hence the ‘10’ in the name. This naming format follows throughout their range. The beauty of the S400 range is they are elegant, very good looking, reliable, and incredibly accurate. The S400 was first introduced in 2000 and has been a massive hit since then. There haven’t been too many changes over the years, apart from in 2010 when a range of superlite stocks were introduced, and some slight aesthetic changes were made to a few parts. A lot of shooters use this rifle for hunting as well as target shooting as it is fitted with a Lothar Walther barrel, as many of the Air Arms rifles are, so accuracy is immense and with a choice of Standard or Carbine lengths there is a model to suit anyone. If you’re looking for a quality PCP that will last you for many years to come, I highly recommend either the S400, or S410. Check out the range of them on our site here…

A slightly improved model based on the S410 series was brought out in 2008 which used a lot of the same components such as the air cylinder, but utilized a side lever action instead of a standard bolt action. This rifle is the S510 and the sidelever action is a lot smoother and positive compared to a bolt and really makes a difference when out hunting as sometimes a quick follow up shot is essential.

Air Arms CNC Machine
One of the CNC machines that is used to create Air Arms rifles.

Spring Powered Rifles

As well as these hunting orientated PCP rifles, Air Arms produce some great springers which are the TX200 which is available as the standard rifle model and a HC (Hunter Carbine) length, and the Air Arms Pro Sport. The TX200 is a standard underlever action which is available in either a Beech or Walnut stock, and the Pro-Sport is also an Underlever, but not in the traditional sense. Air Arms have been very clever and incorporated the underlever into the stock, which keeps the balance right where it should be unlike many other underlevers where the additional weight at the front unbalances it.

The internals of these rifles run on synthetic bearing material which is normally only found on a tuned spring rifle which makes these rifles shoot like a tuned rifle straight from the box. Here at Pellpax we had a Pro-Sport than had come back from a service from Air Arms which was about 2 months old, and it had been chronographed before it was returned, and over a 10 shot string the FPS spread was just 2 FPS!  This just goes to show how well made they are and what sort of results they can deliver.

Target Rifles

Of course there is Air Arms’ range of superb target rifles which start with the MPR which all come with Dioptre sights as standard making them aimed towards 10 meter target shooting. These rifles are used by numerous target organizations such as Bisley and the Army all over the UK and Europe to train and compete in competitions thanks to their uncluttered format and reliability. The range then goes up to the HFT-500 which has a multi adjustable laminate stock, which can also be fitted with a hamster/palm rest which is sold separately. The HFT500 has a single shot action with the same side lever which is found on the S510 series. The barrel is a match grade Lothar Walther barrel with a larger air cylinder to increase the shot count.

The pinnacle of the range though is the FTP-900 which features a full adjustable laminate stock which is finished in a luxurious clear lacquer to really accentuate the full colours of the stock. You can tell the FTP900 is designed for competition as it has a windicator arm, a spirit level, air stripper, and palm rest and butt hook all incorporated as standard. Since its release a few years ago it has been a massive hit in multiple competitions around the globe and isn’t being beaten by much at the moment!

Air Arms produce some lovely rifles for all different angles of the Airgun market, and have just released their latest rifle,  the Air Arms Galahad, a Bullpup which you can read about on our blog here.

If you are looking for a higher end springer or PCP, or a rifle for target shooting then I highly recommend that you consider Air Arms, as I assure you that you will not be disappointed.

Check out the full Air Arms range here, and find out much more about Air Arms on our collections page here.

Face Off : CZ 455 Varmint vs Marlin XT


One of our staff, and up and coming reviewer, Steph, takes us through a comparison of two leading rim fire rifles, going head to head. Read on to learn much more….

There are a few things to consider when it comes to buying a rifle. The first is whether or not you want a rimfire or a centrefire and whilst there maybe slight differences in performance between the two, this choice will largely come down to what you are using the rifle for. Rimfires chamber smaller calibres and are generally used for target shooting or hunting vermin or other small animals whereas centrefires are used to tackle much larger game such as deer.

Not being a big game hunter myself, despite my love for venison, I have opted to compare two rimfires in this blog post, as they are more readily available, chamber a smaller variety of calibres and, perhaps more importantly, are quite a bit cheaper to both buy and maintain. Because of this, the two rifles I have chosen to compare are the Marlin XT chambered in .17 HMR and the CZ 455 Varmint chambered in the larger .22 WMR round. Both of these rifles are moderately priced with the Marlin coming in around £400 and the CZ at £550, and are perfect for anyone looking for their first rimfire.

Best Looking Rifle?

This is perhaps the most divisive of topics as a lot is down to personal taste, and most serious shooters would consider this topic to be secondary to almost any other.  However the aesthetics of a rifle xt17rare important when it comes to creating a first impression and make all the difference between someone asking: “oooh what is that?” to “what is that!?”
Both of these rifles follow a similar shape and design, and imitate classic bolt action designs of the past, with the Marlin being slightly more angular and the CZ more curved, the Marlin also features a synthetic stock as opposed to the walnut wood of the CZ.

This, for me, makes the CZ a clear winner in looks department as the graining and quality of the wood used in its stock is simply fantastic with subtle pattern variations and a varnished finish that gives the colour real depth and, in my mind, is far more attractive than plastic will ever be. This is one of, perhaps the main, reason for the price difference between the rifles as polymer stocks are far easier to produce.

Winner : CZ 455


CZ 455

Despite the quality of its walnut stock, this feature does make the CZ almost half a kilo heavier than the Marlin,. This is even though it is significantly shorter, and with neither of them weighing in at more than 3.2kg, it is a very noticeable difference, and something to bear in mind when taking on long hunting trips. A heavier rifle makes shoulder firing more fatiguing and will lead to less accurate shooting as the hunt progresses.

The CZ also fires a larger round than the Marlin which requires more force to propel it the same distance. This will start to wear on your shoulder as shooting progresses and, despite the thicker rubber recoil pad on the CZ, is still a noticeable difference. Now this is somewhat negated by the fact that these rifles are rimfire and not centrefire, but the increase in recoil is still surprisingly apparent and something to bear in mind. Despite the more ergonomic stock design of the CZ, the Marlin would be marginally more comfortable for me, especially on long shooting trips.

Winner : Marlin XT


Here we go! This is the big one. A rifle can be gorgeous and comfortable but if you can’t hit a barn door with it, you may as well use it as a very expensive walking stick.  Yes, I’m looking at you Mini-14… The majority of shooters will tell you that the biggest deciding factor in whether a gun is accurate or not is the the big fleshy attachment on the end of it, and whilst I tend to agree with this statement, there are some factors that can make one gun inherently more accurate than another.

A Comparison Of The 2 Rounds

The first of these factors is the ammunition used. Now I’m not going to go into great detail about the advantages and disadvantages about different brands of ammunition, but suffice to say when it comes to picking you ammunition, like anything, you get what you pay for.

When it comes to calibre however there are some generalisations that can be made. The larger .22 round of the CZ will drop off more rapidly than the lighter round of the Marlin although a good scope will be able to compensate for this. However, this weight can have it’s advantages and due to the heaviness of the round it is moved far less by a crosswind and as such is more suitable for hunting conditions where the conditions are changeable.

A comparison of the 2 rounds.
A comparison of the 2 rounds.

The second factor when judging accuracy is the barrel of the rifle itself. The Marlin features iron sights for better out of the box accuracy but I’m going to assume that no one reading this is Chris Kyle and will be fitting a high powered scope to assist their aiming.

The barrel of the Marlin is 2 inches longer than the CZ which gives the bullet more time before it is ejected into the turbulent open air which should improve accuracy.

However, in my experience this was not the case, as the CZ features a far heavier varmint grade barrel, which more rigid than the Marlin’s standard grade design and makes the bullet more stable when it leaves the barrel leading to less movement in the air.

The CZ shot so well, in fact, that it left one hole in the target with an entire 5 round clip shot at 50 yards – impressive stats indeed. The Marlin was not far behind but certainly is not the tack driver that CZ is.

Winner : CZ 455


The stock of the CZ is a thing of beauty. Now, I was not really given enough time to properly assess this attribute of the rifles in question, as reliability can only truly be measured after years of use, and thousands of rounds. However, what I will say is that with rimfire bolt action rifles, there is not a lot that can really go wrong. Both rifles feed and eject reliably, with the bolt of the Marlin perhaps being a little more clunky to operate, but this may be due to out of the box stiffness, something that should clear up after a couple of shooting sessions.

CZ rifles have been some of the most consistently reliable rifles on the market and are noted for their workhorse nature, round after round. Marlin rifles are not as well renowned for their reliability but have improved vastly in recent years thanks to their acknowledgement that their lack of quality control allowed bands such as Rossi and Henry into the market. The rifles that they produce now, having been effectively bought out by Remington, are simply of far better build quality than a few years ago.

Winner : Draw


In conclusion I would say that the CZ is marginally the superior rifle. Whether it is £150 better is debatable, as Marlin really seemed to up their game since the acquisition by Remington was completed. Those accuracy tests don’t lie however, and I myself am inherently drawn to a walnut stock, especially one as finely crafted as the CZ. Overall the CZ might be a heavier, more expensive rifle with a firmer recoil, but the level of trust I have for their brand for making quality products is something that tips the balance in the CZ’s favour.

Overall Winner : CZ 455
You can find links to both the rifles here : CZ 455 + Marlin XT