by B.B. Pelletier
Today, I’m finishing the gift list. The price limit is lifted, so it’s everything above $150.
Please bear in mind that these are my own personal picks–the ones I believe in. You may have a favorite that didn’t make this list, for which I am sorry, but these are the guns I believe in. If they’re not in stock as of this day, they may not show up on the website. In that case I will not list them.
The prices are going to jump around a lot as you go through this list. Now you understand why.
Air Arms TX200 in .177 caliber. I don’t know if the .22 caliber is as nice, but what I DO know is that I’ve recommended this air rifle to more than 100 people and have never heard a bad thing about it. Once someone had a problem with one new gun, but Pyramyd Air replaced it and the next one was perfect. That’s out of more than 100 sales of which I have personal knowledge. Don’t read into this recommendation and apply it to anything other than the TX200 in .177 caliber. Beech or walnut stock are the same, except that walnut is both softer and lighter than beech. I have owned both. This is an air rifle for the rest of your life. Adults only.
Let me just get this out of the way now and say that the RWS Diana 54 is the only current spring rifle that I feel to be equivalent to the TX200. Let me qualify that. The TX is built and finished better than the 54, but the 54 has large patches of beautiful checkering, it’s completely recoilless and it is as accurate as the TX–if not more accurate. The 54 is a large air rifle, and I would get it in .22 caliber because of the power potential, but .177 is also very nice. Adults only.
Now for my best new air rifle recommendation, the Air Venturi Bronco. I developed this rifle for Pyramyd Air, and in the coming weeks I will blog it thoroughly for you. You will see that the price of $126 places it in the lower price range, but I can’t let the year end without it being on my list. I have a lot to tell you about my thinking as I was developing this rifle, but for now I will tease you by saying this–I tried to create an affordable Beeman R7. Another way to look at it is a modern blend of the Diana 27 and the Beeman C1. It’s coming from Mexico and who knows how long it will take to clear Customs at the border, so this probably won’t be making it here in time for Christmas, but if you get any money gifts this year, you might want to earmark them for one of these. Suited and developed for older youth (12+) and adults. An all-day plinking rifle.
The AirForce Condor is one of the most powerful smallbore air rifles made. It’s also quite accurate. You’ll need the means to fill the gun, and I recommend the carbon fiber tank listed below. And you do need a scope. My recommendation is for .22 caliber, only. Adults only.
The Benjamin Discovery combo that comes with the hand pump is still the best entry into precharged pneumatic airguns. Everything needed to start shooting comes in one box. And the price is unbeatable. Teens and adults.
Just as the Discovery was the big new gun in 2008, nothing equalled the reception of the new Benjamin Marauder in 2009. If you can get the money and want a PCP, this is the one to get. It will give you pride in America. Teens and adults.
For a delightful gun at a reasonable price, the .22-caliber Benjamin 392 pump and the .177-caliber Benjamin 397 are both classics. Suited to older kids and adults. Get ‘em without scopes and learn how to shoot.
For a great affordable gas springer, the Crosman Nitro Piston Short Stroke is the best deal in town. Adults only because of cocking effort.
If you want a traditional looking PCP, the Hammerli Pneuma is hard to beat. It’s powerful, accurate and well put together. Teens and adults and don’t forget the air supply.
For a breakbarrel spring rifle of moderate power, it’s hard to beat the Mendoza RM-200. It’s accurate, has a great trigger and yet it’s not a blistering magnum rifle. Great in either caliber. Teens and adults.
If you want to try out big bore, the Career Dragon Slayer is a super first gun. It’s powerful, yet civilized. Don’t forget the air because these rifles really use it. You won’t find ammo anywhere but here at Pyramyd Air. Adults.
I know they’re expensive guns for their power level, but the Walther lever action Wells Fargo model and scoped version of the standard model are on a closeout special right now. This is the only 1894-style lever action still selling, and this is the best price in years. I love my carbine that I got years ago. Teens and adults.
For a good, inexpensive spring gun, it’s hard to beat the RWS Diana 34P. Great piece at a great price. Adults.
Diana makes a great youth rifle too. The RWS Diana Schutze is a rifle that harkens back to the 1980s with its classic styling and accuracy. Suited for children from 12+ to adult.
If you want power in a spring gun for the right price, look no farther than the RWS Diana 48. Get it in .22 for power and .177 for other things, like inexpensive ammo costs. Suited to adults.
For target shooters, the Crosman Challenger 2009 target rifle has to be considered. It has features not found in other guns for sale today, and if bullseye shooting is your game, this is what you want. Kids from 8 and up, depending on the level of physical development (i.e., their size and strength). Buy target pellets.
I know I haven’t written about the Edge target rifle yet, but when I do you will find out why it is also on this list. It’s totally different from the Crosman Challenger, having different features and certainly a different look. If you are inclined in this direction, let me give you a gentle push. Kids from 8 and up, depending on the level of physical development.
Beeman’s Beeman HW 70A is a breakbarrel classic pistol that will give years of trouble-free operation. Like all Weihrauchs these days, it’s pricey, but you get what you pay for. Adults.
If you want a pistol to keep for life, consider the Weihrauch HW 75. This single-stroke is incredibly accurate and has a light, crisp trigger. Adjustable sights. The grips are stippled walnut. Adults.
Beeman’s P1 is a spring pistol that’s been at the top of the air pistol market for over a decade. A great trigger and wonderful accuracy compliment the 1911-style grip. Adjustable sights move your group to the point of aim. Adults.
For target shooters, the Gamo Compact is one of just two recommendations I have. It’s a lightweight, inexpensive target-grade pistol. Suited to adults needing a lighter target pistol.
In case you guessed, the IZH 46M is the other target pistol I’m recommending. If you can handle the weight, it’s the better target pistol, but 80 percent of shooters today think it’s too heavy when held in one hand. This is pretty close to a world-class competition pistol. Adults.
I see there may be a few RWS Diana 5G Magnums remaining in stock somewhere. For the price, it’s a wonderful informal plinker and all-around air pistol. Adults.
As far as action pistols go, it’s hard to beat the S&W 586 revolver. It’s so realistic and right! I like the 6-inch barrel for the extra velocity it offers. Don’t forget to buy extra CO2 cartridges when you buy one. Teens and adults.
If you just want to go nuts with a beautiful action pistol, you would be justified in buying a Walther CP88 with walnut grips. Just look at the picture to see what I mean. If it doesn’t speak to you, don’t buy the gun. Teens and adults.
While I’m not a big fan of full-dressed action pistols, I did grow fond of the Walther Nighthawk while filming the action pistol episode of American Airgunner. It’s got a lot of neat stuff. If you like guns like that, this is a very good one. Teens and adults.
The Colt 1911A1 pistol is a favorite of mine. I don’t accessorize it and just use the open sights it comes with. I find this gun to be one of the most accurate Umarex action pellet pistols going. Only the S&W 586 and the Magnum Research Desert Eagle are more accurate, in my experience. Teens and adults.
For equipment that you really need but don’t give a second thought to after you’ve acquired it, the 88-cubic-foot carbon fiber air tank ranks at the top of the list. It’s as useful as a fine pair of leather boots that have been well broken-in, and it’s just as expensive, too. Gripe if you must, but unless you just shoot a Benjamin Discovery, you really need this tank. It fills nine times as many guns as a 3000 psi scuba tank and weighs half as much.
For those who own an AirForce rifle, the AirForce TC1 rifle case is practically a must-have. It can be adjusted to fit all of your gear for traveling, plus it looks so cool. A real dress-up for your Condor! I’ll be blogging it in the future.
Well, that’s my Christmas list for 2009. I hope it’s of some help to those who are buying gifts for airgunners. And don’t forget that Pyramyd Air has a different Gift Guide that is much larger than my lists.