CompareComparing...


Ruger Air Hawk Air Rifle
Test Review .177 Cal.

Overview
Testers

Doug Wall

Caliber

.177

Model Number

2244005

Test Date

5 July 2014

Serial Numbers

00190828

Source of Supply

Purchased anonymously at retail.

Condition

As new.

We Like

Muzzle velocity matches claims.
Trigger action quite good.
Not pellet picky.

We Don't Like

Bundled scope is marginal.
Rough shooting cycle.
Trigger blade feel.

HAM Rating
Value for Money
90%
Speed and Accuracy
70%
Trigger and Cocking Effort
90%
Comparison to Makers Claims
100%
Consistency
70%
Noise Level
70%
Sights
40%
Shootability
60%
Appearance and Finish
80%
Buying and Owning
60%
Hard Air Magazine Test Conclusions

For the money, this is a remarkably good airgun.

The Ruger Air Hawk air rifle tested by HAM meets its specs and has acceptable accuracy with most pellets. A high point is the trigger, it's much better than the ones fitted to many air rifles selling at twice the price.

Yes, there are much better scopes available out there but this can be replaced. Yes the firing cycle is somewhat rough, but this will probably smooth out with use.

The only real downsides with the Air Hawk are the expensive warranty costs and the relatively high RateAGun score of 9.2. Skill and experience in shooting spring/piston airguns is required to achieve the accuracy this Ruger can produce.

Learn the "Artillery Hold", use it consistently and you'll probably be happy with the Ruger Air Hawk's performance.

For its combination of quality, usability, value and performance, the Ruger Air Hawk air rifle receives a HAM Gold Award.

74%
HAM Rating
You have rated this
SUMMARY
HAM Test Rating74%
Value For MoneyGood at the Street Price
Best ForPlinking, hunting small critters
Best Pellet TestedCrosman Premier HP
Street Price at Time of Test$100
Caliber Tested.177
RateAGun Score
Experience Required
BUY FROM AMAZON
Ruger Air Hawk Combo Rifle (Wood, Large)
BUY FROM PYRAMYD
Ruger Air Hawk Combo Air rifle

VALUE FOR MONEY

The Ruger Air Hawk is widely available for around $100 at the time of writing. It’s a very competitive air rifle with a solid feel and solid performance at the price.

As with most of its competitors, the Air Hawk uses a traditional spring/piston powerplant – no gas ram here – but this shouldn’t put off buyers. Again like competitors, the bundled 4 x 32 scope is marginal, but what else do you reasonably expect for $100?

Ruger Air Hawk test review HAM

SPEED AND ACCURACY

The Ruger Air Hawk air rifle tested by HAM almost exactly equalled the muzzle velocity claimed for it by the manufacturer. At an average of 996 fps, it shot RWS Hobby lead pellets at just 4 fps less than the 1000 fps spec.

Interestingly, the Air Hawk’s maximum muzzle velocity of 1131 fps was NOT achieved with the lightest pellets, although they were H&H Field Target Trophy Green alloys. Gamo Raptor Platinum alloy pellets are the lightest tested by HAM, but these produced “only” 1098 fps.

HAM tester Doug Wall considered that these Gamo PBA pellets felt undersized – slightly loose – when loaded in the breech. Doug’s impression is validated by the lower than expected muzzle velocity and poor accuracy obtained with this gun/pellet combination. As the Raptors were not a tight fit in the barrel, “blow by” of air almost certainly occurred, wasting energy and leading to lower muzzle velocity and wobbling – inaccurate – pellets.

A muzzle energy of around 14.5 ft/lbs was obtained fairly consistently with pellets of 7.9 Grains and lower, indicating that the Air Hawk is happiest firing lighter pellets.

Accuracy of the Air Hawk tested was not outstanding, but probably adequate for most of the users who would be drawn to this air rifle. Ignoring the one “flyer” called by Doug, Crosman Premier Hollow Point pellets gave the best accuracy, a happy result as these pellets are widely available at Walmart stores where many Air Hawks first encounter their new owners. The sample HAM tested was not “pellet picky”.

PelletAverage Muzzle VelocityAverage Muzzle EnergyAccuracy
Gamo Raptor Platinum 4.7 Grain1098 FPS12.58 Ft/LbsPoor.
H&N Field Target Trophy Green 5.56 Grain1131 FPS15.79 Ft/LbsGood.
RWS Hobby 7.0 Grain996 FPS15.43 Ft/LbsGood.
Crosman Premier HP 7.9 Grain939 FPS15.45 Ft/LbsBest tested
(without flyer).
JSB Exact Diabalo 8.44 Grain820 FPS12.6 Ft/LbsGood.
H&N Field Target Trophy 8.64 Grain863 FPS14.30 Ft/LbsGood.
H&N Baracuda Match 10.65 Grain788 FPS14.68 Ft/LbsGood.
BUY FROM AMAZON
Crosman Hollow Point Pellets, 0.177-Calibre
BUY FROM PYRAMYD
Crosman Premier Hollow Point pellets, .177 caliber

TRIGGER AND COCKING EFFORT

The average trigger pull weight for the Air Hawk was commendably light at about 2lb 14 oz. This is superior to that of most $100 spring/piston air rifles and better even that the pull weights of many break barrel air rifles selling at twice the price!

Doug didn’t like the rather straight trigger blade, but he was pleased to find the trigger action had very little creep on the second stage, “pretty nice” was his overall comment on the trigger.

Cocking effort measured at 31 lbs. Like the trigger pull, that’s fairly low for a “1000 fps break barrel air rifle” and is a good thing.

COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS

As we have seen, the Ruger Air Hawk air rifle meet’s Umarex USA’s claims for muzzle velocity almost exactly.

Likewise, the 31 lb cocking effort recorded by HAM was very close to the manufacturer’s claim of 30 lbs.

Trigger pull weight averaging 2 lb 14 oz on the gun tested by HAM. This was somewhat lower, that is better, than the 3lbs 3oz claimed for the Ruger.

Yip, the Air Hawk matches up to its specs!

CONSISTENCY

Again the Air Hawk’s trigger gives good results. Tested trigger pull weight – as well as being low – was very consistent, varying by only 5oz for 6 out of 7 test pulls with the outlier only giving a maximum variation of 11oz. This is excellent performance for any air rifle, let alone one with a Street Price of only $100.

Standard Deviation, a measure of consistency, in muzzle velocity, showed that the Ruger can deliver numbers in the 4 to 6 fps range if it “likes” the pellets. This is very acceptable.

And the tested accuracy was reasonably consistent across the standard range of HAM test pellets. With the exception of the Gamo PBAs, the tested Air Hawk is not “pellet picky”.

NOISE LEVEL

Subjectively, the Air Hawk tested has about average noise level for an air rifle of its power. But note that it can become LOUD when using alloy pellets at above about 1100 fps as the pellets exceed the speed of sound and give a sonic boom. In this case, the Air Hawk sound more like a .22LR firearm. Note that this is not a criticism of this Ruger, but a fact of life for any air rifle shooting faster than the speed of sound.

Doug felt that there was quite a bit of buzz and vibration in the firing cycle, although he expected this would probably diminish with wearing in from use.

SIGHTS AND SCOPE

Fiber optic iron sights are fitted to the Ruger Air Hawk. The rear is click adjustable for windage and elevation, but the front sight is not hooded and so is unprotected from the bumps that accompany normal everyday use.

The 4 x 32 scope bundled with the Air Hawk is a very standard Chinese product, as manufactured by the tens of thousands and fitted to most air rifles of this price range. There’s no AO (Adjustable Objective) and image quality is just barely usable at the 10 yards HAM test range. Sharpness was better at longer distances. Doug commented on a slight yellowish tinge to the images. There’s no mil-dots, just a simple Duplex reticle.

Most users will probably find big benefit from upgrading this bundled scope to something better. Better meaning a 3-9 x zoom scope, with probably a 40mm objective lens, mil-dot reticle, AO and a solid, one-piece mount.

But remember that this scope was probably manufactured for less than $5.00! For five Bucks, it’s not a bad scope, but the gun deserves better.

SHOOTABILITY

Shooting the Air Hawk benefits from the good trigger and easy cocking, although the firing cycle on the gun tested was somewhat harsh. The automatic safety is positioned in front of the shooter’s nose, right at the end of the compression chamber. You can’t miss it but – like all automatic safeties – it adds an extra step to the sequence every time you fire the gun.

Doug found the gun comfortable to shoot.

But, like almost all 1000 fps spring/piston air rifles, the Air Hawk requires skill and experience from the shooter for accurate shooting. Use of the loose “Artilley Hold” is mandatory and a tight grasp on the gun will destroy the accuracy of which it is capable. Like most manufacturers, Umarex USA does not explain this in the instructions that accompany the Ruger.

This need for experience to achieve the best from the Air Hawk is reflected in its high RateAGun scope of 9.3

RateAGun score 9.3 Experience required to shoot accurately.

APPEARANCE AND FINISH

Visible metal finish of the Ruger Air Hawk air rifle tested is good for the price. The compression tube and barrel have a black “semigloss” bluing.

Finish of the stock was also good, with slight figuring in the wood. It looks good for the price. Design of the ambidextrous stock is plain, with no checkering. There’s a slight Monte Carlo rise on the comb to aid cheek weld.

The “wood and metal” appearance of the Air Hawk will appeal to traditionalists. If you prefer the black, tactical, synthetic stock look in an otherwise identical air rifle, Ruger has you covered with the Blackhawk.

BUYING AND OWNING

The Air Hawk seems to be available just about everywhere that sells airguns, so finding one to buy is no problem.

Packaging is quite good, with more than the usual amount of white foam at this price point to protect the gun in shipping before it gets to you.

The written instructions supplied with the Air Hawk are adequate.

The 12 month warranty is average for an air rifle but there’s a sting in the tail…

Umarex USA requires the user not only to pay for shipping back to them for any warranty repair work, but also requires a prepayment of no less than $21.95 to cover shipping and handling for the return of the gun to you. As that could mean you have to pay a total of around $40.00 in shipping charges for warranty work on an air rifle you purchased for less than $100.00, it’s clear that you really, really, really have to think something’s wrong before taking up any warranty coverage.

However, Umarex USA does have spare parts available via their Service Department in Fort Smith AR and knowledgeable airgunners will be pleased to know this for the long term servicability of their Air Hawk.

TEST TARGETS

Ruger Air Hawk test review Gamo Raptor Platinum pellets

Ruger Air Hawk test review H&N FTT Green pellets

Ruger Air Hawk test review RWS Hobby pellets

Ruger Air Hawk test review Crosman Premier HP pellets

Ruger Air Hawk test review JSB Exact pellets

Ruger Air Hawk test review H&N Field Target Trophy pellets

Ruger Air Hawk test review H&N Baracuda Match pellets

BUY FROM AMAZON
Ruger Air Hawk Combo Rifle (Wood, Large)
BUY FROM PYRAMYD
Ruger Air Hawk Combo Air rifle

This entire article including scoring, test targets etc is Copyright Hard Air Magazine and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the publisher.