Airsoft guns are more sophisticated and powerful than ever before. When shopping for an airsoft gun, you’ll want to look for reliability, accuracy and high quality. All of these factors will have an impact on your use of the rifle, regarless of which purpose you get it for.
Airsoft sniper rifles are popular for a variety of different reasons. Let’s take a look at why you’d want to use an airsoft sniper rifle and what features you should consider. Then, we’ll show you in-depth reviews for airsoft sniper rifles – and we’ll tell you which one we think is the best!
The Purpose of Airsoft Sniper Rifles
Fun! Lots of people are participating in competitive airsoft matches. Similar to paintball, teams compete in indoor and outdoor environments where they play Capture the Flag or just have old-fashioned shootouts.
Here’s a video of some competitive airsoft teams in action:
- Target Shooting
Target shooting is another hobby enjoyed by airsoft sniper rifle owners. These can be indoors or outdoors. Enthusiasts shoot at paper targets, moving targets and more. Target shooting can be as simple as firing off a few shots at cans in your backyard or as complicated as a big-money shooting tournament.
- Animal Control
Another common reason people use airsoft sniper rifles is to control animal populations. Many folks find that an airsoft rifle is a useful tool. All kinds of unwanted animals can encroach on property anywhere – rural, suburban and even urban areas. Squirrels, birds, raccoons, coyotes, rats and other unwanted animals can cause a lot of damage to crops, structures and more. They can even pose a significant health risk to humans!
An airsoft rifle lets you startle and scare away those pests without causing them any permanent harm. This is usually an easier, cleaner and more humane solution than lethal means. Of course, not all airsoft rifles are non-lethal to animals. A high enough caliber and velocity can often kill certain small animals such as rabbits or squirrels. Airsoft guns are popular for small game hunting.
So, Why a Sniper Rifle Instead of a Regular Airsoft Gun?
A sniper rifle is all about aim. With target shooting, sniper rifles are a separate category. Target shooting competitions for sniper rifles have long distance targets. Long-distance accuracy is obviously important if you’re shooting at small animals on your property. Many people prefer a sniper rifle for shooting at more dangerous animals such as coyotes or even raccoons. After all, you have to be pretty close to your target if you’re using an airsoft pistol. But perhaps the most popular use of an airsoft sniper rifle is in competitive airsoft matches. Let’s take a look at what that involves.
How Sniper Rifles Help a Team in Competitive Airsoft Sports
An airsoft team needs a variety of specialists, all with different types of weapons. Each member of the team will need a different skillset, so the group can succeed. Almost every airsoft team will have one sniper.
The sniper plays an important, if often unseen, role in any airsoft competition. While the rest of team is running around the playing field, the sniper remains primarily in one spot. They could be up in a tree, atop a hill or otherwise hidden. Their job is to watch the movement of all players. Most team-based airsoft competitions allow the use of walkie-talkies between players. As the sniper, you’ll radio to your teammates to help coordinate their activities.
Your success will largely depend on your ability to stay hidden. This means using the proper camouflage for your environment. Of course, you’ll need to shoot well, too. The terrain will determine your needs, but generally you’ll want to be able to reach target about 200 feet away.
Why Should You Choose a Sniper Rifle
If you’re new to the world of airsoft, a sniper rifle is a great place to start. There are a few reasons for this:
- You can learn nuances of the game from a bird’s eye view
- You typically have a stable shooting surface (because you’re not running around)
- You have a larger scope and easier aiming than a pistol or rifle
What Equipment Do You Need for Competitive Airsoft?
Competitive airsoft leagues are growing. You can probably find one near you. This can be a fun way to stay active, make friends and shoot your airsoft guns. Aside from your airsoft sniper rifle, you’ll also want the following:
- Protective eyewear (very important, as the eyes are vulnerable to injury from bb)
- Lightweight armor for major areas of your body including your chest and legs
- Camouflage appropriate for the area (wooden, forest, etc.)
- Radio or walkie-talkie
How to Choose the Right Type of Sniper Rifle
There are a lot of sniper rifles out there. How do you know which one is best? There are a few factors you’ll want to consider.
First, have a clear idea about when and how you’ll be using your airsoft sniper rifle. Will you be shooting outdoors or in? Are you going to be playing with experienced airsoft shooters or is this more of a fun toy to use around your house?
If you’re going to be outside a lot, you’ll likely want the rifle to be constructed from more durable materials. Some airsoft rifles are primarily made of plastic while others are made from metal. If you’re going to be outdoors, especially in cold or wet weather, metal is likely to last longer. But if you don’t have such heavy duty needs, you’ll probably be fine with plastic (which is often cheaper).
Different Power Drivers for Airsoft Sniper Rifles
There are three different types of airsoft sniper rifle:
- Spring powered
- Gas powered
- Battery powered
A spring-powered gun needs to be cocked before each use. You need to pull the spring back to prepare each shot. This is a slow firing rifle, but also the least expensive of the three. These are also the least powerful rifles in general.
Gas powered rifles use a cartridge. There are three types of gas available. Propane is the cheapest but requires a special adapter to use. CO2 is probably the most common gas used. Cartridges need to be purchased at specialty airsoft stores. Finally, Green Gas is a blend of propane and silicone.
Gas powered rifles are going to have a stronger kick than the battery or spring pumps. If you want an airsoft rifle which feels and shoots the most like a traditional rifle, you’ll want one powered by a gas cartridge. These will be the strongest rifles, and the ones most often used by serious sportsmen and game hunters.
Battery-powered rifles are like spring loaded rifles. Only instead of cocking the gun manually, a battery-powered gear loads the spring.
There are a few different types of batteries. Automatic Electric Guns (AGEs) are the highest quality and price. This is followed by Mid-Price Electric Guns (MPEGs) and then Low Price Electric Guns (LPEGs). All of these have a similar electric-powered piston. The difference is in the quality, price and longevity of the battery.
You’ll also want to look at muzzle velocity. This is the speed which the bb is fired from the rifle barrel. The higher the number, the greater range and accuracy you’ll have.
BB’s have a different shape than a traditional bullet. You’ll need to adjust for this when aiming. A stronger rifle will be easier to aim. The strongest type of sniper rifle will usually be gas powered.
5 Best Airsoft Sniper Rifles You’ll Want to Know About
We took an in-depth look at six airsoft sniper rifles which meet our standards for quality, reliability and power. Here’s what you need to know:
This bolt-action Airsoft sniper rifle combines a high rate of fire, an extended range and pinpoint accuracy. A high power spring results in minimal tension when the bolt is pulled back. Weighing about eight pounds, this sniper rifle is solid but also portable – perfect for running and climbing in outdoor environments.
• Lightweight and portable
• Cheek pad and butt stock
• Adjustable hop up
• Does not include spare magazine
• No scope
This full-sized, bolt-action pellet rifle has a zippy velocity of 460 feet per second, BB speed loader and non-slip grip.
• 6mm caliber
• Reinforced safety
• Non-slip grip with UTG sling
• BB speed loader
• Integrated front and top scope rail
• Scope must be purchased separately
• Rifle must be assembled
This 2-in-1 deal from Dark Ops Airsoft is great for beginning airsoft shooters. You get a sniper rifle along with a sidearm, scope, red laser, bipod and magazine. The package is low priced and perfect for those who want an introduction to the hobby.
• 28.5-inch long sniper rifle is both accurate and portable
• Muzzle velocity of 250 feet per seconds with 12g bb’s
• 75 round magazine with an eight round clip and a 67 holding pin
• Bolt action means a relatively slow fire rate
• Plastic material isn’t durable enough for long-term, high-intensity use
This sniper rifle combines firepower, comfort and stability. In the right hands, this rifle provides pin-point accuracy even at long distances. The spring-powered rifle is solid and well-constructed with a one-piece precision metal barrel. Shoots plastic airsoft bb’s.
• Thumbhold stock combines stability and comfort
• Muzzle velocity at 450 feet per second
• Foldable bipod with tri-rail bipod adaptor
• Adjustable hop-up system
• Stock holds a 23-round high capacity magazine
• Assembly required
• Bb’s under 28g have reduced accuracy
• Excess lube on inner bolt can hurt performance. Wiping away lube is an easy fix, however.
• Bipod mount system can wobble
• Folding stock adjustable hop up system
• Muzzle velocity of 450 feet per second
• BB capacity of 23 rounds
• Accuracy requires a fair amount of scope adjustment
• Assembly required
Elite Force’s full-size sniper rifle has a lot to offer. This rifle has a high torque motor, metal gears, a fully adjustable stock and more. Electric blowback creates a muzzle velocity of 750 rounds per minute.
• Rugged, long-lasting metal gears
• High-torque motor
• Both semi and full auto capabilities
• Electric motor
• No mount points for a strap or sling
Our choice is the H&K HK SL9 AEL Sniper Rifle.
There’s a lot to like here. The impressive muzzle velocity of 750 rounds per minute packs a punch while also increasing accuracy.
The Well l96 is well-made and solid, but the bolt action and low velocity make it less suited for distance shooting than the H&K.
The AGN L96 is well-rounded and easy to transport. This is a good choice for team-based airsoft competition, but we still give the edge to the H&K overall.
The HK SL9 has a powerful motor, durable metal gears and a high muzzle velocity. This is our favorite airsoft sniper rifle.