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.