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Top Ten Airguns for Plinking & Hunting

Top Ten Airguns for Plinking & Hunting

Any decent air rifle with open sights or a quality scope can be used for plinking, but not all are accurate and/or powerful enough to go hunting with. However, the following eclectic mix of both spring/piston-powered and gas-ram rifles will help newbies or those returning to the airgun scene make an informed and pocket-friendly choice.

BSA GRT lightning XL SE

This is included as it’s a fine example of BSA’s gas-ram powered offerings. It uses the company’s GRT (Gas Ram Technology) and is available in two ambidextrous stock options of beech and black. The latter shows a ‘non-slip’ rubber over-mould. It features a high cheekpiece, rubber butt pad, slim neck, thumb shelf and steep drop-down pistol grip. The forend has a thickset profile that becomes much slimmer as it tapers to the tip. Panels of chequering are seen along the forend and either side of the grip. BSA’s Maxi-Grip Scope Rail stops any vibration on firing from being transferred to the optic. The 2-stage adjustable trigger unit has a lever-style manual safety positioned above and to the right. The full-length sound moderator that shrouds part way back on the cold hammer-forged barrel admirably tames report, plus the silencer end cap unscrews to reveal a ½” UNF thread to accept a secondary mod if required.

Price:

£339 Black or Beech

Contact:

BSA - www.bsaguns.co.uk

BSA lightning SE

The ambidextrous beechwood stock has a high/distinctive cheekpiece, a slim neck with shallow rake and thumb rest, steep drop-down pistol grip with palm swell and a thick black ventilated rubber butt pad. In contrast, the forend is short and very slim, with a rounded underside and smooth forward taper. To aid grip, the company has crafted three panels of deep-cut chequering on either side, along with two large single panels on each side of the pistol grip. On cocking, you immediately feel the reassuring build quality BSA are renowned for. The in-house manufactured ‘cold hammer-forged barrel’ is a company strong point and comes ready fitted with a chunky Volumetric silencer. For scope fitting, BSA uses their patented and highly acclaimed Maxi-Grip Scope Rail. The 2-stage adjustable trigger unit is a very precise mech. It features a distinctive curved metal blade, plus there’s a practical, lever-style manual trigger safety positioned to the top-right, above the trigger itself.

Price:

£319

Contact:

BSA - www.bsaguns.co.uk

Stoeger RX20 S3

The ambidextrous synthetic stock features a low cheekpiece and rubber butt pad. The narrow neck has a shallow rake, while the pistol grip drops down with a slight palm swell. The forend features an outward curved belly that also fills out at the middle section before it progressively tapers towards the tip. The stock also features ‘ProAdaptive Chequering.’ Replacement grip inserts (orange and blue) are provided and these have an embossed finish, plus are of a different thickness. The Hi-Viz fibre optic open sights comprise of an interchangeable red or orange fibre optic bar at the front, and a fully adjustable metal rear sight. The rifle features dovetails and comes supplied with a Stoeger 4x32 scope and some 2-piece mounts. The 2-stage adjustable trigger has an ABS blade and is linked to an auto-safety. The full-length barrel shroud (S3 Suppressor) has an integral lower section where the air is directed down on firing, plus the upper section features internal baffles.

Price:

£215
Contact GMK Ltd - www.gmk.co.uk

Gamo HPA Mi IGT Combo

Another gas-ram model, the IGT (Inert Gas Technology) is Gamo’s take on this increasingly popular system. The rifle comes bundled with a Gamo 3-9x40 WA scope, one-piece mount and a dual-mount bipod. The ambidextrous stock features a height-adjustable cheekpiece and Gamo’s SWA (Shock Wave Absorbing) butt pad. The neck is slim and gives way to a drop-down pistol grip with palm swell. The forend has a rounded underside and fine stippling is found on either side. There are also 2x runs of Picatinny rail attached to either side of the rifle for bipod fitting. The Hi-Viz open sights consist of a hooded red fibre optic foresight and adjustable rear sight with green fibre optic inserts. Gamo’s RRR (Recoil Reducing Scope Rail) stops recoil from being transferred to the scope. The 2-stage adjustable trigger unit uses an in-guard manual safety lever that’s positioned in front of the main blade, while the Whisper Maxxim Dual Sound Suppression unit admirably reduces muzzle report.

Price:

£279

Contact:

BSA – www.gamoguns.co.uk

Weihrauch HW57 FTS

The HW57 FTS (Field Target Silenced) boasts a screw cut barrel to accommodate a silencer. The ambidextrous, Minelli beech stock shows a semihog back design, comb and welldefined cheekpiece, plus a rubber butt pad. The slim neck shows a slight thumb rest, while the pistol grip curves downwards at quite a shallow angle. The forend has a well-rounded underside that slightly tapers to its rounded end tip. It also has stylish, two-piece, part stippled and chequered panels on either side of the forend and twin configured panels are set on either side of the pistol grip. Now, the airgun also boasts Hi-Viz Fibre Optic enhanced open sights, plus dovetails for scope fitting. The rifle uses the same cocking mechanism and linkage as the HW77K and HW97K models, plus the underlever housing is the same unit as found on both. As you’d expect, the company have installed their 2-stage Rekord adjustable trigger unit with automatic cross-bolt safety.

Price:

£349

Contact:

Hull Cartridge - www.weihrauch.co.uk

Hatsan dominator carbine 200W

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This adult-sized, underlever airgun has an ambidextrous Turkish walnut stock with height adjustable cheekpiece. The dropdown pistol grip has a palm swell, while the lengthy forend tapers slightly upwards to its angled back tip, plus there’s chequering on the forend and grip. The stock is ready fitted with sling swivels and comes with butt pad spacers to alter the length of pull. Also included are a sling and barrel mount bipod. When cocked, the sliding breech opens and the rear positioned auto-trigger safety engages. The rifle uses an anti-beartrap system that requires a lever on the right of the rifle to be depressed, so the underlever can be returned to its original position. The airgun is equipped with Hatsan’s Vortex gasram system and Quattro 2-stage adjustable trigger unit. Scope fitting is catered for by a dual run of both Picatinny rail and dovetailing, while the ½” UNF screw cut barrel will accept a silencer.

Price:

£284

Contact:

Edgar Brothers - www.edgarbrothers.com

Ruger targis hunter combo

Manufactured under license by Umarex, this gas ram powered, .177 calibre only rifle, comes bundled with a good quality 3-9x32 AO scope, 2-piece mounts and sling. The ambidextrous, black synthetic modernistic stock has a ventilated comb and black rubber butt pad. The slim neck shows a steep drop-down pistol grip, while the lengthy forend is well contoured. The airgun also features raised rubber panels of fine stippling on the grip and fore section, plus two sling attachment points. The layout of the fibre optic enhanced open sights shows a raised, red, fibre optic bar foresight and a fully adjustable rear sight, with green fibre optic bars flanking the sight notch. Scope fitting is catered for by a lengthy run of Weaver/Picatinny rail. The 2-stage trigger mechanism consists of a broad-faced, nicely curved trigger blade, with an automatic safety blade in front. At the muzzle end of the barrel is a very efficient, modern-looking sound moderator.

Price:

£269.95

Contact:

John Rothery Wholesale - www.bisley-uk.com

Hammerli hunter force 900 combo

The ambidextrous hardwood stock features a medium height cheekpiece, ventilated black rubber butt pad and a steep drop-down pistol grip. The quite lengthy, slab-sided forend has a slight upwards forward taper and angled back end tip. The .177 calibre only rifle also boasts generous panels of fine cut chequering along the forend and on either side of the pistol grip. Although railed for scope fitting, it also has a set of fibre optic enhanced open sights, comprising of a hooded red foresight blade and a fully adjustable rear sight unit.

The underlever action rifle comes bundled with a decent quality Hammerli branded 6x42 AO scope, plus twopiece mounts. It is single loaded via a sliding breech, while the 2-stage trigger unit has an automatic safety blade set within the trigger guard itself.

Price:

£259.95

Contact:

John Rothery Wholesale - www.bisley-uk.com

Gamo varmint swarm classic

The Gamo Varmint Barricade Classic features an ambidextrous beech wood stock, with a medium height comb and a rubber butt pad. The neck and drop-down pistol grip are quite slim, while the forend fills out slightly, ending in a rounded off tip. Fine cut chequering can be found on the grip and the forend. The company’s RRR scope rail ensures no transference of stress to the optic upon firing. It comes supplied with a Gamo 3-9x40 scope and a one-piece scope mount. An auto-load mechanism sits above the breech and holds a 10-shot removable magazine with a polymer inner rotor. Operating the break-barrel action cocks the rifle and also pushes a pellet from the magazine into the barrel. The 2-stage adjustable trigger unit uses an in-guard manual safety lever that’s positioned in front of the main blade. The rifle is gas-ram powered using Gamo’s IGT. Recoil and muzzle report are low, thanks to the Whisper Maxxim Integral Sound Moderator that encases the barrel.

Price:

£239

Contact:

BSA – www.gamoguns.co.uk

Weihrauch HW95K + silencer

This rifle features an ambidextrous beech wood stock, medium height cheekpiece and a brown rubber butt pad with black line spacer. A slight thumb shelf sits on the top edge of the neck, complimenting the steep drop-down pistol grip. The slim forend fully complements the front section of the rifle, and although being quite deep in profile at this area, it has a nicely rounded underside. There are also long panels of fine-cut chequering on both sides of the forend and either side of the pistol grip. The cocking stroke is very smooth and when fully cocked, the automatic trigger safety also engages. The 2-stage, fully adjustable Rekord trigger unit features a well curved, gold anodised blade and adjuster screw, giving the rifle an air of class. Recoil is low for a full power springer and the company’s own HE (High Efficiency) silencer does an excellent job of quelling muzzle report.

Price:

£411

Contact:

Hull Cartridge - www.weihrauch.co.uk

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