When it comes to choosing an air rifle, there’s a world of options available to suit your shooting preferences. Three standout models in this category are the Gamo Whisper Sting, BSA Lightning, and Gamo Maxxim Elite. Each of these rifles has its unique features and advantages, making them popular choices among airgun enthusiasts. In this article, we’ll compare and contrast these models and provide insights into what potential customers should consider before making a purchase.
Gamo Whisper Sting
Whisper Fusion Technology: This rifle boasts reduced noise and vibration thanks to Gamo’s Whisper Fusion technology.
Reliable Spring Piston System: The Whisper Sting utilizes a spring piston for easy cocking and firing.
Adjustable Trigger: The Custom Action Trigger offers adjustable first and second-stage travel, making it versatile for various shooting styles.
Scope Included: Comes with a 3-9×40 variable zoom Scope & Mounts in the box as standard.
What to Consider:
Noise Levels: While it’s quieter than many other air rifles, it’s essential to know if it meets your noise regulations.
Scope Quality: Consider upgrading the scope for better accuracy.
In conclusion, the choice between the Gamo Whisper Sting, BSA Lightning, and Gamo Maxxim Elite ultimately depends on your shooting style and preferences. Be sure to carefully evaluate these features and considerations before making your purchase to find the air rifle that best suits your needs and provides a satisfying shooting experience. Happy shooting!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
Are you searching for the ideal air rifle that perfectly fits your shooting requirements? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make an informed decision when purchasing an airgun. From understanding the different types of air rifles to considering key factors before buying, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in!
Exploring the Types of Airguns:
Airguns come in various types, each with its unique characteristics and purposes. Understanding these types will help you narrow down your choices and find the perfect fit for your shooting preferences. We’ll cover the three primary types:
Spring-Piston Air Rifles: Known for their simplicity and affordability, these rifles use a coiled spring to generate power and propel the pellet. They are great for beginners or those on a budget.
PCP (Pre-Charged Pneumatic) Air Rifles: Utilizing compressed air stored in an onboard reservoir, PCP rifles offer consistent power, accuracy, and multiple shots per fill. They are favored by enthusiasts and professional shooters.
CO2-Powered Air Rifles: These rifles use pre-filled CO2 cartridges to power the shots. They are easy to use, require minimal effort, and offer semi-automatic or automatic shooting options.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an Air Rifle:
Before making your purchase, it’s essential to consider several factors to ensure you find an air rifle that meets your specific needs. Here are the key factors to keep in mind:
Purpose: Determine whether you’ll be using the airgun for target shooting, pest control, small game hunting, or competition. Each purpose may require different features and power levels.
Calibre: Airguns are available in various calibres, including .177, .22, and .25. Consider the target size, shooting distance, and your personal preferences when selecting the right calibre.
Power Source: Decide which power source best suits your shooting requirements—whether it’s a spring-piston, PCP, or CO2-powered air rifle.
Budget: Establish a budget range and look for air rifles within that range. Remember to consider the long-term costs, such as accessories, maintenance, and ammunition.
Research and Compare:
Once you have a clear understanding of your shooting preferences and the factors to consider, it’s time to conduct thorough research and compare different air rifle models. Visit reputable websites, read customer reviews, and seek expert opinions to gather valuable insights. Pay attention to factors like accuracy, ergonomics, durability, and overall performance to find the best airgun that suits your needs.
Make Your Purchase:
After conducting thorough research and narrowing down your options, it’s time to make your purchase. Ensure you buy from a trusted retailer or manufacturer to guarantee the authenticity and quality of the air rifle. Take advantage of discounts or special offers to get the best value for your money.
Choosing the right air rifle is crucial for an enjoyable shooting experience. By understanding the different types of airguns, considering important factors, conducting thorough research, and making an informed purchase, you’ll be well on your way to finding the perfect airgun for your needs. Remember, investing time and effort in the decision-making process will ultimately lead to enhanced satisfaction and improved shooting performance.
To explore a wide range of high-quality air rifles and accessories, visit our website pellpax.co.uk. Our expert team is ready to assist you in finding the ideal airgun that aligns with your shooting goals. Happy shooting!
This month we are setting our crosshairs on the AGT Vixen. Unique, compact, and balanced the Vixen is produced by Czech Manufacturers, AGT, and are imported into the UK by Regael. Released in early 2021 the Vixen soon became one of AGT’s best-selling rifles overtaking the Vulcan & Uragan.
The AGT range has proven very popular here at Pellpax, hence
why we thought we would focus on one of their rifles. Airgun Technology was
founded in 2013 and is based in the city of Praha (Prague), the capital city of
the Czech Republic.
Light, Accurate & Reliable
The AGT Vixen is one of the newest rifles in AGTs’ range.
They are available in two variations, the Vixen or the Vixen Long. The Vixen
has a barrel length of 250mm, an overall length of 770mm, and a weight of
2.2kg, whilst the Vixen long has a barrel length of 400mm, an overall length of
920mm, and a weight of 2.4kg. These specifications make the AGT Vixen one of
the lightest rifles on the market today.
To ensure the high-quality finish is not compromised, the AGT Vixen comes standard with a 250CC carbon fibre bottle which, is fitted with a neoprene sleeve to act as a stock. The butt pad has a height adjustment feature to ensure the rifle fits comfortably in any shooters’ shoulder.
Packed with features
One thing that is worth mentioning is the ability to change
the side of which the cocking arm is on. It is as simple as removing two
screws, changing the side, and replacing the screws. Taking around 3-5 minutes
in total this is a smart move from AGT as it caters for the left-handed market
too. The trigger is incredibly smooth and can have the pull weight adjusted. I
personally prefer a light pull however, it’s nice to have the option. I must
also praise the positioning of the safety switch. Being located just north of
the trigger this can easily be engaged and disengaged whilst you are shouldered
and looking down the scope. Again, just a small design feature that goes a long
way for me. The switch has a red indicator to make it obvious that the safety
is either on, or off.
Filling the AGT Vixen
The compact, custom-made pressure gauge is well located. One
of my pet hates includes pressure gauges that are located under the end of the
barrel, as I feel uncomfortable having a barrel pointed at my face whilst filling
the rifle. The block that the pressure gauge is located on houses the
regulator, and you can also find both the air discharge port and the filling
AGT Vixen – additional accessories
I really like the AR-Grip on the vixen which, is produced by IMI Defence. The magazines are easy to load and are 15 shots in .177 or 12 shots in .22. An additional accessory, that many owners choose to buy, is the magazine holder. This polymer housing will hold two magazines and attaches to the rifle via a small weaver rail located in front of the trigger guard.
The features go on…
The Vixen is equipped with a weaver rail measuring 195mm.
Traditionally, air rifles use a 9-11mm rail, and Weaver / Picatinny rails are
more frequently seen on Rimfire / Centrefire rifles however these are becoming increasingly
popular amongst the airgun community.
A few, final thoughts
Finally, I would like to mention the shrouded barrel. This again is a feature that is becoming more frequent on airguns these days. The sound moderator is built within this and measures around 90mm. Although there is no option for an additional moderator, I don’t feel the vixen needs one. When I took it out shooting, I was very pleased with the level of noise and wouldn’t feel a moderator would provide much more of an advantage.
The real test
After doing all my research on this gun, I decided to take it out to see what all the fuss was about. I wanted to know whether the Vixen really was worth the £1499.99 price tag and what made this rifle, one of AGT’s most popular. My set-up was kept simple, I used a 3 ltr hydrotec bottle to fill the Vixen, mounted a Hawke Fast mount 6-24×50 AO IR using Hawke Weaver mounts, and set out to see if the Vixen, really lived up to what I had read.
Testing with target shooting pellets
Firstly, I thought I would try a target pellet for those looking to do some casual plinking either at home or down their local gun club. I used the H&N field target trophy .177. I love H&N as a brand simply because I find their quality is always top-notch and they perform in any rifle I put them through. Weighing 8.64 gr I set my targets up around the 25-yard mark.
Although I’m not Chris Kyle, I managed to get a 25mm grouping, which for comparison is about the size of a 2p coin. Considering I’m a clay shooter and don’t tend to do much airgun shooting, I was very pleased with this result. I’m confident that a dedicated shooter could get this grouping down to a 20mm grouping, which is around a 1p coin. For those of you, who prefer a larger calibre the H&N field target trophy is also available in .22.
Testing with hunting pellets
Next, I thought I would try a hunting pellet for those of you who carry out pest control. For this, I went for my go-to hunting pellet, the H&N Baracuda Hunter .177. Now as I previously mentioned I’m a clay shooter and only shoot airguns a handful of times outside of work however, even with my lack of practice I still manage to hit rabbits at good distances with these. Weighing slightly heavier than the H&N field target trophy, the Baracuda hunters are advertised at 10.49gr. I like these pellets as the hollow point ensures enough stopping power to counter the higher velocities of the .177 without affecting the flight of the pellet too much.
Once again, I set my target out at the 25-yard mark, and the results were the same. This time I got a 28mm grouping however, this could be down to the hollow point creating drag or could be down to the absents of my skills with an airgun. Like I mentioned previous I’m confident when I say a more experience airgun shooter could lower this group, but even at 28mm, it’s accurate enough to headshot a rabbit and/or rat. Once again for those of you who prefer the larger calibre, these pellets are available in a .22 calibre here.
My conclusion of the AGT Vixen
Overall, the Vixen is packed with many attractive features that any airgun enthusiast would be looking for when purchasing a rifle. Ok, the price for one is £1499.99 but this is really an investment as the rifle will last you years to come, and the quality of the AGT Vixen easily warrants the price tag. As standard AGT provides 2 magazines, a filling station, spare O-rings, a user manual, some souvenirs, and a soft case. If you would like to check out the Vixen and the Vixens’ accessories, please click here.
When it comes to Weihrauch and Hatsan, there are many similarities that can be drawn between the two companies in their products ranges. These include the fact thats they both produce spring-powered air rifles, as well as pre-charged pneumatic air rifles, as well as spring and PCP pistols in all the common calibres. All their items are usually imported below the legal limits, which are 12 ft/lbs for a rifle, and 6 ft/lbs for a pistol, although the rifles are usually available in FAC levels if you have the right licence.
Both companies produce their products mainly for sporting purposes, such as target shooting, hunting, and pest control, so deciding which one is best for you can often be a tricky task. Weihrauch’s and Hatsan’s products are both in similar price ranges, which doesn’t help make the decision any simpler, but hopefully this blog will help you make the right choice.
Let’s start off by talking about Weihrauch
Weihrauch are one of the oldest players in the airgun game. Founded in 1899 as firearms manufacturers, they even produced the first German .22 rimfire rifle. However, the company ran into trouble after World War 2 when the Allies put Germany on the naughty step and banned the production of firearms, forcing Weihrauch to put their years of research into creating the finest sporting airguns.
However, instead of sinking, Weihrauch thrived, and many of the designs they produced formed the basis of the modern spring-powered air rifle. The company has gone from strength to strength ever since.
What can you expect from a Weihrauch?
Well, their rifles are among some of the most reliable in the business, and we have many customers who still possess rifles they bought in the ’70s and still swear by them, despite the myriad of newer options available. The rifles themselves still carry an air of tradition, and feature solid wood stocks with minimal bells and whistles – just a well-made gun with a good barrel and all-round performance. This may be a turnoff for some, and another complaint that’s logged against Weihrauch guns is that they’re often heavy, with high cocking effort and clunky triggers; the whole thing feels mechanical and is operated as such.
I think this is maybe a little harsh though. Yes, the weight is higher than some other brands (an un-scoped HW97 weighs upwards of 4kg), but the cocking effort is nothing 99% of shooters can’t handle. I quite like the overall weight and feel of Weihrauch rifles; everything feels solid and built to last, and most importantly, powerful and accurate.
Hatsan were founded in 1976 and first started off manufacturing shotguns directed at sport shooters, with great success. They’ve now translated that knowledge of sporting competition to provide a range of airguns that are just as effective in shooting competitions. The rifles themselves are made in Turkey, which mirrors the company as an up-and-coming economic powerhouse that has risen rapidly upwards in terms of reputation and quality, and now stands firmly amongst the world’s elite.
The rifles themselves are modern and ergonomically designed with rubber inserts, thumbhole designs, and a wide variety of synthetic stock options. Another good thing about the brand is that they often come with silencers attached, and with front sights on the silencer; this means that you no longer have to choose between the two. Hatsan rifles also represent incredible value for money, with many coming with bipod, carrying straps, and other accessories for no added cost, and they also add extras like adjustable cheek pieces and inbuilt swivel studs to a lot of their models.
Two of the best
Let me preface this by saying that spring rifles are my bread and butter. There are also various PCP options out there for both brands, which may be subjectively better than these rifles. But not to be tied down with external gas canisters suits me best. So here are my two picks:
The HW77 was Weihrauch’s first rifle that loaded directly into the breech of the barrel, as opposed to a loading tap, which reduced the power, but greatly increased accuracy. This has made the 77 extremely popular in countries with strict power limits, like the UK and Germany.
This K or carbine version of the 77 also decreases the weight to make the rifle more manageable and easier to aim, whilst a raised cheekpiece and sculpted butt-pad make the rifle a nice fit into the shoulder. The gun itself is also equipped with a front sight, but I would make use of the long rail mounted across the top of the rifle, and get a good quality scope.
The gun is exceptionally accurate and shoots well in the field, but where the gun really shines is when shot down the range. The underlever makes bench shooting a little awkward, but the high accuracy and predictable shot placement are winners in my book.
The Dominator is round about the same price as the HW77 and also uses an underlever cocking mechanism. However, that is about where the similarities end. Instead of a wooden stock, the Dominator uses a synthetic polymer that is over-moulded with rubber for resistance to shocks and knocks. This also has the added effect of eliminating that horrible texture that some synthetic stocks have, where they feel like cheap car dashboards. Despite my usual preference for a wood stock, actually the Dominator started to win me over.
Another nice touch is the stock’s raised cheekpiece, and actually this rifle comes with a wide range of accessories – swivels studs, fibre-optic sights, bipod, strap, and muzzle break … to name a few. This rifle also features a top-mounted rail for optics, and the quattro trigger system is great.
I’d recommend this rifle for field work, especially as the rubber on the stock stays grippy in the wet or through gloves, whilst the rifle’s lighter weight means it can be carried long distances. You even get a strap included!
I hope this has given some insight into the two brands and given some ideas as to what rifle you may want to pick.
If I had to choose one, the Weihrauch wins for me every time; but actually, after initially dismissing them, the Hatsan rifles were well made, well priced for what you get, and I could see their appeal.
Many of you will think of an air gun as anything that fires a projectile from a smooth-bore or rifled barrel using the power of air.
This is the standard definition that can be found across the internet. But air guns are so much more than that today, as some use compressed air, others CO2 gas, and some a spring and piston, which still all come under the umbrella of air guns. As a rule of thumb, the term air gun is generally used to refer to any type of gun that uses compressed gas as the propellant, as opposed to burning powder, as in rifles and shotguns. And you should always consider the right air gun pellet for your needs as well.
Probably one of the oldest air gun mechanisms to still be around today is the spring-and-piston type, with the first examples of their existence going back to the late 1800s.
The principle of a spring-powered air rifle is that a spring is cocked by means of a lever; it’s often the barrel that doubles for this job, but some guns are a side- or underlever type, which allows the barrel to be fixed in place. This lever then compresses the spring, which has a piston in front of it, with a washer on the front. This washer used to be made from leather, but today they tend to be made from plastic. This washer creates a near air-tight seal, so that when the spring’s tension is released, the piston compresses the air in front of it, which is then forced through a port into the barrel, propelling the projectile forward.
As this mechanism has very few moving parts, it’s probably the most reliable type of air gun, especially as so many models from nearly 100 years ago are still working flawlessly today!
One slight downside of this system is that the spring wears over time, causing power loss, but a gunsmith can easily replace the spring to get the power back up to where it should be. Spring air rifles come in a wide range of prices from choices such as the Stinger UL Tactical Starter Kit .22, right up to the top-of-the-range, state-of-the-art Air Arms Pro-Sport Walnut Stock .177, which offers some of the best accuracy and consistency straight out of the box.
An upgrade on the standard spring airgun is the gas ram system, which is very similar in its principles to a spring air rifle, except the spring is replaced with a gas strut. For those of you who can’t picture a gas strut, it’s basically a larger version of what holds a car boot open. The gas strut doesn’t suffer the same downfalls as a spring does, such as spring fatigue, meaning that the power stays the same for longer. The gas strut also offers better shot-to-shot consistency, as the compression of the gas is more consistent and accurate than that of a spring would be. Again, prices vary in the gas ram range, from the e Webley VMX D-Ram .22 – Black Synthetic, right up to the Weihrauch HW90K .177.
The next step up from spring and gas ram air rifles are CO2-powered rifles, which use either the small 12g capsules, or the larger 88g cylinders. Both are filled with compressed CO2, and once loaded into the rifle, the gas flows through a valve, eventually being released into the barrel to propel the pellet when the trigger is pulled and the hammer strikes the valve. This system is completely recoil-less, so it’s a lot easier to get better accuracy with one of these rifles straight out of the box.
CO2 does have its disadvantages though, as it’s very dependent on temperature, so it’ll be a bit more powerful on a warm day, but less powerful on a cold day. Spring and gas ram don’t experience this fluctuation by comparison. CO2 are a lot quieter though, as they don’t have much internal movement going on, so with a suppressor fitted, they are close to silent.
PCP (pre-charged pneumatic) rifles are the next step up from CO2 and offer the best in accuracy and consistency out of all the airgun types currently on the market.
PCP rifles use high pressure air – some running at pressures of up to 300 BAR – to propel the pellets along the barrel. The advantage of high-pressure air is that it doesn’t change power as the temperature varies, and is also a lot more stable than CO2, giving much better results when firing pellets. The principle is similar to the workings of a CO2 gun, with the air held in a reservoir, which is recharged via a diving cylinder or a stirrup pump. This air is then released into the barrel via a valve, which is struck by a hammer when the trigger is pulled.
PCP rifles are available in all shapes and sizes, with both single-shot and multi-shot actions available.
An airgun is not just a gun that uses air to fire pellets. It’s much more than that today, with some top-end rifles even utilizing electronic actions to fire the pellets! There are still many new advances to come, but I hope this blog post has helped explain some of the different types.
In these times of Brexit and Trump, it seems everyone’s looking for a good deal. So I’m here to shed light on some of the best that cheap air rifles have to offer. Now, just 60 years ago, £200 would buy you a brand-new car, but cars are not necessarily the most efficient tool for pest control. So let’s see what high-powered airguns we can get for the same price. And you should always factor in the importance of choosing the correct air gun pellet too.
If you’re looking for value, you can’t do better than the Remington Express XP. It’s not just one of the cheapest spring rifles, but it’s one of the cheapest airguns, period. The express is only available in .177, but it will shoot 11.5ft/lbs plus, making it just as effective as many other more expensive guns on the market.
The finish on the rifle is also surprisingly refined, considering the price, and the hardwood stock (read ‘not beech’) is suitably shaped and well stained. The rifle also weighs under 3kg, making it lighter than some other similarly priced spring rifles. The trigger of the Remington, in particular, is nice and wide, and whilst there’s a little creep, the pull weight seems perfectly set to achieve a predictable let-off. The Remington is also accurate, with 1/2” groups at 30 yards, using Air Arms Diabolo pellets, and the muzzle report is greatly reduced by the addition of a silencer.
This rifle, however, is not as quiet as a CO2 or PCP rifle, as the main noise of a spring rifle comes from inside the rifle itself. Also, the silencer is moulded to the front of the rifle, eliminating the possibility of front sights. Now, the rifle does come with a 3-9×32 scope, but it’s always nice to have the option.
All in all, a great rifle that’s limited by its lack of options, such as calibre choice and sight options.
+ Great finish
+ Brilliant Trigger
+ Comes with Scope
– Silencer is Fixed
– .177 Only
– Still Quite Loud
Next up is rifle that has had a couple of re-brands over the years, the Webley ValueMax, now known as the VMX has been a popular choice amongst airgunners looking to get more bang for their buck.
Slightly less powerful than the Express XP, the VMX none the less shoots at around 11.3ft/lbs which is more than enough to deal with either feathers or fur. The VMX features a Powr Lok mainspring that delivers consistent power and smooth delivery although the two stage trigger could be of higher quality.
The VMX also features fibre optic sights and can be fitted with a scope because of the rifles top mounted rail. The VMX also features an automatic safety, but is not possible to de-cock the rifle without firing so always ensure you have a target first, something that is good practice anyway.
The synthetic stock is OK I guess, but I’ve never liked the feel of most of them, they remind me of the texture of a cheap car dashboard, but they are light and I guess for £120 I cant exactly expect walnut can I? The shape is good however and the rifle is comfortable to shoulder for both left and right handed shooters.
The rifle is maybe not the nicest to look at or shoulder, but it shoots like a dream and for under £120 you can’t really have many complaints can you?
+ Smooth Action
+ Fibre Optic Sights
+ Under £120!!!
+ Auto Safety
– Ugly Synthetic Stock
– Moderate Trigger Creep
– No Way to Decock
The Chinese have, in recent years, shaken off their reputation for the cheap and the nasty, and instead are now famous for making some of the most reliable air rifles that money can buy.
Continuing in that tradition, the XS38 is a full-sized, full-power airgun, which, instead of a break-barrel system, utilises an underlever to cock. This reduces wear and increases accuracy by ensuring the barrel never moves throughout the firing process. The rifle is fitted with a scope rail as well as fibre-optic sights, which aid hunting in low light.
The rifle itself is somewhat heavy, weighing in at nearly 4kg, and under-leavers are notorious for having all their weight at the front – something that will take a bit of getting used to. The rifle does have a fair bit of kick, though this is counteracted with a generously sized recoil pad.
The trigger of the XS is somewhat unrefined and is a single stage, leading to a little unpredictability, and the break-barrel action is a little stiff, so you’re in for a workout if you’re going to be doing a lot of shooting with it. It was the most powerful of all the rifles I tested, clocking in at 11.8ft/lbs, ideal for pests.
The XS38 is definitely excellent value, but it’s very front heavy and a bit cumbersome to aim. The gun does, however, pack a real punch, and it’s accurate enough for targets or pests.
+ Under lever
+ Fibre Optic Sights
+ Great Finish
+ High Power
The BSA Meteor Silentium was originally introduced in 1955, over half a century ago, and we are now on our 7th iteration of this famous gun. BSA, and now Gamo, who took over in 1986, have always adopted an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to the Meteor, and consequently have ended up with a rifle that’s very old fashioned, not to mention underpowered. It’s really only suited for purists of the brand, looking to reclaim a bit of the past.
Now, however, they introduce the Meteor EVO, a version of their classic rifle that has been given a firm boot into the 21st century. First thing to note is the power: upped from the original’s 8ft/lb, the EVO features a brand-new spring-and-valves system that will produce around 11ft/lbs of muzzle energy, just under the legal limit.
The EVO, much like its predecessor, is a rifle that’s built to last, something that continues to impress me about the brand. The finish of the EVO is also really good, with chequering on the stock and a thick rubber recoil pad. Testing the gun out, 4.52 Air Arms field pellets gave tight groupings at 30 yards, and I’m sure that, with a bit of experimentation with pellets, this could be improved further.
Also, unlike some previous BSA models, like the Lightning and the Supersport, the Meteor features a barrel fulcrum that consists of a threaded screw instead of a pin, which eliminates the lateral barrel movement that has given this brand a bit of a bad rep in recent years.
The only real complaint I have is that the gun is still pretty loud – and yes, I know all spring rifles have a similar problem, but don’t call your gun a Silentium if it gives away my position to everyone within a mile radius. Also, this silencer can’t be removed and replaced with a more effective one, or one that doesn’t look like a giant piece of plastic. Oh well…
The BSA carries a lot of heritage. It also shoots well … even if it’s a little loud and cumbersome to aim.
+ Great Build Quality
+ Well Designed Stock
+ High Power
– Quite Loud
– Can’t Remove Silencer
– Front Heavy
The Gamo Whisper X has been billed as “the best Gamo ever”, and while that doesn’t mean much to some people, the Whisper X does shake off some of
the baggage that’s been attached to the Gamo name. Normally known for having a heavy trigger, the Whisper is surprisingly light and responsive, and I found myself growing to like it more with each shot. The accuracy was again pretty good, inside a penny at 30 yards. Nothing to complain about here.
Another thing Gamo rifles were famous for was the “twang” noise the spring made when fired. Now, I don’t know if they use a different manufacturer for their springs now, but that noise was absent, instead being replaced with a more pleasant thud sound. The recoil level of this rifle was also way below what I expected in the shoulder, with the skeleton stock absorbing a large part of it. However, the kick is still larger than most air rifles, and I wonder if this may cause damage to the gun in the long run.
About that stock: it’s not exactly my cup of tea. I have to say I prefer a classic sporter-shaped wood stock, as opposed to the Whisper X’s unusual styling. At least it doesn’t look like a Kral Breaker … Having said that, looks are subjective; one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, blah blah blah … Really, if you’re hitting groups as tight as the X does, how it looks pales into insignificance.
The X was perhaps the gun I was most sceptical about before shooting, and yet it was the one that grew on me the most.
+ High Accuracy
+ Improved noise…
– … but not exactly Whisper Quiet
– Fixed Silencer
– Polarising looks
The Gamo has an unusual thumbhole design
And the Winner is …
In conclusion, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by this range of rifles. The build quality is about what you would expect, but the performance far exceeded my expectations. With the exception of one, all were over 11.5ft/lbs, and all were accurate enough to be used for either pest control or target shooting at ranges up to, and including, 30 metres. If I had to pick a winner, I’d probably go for the Remington. Yes, it is a bit rough around the edges, but that trigger is great and makes the gun a joy to shoot. I would have liked the option of front sights, such as on the non-XP model, but this gun is a great choice for target shooters and hunters alike.
The overall standard of the guns was actually very good. Manufacturers have been competing with each other for decades now to try and get their rifles to be the most affordable, and there’s now more choice than ever. Whereas 30 years ago buying a cheap airgun was really scraping the bottom of the barrel, nowadays the bar has been raised so high that you can find a great airgun, regardless of your budget, so long as you’re prepared to compromise.
There is no doubt that summer is prime season for pests but it is by no means the only time that pests are around so you need to be vigilant. Rats, unlike many other mammals, do not typically hibernate during winter and as the temperatures drop, they are more likely to be looking to move inside looking for warmth and shelter. This means that they will appear inside barns and garages where range is not so much a factor as manoeuvrability and ease of use.
When choosing a hunting pistol it is important to ensure that you have a pistol that shoots as close to the 6 ft/lb legal limit as possible. Careful consideration must be paid to ensure quick dispatching and the more powerful the gun, the more stopping power the pellet has. A 2-3 ft/lb 1911 is just not going to do the job humanely or otherwise.
There are two main airguns gun calibres .177 and .22. There are others but they are either too heavy for 6ft/lb guns and often more difficult to get hold of. So what is better .177 or .22? Sigh… this is an argument as old as time but here goes :
Well, .22 is often cited as the “hunting calibre” but, with the right shaped pellets, .177 can be just as effective. Due to power being worked out as a relationship between weight and speed the lighter pellets of the .177 calibre actually fly much faster than their heavier counterparts. This becomes an advantage as their trajectory is much flatter and therefore it is easier to be accurate. Hitting the head or vitals of a rat or small bird means shooting an area the size of a pound coin and so I actually prefer .177 for pistol pest control. As .177 pellets are travelling faster domed or pointed pellets have a habit of passing though the target which not only reduces lethality but can be problematic if shooting without a clear backstop. For this reason I would recommend flat head or hollow points for .177 and domed pellets for .22. That is my case for using .177 calibre anyway, but I have plenty of friends that swear by .22 especially for furry animals such as rats and rabbits which tend to be quite tough.
At the end of the day every hunter will tell you that accuracy is the most important factor when it comes to humane dispatching, you are often aiming for an area no larger than a pound coin so as long as you can reliably hit that, you will be fine. Just pick whichever calibre you prefer, it IS that simple. With that in mind, perhaps the most important aspect of pest control is practice, reliably hitting the same spot with a rifle is hard enough, but with a pistol it will require hours and hours of hard work until it is in your muscle memory. There are some people that will tell you that you hunting with an air pistol is inherently impossible to do humanely but I disagree, reliable expansion occurs at around 4ft/lbs, even less in hollow points, and a pellet that is fired from 6ft/lb air pistol will have this level of energy at ranges of around 15m.
Which Type of Air Pistol?
So you have your calibre, now what to choose, spring? CO2? Gas Ram? PCP? Single stroke? At least there was only 2 calibres to choose from…
Well, using my uncanny ability to treat my own opinions as fact, I’m going to trim the list down a bit. PCP pistols are undoubtedly effective but you are talking minimum 700 English pounds for a good one and that’s without factoring in the dive bottle and hose that you need to have one and that is probably too much money for a couple of rats so, unfortunately, they’re out.
Gas Ram pistols are essentially the same as spring pistols but use a non fatiguing piston system instead of a spring, sounds great right? Well, to my knowledge there are none close to the 6ft/lb limit that we are after so they are also out. Multi Stroke pistols suffer a similar fate with the majority of the models available being under powered with one exception. The Zoraki HP-01 has a variable power system which means that after 3 pumps the pistol will be powerful enough to be used for pest control. This means that having the pistol ready to shoot as by the time you have pumped the pistol up to full power, the rat or bird will likely be gone.
So that leaves us two viable options CO2 and spring power. As they are the most popular, let’s talk CO2 first.
There are a wide variety of CO2 powered pistols available that come in all shapes and sizes but for the majority, there are only a couple that are capable of killing. And the majority are based on one tried and tested design. The originator of the full powered air pistol is a model called the Crosman 2240 Buster which utilised an ingenious bolt action design that was powered by a single 12g CO2 capsule that produced around 5.5ft/lbs of muzzle energy. The 2240 stood as the undisputed king of the pest control world for a long time until a new design came along and took its crown.
The SMK CP1 has refined and ungraded the 2240s original blueprint and has become not just one of the best selling pest control pistols, but also one of the best selling airguns currently on the market. What makes it so effective is not just the power, but also the refinements made to the gun, the bolt has been moved to the left side to allow easier cocking, there is a chequered wood stock instead of the 2240s polymer and both the trigger unit and iron sights have received a significant upgrade. The CP1 also features a dovetail rail for the fitting of external optics and comes in a wide variety of calibres for maximum versatility, there is even a multi-shot version available. When looking for a pest dispatching pistol it is very hard to look past this model.
Spring powered pistols generally utilise a break barrel or lever system to fill a chamber with air and then release a spring which rapidly compresses the chamber forcing the pellet out of the barrel. The advantage of this design is that everything you need to fire is right there in your hands, no external gas canisters are required so if you can cock the gun, you can shoot it. This does also mean that unfortunately all spring pistols are single shot but with Gamo bringing out an ingenious multi shot spring rifle, the Maxxim Elite, I would imagine that a multi-shot spring pistol is not too far away.
Perhaps the most famous spring pistol is the XS26, one of the stalwarts of recent years that has continued to sell high numbers since its inception and has formed the basis of a lot of spring powered pistols that followed after it. Most notably was SMK’s own XS32 which not only upped the power slightly but improved the trigger system to make the gun more accurate and more reliable. The XS32 is equipped with fibre optic sights which is a plus as pests tend to be more active in low light, and is also surprisingly lightweight which not only reduces fatigue but also makes aiming easier, important when aiming for a small vital area.
Whilst the XS32 is a superb choice, the undisputed king of the spring powered pistol world is the Weihrauch HW45. Despite being several orders of magnitude more expensive than an XS32, particularly if you want the fantastic looking Silver Star model, this is the spring pistol I’d personally have. Of all of the names in the airgun industry, Weihrauch is probably the name you can most trust when it comes to delivering high quality construction and overall great performance. The HW45 is accurate to a tee and shoots a shade over 5 ft/lbs making it one of the most powerful spring pistols on the market and more than enough for a rat or pigeon at 10-15m. The pistol itself does require 13mm mounds to fit additional optics which is unusual but other than that I can’t fault it, one of the best pistols money can buy.
So there you have it, a list of a selection of the pistols I would consider to be the best for pest control. If you are looking to purchase one be sure it’s here at Pellpax and stay tuned to the blog for all your airgun information.
One of the hottest topics of debates between air gunners is the power source behind the pellet. The three main sources are spring power, Compressed CO2 gas, and Compressed air (PCP). One of our resident airgun experts, Jason Whittle, ways up the advantages and disadvantages….
The three main power sources available in airgunning are at the heart of all air rifles and air pistols of all different shapes and sizes, but ultimately they all do the same thing, which is to fire lead pellets or BBs. There are advantages and disadvantages to all of them, as there are with petrol, diesel, and electric cars, for example. Ultimately it comes down to what is best for you, and what you’re going to be using it for, but hopefully the information in this post will help you with that decision.
The diagram here shows how a spring rifle works and what components it consists of inside. Spring rifles are the simplest of the three power methods available to airgunners, thanks to the low number of moving parts and absence of high pressure seals and valves etc. This makes spring rifles the most reliable out of the three types of power plant.
Some advantages to the spring powered system are that it doesn’t require any gas or refills when shooting, just a person to cock and load it, and it’s ready to go. This is ideal in a hunting situation, when carrying spare gas or a diving bottle isn’t really an option. Spring rifles aren’t affected by changes in temperature like gas powered rifles, are which means you know that it’ll be just as powerful on a cold day as it is a warm day.
There are of course disadvantages. Spring rifles do have recoil when shot, some more than others, and while this can be reduced with tuning kits and polishing, it can’t be completely eliminated. Springers can also be quite noisy when shot, as the noise of the piston moving at a great speed then abruptly stopping is loud. This can’t be helped. The muzzle crack can be suppressed with the fitting of a moderator, but most of the time the difference isn’t very noticeable.
Over time, springers do suffer from spring fatigue, as the metal spring loses its springiness over time, and becomes tired, causing a drop in power. However, this can be easily remedied with a service and a replacement spring, which is often relatively inexpensive.
If you’re looking for a hassle free rifle which will work when you want to, with plenty of power, then a spring rifle is for you. They are often referred to as ‘workhorses’, as they just keep going, and in my opinion, it’s best to start with a spring rifle to learn how to shoot with the recoil, as that is an art in itself.
In terms of picking the best spring air rifle, there are a host to choose from, and the Weihrauch HW95k, and Air Arms TX200 are often mentioned.
Co2 air rifles and air pistols can be powered by either of the standard capsule sizes which are the 12g Capsule, as first introduced by Crosman, or the 88g Capsule that is commonly used on paintball guns. As you can see in the diagram opposite, the insides consist of a gas chamber where the co2 sits, or attaches, which then goes through a valve, which is knocked by a hammer to release the gas through to the barrel on each shot.
Advantages to the Co2 system include the absence of recoil. As there’s no large inertia of the kind to be found in the spring rifle, when the trigger is pulled, the hammer travels about an inch forward to strike the valve and that is it. This absence of recoil helps you keep your aim and hit your target as your hand is not being moved by this force, whilst the pellet is travelling down the barrel. Another advantage is the quietness of the actions. Most of the noise that comes from a Co2 gun is caused by the co2 gas and pellet escaping the barrel at great speed, so fitting a silencer can often make these guns near silent. CO2 systems are often bolt action, or in pistols they can be semi auto, so this permits a multi-shot system that means you can fit in a follow up shot a lot quicker than you could do with a spring rifle. Co2 pistols are also great fun in semi auto format as the projectiles come out the barrel as quick as you can pull the trigger so target shooting or plinking is always a blast.
Disadvantages of this system is that temperature can massively affect the performance of these guns, which in England, with our cold winters and hot summers, can be a real problem! This difference can sometimes be a foot pound of energy or so, but it does depend on what gun it is. The number of shots also decreases on a cold day which can be a real problem when you’re on a hunting trip or shooting at a competition, and you forget to account for the change in temperature. As the co2 capsule in the gun is used the pressure decreases until it runs out which can be a problem as the pellet velocity drops, as does the point of impact, so if you don’t realise that the co2 is running out, you can totally miss what you’re aiming for very easily.
PCP airguns are very similar to Co2 guns in that the air is held in a reservoir, and then released through a hammer and valve system. Examples include the Walther Rotex RM8 and the BSA Scorpion SE. The difference between CO2 and air is the compressed air is held at a much higher pressure than the Co2 is. Co2 on average is around 800 PSI, whereas PCP Rifles work on around 2900 PSI, so more than 3 times the pressure! This massive increase in pressure means that the compressed air gives the pellet a very quick push, opposed to Co2 providing a very slow push which in turn leads to better shot to shot consistency and accuracy.
Other advantages of PCP are that the pressurised air isn’t affected by changes in temperature like Co2 capsules are. This is mandatory when in a serious shooting situation, whether it is hunting or target shooting as each shot counts. A PCP rifle’s power output is normally higher and much more stable than a CO2 weapon, as the rifles themselves are of better construction, and sometimes incorporate regulators, which increase the consistency even further. Accuracy is also phenomenal on the PCP rifles as high quality barrels and materials are used, and it is quite easy to put pellet on pellet.
As with Co2 power, suppressors can be fitted, which make most of the PCP rifles whisper quiet, and most of them feature multi-shot magazines, which are indexed through a bolt action or side lever action system making them a joy to shoot.
Disadvantages to the PCP system include the expensive set up costs. The rifles themselves start from around £380, then either a stirrup pump or a dive bottle are needed to recharge the reservoir. The dive bottle then needs to be refilled when they get low which is normally around £5 at a dive shop, although this is a small price to pay for the accuracy achieved. Other disadvantages are that there are a large number of seals within a PCP rifle, and for the most of the time they are hassle free, but over time they do perish and cause leaks, requiring a service. However, these regular services alleviate any down time.
Which one you choose is really your decision at the end of the day, but if you’re looking for a rifle which you will shoot occasionally for either pest control/hunting, and the odd bit of casual target shooting and plinking, then a Springer will be the best choice for you, as they are rugged and reliable.
A Co2 will be a step up from a springer for a similar job, although they are really more suited towards smaller pest/vermin control and casual target shooting and not up to hunting due to the fluctuations in power.
If you’re going to be using an air rifle a lot for hunting, and competitive target shooting, then a PCP is the way to go. A good PCP can last 10 years or more if looked after, and the refills are a small price to pay for the accuracy and quality that a PCP delivers.