Today we’ll step away from our favorite discussion between FPS and FPE and focus on the fastest airguns on the market. Ok, so we’ll need to talk a little about FPE, but only so we have a frame of reference.
What is FPS?
FPS, or feet per second, is the typical measure used by airgun makers to quantify their airgun products. Faster, i.e., higher FPS is usually seen as better. Honestly, it’s not a great measure because it’s easily manipulated. To understand this, we need to talk about FPE for a moment. FPE, or “foot-pounds of energy,” looks at the raw velocity combined with the weight of the projectile, delivering a more honest measure of performance. But this article is not about the FPS vs. FPE debate, and we’ve covered this in detail across many articles should you care to get deeper into the subject.
FPS is just a single-point measurement. It only tells you how fast a manufacturer could propel something out of the end of their airgun. This tells us nothing about accuracy, range, or energy. It’s an arbitrary, often inflated, measure. We can take a typical airgun and make it shoot much faster by simply shooting a lighter pellet. With that said, FPS is the measure by which nearly all consumer airguns are categorized. So, let’s take a look at some of the heaviest hitters in the market.
Before we get to the guns, let’s discuss why FPS may be an important consideration. First, velocity may be more important than energy, depending on the shooting you have in mind. Additionally, any airgun capable of hitting these incredible velocity numbers, even while using ultra lightweight pellets, will be able to drive much heavier pellets, possibly generating even more energy on target. So, while not ideal, FPS is not a totally worthless standard.
Gamo Swarm Magnum .177
The Gamo Swarm Magnum .177 is a beast of an airgun. We’ve personally witnessed 1600+ FPS using the Gamo PBA pellets, which are not the lightest pellets available for testing. Had we had some of the PBA platinum pellets available, we’re pretty sure we may have seen 1650 FPS. Shots were taken at or around sea level, elevation plays a big role in the maximum velocity of a spring or gas ram airgun, and was very consistent. They were not a once-off.
More Fast Gas Ram & Spring Pellet Guns
Hatsan 135 .177
The Hatsan 135 platform is the most powerful break barrel gas ram or spring-powered airgun produced by Hatsan USA. It specs out at claiming up to 1250 FPS in .177. If you compare the 1250 FPS to the 1650 FPS from the Gamo Magnum listed above, you may think there’s absolutely no contest here. You’d be incorrect. Unlike Gamo, which tests with ultra lightweight alloy pellets, Hatsan tests with heavier lead pellets. If you tested with the same pellets across the board, you’d get very similar numbers, possibly higher numbers out of the Hatsan. This example is a good one to highlight why looking at just FPS is not a perfect measure.
Benjamin Trail NP .177
The next magnum FPS airgun on our list is the Benjamin Trail NP. This airgun has been around since 2008 or so. It was one of the first ultra-magnum airguns and was a direct response to Gamo’s Hunter Extreme. The .177 Trail NP can push alloy pellets up to 1500 FPS. It’s not quite up to the velocity of the Gamo Magnum or the Hatsan 135, but it’s a serious contender and a solid airgun platform for those that want to stick with a brand they know and love.
RWS 460 Magnum
The last airgun on our list is the RWS 460 Magnum. This German-made airgun is a beast. We have a lot of experience with this gun in target shooting and hunting and can attest to its ability to sling lead. It’s the most expensive on our list, but that higher price tag has real benefits. As mentioned, it’s German-Made. The T06 Trigger is probably the best you can get in a spring or gas ram airgun. Most importantly, it has a fixed barrel. The whole package has some weight to it which helps with the recoil you get with the magnum springers. It’s just a wonderful airgun. Marketed as an 1100 FPS airgun in .177, it does so with lead pellets and not alloy pellets.
FPS Ultra Magnum Wrap-up
So that was a quick look at some ultra-magnum spring and gas ram airguns that deliver some amazing FPS numbers. High FPS airguns can be very useful when target shooting and hunting. Finding the right pellets will be the key to repeatable results, regardless of your intended use. They are very fun to shoot, and many deliver an impressive “crack” from the pellet breaking the sound barrier.
If ultra magnum airguns are your thing, we have several more options for you. If you have questions and want to get some help picking your next high FPS airgun, just give us a call. We are always here to help.