There are airguns for precision shooting and air rifles for hunting. While both can also be fun to shoot, there are some airguns built just for getting out and having fun and we call these: plinking airguns.
Joys of a Plinker
Many airgunners start out looking to achieve that perfect one-hole-group with every airgun they pick up. It’s a noble quest for sure but it takes time, technique, and a dedication to the grand sport of airgunning. In the midst of all that “serious” trigger time, something is often lost in the process and that’s remembering that airguns are also supposed to be fun. Enter “plinking” airguns or “plinkers” as we like to call them (from time-to-time).
Plinking rifles and pistols are not about precision shooting or hunting big game. They are about putting a big fat smile on your face. What brings the smile may be very different for each person. For example, one person may love what we call the “more fun” switch that takes the MP40 Legends from semi-auto to full auto. Another person may love the splatter against a pile of clay pigeons from the Seneca double shot, a .50 caliber double-barreled air shotgun. Whatever it may be, it’s probably not about punching that perfect 10 shot group. It’s probably more about accuracy by volume.
Some Good Options
Plinkers are often overlooked amongst the ever-growing offerings of more “serious” air rifles. So let’s try and rectify that if only just a little. The criteria are pretty simple. A plinking rifle needs to not only be affordable to purchase but also to shoot. Here are some of our favorites and some notable exceptions.
Any Full-Auto Air Rifle
Without a doubt, regardless of the airgun, if it has the “more fun” full auto option, it’s on the plinking airgun list. Many of the Legends Series from Umarex fall into this category. The MP40 is a good example, but there’s also the UZI and Beretta M92.
Crosman also has its offerings in this category with their AR15 DPMS and their new AK47 AK1.
Air Venturi also has its Hellraiser Hellboy AR15. It’s “only” semi-automatic, but it falls nicely into the “put a smile on your face” category for sure.
That first batch of suggestions all shot bbs, which are ideal for the full automatic airgun. But there are many great pellet plinkers too. These airguns are great for just taking out tin cans and having fun in the process. Some, like the TR5, is not only affordable and fun but also extremely accurate. It’s perfect for close range, indoor practice.
The Ruger 10/22 CO2 pellet rifle replica from Umarex is a double-action version of the iconic Ruger 10/22.
For more serious plinkers you can step up to the entry-level PCP market with the Gamo Urban .22, the Benjamin Fortitude, Air Venturi Avenger, and many other budget PCPs. What’s amazing about the entry-level PCP market today is that these guns can perform well above their price tag. You can certainly plink with them all day, but you can take that same gun and target shoot as well as hunt small game. So these are just great “all-around” airguns.
Are there big-bore “plinking” airguns? Heck yeah! They may not be as affordable to purchase or to shoot as the other guns we’ve discussed but they certainly put a smile on your face. There’s something extremely satisfying about shooting the .50 cal Seneca Dragon Claw for example. When you pull the trigger and smack whatever target you are going for with 200+ foot-pounds worth of lead, you can’t help but light up. The same could be said for the AirForce Texan, Hatsan Piledriver and many others. They just put a smile on your face when you pull the trigger and maybe that should be the only criteria.
What really makes an airgun a “plinking” rifle?
With all we’ve discussed in this article, the only thing that really matters for an airgun to be a “plinking” rifle is; did it put a smile on your face when you pulled the trigger? Did you leave the bench happier than when you sat down? Did you have a good time taking out tin cans with your buddies in the back yard?
If any of that was accomplished, then you’ve had a good time plinking with your airgun. If your airgun puts a smile on your face, that’s all that matters. Go out and have fun!