What's a good rifle in the $200 ballpark?

Forums General Discussion What's a good rifle in the $200 ballpark?

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    riffraff
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    Hi,

    This is my first post on the forum, I’m not new to guns but don’t know much about airguns and have learned it’s good to consult a forum of experts when one has a question. Thanks for your help in advance! Looking at the wide array of what’s out there it’s real hard to zero in on a shorter list and I really need some help.

    I’ve kinda always known some high powered pellet guns existed but never though much about it until I bought my brother a Gamo 1250 .22 for Christmas this year… I read some reviews looking for a starter rifle in a .22, it looked like a real no brainier @ $120/shipped.. he is new to guns in general, has some varmint troubles, and I thought it would be a good fun thing for him to learn with before he goes off and buys an assault rifle or something. For the $$ it seemed just fine, I shot it and was fairly impressed by it tearing holes in plywood, accuracy seemed reasonable (but didn’t spend a day with it so who knows).. And what is most notable is now I want one ;)..

    Anyway – so I have a $190 credit with my girlfriend for a Christmas gift. Long story short she had bought me a gift certificate somewhere, I bought something that arrived defective, upon return they credited her card, and I better come up with a gift soon or I may loose out on this deal.

    I definitely want a .22, I guess maybe a .20 or .25 would be OK but not a .177 – purpose is playing around with targets and some pest control (mostly squirrels but we also have a groundhog problem at home I might use it for eventually)..   I don’t really care about how much noise it makes or how much it recoils (seems odd to me these are selling features in an airgun).. but I’d like something of decent quality and in the .22.. What might be out there that’s a step up from the $120 guns but is not up in the $250 range?

    Thanks!

    Jon

     

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    mobilemail
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    Find an RWS model 34 and buy that.

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    JohnL57
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    This comes up a lot, and you’ll hear different opinions from everyone. Since your budget is in the $200 range, PCPs are out, since you’ll need a pump or tank and fill whip just to air up. I myself am a big fan of the German spring-piston rifles, well made, accurate and built on a proven design. The RWS/Diana 34 can be bought used or as a refurb from Airgun Depot for around $185-200 and is a solid accurate gun with a good trigger and tons of happy owners as well as being fairly easy to work on. The Gamo CFX underlever is pretty well thought of also, though I haven’t had the chance to try one. I personally am not a fan of the Benjamin Nitro pistons though I’ve only shot one or two examples. 
    My two cents: go German if you can!
    John
    PS-if you end up with a rifle/scope combo the scope is often a piece of junk!

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    riffraff
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    Thanks guys! Here is perhaps a better way to go at it – I took a little time to poke around Cabelas & Bass pro today for what was in the price range… I will try Airgun Depot next and develop a similar list. Any of these any good for what i want (all listed are specifically in .22 at these retailers) ?

    Ruger Air Magnum – $150

    Benjamin Titan $170

    Ruger Targis $199

    Stoeger X20 $199

    Benjamin Jim Shocky Steel Eagle $220

    Gamo Mach 1 Pigman $250 (on sale, says normally $350)

     

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    riffraff
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    Oh and I should mention on the scopes, I wish they didn’t even include the things and made it a lower price point.

    Maybe it’s something obvious I’m missing, but why with a rifle that has a max range of not even 50 yards do you need a scope? Sights are just as good or better at that distance if you can see OK (and I can see great).. They all seem to have scopes included and it’s unclear to me for what purpose.

    Thanks!

    Jon

     

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    ztirffritz
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    PCPs aren’t completely out of the question necessarily.  Crosman is releasing the Maximus in a month or two and they’ve promised it will be a sub-$200 gun.  There are used pumps in the classifieds periodically.  Yes it would take him over $200, but not too much over and it would probably be money well spent

    http://www.crosman.com/connect/benjamin-airguns-announces-new-entry-level-pcp-rifle/

     

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    KYAirgunner
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    I agree with ztirffritz. The gun in the picture looks like its based off of the Benjamin discovery. If that gun perform as good as the discovery that would probably be the best way to go. PCPs are much easier to shoot than springers. I also know from personal experience that the discovery will kill a ground hog. After I upgraded from spring guns to PCPs there was no going back. If I were to spend 200 dollars on a pellet gun the maximums would most likely be the one I would go for.

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    spysir
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     Another vote for the RWS34 ( in some variation ) fit’s your budget, great trigger – T06 two stage adjustable-  WILL take ground hog with one shot, generally they group very well.

    If you can swing a maximus I’ll wager that you would enjoy it greatly.

    John

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    KzooRichie
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    Including scopes IMO in the package is all about selling to noobs who are looking for a value.  One price every thing you need.  Usually they are not great, but at your price point the rifle won’t be either.  Go for one w/o a scope if you don’t want one.  Otherwise your buying something you can’t use.

    For me, I can’t see a .22 hole in paper at 25 feet even with my glasses. Scopes are a must.

    One sticky wicket you will hear about is hold sensitivity (just google it), but in a nutshell you need to shoot spring guns with finness for tight groups. You can read about it all day, but IMO for short range plinking and peering… And an entry level gun.  Don’t let hold sensitivity worry you.   You’re not going for X’s.

    All that being said, I say get the Benji pumper.  It fits your budget with room for an scope or case, and still have $ for ammo.  No need to learn  how to hold it, and you can keep it at the ready for pesting.  Springers should not stay cocked for extended periods.

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    ztirffritz
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    The Disco is listed on Crosman.com for $269.  If you buy it on a Tuesday and use promocode ’20OffTuesday’ it’s only $215 (+s/h +tax).  That’s not too far off of your target price either.  You will need a pump though.

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    mobilemail
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    Skip the big box store stuff and go for the 34, when you get it you will see why. The discovery is also a good option if you want to pony up for the pump.

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    riffraff
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    Thanks again for that guys!  I think the RWS34 is just a little out of price range at the $290 I saw when shopping, but I like the looks of it, simple, wood stock, no scope, no frills, $$ going into the important parts.. if it’s of decent quality that’s kinda in the ballpark and something I might never have seen otherwise. Maybe I’ll find it on sale someplace or some cheaper model, throw the girl the difference, and go that route.

    I don’t want anything involving a separate pump though, would prefer a self contained spring setup for the simplicity of having less stuff involved if nothing else.

    Thanks!

    Jon

     

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    riffraff
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    “mobilemail”Skip the big box store stuff and go for the 34, when you get it you will see why. The discovery is also a good option if you want to pony up for the pump.


    Ya I just may end up doing that based on the feedback, but usually (with anything else anyway) I find outside of the big stores you are basically paying 10-20% more for the same thing.. For sure that’s the case w/ other sporting goods, fishing gear, firearms, etc.. etc.. they carry good stuff but do not need to make so much $$ off each piece and get it cheaper because they are so big. It kinda sounds like in this case though, for whatever reason, what they carry at your big stores is just not the quality stuff.

    Now I did not go looking for Diana at any big stores, so it’s possible it just was over the $250 mark I drew and hence my search didn’t net that model.

    Jon

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    tsp3355
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    Used or refurb German springer is a much better choice than anything you will find in a big box store at that price range. Power is useless if you can’t hit what you are aiming at.  Spend the extra money for RWS or find a used one on the classifieds here or the YFC.  The saying buy once, cry once about spending more to buy quality up front truly applies here.  The RWS will give you years of quality service and is a pleasure to shoot.

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    glengiles
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    To me the issue w/sub $200 guns are poor triggers. One reason the Diana/RWS is so attractive is because of the nice trigger. The Hatsan 95 is in your budget too and it has the Quattro trigger which is nice. That said, some Hatsan purchasers have dealt with tiny pieces of metal left inside from manufacturing that ultimately either ruined a seal or kept the trigger from operating properly. What percentage? Who knows. More folks w/issues on any gun come to a forum and ask for help than folks who get a properly working gun and go to a forum to say ‘it works just like it’s supposed to.’ That said, especially in this price range, whatever gun you get plan on cleaning the barrel before you shoot it and plan on putting a few 100 pellets through it before everything settles in. If your initial groups are too wild then you may have an issue. I have a Hatsan 95 Vortex Gas Ram in .22 and when it’s working properly I can’t think of a better gun for under $200. But when it had to ride the brown truck back for factory service due to the above mentioned damaged seal issue, I was second guessing my choice. Now it’s back and once again I’m enjoying it. My lesson learned in this? Make sure you have TWO guns so when one is down you can still shoot. ;) My 2nd gun was almost the HW95 at Airguns Of Arizona for $330 including shipping. That would complete my ’95’ collection. :)

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    mobilemail
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    Big box stores always have a much more limited selection than what is online, and often have inflated prices. For your price point, look at airgun depot or pyramyd air online, and check out the refurbished rifles. If they have a model 34, check it out. Otherwise, saving another $100 can score you one of the fine german rifles at Airguns of Arizona. I’m steering you this way because I have been where you are.. There is no joy on getting an inferior rifle for a little less money.

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    greenterror
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    A guy is selling a new diana34 on yellow classifieds, his phone# and E-mail are listed, he got it in December when Amazon had a bunch of then selling for 195.00 to as low as 165.00 with scope, maybe he still has he wanted like 220.00 for it.

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    riffraff
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    The RWS 34 seems to be a no brainer after finding them on Amazon for $231/shipped (the 34P model with the synthetic stock, which is fine for me). I sent the request into the girl :)..

    After reading reviews and using your input honestly I do not see anything that I would be comfortable buying “for the $$” for more than $120, until you get up to the RWS 34.

    Basically there seems to be a bunch of perfectly fine & powerfull starter rifles for about $120 bucks that get decent reviews & work OK, that Gamo 1250 seemingly being a good starter setup.. But nothing is really reviewed as being of much quality until you get to the RWS 34, which has gotta be the most mentioned model when I started digging around (and obviously based on the feedback here too, thanks for that!).

    So to me anyway, based on your input and this research, when it comes to a $200 air rifle, I’d probably steer someone in two directions – either spend the extra 100 bucks & get an RWS, or get yourself something like that Gamo for $120 and throw it out when you are done. Seems like everything in between is just a more expensive cheaply built gun. Now I will see for myself, thanks again!

    Jon

     

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    tsp3355
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    I believe you have come to the correct conclusion!  Good luck with the 34!

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    bo.falcon
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    I have a 34….really like it… Shoots halfway through a 2×4 you’ll love it

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