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Best airguns for the money – Part 2Air rifles for $100-$200

by B.B. Pelletier

Best airguns for the money – Part 1

Before jumping into today’s post, I just HAVE to share this with you. Yesterday, I was at the range trying, again, to shoot the Whiscombe at 50 yards to test a number of things. Again, the wind was too strong, and my groups were blowing all over the place, but just before I called it a day I suddenly noticed that the reticle wasn’t in sharp focus! Hmmmm! Where did I just read something about that?

So, I removed my glasses and, lo and behold, the reticle was adjusted perfectly for shooting WITHOUT my glasses! It’s nice and sharp! Only – guess what? The target is now fuzzy! I rotated the AO until it sharpened, and I learn that I have been shooting with the AO adjusted 20 yards too close!

Apparently, I can write about this stuff; but when it comes to actually DOING it – DUH! Oh! And, I found another way to screw up your parallax adjustment. Glasses – on or off?

Today, I’ll answer Hank, who wanted to know the best airguns under $200.

Daisy Avanti Champion 499
It’s not actually a rifle, but the 499 is the world’s most accurate BB gun and has to be on this list. Don’t buy it without also buying the optional Daisy aperture sight and Avanti Precision Ground Shot. Size-wise, this is a youth airgun, but from the standpoint of quiet close-range accuracy, it’s for everyone!

Benjamin Sheridan
There are so many good rifles in this category. First of all, Benjamin and Sheridan were two different companies before Crosman bought them and combined the names. The .177 and .22 rifles are all Benjamins and the .20 calibers are the Sheridans. Both the Benjamin 392 and the Benjamin 397 are great buys. The Sheridan Blue Streak and Silver Streak are also good buys, but there aren’t as many good .20 caliber pellets for them. Since Crosman stopped producing the .20 caliber Premier pellet, I find that the Benjamin 392 is the better buy from a pellet supply standpoint.

Gamo’s CF-X squeaks under the $200 price limit, and is an exemplary rifle. I don’t recommend Gamos as a rule, but the CF-X is the exception. It deserves to be on this list.

Who SHOULD be on this list?
The Bam B30 probably belongs on this list. Several readers have commented that they love theirs, and I hope to test one soon. Also, Mendoza probably deserves at least a shot for a model or two. Again, I haven’t tested them so I don’t know. I hope our readers will chime in on these two brands.

As for all the Chinese imports such as Beeman, Benjamin, Remington and Crosman breakbarrels, I find them to be about the equivalent of Gamo – good rifles but not on this list. The same probably goes for the Turkish Winchesters Daisy distributes, but I haven’t tested those.

One Chinese rifle that does make the list is the AR1000 Magnum. I have tested it, and it’s a world-beater. Fully the equal of the Beeman R1, this Chinese breakbarrel has good looks, power and accuracy going for it. The powerplant is smooth and free of most vibration. For the power, this is also one of the easiest rifles to cock.

You might think the list should be longer. If so, I hope you’ll tell us which rifles I missed.

48 thoughts on “Best airguns for the money – Part 2Air rifles for $100-$200”

  1. B.B.

    Would you include the Benjamin AS392T or is it automatically included because it is 392 variation?

    I know the RWS 850 is over $200, but I would include it.

    .22 multi-shot

  2. B.B.

    Thanks for posting Part 2, I’ve been looking forward to it, especially since I’m considering getting a BAM XS-B30.

    From what I’ve read, the people who own them seem to like them, especially after they’ve been tuned.

    I’m thinking that they might be a really great alternative to the RWS48/52, which I’ve considered buying, but I can’t justify the price since I mainly do “backyard” hunting and plinking. But, again, I’d still like to own a springer to mix things up with my Benji 392.

    I’d really look forward to you doing a test/review on the B30. Hopefully, in the very near future.


  3. I have the .22 full power version of the legacy(which is no longer made and was always hard to find, it was for sale briefely at pyramid air where I bought it.)

    I find it to be the best gun for $165 Ive ever shot, it is very eficient and accurate with beeman kodiaks and crosman premiers.

    I absolutely love this gun for such a cheap price, I don’t know about the regular legacy version but this one must be better.

    Also can’t beat 720 fps with beeman kodiaks with only 28 lbs cocking force.

    Being somone who works out alot the cocking effort for me is a breeze.

  4. It may get higher than 720 actually because that was when I first bought the gun, breakbarrels usually gain some power after use which it has seemed to, I haven’t tested it since then so Im not for sure how much it gets with Kodiaks now.

    It does real well with squirrels esspecially once I got the bug buster on it,so its a good small game hunter as well.

  5. I would really appreciate that review as well and look forward to it, Im stuck between that and the IZH Baikal M513M rifle. Their both in the same price range and Ive heard good things about both of the rifles.

    Is there a reason the Baikal 513 wasnt on the list?

  6. The Baikal missed the list because of its appearance and the crazy hammer/safety. It was just too quirky for me.

    Everything that made the list had to be really special – something I could recommend to everyone without worrying how our tastes might differ.


  7. As in appearance, can I take that to mean that you just weren’t a fan of the looks or that the finish/build wasn’t up to par? I read your two part review but I didnt see any mentioning of poor build, so I figure that it just must mean aesthetics.

  8. Hi, these are great reviews and comments – excellent for a newbie like myself on a learning curve.

    Will you be doing the $200 to $300 report in a week?

    I’m interested in a powerful (break barrel) .22 hunting rifle with scope (need to take out large fast moving snakes) in that price range. See, I’m learning.. hopefully!

    Btw you were right about the Viper Express not being any good for them – I bought one locally to try – took 2 shotshells to the head of a 5′ snake to kill it – luckily I had it cornered so had time to reload. So back to the store that went. I need something that will stop them first shot.

    Waiting in antici………..pation! Thanks! Keith.

  9. Its always much better to be safe and have something that can end life in the most humane way then having to chance it. Even if that means paying a little more for the gun or buy higher quality tins, I’ve only had one runner and felt pretty bad about it, but for the most part Ive never chanced a shot that from the animal’s perspective would still kill them but with huge pain beforehand.

    I would be really interested in seeing a $200-300 part as well BB.

  10. Hi BB;

    Off topic, but I hope you can set me straight on using my new toy. Just received my new Drulov DU-10 from Pyramid Air a few days ago, and while I haven’t been able to shoot it yet, it is a very nice looking pistol. The reason I haven’t shot it yet is because I seem to be missing a part, that is , unless it is disguised as something else. What I mean is; the gun does not seem to have a piercing cap with it to fit the grip tube on the bottom and hold the CO2 cylinders in place and to pierce them. What I appear to have is a screw-on knurled cap (about 15/16″ diameter and nearly 1&1/2″ in length), one end of which has a threaded extension of narrower diameter than the “fat” end. The 15/16″ end is knurled and swivels about a central cylinder which has a pin thru it and apparently serves to hold some sort of small hollow tube-like thing in place inside of it. Now the large end of this thing WILL screw into the bottom of the pistol’s grip and it seems obvious to me that this is the bulk fill cap (the 125 gram tank will screw onto this). But I do not see a cap with a pin in it to allow the use and piercing of the CO2 capsules that you can alternately use in this pistol. Also, there is another, smaller steel cylinder; about 11/16″ diamter and about 1&2/16″ in length with a hole running through the axis of it. I do not know what purpose this serves, but it seems like it could be a spacer (for the CO2 bulbs inside the grip?? – the well in the grip does seem deep, but I have’t tried dropping a CO2 bulb in there yet). The (very Spartan) user’s manual that came with the gun mentioned a “spare closure cap”, whatever that is. The pistol’s foam case has three circular cutouts for three small round objects at the right front side of the case, the two that I have mentioned so far and another which held nothing. There are two steel rods, one appears to be a cleaning rod and the other is a shorter version of the cleaning rod. There is a cylindrical “spanner”, as the Brits would call a tube wrench, with tabs on it that fit inside the but of the pistol and lock into what must be corresponding cutouts deep inside. The purpose of these items is not explained in the manual. While the pistol itself appears to be very nicely made, the dearth of info in the manual is frustrating. Am I missing the piercing cap for CO2 capsules here? Or should I take a pin punch to the little crossbar in that threaded cap and find out what is rattling around inside there (could it be that this cap unit is supposed to be disassembled and reconfigured somehow to pierce CO2 bulbs?). Help! (please). Sorry about the length of this post.



  11. Keith and everyone,

    Yes, I’ll get to the next price list next week. I’ll probably expand the list above $300, because it will take too much time to cover all the rifles if I keep going in $100 slices.

    This segment has proven surprisingly popular. Maybe Pyramyd AIR can do something more with it?


  12. Curtis,

    I went to the Drulov manual on the Pyramyd AIR website and the CO2 piercing cap is shown clearly in the manual. It’s the cap on the left in the photo that shows how to load a CO2 cartridge.

    It’s called a container cap. As I recall, the piercing pin on the Drulov is very large and fat. It has a pyramydial or arrow-shaped knob on the end that pierces the cartridge. Do you not have a cap like that? It should have been in the gun when you got it.

    The “bulb closure” they refer to in the instructions is the small flat end of the cartridge that was welded shut after the cartridge was filled.

    If you don’t have this cap you need to contact the dealer who sold you the gun.

    The longer tube wrench is the spanned used to screw the bulk-fill cap into the pistol grip. It has nothing to do with CO2 cartridges.


  13. Okay hope this helps some budget minded people. If you are not overly concerned about a minor bump or ding–this is for you!
    You can get an RWS 34 for $131.50 delivered! Just call Glenn or Art at Umarex/RWS and ask them for an RWS 34 ‘Gun Show Demo’. They are in perfect working order–having never been fired–just ‘handled’by Gun Show attendees. Call Glen or Art @479-648-4095 ext 3.

  14. JHodgeCMI,

    Please be very careful when buying guns that have been at gun shows! I have seen them dry-fired into the carpet repeatedly. I’ve even been lectured by a tableholder that dry-firing does no harm to a “BB gun”. He did it with his Red Ryder all the time.


  15. Is it possible to provide some shot strings for Talon SS or Condor? I am curious as to whether the large number of shot consistency claim is true. If I see the numbers myself and it’s true, I’ll definitely get one.

  16. I don’t understand your question. What do you mean by “…the large number of shot consistency?”

    What power level are you concerned with?

    What shot consistency do you hope for in a string, or are you more concerned with accuracy?


  17. I want to see if it really provides 300 consistent shots. I’ll probably be shooting my SS at power level of 12.1. I want to see how much those 300 shots vary. Could you provide shot strings? Thanks.

  18. No, I can’t.

    And where did you hear that you get 300 shots at high power?

    On high power (12.1 is not a specific power level – every gun performs differently) the Talon SS gets 35-40 shots, depending on what kind of velocity spread you are willing to endure.

    It almost sounds like you are confusing the performance of the MicroMeter tank with the standard Talon SS tank.


  19. Okay, this I can answer pretty easily. I’ would expect to get 30-35 shots at your setting (the highest power setting) with a velocity variation of 20-30 f.p.s.

    However, if you are only shooting to 30 yards, you could continue shooting to 40 or 45 shots and still get good groups.

    The number of shots depends of what you use as criteria for acceptable performance.

    My personal SS has had thousands of shots through it and my velocity variation tends to be closer to 20 f.p.s., but a new gun tends to have a broader variation.


  20. Are you planning on reviewing the Winchester Daisy 1000xs any time soon? From everything I have read about it I think it would be near the top of the list for a rifle under $200… but I haven’t heard any first hand reviews.

    Also why do you normally not recommend Gamos and what makes the CFX different enough to get your good review?

  21. The daisy/winchester (hatsan actually) 1000xs is ok. heavy cocking effort, and heavy recoil compared to other inexpensive rifles in it’s class. Also, the recoil is enough to make the scope mounts that come with it pop off the rail, and the scope itself leavs something to be desired. I shoot it using the open sights.

    I can hit a soda can haning from a branch at 60 yards (give or take 2 yards) fairly consistently from the offhand. I shoot a lot, but I still think that says something for the accuracy (I shoot crosman copperhead 7.9gr pointed field/target ammo).

    I think the big appeal is that this rifle is cheap and accesible.

  22. B.B.

    Why is it that you do not generally reccomend Gamo rifles? The 2 shadows, and shadow sport that are running arround in my family are good rifles, as is the crosman 1000x.

    Maybe I just have never shot a “premium” air rifle, but I would figure sub 1″ groups at 30 and 40 yards is good.

  23. Winchester 1000,

    I like the other reader’s comments. He has the gun, so I would listen to him.

    The Winchester is made in Turkey and I have heard that it is built to a price, rather than the new Patriot which is built to a performance standard. Of course they differ greatly in cost.

    The CF-X makes the list because it is smooth and accurate. Other Gamos are much smoother than they use to be, but not as smooth as the CF-X. And they are accurate, but do not compare to the CF-X. That’s why they didn’t make the list. If you read all my posting on the CFG-X you’ll see that I was very surprised by it’s performance and had to eat a lot of crow for what I said before testing it.


  24. Alfred,

    They are “good” rifles – just like the MP-513M is a good rifle. My list was for the “best” rifles. No low price can make up for a lack of superior accuracy, lots of vibration or a poor trigger, in my book. Heck, I downgraded the 513 on looks, alone!

    I’m snooty, I guess.


  25. Ok, I was just curious why you would not recommend the brand. I am actually quite interested in buying the CFX in the next year (My Daisy/Winchester/Hatsan was a gift)because the Gamos seem so nice comparitively. Thanks for your reply.

  26. BB, Looking for an air rifle in this price range, actually up to $125 or so. Will be shot seldom, pest control. Chipmunks, small squirels, etc. Quieter is better. Range is close, 25 to 35 yrds. Prefer scope included. Thanks

  27. The samples are just arriving. As soon as I have the time, I will start on them.

    Mendoza says they have gone through a plant upgrade program to increase quality control. They have also introduced colored stocks that may put some shooters off.

    I guess we’ll find out in the testing.


  28. B.B.

    I’m looking to get a new rifle. I’ve got my Beeman GH950 .22 that I really like, but I’m interested in getting a fixed barrel. You’ve mentioned that the BAM rifles seem to be the exception to the rule for Chinese made air guns. I’m looking at their new version of the B30 as my next purchase. What are your thoughts and does Pyramid have the new version of the rifle that I’m seeing on other sites for about $155?

    Thanks for your time.

    Rick in SC

    p.s. my other option would be the Gamo CFX… wish they had it in .22.

  29. I am curious… Why did the RWS 34 not make it on this list? From what I have heard it is a solid entry level gun and just makes it under $200.

    I am considering buying one. Is there something I should know about it why it is not here?


  30. BB,

    Sorry, didn’t notice the chronology, my mistake.

    A follow up question if you don’t mind: Is there substantial internal difference between the RWS 34 panther vs the wood-stocked version (this is the one I am considering buying)? I know in your review of the Panther you mentioned that “It might as well be a completely new gun”… with the trigger and such. Would a NEW RWS 34 wood version still have the same upgrades or not?

    Also (swear it is my last question) as a lefty would the design of the wood-stocked 34 seriously impede me? I know you said the cheekpiece is different but I just really like the iron sights and the wood finish of that version of the 34.

    Thanks again!

  31. What do you think of the Beeman 1027 kit… for the value… accuracy, dependability etc???

    And in the higher price group of 200… what do you think of the Benjamin trail NP ???


  32. I never cared much for the Beeman combo rifles that are made in China, but the 1027 is low-powered enough to be an exception. It has good reviews from many owners.

    Personally, I would prefer the Air Venturi Bronco better, because it is more gun for the money. It has a better trigger and greater accuracy.


    But the 1027 isn't a bad air rifle and if you can get one for a good deal, I'd say go with it.


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