Best PCP Air Rifle 2017: Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

Air rifles get a bad rep when it comes to hunting. Most people think of a .30-06 or a .30-30 rifle for hunting deer. But what about when you aren’t hunting a whitetail somewhere in the Midwest?

How do you pick the best PCP air rifle so you can hunt small game and eliminate varmints? They are pretty useful to have around for numerous reasons that we’ll talk about.

The PCP in PCP air rifle stands for Pre-Charged Pneumatic. That’s a fancy way of saying the gun stores the air onboard to push the pellet out. This can be compressed air or CO2 cartridges.

Like most rifles, you’ll have to choose the best PCP air rifle caliber along with the features you want. The larger the caliber, the more impact it has to take down larger targets.

Common pellet calibers are .177, .22, and .25; even these calibers come in different types to help you hone in on what works best for your favorite pellet gun.

Should I Buy a Springer or PCP for Hunting?

A Springer, also known as a break barrel rifle, uses a different method of producing the air needed to project the pellet.

A PCP air rifle uses air from a high-pressure air source. This might be a CO2 tank like a paintball gun uses or something similar.

If you are hunting smaller game–squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, chipmunks, etc.–from 20-30 yards away, either will type will work well.

It’s when you need to shoot a larger caliber or hunt from a greater distance; that’s where the PCP rifle is a better choice.

Another difference to consider between the Springer and a PCP air rifle is the cost. The PCP rifles are typically more expensive.

Top 10 Best PCP Air Rifles

1. Winchester MP4 Hunting Air Rifle

Winchester is known for their rifles and ammo. It has everything you’ll need for plinking and hunting small game.

The CO2 powered, AR style rifle holds 16 -.177 caliber pellets. The 700fps speed will surely take down varmints at a reasonable range.

Pros:

  • The price is great for the occasional shooter or if you’re just starting out.
  • Can shoot BBs or pellets or a combination in the same magazine load.
  • Adjustable composite stock.
  • Has a quad rail to add accessories.
  • Semi-Automatic

Cons:

  • Only one caliber
  • Fires eight shots before the clip needs to be flipped to get the other 8
  • Holds 2 smaller (12 gram) CO2 cartridges.

winchester

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Overall this is a good entry level PCP air rifle. The AR style is good, and the quad rail is handy for adding a scope, red dot, or laser if you feel the need.

2. Gamo Viper Express Air Shotgun & Rifle

The Gamo air shotgun unique in this category. Whether you’re shooting snakes or birds, the shotgun option is useful when hunting. Adding the included insert will give you the option to shoot a single .22 pellet.

This versatility makes this Gamo makes it one of the best PCP air rifle and a must-have addition to your collection.

While it’s not the same power as a 410 shotgun, you can use it in the city to take care of your varmint problem with little worry of the police being called.

Another thing to remember is the smaller BBs in the mini shotgun shell are not going to have intense, penetrating power, so you will need to be a little closer than you would with the pellet.

Pros:

  • The stock is comfortable ti shoot with the rubber inserts.
  • Has rail for a scope.
  • Easy to load.
  • Comes with the .22 pellet adapter.

Cons:

  • Single shot for both the shotgun shell and the .22 pellet.
  • The shotgun shells are pricey.
  • Could have better groupings at 30 feet.

Gamo Viper Express Air

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The air shotgun in your air rifle arsenal might not be the first gun you pull out to hunt some backyard game, it does have its place.

Birds and other smaller animals that are a nuisance can be easily dispatched with either the pellet or the shotgun feature.

3. Benjamin Discovery Pre-Charged Pneumatic PCP Dual

The Discovery is a classic looking rifle with its wood stock. It’s offered in 3 calibers (.177, .22, and .22 duel fuel). The larger calibers increase the price but are very reasonable for what you get.

The dual fuel is ideal because you won’t have to worry how full your tank is. You can take your degasser and some CO2 tanks, and you’re set.

Pros:

  • 3 calibers available
  • Dual fuel means you can use CO2 or a pressurized tank as your air source.
  • 2000 psi gives more fills from your large tank.

Cons:

  • Does not include a pump, tank, yoke or fill adapter.
  • 2000 psi is less than most other PCP air rifles on the market.
  • Degasser needed to switch between CO2 and air.

crosman-benjamin-discovery

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When buying this air rifle, make sure you know what it comes with. Part of the reason the price is so low is it doesn’t have all of the fittings and hoses you may need to use air or change between air and CO2.

4. Gamo Coyote SE PCP Air Rifle

The 10-round magazine for Gamo Coyote SE offers 2 choices of caliber (.177 and .22). While there are no open sites, there are dovetail grooves so you can add a sight if you want one. A great shooting PCP rifle.

Pros:

  • Adjustable trigger
  • Integrated silencer
  • Recoil pad helps remove 74% of the recoil.

Cons:

  • No sights

gamo-coyote-se-pcp

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Knowing how you plan to recharge the rifle with air before you buy your gun is important. You may need fittings if you plan to fill it yourself versus having it filled at a paintball shop.

5. Benjamin Marauder Synthetic Stock Pellet Air Rifle

This is the first serious hunting weapon on the list. If you’re serious about finding the best PCP air rifle for eliminating your backyard pests or hunting in the wild, this is a great option.

You’ll want to add a sight and maybe a bipod. The .25 caliber model will take down larger game like raccoons and larger birds.

Pros:

  • Adjustable, match grade trigger
  • Can be filled with an optional hand pump and tank.
  • Offers a .25 caliber option for hunting larger game.

Cons:

  • No sightsbenjamin-marauder-synthetic

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The being able to fill this gun with the optional hand pump is great. You don’t need to run to a shop to get it filled or buy a scuba tank.

6. Crosman Challenger PCP & CO2 Rifle

The Challenger is a considered a competition air gun. This gun is ideal if you’re left-handed because it has an ambidextrous bolt handle without needing to alter it.

You’ll also really like the adjustable, match grade trigger. These triggers are usually lighter and much more smooth when pulled.

Pros:

  • Ambidextrous bolt handle.
  • Adjustable trigger
  • Operates on CO2 or compressed air.

Cons:

  • No sight
  • Might be less rugged than other models.

crosman-challenger-pcp

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Match grade components are great because they increase accuracy, that’s why many of the best PCP air rifles have them. Many times, though, they are less rugged. Keep this in mind when choosing the best PCP air rifle for hunting.

7. Benjamin Marauder Mrod Air Rifle Combo

This Benjamin rifle is the first one in the list that comes with a scope. Most have a rail or dovetail groove so you can add one.

Combine the 4-16x40mm scope with other features like the match grade trigger, built-in pressure gauge, and the factory installed depinger and you have a great hunting rifle right out of the box.

Pros:

  • Includes a 4-16x40mm scope.
  • Built-in pressure gauge.
  • Choked barrel for better accuracy.

Cons:

  • Need to buy fittings if you want to fill it yourself

benjamin-marauder-mrod

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The Mrod is a great rifle out of the box. Pick the caliber when you buy it based on the game you will be hunting, fill it with air and pellets and you’re ready to hunt.

8. BSA 140154 Buccaneer SE Pre-Charged Air Rifle

The Buccaneer offers a simplistic and accurate air rifle. The hammer forged barrel makes sure the pellets land where you are pointing. The quality of the rifle sets it apart from others in the same price point. This rifle is made in the UK.

Pros:

  • Bolt action
  • 10 shot clip
  • Self-regulating valve

Cons:

  • Scope not included
  • Bolt actionbsa-140154-buccaneer

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It would be nice if it came with a scope or other sights, but this isn’t a deal breaker. The bolt action is a good feature, but some may prefer other style actions.

9. Benjamin Armada PCP Powered Multi-Shot Bolt Action

This .25 caliber beast’s modular design lets you customize it more than any other rifle on the list. They call the modular design M-Lok.

M-Lok lets you customize with actual AR-15 grips and stocks gives so you have the freedom to buy what’s comfortable, not just what one or two air rifle manufacturers make.

Pros:

  • Will accept AR-15 grips and stocks.
  • Picatinny rail
  • Modular design
  • Scope included

Cons:

  • Larger caliber than some may need

benjamin-armada-pcp

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If you are a serious shooter, this gun would be a lot of fun to shoot. The modular design lets you add what you need and takes away what you don’t. It comes with the common add-ons of a scope and bipod.

10. Benjamin BPBD3S Bulldog .357 PCP Hunting Rifle

The Bulldog is a different caliber than anything else on the list; it’s a .357. With a projectile of this caliber, you are shooting a bullet, not a pellet.

While there isn’t a primer and powder like a centerfire or rimfire bullet would have, these .357 rounds are serious business.

When you have varmints like raccoons who laugh at you when you use a .177 air rifle in your attempt to exterminate them, the .357 will do the job. Add a scope and you can take advantage of the range you’ll get with a round this large.

Pros:

  • .357 round will allow you to hunt larger game.
  • Lots of room on the top of the rifle for a scope or other sight.
  • 5 round repeater
  • Can also shoot 9mm rounds.

Cons:

  • No sight included
  • A bipod is recommended but not included.
  • .357 ammo is more expensive and harder to find than smaller caliber pellets.

benjamin-bpbd3s-bulldog

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When you want to shoot big game, you use a big round, right? This is the big boy on the list. You will be able to eliminate a lot of varmints and other game. Take extra care with this large of a caliber.

The best PCP air rifle for hunting is dependent on your needs more than the features of the gun. These are tools for a job; when you have the right tool, the job becomes infinitely easier.

target

When selecting the right air rifle for hunting or playing backyard mercenary picking off chipmunks and gophers, make sure you look at things like caliber and how many shots is gives you without reloading.

Also, make sure you look at what comes in the box. If it needs a special fitting to fill the gun with air and you don’t order it, you’ll have to wait another week before you can use your new gun.

Small game is just that, small. This means adding a scope to your new air rifle is a must if you want to see our target from more than 10 feet away. Some of these PCP rifles for hunting are accurate past 50 yards. How can you expect to see something small like a chipmunk in the grass from that far away without a scope?

What specs are most important to you in a hunting air rifle?