We’ve all seen the Christmas movie where Ralphie wants a Red Rider BB Gun, but he continuously gets warned about shooting his eye out. While personal injury isn’t a joking matter, neither are the best pellet guns of 2018. Serious improvements and design features have been made. Come pick your favorite.
Best Pellet Guns of the Year
Pellet and BB guns have been popular with kids and adults for centuries. Ever since we crossed this country in covered wagons, men were teaching their sons how to shoot using pellet guns. Just like the old west days, the guns have changed as well.
Today we have a nearly endless supply of pellet and BB guns to choose from, in every style and make you can imagine. There are lever action, bolt action, and semi-automatic firing air rifles, pistols, handguns and short arm rifles that use springs, air or C02 for the propellant.
Which one is the best though? That’s what we are here to find out. We will present you with the list of the top rated best pellet guns to date, and maybe even a bit of nostalgia thrown in for good measure.
How We Choose Our Favorites
Rating guns is a specifically difficult task. When it comes to pellet guns, it doesn’t get any easier. There are so many brands, styles and types to look at and evaluate that you have to have a methodical approach to the situation.
We do a lot of testing, research and comparing before we decide which is the best of the best.
Our priority is to gather all the contested pieces and sort them into groups: air rifles, handguns, pistols, etc. From there we test within the groups to determine the scores within the individual groupings.
These tests and exams include inspecting things like firing mechanisms, propellant usage (Co2, lever, spring, etc.) the durability of the construction materials, the weight, size and options for each model.
We then test the guns on a range and look for distance, velocity, accuracy and if there are multiple shot types (BBs and pellets, or just one or the other) and how the gun fires. We check the sound level, the kick back and how difficult it is to fire multiple rounds quickly and accurately.
Finally, we look to actual consumers and find out what they think after owning the guns for some time. How they hold up over constant or repeated use, we take into account user error or neglect while we score their complaints and accolades.
The Best Pellet Guns
Here is the list of the best pellet guns of 2018. We are confident you will find the best model for you on this list.
Daisy 880 Powerline Air Rifle
Daisy is a name we all recognize and have been producing high quality, top of the line pellet and BB guns since the 1800s. The 880 Powerline continues this long-standing tradition with an air rifle that promises to deliver.
The multi-pump rifle will hold up to 50 BBs or pellets in the holding chamber, each of the .177 caliber. For each shot, you will need to pull the bolt before the pump loads the air. You can pump multiple times to build up air pressure, though no more the 15 is recommended.
When fired, the BBs will travel up to 750 feet per second (FPS) while the pellets can reach up to 715 FPS. Your accuracy is improved with the 4x15mm scope, that has a front focal lens and a rear adjustable lens.
The gun features a cross bolt trigger lock and a one year warranty, though when taken care of, the 880 will last you generations.
Crosman Legacy 1000 Single Shot (CLGY1000KT)
If any name can compete with Daisy, Crosman is that name. Standing toe to toe with the big name is something Crosman has done for generations. They even manage a win now and again. The Legacy 1000 is a perfect starter rifle with a lot of features that make it ideal for hunting training or small game tracking.The fiber optic front sight allows you to zero in from over 50 feet away, and the 4x15mm scope is small enough to not distract while functional enough to line up your distance shots.The construction is highly durable with a synthetic stock and forearm that are both weather resistant and tactical. The synthetic wood grain material is durable under any conditions and won’t tarnish the barrel. The barrel itself is high-grade alloy with rifling. This allows the BBS to fire at 800 FPS and alloy pellets to be fired at up to 1000 FPS.A true pellet gun in every sense, the Crosman Legacy 1000 brings single shot air rifles back into the limelight. The best use is with the Crosman Destroyer tipped alloy pellets. However, any .177 caliber round will work, BBs included.
Crosman P1377 American Classic Multi Pump Pistol
Third place goes to the Crosman pistol. The P1377 is a well balanced long barrel pistol that features a weather resistant grip with a pump action forearm. The gun uses a variable sight (adjustable to either open view or peep view) and takes .177 caliber pellets.You will only get to shoot one round at a time as the pistol is a bolt action style, side slider. Once you chamber the round, you can pump the forearm. The more times you pump, the more powerful the shot. Each pellet can travel up to 600 FPS.If you are looking for a handgun style pellet gun, the Crosman P1377 is a balanced and durable choice.
Gamo Swarm Maxxim Air Rifle (.177 caliber)
A word of caution when looking at the Gamo Swarm, it does come in two variations, the pellet gun is the .177, and the hunting rifle is .22 caliber live fire. Other than the calibers the guns are the same. If you are purchasing for a child, make sure you get the right version.The Gamo Swarm .177 is a varmint hunter’s dream pellet gun. When using the PBA platinum pellets, the Swarm Maxxim can reach 1300 FPS. But this gun is loaded with hunter quality features. The scope is shock resistant fog and waterproof and will last longer than most other guns will.The variable distance adjustable trigger allows you to control the travel distance for firing. The spring-loaded air chamber has been replaced with inert gas for a more steady, constant fire rate.At the end of the barrel is the whisper quiet grating to reduce muzzle noise. You will also find the gun weight (just over five pounds) to be very well balanced from tip to stock. You will also make use of the 10 round quick shot loader that allows you to fire a constant round every time you pull the trigger, as fast as you can pull the trigger. Because it isn’t rated for use by children (Gammo is aimed for adults) we had to remove a few points.
Daisy Outdoor Products Model 1938 Red Ryder BB Gun
What listing would be complete without the most famous gun of all time? The Daisy Red Ryder BB gun made famous by Ralphie in A Christmas Story has returned to fulfill everyone’s childhood dreams.The famous specs that Ralphie yells to Santa before being pushed down the slide have come to life. While you may not get a 200 shot range model, you will get the official solid wood stock, and forearm, complete with the Red Ryder emblazoned on the stock.The 200 shot range model was discontinued in the early 1970s. However, the remake released now has done one better. You still get the 195-yard range but now with a capacity of 650 shots.The smooth bore barrel and open sites provide an authentic old west style look and appeal while the lever-cocking carbine air action shot is still accurate enough to blast Black Bart right out of the backyard.While being a sentimental piece, the Red Ryder is still a well made, high quality and durable BB gun by all standards. You may not have a scope or a rifled bore barrel, but with some practice, you will be accurate enough not to shoot your eye out.
When you decide to buy a pellet gun, you aren’t without options. Almost any store in the country with a sporting goods section or a toy section will sell them. Buying a pellet gun in a chain store may not be the best bet though. The durability is rubbish, and the construction materials are usually plastic and aluminum.You also won’t get very good accuracy or range with these models either. While some stores will see the upper end of pellet guns, you will usually have to wait for a restock as they sell out quickly. When they do have them in, you will pay a higher fee, usually, because of the markup.What you should look for, though is primarily how the gun is built and the specifications of its performance.One of the first things to look for is the type of ammunition it will accept. BBs and pellets are generally uniform (0.117 caliber) from one brand to another, though there are certain discrepancies. Some manufacturers make an off size that only their model of gun will accept. If this is the case, you may want to forgo the purchase.If the company makes a change or goes under and you run out of pellets, you won’t be able to use the gun anymore.Likewise, you need to check if the gun will accept pellets as well as BBs. Most will, however, some are designed for either BBs or for pellets only. For those looking for different shot options, buying a gun that can shoot both is crucial.Pellets are longer and shaped more like a bullet. A BB is just a round, solid ball. Both have similar diameters, though the shape and aerodynamics of the pellet allow them to travel faster, further and more accurate.You will also want to look at how the projectiles are fired. Some guns will use a spring-loaded pump action with air pressure built up to release the pellet. Others, usually the handguns, are loaded with a C02 cartridge. The high-pressure gas is released when the trigger is pulled to force the projectile from the barrel.Finally, you will want to study the construction and materials used. Metals and alloys will last a long time, stand up to constant use and the occasional drop or mishandling. Plastic, aluminum and molded materials may look nice or carry cool designs, but they won’t last as long as the metal ones will.You can’t drop them, or they will crack, and if the cartridge mount is cracked or damaged, you won’t be able to hold the c02 tanks in and render the gun useless.
Pellet guns can be a safer and more fun way to teach kids how to handle firearms. They are also useful for hunting varmint and rodents or to clear out barns or attics of bats, birds or other critters.While their uses seem near endless, so are the various types, models and styles. With any luck, this article taught you what to look for when making your final purchase and gave you an idea or two of which direction to go when searching for the best pellet guns.