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Education / Training Best airguns for the money – Part 3Air rifles for 0 – 0

Best airguns for the money – Part 3Air rifles for $200 – $400

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

The B40, of course. I just wish they would fix the trigger to have a definite second stage. Then, they would give Air Arms a run for the money! Other than that, the B40 has great power and accuracy in both .177 and .22 calibers. If you can learn to live with a super-light trigger, this one is for you.

I have to include the Beeman R7. It has too many nice things to pass it up. The size is right for an adult or an older youngster, and the trigger is a Rekord. The Beeman R9 is a classic that a lot of shooters buy as their first adult air rifle. It has both power and accuracy at a reasonable price. Being a powerful breakbarrel, it is very sensitive to hold, but that makes you a better shooter.

The Daisy Avanti 853C is a wonderful target rifle. Sure, it has a lot of plastic, but they hold up for decades of club use by hundreds of kids, so let’s put the reliability issue to rest. The gun holds up!

The RWS Diana 48 is my pick here. It offers power, accuracy and easy cocking (for the power) for a great price. The scope-mounting solution is less than desirable, but that aside, the rifle is a real treat! It’s nearly perfect for hunters. I do favor the .22 caliber over the .177, though both perform very well in this rifle.

The HW 50S is a fine Weihrauch rifle with target sights and a Rekord triggewr. It’s the old Beeman R8 that hasn’t been made for many years, but in a European stock. An intermediate rifle between the R7 and R9.

Guns that should be on the list
The BAM B50 probably belongs on this list, but I haven’t tested it yet. Nothing gets on my list unless I know it’s a great airgun. I also didn’t include some models like the Daisy Avanti 753, which is, essentially, the same as a less expensive model (the 853). The same goes for the RWS Diana 52.

My next look will include all airguns over $400. There aren’t that many that belong on my list, so that will end the rifles, and we can get on with pistols next.

52 thoughts on “Best airguns for the money – Part 3Air rifles for $200 – $400”

  1. Hi B.B.,

    What do you know about the new lineup of Hammerli air rifles that Pyramyd AIR slipped into stock? I just stumbled across the web pages a few minutes ago?

    Are these spring guns actually from the Swiss manufacturer “Hammerli” and manufactured in Switzerland? From what I can see there are 4 models in the price range $156 to $300.

    What in the world is “vaporized beech wood”?


  2. Hammerli,

    GH and Lee and everyone else,

    Umarex bought the Hammerli name last year and they are now releasing sporting airguns under that name. The spring guns are Spanish – Norika, I believe, and the RWS 850 AirMagnum is now Hammerli.

    These are not Swiss guns. The strange wording comes from inaccurate translations of terms.

    The world is a’changin’ fast!


  3. I think i might of hit the jackpot .
    i have found a RWS 75 and A BSA Meteor i have paid $140 for both of them together how much could i get for them if i sold them im trying to save up my first PCP Im going to get a SUMATRA 2500 Carbine

  4. Good afternoon B.B —Scott checking in. I seem to have an ongoing problem and I wonder if you could offer some advice. I shoot the rws 350 in .177, it is scoped with an rws 450 using the c mount and i am shooting crossman premier heavy. Every time I go out target shooting I’m pretty much right on target. I usually shoot for an hour straight and after 40 min or so for some reason the grouping are hitting low. Nothing has changed-still sitting the eame way-still placing the gun in the same spot-still shooting with the same hold–but all of a sudden the groups fallabout an inch low. There is no deviation to the left or right of the center of the taarget there just low–any thoughts–thanks again for everything–Scott

  5. Scott,

    You have stumped me! This isn’t normal behavior for a springer – any springer!

    My only thought is your rifle could be needing lubrication. Have you lubed it since it was new? If not, try a drop of chamber oil down the transfer port.

    Anyone have any other ideas?


  6. B.B.

    Off the subject, but did you see the new guns that Umarex is showing on their Euro web site today(www.umarex.com)? The Baretta Cx4 Storm is supposed to be completely independent of the Crosman NightStalker (with a 30 shot clip). Also the new Walther repeater PCP. Maybe this is an entry level PCP repeater (that doesn’t come from Korea or China). I think they have a .22 version, too, but the web site shows 4,5mm and 5,5mm as .177 (?). Heard anything about these? Thanks!


  7. Chris,

    Don’t count on the new Umarex PCP being cheap. It’s based on the RWS/Hammerli 850 AirMagnum, and I think it’s probably going to cost more than that rifle.

    I will wait an see with both guns. I held the new Beretta Storm at SHOT Show, but the new PCP is a surprise. Umarex just unveiled it at IWA last week. It develops 40 joules of energy, which works out to 29.5 foot-pounds. I assume that is in .22 caliber.


  8. B.B.–I know you don’t think too hoghly of the rws c mount-any chance that could be the problem? Also my birthday is coming up and I’m trying to talk my wife into a new scope. With your experience what would you recomend on my 350 that would allow me to clearly see the bulls eye at 50 yrds and what mount?–Field targeter, thankd for the input-temp was in the high 50’s all day. One other thought B.B.–ever thought of hosting a week seminar-some place warm that we could fly out to and pick your brain in person-naturally it would have to have a shooting range! Thanks again–Scott

  9. B.B.

    Thanks for the info on the Umarex stuff. Something to look forward to. Pyramyd probably doesn’t know when they’ll see production stuff yet, right?

    I’m looking forward to your $400+ story. I want to step up to PCP, but can’t see spending $1500. I’m sure you’ll have the Talon SS and Condor on that list. Have you shot the Sumatra 2500? Seems like a bargain, but a little goofy looking.

    Maybe you can include the cost of accessories to get shooting with PCP (pump, tank, clamp, etc) in a future story. Thanks!


  10. Scott,

    There are many good scopes to choose from. Normally I would recommend something from the Leapers line, because they are usually the best value for the features you get. Be sure to get a TS platform scope if you do get a Leapers. They are extremely rugged.

    A seminar in a warm place with a range nearby. Sounds good. As for picking my brain, I’m learning as much from you readers as you do from me. I think we could all get our brains picked!


  11. I saw in your blog that the HW50s is the same as the old R8. I was under the impression that the current HW50s is the equivalent of the old R6 and the R8 is equivalent to an older version of the HW50s. Was I mixed up?

  12. Hey BB,
    Just wondering, if the Gamo CFX cost $10 more would it have made this list? Or any other rifles from the class down ($100-200) that would make a top 10 list for anything under $400?

  13. RE: Hammerli

    Thank you for clearing that up, B.B. I hope you get a chance some time this year, to review a few of those air rifles. LOL. I know! Your “To Do” list must be a sight to see.

    For some reason this Hammerli thing reminds me of “The X-Files” season 5 episode “Bad Blood,” in which Mulder’s version of the buck-toothed, country bumpkin, Sheriff Hartwell (played by Luke Wilson) said stuff like, “There you go” and “We used to have swamps, only the EPA made us take to calling them wetlands…”

    On the other hand, Scully’s version of the Sheriff Hartwell was as a suave, sophisticated, manly man.

    Now that you’ve cleared that up, I do recall spending time last year viewing the German UMAREX web site. I just checked the web site again, and it has been update. Sure enough I see similar looking air rifles… some with different model names.

    I notice UMAREX is marketing a Hammerli model “Hunter Force 900 Combo” (7,5 Joule version) lookin’ a whole lot like a TX200, or a BAM B-40. So, is that like… you know, possibly an air rifle made by a Chinese company, imported/distributed by a German company, and given what used to be a Swiss company’s brand name? ;o)

    I’m smiling, but my brain hurts a little bit.


  14. B.B.

    Why didn’t the 850 AirMagnum ($220) make the 200-400 list? It seems to be one of the only quality, multi-shot rifles at the $200 price range (with .22 caliber available too).

    .22 multi-shot

  15. Your inclusion of the BAM B40 on the list prompts me to ask…
    Which do you consider a better rifle, the Gamo CFX or the BAM B40?
    I ask because I was considering picking up the Gamo, but the price difference is
    about negligable to me, both rifles are under $300.

    Which would you rather shoot?

  16. Thanks for the advice.
    I really appreciate your blog. I kinda got int airgunning blindly and sort of by suprise. (not including my daisy 880 I had as a kid). And I really feel that your blog has been the best source of pointed information and advice that I have found on the internet.

    Not trying to butter you up, but it is deserved praise.

  17. Alfred,

    Thanks. When I write about something I think about what I would tell my best friend, and that’s what I write.

    I don’t want to steer someone wrong when they may only be able to buy one airgun. I was in that position at one time and I remember all the lessons I learned.


  18. Dear B.B.

    Thanks for putting the BAM B50 on the “Guns that should be on the list…..”
    Just another reminder that you still have this one outstanding for testing…. Please make sure it is a properly tuned one to make the test more applicable…..

  19. B.B.

    Thanks for your honest assessment of the RWS 850. I will have to do a thorough test of the accuracy of mine when I get a chance to mount the scope and have a windless day.

    .22 multi-shot

  20. hello i just bought a hw 45 pistol which i’m loving. i was wondering which would be better if i wanted to put a red dot or a laser sight. what models would you suggest. thxs. love reading your stuff.

  21. B.B.

    What about the HW77?

    I have been agonizing about buying either the Diana model 48 or the HW77.

    Which of these two rifles would you prefer/suggest in .22 caliber? I know the HW77 techniqually is over $400, but only by a little ($35).

    Will either of these rifles accept the Crossman peepsight?

  22. Goldy,

    I chose it for its greater power potential. .22 caliber is usually selected for hunting and the 48 is a fine rifle for that. In the 77, the power is less and the upgrade capability is also less. But in .177 the 77 shines.


  23. B.B. Pelletier,

    Good info. I was set to get an RWS Diana 52 in .22, until I read your comments about the scope mount problems. Is there no resolution? Would it eventually shear the receiver holes or some such?


  24. Dave,

    You CAN mount a scope on a 52. I’ve done it many times. You just have o find a way to anchor the scope mount. The best way I have found is to use a one-piece mount and hang the stop pin in front of the rail on the rifle.


  25. B.B.

    Thanks. So, the round stop pin butts against the flat front of the rail? If I’m understanding you, then that really is a poor design.

    Is the R1 as good a platform as the Diana 52 for a .22 hunting rifle? I’m mainly looking for a rifle that handles .22 well – and with plenty of power. I’m getting a TX200, but in .177. (I read your comments on the TX200 being a better gun in .177 than .22.)

    Thanks again. Great site.


  26. Dave,

    Yes, the R1 is wonderful in .22! And its Rekord trigger is a plus, as well. An R1 can easily be tuned to deliver 20 foot-pounds of energy in .22. I had one that got up to 23+!

    Being a breakbarrel, however, the R1 needs a lot of holding technique. That’s where the Diana sidelever has it beat.

    Yes, the Diana scope rail design is poor. There is some development of a scope mount to solve the problem with all Diana scope rails, but it isn’t ready to market yet.


  27. B.B.,

    Thanks, much. An R1 it is, then. If and when the new scope mount comes out for the 52, I may consider adding that to the stable.

    An R1 is probably what I wanted more, anyway. I just didn’t know if it was considered a good platform for .22. Thanks for the info. Looking forward to setting one up.



  28. I’m looking for a beginner 10M target rifle. So far it looks as if my choice is between the Avanti 753 and the BAM40, but I was wondering if there were any other choices out there. I will not be doing any hunting, I’m just looking for accuracy, price and reliability (which I still have misgivings on in the BAM40).

    It appears to me as if the Avanti 753 has better sights on it then the 853, is the the only difference between the two? I also have some misgivings on the BAM40 being listed in the under $400 price range because to actually use the gun you have to add sights to it which would drive the price up.

    Your Blog is super informative and great and I thank you for giving newbie’s like me such good information. I decided after you blog to start with the Beeman P17 to see if I would actually spend the time shooting and I love the gun, it’s very accurate. Thank you again for all your work.


  29. Eric,

    The BAM B40 cannot be used for 10-meter. It is a sporting air rifle and far too powerful for the sport of 10-meter. Besides, it has no provisions for a front sight.

    The 753 differs from the 853 in the stock and the rear sight. Besides that they are the same gun.

    I would recommend the 853 as an ideal beginner 10-meter rifle. It is the choice of many NRA sporter-class 10-meter competitors.


  30. Ransom,

    The techs at Pyramyd AIR told me they were getting lots of returns on the B40, so they decided it wasn’t worth the problems.

    I tested three of them and never had a problem. But three is noting like the hundreds of guns they saw.


  31. hi,
    I bought a new UMAREX Hammerli hunter force 900 combo, its a pretty good air rifle. very accurate and powerful. I just wanted to know where is it now being manufactured since UMAREX bought the Hammerli name ?

    thank you

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