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When Air Venturi released its Avenger pre-charged pneumatic air rifle several years ago, the gun immediately drew fans for offering excellent performance at a modest price point. The wooden stock version has the same power and accuracy as the synthetic stock original in a form that will appeal to more traditional gun enthusiasts. Even though the wooden stock Avenger can be had for just a touch over $400, it comes with an adjustable regulator and hammer spring for nearly infinite tuning possibilities. I spent the last few weeks at the range testing the .22 caliber budget-friendly airgun. Here are the results.

Specs

  • Type: PCP
  • Action: Repeater
  • Caliber: .22 (tested); .25
  • Projectile type: Pellets, slugs
  • Feet per second: 930 fps (.22); 900 fps (.25)
  • Energy at muzzle: 34 foot-pounds (.22); 45 foot-pounds (.25)
  • Sights: No sights; 11 mm dovetail/Weaver combo for mounting a scope
  • Length: 43.75 inches
  • Weight: 7.3 pounds
  • Required accessories: Air source (tank, compressor or pump)

Pros

  • Accurate
  • Easily tuned
  • Affordability
  • Smooth trigger for the price
  • Traditional looks

Cons

  • Strange pressure gauge alignment
  • Adding a suppressor requires an adapter

Air Venturi Avenger .22 Overview

As pre-charged pneumatic airguns began catching on in the U.S. a little more than a decade ago, companies started offering entry-level performance rifles and pistols at reasonable prices. With a rifle like the Benjamin Discovery, a new PCP shooter could get into the game for well under $500, including a hand pump for filling the gun. But to get a rifle that offered the tuning possibilities—such as an adjustable regulator and hammer spring—that shooters who crave accuracy at ranges out to 100 yards and beyond wanted, the price of admission was more significant.

The Air Venturi Avenger is one of the rifles helping change that. Tunable, accurate, and retailing for less than $400, the synthetic stock Avenger was an immediate hit. The wood stock version followed, offering a bit more heft and more traditional styling for about $430. There are now a bunch more Avengers in the line, including a bullpup and the modular Avenge-X platform. The stock on this version isn’t fancy, but it’s still nice, with checkering on the grip and forestock.

The wood stock Avenger features a 180 cc air cylinder, which is filled using a male Foster fitting. The max fill pressure is 300 BAR (4,351 psi), which will be good for 45 to 90 shots, depending on the tune. Strangely, both the regulator and tank fill pressure gauges were aligned at odd angles on the tested rifle. That had absolutely no impact on performance, of course. It was just weird.

The .22 features a 10-shot rotary magazine, while the .25 mag holds eight pellets or slugs. The Avenger’s 22.75-inch barrel is fully shrouded, but not baffled. In higher power settings, the gun produces a pronounced “snap”, but it is still backyard friendly. The barrel requires an adapter for a suppressor and features a Picatinny rail on the underside of the stock, which is handy for installing accessories such as a bipod.

The wooden stock and forearm of the Air Venturi
The wooden stock and forearm version of the Air Venturi Avenger gives this gun a more traditional feel. Mark Taylor

At the Range

After mounting an Element Helix 4X-16X FFP scope and doing a quick sight-in at my 25-yard backyard range, I headed out to my gun club to see what the Avenger could do at longer distances with a variety of ammo and tuning.

The rifle arrived with the regulator set to 150 BAR (about 2200 psi). The regulator is easily adjustable using a flathead screwdriver. Decreasing the pressure requires fully degassing the gun (simply accomplished with a hex wrench). Because I always have a topped-off fill tank on hand and don’t have to worry about conserving air, I never lowered the pressure. The initial groups were good enough that I didn’t even bother bumping the regulator up, though it’s something I’ll try down the line.

I experimented with the hammer spring, adjusting it up and down to see how the rifle performed at different power levels. Adjustments are done with a hex bolt located at the rear of the rifle breech. With the hammer spring cranked nearly to its max, I was able to get a shot string that ranged from 935 to 953 feet per second with 18.1-grain FX domed pellets. The same setting pushed 22-grain FX Hybrid slugs downrange in the 750 fps range.

Accuracy at that level was good but not great, so I backed the hammer setting off two full turns. That resulted in an average velocity of right at 900 fps with the FX pellets. Accuracy with those pellets was excellent, with the best 50-yard group measuring .25 inch center-to-center. That’s the kind of group I’m happy to shoot with a $2,000 PCP, so it’s thrilling to do it with a gun costing less than $500.

Despite a decent breeze, I managed 2-inch c-t-c groups with both the FX pellets and slugs at 100 yards. For the first time shooting at that distance and with minimal tuning, I was happy with that, too.

The author's grouping at 100 yards with
The author’s grouping at 100 yards with FX hybrid slugs. Mark Taylor

I tried slightly heavier (21.14 grain) H&N Barracudas at 50 yards, but they didn’t perform as well as the FX pellets. However, the FX Hybrid slugs were reasonably accurate. I also tried some 23-grain, .218-diameter Patriot Javelins that shoot well through a slug-optimized FX barrel liner, but they performed poorly in the Avenger.

The Avenger’s trigger is a big contributor to its accuracy, which is outstanding for a gun in this price range. Take-up is smooth, and the wall is solid. With the factory setting, it broke cleanly at 1.5 pounds. It’s fully adjustable, and if I were to really try to tune the rifle for benchrest shooting, I’d probably back the breakdown to a pound or so.

The side lever action is smooth, though it did take a bit more forward pressure to load slugs compared to pellets. The safety is convenient and crisp, located on the right side of the stock above the trigger.

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to find fault with the wood stock version of the Air Venturi Avenger. It’s a good-looking rifle. But, more importantly, it’s a great-performing rifle, especially for the price. It’s cheap enough to make for a good knock-around hunting airgun, but accurate enough to get someone started in competitive long-range shooting.

Frankly, the most expensive part of an Avenger kit should probably be the scope because this rifle deserves a good optic (like the $469 Element Helix I used in testing). After spending some time with this rifle it’s easy to understand why it has earned a reputation as one of the best, if not the best, entry-level PCPs available.