Best nitro piston air rifles

Best Nitro Piston Air Rifles

Nitro Piston Air Rifles represent a significant advancement in airgun technology. They offer shooters a smoother experience compared to traditional spring coil rifles, with reduced recoil and noise.

What is a Nitro Piston Air Rifle?

A Nitro Piston Air Rifle uses a nitrogen-filled cylinder as its power source, instead of the traditional coiled spring. When the rifle is cocked, the gas compresses and, upon firing, it rapidly expands to propel the piston forward, which in turn launches the pellet.

List of Top Nitro Piston Air Rifles

  1. Benjamin Trail NP
  2. Crosman Shockwave NP
  3. Crosman Valiant SBD NP

Review of Nitro Piston Air Rifles

Benjamin Trail NP

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Benjamin Trail NP

The Benjamin Trail NP XL air rifle is a powerful option for both small-game hunting and target shooting. It comes in .177, .22, and .25 caliber versions, each offering impressive velocities for taking down small games or punching holes in targets. The Nitro Piston gas system makes cocking smoother, reduces recoil, and keeps things quieter compared to traditional spring-powered airguns. A CenterPoint 3-9x40mm scope is included for accurate aiming, while the rifled steel barrel promotes precision shots. The classic checkered hardwood stock provides a comfortable grip and timeless look, and a Picatinny rail allows for adding accessories like lasers or bipods. Overall, the Benjamin Trail NP XL is a well-rounded air rifle for hunters, blinkers, and shooters who value smooth operation and classic design. Remember, this is a break barrel rifle requiring cocking before each shot, and it’s not a toy. Always prioritize safety and check local regulations before using any air rifle.

  • Features:
    • Available in .177, .22, and .25 calibers.
    • Capable of reaching up to 1500 fps with .177 alloy pellets.
    • Utilizes nitrogen as the power source, which offers smoother cocking and shooting, reduced noise, and functions perfectly in cold weather.
    • Features an ambidextrous hardwood thumbhole stock.
    • 70% quieter than most other break barrels, making it suitable for discrete hunting.
    • Includes an unmounted CenterPoint Optics 3-9x40AO scope.
    • Designed with a bull barrel for durability and precision.
    • Delivers an impressive 24 ft-lbs of muzzle energy, providing significant knockdown power for small game hunting.


  • It can reach up to 1500 FPS with alloy pellets, placing it in the magnum class of air rifles.
  • Offers smoother shooting, less recoil, and reduced noise compared to traditional spring piston rifles.
  • The hardwood stock is sturdy and can withstand daily wear and tear.
  • Rifled steel barrel with spiral grooves enhances accuracy and shooting range.
  • The stock is designed to be comfortable for both left and right-handed shooters.
  • Delivers significant knockdown power, suitable for pest control and small game hunting.


  • At around 9.70 lbs with the scope, it might be heavy for some users, which can affect maneuverability.
  • Being a break-barrel, single-shot rifle, it requires reloading after each shot, which may not be ideal for rapid follow-up shots.
  • The high power and complexity might demand more maintenance compared to simpler air rifles.

Crosman Shockwave NP

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Crosman Shockwave NP

The Crosman Shockwave NP Synthetic Stock Nitro Piston Hunting Air Rifle with 4×32 Scope packs a punch in a lightweight and weather-resistant design. Its secret weapon? Nitro Piston gas technology. This system not only makes cocking the rifle smoother and reduces recoil, but it also claims to be 70% quieter than traditional break barrel airguns. This translates to a more enjoyable shooting experience and allows for easier target reacquisition after the shot. Available in .177 caliber, the Shockwave NP fires pellets up to 1200 fps, offering enough power for small game hunting and target practice. The rifled steel barrel promotes accuracy, and the included 4x32mm CenterPoint scope magnifies your target for precise aiming. The lightweight, all-weather synthetic stock can withstand the elements and minor bumps, while the two-stage adjustable trigger allows for finer control over each shot.

  • Features:
    • It shoots .177 caliber pellets, which are suitable for a variety of shooting activities, including target practice and small game hunting.
    • The rifle is capable of shooting pellets at a velocity of 1200 fps (feet per second), providing a good balance of speed and power for precision shooting.
    • It has a rifled steel barrel, which means the inside of the barrel has grooves that impart spin to the pellet, increasing accuracy and stability in flight.
    • The two-stage adjustable trigger allows for a customizable pull, enhancing the shooter’s control and accuracy.
    • It comes equipped with a CenterPoint 4×32 rifle scope, which is designed to help with long-range accuracy. The scope’s magnification and reticle can aid in precise aiming at various distances.
    • The rifle also features fiber optic sights for quick and easy target acquisition in various lighting conditions. These sights are often preferred for their brightness and durability.


  • This technology provides a smoother cocking and shooting experience with reduced recoil and 70% less noise compared to traditional spring-powered air rifles.
  • It can shoot pellets at velocities up to 950 fps, which is quite powerful for an air rifle in its class.
  • The synthetic stock is durable and designed to withstand various weather conditions, making it suitable for outdoor use.
  • This feature helps to reduce the noise level, making it a more neighbor-friendly option for backyard shooting.
  • Allows for a customizable trigger pull, which can improve accuracy and shooter comfort.
  • Comes with a 4x32mm scope to aid in accuracy for distant targets.


  • Without the scope and mount, the rifle weighs 6 pounds, which might be heavy for some users, especially during extended periods of use.
  • As a break barrel air rifle, it requires reloading after each shot, which may not be ideal for situations requiring quick successive shots.
  • With the complexity of the Nitro Piston technology, it may require more maintenance to keep it in optimal condition compared to simpler air rifles.

Crosman Valiant SBD 

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Crosman Valiant SBD NP

The Crosman Valiant SBD is a break-barrel air rifle designed for smooth operation and quiet performance. It utilizes Crosman’s Nitro Piston Elite technology, which reduces cocking effort, vibration, and recoil compared to traditional spring-piston air rifles. An integrated Silencing Barrel Device (SBD) dampens sound for more discreet shooting. The rifle features a classic hardwood stock for comfortable handling and a rifled steel barrel for improved accuracy. To fine-tune your shot, the Crosman Valiant SBD boasts an adjustable two-stage trigger. This air rifle packs a punch, with muzzle velocity reaching up to 1100 fps depending on caliber and pellet weight. To enhance your aim, a CenterPoint 4x32mm scope is included. Whether you’re targeting for sport, hunting small game, or controlling pests, the Crosman Valiant SBD is a powerful and accurate option. Remember, local laws regulate air rifles differently, so be sure to check before purchasing.

  • Features:
    • Utilizes a .22 caliber pellet, ideal for a balance between power and impact, with a velocity of up to 1100 feet per second.
    • Features a hardwood stock that provides durability and a classic feel, coupled with a rifled steel barrel for improved accuracy and longevity.
    • Equipped with an adjustable two-stage clean break trigger, allowing for a customizable and precise shooting experience.
    • Incorporates the SBD Gold noise reduction system, which is a market-leading technology designed to minimize noise, making it neighbor-friendly.
    • Comes with a CenterPoint 4x32mm scope, which enhances accuracy for downrange shots, ensuring a clear view of the target.
    • This air rifle is powerful and accurate enough for small-game hunting, providing a reliable option for hunters.
    • Embark on air-powered adventures with a trusted name like Crosman, known for quality and performance in air rifles.


  • Provides smoother cocking, reduced recoil, and less noise compared to traditional spring air rifles.
  • Market-leading sound suppression system for quieter shooting sessions.
  • Includes a 4x32mm scope for better accuracy at a distance.
  • Durable and aesthetically pleasing, offering a classic look and feel.
  • Enhances accuracy with its precision engineering.
  • Two-stage clean break trigger allows for precise shooting and customization.


  • May be heavier or bulkier than other models, which could affect handling and portability.
  • While it includes a scope, some users may find the need to upgrade to a higher-quality scope for better precision.
  • Some users have reported difficulty maintaining a consistent group after many rounds, which may require additional tuning or adjustments.

Pro Tips for Hunting with a Nitro piston Air Rifle

Hunting with a Nitro piston air rifle can be a rewarding experience, especially with the right techniques and preparation. Here are some pro tips to help you make the most of your hunting trips:

  • Understand Your Rifle: Familiarize yourself with the mechanics and features of your Nitro piston air rifle. Knowing how it operates will help you troubleshoot any issues in the field.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Spend time practicing your aim and shot placement. Consistency is key to successful hunting.
  • Maintain Your Rifle: Regular cleaning and maintenance are crucial. Keep your air rifle in top condition to ensure accuracy and longevity.
  • Use Quality Pellets: Invest in high-quality pellets that are suitable for your rifle and the game you are targeting. The right pellet can make a significant difference in accuracy and impact.
  • Scope Zeroing: Make sure your scope is properly zeroed in for the distances you’ll be shooting at. A well-zeroed scope can greatly improve your accuracy.
  • Mind the Recoil: Even though Nitro piston rifles have reduced recoil, it’s important to practice good shooting form to manage it effectively and maintain accuracy.
  • Be Aware of Noise: Despite noise reduction systems, be mindful of the noise you make and how it may affect your prey.
  • Safety First: Always follow safety protocols. Wear eye protection, be aware of your surroundings, and never point your rifle at anything you do not intend to shoot.
  • Legal Compliance: Ensure you are familiar with and adhere to all local hunting and firearm regulations.

Understanding UK Hunting Laws: A Guide for Hunters

Hunting in the UK offers a rich tradition that requires adherence to specific legal guidelines. This guide provides an overview of the essential laws and regulations every hunter should know before setting out on their hunting expedition.

Obtaining Permission

Before you begin hunting, it’s imperative to have the landowner’s permission. This is the first step in ensuring your hunting activities are legal and respectful of property rights.

Firearm Certificates and Regulations

All firearms used for hunting must be accompanied by the appropriate certificates. However, air rifles up to 12 ft-lb and air pistols up to 6ft lb are exempt from this requirement.

Prohibited Equipment

Certain hunting equipment, such as bows, crossbows, or explosives other than legal ammunition for firearms, is strictly prohibited. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with these restrictions to avoid legal complications.

Wildlife Management and Pest Control

When managing wildlife or controlling pests on your property, you must follow specific regulations designed to protect natural habitats and species.

Prohibited Hunting Practices

The UK has clear laws against hunting mammals with more than two dogs, shooting near public ways, and using vehicles for deer hunting. These practices are illegal and carry significant penalties.

Respecting Seasons

Understanding and respecting open and closed seasons for hunting is vital for conservation efforts. These seasons are often aligned with the breeding periods of various wildlife species.

Final Reflections

This guide serves as a starting point for understanding UK hunting laws. However, hunters are encouraged to seek the most current and comprehensive legal advice or consult official resources before engaging in hunting activities. By following these regulations, hunters can enjoy their sport while contributing to wildlife conservation and public safety.


It is important for hunters who hunt in states other than the UK to be aware of and abide by those states’ hunting laws and regulations.


How does the longevity of a Nitro Piston compare to a traditional spring coil?

Nitro Piston technology is known for its durability. A Nitro Piston can last for thousands of shots, often outlasting traditional spring coils which can suffer from fatigue over time.

Can I leave my Nitro Piston Air Rifle cocked for extended periods?

It is generally not recommended to leave any air rifle cocked for long periods as it can lead to seal degradation. However, Nitro Piston rifles can be left cocked for longer than spring rifles without damage.

Are Nitro Piston Air Rifles suitable for all weather conditions? 

Yes, Nitro Piston Air Rifles perform well in a variety of weather conditions, including cold weather where traditional spring-powered rifles may struggle.

What is the break-in period for a Nitro Piston Air Rifle?

Like most airguns, Nitro Piston rifles may have a break-in period. Typically, you can expect to shoot several hundred pellets before the rifle settles and achieves consistent accuracy.

Can the nitrogen gas in the piston be refilled or replaced?

The nitrogen gas in the piston is sealed and generally does not require refilling. However, some brands like Hatsan offer models with refillable gas rams.

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