Best Air Rifle in 2018

Air gunning is a sport that is getting prevalent especially in the US. The best air rifle should be easy to use and have an accurate shot.  An air rifle has an advantage since the bullet does not travel far from the target.

Air rifles have three sources of power; bottled compressed gas, pneumatic, and spring-piston. They serve various uses such as sports, hunting, and warfare among others.

Air rifles can also serve as the best option to control pests and for training. If the laws allow, you can shoot in your backyard or even arrange for an indoor range in your basement. Read my recommended air rifle reviews to find one that suits your budget.

Best Air Rifle Comparison 

1. Benjamin Marauder Synthetic Stock Pellet Air Rifle

Benjamin Marauder is the most popular rifle using PCP. It integrates the majority of the features that shooters need in a PCP air rifle. Marauder synthetic stock offers top-notch performance and high level of accuracy.

Speed and Accuracy

Most shooters will use the Benjamin Marauder in factory settings. However, customizations can be made to these settings to achieve higher performance of the rifle.

Its accuracy is best if using JSB pellets as it records a muzzle velocity exceeding 28Ft/Lbs. Most of the air rifles using PCP tend to be faster and more accurate with heavy bullets. Benjamin Marauder, however, overlooks these presumptions.

Noise Level

One of the strongholds of Benjamin Marauder rifle lies in the silence when in action. Among our best air rifles list, it stands out as the most silent. Silence makes it ideal for use in the backyard or basement.

Cocking Effort

Bolt operation is moderately light. To cock, pull back the rifles bolt handle, snap the magazine and push forward the bolt handle to feed a pellet. Benjamin Marauder has a reasonable trigger pull weight.

Safety is at the front of the trigger. It has a two-stage trigger that makes shooting a tremendous experience. The trigger allows customization, and directions regarding the customization are in the manual.

Shooting ability

Many view the ten shot clip-ability as advantageous. It has a window that indicates the remaining pellets in the clip. The window is natural to see and vital to the shooter.

Consistency

The standard deviation may be a bit high, around 10FPS with the majority of the pellets. Consistency is however right and the standard deviation does not tamper with its accuracy. Benjamin Marauder has an inbuilt pressure gauge which is accurate though not as much as other rifles.

The consistency is right that makes the rifle reliable and suitable to use.

Sights

The fact that Benjamin Marauder lacks iron sights gives shooters a chance to get scopes of their choice. Its breech has a 22/rails that ensures attachment of the essential scope. While choosing a scope, consider selecting an adapter in case the scope has Picatinny rings.

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    Extremely quiet
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    High-quality materials make the rifle
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    Excellent clip feed
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    Simple to set up

2. Crosman Nitro Venom Break Barrel Air Rifle

Crosman Nitro Venom uses a gas piston barrel, whose source of power is nitrogen gas. Advantages of the rifle using gas include the ability to cock it than cocking a spring action rifle effortlessly. You can cock and leave it without reparations, which you cannot do for a spring action rifle.

Construction

Nitro Venom features a rubber recoil pad. It also includes a fluted muzzle break. The rubber pad has ventilation and acts a recoil absorber that makes the gun safe and comfortable to use.

Its stock is ambidextrous thus features cheek pads on either side. These cheek pads tend to make the rifle comfortable for both left and right-handed shooters.

Crosman Nitro Venom has raised cheek piece and beavertail forearm to enable the shooter to comfortably maintain a shooting position (Artillery Hold). The forearm area has a broad surface that allows resting the palm and helps increase accuracy.

Appearance

Crosman Nitro Venom has an appealing look. The look and the feel are impressive considering its price range. Nitro Venom has a stock which is ambidextrous and of hardwood.

Hardwood is of high quality and durable since refinishing can be done when need be. It is 44 inches long and weighs 7.4 pounds which makes it comfortable to shoot since the weight is bearable.

Accuracy

Shooting at a grouping of one inch at a 30-yard distance is quite impressive. For better efficiency use the brand name pellets.

Muzzle velocity and power

Crosman Nitro Venom has an attractive muzzle velocity of 1000FPS using .177 pellets and a muzzle velocity of 800FPS while using .22 caliber pellets. Nitro Venom then has more than adequate power in the events of plinking and target shooting.

Scope and Weaver Rail

Majority of the rifles have faulty scopes that tend to be less useful. Crosman Nitro Venom then stands out through its 3-9x32 cope which you will have no problem installing to the weaver rail.

The scope has factory settings which are parallax and maximizes use for a maximum of 20 yards. 20 yards is the standard shooting distance that causal shooters find comfortable. You can reset the range to suit your needs.

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    Easy to cock
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    Moderately heavy
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    Durable
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    Attractive, appealing design and finish

3. Gamo Hornet Air Rifle

Gamo Hornet is an air rifle that offers the high power of 1200FPS. For the features, it has an ambidextrous stock. Gamo Hornet is famous for its efficiency and accuracy and this makes it the best air rifle for beginners and seasoned shooters.

Design

The barrel is 18 inches long and comprises of a fluted polymer steel design.

Steel is resistant to corrosion that makes the rifle durable. The rifle has a second stage trigger which is adjustable. The cocking effort is 30lbs. During construction, the manufactures did create features considering safety, resilience, and ease of use.

Scope

Gamo Hornet Air rifle has a 4x32 cope that is inclusive of rings. The stock comprises of synthetic that makes it durable despite prevailing weather conditions. The grip and rifles forearm feature checkering.

This checkering plays a vital role to ensure the rifle does not slip. It further provides consistency during shooting and holding the rifle. A grooved receiver is also a feature of the rifle.

The cheek piece is on either side as two cheek pads. Rubber with ventilation is at the butt plate. This rubber serves as a recoil absorption that makes it safe and comfortable for the shooter.

For safety, there are two measures. There are a manual safety trigger and an automatic cocking safety measure.

Framework

Gamo Hornet has numerous features that ensure it remains effective while still simple to use. Its butt plate for starters provides maximum recoil absorption. The twin cheek pads ensure the gun remains comfortable for use by both left and right-handed individuals.

There is checkering at the forearm and grip that ensures a firm grip. The material making the gun is of high quality and makes it suitable for diverse weather conditions

Muzzle velocity

The velocity of the Gamo Hornet is dependent on the ammunition in use. Alloy pellets offer the best performance while achieving1250 FPS. Using lead ammunition gives you 1000FPS. Gamo Hornet, however, stands out due to its sturdiness.

Accuracy and precision

Gamo Hornet offers up to 50 feet consistent with your line of sight; it guarantees an accurate shot. The muzzle velocity remains 1200FPS despite the range.

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    Easy to use
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    Offers high power and is accurate
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    Attractive design

4. Ruger Blackhawk Combo Air Rifle

Ruger Blackhawk Combo is a .177 caliber rifle that has a 1000FPS. The source of power spring piston and offers a single shot capacity. The design makes the rifle suitable for both left and right-handed shooters.

Design and appearance

Ruger Blackhawk has a simple and elegant black design; which makes it blend almost all environments. This then makes it suitable for camouflage. It is 45 inches long with the barrel being 19 inches.

The finish is matte that makes it appealing and attractive. It has a composite stock, and some areas feature checkered grip.

Versatility

Blackhawk has undoubtedly able to work with any .177 caliber ammunition. Ruger Blackhawk then stands out since most rifles tend to work only with specific ammo. Using low-quality pellets yield same results as high performing pellets.

Accuracy

Ruger Combo Air Rifle has a seductive power and efficiency that makes it ideal for target practice and hunting too. For as far as 50 yards away, a single shot is enough to hit the prey, that makes it entirely accurate than most rifles especially in the same class.

Power

Ruger Blackhawk offers high energy that is high enough to eliminate the target in a single shot. These shots give clean, humane kills. The power, accuracy, and force that Blackhawk offers are enough to complete a task.

Durability

Ruger Combo Air Rifle has high power and is quite substantial. In as much as this may lead to loose components, it offers the shooter a realistic feeling. It is sturdy and has a good feel while handling it.

Reliability

Long distance shooting or aiming does not alter the rifles consistency and reliability. You can achieve great shots using little skill and effort. It offers tight groupings that can withstand diverse weather conditions including precipitations, fog, and wind.

Features

Blackhawk includes a cope with 4x magnification and an objective lens of 32mm. It allows adjustments due to wind and changes in elevations.

Ruger Blackhawk has fiber optics that increases accuracy increasing the performance of the rifle. For comfort, it has two recoil pads that make it ambidextrous.

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    Simple to use
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    Offers improved field of vision due to its 4X magnification and 32mm objective lens
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    The light that makes it ideal for teenagers
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    Improves on shooting skills

5. Crosman Benjamin Trail NP XL 1500

Benjamin Trail NP XL 1500 fits in the NP XL air gun series. While compared to other guns in the same series, it has the smallest caliber, .177, since the rest either are .25 or. 22. The small caliber does not hinder it from offering high power.

Rifle type

Trail NP XL 1500 uses Nitro Piston Technology that has the same working mechanism as a spring rifle. The rifle has a nitrogen piston and cylinder within the chamber. The cylinder has nitrogen which is under pressure, but cocking builds up the pressure.

As you fire, the nitrogen expands and pushes the piston forward. The nitrogen under pressure lacks anywhere else to go and then goes behind the pellet and discharges it.

Stock

The stock has an impeccable design and is hardwood. It can then withstand shocks, abrasions, and impact which are regular while in use. This design also proves the rifle to be durable.

You can also refinish the hardwood if need be. Its stock is also ambidextrous, that means you can comfortably shoot whether you are left or right handed.

Both the left and right side of the rifle have cheek pieces. These cheek pieces are raised to enable a stable position and solid foundation for the eyes. They then permit reliable sight alignments together with shot adjustment.

At the stock, the grip and forearm have a texture which provides friction on your hand as you shoot. The composition then prevents the rifle from slipping that may be due to sweat. It also increases aiming stability.

Benjamin Trail NP XL 1500 includes a sling swivel stud which is already in place. You don't have to mount it that makes assembling the rifle easy. All you need to do us attach the sling and carry the rifle around as you please.

At the stock is a thumb hole which offers relaxation to your wrist. This is better than having to hold the stock up using your hands.

Velocity, power, accuracy

Crosman Benjamin XL 1500 has a speed between 1250 and 1500 FPS depending on the pellets material. This velocity is high than other air rifles in the market. It is accurate with its high power within 50 yards.

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    Requires little maintenance
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    Accurate and gives high power
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    Imbeds advanced technology

6. Gamo Big Cat 1250 Air Rifle with Scope

Among other rifles from Gamo Manufacturers, this rifle stands out. It has varied uses such as target practice and pest control (small and medium). Gamo Big Cat design makes it suitable for numerous scenarios and serves best individuals with different capacities.

Design and appearance

Gamo 1250 has a single cocking system which functions using spring piston action. It has an 18 inches barrel, and .177 calibers. The barrel is steel meaning it is durable despite the weather conditions. Big Cat has a 3.74lbs trigger and comes with a second trigger. Big Cat 1250 trigger is adjustable that makes the rifle customizable and easy to use.

It has a Shock Wave Absorber that reduces the felt recoil; this makes it comfortable to use. Big Cat 1250 is light as it combines high technology polymer. It offers the high power of between 1000-1200FPS

Cocking Effort

Gamo 1250 has a 30lbs cocking effort, which is considerably low. Safety is through two features. A manual trigger safety is available and so is an automatic cocking safety.

Scope

Gamo Big Cat has a 4x32 cope that is inclusive of rings. For best functionality of the scope, there is a grooved receiver. It has a stock which is of synthetic material; this makes it fit for use in any weather condition.

Gamo 1250 has a rubber coat with ventilation on the butt plate. This rubber coat serves as the Shock Wave Absorber making the rifle comfortable since you feel little or no recoil effect. On the grip and forearm of the rifle is a checkering present; which ensures the rifle does not slip.

 The cheek piece has two cheek pads on each side. These cheek pads make the gun suitable for use by both left and right-handed individuals.

Muzzle velocity

Gamo Big Cat 1250 has a fluctuating muzzle velocity. It fluctuates according to the ammunition. Ballistic alloy pellets give a 1250 FPS while lead pellets give 1000FPS.

Uses and warranty

Big Cat 1250 is ideal for target practice and pest control, small and large. It then doubles up compared to other rifles that serve one use

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    Solidity and durable construction
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    Simple to use
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    Offers high power
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    Allows a variety of  ammo- lead and PBA pellets

7. Hammerli 850 Air Magnum Air Rifle

Hammerli 850 is an excellent rifle with high accuracy and a timely bolt action. It does not recoil and does not need substantial cocking efforts. This air magnum rifle is of impeccable quality and has an impressive performance.

Shoot-ability

Hammerli 850 has an excellent shooting ability just like most of the rifles using CO2. It is also easy to shoot considering it does not recoil and eliminates heavy cocking. The rifle has bolt action clip and a great trigger that makes shooting simple.

Loading the clip is simple and intuitive. We, however, recommend you to be careful and ensure that each pellet fits appropriately into its hole. This is to make sure there are no misfeeds or jams while using the rifle.

Hammerli air magnum has an automatic safety which is essential to avoid accidents. To disengage the safety, push the safety`s tiny serrated vertical section.

Sights and Scopes

Hammerli 850 lacks a scope which can be an advantage or disadvantage. The right side of requiring a scope is that most rifles in the market have inferior ranges, and it relieves you the cost of buying a better scope if the rifle had a poor one. The wrong side is that you end up shopping again, for a scope.

Hammerli air magnum rifle has fiber optic sights already put in place. You can then use it immediately after getting it out of the box. The rear sights allow adjustments in case of a loose screw. You can also adjust for windage.

Consistency

The standard deviation of Hammerli 850 holds well since it is 4.2 FPS. Unlike the Ruger Yukon, its consistency is not affected by different pellets. Using light or heavy bullets yields the same results.

Another notable factor is that the trigger weight is sturdy. There is absolutely no measurable variation.

Cocking effort

The Air Magnum rifle bolt action is cock-on-action, which is simple to manage. It then implies that Hammerli 850 is suitable for long hours of use without strain. This makes it fit for purpose been young aspiring shooters.

Its bolt action makes it have a realistic feel to operating a firearm.

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    Simple to shoot
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    Consistent accuracy using any pellets
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    Exemplary trigger

8. Ruger Yukon Air Rifle Combo

Ruger Yukon offers a variety of features. It has a stylish design that has actual wood stock. The rifles Picatinny rail is sturdy and it produces less noise.

Speed and accuracy 

Just like other rifles with a .177 caliber, it offers a 1000FPS muzzle velocity. The rifles speed, however, depends on the material making the pellets since lead pellets provide the 1000FPS while alloy pellets offer 1200FPS.

Ruger Yukon Air rifle tends to be choosy and does best with Crosman pellets. These pellets are readily available and are that most shooters use.

Noise level

It offers reduced noise levels thanks to the integration between the Silencer sound suppressor and Reaxis gas rum. Reduced noise level makes it suitable to use within the compound without distraction. You then end up being on the right side of the law.

Different pellets have different noise levels. For example, the speed of sound is 1100FPS; so using a pellet that exceeds this makes the rifle loud despite the Silencair. Use Crosman pellets that improve accuracy and reduce noise levels to enable practice shooting within your backyard.

Cocking Effort

Ruger Yukon`s cocking effort is low considering its power. Cocking requires 33lbs; though it may feel awkward than cocking a spring action rifle with an equal cocking weight. This difference is because of the gas ram piston that Yukon uses.

Cocking action is quite smooth, with an appropriate distinctive barrel lock up. The cocking effort and cocking action are acceptable.

Sights and Scopes

Ruger Yukon has fiber optic sights which offer adjustable windage and elevation for the rear sights using a click. This improves the accuracy of the rifle. The front views are neither protective nor durable.

 They can be easily damaged so be sure to take caution.

Weaver/ Picatinny Rail

Yukon`s most robust feature is the Picatinny rail. It is not only healthy, but is also solid, and offers ease of scope mounting. The scope is 3-9x 32, which most shooters prefer.

Consistency

Ruger Yukon has a standard deviation of less than 5FPS for 4. This is an exemplary performance for a new rifle in the market.

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    Smoothing cocking action
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    Unique wood stock design
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    Sturdy scope rail/ weaver

9. Black Ops Power/ Gas Piston Sniper Rifle

Black Ops Sniper Rifle delivers the shooters with a perfect combination of power and accuracy. This rifle has a durable synthetic stock. For individuals seeking an air rifle that offers a realistic feel, this is the gun for you.

Has a clip and reduced noise

The sniper rifle comes with a silencer at the end of its barrel. Reviews indicate the muffler plays a little role in the sound the rifle makes. Breaking the gun makes the rifle less noisy.

Black Ops sniper rifle is a single shot rifle that has a clip. The clip serves best for storage and holds a maximum of 30 pellets. After each shot, one needs to reload. Reloading is, however, less often and easy.

Accuracy

Black Ops rifle guarantees the accuracy, unlike most guns. Its manufacturers state that the rifle can deliver groups of .20 inches at a distance of 10 meters. Adjusting the dials can give you one-inch groupings within 25 feet.

Proper adjustment of the dials can further give groups within 55 feet. The rifle's sights and pellets also make the gun more accurate. Bipod legs of the rifle can extend from eight to ten inches. The extension improves on accuracy.

Black Ops sniper rifle has a 4x32 scope. The scope also improves the accuracy of the rifle, and you can replace the scope with a better one if need be.

Reliability

Black Ops sniper rifle is durable and as real as it gets to a real weapon. The bolt action is conversely cosmetic for an authentic look of the rifle.

The rail and bipod are metal that makes them durable. Also, rifle allows customization that enhances its reliability. The comb will enable adjustments that enable you to fit it to the desired size.

 Adjustability of the bipod makes you able to stabilize the rifle.

Power

Black Ops Air Rifle manufacturers indicate a 1000FPS. At this power, the rifle is also suitable for use in small game hunting, plinking and long range target practice. It has great potential that thrills beginners as well as experienced shooters.

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    Solid construction and high quality
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    Convenient clip storage
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    Accurate and offers great power
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    Has a real feel and allows customization

10. Hatsan AT44-10 QE Air Rifle

Accuracy

Hatsan is not only a hard-hitting rifle but also an accurate one. Made from a Turkish manufacturer, it has high praises regarding its pre-charged pneumatic source. It has a high power that is enough to shoot at 75 yards without missing the target accurately. PCP guns have a record of being noisy. The manufacturers, however, did consider this and aimed to overcome it.

Noise level

Hatsan did introduce this PCP rifle with some features that make it whisper and extra quiet. These features are in a way that does not affect the rifle zip whatsoever. This rifle has quite an energy that fits with its full-length barrel which can cloak the tapper to plastic and metal suppressor. The result of its performance proves it to be 32% quite compared to other PCP rifles.

Sports

Hatsan rifle serves well as a hunting rifle thanks to the silence of the gun. Shooters are then at an advantage while shooting prey such as starlings and crow. Another attractive benefit of the rifles silence is its backyard target shooting. You can quickly kill in your backyard without disrupting the neighbors.

Modifications

This Hatsan PCP rifle integrates QE modifications. These modifications serve as offering the shooters with a range of options that can push up the high-density lead bullets to a maximum of 1250FPS. Moreover, it comes with features for extra shooting.

Features

Hatsan has adjustable match two stage triggers, which come in three calibers; .22, .25, .177 the rifles have steel barrel that makes it durable since steel is resistant to corrosion and rust. You can then use it in any weather. The Hatsan rifle also has inbuilt pressure gauges. These gauges serve as a reminder of when to refill the air cylinder that makes the gun convenient to use.

PCP rifles, Hatsan being one of these come with easy to load magazines. For those who have trouble reloading, they can use the rifles Torpedo 150 which is piston-charged.

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    Highly accurate
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    Reduced noise levels
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    Many shots per charge
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    Comes with spare magazines

Things to Consider

Below are factors to consider while choosing the best air rifle.

Use

For hunting, you need to be aware of your target. To hunt pests such as rats, you require a rifle that can shot at 1000FPS with.177, .20 or .22 caliber. While looking to kill more critical prey for example a raccoon, your rifle needs to offer more power.  A magnum rifle with calibers between .20 and .25 should serve the purpose.

Propulsion methods

Below are the standard propulsion methods.

Pre-Charged Pneumatic obliges manual pumping, that means to fill the tank, and you need to 5-10 pumps to fill the tank. Break barrel has a lever or spring that requires manual cocking before each shot. A variable pump has a lever that needs stroking between 3 to 10 times to compress enough air to fire a shot.

Lastly, CO2 is automatic and allows shooting of between 40 and 60 pellets per reload.

Shooting range

Analogous to real rifles, your choice of rifle determines the shooting range. Bear in mind that you may get a rifle that offers long range, but has reduced power. Other factors such as the source of energy and caliber also play a role in determining the scope.

Rifle caliber

Most manufacturers offer four caliber types; .25, .22, .20 and the most common .177. .25 calibers are the least common, though it is the best for minor game hunting.

The .25 shoots slower than the rest implying it follows a rainbow trajectory. .22 caliber is the most common after the .177 and is best for long range shooting. The .22 pellets are heftier than those of .177 though travel slower than the .177 bullets.

.20 caliber is less favorable, but many believe them to be perfect especially for small game hunting. It offers flat trajectories, long-range shooting, and high velocity.

Final Words

We have reviewed the nine best air rifles and factors to consider while looking to buy the best air rifle. The best among the nine is Black Ops Power/ Gas Piston Sniper Rifle. Air rifles should mimic the real feel of an actual gun, and it does not disappoint.

It offers accuracy even when shooting in the long range. Black Ops maintains reliability and consistency throughout your shooting. Furthermore, it provides various uses and delivers to the best. Black Ops has high power and comes with convenient clip storage.

You can make adjustments to suit your needs that make it comfortable.

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