I get asked all the time for my “top 5 list” of airguns. I’m not sure that I could pull that off, actually. What I believe I could do would be to come up with some top guns broken into categories, starting with spring powered airguns.
A gas ram IS a “spring”
First thing that I need to do is define what is a “spring” gun? That’s easy. It’s any gun powered by a mechanical system that stores energy, which is then released. By definition a “spring” is any mechanical device that stores energy. The leaf springs on a truck are “springs” even though they aren’t round and coiled. This puts the gas ram, nitro piston, IGT, vortex, AND the traditional metal coiled spring all in the same category.
My favorites in no particular order:
I have a handful of favorite spring powered airguns starting with the classic RWS 34. After many years of airgunning and advising new airgunners, I believe the RWS 34 should be every new airgunner’s first airgun. It will set expectations of build quality and craftsmanship that will serve a new airgunner well. With the prices of Asian import guns rising every year, the cost difference between them and a quality German springer is negligible, but the performance and build quality is significant.
There’s nothing like shooting a fine tuned airgun. The Beeman R9 does not start that way. It takes a bit of TLC and the right lubrication under the hood, and then it’s an amazing airgun. If I had to grab just one spring gun and run, it may be my R9. It’s very compact and extremely reliable and accurate. It’s always on target regardless of how long it’s been sitting on the rack. The best group I ever shot was with the R9. It was .06″ CTC at 20 yards. Mine is the .177 elite series, and I may never part with it.
I’m not sure that I’d call it airgun perfection, but the Walther LGU comes pretty darn close. The LGU is the under lever version of the LGV. Leave it to the Germans to take something and just over-engineer the ever-living stink out of it. I don’t dare open it up as I’m afraid that I’ll just never get it back together. The LGU is not a power gun, it’s a finesse gun. In perfect conditions, say like the 50 yard indoor range at Umarex, I can shoot 5 shots under an inch most of the time. With a muzzle velocity in the low 600’s (mine is .22 caliber), it has to be extremely well built to post that kind of accuracy.
Hatsan Mod 125 Sniper .25
Talk about the other side of the coin from the Walther LGU, the Hatsan Mod 125 Sniper .25 cal is anything but “finesse.” It’s big, NOT refined, hard to cock, and kicks like a mule. But, it’s a 30 foot pound spring gun that’s also pretty darn accurate all the way out to 50 yards. Not all the 125s shoot as well as the next, and they can all use a good tune out of the box, but when you get a good one you just never want to put it down. I’ve had several and they are tanks for sure, but they are also extremely hard hitting and fun to shoot once you work out the technique.
Gamo G2 Whisper .22
I’ve had my ups and downs with this gun. I went back to Gamo early on for them to fix a small defect. But, it’s got its place in my cabinet for a few reasons. First, is that it’s just so light weight. And, it’s extremely easy to cock. It’s got a decent trigger, Gamo’s SAT trigger, and it’s very accurate now that Gamo worked the bugs out. (I got one of the very first models that came over.) I used it in the Gamo Squirrel Master Classic and it was a real performer. I walked over 8 miles that day carrying that G2 whisper all through the woods and was still taking shots right up to the final moment. I’m not sure I would have been able to do that with any other airgun.
Air Arms Pro Sport / TX200
I could not have a list that did not include the Air Arms Pro sport and/or the TX200 MK III. I’ve owned both and I’m currently working with the Pro Sport in .22 caliber. It’s another one of those guns that just operate outside of what you’d expect from an airgun. I’ve yet to really see its full potential, but I’m privileged and excited to try!
There are so many more…
So those are 6 of my favorite airguns that are currently in my collection. The list keeps changing as new products are released, so it may change tomorrow, depending on what shows up at the door for testing. But, these are really good choices for what most airgunners are looking for these days. Maybe I’ll talk about my favorite PCP airguns next!