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Education / Training Best airguns for the money – Part 4Unlimited price

Best airguns for the money – Part 4Unlimited price

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 3
Part 2
Part 1

Well, today I’ll wrap up the air rifles and we can move on to handguns next. The sky is the limit today, but there will actually be fewer guns to choose from, because “for the price” is still part of the selection criteria.

For classic lines and quality, Weihrauch’s HW77 is a certain winner. It’s the rifle that used to dominate field target in the late 1980s, and it probably got looked at very carefully when the TX200 was designed.

Fire 201S
For mass-produced big bores, the Fire 201S is the clear leader in my mind. It offers a large breech for easy loading, great power for the caliber and decent accuracy. Before 1990, a rifle like this would cost at least a thousand dollars and would have to be handmade.

Quackenbush Bandit
For a little more money, you can get a .457 caliber rifle that has in excess of 500 foot-pounds at the muzzle. The Bandit Long Action has been to Africa twice and taken big game. Deer and boar have fallen prey, and a Bison is next on the agenda. When questioned about using a 500 foot-pound airgun for such large animals, Dennis Quackenbush is quick to point out that buffalo hunters of the 1870s killed hundreds of thousands of buffalo with the .50/70 rifle. They typically took a stand at 500 yards from the herd, so the noise of the gun would not alarm them. At 500 yards, a .50/70 (425 grain bullet that exits the muzzle at 1280 f.p.s.) has about the same energy as a Bandit has at 50 yards.

The Air Arms TX200 belongs on this list. I do not know how they build such a fine air rifle for such a reasonable price in the United Kingdom, where labor costs are so high. And, if that weren’t enough of an impediment, Labour costs are even higher! Building an FAC air rifle in the UK these days is not the bright enterprise it once was, when the country was still relatively open to internal commerce.

The rifle is stunning! No one can open the box of a new TX200 and not be impressed. And when you shoot it, the impression deepens. Yes, the BAM B40 is a remarkable air rifle for being such a close copy of the TX, but it took the TX to set the standard initially. The TX200 has beautiful finish, flawless fit, superb firing characteristics, superior accuracy and a fine trigger. The scope mounting solution is well thought-out and easy to use. The stock is proportioned for both sitting and offhand use. The anti-beartrap catch is unobtrusive and easy to operate. This rifle is the one all spring gun makers need to study before they fire up their CAD systems.

I nominate all three AirForce air rifles for this list. They belong there because they each offer more value for the money than any other PCP. That doesn’t mean they are the best or even the most accurate PCPs. But, they give a thousand dollars worth of accuracy and performance for half the price.

Each of these rifles can now be changed by the addition of the MicroMeter air tank and by the new CO2 adapter. They offer performance that will suit any shooter’s needs. The “black rifle” styling is not to everyone’s taste, and that’s one of the reasons other PCPs still sell, but these three rifles are fundamental to modern airgunning.

Before we move on
The move toward repeating mechanisms in recent years has actually hurt airgunning, because some companies have killed their single-shot models altogether. This was an unwise move, because repeating mechanisms come with bundles of limitations and problems, while single-shots are so basic they don’t have any of these problems. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have repeaters, but not at the expense of the single-shots. I’ll give just one example. Daystate replaced their single-shot Harrier with a repeater. The single-shot would have made my list. I own one and will never sell it, because it is a fine PCP. The repeater has the limitations of pellet length and difficult cleaning, plus never knowing what remains in the magazine.

Falcon FN-19
Falcon has a long reputation of making fine PCPs, and Titan, their former incarnation, did, too! The FN-19 is their standard long rifle action and is one of the sweetest PCPs out there. I like the separate cocking handle that takes the effort off the bolt. I don’t know if they still have that feature, but I really liked it. And, Falcons are quite accurate. Even their sporter rifles, such as the FN-19, are good enough to shoot field target in everything lower than a championship.

Another thing I like about Falcon is that their rifles don’t always require the 3000 psi fill level. Neither did my Harrier. It’s wonderful to fill to 2600 psi or so and still get the same number of full-power shots, because the rifle’s valve has been properly balanced.

FWB P44 pistol
I shoot 10-meter pistols for sport, so naturally I would have one on my list. Actually, I like the Steyr and Anschutz pistols very well, but I’ve always favored the Feinwerkbaus. The P44 is the latest incarnation in a line of premium PCP 10-meter target pistols that began with the P30 over a decade ago. For me the adjustments are perfect, the trigger is ideal and I just seem to shoot a few points higher with an FWB. Pyramyd AIR will start selling the P44 shortly.

FWB P700 rifle
And for a 10-meter rifle I can recommend the FWB P700. A direct successor to the P70, the 700 is very pricey, however I wouldn’t recommend anything else. This is one time when I don’t have a close second.

Whiscombe JW80
There is nothing else like it, and you’ve already seen how well it functions in my reports, so the JW80 has to be on the list. Featuring interchangeable barrels, harmonic tuning, and power adjustability, the Whiscombe is a rifle for discriminating airgunners.

What SHOULD have made the list
The Logun Solo probably belongs here, along with the BAM B50. Both offer a lot of features for a very reasonable price. Beyond that, I draw a blank. If Theoben still made the 12 foot-pound Fenman, it would be here, too, but they don’t. That can be said for any number of fine guns that have passed from the scene. The HW55T, the FWB 124D and the BSF S54 all would have made my list if they were still around. Now, it’s time for you to tell me what I forgot.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

59 thoughts on “Best airguns for the money – Part 4Unlimited price”

  1. Hi B.B.
    This isn’t in reguards to todays report that you made.
    I have a question that I’m not sure has been covered and I would like to know .
    When firing a springer type air pellet gun , I belive that there are ( 4 ) types of felt recoil or results of the trigger releasing the ram . What are they and I am correct.
    1. The first felt when the trigger is pulled and ram is released goes forward .
    2. When Ram hits end of travel and stops .
    3. If any rearward travel /recoil again as ram goes back to resting position .
    4. The gun settles down to pre fired condition ?
    Sorry if this was long and or already covered.

  2. I respect your opinion of the Airforce guns, I just have the “black gun” bias. What about the S400/410? I have a TX200 HC, so I obviously trust Air Arms. Any experience with the 400?
    Also, none of the RWS 48/52/54 in today’s blog?
    Thanks for alll the info.

  3. B.B. Does the TX200 require a scope stop? I understand that the recoil is minimal compared to most springers. Also, if it was mandated that you had to give up ALL of your airguns, save ONE, which ONE would you keep? I have a feeling it would be your Whiscombe.(I could understand why it might be your “keeper”).

  4. An interesting series. I have an unrelated question. I have an old Benjamin 3100. It groups well with steel BBs but not with .177 lead balls. Any comments on improving the groups? Perhaps lube on the lead .177 balls?

  5. Joe,

    I overlooked the USFT. It DOES belong on my list. I simply overlooked it. As for the Steyr, perhaps, but since I haven’t tested it, I can’t say.

    Alan Z doesn’t really build guns. He modifies them and makes them better. He does wonderful work, but there is no one AZ gun I can put on the list.


  6. Neither,

    I thought about including the Tomahawk, but I don’t know that it will be made again in the future. I heard that Webley may combine its feature with two or three other models and produce an entirely new model.


  7. Is the rifle a heavy gun in your opinion , Because sometimes i aim up the tree , would the gun be a hard gun to aim up a tree off hand for a 13 year old , As you know i have a BAM B-30-1 Lovely gun , Heavy heavy heavy weighing in at 9pounds it is immpossible for me to shoot off hand with it . i was thinking about the carbine Light weight , Long range , in my price range , and it should take squirrels 75 yards .

  8. What cal would you reccomend im hunting small Game (squirrel , rabbit , Starling etc ) to medium sized game (bobcats ,raccons,oppossums, etc) I was thinking eather .22 – .25 witch would you think would be better ?

  9. Thank you very much BB for your quick responses i am going to get my first PCP the sumatra 2500 carbine , i understand it come with a fill probe is that all i need or is there things i need to pump air into it i wanna go the cheapest way . thank you

  10. Hey BB i am not going to get a pcp yet i wanna get used to the springers is the Webley Tomahawk a good one i was thinking about getting one for my birthday what cal is best for it .177 or .22 ???and on pyramid Air it sez effective range 75-150 is that the range it could take small game ???? If so what cal will go lets say 125 yrds ???

  11. Squirrel,

    Thanks for pointing that oit. It should say FEET, not YARDS! No smallbore pellet rifle will shoot well to 150 yards.

    Only the .177 is still available, so if this is what you want, that’s it. The Tomahawk is hard to mount a scope to because of the lack of aq scope stop.


  12. BB! My Man!!! Did I miss something(while I’ve been on a 7 Night Cuise)? Nothing, on your list from Sumatra, Shin Sung or Sam Yang? I think the .22 Sumatra 2500 is an AWESOME Air Rifle for the price of $409 ($369 with the 10% discount code). My Sumatra Carbine lays down so much smack it is UNREAL at 62 FPE…

    my best,


  13. Hi BB,

    You mentioned that the TX200 is well worth the price tag for the money. If you have a choice between the TX200 and the Pro-Sport, which one would you go for if money is not an issue?



  14. I cant say i like bam rifles but i do like the logun solo. The solo by logun should not make the list. It is more expensive than any air force rifle and is not as good in terms of performance except for the 1.5 pound trigger as apposed to three pounds.I dont like the look of the solo yet i dont mind the futuristic assult fife look of the air force rifles.

  15. My appologies if this gets posted twice. I’m looking for a scope recommendation for the TX200 that would allow me to hunt in very low light and at reasonably close range. I’m thinking of raccoons and possums that will be out at night. I will use it during the day too of course but won’t likely be much over 25 yards distance much of the time. I liked the idea of a Leapers model but they have way too many choices.


  16. JW80 gun is the best out there and yet no company tried to pick up the right to it and resume making more for it. Maybe i’m just jealous of the peole that have in their collection.

  17. I hope some day the maker of Bam would make a copy version of the JW80. Can’t wait for that day to come. If they do ever make it. I would love to see your review on that one. Of course that would be the day.

  18. I am interested in handguns suitable for informal silhouette as well as indoor practice. It would be a “fun” gun that would supplement an HW50S (used similarly and with some backyard Field Target).

    I’d like to have your opinion over a range of prices from less than $100 to about $400. Like you did for the rifles.

    Your blog is most enjoyable. I made an excel worksheet of all the articles in it to date that interest me (and there are MANY). Thank you for sharing your expertise.

  19. BB, this was just fun series to look back on. How about a modern version? 0-$200, $200-$400 and $400 to infinity? Something fun to look back on 10-20 years from now.


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