What are the best .22 air rifles for hunting?

5 July 2024  |  Air Arms

What are the best .22 air rifles for hunting?

When it comes to hunting, having the right equipment is crucial, including choosing the right air rifle. The selection of an appropriate air rifle can significantly impact your hunting experience. It affects factors such as accuracy, power, range, and noise level, which are crucial in successful hunting trips. Therefore, taking the time to research and select the best .22 air rifle for hunting is essential.

This blog post will guide you through selecting the best .22 air rifle for your hunting needs. We will consider factors such as power, accuracy, noise suppression, ergonomics, and reliability. By the end, you'll have a comprehensive understanding of the top choices available on the market and be equipped to make an informed decision.

The importance of choosing suitable air rifles

The importance of choosing the right air rifle for hunting: When it comes to hunting, having the right equipment is crucial, including selecting the right air rifle. The choice of air rifle can significantly impact your hunting experience. It affects factors such as accuracy, power, range, and noise level, which are crucial in successful hunting trips. Therefore, taking the time to research and select the best .22 air rifle for hunting is essential.

Why is a .22 air rifle a popular choice?

Many hunters prefer the .22 calibre because it balances power and precision. It provides enough stopping power for various small game species without excessively damaging the game. Whether you're targeting rabbits, squirrels, or pests that threaten your property, a well-chosen .22 air rifle can be a reliable and effective tool.

The .22 calibre is popular among hunters due to its versatility and effectiveness for hunting small game and varmints. This calibre balances power and accuracy, making it suitable for targets such as rabbits, squirrels, and small predators. Compared to larger calibres, .22 air rifles provide sufficient stopping power while offering manageable recoil and noise. 

What should you consider when choosing an air rifle?

When selecting an air rifle specifically for hunting purposes, several crucial factors must be considered to ensure you choose a model that meets your needs and enhances your hunting experience.

Calibre Selection:

  • Choose the appropriate calibre based on the type of game you intend to hunt. While .177 calibre offers higher velocity for target shooting and lighter pests, .22 calibre is versatile and more appropriate for small game hunting. 

Power and Velocity:

  • Select an air rifle with sufficient power and velocity for effective hunting. Look for models with high muzzle energy for quick and humane kills.

  • Ensure the rifle meets legal requirements for hunting in your region regarding energy output.

Accuracy and Precision:

  • Opt for an air rifle known for its accuracy and precision. Features like a quality barrel, consistent trigger, and stable shooting platform contribute to shot-to-shot consistency.

  • A good quality scope can significantly enhance the accuracy of your shots. When selecting a scope for your air rifle, consider factors such as magnification, objective lens size, reticle type, and durability. 

  • Higher magnification can benefit longer-range shooting, while a larger objective lens allows more light transmission for improved visibility in low-light conditions. Additionally, choosing a scope with adjustable parallax can help eliminate aiming errors caused by parallax distortion.

Noise Level:

  • Choose a quiet air rifle to maintain stealth in the field. Integrated sound dampening or shrouded barrels can help reduce noise and prevent spooking game.

  • Look for air rifles with built-in sound moderation systems, such as suppressors or baffles. These can significantly reduce the muzzle report without affecting performance, allowing for stealthier hunting experiences.

Action Type:

  • Decide between spring-piston, gas ram, or precharged pneumatic (PCP) actions based on your preference for cocking effort, shot consistency, and ease of use.

  • Spring-piston rifles are robust and self-contained, while PCP rifles offer consistent power and multiple shots per fill.

Weight and Ergonomics:

  • Consider the weight and ergonomics of the air rifle, especially if you plan to carry it for extended periods while hunting.

  • Choose a model with a comfortable stock design, adjustable features, and a balance that suits your shooting style.

Accessories and Features:

  • Look for adjustable triggers, interchangeable barrels, multiple shot capacity, and customisable options that align with your hunting preferences. 

  • Invest in high-quality optics like scopes or red dot sights to enhance accuracy and target acquisition.

Durability and Maintenance:

  • Prioritise air rifles with durable construction materials and easy maintenance requirements to ensure longevity and consistent performance.

  • To prolong the rifle's lifespan, regularly maintain it by cleaning the barrel, lubricating moving parts, and keeping it stored appropriately.

So, what are some of our top picks for hunting?

At Air Arms, we pride ourselves on precision, quality, and performance. While the perfect air rifle for hunting looks different for everyone, here are some top picks that make great choices for your hunting endeavours.

Air Arms TX200 MkIII:

  • The TX200 MkIII is a spring-piston air rifle known for its exceptional accuracy and smooth shooting.

  • Featuring a fixed barrel design and an under-lever cocking mechanism for consistent performance.

  • Perfect for hunters seeking reliability, power, and accuracy in a traditional yet high-performing air rifle.

Air Arms S510 XS Ultimate Sporter:

  • The S510 XS Ultimate Sporter combines elegance with high-level performance for hunting applications.

  • It boasts a regulated action for shot consistency, adjustable power settings, and a match-grade trigger.

  • With its ergonomic design and superior build quality, this model offers precision and versatility.

Air Arms S510 Tactical:

  • The Air Arms S510 Tactical offers unmatched precision with its regulated action and match-grade trigger.

  • Adjustable Power Settings to customise  your shooting experience for optimal performance in various hunting situations.

  • Ergonomic Design for extended shooting sessions.

Each of these Air Arms air rifles offers unique features, accuracy, and reliability tailored to meet the demands of hunting enthusiasts. Whether you prefer the classic feel of a spring-piston rifle like the TX200 MkIII, the precision and adjustability of the S510 XS Ultimate Sporter, or the sophisticated design of the S510 Tactical Instead Air Arms provides top-quality options for hunters seeking performance and excellence in their air rifles.

Maintenance and Care of the Air Rifle:

Finding the best air rifle from leading manufacturers is all well and good, but how you look after your air rifle is just as important. Proper air rifle maintenance is crucial for longevity, reliability, accuracy, and safety. 

Regular maintenance not only preserves the performance of your air rifle but also contributes to a successful and ethical hunting experience. 


Regular maintenance checks help identify any potential issues with the rifle that could impact its safe operation. Ensuring all components are in good working condition reduces the risk of malfunctions or accidents while hunting.


A well-maintained rifle is more likely to deliver consistent accuracy and precision shot after shot. Cleaning the barrel, checking sights, and ensuring all moving parts function smoothly contribute to optimal shooting accuracy.


By keeping your hunting rifle adequately maintained, you can rely on it to perform consistently in various hunting conditions. Regular cleaning and lubrication prevent jams, misfires, and other issues that could impede the rifle's reliability during crucial moments in the field.


Proper maintenance helps extend the lifespan of your air rifle. Cleaning away dirt, debris, and corrosive materials prevents damage and wear, preserving the rifle's functionality and structural integrity over time.


A well-maintained rifle performs at its best, delivering the power, velocity, and consistency needed for effective hunting. Neglecting maintenance can decrease performance, affecting shot placement and overall hunting success.


Some regions or hunting regulations may require hunters to maintain their rifles in good condition as part of ethical hunting practices. Adhering to these guidelines promotes sustainable hunting practices and ensures respect for wildlife.

Know the Law

Before using an air rifle for hunting, it is important to familiarise yourself with the legal requirements and regulations in your specific area. Laws regarding the calibre, power limits, hunting seasons, permitted game species, and required licences or permits can vary between regions and countries.

When engaging in air rifle hunting, you must know and adhere to laws and regulations specific to your region or country. While air rifles are generally considered less potent than firearms, they are still subject to legal restrictions that govern their use for hunting purposes. Here are some common considerations regarding air rifle hunting laws:

Licensing and Permits:

  • Ensure you have the appropriate licences and permits before hunting with an air rifle to avoid legal consequences.

Minimum Caliber and Energy Requirements:

  • Certain regions specify minimum calibre or energy requirements for air rifles used in hunting.

  • Check local regulations to ensure your air rifle meets the necessary criteria for hunting legally.

Hunting Seasons and Species:

  • Hunting seasons for different game species may vary; some species may be protected or off-limits for hunting with an air rifle.

  • Familiarise yourself with the hunting seasons, bag limits, and allowed species for air rifle hunting in your area.

Distance Restrictions:

  • Laws may stipulate minimum distances for hunting near inhabited areas or public spaces when using an air rifle.

  • Be mindful of these restrictions to ensure the safety of others and comply with legal requirements.

Noise and Silencers:

  • Some jurisdictions have regulations regarding noise-suppressing devices like silencers on air rifles.

  • Understand the legality of using silencers or sound moderators when hunting with an air rifle in your location.

Hunting on Private Property:

  • If hunting on private land, obtain permission from the landowner or leaseholder before using an air rifle.

  • Respect property boundaries, safety guidelines, and any rules the landowner sets.

Ethical and Humane Practices:

  • Follow ethical hunting practices, including making humane shots to minimise suffering for the game animal.

  • Use appropriate hunting techniques, shot placement, and follow-up procedures to ensure ethical and responsible hunting.

Penalties for Violations:

  • Understand the potential penalties for violating air rifle hunting laws, including fines, equipment confiscation, or legal actions.

  • Stay informed about updates or changes to hunting regulations to remain compliant while hunting with an air rifle.

Please check out your local government website so you know the laws and regulations surrounding air rifles and hunting in your area. 

Final Thoughts

When choosing an air rifle for hunting, you must consider your personal shooting preferences and needs. Accuracy, power, ergonomics, and budget should all be considered.

Regardless of the air rifle chosen, it is crucial to emphasise responsible hunting practices. This includes understanding and following local laws and regulations (and distinctions between firearms, air pistols, pellet guns and rifles), practising ethical hunting techniques, and promoting conservation efforts. As responsible hunters, we must respect wildlife and their habitats.

Here at Air Arms, we would love to help you find the best air rifle for your needs. We have the air guns for you, from a spring air rifle to PCP - for pest control to target shooting. Whether you're after PCP air rifles or spring air rifles, please contact us with any queries or questions so we can help you find your perfect air rifle.