Some of My Current Favorites

Monday, October 19, 2009

Do you ever play The Perfect Airgun Game? I sure do. Sometimes when I’m drifting off to sleep at night I think about what would be “the perfect” airgun. Of course, you don’t have to think about the whole idea for very long before you realize that what constitutes perfection depends a whole lot on what you intend to do with it – what the mission profile is. The airgun that is awesome for Olympic 10-meter shooting is going to be a lot different from the airgun that excels at long-range varminting, and very different from the airgun that is just great for family backyard fun.

I get to play with a lot of airguns, and over time I find myself turning to certain ones over and over again. So, here are some of my current favorites, and the reasons I like them. This list is drawn from currently available airguns that I have first-hand personal experience with.

The R1.

Beeman R1 – This is a big springer that seems overbuilt for the job and shoots very pleasantly right out of the box. Lots of people hunt with them, and I have had good success shooting one (.177 cal.) in field target competition.

The R7.

Beeman R7 – This diminutive, low-power springer is a favorite of many shooters because it is easy to shoot well. I have spent many happy afternoons plinking in the back yard with my R7. You can hunt small game with an R7, provided you keep the distances short and the shot placement precise.

The HW35E.

HW35E – This springer is a classic in its lines, incredibly smooth performance and its barrel latch. If someone held a gun to my head and said, “You can only have one springer, choose!” I think the HW35E would be at the top of my list.

The Crosman Nitro.

Crosman Nitro – The Nitro Piston Short Stroke rifle has a lot going for it: gas-ram powerplant, good accuracy, no twang or vibration, and you can leave it cocked, ready to deal with those Wascally Wabbits in the garden.

The RWS 54.

RWS 54 – In my view, this is the king of the long-range self-contained varmint air rifles. Its recoilless action shoots like a PCP and is satisfyingly accurate.

The RWS LP8.

RWS LP8 – This springer pistol, with a red dot mounted, is currently my go-to pistol. It cocks easily and is great fun to shoot, but I would be less than honest if I didn’t admit that any of the HW45 pistols or Beeman P-series pistols are just as much fun.

Single-stroke pneumatic pistols – I like the Daisy Avanti 747, the Gamo Compact, and the IZH-46M, and I can’t really pick a favorite among them. They are all accurate and fun, but if you want to mount a red dot, but Gamo is the easiest.

The Crosman 2300S.

Crosman 2300S – This CO2 pistol qualifies for IHMSA “product class” silhouette competition (as does the Daisy 747). It’s wickedly accurate. Drop a scope on it, and you have an “instant” pistol suitable for pistol field target competition.

Wow, I’ve chewed up my space for this time and haven’t even gotten to PCPs!

How about telling me what some of your favorite airguns are, and why?

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

– Jock Elliott


  1. Michael Nager says:

    After not having shot for over three decades I decided I wanted to get back into it again.

    So I started wading through a lot of sites and reviews and comments, trying to weight them for bias and ended up with my choice of air rifle and pistol.

    My choices were based on four things:

    1) Price

    2) Durability and reliability

    3) Inherent accuracy

    4) Open sights

    In the UK one is limited to sub 12 ft-lbs with regard to rifles and sub 6 ft-lbs with regard to pistols. So my choices may not reflect what I might have chosen had I lived in the US.

    First of all with regard to price it pretty much eliminated all PCP rifles from contention.

    The next factor which narrowed down my choice was that I wanted open sights.

    To make a long story short, my choice of rifle was the .177 Weihrauch HW80.

    My choice of pistol was the Weihrauch HW45, which I originally bought as a .22 and liked it so much I bought another in .177 calibre.

    I have been shooting with my rifle and pistols for a year now and although they have most certainly been worn in, they are showing no signs whatsoever of wearing out (I have however worn off the bluing on the right hand side safety on my HW45).

    They are as accurate as I am, and when I am having a bad day, so are my weapons. On the other hand on my good days they reward me with the joy of accuracy.

    One sour note however, the back of my house only allows me to shoot to ranges of a maximum of about 25 yards, which is no longer a challenge with the HW80 – even less so if I use a scope.

    Why did I buy a scope? I was browsing on EBAY looking at various shooting materials (pellets, targets) and out of interest I looked at scopes. Someone offered a Leapers 3-12×44 Accushot SWAT AO 36 colour IE scope for £49 including 30mm UTG 11mm ring mounts AND free postage (which would be about US $75) and I could not resist at that price. This proves that you always find what you are not looking for at a price you cannot resist 🙂

    After having put a few thousand pellets through the HW80 I can break the barrel, and after cocking it, when I bring the barrel back up again I can let go of it half way up and it stays put, it does not swing back down. That I consider quality.

    With the HW80 I have gained the accuracy benefit of practice without the rifle “moving the goalposts” on me by stuff loosening, breaking, or wearing. I take it out for a days shooting and when I get back I put some Ballistol on a cloth and give the entire rifle (wood and metal) a quick rub down before I put it away – five minutes maximum. That is the entire extent of the “maintenance” I have had to do.

    Most of what I have said about my HW80 also applies to my HW45 pistols.

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      Thanks for sharing your experience~

  2. Michael Nager says:

    Mr Elliot,

    thank you for your kind words.

    The reason why I arrived at this blog is that although the iron sights on the HW80 are good I was looking for an aperture sight for my rifle.

    Quality aperture sights are prohibitively expensive and the cheaper ones are exactly that – cheap and nasty.

    I then found a link to Airguns of Arizona and found what I wanted in the Williams FP-AG-TK Aperture Sight in conjunction with the Target and Twilight apertures.

    Of course I had that sinking feeling that the company would not send it to me in the UK, but that fear was soon dispelled when I spoke to Greg on the phone and I am looking forward to receiving the sights sometime next week or so.

    The thing I do not understand Mr. Elliot is that Beeman now only supplies their version of the HW80, the Beeman R1, without open sights.

    I do know that attachable silencers are illegal in many States because they could be adapted for firearms. However, on a springer there is so much banging and thumping going on that I do not see the reasoning behind abandoning the iron sight option in favour of a silencer.

    Of course the Beeman R1 can be tuned to produce supersonic speed out of an alloy pellet, but I severely doubt the wisdom of shooting such pellets through the choked Weihrauch barrel. So from this standpoint I also do not see the wisdom of going exclusively with the silencer option.

    Another negative with regard to alloy pellets is that they are the kiss of death to a springer because they are so light and generally such a bad (loose) fit that a piston slam is almost built into the pellets – especially if one has tuned one’s rifle to a high ft-lb rating.

    I have some alloy pellets which I bought to test them out, but I use them exclusively in my HW45 pistols NOT in my rifle even though it is only rated at 12 ft-lbs.

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