Webley VMX OS Quantum
This traditional break-barrel model is basically a renamed Valuemax, and as such, is a great all-rounder. The synthetic stock is the obvious eye-catcher, but it also comes fitted with that snazzy, full length barrel shroud around a super short 10-inch barrel that incorporates sound suppressing features within the body tube. Full power is on offer here, courtesy of a Venom inspired Powr-Lok mainspring, yet overall weight is still only 6.25lbs, which is very manageable. The barrel lock up is reassuringly solid, and both consistency and accuracy on test, have been very respectable. A great first rifle, or budget hunter.
As Gamo’s first proper entry into the world of pre-charged pneumatics, the Coyote made quite an impression on its introduction a few years back. The PCP action is actually made by BSA, and as such, is a tried-and-tested design, including the multi-shot magazine system. At the sub £400 mark, it's extremely competitive too. The chequered beech stock feels supremely comfortable and supportive in the aim, although dimensions are perhaps for the larger hand; whilst the SAT2 (smooth action trigger) mechanism is all part of the deal, and trips smoothly in operation. Solid accuracy on test from this model is testament to the overall design. Serious PCP performance, and one of the cheapest multi-shots around.
Air Arms S400F Classic (Beech)
This classic single shot PCP from top British brand, Air Arms, is still arguably not only the best rifle in this price range, but the cheapest entry level PCP that is capable of winning outdoor airgun competitions. Originally designed as a compact hunting rifle, many shooters soon realised its potential, and a haul of silverware in both Hunter Field Target and FT shooting has been secured around the globe, by S400 derivatives in one form or another. Quality barrels, a competent two stage trigger, and good consistency when filled carefully, are all we can ask, and the S400 has delivered time after time. An all-time classic airgun, capable of winning competitions. An S410 10-shot multi-shot version is also available.
Another full-power break barrel, the Turkish made Kral Champion has plenty to offer, including a synthetic skeleton stock and that stylish barrel assembly. Fibre optic style open sights come as standard, which is always handy, with finger wheel adjusters, and the long barrel also helps make cocking an easy task, given the extra leverage. Barrel lock-up is also impressive, so a basic trigger and average build quality shouldn't detract from the fact that this great value model has proved surprisingly accurate on test. Another good choice for first gun, or budget hunter.
This CO2 powered rifle holds much appeal, resembling as it does, a small calibre ‘live round’ hunting rifle. There's a neat side bolt action, and the specification includes a beech sporter stock, single shot recoilless action, automatic safety catch, fibre optic open sights, two-stage trigger, and a 22-inch rifled barrel. Power is derived from two 12g CO2 bulbs, and whilst fitting them is a bit fiddly at first, the XS501 remains a very enjoyable, if slightly low powered airgun to use. Great handling gun, that's ideal for informal target shooting and plinking.