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

Low cost air rifles are the way many of us make a first start with airguns. There’s a huge number of models available and newcomers often ask for a recommendation. So what is the best cheap break barrel air rifle for me?

Break barrel air rifles are attractive to many because of the self-contained nature of their powerplant. All you need is the gun. There’s no additional items like CO2 cartridges or HPA tanks or pumps necessary to make them work.

Below. The Beeman Longhorn.

Unfortunately people trying to find the best cheap break barrel air rifle often think that Muzzle Velocity – FPS – is the critical factor. More must be better, right?

Well, no, more FPS is not necessarily better! The laws of physics mean that more FPS mean a more powerful spring (or gas ram) is required. That will make it more difficult to cock the air rifle. There will be more recoil, too, making it tougher to hit the target.

And once Muzzle Velocity exceeds around 1,100 FPS, or so, the pellet will sound VERY LOUD, no matter what claims are made by the manufacturer for it being a quiet air rifle.

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

Above. The Ruger Air Hawk.

The best cheap break barrel air rifle is likely to be one that’s relatively easy to cock It will have a “backyard-friendly” noise level and give it’s new owner a good chance of actually hitting the target (!). And it will have scored well in Hard Air Magazine’s comprehensive testing.

Oh, and it will cost around $130 or less in today’s market. Here’s HAM’s three recommendations to answer the question: what’s the best cheap break barrel air rifle for me?


Beeman Longhorn

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

The Longhorn is something of a “sleeper” in the airgun market. But it’s tough to beat the $100 Street Price and the gun HAM tested was powerful and accurate with most of our standard test pellets.

Like most competitors in this market, it’s bundled with a 4 x 32 scope that could be a lot better. But what do you realistically expect at this price? This scope is no worse than the others featured here.

This is the most powerful of the guns listed in this review. So, it’s the best hunting gun, if you’re looking to control the local squirrel population!

The Longhorn scored 74% in Hard Air Magazine testing and won a Gold Award in doing so. Only one other air rifle that we’ve tested matches that performance, as you’ll see below…

We LikeWe Don't Like
The price!Harsh recoil
PowerfulTrigger could be lighter
Accurate with most pelletsPoor bundled scope

BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
Beeman Longhorn Air Rifle Combo

BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
BEEMAN LONGHORN AIR RIFLE


Ruger Air Hawk

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

The Air Hawk is a long-running HAM favorite. We gave it a Gold Award way back in 2014! But although the price has risen over that time, this is still one of the most competent air rifles in this price range.

Like our other two recommendations, it’s bundles with a 4 x 32 scope and ships in .177 caliber. This small caliber is still the favorite for cheap break barrel air rifles, even though it is rapidly falling out of favor for most other air rifle use.

Overall, the Air Hawk was the most accurate of the three guns compared here.

We LikeWe Don't Like
Muzzle Velocity matches claimsHarsh recoil
Trigger quite goodTrigger blade feel
Accurate with most pelletsPoor bundled scope
BUY FROM AMAZON
Ruger Air Hawk Combo Rifle (Wood, Large)
BUY FROM PYRAMYD
Ruger Air Hawk Combo Air rifle

Umarex Forge

The Umarex Forge is a relatively recent entrant into this market. Introduced in 2017, the Forge includes a Picatinny scope mount and has a sound suppressor. It also has a sharp, modern appearance.

A HAM Sliver Award winner, the Forge is the most “family friendly” of the models here. This is because it’s relatively easy to cock and quieter than the other two guns listed. Again, the 4 x 32 bundled scope is of limited optical quality.

The Umarex Forge offers the security of a 3-year warranty too. The others have just one year.

We LikeWe Don't Like
Easy cockingHeavy trigger
Long warrantyAccuracy could be better
Looks good, tooPoor bundled scope
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
Umarex – Forge Combo .177 with 4X32 Scope
BUY FROM AIRGUN DEPOT
Umarex Forge Air Rifle


So What’s The Best Cheap Break Barrel Air Rifle for Me?

It’s a close-run thing here! But based on HAM’s exhaustive testing, we can make the following recommendations…

If (legally) hunting birds and small critters is your top priority, the Beeman Longhorn offers the most power. It’s also the cheapest gun here, by quite a large margin.

The Ruger Air Hawk was the most accurate overall, with a wide range of pellets.

While the Umarex Forge is the most family-friendly. If noise level is an issue, or you want to teach a younger person to shoot, this is the best choice.