Modern air rifles are a far cry from the old Red Ryder BB guns. Boasting pellet velocities of up to 1,500 feet per second, the guns are designed for small-game hunters and other shooting enthusiasts. These guns have a plethora of options that include: power source, sight type, optics, ammo feed mechanism, ammo capacity and more. The type of ammunition used is one of the key determining factors in the speed and power of any air rifle.
The X50 made by Stoeger boasts a speed rating of 1,500 feet per second using .177 caliber alloy pellets. This gun uses a Monte-Carlo style composite stock to reduce weight while increasing accuracy. Its power source is a spring-loaded piston that drives a single pellet down its 19.7 inch barrel. The X50 is cocked with a break action that uses the barrel to cock the piston. The X50 is also a breech loader which requires the user to manually reload the rifle after each shot. The X50 also features a fully adjustable rear sight, fiber-optic front sight and an optional 3-9 x 40 adjustable scope.
The Condor air rifle possesses a unique power system adapted from SCUBA diving equipment. Rather than a built-in hand pump or replaceable gas cartridge this gun uses an internal high pressure tank to fire a single shot at high speeds. It is rated to fire .22 caliber pellets at up to 1,250 fps and is capable of using lighter .177 and .20 caliber rounds as well. The Condor has a very flexible sighting system that includes a scope rail to facilitate large scopes or open sights and a dove-tail mount that allows the installation of laser sights or a bi-pod. The Condor has a plethora of available accessories including auxiliary air tanks, CO2 cartridge adapters, hand pumps and more.
The Big Cat 1200 made by Gamo is a cost effective single-shot air rifle for hunting, pest control and target shooting. It fires .177 rounds at up to 1,200 fps--1,000 fps for lead rounds--and comes equipped with a 4 x 32 scope. The Big Cat is powered by a spring-loaded piston that is cocked using a break-action lever built into the barrel. This air rifle features a composite stock with twin cheek pads to provide comfort and ambidexterity. It also features an adjustable trigger pull and manual trigger safety. The Big Cat 1200 is approximately 43.3 inches in overall length with an 18-inch barrel.
- lead pellet image by Evgeniy Mitroshkin from Fotolia.com