The Best Budget Air Rifle

Air Arms S400 PCP Air Rifle

The best budget air rifle is of course the Air Arms S400 which has been around since 2000 and is the mainstay rifle of many HFT and FT clubs; it is also the go to gun for nearly all new people who come into shooting and the reason for this is very simple – the S400 is cheap, well-made and extremely accurate.

I recently spent a day at the AirArms factory and I can tell you that the level of precision engineering that goes into the flagship FTP900 is also used on the S400.

The S400 is a basic Pre Charged Pneumatic rifle; it does not have a regulator or a match grade barrel or match trigger, but do not let this put you off. This rifle has now been evolving for nearly 15 years and AirArms knows it inside and out, this gun has been refined and honed and is now a stunning rifle for not very much money.


When you take the S400 onto the range, it is a simple gun to use. It has a bolt that pulls back and makes a very positive click to let you know the rifle is cocked, the pellet drops into a loading channel and when you push the bolt forward, it slides the pellet into the barrel. Nothing fancy, just efficient. The stock itself feels correct when you draw it to the shoulder and the neutral balance makes it a joy for standers and kneelers. The stocks come in the basic hunter style beech stock or the top of the line walnut with a thumbhole; there is even a superlight version if weight is an issue for you.

The S400 is quite simply a no brainer. Whenever I am asked, ‘What gun should I get to start shooting?’ the first words out of my mouth are S400. They are cheap, easy to clean, easy to work on and they can do everything from back garden plinking to dispatching rabbits with ease and then at the weekend, you can go and win a World Championship with one.

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