6 Best Quiet Pellet Guns 2020
My friend and I have been looking at air rifles/pellet guns for a while.
In general they tend to be quieter than traditional rifles, and require pellets rather than bullets.
He wants to go small game hunting with them; I want to take care of the pests in the backyard woods and garden.
Neither of us want something that will make much noise and so I started looking into quiet air rifles.
I assumed they lacked the power and accuracy for what we wanted to do.
However, I was wrong. Air rifles can be quiet, accurate, and powerful.
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Contents: Skip to section
- 6 Best Quiet Pellet Guns 2020
- My Top Choices for Quiet Air Rifles
- Reviews of the Top 6 Quiet Air Rifles
- Customer impressions
- Best Balance of Features: Benjamin Marauder
- Best for new shooters: Gamo Whisper Silent Cat
- Quietest Small Game Hunting Rifle: Gamo Whisper Fusion Mach 1
- Best Small Game Hunting Rifle: Bear River Pellet Gun Air Rifle
- Good “Backyard” Rifle: Hatsan AT44-10 QE Air Rifle
- Honorable Mention: Benjamin Caliber Nitro Piston XL Air Rifle
- What makes air rifles quiet?
- Key Factors When Choosing an Air Rifle
- Best Quiet Pellet Guns: Conclusion
My Top Choices for Quiet Air Rifles
If you are short of time and just want an opinion right away, here are my top personal choices. Click through to either purchase them or get more information about each model.
In the review section down below, I will detail each model in this list as well as their pros and cons. I will also show you what each model is good at according to online reviewers too.
Gamo Whisper Fusion
Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston XL
Gamo Whisper Silent Cat
Reviews of the Top 6 Quiet Air Rifles
1. Gamo Whisper Silent Cat Air Rifle
Gamo is a well-known brand in the air rifle market. They have several quiet rifles, two of which are on this list. There are at least three on the list that various reviewers deemed” the quietest gun on the market. This is one of those three. The caliber is .177 with a velocity of 1200 feet per second. It weighs 7 pounds and is powered by a spring-piston. The speed, weight, and power of the rifle make it a good choice for small game hunting.
2. Gamo Whisper Fusion Mach 1
This is another in Gamo’s line of quiet air rifles. Customers can purchase it with one of two different calibers: .177 and .22 calibers. (Remember that .22 is generally quieter than .177.) This is newer than the “Cat” above and features the Whisper Fusion Technology, which Gamo claims is the quietest noise reduction technology available. Unlike the spring piston in the cat above, this is a gas piston.
3. Hatsan AT44-10 QE Air Rifle
This gun is mostly geared to shooting small pests in the backyard or on your property. It shoots .22 caliber or .25 caliber (depending on which version you purchase). Top speed is 970 FPS. It is relatively quiet, but does not have the power of the other guns.
4. Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston XL Air Rifle
This rifle is .22 caliber, and is nitro-piston powered. It has been carefully designed to produce up to 70% less noise than the company’s traditional files. Fires up to 1100 FPS, making it great for small game hunting. It comes with a scope. Caliber and FPS make it ideal for small game hunting as well as pest control.
I love the high quality finishing, as well as the textured grip. Plus, it doesn’t matter if you are left or right handed as it was designed to be ambidextrous.
5. Benjamin Marauder Synthetic Stock PCP-Powered Multi-Shot Bolt-Action Pellet Gun
This rifle can be purchased in one of three caliber sizes: .22, .25, and .117 caliber. The smaller calibers are quieter and produce less recoil. While the .117 can be used for small game hunting, the other two are better-suited to home and neighborhood use. This gun is powered by a pre-charged pneumatic system. While this makes triggers easier to pull, and quieter than a spring piston, the inner air tank does need to be filled after use.
6. Bear River Pellet Gun
This rifle is .177 caliber and reaches speeds up to1300 FPS, making it a powerful, fast gun, good for small game hunting. It is heavier than several of the guns on this list, at 11 pounds. Comes with a 4×32 scope that ensures lasting accuracy. Spring action pump accounts for its power.
Best Balance of Features: Benjamin Marauder
Aside from the Gamo’s, the Benjamin Marauder is the air rifle that came up most in my research. It was designed with a four-chamber silencer and relies on compressed air, making it one of the quietest on the market.
Reviewers indicated that while it is very quiet, it is also very powerful. It comes in three versions: .177, .22., and .25 calibers. While it can be used for small game hunting, its top speed is 1100 feet per second. That speed and power is perfectly fine for taking out small prey in the yard and nearby. The smaller calibers add to the quiet, making the rifle good for neighborhood use. However, it is not a first choice for small game hunting per se.
To help ensure accuracy, the barrel is choked. The firing mechanism is pneumatic compressed air, which can be adjusted for different velocities. The air compression makes for a quieter shot, but also more accurate rifle than spring-piston or single pump gas; it’s easier to use as well since it does not need to be pumped after every shot. The gun is light enough and accurate enough to control pests on your land. Reviewers indicated that it strikes a good balance between quiet and accuracy — two features that are often at odds with each other.
However, some reviewers also noted some issues. In spite of the craftsmanship that gives it quiet accuracy, the materials do not retain their luster under use: the stock feels cheap and the metal scratches easily. Reviewers also noted issues with the air compression system. It takes a long time to pump and occasionally leaks. Sometimes the air gauge is not fully accurate, leading to less powerful shots than you think you’re taking. However, overall, the reviews of this gun were very positive.
If you want something that balances quiet and accuracy, that is ideal for home use, this is your gun.
Best for new shooters: Gamo Whisper Silent Cat
Reviewers indicated the Gamo Whisper Silent Cat is most likely the quietest air gun you will find, meaning you can use it in your neighborhood on pests and vermin in your yard without disturbing neighbors. It was specifically designed with pest control in mind. It is designed to be very safe with a manual trigger safety and automatic cocking safety.
It includes a built in noise dampener, making it a particularly quiet option. The air compression system is very powerful, firing at 1200 fps, which might be too loud for some.
Some reviewers indicated the trigger is sometimes a bit of a challenge to pull, which impacts accuracy. Each shot requires a pump, and reviewers indicated its pump action is a challenge as well. Multiple reviewers indicated scope and accuracy issues, some of which recommended you should plan to buy a replacement if you get this rifle.
This rifle sports several safety features as well including an automatic cocking safety system and manual trigger. The ventilated rubber pad will also help protect users from recoil. In general, reviewers indicated this might be a good place to start if you have never owned an air rifle.
Quietest Small Game Hunting Rifle: Gamo Whisper Fusion Mach 1
The Gamo Whisper Fusion is available in two options, the .177 caliber (1420 fps) and the .22 caliber (1020 fps). It fires with an IGT (Inert Gas Technology) gas piston, which makes it quiet and accurate.
It gets its name from its use of whisper fusion technology, which is designed to make it among the quietest hunting air rifles on the market. Its multiple chamber design allows the pellets to travel through different chambers, which helps reduce noise by further dampening vibrations.
Keep in mind the .177 will be louder than the .22 caliber. However, this rifle has several features designed to make it particularly quiet notably the fusion quiet technology, which cuts back on the firing noise of the gun. This gun makes for a particularly quiet small game hunting air rifle.
Best Small Game Hunting Rifle: Bear River Pellet Gun Air Rifle
While it is relatively quiet, this is not as quiet as some of the others on the list here.
Reviewers indicate that the Bear River is quiet enough to use in a neighborhood if the houses are spaced out a little. However, it primarily shines as an air rifle for hunting.
The .177 caliber means it packs power and can hit between 1200 FPS and 1300 FPS. It’s a spring piston, which means it will not need charging, making it good for hunting. Spring pistons tend to be harder to cock and control due to the recoil–so it is a bit of trade off.
Reviewers indicated this is particularly challenging to pump, probably not a rifle for newer or younger shooters. However, for hunters of small game, this is likely a good bet.
Good “Backyard” Rifle: Hatsan AT44-10 QE Air Rifle
Reviewers indicated that “Quiet Energy moderator” definitely does its job with this rifle; most of them praise its low noise level. It is available as a .22, or .25 caliber.
The Hatsan rifle is quiet but heavy. The fact that it is a PCP means it needs to be charged. Given the lower FPS, PCP power, and weight — it is definitely a quiet air rifle, but likely not something you want to lug around for small game hunting.
Honorable Mention: Benjamin Caliber Nitro Piston XL Air Rifle
Another with high praise is the Benjamin Caliber Nitro. One reviewer indicated it was a perfect balance of accuracy, power, and noise level, however most praised it over and over again as having excellent accuracy. Reviewers indicated that they could get the most precise shots even at a distance with this rifle and its scope. Customers indicated that this is a great option for small game hunting and controlling pests in your yard and garden.
Reviewers praised its accuracy and quiet noise level.This is a nitro piston, which is naturally quieter than spring piston. Most found it to be relatively accurate out of the box, other rifles seem to have a longer “break-in” period. However, reviewers have also indicated that it is challenging to cock, fire, and maintain.
While the barrel shroud is said to do a good job in keeping the gun quiet, some reviewers indicated it comes loose during cocking. Reviewers indicated that it is powerful, with some recoil, meaning it may not be a good fit for new or young rifle shooters.
What makes air rifles quiet?
Air guns are the oldest pneumatic technology still in use today; the first air gun was made back in 1580. While most hunters and militaries no longer use them today, they were in popular use from the 17th century through the 19th century.
They could be fired in rain, unlike muskets and fired faster than muskets. Today hunters of small game and people looking to control pests on their property and in their garden use them for many reasons, one of which is their low noise level.
Air rifles fire pellets using air pressure as opposed to gun powder in regular guns. Regular rifles can fire at speeds up to 3900 FPS (feet per second), whereas air rifles top out at about half that.
The noise of a regular rifle is the sound of the gunpowder exploding (and sometimes the sound of a bullet passing if it is going fast enough). The snap of an air rifle is caused by the release of pressured air or gas from the barrel.
Quiet air rifles are designed with barrels that muzzle that noise, and are often designed to hide the sound of internal mechanisms.
Key Factors When Choosing an Air Rifle
Key factor 1: Noise Levels
Obviously the noise level of a gun varies according to distance. However, some noise levels drop off more quickly. A little variation in noise level can actually have a large impact on sound perception. To anyone shooting a gun, it will sound loud.
However at 10 yards or more the variation between noise levels becomes quite noticeable. At ten yards away, a regular rifle fire is roughly 160 decibels loud; a regular air rifle fires at roughly 90 decibels; and a quiet air rifle fires at roughly 75-90 decibels.The size of the gun’s caliber makes a large difference in how much noise it makes.
Key factor 2: Caliber
Caliber of the gun will affect three primary criteria in gun selection: noise, speed, and power. All things being equal, certain calibers of gun and pellet will be louder than others.
This is due to the sound of the compressed sound exiting the barrel and to the sound of the bullet whizzing by. The two most common pellet sizes are .177 and .22.
There is usually roughly a difference of 300 FPS: in some cases, the .22 will travel at 1020 FPS and the .177 will travel at 1420 FPS. The faster the bullet, the louder the shot, all other things being equal.
So what does this mean for you? If you are in anything resembling a traditional neighborhood, every bit of quiet in your gun makes a difference, and so you may wish to choose the .22.
Noise aside, because of its speed and power, the .177 caliber is better for hunting small game. So in short: .22 is better for quiet and for neighborhoods, .177 is better for speed and small game hunting.
Key factor 3: Power Source
There are a few variations of power source for air rifles. Lets take a closer look here.
PCP: Pre-Charged Pneumatic Air Rifles
Pre-charged Pneumatic guns use compressed air as the propellant. These guns contain a small air tank, which need to be refilled when the air in them runs low.
Refilling these air tanks requires a high-pressure hand pump or even scuba tank. Each time the gun is fired, air is released, and the pressure drops just slightly in the tank.
These can be fired roughly 30 times before the pressure has dropped to the point of impacting the rifle’s power. For this reason they are less popular with hunters, unless the hunters want to bring along an air pump.
Nitro Gas Piston Air Rifles
These guns fire a pellet through the use of a nitrogen gas powered piston. In general these guns can be cocked more easily than spring piston guns, are quieter, and produce less recoil.
The benefit over PCP guns is that they do not need to be refilled (and are quieter than regular piston guns). They are quieter because there is less metal upon metal contact and less vibration.
Spring Piston Air Rifles
Where the pneumatic air and gas piston rifle rely only on air or gas, these have actual springs. They can be more powerful, but tend to be louder and produce more vibration.
Key factor 4: Accuracy
There are several components that affect accuracy, but none of them are absolutely determinant. The barrel design, pellet quality, and firing system can all have an affect on the gun’s accuracy.
Assuming the gun is well designed, the quality of the ammunition can have a large impact on accuracy, and most people would recommend staying away from cheap pellets.
There are some that would say strategies to make a gun quieter can actually make them less accurate. However, it has been found that quieter guns, because of a silencer, or air compression can actually be more accurate because they have less of a kickback and are less likely to send the intended target running away.
The two most important features controlling accuracy are gun fit and the scope. If your stock doesn’t feel right and you do not like the trigger, chances are you’re going to struggle with the accuracy of the gun.
Gun scopes are notorious for getting out of alignment while not in use, or during lots of use. Often reviewers talk about replacing the trigger and or the scope to something more to their liking. So if your accuracy is not what you want, the first thing you should check is the calibration of the scope.
Best Quiet Pellet Guns: Conclusion
There are many choices for air rifles, whether you are warding off pests in your backyard or going small game hunting. All of the above have stand out features.
Of all the different reviews I read in my research, the Gamo and Benjamins received the all-around most praise, and both companies are well known.
All of the above are available online where you can find more information about each model.
Be sure to check out these quiet air rifles. They make a significant difference in your experience!