I know I left you all hanging splitting things right in the middle of the Medium Game section, so I hope that this final segment pulls it all together and makes the wait worth it. While most of the “off the shelf” airguns are just not suitable for medium game, there are some spring guns that can get the job done, even on a budget.
There are a handful of spring and gas ram airguns that hit the 25 foot pound mark. The Umarex Octane can do it in .22 caliber. The RWS 350 magnum, RWS 48, and RWS 460 Magnum can do it. In fact the RWS 460 in .22 caliber is one of my all-time favorite airguns. The Hatsan 125, 135, 150, & 155 class springers can hit 25 and some even top out over 30 FPE with the right pellets. These are all very powerful springer or gas ram guns that require a lot of skill and practice to be proficient in taking small game beyond 25 yards.RWS 460 Magnum .22 Caliber Air Rifle – maybe one of the best small to light medium game spring airguns on the market.
The job becomes much easier when PCP airguns are added to the mix. Yes they are more expensive and take a substantial initial investment to get going, but they yield unrivaled accuracy and ease of shooting with a much higher energy output. Take the Benjamin Marauder in .25 caliber. It can produce around 40 foot pounds with very little noise and no recoil. Shooting it is a breeze and anyone with basic shooting skills and trigger control can be deadly. Some of the options in the Hatsan Quiet Energy line of guns push the power to well over 55 foot pounds while keeping the noise at a minimal and still being very easy to shoot. These guns sell for well under $700 without optics. A typical setup with optics and fill system may run around $1000 +/- depending on what options are chosen. The higher end spring gun setups will fall very close to the same price range.Hatsan BT65SB Quiet Energy Air Rifle
0.25 Caliber – Massively powerful and accurate to past 75 yards, this is a perfect example of a Hunting Class Airgun
Large Game – Supersize me…
Large game is a very fluid category. I put predators like coyote and bobcat here, along with javelina, hog, and game up to whitetail deer. While smaller predators like coyote may only need 50 or 60 foot pounds, you will want to be well over 100 foot pounds for javelina, hog and whitetail. Here’s where you need to do your homework. Find out what it takes to put down your intended target and then match the airgun to the job. My advice would be to stick to big bore airguns for anything in the Large Game category. Guns like the .357 cal Sam Yang Recluse, .45 cal Sam Yang 909, and .50 cal Sam Yang Dragon Claw are some of the industry standard “large game” hunting airguns. The .357 Recluse can produce energies exceeding 150 foot pounds. The .50 cal Dragon Claw can top out around, 230+ FPE. Another airgun that I’ve tested is the Evanix Tactical Sniper in .45 cal. This thing is a monster that slams into targets with great repeatable accuracy. I’ve got one on the wall that I hope to “review” for the next couple of years… We’ll see how long they let me keep it!Evanix Tactical Sniper Air Rifle. .45 Caliber – yeah.. it’s pretty awesome..
I’m going to attempt to summarize things here. For small game like pest birds the minimum is really a .177 that’s shooting 800+ FPS with lead pellets. When you move to fur bearing game, then the .22 is going to be better, and the .25 is going to be even better than a .22. There are some good spring and gas ram guns that are very suitable for small game and it’s a lot of fun to go out and hunt with them.
Medium game needs more energy. While there are some spring and gas ram guns that can “technically” achieve the energies needed for this category, PCPs are better suited and will be a far more effective and humane class of airgun for this purpose.
Large game needs big bore airguns that hit with authority and accuracy. Trying to take large game with lower powered airguns can lead to wounded animals suffering unnecessarily, and may be illegal as well.
Regardless of what airgun you choose and what you want to hunt, always know your local laws and regulations and make responsible shot choices.