The 7.5 pound hunting rig

Monday, January 17, 2011

A little while back, Dale Johnson responded to my review of the FX Independence by saying “10 lb. rifle, if it sits on sand bags all day that’s fine, but a rifle that heavy is useless to me for hunting. 7.5 with scope is my limit.”

When I read that I thought, “You know, I’ve heard other hunters say similar things, that ideally their hunting rig would weigh no more than 7.5 lbs. to ease the burden of carrying it all day.” So I decided to do a little research on the Airguns of Arizona website to see what kind of 7.5 lb. (or less) hunting rig I could put together.

The first and perhaps most obvious choice would be either the Benjamin 392/397 or the Sheridan. Either rifle weighs 5.5 lbs. according to the Crosman website and can be fitted with a peep sight that adds negligible weight. Scoping these pump-up rifles is difficult, but barrel-clamping scope mount adapters are available, and the hot setup seems to be a pistol scope or red dot mounted well out on the barrel, Scout Rifle style.

 Another possibility is the Marauder PCP Air Pistol which weighs 2.7 lbs. without scope. It’s a .22 caliber pre-charged repeater that comes with a plastic stock that quickly turns it into a carbine. I’ll be reviewing one of these pistols in the near future.

The FX Verminator is a carbine version of FX’s double bottle airgun and weighs only 5.3 lbs. Similarly, the Ranchero carbine weighs in at 4.8 lbs. Either of these diminutive repeater carbines is available in .177 or .22. Virtually all of the FX long guns weigh less than 7 lbs. (with the exception of the Revolution), and some of them weigh under 6 lbs.

The Daystate Huntsman Classic tips the scales at 6 lbs., as does the Daystate Huntsman Buckmaster. The Brocock Enigma weighs 6 lbs., 13.5 oz.; the Brocock Concept weighs only 6 lbs; and the Brocock Contour weighs only 4 lbs.

Among springers, Weihrauch has several candidates that might fill the bill. If you’re willing to go after smaller game at closer ranges, the HW30s weighs 5.5 lbs., as does the HW30S Deluxe. Either can be fitted with a peep sight or scope. At 7.8 lbs., the higher power HW35E is just a touch over the weight limit, but would make a delightful hunting rig, especially if equipped with a peep sight. The HW85 is a little bit lighter, at 7.7 lbs. and would be a good candidate for a peep sight. The HW50s and the HW50S Stainless weigh 6.8 lbs., deliver more power than the smaller HW30S models, and would also work well with a peep sight.

The BSA Lightning XL, available in .177, .22, and .25, weighs just 6.6 lbs. The BSA Supersport XL, available in the same calibers, weighs 6.8 lbs.

If you want a scope and rifle combination that meets the 7.5 lb criteria, there are some lightweight scopes available to mount on a light rifle. The Burris Compact 3-9 x 32 weighs just 12 oz. The Bushnell Sportsman 3-9 x 32 is just 6.3 oz., and the Leupold EFR Ultralight 3-9 x 33 weighs in at 11 oz.

Play mix and match with light air rifles and light scopes, and you should be able to put together a combination that you can carry for a full day in the field with a grin on your face.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott


  1. Mike Hess says:

    The Benjamin Discovery falls in there at 5.13 pounds. Well under 7.5 pounds even with a good scope. They have enough power for small game.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      You’re right, Mike. Good catch!

      1. bub says:

        The Discovery is a great little gun in my opinion. If it had come with a shrouded barrel it would have been even better. Bub

      2. Jock Elliott says:

        Thanks for the comment Bub.

  2. Nectaly Barbosa says:

    I really don’t think that the 7.5 pounds is a generalizable hunting rig weight, since many of the most popular hunting rifles weigh 7.5 pounds without the scope. what many people tend to do however for their heavier rifles is install sling studs then add a sling, wich makes a dramatic difference in the effort needed to carry a hunting rig around all day.

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      Thanks for your comment. I certainly agree that a sling makes carrying a rifle much easier.

  3. Roy Calzada says:

    7.5 lbs seems to be a far weight on average for a mid power hunting rig, heavy guns
    do require additional strength and physical endure for a long day in the field. This factor
    makes many of the pre -charge rifles first in this category for hunting rigs. My old favorite
    before it was stolen was my Beeman C-1 carbine in .22 caliber. It wasn’t an exterme
    power house but did the job at reasonable air rifle distances. I am still looking
    for a replacement my heavy big Beeman Kodiak is on the other exteme of weight.
    If weight and size are always a concern i’ll just use my Falcon FN-8-WG in .22 cal

  4. Conor says:

    Mr. Elliott,

    Could you do a review on the Benjamin Trail NP XL .22 cal when you get a chance?


  5. Conor says:

    I read those, but was kinda hoping for a review of the XL as it is more powerful. If you don’t have time, just bag it.


  6. don w says:

    great positing with lots of research to back up.

    i personally prefer the heavier rifles on the sandbags or a good solid sitting position as that’s more my hunting style…find a good spot…sit and watch with binos/scope.

    1. Jock Elliott says:

      Thanks for your comment Don.

  7. pcp4me says:

    Well, if you want a really nice under 6.5 lbs scoped air rifle that will also fit IN a backpack, try the Crosman 2289. Mine has one hole 10 meter accuracy, and though many consider it too weak to hunt with, mine took 12 squirrels in 5 days. All were one shot kills, never missed a squirrel. That was with a “bugbuster” 3 X 9 X 40 scope. It now has a red dot to reduce weight/bulk, as this is about a 35 yard gun max. It easily kills any small game, such as rabbits, birds, and squirrels with head shots. And it has the accuracy to hit them in the head!

    1. pcp4me says:

      Btw, forgot to mention kills were with 13 pumps, which delivers 525 fps with the 14.3 gr Crosman pointed pellets included with the kit! I know, this exceeds the manufacturer’s recommended pumps, but my tests show an increase in velocity up to this point. After that, not much velocity increase. And these guns are solidly built, so I do not worry about them breaking down! Simply a fantastic gun and fantastic accuracy. And half the kills were with the included “iron” sights. Once sighted in, even with “iron” sights, one shot kill heads shots were easy!

  8. pcp4me says:

    I would also like to nominate the Crosman Optimus with peep sights for a real killer combo. With peep sights right at 7.3 pounds, and mine is superbly accurate with stacked one hole groups at 10 meters. It chronographs at 1000 fps with 7.0 gr match wadcutters, and with 7.9 gr chp does 975 fps with match grade accuracy. The gun is also has a well behaved firing cycle, with very little bucking, jumping or twisting. Feels very close to a fine tuned spring gun right out of the box!

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