Our top picks for springer shooters: the best Break-Barrel Springer & Gas-Ra and Underlever & Sidelever Springers you can buy
Break-Barrel Springer & Gas-Ra
TOP BUY: Weihrauch HW 95 Luxus
Piston power is here to stay – and while the mighty HW 80 will make most people’s break-barrel shortlist, it’s the short-barrelled and mild-mannered 95 that takes first place here. The 95 is a lighter rifle than its sibling, making it a better choice for hunting forays as well as HFT shoots.
Traditionalists may prefer the version seen here, which is fitted with iron sights, but most shooters will probably plump for the K version, which is scope-only, but comes with Weihrauch’s famous moderator. The beech stock has been redesigned over the years, with the forend being extended to accommodate the breech block, and the comb being high enough to afford good eye relief with most scopes. The woodwork may look bland, but it will certainly help you make the most of the rifle’s inherent accuracy, aided, of course, by the Rekord trigger. The moderator’s a real bonus, too. While a moddy won’t hush a springer anything like it would a PCP, it pulls double duty on the short barrel of the 95 K as a handy cocking aid. Weihrauch’s build quality is apparent in terms of the bluing and the cocking stroke, which is light and smooth.
The Lightning offers shooters the chance to enjoy the fast lock time of the gas strut system in a package that includes BSA’s world-famous cold hammer-forged barrel, full-barrel silencer and gorgeous beech stock.
The 340 N-TEC Luxus Walnut is another rammer, featuring Diana’s N-TEC piston, clad in an ergonomic walnut stock. The rifle has a scope rail as well as irons with interchangeable front sight inserts. Accuracy comes courtesy of its gold-plated T06 trigger.
4. Walther LGV
The LGV may be a hefty rifle, which can assist accuracy, but the shooter is rewarded with a smooth cocking effort, positive lock-up and silky firing cycle. It’s fitted with an automatic trigger safety and a threaded integral barrel weight.
Underlever & Sidelever Springer
TOP BUY: Air Arms TX200 HC
This category usually comes down to two choices, the TX200 and the Weihrauch HW 97. While both guns are excellent examples of their respective manufacturers’ craft, there can be only one winner, and the TX nudges ahead to find itself in first place because it’s slightly more refined straight out of the box, with a super-smooth piston and excellent trigger. We like the design of the underlever release catch, as well as the security of the anti-beartrap mechanism. The TX200 is an extremely well-built and accurate rifle that’s just as natural in target competition as it is in the hunting field.
The underlever system means a fixed barrel, and that in turn breeds confidence. Underlevers are naturally heavier than their break-barrel cousins; while a heavy springer can aid accuracy, we prefer the shorter Hunter Carbine version of the TX, but the longer-barrelled TX200 MkIII version is there if you want it.
Either way, the TX is a hefty beast, and you can use this to your advantage for holding the rifle more steadily in the aim – at least for short periods – and for absorbing what minimal recoil a rifle like this produces. The TX is another airgun great that will continue to serve many generations of shooters.
OK, the 97 lost to the TX – but only just. This rifle is of similar quality and delivers similar accuracy, and again features a superb trigger. It’s also available in a wide range of stock options, including thumbhole and laminate.
Sidelever cocking may have fallen out of fashion, but Diana is still proudly flying the flag with the Model 56. Again, this rifle can bag both game and medals, thanks in part to its thumbhole stock, which offers plenty of control, and the barrel weight.
With its sleek, clean lines, you might think this rifle’s a rimfire, not an airgun. That’s because the underlever’s been cleverly hidden, fitting flush with the underside of the stock. But the Pro Sport’s not just about style – it’s about substance, too.