Steve, What’s The Best Break Barrel Air Rifle For Me?

Recently a friend of mine became interested in airguns. So he asked “Steve, what’s the best break barrel air rifle for me?” Let’s offer some advice to Tom’s question in this post…

It turns out that Tom was interested in a traditional, break barrel air rifle because he was attracted by its simplicity. We talked about PCPs, but he didn’t feel that the complexity and need for additional charging equipment was for him. Tom wanted a pure, simple airgun shooting experience.

Tom also wanted a good quality air rifle. He didn’t want to spend $1,000, but he felt that for somewhere between $300 to $500 he should be able to buy a high quality break barrel airgun.

So here’s the suggestions I gave Tom to help him decide on the best break barrel air rifle for him. They are three HAM Gold Award-winning air rifles. In alphabetical order…

1. Beeman R9

Best Break Barrel Air Rifle


Best Break Barrel Air Rifle

3. Weihrauch HW50S

Best Break Barrel Air Rifle

Beeman R9

The German-manufactured Beeman R9 is a long-running favorite. In fact, it’s manufactured by Weihrauch. It provides outstanding accuracy and shootability in a traditional spring/piston format.

If  Tom values quality and results more than muzzle velocity or the latest “must have” airgun technology, the R9 is a great choice for him.

Sure, the R9 doesn’t have a gas ram or a silencer. It doesn’t have Weaver scope rails. It doesn’t require lots of accessories. This is an air rifle for people who don’t need these things. It’s a pure, simple product that manages do make the process of shooting an air rifle enjoyable, satisfying and elegant in its simplicity.

But it does have Weihrauch’s outstanding Rekord trigger.

Selling at $400 plus the scope in .177 and .22 caliber (somewhat more in .20 cal), the R9 is in Tom’s price range. It is, of course a HAM Gold Award winner, achieving a 90% score in our comprehensive, standardized testing.

We LikeWe Don't Like
Superb accuracyAutomatic safety
Great triggerNo mil dots in the bundled scope
Fabulous finishReally nothing else!
Beeman R9 Elite Series Combo


The SIG ASP20 is powerful, accurate and consistent gas ram air rifle. Accuracy is excellent with the right pellets. It has a quality finish and sophisticated design. The price is right and the brand name is tops for a huge number of shooters.

Steve, What's The Best Break Barrel Air Rifle For Me?

The ASP20 is SIG Air’s first completely in-house designed and manufactured airgun. Tom will probably prefer the wood stock – he appreciates such things – and be happy with the $430 price (plus scope). There’s also a synthetic version available for $350, but otherwise identical.

This American-manufactured HAM Gold Award winner scored 89% on test. It’s an ultra-modern design that uses gas ram technology instead of the traditional spring.

We LikeWe Don't Like
PowerTrigger is an acquired taste
ConsistencyNo sling swivels
QualityNot much else

Weihrauch HW50

The Weihrauch HW50S air rifle is close to the perfect spring/piston air rifle.

Steve, What's The Best Break Barrel Air Rifle For Me?

It offers excellent accuracy, beautiful design and finish and great consistency. It’s carbine-like design is short and light. Recoil is very low and it’s fitted with the outstanding Record trigger. Another HAM Gold Award winner, it’s 85% score was a touch lower due to its lower power.

The Weihrauch HW50S air rifle can be found on sale for $317. Again, the choice of scope is left to Tom at additional cost.

For this price, the competition comes mainly from other high-end German spring/piston models. Considerably more power is available at considerably lower prices from a whole raft of other break barrel air rifles from multiple manufacturers.

So the HW50 is completely overwhelmed by the competition in specifications and price. But Tom is a sophisticated customer. He’s not looking for a Zillion FPS Muzzle Velocity or lots of unnecessary bells and whistles.

Quality, accuracy, consistency, easy shooting and a superb trigger are what interest him. In this respect, the Weihrauch HW50S delivers a strong value proposition.

We LikeWe Don't Like
Superlative accuracyRather heavy to cock for the power
Outstanding consistencyA little lower power (but we don't care)
Beautiful finishNot much else
Weihrauch HW50S

So what’s the best break barrel air rifle for Tom?

There’s no doubt that Tom would be happy with any of these three air rifles. All could be used for plinking, Field Target shooting and hunting. It just comes down to what type of shooting he intends to do most of the time.

If Tom decides that he mainly wants to hunt, the best break barrel air rifle for him will be the SIG SAUER ASP20. It has the most power – particularly in .22 caliber – and that’s vital to achieve the humane, one shot kill that all hunters strive for.

Should Tom decide that he’s more interested in plinking and other types of informal shooting, the Weihrauch HW50 will be the one to go for. It’s the easiest of the three to shoot all day. It will also be the most suitable for freinds of smaller physique who might have trouble cocking a more powerful break barrel.

But if Field Target competition or other more serious target shooting is to be top of the bill, Tom will be best to choose the Beeman R9 in .177 caliber.

Whichever model he chooses, Tom can check the targets at the foot of each test review to get an idea of the best pellets to use with his new air rifle.

Then all he needs is a scope and he’s ready to shoot. Tom loves UTG scopes (he’s used them with firearms), so I know that’s what he will choose to accompany his new air rifle.