Richard Saunders on CO2 rifles

Richard Saunders gets his hands on four of the hottest CO2-powered rifles on sale right now.

Readers of a certain vintage may well remember the Sodastream – the must-have kitchen gadget that turned water into Coca-Cola, or lemonade or any other manner of fizzy drink. As a kid, it seemed like alchemy.

At the heart of that wondrous invention was a carbon dioxide – CO2 – capsule. As if creating fizzy pop wasn’t incredible enough, these very same capsules have gone on to power a whole range of air rifles.

For most of us, a new rifle comes down to a choice between a PCP or a springer, but there is another option – the CO2 rifle. Powered by either 12 gram or 88 gram capsules, they offer many of the benefits of PCPs, such as low recoil and noise, without the drawbacks of having to invest in a compressed air cylinder to charge them, or grapple with a pump.

In today’s internet shopping world, CO2 capsules are not only cheap, but can be delivered the next day – much more convenient than having to take an empty air bottle to a dive centre to get it filled up again. 

It’s not all good news though, as there are a few drawbacks due to the nature of CO2 itself – most importantly, how it’s affected by changes in temperature. Use a CO2 gun on a hot day, and it will be considerably more powerful than on a cold one.

As a result, you’ll spend much of your time checking and re-setting your zero. Accuracy is further challenged by the fact that as the level of CO2 decreases, so too will power output.

Perhaps as a result of these compromises, CO2 guns have in the main been developed on a budget for plinkers, and who doesn’t like a good plink? However, today’s airgun shooter is increasingly discerning.

Manufacturers have caught on to this fact, and are offering new and interesting designs with improved quality. Several top end CO2 guns are more than eligible for pest control.

For our test in this issue, we’re taking a look at four of the best CO2 rifles on the market, all of them supplied by online door-to-door delivery specialist Pellpax.

We have two rifles from the Umarex stable – the Hammerli 850 Air Magnum, which Pellpax sells as a kit for £329.99, and the innovative pump-action RP5 (£356.99).

No CO2 rifle review would be complete without a Crosman Ratcatcher, so we have the 2250XL Buntline model that costs £409.99 with a Hawke scope. And rounding out our fab four is the SIG Sauer MPX which, at £369.99, along with a red dot sight, is a peerless tin can basher. 

Click below to see the full reviews…

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