Bob Owens

The saddest truth in politics is that people get the leaders they deserve

What air rifle for rifle marksmanship practice?

Written By: Bob - Jan• 30•13

Reader Peter has an interesting question about rifle practice that I can’t answer.

Anyone else want to take a stab at a response?

Here’s my question: I could use some help selecting a good air rifle for Appleseed practice, and I suspect others might also be interested in that sort of information.¬† Whenever I go to the range¬† I drag along my CZ452s and burn a couple hundred rounds in 25 and 50 yd 3-position (one has peep sights, the other a 6X scope). What I need is something I can pick up every day or two at home and work with for 20 minutes. My handgun skills are good – I’ve shot IPSC for 30 years, IDPA for 15, and ICORE for several, and have been teaching NRA Basic Pistol and FIRST Steps pistol and rifle (actually, lately FIRST Steps rifle has become mostly an AR-15 carbine class….) for 20+ years, shot 3-gun, and tackled an occasional High Power match. But, I really need to work on my 3-position rifle to get much better at it, not just for Appleseed, but to correct the years of “rifle neglect.”

What might you suggest as a suitable air rifle for frequent practice?


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  1. Ali_Gator says:

    There are plenty of air rifles out there with muzzle velocities comparable to .22 LR but considering the design of pellets and their very light weight, I question whether ANY of them would maintain velocity necessary for 50 yd target shooting.

    What I would do personally, is buy smaller targets and place them closer. For example, a 3″ shoot&see target at 25 yds should look about the same size as an 8″ target at 50 yds (I’m guessing here but can’t be very far off). By cutting the distance in half, you’d still be maintaining a decent velocity. Also, that means probably any air rifle with 800-1000 fps muzzle velocity would be just fine.

    I hope that’s helpful. FYI: Gamo has an air rifle on the market with a built in silencer. On my near term shopping list.

  2. Bill C says:

    I have a Daisy/Avanti 853 single stroke air rifle. Very accurate and designed for 10 meter air rifle. 400 fps. Comes with OK peep sights. 10 meter targets are easy to purchase or print from pdf websites. Runs $300 on Pyramid Air’s website. Other sites vary.

  3. Stephen says:

    These are the one that CMP sells to jr. clubs: make of it what you will ….

  4. DPS says:

    I have been using the Gamo big cat in the back yard for awhile now, it shoots at 1224 fps and works very well. Don’t waste your money on the gamo with the silencer since the noise that is made by the fps can’t be silenced.
    For pistol training I picked up a model that is just like my 92fs and can be holstered. At today price of ammo it sure is a great way to stay in tune.

    Not One More Inch

  5. raybiker73 says:

    Last year, I bought a Beeman Grizzly X2 combo at Wal-Mart, and I have to say I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the quality and accuracy. I find myself reaching for it anytime I feel like some fast plinking. The rifle, 2 barrels (.177 and .22 cal), a scope and a box of pellets was about $125. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone.

  6. TL671 says:

    I have a Sheridan Blue Steak, .20cal.( my dad bought for my brother, expressly because it fired the heaviest pellets he could find. I have used this rifle extensively for both target shooting, and pest control(Boat Tailed Grackles, sometimes >75yds away)And have never once been disappointed with it’s range, accuracy, or knockdown power. I even once killed a rabbit with it from about 35-40yds, which is much more than most pellet rifles in the same price range can do. It has the solid weight and feel of a firearm, and is in my estimation not only a great practice rifle, but excellent for pest control, and up close small game. The only draw back I’ve found in the roughly 20 years of use, is not being able to go to your local Wal-Mart, or K-Mart to get pellets. But they are readily available online.

  7. Pierre says:

    Sort of pricey but real accurate is the Crosman Benjamin Marauder PCP Air Rifle the Marauder, a new PCP 10 round multi-shot, bolt-action rifle.

    It shoots great groups at 25 yards. Only problem besides cost is that you have to pump it…ALOT. 2000psi seen video of folks hog hunting with it. Oh and it is REAL REAL QUIET.

    • Bill C says:

      There is a way to use scuba tanks as a storage mechanism. Hook up the tank to the PCP tank and tap off the SCUBA tank. Get it refilled at a dive shop or some similar shop. Wish i could remember the specifics.

  8. rocketguy says:

    I’ll second the Daisy Avanti. Low power so it’s quiet an you don’t need much of a backstop. Accurate, decent sights, cheap, etc.

    I shot one in USMC JROTC for a couple years and was pleased with it.

  9. Papa says:

    Gotta’ agree with Pierre – the Marauder will shoot much more like a bolt action rifle than a break barrel or pump air rifle. Available in .177, .22 and .25 calibers. I’ve got a .22 with a Hill MK3 pump and I can pump up from 2,000 psi to 3,000 psi in about 90 strokes. A good pump and good technique are critical. If you’re impatient, you can get a scuba tank adapter and fill from it.

  10. Papa says:

    Great site to learn about air guns:

  11. Patrick McHargue says:

    I have an RWS Dana. A break-barrel cocked air gun. Accurate, repeatable, and easy to pick up an just use. Taught all my kids the basics on it.

  12. Evan says:

    The PCP guns are quiet and consistent in their shot placement. I’ve used a couple break barrels that have scopes mounted on the rear or iron sights split between the rear and the pivoting barrel and have found that, due to play in the pivot, shot placement wanders a lot. I imagine a break barrel with the sights mounted entirely on the barrel will not have as much of a problem with this but will, of course, have a shorter sight radius.

  13. Parker says:

    Beeman .22 pellet rifle. Seriously accurate, moderate price.

  14. ASM826 says:

    The Daisy Avanti is what the local high school ROTC team uses. I bought one several years for my son to practice with so he would have the same rifle in practice as in competition. At 10 meters, it’s one ragged hole accurate. The stock comes with buttplate shims to make adjustments. It can be slung and used for quiet 3 position practice while saving your ammo.

  15. Snow says:

    If you don’t mind pricey look up airforce airguns…..