Which rifle is the best for deer hunting?
I guess you’re an aspiring deer hunter if you want to know this.
Or maybe you’re an expert just looking for your next rifle.
While hunting, keep in mind the funny deer joke.
Jack and Jill were hunters. The pilot was the pilot.
Jack and Jill hired an instructor pilot to conduct deep hunting sessions in the forest. After the hunt
Jack and Jill: Jeez! Six deer were just shot
Pilot: (Are you looking for concern?) The plane won’t carry six deer! Maximum weight is 4. We’ll have to leave two of them.
Jack and Jill: (Cunningly looking at each otherHowever, last year we had six passengers aboard the plane.
Pilot: Hmm, Really? As you stated.
5 minutes later – the plane crashes into the thick forest.
Jack: Have you got any ideas about where we are?
Jill: Certainly, yeah! This is the same spot where our plane crashed last year!
Funny, but every hunter can relate (trust us — you can!).
Never lose your zeal to take out the largest deer.
(Deer, Elk, Moose: What’s the Difference? This post has more information
We were asked to compile the best airguns for hunting deer. These are our top ten choices.
You can find more information below.
- Airforce Texan Big Bore airgun
- Seneca Dragon Claw
- Evanix Rainstorm
- Benjamin Bulldog
- Hatsan AT44-10
- Hatsan Bull Boss QE
- Hatsan Flash
- Airforce Condor SS PCP Air Rifle
- Air Arms S510
- Seneca Wingshot II Shotgun
Otherwise, before a detailed look into the individual air rifles, it’s good to have some interesting facts about deer hunting.
Deer hunting facts
Josh Honeycutt of Real Tree shares 15 facts about hunting deer that will change how you view hunting.
These are the top ten.
- Each deer is unique, and each has its own personality
- It is possible to find a different tactic for each deer.
- Even though they can hear the same sounds as humans, deer can sense smells up to 1,000 times better than humans.
- Make sure to take a good shower before you go hunting.
- Deer can see blue 25 times better than humans and are 25x more able than humans to spot it.
- Your blue hunting pants are not selling, so don't be afraid to change.
- Deer aren’t territorial, meaning they don’t defend any biographical area
- Don’t follow deer rut signs too much.
- By the end of deer season, deer will have traveled a lot from their stands.
- To keep deer at bay, move your treestands often.
- Bucks have an average range of nearly 1000 acres – that’s large!
- The family spends the majority of their time in their home which is located on approximately 100 acres.
- Trail cameras can be used to locate deer where they eat, sleep and drink. Then, take the shot
- Deer have hundreds of voices to communicate with each other
- Learn at least 12 of their callings to help you identify them.
- Deer will choose the most nutritious and delicious parts of plants
- Fertilizers can enhance the appearance of your trees and food plots.
- Deer are more likely to be found near water ponds in the bedding areas
- Dig small watering holes near your deer hunting stands.
- Deer sleep facing downwind to sense the wind and what's ahead.
- You should reconsider your approach to stalking deer.
(Is Deer Diurnal Nocturnal or Crepuscular? More information is available in this post.
Let's now get down to the meat.
How to select the best deer hunting rifle
These tips will help you on your way to an online or store selling air rifles.
You must be able kill deer
And you can’t compare that power to what you use to kill a rabbit.
That’s simple logic.
Experts have given a guideline as to how powerful you need to be in order for different games to be defeated.
Game Minimum acceptable caliber Minimum energy (FPE). Small birds .177+ 5 Medium birds .177+ 7 Large birds .22+ 11 Squir-sized prey .22+ 9 Rabbit-sized prey .22+ 9 Take the size of a raccoon to your advantage .25+ 25 Possums are a prey for their size .25+ 25 Size of the Fox is a Prey .30+ 35 Coyote-sized prey .30+ 50 Javelina-sized prey .357+ 90 Small deer .357+ 100 Medium deer .40+ 150 Large deer .45+ 200 Hog .45+ 200
But, I'd like to add another thing.
Hunting is subjective. One man’s meat is another man’s poison.
Many hunters believe that 200 FPE is too high for deer.
Prey can feel this energy as a source of significant pain.
However, prey will be injured if they have too much muzzle power.
What happens if an animal escapes from the gun
Another one is wounded, and it too escapes.
This causes a deer population to suffer. This is not humane.
A good hunter’s aim should be to shoot to kill.
Deer hunting can be done with any muzzle energy greater than 50 FPE.
Here is the table showing the minimum acceptable hunting calibre. Here's the breakdown
- For small deer – .357+
- For medium deer – .40+
- For large deer – .45+
Larger calibers are required to provide the muzzle energy needed.
Calibers like the.177 may not be of any use because they have lower muzzle energies.
As with the FPE debate, deer hunting can be done with smaller calibers such as.25 or even.22.
This article will help you choose the right airgun caliber for your game.
This brings us to our next point.
Hunting laws in your region
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has clearly stated the following:
“It is against the law to hunt deer using dogs, artificial lighting or traps. Only.22 magnum ammunitions are permitted.”
This guide is being read from where? Perhaps it’s Wisconsin.
Their law is:
“It is illegal to hunt deer with any center-fire rifle less than .22 caliber, any rimfire rifle, or air gun”
I wouldn’t want to go over all the laws for the different states and countries in the world.
Their differences are the point.
You should also be aware of which prohibitions and permissions are available.
This guide is a guide only.
Sometimes you need to travel far.
Sometimes your prey is right around the corner.
Did you know that different airgun types have different maximum ranges?
This is a general breakdown.
- Precharged pneumatic airguns – 75 yards – or 69 meters
- Break barrel airguns – 50 yards – or 46 meters
- Underlever airguns – 50 yards – or 46 meters
- Multi-pump airguns – 30 yards – or 28 meters
Which powerplant wins? The PCP airguns.
But do not be excited yet – the devil is in the details.
These are other important considerations when you choose the best hunting air rifle for deer hunting:
- Fit and Finish
- Trigger quality
- Action – single-shot or multi-shot
- Weight and length
Let's take an in-depth look at the various air rifles for deer hunting.
These are our inclusion requirements:
- Muzzle energy above 45 FPE
- Caliber >.22
We’ve elected to leave out Co2 air rifles for this rundown.
1. Airforce Texan Big Bore air rifle – best air rifle for deer hunting
The.45 caliber is capable of 600 FPE, and can fire ammo at speeds up to 1,000 feet per second.
Maybe this is too much.
The.257 calibre can produce up 175 FPE.
This would be enough to put the deer in their place.
The air rifle can be purchased in other calibers. This is just a brief summary.
- .257 caliber – 6.5 mm – 175 FPE – 960 fps
- .30 caliber – 7.62 mm – 238 FPE – 1270 fps
- .357 caliber – 9.0 mm – 300 FPE – 1100 fps
- .45 caliber – 11.43 mm – 611 FPE – 1040 fps
- .50 caliber – 12.7 mm – 700 FPE – 710 fps
Check out this article
Airforce Texan Bigbore is also equipped with other features, which are specifically designed for the.257 caliber.
- 3000 psi maximum fill pressure – partly responsible for the raw power
- 2.06 lb trigger pull – crisp and safe
- 10 maximum shots per fill – enough to down a few deer before the next refill
- 7.65 lbs weight – not so heavy for the averagely built hunter
2. Seneca Dragon Claw – High powered air rifle for hunting deer
This powerful, high-powered air rifle in.50 caliber gives you 230 FPE muzzlepower.
It is hard to imagine the Airforce Texan Big Bore's punching power.
Any deer, regardless of size, will survive if your goal is clearly understood.
The ammo can fly at around 679 fps.
What’s more? Air bolts made of the Dragon Claw can make it even more powerful.
Maximum muzzle velocity is 679 feet per second
Seneca Dragon Claw also has other features
- About 3 shots per fill – according to the Tech department of Pyramyd Air
- You can shoot lead ammo and air bolts.
- Two large air reservoirs offer more shots per fill.
3. Evanix Rainstorm II PCP – best big bore air rifle for deer
The.357 caliber variant is our concern, but it also comes in.177.22.25.
This is the first item that we have on our list, and it comes from South Korea.
Both Airforce and Seneca are American brands.
Let me guess that you are curious to know more about this South East Asia-made air rifle.
Based on verified user feedback, we can confirm that this airgun has at least 100 FPE.
Of course, that is allowed when the manufacturer’s user manual doesn’t expressly state the energy ratings, and we have not personally tested the air rifle.
Evanix Rainstorm also has other features
- Repeater function – makes many hunters feel the quick firing action, without the need to load ammo after every shot
- Fill pressure can be checked by an inbuilt manometer
4. Benjamin Bulldog – Best Benjamin air rifle for deer hunting
Names are a good indicator of something.
Bulldog! That’s the name.
The slogan? Big bite, little bark!
This is why so many people order it each year.
Look at the following list of Pyramid Air’s top-selling high-end air rifles for the period 2015 – 2018.
Position 2015 2016 2017 2018 1 Benjamin Marauder Benjamin Marauder Benjamin Bulldog Benjamin Bulldog 2 Benjamin Bulldog Benjamin Bulldog Air Arms T200 Sporter Benjamin Armada 3 Airforce Texan Big Bore Benjamin Armada Seneca Dragon Claw AirForce Texan Big Bore 4 Air Arms T200 Sporter AirArms TX200 Airforce Texan Big Bore Air Arms TX200 5 Benjamin Armada Airforce Texan Big Bore Benjamin Armada AirForce Texan SS 6 Sam Yang Dragon Claw AirForce Condor SS Airforce Condor SS Benjamin Marauder Filed & Target 7 Air Venturi Wing Shot Air Arms T200 Sporter Air Arms TX200 Seneca Dragon Claw 8 Sumatra 2500 Hatsan Gladius Seneca Sumatra 2500 AirForce Condor SS 9 Air Arms TX200 Sam Yang Dragon Claw Seneca Wing Shot II Seneca Wing Shot II 10 AirForce Condor SS Air Venturi Wing Shot Airforce Texan SS Air Arms T200 Sporter
200 FPE is the authoritative muzzle energies.
Ammo can travel at speeds of up to 910 fps
Air rifles are fast and consistent.
You can see a more detailed graph in the graph below.
- Tests were done using 81 grain JSB pellets
- Starting pressure – 3000 psi
- Ending pressure – 1900 psi
Moving on to the little bark, the airgun’s barrel is fully shrouded to reduce the noise levels.
It is rated at 4/5. It is not the quietest rifle on our checklist, but it is quieter than high-power rifles.
Additional features for the Benjamin Bulldog
- The bullpup's modern design reduces overall length and helps to lower its weight.
- Has numerous Picatinny rails for ease of customization – add as many accessories as you can
PyramydAir Price Check
5. Hatsan AT44-10 – Best value for money deer air rifle
Turkey offers this badass weapon.
The Hatsan Arms Company has been a reliable partner.
This is the reason I have added three more Hatsans into my next list.
I call it “value for money” to preempt the high quality you get at a relatively lower price.
The air rifle is available for purchase starting at $500
Deer hunting is easy with a muzzle energy rating (46 FPE) and a muzzle velocity as high as 870 FPS with the.25 caliber.
27 shots per refill can trigger my heartbeat.
This allows hunters to concentrate on hunting and not worry about the pump.
Additional features of AT44-10 QE Air Rifle
- Uses the Quiet Energy technology to achieve noise levels of ⅖ – perfect for stalking on the prey without scaring it away.
- Anti-double feed system guarantees only one pellet load upon firing the gun.
6. Hatsan BullBoss QE – best air rifle for white tail deer
Another bullpup rifle is available.
Bullpups can be described as an air rifle with the trigger located in the middle.
Air rifles are designed to be lighter and more compact while still delivering high power and accuracy.
This is a benefit for hunters with milder bodies.
Hunting is a hard sport, and you will need to be able to carry a heavy weapon on rough terrain.
The Hatsan BullBoss weights 8.6 pounds.
But it's not the most heaviest.
But it’s worth it given the high muzzle energy of 42 FPE.
BullBoss QE offers other features
- Silent Energy technology can reduce noise levels by as much as 32%
- Incredible capacity of 30 shots per fill – keeps you shooting for hours before thoughts of refilling
- The length of the total length is 36 inches.
Check out this article
7. Hatsan Flash QE PCP – the best affordable air rifle for deer hunting
The price for this powerful Hatsan rifle, only 300 USD Now, you're ready to take on the big bucks.
I believe that’s quite manageable to most beginning hunters.
Expect muzzle velocity of up to 900 fps and muzzle energy as high as 40 FPE.
That’s commendable for the price.
There are few complaints.
What’s more, the air rifle features a synthetic skeletonized stock that brings down the overall weight to the amazing low of 5.9 lbs.
They were the most popular choice for teens.
Below is a comparison of Hatsan Flash QE vs Hatsan Flash QE which uses caliber.25
Specifications Hatsan Flash Hatsan Flash QE Maximum Muzzle Velocity 900 fps 900 fps Muzzle Energy 40 FPE 40 FPE Magazine Capacity 10 10 Air Tube Volume 165 cc 165 cc Make sure to apply pressure 200 BAR 200 Bar No. No. 90 90 No. No. 38 38 Stock Advanced Polymer Advanced Polymer Overall Length 36” 42.3” Barrel Length 17.7” 17.7” Weight 2.5 kg 2.68 kg
Additional features for Hatsan Flash QE
- Anti-knock mechanism stops gas from being wasted if you knock the gun.
- Quattro 2-stage fully adjustable trigger that is secure and smooth on your fingers
PyramydAir Price Check
8. AirForce Condor SS PCP – best PCP air rifle for deer
Talk of accuracy, and I’ll point you to the Condor SS PCP air rifle by Airforce.
Expert measurements rate it at 1” at 50 yards.
Hunting deer requires precision.
An incorrect air rifle can cause many injuries and cost you many shots.
The brain is where you aim, and the nose where it goes.
Airforce Condor SS PCP airguns also come with other features
- It is versatile and can be configured in many different ways.
- Speed of 950 fps for rip-snorting
PyramydAir Price Check
9. Air Arms S510 XS – best air rifle for small deer
With fill pressures as high as 3,625 PSI, you can be sure of a massive punching force.
The.25 caliber delivers up to 40 feet/lbs in energy.
This is enough to humanely kill small deer.
Not only power – looks matter too.
With their delicious brown walnut stock, they won it.
This cute weapon is something every model would love for Instagram.
The accuracy test below of Air Arms 510 is done with different pellets.
Air Arms S510: Other features
- Incredible accuracy – though it has a repeater shot function, its accuracy surpasses that of most single shot rifles, which are always thought to be more accurate than multi-shot rifles.
- 10-shot repeater function – feel the action
- The Lothar–Walther barrel is a prized feature
- Grandiose hardwood Monte Carlo stock
PyramydAir Price Check
10. Seneca Wingshot II Shotgun – best big bore air rifle for deer
The Seneca Wingshot II Shotgun is very powerful and is very similar to Seneca Dragon Claw shotgun.
Muzzle energies up to 360 FPE can be thought of.
That’s fit for the biggest deer you can find on earth.
All this power for as low as 800 dollars Seneca rocks!
A vented rib is also included in the barrel.
Its purpose? Its purpose is to improve accuracy.
You can also switch between shotguns or long guns.
Seneca Wingshot II Shotgun comes with other features
- 5 steady shots per fill
- 5-lb trigger pull – sounds heavy, but practice makes it easier
PyramydAir Price Check
Questions are frequently asked
Can an air gun be used for killing deer
Yes, you can kill deer with an airgun.
In most countries and states, it is legal to kill deer using an airgun.
I do understand that your country’s laws may prohibit the hunting of deer with air rifles.
This could be because regulatory authorities are better equipped to understand the reasons.
It is illegal to possess a firearm in the UK.
However, Americans are most likely to use air rifles.
Can a.22 be used for killing deer
If yes, then no.
Hunting requires practice.
Expert hunters can also use an air rifle of the type 22.
Because he knows exactly where he should be.
Many hunters hunt deer using the.22 airgun.
They are most interested only in neck shots.
A.22 is not the best weapon to kill a deer.
Relative inexperience may cause him to only once wound the deer.
These laws prohibit the use of firearms less than 30 grams.
Why don’t Hunters shoot deer in the head?
Head is the most difficult target.
Rarely will a buck stop moving long enough to let you aim and hit the target.
The head is always moving.
Also, be aware of the small dimensions of this chest.
Therefore, it is easier to receive heart or lung shots.
You can increase your chances to kill an animal if you have faith and hunting skills by aiming for the head.
A 22 Magnum is the best choice to shoot deer.
Brian McCombie, Outdoor Life discusses five parts of a clean kill.
- High shoulder – you are able to short circuit the deer’s nervous system if the ammo is fast enough.
- Heart-Lung – Allows for not-so-accurate shots, given the heart-lung area is wide enough
- Brain – the deer dies at the spot if the shot is accurately placed.
- Neck – thick significantly shocks the spinal cord and can instantly incapacitate the deer.
Caution – For all the above-mentioned parts, the brain shot is the most certain, especially when considering a .22 Magnum.
It is possible that the animal could be hurt in other areas.
A.177 rifle can be used to kill deer.
Personally, I don't recommend the.177 air rifle being used to kill deer.
The Gamo magnum is one of the most powerful air guns.177
It has a muzzle energetic of 26.6 FPE. This is much lower than the minimum 100 FPE recommended punching power.
Which is more powerful,.177 or?
The.22 is sure to be more powerful than the.177.
The pellet weight and velocity determine the muzzle energy.
The combination of these parameters will always result in a stronger punching force.
(For more on the differences between .177 & .22 and which jobs they do best, see this post.)
Are.22 and.177 the better hunting options?
Based on the answers, we believe that the.22 rifle works better for hunting.
Hunting is all about the killing power.
You can use the.177 as a hunting rifle.
Your main focus may be on small games. If that is you, then the.177 could be a good fit.
The.22 air rifles offer medium-sized game options.
Which airgun is stronger, the 177 or 22?
None of the above.
Do you recall the interesting answer to multiple choice questions in primary school?
I hope so.
The purpose of the air rifle will decide what happens.
Some applications, such fun plinking, only require the.177.
You can use the.177 caliber for both field practice and competition shooting.
You might need the.22 or greater for hunting.
What should I purchase?
First, get the.22. Then, go to the.177.
Aren’t we speaking of deer hunting?
It is now obvious that deer hunting is not allowed by the.177.
Start with a.22.
Once you've had the chance to try it out, it might be worth increasing or decreasing its caliber based on your hunting experience.
When you consider 2 from the cost standpoint, don't surprise to see that some air rifle models have similar prices in order to suit different calibers.
The pellets and BBs may cost more. The cost of.22 pellets is usually higher than that of.177 pellets.
Can a 1200 fps pellet gun kill?
To take you back, we don’t measure the ability to kill by muzzle velocity.
The muzzle energy is used to measure the killing power.
It's a combination of speed, size, and both.
To be considered a killing machine, speed alone is not enough.
Cape buffalo can be killed and incapacitated by an airgun with a muzzle velocity of 1200 feet per second.
Which deer rifle is the most powerful?
To be safe, let me warn you that the biggest air-powered deer rifle is the bigbore model in.50 calibre.
Here's a list listing the top.50 models, brands and companies on the market
Air rifle Muzzle Energy .50 Airforce Texan LSSBig Bore PCP A Rifle 700 FPE .50 Hatsan Pile Driver and PCP Air Rifle 800 FPE .50 Seneca Double Barrel PCP Air Shotgun 360 FPE Seneca Dragon Claw PCP BIG Bore Air Rifle-.50 Seneca 230 FPE .50 Umarex Ham PCP pellet rifle 700 FPE
I hope this comprehensive guide on buying an air rifle was informative, eye-opening, practical and useful.
My goal is for you to get on your hunt as quickly as possible.
Time doesn't wait for a king.
We must not forget the five key points.
- You can learn the behavior of deer by getting out of your own way
- Find out what laws your country has regarding deer hunting
- You can narrow down your options by identifying what you are looking for in an air rifle.
- Compare the prices of air rifles
The right gun will make hunting more enjoyable. We'll be covering the 5 types of air rifles as well as their benefits in this article.
However, the gun is only as good as its hunter.
You don't need to be armed with a deadly weapon.
You need to be able to cook a lot of meat every time you go home.