They are an amazing amount of fun. But be warned, you will end up down the rabbit hole.
I had springers for years. Cheap ones at first. Then finally bought a nice eihrauch in .177. Really wanted a .22 as well so I was going to get a Benjamin 92. Then I just decided to trade the Weihrauch in at Air Guns of Arizona for a Brocock Sniper XR in .22.
Started with a hand pump. Fast forward 8 months. I have a tank and a compressor. Ended up ordering a nice tank and compressor straight from China. Kind of amazing it was delivered in about 2 weeks.
Anyway the initial outlay is steep, but once you have the stuff it’s pennies to shoot. Just like anything else, but once cry once.
They are amazingly accurate. I’ve taken the time to tune mine and find the pellets it’s likes. It likes a range of weights but is definitely most accurate with the 18.13 grainers.
I’d love to get an FX as well, but have no need for 2 $1500+ pellet guns. FX is doing some real innovative stuff.
Check out the air gun forums for used rifles. Many states have a large air gun specific retailer as well.
Good luck with the search.
Oh, and you can shoot them in the backyard! Just get one of the Do All Outdoors Pellet/Rimfire Traps. Or even build your own.
I've owned and shot an FX Cutlas (used to be called the Swift or SuperSwift IIRC) for years and it never disappoints. 22 in my case because I've always thought that larger calibers should really be gun powder propelled. +1 to the comments made by @scope-eye and @iflyskyhigh above and I'll add that you can shoot an air rifle inside the house on those days when there's nothing else to do; I would never do that with an ordinary firearm. A simple wooden box backed with a layer of Duct Seal makes an adequate backstop (and no backsplash). The Impact is an excellent airgun and, IMO, worth the money. Nice trigger feel and features. FX makes good stuff and they now have a service center in the US. Airguns of Arizona offers a good selection of products, but I prefer to deal with Pyramyd Air in Ohio; they have a huge range of offerings, including FX, Air Arms, Air Force, etc.
Yes, thank you all for the informative posts! On Monday I placed an order for a new Impact II. Yesterday they announced the Impact III, so I called and let them know I want the III. It is going to be a long wait (2-3months) but I will use the time to get the optics and pump figured out.
@tiswell : A word about the pump. These airguns work at 200 bar or more (max fill) which is ~3000 psi +. Hand pumps, which look like the old fashioned bicycle pumps, designed to provide this much pressure can be very tiring to use especially as you approach max pressures. You can buy an electric compressor that reaches these pressures, but some of them are quite expensive and you need to be careful about keeping the air dry, which is done with a desiccant cartridge that needs to be cycled every now and then. If you have a scuba shop near you, you can use a 4500 psi air tank (which itself is a bit pricey) and have it filled there (my shop charges $5 and they get to worry about the purity and dryness of the air). Airguns of Arizona, Pyramyd and other stores offer pumps (hand and electric compressor), tanks, valves and accessories, but again I prefer to deal with AirTanksForSale (.com). Joe Brancato offers a wide variety of tanks and fittings and some good but pricey compressors. Note that air tanks need to be pressure tested every 5 years and have a mandatory limit life of 15 years. Filling your new airgun from a tank is both quick and painless; just be careful as you open the tank valve as your airgun will fill very quickly and if you are careless will overpressure. I use an inline regulator to avoid this. Don't forget to buy a long air hose (9 or 10 ft) and the correct fittings for your quick disconnect filler. Joe has a lot of good information about this at his site.
Bottom line: Hand pumps will cost you about $200, but you will quickly tire of them. An air tank will cost $400 - $700 depending upon size; hoses, fittings, etc. are extra and you will need to pay a small amount for the 5 year pressure test. Compressors will cost $700 to $4000 ( !! ) depending upon capacity and speed. Note that you will need to service the compressor and replace the desiccant cartridge periodically.
One obvious option is to simply go with the caliber that you want, but bear in mind that the larger the caliber, the more "firearm-like" the airgun becomes. This might limit your use options because of noise or perception. I ended up choosing 22 because it's powerful enough to use for pests, if necessary, but is also a small enough caliber to be perceived as relatively innocuous (if that makes any sense). IIRC, a 22 pellet has about 1/3 the muzzle energy of a 22LR so of course should be treated the same as any firearm. But I can shoot my 22 airgun in the basement or backyard without raising too much concern from the wife or neighbors. Not sure I could do that with a 45 or 50 airgun.
I have been shooting pellet guns my whole life I have progressed from a Daisy Red Rider to Crossman to Beemans to BSAs to Airforce then to FXs and now to Daystates. I have had .177 .20 .22 .25 .30 .357.45 and .50s And I have come to the conclusion that for me for backyard use for varmints a 25 cal is best. Not necessarily a high energy one but still a .25 it is the difference between them scurrying off wounded and dying later from the shot, and dropping there in there tracks. Some might say it is all about shot placement well it's a small target and they are always on the move, and the situation is rarly perfect. And they have also learned to stay out of reach or farther away sorta like the movie Quigley Down Under.LOL My first .25 cal was a Beeman Kodiak and I have never looked back as far as caliber is concerned. And for larger varmints coyotes and hogs I have zeroed in on a Airforce Texan SS with a 4500PSI setup. That gives it almost 900ft pounds of energy instead of the standard 3000 psi from the factory which is good for 500ft pounds. a 240gr at 3000fps exits at 900 fps with the 4500psi mod 240gr will exit 1250 plus. The 200gr will exit at 1500 almost 1600 fps and be good for 10 good quality shots. I have some 185s that I hope to be trying soon and expect to get them close to 2000 fps.