What’s The Best Plinking Airgun For Me?

“What’s the best plinking airgun for me?” That’s a very common question among new airgunners. And some who are not so new, too…

Almost any airgun can be used for plinking – that is some form of informal target shooting. However generally, plinkers want relatively low cost airguns that are easy to cock, load and shoot.

As plinking can be an enjoyable pastime for the whole family, the best plinking airgun has to be relatively light, easy to cock and accurate. After all, Mum, Dad and kids all need to have a fair chance of winning the family plinking competition!

Plinking targets are likely to be soda cans, golf balls, empty shotgun hulls, dedicated swinging targets or such.

These targets are likely to be at somewhere around 10 Yards from the shooter. So we’re going to say that the best plinking airgun has to be a rifle – or at least a long gun – and not a pistol.

Most plinkers are likely to find CO2-powered airguns ideal for this fun shooting. So we’ve selected three of the best. They are all HAM Gold Award winners. But although they’re all airguns, they’re three very, very different airguns!

In alphabetical order, they are:

1. Beeman QB78 Synthetic

2. Bushmaster MPW

3. Legends Cowboy Rifle

Beeman QB78 Synthetic

Best Plinking Airgun

This Beeman is our most traditional candidate for best plinking airgun. It’s a single-shot bolt action air rifle that shoots pellets and retails for somewhere around $90.

The QB78 has a cock-on-closing action that’s tops for safety. The standard open iron sights are pretty primitive, but it’s easy to add a scope or red dot sight.

This is the most powerful of our best plinkers. With a decent scope, the QB78 can be amazingly accurate out to 30 Yards and beyond. It has a great reputation for accuracy!

You can read the full HAM review here.

We LikeWe Don't Like
PriceSingle shot only
PowerNothing else
Beeman QB78S Air Rifle


Bushmaster MPW

The MPW shoots BBs only. But it’s “minute of soda can” accurate at 10 Yards and is supplied with a reflex-type red dot sight.

Very short and light, with a semi-auto action, it’s easy for anyone to shoot. But for responsible adult plinkers, the great benefit of this airgun is its full auto capability. Soda cans don’t stand a chance against the MPW with the “fun switch” set to rock and roll!

And, of course, the MPW looks just like an AR15-type firearm, which adds to the enjoyment for many shooters.

Best Plinking Airgun

The retail price is typically around $200 and you can read the full HAM review here.

We LikeWe Don't Like
Full auto funHeavy trigger pull
Blowback actionNothing else
High shot count
Crosman Bushmaster MPW Full Auto BB Gun 0.177

Legends Cowboy Rifle

Everyone loves shooting a lever action rifle! The Cowboy rifle delivers this experience to the backyard in an amazingly realistic manner.

Best Plinking Airgun

Individual “cartridges” are each loaded with one BB, then slid into the gun. In fact you can use either wadcutter lead pellets or BBs. It’s your choice. Both worked well in HAM testing.

After each shot, pull down on the lever action and an “empty” flies out of the top. The whole shooting experience is just like “the real thing”!

This is a very accurate BB gun and powerful, too, for a BB-shooter. It also has one of the highest scores ever awarded to an airgun in HAM test reviews: an amazing 97%!!!

Like the original, however, it’s an open sights only shooter. If you need or want optics for your best plinking airgun, it’s not meant for you.

We LikeWe Don't Like
Those flying empties...... but you need to find them again!
Shoots pellets and BBsOnly 3 months warranty
Realistic Model 1894 replicaNothing else
Umarex Legends Cowboy Rifle

What’s the best plinking airgun for me?

If price is key, it’s an easy decision. The Beeman QB78 Synthetic is half the price of our other choices. Even allowing for a scope or red dot sight, you will have enough change to buy a load of pellets compared to the Cowboy or MPW.

The QB78 is also by far the most powerful and accurate plinker. It has a precision shooting range far beyond that of our other choices. If you want to pick off the odd squirrel, in addition to plinking, this is the gun to choose.

Of course, the Bushmaster MPW scores with its “fun, fun, fun” full auto capability. Even “responsible” semi auto shooting can be done as fast as you can pull the trigger!

Don’t forget to buy a TON of BBs and CO2 cartridges with the MPW. You’re going to be needing them…

If you’re drawn by the lure of the Old West, only the Legends Cowboy rifle will do! Unlike our other choices, you can shoot either BBs or pellets. And the realistic effect of the flying empty cartridges adds another dimension to the plinking experience.

All you have to do is find them again to re-use!

Because all three are HAM Gold Award winners, you can be sure that one of them will be the best plinking airgun for you. Have fun choosing and plinking…

SAFETY FIRST. With all BB-firing airguns, it’s mandatory to wear shooting glasses at all times, even if just watching. Also do not shoot at hard surfaces or water. BBs tend to bounce off these surfaces and may hit you, or something other than what you intended. If in doubt, don’t pull the trigger! Pellets generally do not bounce back in the same way and are the correct choice for hard targets.