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How to Choose an Airgun

Use the information here to help you choose the right air rifle for your needs.

1. Consider the features.

Check out the information here to learn more about the features you’d like, and then check the chart below to find the model that’s right for you.

Sound Level

If quiet shooting is important, the runner-up is the X5 Air Rifle, which shoots pellets more slowly.

Small Size, Light Weight

The X5 Air Rifle scores here: it’s compact and light. The X10 and X20 are also options. They are shorter than most comparable air rifles, and they have the feel of a carbine-length gun.

Hunting

The X50 Air Rifle is clearly the favorite for hunting, with its long-range power. 

Whichever model you choose, the .22 caliber will be best (if it’s legal in your area). It has more knockdown power than .177, due to the bigger, heavier pellets.

Traditional Appearance

The X20 wins on appearance. It has a graceful Monte Carlo stock and good-looking hardwood that blends well with the deep bluing of the steel parts.

General Shooting

The X10 and X20 are the leaders in this category. Their great blend of features makes them the best choices for general utility. And they’re ideal for plinking, the favorite pastime of most airgun shooters.

Synthetic Stocks

A synthetic stock is perfect if you don’t want to worry about scratching a hardwood stock in the field. All models except the X3 are available with synthetic stocks. Check the individual model pages for stock options

Open Sights

All Stoeger Airguns are fitted with fiber-optic open sights. These give a clear sight picture. You line up the single red dot of the front sight between the two red dots of the rear sight.

The rear sight provides easy, click-adjustable elevation and windage (side-to-side) adjustment for sighting.

Scope Combos

The X5 and X10 models are available optionally as scope combos. Unless you already have a favorite scope and mounts, the combo is certainly the way to go.

Unlike most competitors’ air rifles, the Stoeger scope combos are supplied with the scope already mounted and bore sighted. That saves a big headache for those who struggle with the complexities of scope mounting and sighting-in. This, alone, is a great reason to buy a Stoeger X-series air rifle combo.

Scopes

If your buying decision is based on having a scope included with the gun, then consider Stoeger’s airgun combos.

Both X5 and X10 models are supplied with a full-length, 4 x 32 fixed-magnification scope with duplex reticle and separate rings. This is fine for plinking and normal use.

The best scopes supplied with Stoeger combos are the 3-9 x 40 AO scope supplied with the X50 Air Rifle.

Variable scopes provide further reach for precision shooting when hunting. They also have adjustable objectives that allow the scopes to give sharp focus at the close ranges often encountered when shooting air rifles.

When scopes are required, the solid, one-piece scope mount supplied with these combos provides a reliable and rugged mount system.

X3 YouthX5X10X20 X50
.177 Cal. Muzzle Velocity (Alloy)550 fps800 fps1200 fps1200 fps 1500 fps
.22 Cal. Muzzle Velocity (Alloy)Not available in .22   Not available in .221000 fps1000 fps 1200 fps
Low NoiseFairly quietFairly quietAverage Noise LevelAverage Noise Level Above average noise level
Suitable for PlinkingYesYesYesYes Yes
Suitable for HuntingNot applicableYes: Small pests, close rangeYes; Small game, longer rangeYes: Small game, longer range Yes, best hunting choice: Varmints, long range
Traditional Look with Wood StockYesYes (option)Yes (option)Yes (option) No
Synthetic StockNoYesYesYes Yes
Fiber-Optic Open SightsYesYesYesYes Yes
Mounted Scope OptionNoYes: Fixed power 4 X 32 mmYes: Fixed power 4 X 32 mmYes: Variable power 3-9 X 40 mm AO Yes: Variable power 3-9 X 40 mm AO

AO = Adjustable objective
Mil-dot = Adjustable objective mil-dot reticle scope

2. Compare brands.

Consider how Stoeger Airguns compare to air rifles marketed by other major companies.

Product Quality and Warranty Length

The quality of Stoeger Airguns is backed by a warranty that’s double the length provided by other companies.

Cost

Some Stoeger Airguns models are a little more expensive than other brands with similar performance. For most users, that premium is easily justified just by having a mounted, sighted-in scope fitted to the gun so it is ready to shoot when it comes out of the box.

Mounted Scope

Many people, especially novices, find scope mounting and sighting a somewhat difficult process. That’s already done on the Stoeger Airgun combos, giving them an advantage over Crosman and Gamo combos.

Automatic Safety

The ergonomic design of Stoeger Airguns includes a safety that’s easy to access and resets every time the gun is cocked. It must be released before firing. This is an excellent safety precaution, especially for the novice shooter.

The safeties of competitors’ air rifles are not automatic. They are also often located inside the trigger guard. It’s a much less convenient location, so they are more difficult to engage. That’s a big disadvantage for many shooters.

Parts Availability

For long-term security, parts for Stoeger Airguns are readily available online from the official U.S. parts supplier, Archer Airguns, Inc.

Stoeger® AirgunsCrosman®Gamo®
Warranty Period2 years1 year1 year
Scope CombosReady to shoot; already mounted and bore-sightedUnmounted scope and rings; need to mount and sight inUnmounted scope and rings; need to mount and sight in
Traditional Blued Steel ConstructionYesSome modelsLots of plastic parts in most models
Perceived QualityTraditional high-quality look and feelMany models appear built for minimum costExtensive use of plastic raises concerns about quality and durability
Automatic SafetyYes, all modelsNoNo
Spare Parts AvailabilityYes, easy online orderingYes, but need to know part numbers, phone orders onlyVery limited availability
Genuine Rifle Fit and FeelYes, like a traditional firearmNoNo

3. Choose a caliber.

The information below will help you consider the benefits of both calibers, .177 and .22, and choose the right caliber for your needs.

.177 Caliber

  • Ideal for target shooting and general plinking
  • Pellets are less expensive because they’re smaller
  • Smaller pellets are more easily dropped and lost
  • The most widely used airgun pellet size in the U.S.
  • A huge variety of pellets are available in this size
  • The largest caliber that can be used in some towns, cities, and states, without causing the air rifle to be classified as a firearm
  • Pellets and airguns available from Stoeger Airguns

.22 Caliber

  • Ideal for hunting small game; more knockdown power than .177
  • The pellets are larger and heavier
  • Larger pellets are easier to handle
  • A variety of pellets are available in this size
  • Pellets and airguns available from Stoeger Airguns

4. Decide what muzzle velocity you need.

All Stoeger air rifles provide sufficient muzzle velocity for plinking, target shooting, and some types of hunting.

  • There is no relationship between muzzle velocity and accuracy; air rifles used in Olympic competition are only 500 fps
  • The only real reason for high muzzle velocity (1,000 fps) is for hunting; to achieve humane, one-shot kills at longer ranges
  • In a spring piston air rifle, there is a tradeoff between gun size and weight and fps
  • A longer, heavier gun produces higher fps
  • A lighter, shorter gun produces lower fps
  • The multi-purpose X10 and X20 represent an ideal compromise between muzzle velocity and size and weight

5. Consider quiet.

Several factors contribute to the noise of an airgun, especially when it’s new.

  • Dieseling noise occurs when the lubricant used in manufacturing ignites under compression as an airgun is fired; this noise stops in time, usually in about 200 shots
  • Increased muzzle velocity from residual oil in the compression chamber of some new .177s makes them quite loud at first; with use, that oil burns and dries out, the airgun settles back to its typical fps, and the noise level drops significantly
  • Supersonic noise is the loud, sharp, high-pitched crack caused when pellets travel faster than sound waves and ”break” the sound barrier; a suppressor cannot change that
  • Pellets that don’t break the sound barrier are much quieter, with shots that sound more like a dull “thunk”
  • Most .22s are significantly quieter than .177 caliber models (when dieseling has stopped and the gun is new)

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