For air rifle enthusiasts, whether they like to target shoot, small game hunt or take care of pesky varmints in the yard – or a combination of all three – face a huge choice when it comes to choosing the weapon that is right for them and suits both their budget and their needs.
The PCP air rifle has been a popular choice for decades, and in the 21st century technology has made these fun to shoot, often very affordable guns the go-to-choice of many.
When undertaking the sometimes daunting task of choosing between the many PCP air rifle options on the market any help you can get can only be a good thing. It’s for that reason we’ve compiled this list of the top five best PCP air rifles available right now, guns that have been purchased, field tested and recommended by air gun fans in their hundreds.
While we are going to take a longer look at both the best PCP air rifles available and what to look for when making the right choice for you to get started, for those of you in more of a hurry, we are going to reveal our top pick right away.
Benjamin Marauder Synthetic Stock Pellet Air Rifle – (Our Top Pick)
To earn our vote as a top pick any air rifle has to offer the versatility and performance that suits a wide range of gun enthusiasts, which the Benjamin Marauder Synthetic Stock Pellet Air Rifle certainly does.
Offering a good, accurate range – on average around 30-40 feet, this durable PCP air rifle boasts reliable accuracy and pump action, an ambidextrous grip – a plus for all you lefties out there who might struggle with other guns – and is easy enough for a beginner to master but efficient enough for a pro to love.
Top Five Best PCP Air Rifles Revealed
Sticking around to see the top five? Great. Keep reading to hear more about all of our top picks and the reasons one of them might just be the perfect choice for you. And as all of these air rifles are readily available on the world’s largest shopping platform – Amazon.com – ordering them is a breeze as well.
Offered by a highly respected name in the air rifle industry our top pick is a reliable, versatile PCP air rifle that will satisfy most target shooters and those who prefer their prey a little more on the lively side.
The Marauder offers good, accurate range – an average of 30 to 40 feet – and is, according to those who own it, a relatively quiet model that won’t spook your prey away before you get a chance to fire.
The gun also has a reputation for being a very smooth shooter, with a trigger pull that is easily adjustable to suit the user. It also offers an ambidextrous grip, allowing everyone to get a comfortable grasp no matter which is their dominant hand. Perhaps best of all this gun has earned itself a reputation for serious durability, with many reporting they have used the same gun for a decade or more.
- Versatile – The Benjamin Marauder Synthetic Stock Pellet Air Rifle is as suited to varmint hunting as it is to target shooting.
- Easy To Handle – A smooth trigger and well-designed body makes this a great choice for beginners and experts alike.
- Durable -Who wants to have to replace their air rifle every few months? Some users report having owned and used their Marauder for a decade or more, and in the air rifle niche that’s some serious longevity.
Buy the Benjamin Marauder Synthetic Stock Pellet Air Rifle on Amazon here
This gun came a close second to our top pick as it’s another excellent, versatile choice for almost anyone looking for a new PCP air rifle. One of the things that really stands out about this gun is its power. Fully pumped it can reach up to 2,000 PSI, which is very powerful for this class of weapon.
Even though it packs that much power users report it is still very smooth and relatively easy to handle if you are a less experienced shooter. It’s relatively easy to pump and the trigger is not too tight.
The reason this gun came in second is that while it is a seriously great choice for the live prey hunter it is not quite as accurate at shorter ranges for target shooting, although users report that it does a reasonable job.
- Major Power – This air rifle can be pumped up to 2,000 PSI
- Great for Critters – If critters and varmints are your targets then this is one of the best PCP air rifles for that purpose on the market right now.
- OK for Beginners – Everyone has to start somewhere, and this is a good choice for those new to the fun of air rifles.
Buy the Crosman BP9M22GP Benjamin Discovery on Amazon here.
The Umarex Gauntlet PCP Powered Pellet Gun Air Rifle .22 Caliber is a great choice for those who are looking for a gun that offers accuracy at a very long (for an air rifle) range. Users report that this air rifle is accurate at up to 60 feet, and is capable of firing of a number of similarly accurate shots in quick succession, which is excellent for target shooting.
Those who like to stalk their live prey over a distance in the open, rather than just in th4e confines of their backyard, also love this gun, reporting that they can bag even the most skittish of squirrels at long range with relative ease.
Another advantage of this option for many is its quiet operation. The last thing you need when stalking live prey is a very noisy rifle, but fans of this one report that it’s so quiet that even their neighbors were not disturbed!
- Long Range Accuracy – Users report this PCP air rifle is accurate at up to 60 feet.
- Quiet Operation – The gun is quiet enough that it won’t scare live prey or wake up the neighbors.
- Good Repeat Accuracy – Several shots can be fired off in succession without a loss of pressure or accuracy.
Buy the Umarex Gauntlet PCP Powered Pellet Gun Air Rifle .22 Caliber on Amazon here
The Benjamin Armada BTAP17SX PCP-Powered Multi-Shot Bolt Action is a serious PCP air rifle for serious varmint shooters. It is considered by many to offer one of the best pump actions on the market, as well as a smooth trigger action and plenty of power that lasts through multiple shots in rapid succession.
Its range is impressive, with many owners reporting good accuracy at up to 50 feet, but as it is also good at shorter distances bagging that critter that won’t stop digging through your trash should be easier too.
Although best suited to live prey hunting the Benjamin Armada BTAP17SX PCP-Powered Multi-Shot Bolt Action is a decent target shooter as well, so for those who like to mix in a little target practice once in a while to hone their skills this is still a great choice.
- Great Pump Action – This PCP air rifle has one of the best pump actions of any model on the market.
- Excellent for Varmint Hunting – If live prey is your thing then this gun is an excellent choice
- Good Repeater – According to many users this air rifle maintains good pressure through multiple shots, making it a decent target practice weapon as well.
Buy the Benjamin Armada BTAP17SX PCP-Powered Multi-Shot Bolt Action on Amazon here
Remember the old cartoons when Porky Pig used to break the fourth wall and tell you to be ‘vwery quiet’ because he was ‘hunting wabbits’? He may have been better off using the Hatsan BullBoss Quiet Energy PCP Air Rifle as it has earned itself a reputation as one of the quietest PCP air rifles available today.
This is, of course, an advantage best appreciated by those using it to stalk live prey, but urban target shooters should appreciate the quiet operation as well, as that should result in fewer noise complaints!
Quiet operation is not the only thing this air rifle offers though. It’s accurate at both short and long range- up to 75 feet or more according to users – and its pump action is smooth and easy, making it a good choice for beginners as well as more experienced marksmen (or women)
- Super Quiet – If you are looking for a super quiet air rifle then this may be the best choice
- Good Range – With an accurate range of up to 75 feet this is a good choice for both target shooters and varmint hunters.
- Ease of Use – A smooth trigger and light body make this gun a good choice for beginners.
Buy the Hatsan BullBoss Quiet Energy PCP Air Rifle on Amazon here
This PCP air rifle is one that is praised by many owners as one that offers a great introduction to air rifles in general, as it is easy to handle, simple to operate and does not produce too much sometimes off putting blow back.
The downside of this option is that it lacks the power of some of the other options on our list, meaning that it may not be suitable for live prey hunting at anything other than very close range (around 15 feet.) However, if you only want to keep your trash free of messy critters it may prove more than adequate.
In terms of price this is also one of the choices on our list that is on the lower end of the price scale, so again, a great choice for a beginner who is not quite ready to make a significant investment in a PCP air rifle just yet.
- Easy to Handle: Easy handling makes this a great choice for beginners and smaller hands
- Affordable: Offers a good introduction to air rifle shooting without a significant investment
- Less Blowback: Blowback can be very intimidating for a new shooter, so when learning less is often better.
Buy the HatsanUSA Flash QE .25 Caliber HGFlash-25 on Amazon here
As the name of this PCP air rifle suggests this is a gun that was specifically designed with live prey shooting in mind.
This is a single shot air rifle – there’s no magazine involved – but that single shot is a very powerful one. When fully pumped this gun can propel a pellet at an impressive 1250 feet per second and the built-in cheek mounted sight is an excellent aid to accuracy.
Despite being a very efficient live prey target weapon owners report that the rifle is very quiet – a big plus when stalking skittish creatures – and that the blowback, while present, is not so great that it knocks you off target.
- Great for Varmints – This is an air rifle specifically designed with the varmint hunter in mind.
- Great Accuracy – A cheek mounted sight helps shooters line up the best possible shots.
- Quieter than Expected – Despite its power owners report that this is a reasonably quiet firing weapon.
Buy the Gamo 6110017154 Varmint Air Rifle .177 Cal on Amazon here
This is another surprisingly high quality PCP air rifle offered at what is a very reasonable price.
Owners report that this is also a very versatile option. For those who love to spend time target shooting the well regulated multi shot capability allows users to fire at the same velocity time after time, encouraging consistent accuracy, a big plus for those serious about their target range performance.
Many owners also praise the performance of this PCP air rifle as a live prey gun, reporting that with practice it can pick off slower moving varmints at a distance of up to 40 to 50 feet. And the fact that this is a relatively quiet shooting air rifle is a bonus here, as who wants long bangs to scare away their target?
- Great Regulation – The built-in regulator allows for the same shot to be repeated multiple times.
- Reasonably Priced – For a gun that has a lot to offer, produced by a trusted gunsmith, this option is very reasonably priced.
- Quiet – Most owners report that they find this PCP air rifle to be nice and quiet, a plus for live prey hunters.
Buy the Umarex Gauntlet PCP Pellet Gun Air Rifle on Amazon here.
The second Crosman offering on our list, this PCP air rifle is another excellent option for those new to air rifle shooting, both in terms of handling and price.
The body of the air rifle is very lightweight, without feeling cheap or flimsy, and it produces very little blowback, and so will not be intimidating for those unused to recoil to handle.
As a single shot rifle this gun offers a more limited experience for serious target shooters, but according to owners it is great for picking off critters at even longer distances of up to 40 feet.
- Lightweight – This is a lightweight air rifle, making it a good choice for kids.
- Accurate at Longer Ranges – Users report this gun is very accurate at ranges of up to 40 feet
- Great for Beginners – This PCP air rifle is an excellent choice for beginners, especially responsible kids.
Buy the Crosman BPM22BNSX Maximus on Amazon here
Gamo themselves bill this PCP air rifle as the ‘ultimate backyard shooter’, and that really is a great tagline, as that is just what it is.
This is an air rifle best suited to shorter range target shooting and small varmint extermination. If you are looking for a gun that’s a great back porch pick off option then this is it. Many people keep an air rifle specifically for the purpose of keeping their yard pest free – varmints can do a lot of damage – and for that purpose, in the lower price range this option is hard to beat.
The Gamo Urban also has limited use as a target shooter, and would be a great option for kids who are just learning the art.
- Excellent Pest Control – If you want to keep your yard pest free with relative ease, this is a great choice.
- Reasonably priced – This PCP air rifle offers good performance at a very reasonable price
- Great for kids – Lots of PCP air rifle choices are just not great for kids. That’s not the case here.
Buy the Gamo 600054 Urban PCP.22 on Amazon here
This is a high end – and high priced – PCP air rifle option that is perfect for the very, very serious PCP air rifle aficionado – especially as it does not leave you with much change from $1,000.
As history buffs could tell you, the gladius was an Ancient Roman short sword that was the weapon considered most important in creating the mighty Roman Empire by force. So naming your rifle after it sets up some lofty expectations, but fans of this gun feel it lives up to them fairly well.
This air rifle packs some serious power, capable of up to 859 fps in some testing. This means it can pick off even medium-sized prey, and is, according to owners, great for taking into wooded and heavy brush areas. Built in storage means that several magazines can be carried at once, allowing hunters to spend hours out hunting without the need to carry lots of extra ‘stuff’.
However, an innovative dial down system means that the fps can be adjusted, at the power lowered so that the gun can be used for simple backyard varmint hunting and shorter range target practice.
- Very high end option: This is not an inexpensive PCP air rifle, but many who have purchased it feel it’s well worth the money.
- Powerful: This is a weapon capable of knocking down even medium sized live prey
- Adjustable: As powerful as the HATSON Gladius is it can be ‘dialed down’ for backyard shooting or shorter range target practice.
Buy the HATSON Gladius PCP Air Rifle .22 Caliber on Amazon here.
Factors to Consider when Buying a PCP Air Rifle
Before you make a choice between the many PCP air rifle options you’ll be faced with when you start shopping – including our top five picks – there are some things to take into consideration and keep top of mind as you do, including all the following:
What Is Your Intended Use?
Every air rifle owner has different uses for their gun(s) . For some they are strictly for pest control and perhaps the occasional target practice session to keep their accuracy up. For others the thrill of small prey hunting is their primary use, and for others becoming a target range expert is the most important thing.
What you will primarily use your PCP air rifle for is therefore a big consideration, but the fact is that most people well say ‘a mixture’ of uses, which is why the Benjamin Marauder Synthetic Stock Pellet Air Rifle was our top overall pick, as it is as versatile as they come and accessible for beginners as well.
How Much Power Do You Want?
Target practice does not call for the same level of power as live prey hunting, so if the latter is your primary intended use for your PCP air rifle then you should opt for a model that offers a lot of it.
Shooting a target ten feet away with accuracy is very different to making your shot at 50 feet. Therefore target shooters and live prey hunters will need an air rifle that offers good accuracy at longer distances.
If you are shooting targets out in a field someplace then how noisy your air rifle is probably does not matter. If you are hoping to bag skittish live prey – or live in an area where the neighbors are not too far away – then finding a quieter air rifle may be a must.
Our top picks vary in price, sometimes significantly. While price should never be the biggest consideration when buying a PCP air rifle that you can get plenty of use and enjoyment out of, for many price is something that has to be kept in mind.
A PCP air rifle offers all the fun of using such a weapon without the hassles that sometimes come along with a more complex CO2 air rifle. Making the right choice only adds to that fun though, so taking the extra time to shop carefully and educate yourself before you buy will pay off every time.