Best Nitro Piston Air Rifles of 2020 – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

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Finding the best nitro piston air rifles can be a challenge, but if you have a good understanding of how they work and what purposes they are best for, the search process won’t be a tough one at all. These air rifles are among the many types of rifles that are available for those who want to use an air-powered rifle that just might be one of the more powerful types on the market.

No matter what application you use it for, you’re more apt to find one that will fit your personal needs and preferences. To help you find the best nitro piston air rifle for your own use, we’ll be taking a look at ten of the best ones on the market. We’ll get to the list here in a minute.

​First, we’re going to discuss how these nitro piston air rifles work and which characteristics and features make these top ten rifles stand out as the best air rifles of the year.

Comparison of the Best Nitro Piston Air Rifles

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Includes a two-stage trigger.
  • Best overall nitro piston air rifle.
  • Centerpoint 4X32 riflescope included.
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  • The velocity of 1020 fps.
  • Chambered in .22 shots.
  • Runner up for best overall nitro piston air rifle.
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  • 10-round rotary-style magazine.
  • Available in .177 or .22 caliber shots.
  • Best nitro pistol air rifle for the money.
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How Does a Nitro Piston Air Rifle Work?

There are many air rifles that are gas-powered. In this case, the nitro piston air rifle works using nitrogen gas. The gas is contained in a pressurized cylinder. As you cock the rifle, you’ll be exerting that pressure to help make the shot propel at a distance until it can hit a target.

Since the container is sealed, the gas will have no place to go (which is a plus for those who have dealt with leakage in the past). At best, these types of air rifles have long been reliable for the application of target practicing. 

What Makes These The Best Of The Year?

There are some characteristics and features that make some of the best nitro piston air rifles on the market stand out. Furthermore, they are more prominent in the ten rifles on our list than any other nitro piston air rifle on the market. Since there are so many of them, it’s important to know how to distinguish a great one from the ones that are considered unreliable and crappy in quality. Here are the characteristics and features to look for:

Price

While it’s not really a physical feature, those on a budget tend to make the price tag one of the main reasons why they chose an air rifle. Don’t let it be the only thing. What you need to do is find the best rifle in terms of quality and performance within your budget range. This way, you’re not sacrificing quality just for the purpose of saving money.

What Intent and Purpose Do They Excel at?

Most of these rifles are great for general purposes. However, one rifle can excel at a certain application. While you can use a nitro piston air rifle for just about anything, it can be best used for something like target practice. This can be due to a characteristic or ability that makes it stand out as one of the best rifles for such an activity. For example, if you’re looking for a rifle that will allow you to shoot targets from an impressive distance, the velocity, and firepower of the rifle are two major characteristics that you’ll need to look for.

Materials

As a rule, remember this: the higher quality the materials, the better chance it has of lasting you a long time. Whether you have a rifle with a synthetic polymer stock or if you have a barrel made from durable steel, the bumps and bangs of these rifles won’t even faze them. If you want something that has the potential to last them years or even decades, look for a rifle that is high in quality materials.

Quick Take - The Best Nitro Piston Air Rifles

Review of the Best Nitro Piston Air Rifles

The following is a list of the ten best nitro piston air rifles that are currently on the market. As you go through each one, be sure to note any characteristics and features. If you know some basic knowledge about rifles, you can get a good idea of what your dream air rifle should look like and how it can function.

Once you find one that’s “close enough”, that’s when you know that you have found a winner on your hands. Now, let’s begin by taking a look at the first one on our list -- the “best overall” choice for nitro piston air rifles:

Crosman CFRNP17SX Fire Nitro Piston Air Rifle

Pros

  • Best used for target practice 
  • The trigger is easy to use and adjust
  • Easy to cock, no reliability or loading issues to speak of
  • The synthetic stock is super durable, proven to resist bad weather
  • Shooting groups are quite tight with paper targets, especially at various distances

Cons

  • It might be a little loud for some users
  • It might be a little hard to cock for some users
  • The scope might not be as reliable for some users

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of the new users were happy with this rifle. They were able to cock the rifle back with ease and easily fire off shots. On paper targets from 30 to 40 yards out, they were able to shoot tighter groups. One user said it performed much better than a previous air rifle he once owned.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This rifle is powerful and super durable. In fact, this rifle might have the best longevity of any rifle on the list. One of the reasons is the synthetic stock. It’s made from high-quality polymer and can resist all kinds of weather and even the bumps and bangs of being dropped on the floor or hitting walls. 

Who Will Use This Most

This will be mostly used by those who want to shoot off rounds when they have a set of paper targets. Alternatively, they can use cans and bottles as targets. Either way, users will have a blast using this rifle for this very purpose. If you got some targets to go off on, then you’ll have hours of fun with this rifle.

What Could Be Improved and Why

The riflescope included should be gone. It should be replaced with a scope that you’ll want to use for your own. There are many rifle scopes that you can use on normal rifles that can still fit on air rifles. No matter what, you still get the perks of a great scope. Clear optics, better accurate shooting, smooth adjustments, and so on. 

Bottom Line

If you want a nitro piston air rifle that is considered one of the best on the market, the Crosman Nitro Piston Air Rifle will probably be the best choice for you. Make no mistake, this will be the rifle you’ll want when you want to put some extra targets to good use.

Gamo 611006325554 Whisper Fusion Mach 1 Air Rifle .22 Cal

Pros

  • Powerful, but very quiet
  • Super accurate from various distances
  • The trigger is easily adjustable at either stage
  • Excellent for target practicing and varmint control
  • Super durable construction, it can take on bumps and bangs

Cons

  • The scope may not stay zeroed in for long
  • May not work well with some heavier pellets
  • May be a little difficult to cock upon initial use

What Recent Buyers Report

This rifle was used across many general applications by the new users. A lot of them found this to be a really effective rifle for target practice and varmint hunting. Even better for them, it was a little less noisy than most air rifles. One user said he uses it to safely rid his yard of the squirrels invading his suburban property.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This rifle provides more of an alternative to our previously reviewed rifle. Construction-wise, it’s super durable and may last you years. The overall usage is quite easy. The trigger is smooth to pull and has no gritty feel to it. Overall, a rifle that is proven to not disappoint many users.

Who Will Use This Most

Though it’s considered more of a general-purpose rifle, this one has proven itself to be effective as a varmint control rifle. Especially if you’re having an issue with small critters invading your lawn and garden. If you’re in a suburban neighborhood, this rifle won’t be loud enough to scare the neighbors. That’s a plus if at some point you’ve exhausted as many options as possible in trying to get rid of varmint and small animals that do nothing more than destroying your property.

What Could Be Improved and Why

This rifle can use some improvements so it can accept all kinds of .22 caliber pellets. Surely, some of them are a little heavier than most. The rifle may not be able to handle them right now, but a good improvement would be to make sure that they do. Plus, heavier rounds are more popular among target users.

Bottom Line

If you want something that’s solid, accurate, and not as noisy as some gas-powered rifles, the Gamo Whisper Fusion Mach 1 rifle might be something that’s right up your alley. No matter which application you use it for, it’s the kind of rifle that will definitely have its uses.

Best for the Money:
Gamo Swarm Maxxim Air Rifle

Gamo Swarm Maxxim Air Rifle

Pros

  • Affordable for most budgets
  • It can hit targets from about 75 yards out
  • Great for target shooting and varmint hunting
  • The scope is actually reliable, allows for accurate shooting
  • Recoil is considerably reduced, it helps preserve the scope’s zero settings

Cons

  • Some misfiring has occurred
  • It might be a little loud for some users
  • The scope may be a little difficult to adjust

What Recent Buyers Report

This Gamo rifle was a hit with most new users. Considering that it is one of the more affordable rifles on the market, a lot of users were wondering why such a rifle that functioned quite well didn’t cost more. As expected, they were able to hit targets from 60 to 70 yards out. The shooting was reliable for most users and not a single jam was reported after 1000 rounds fired.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This rifle is available for either .177 or .22 caliber rounds. At the velocity that it shoots at, both of them are equally fast (with the .177 gaining a bit of the edge). The overall construction is quite sturdy and durable. So if you’re using it for some running and gunning, you won’t have to worry about this getting scuffed up if you somehow accidentally drop it. 

Who Will Use This Most

As expected, this will be another general-purpose rifle, but we’ve seen this rifle excel for those who are target shooters. So, if you’re looking for a rifle that stands out as one of the best for just blasting off paper targets or even cans, bottles, and what have you, this rifle can be your best friend in making sure the shots you make are accurate and on-target.

What Could Be Improved and Why

While it is quite powerful, it can stand to be a little quieter than it is now. This way, it can be more fun to use if you’re in an area where you have a bunch of neighbors nearby. The last thing you want to do is have your fun cut short because of a few noise complaints. 

Bottom Line

If you want a nitro piston air rifle that is effective, accurate and doesn’t break the bank the Gamo Swarm Maxx Air Rifle will most certainly fit the bill of any budget shopper that’s in search of a great quality air rifle. Once you use it more often, you’ll never get tired of firing off so many rounds.

Best .22 Nitro Piston Air Rifle:
Crosman 3051 Fury Nitro Piston Pellet Rifle

Crosman 3051 Fury Nitro Piston Pellet Rifle (.177)

Pros

  • Affordable for most users
  • Super durable construction
  • Excellent for target shooting
  • Accurate from various distances
  • Excellent firepower, helps provide fast shooting

Cons

  • Some misfiring might be reported
  • Might be a little weighty for some users
  • The scope may not be reliable for some users

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers found this rifle to be effective for target shooting. They were able to consistently hit bullseyes or close to it from 50 to 60 yards out. Overall, they were satisfied with the durability and the velocity of the rifle itself. One user said he expects it to last him a few years or slightly beyond that.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Crosman brand makes some pretty reliable rifles. Despite this being from the same brand, the performance stands out much better than most of the other rifles they make. Overall, the durability of this rifle is top quality. This means it can hold its own and take on the impact and abuse. Aside from that, the velocity is quite fast and thus makes accurate shooting fast and effective at almost any distance an air rifle could cover. 

Who Will Use This Most

As expected, this rifle will be mostly used for target shooting, but just because it excels at it, doesn’t mean its useless for other applications. Some have used it for varmint control, but it’s only limited to smaller critters like squirrels. Regardless, this rifle is useful for whatever purpose an air rifle is able to carry out.

What Could Be Improved and Why

The scope should be done away with. Once again, the scope included has good image quality. And that’s about it. You want a scope to be accurate, precise, and allow you to reach out and touch targets from a little farther away. Find a scope of your own that will get the job done and your rifle will have a considerable boost.

Bottom Line

The Crosman Fury Nitro Piston Air Rifle is great for you if you’re a fan of shooting off .22 rounds. It will serve you well in the long run so long as you take good care of it. This will give some of the other target shooting rifles a run for their money.

Benjamin BW8M22NP Titan NP Wood Stock Nitro Piston Hunting Air Rifle with 4x32 Scope (.22-Caliber)

Pros

  • Firepower is pretty solid
  • Great for general purposes
  • Super accurate at various distances
  • Super durable construction, it can take on impact and abuse
  • You can easily replace the scope with another one, it can fit most rifle scopes

Cons

  • Some misfirings may occur
  • Scope reliability may not be the best
  • Some shots may drift out of their trajectory at times

What Recent Buyers Report

This rifle was impressive with many of the recent buyers. One of the best characteristics they were looking for was how accurate this rifle can shoot. Sure enough, it reached 50 to 60 yards consistently with most paper targets. Other than that, they were satisfied with the overall firepower and velocity. They’re able to shoot rounds faster than previous air rifles they have used.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The rifle stands out as one of the more durable rifles on the market. In fact, it can stand to last a few years even with some bumping and banging. Other than that, it’s proven itself to be a really good target shooting rifle, but it doesn’t take away from its main intent and purpose: varmint control. This rifle indeed has the power to knock down almost any small critter that dares to destroy your lawn or garden, even in the middle of the night.

Who Will Use This Most

This rifle will be mostly used by those who want to get rid of the small invaders who keep on digging up yards, gardens, and everything in between. This rifle has just enough power to provide you some knockdown ability with every shot. It’s not a regular hunting rifle by any stretch of the imagination, but it can do some serious damage depending on how far your targets are situated.

What Could Be Improved and Why

The rifle can do some good without having to deal with any misfirings. There might be some issues with how the cylinder is secured inside the rifle. The manufacturer should tighten these up a bit to ensure that no misfirings happen in the future.

Bottom Line

The Benjamin Titan NP Wood Stock Nitro Piston Air Rifle is a pretty good air rifle to have on you for the purpose of warding off small property destroying critters. Make them think twice before they ever set foot in your yard (or possibly anyone else’s yard). 

Perks of Getting a New Nitro Piston Air Rifle

If you choose to invest in a new nitro piston air rifle, you’ll get to enjoy some pretty cool perks. If you think an air rifle is not for you, we understand. Not everyone can have fun with such a cool rifle like this. But what about you? If you choose to get one of these ten rifles above, here’s what you’ll expect:

Hours of Fun

As long as you practice gun safety, the fun never stops. Clearly, you’ll need a lot of rounds and targets handy. While they’re not real rifles with live ammo, you still get to enjoy the thrill of firing off a rifle with a lot of power.

Protects Your Property Value

This is a hidden benefit that you might not have figured out by now. If you’re on the verge of selling your home and the varmint tend to be a problem, you can make sure that these invasive creatures don’t dig through the lawn. A damaged lawn can bring down property values, believe it or not. So don’t let a small critter with a bad digging habit screw up your chances at getting a good deal.

Excellent for Most Ages

Teens and adults will mostly benefit from these air rifles (provided that they practice gun safety). These rifles can also help younger users learn the basics and understand how guns actually work. When they’re ready for something with live ammo, they’ll be confident in handling firearms safely. 

Pros and Cons of ​a Nitro Piston Air Rifle

Despite the advantages, there are some disadvantages to using one of these air rifles. It’s important to know what to expect when you invest in one of them. Here are some of the pros and cons that you need to know about:

Pros

Powerful Shooting

While there are dozens of air rifles on the market, a nitro piston air rifle definitely packs a powerful punch. This is to be expected if you’re using a rifle that contains compressed gas. No matter if you’re using CO2 or Nitrogen, the firepower is quite potent and can provide some excellent knockdown power for those who hunt.

Can be as Effective as Real Rifles

Sure, hunting varmint with a regular rifle can be done, but to some, that could be considered overkill (depending on which critters you want out of the way). A good air rifle like a nitro piston might be as effective as a regular rifle regardless of which application you use it for (even animal control).

Can Accept Most Rifle Scopes

You’d be surprised how many scopes that look good on regular rifles can fit on air rifles. While some of the scopes that come with these rifles are disappointing, you’ll always have the option of finding a rifle scope that will be better in so many ways. 

Cons

Some May be Loud

Yes, it’s true--most of these gas-powered rifles can be loud. How loud? Enough to alarm some neighbors. Think of it as the equivalent of setting off some loud fireworks. Depending on the noise, they may not be appropriate for use in a suburban area.

Can Seriously Injure if Used Improperly

Unfortunately, accidents can happen with these air rifles. Especially for those who have young children. That’s why they need to learn proper gun safety and must never have their faces near the muzzle. These can still cause serious injury and sometimes death if not used properly.

Conclusion

A nitro piston air rifle can be used for a few good applications. Which one do you intend to use yours for? If you have a good idea of how you’re going to use it, find the rifle that will fit you best and can be effective with your chosen application. These air rifles are reliable, powerful, and can be your best friend in any situation when used right. 

People Also Ask

The following is a brief FAQ that will allow you to better understand the usage of these air rifles. Use the answers as a guide so you know a little more about nitro piston air rifles than anyone else. Here are the following questions:

Is Nitro Piston Better Than Spring?

The short answer is yes. The long answer? Spring-powered is often weaker than compressed gas. That’s because most spring-loaded rifles will basically rely on a mechanism that pulls the spring back and pushes it forward when fired.

Are Nitro Piston Air Rifles Legal?

This depends on whatever part of the world you live in, but they are legal for the most part in the United States. But don’t take that as legal advice. What you should do is research the laws of your city and state so you know the legal status of these rifles. Sometimes, a law may allow or restrict something like hunting with an air rifle. 

About Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis the managing editor at Gun Mann and when he isn't writing about guns he is more than likely tinkering with them. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors. As a lifelong gun owner he knows his stuff!

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