This is a question with a lot of answers. The problem is that having such a wide category means that you’re not recognizing the different uses that a .22 can have, and also the different drawbacks that you can experience with one. That being said, there are at
The first thing you want to determine is the purpose of your air rifle. What do you want it for? Yes, you ought to have a reason to want an air rifle, especially a .22 which is not a toy and can do some serious damage. If your first answer to the above question is “to have one,” then the best .22 for you is none of them.
However, if you’re looking to get into target practice, then we’re in business. There are a lot of reasons why a .22 is great for target shooting. First of all, because of the weight of the pellet, it tends to be more accurate. The speed is slower, but you also get a better spin and the weight of the pellet keeps it flying straight.
One of the reasons why BBs aren’t often used for serious target shooting is that factors like wind are a much more important consideration, since it can throw off your shot by a decent amount. The ammo in a .22 is much less likely to be affected by outside factors in that same way.
Another excellent reason to have a .22 is because of pest control. Often the pests that a person has to deal with are not small creatures, like mice or nesting birds, but rather possums, racoons, or gophers. A .177 is usually not enough to be able to take one of these out cleanly since the size of the ammo won’t cause the necessary damage, and you end up with a wounded creature instead of a dead one.
This is not only unnecessarily cruel, but can also be dangerous, especially if you’re near enough for it to attack. The power behind a .22 can be what you need to make sure that your shot is clean and accurate enough to really take down pests.
You might also want a .22 for hunting, which can be a great thing. While it is more powerful than necessary for something like a small bird, the .22 air rifle is great for things like squirrels and rabbits, since again you’re more likely to get a clean kill that won’t clause too much pain for the animal, and won’t send them scurrying away where they will be hard to find and get at. More to the point, it’s also a small enough caliber that it won’t tear your game apart with the shot, leaving a lot of it scattered all over the forest floor.
When it comes to ammo, you want to make sure that you have a lot of options, and the .22 simply has more choices as to what sorts of ammunition you can use. That being said, every .22 is different and they don’t all fire well with every style and every brand.
If you’re looking for ammo that won’t penetrate very far, such as for pest control near your home, then some guns will not be the correct one for you. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for something that is going to fly far and fast yet stay on a straight line, there might be a gun that will work better with the type of ammo you’re looking at.
Assess your needs before you go buying a gun. Again, we come back to purpose and the kind of shooting you’re looking to do. Ultimately, you want a gun that is going to work with you and hit your target, which is why a lot of research needs to be done so that you can make sure that you are getting something that will do the things that you want.
A lot of people don’t realize the variance that there is between different rifles when it comes to ammunition weight, shape, skirting size, and the like, and the best thing you can do is search out what different types of ammo are available, what they each are designed for, then ask around for the weapon that is going to be best with that ammo.
Stability, in this case, refers both to how stable the gun is while shooting and how durable it is.
Often the weight of a weapon will tell you a lot about it. As far as physical stability goes, a heavier gun will sit better in your hand and have less effect from things like recoil, which can also vary significantly from weapon to weapon. It makes it easier to aim and to keep your sights in check, not to mention is often easier on scopes which can be thrown off zero very easily by guns that jerk around a lot.
As far as durability goes, you want a gun that is going to be able to take a beating. These are not show pieces, they are weapons that have a very specific utility to them, and the more you use them, like with anything else, the more they will tend to fall apart. A good investment is one that will last you a while, so picking an air rifle that stays in good working order with proper maintenance is a must.
For my money, the best .22 air rifle is either the Benjamin Marauder or the RWS Model 34, but that’s because they serve my needs very well. Yours may be different, which is why you need to do your research and make sure that the air rifle that you end up with is going to do the things you need it to for as long as you need it to.