The New Air Venturi Avenger Bullpup Is a High Performing, Affordable Air Rifle
The Air Venturi Avenger Bullpup is an affordable small game air rifle with impressive features for the price
I recently wrote an airgun review on one of my favorite entry-level PCP air rifles, the Air Venturi Avenger. It’s my top pick for a budget air rifle because it offers the best features and performance for under $400. The Avenger has been available for a couple of years now, and in response to feedback from their enthusiastic customer base, Air Venturi just released the Avenger Bullpup. It’s another home run.
The Air Venturi Avenger Bullpup combines all the great features and performance of the full-sized rifle in a compact and ergonomic bullpup configuration. As with the original rifle, the Avenger Bullpup delivers several of the features that shooters expect to see only inexpensive European guns, but at an affordable price. This pup addresses the gap in the market for an affordable, ergonomic, lightweight, highly adjustable, and high-performance bullpup hunting air rifle.
Avenger Bullpup Specifications and Features
- Max Velocity: 900 fps (.25)
- Caliber: .177, .22, .25
- Overall Length: 33 inches
- Barrel Length: 22.75 inches
- Weight: 7.5 pounds
- Muzzle Energy: 22 ft-lb
- Shot Capacity: 10
- Action: Sidelever
- Max Shots per fill: 70
- Cylinder Size: 180 cc
- Two-stage adjustable trigger
- Weaver/Picatinny scope base
- Pre-charged pneumatic
The Air Venturi Avenger Bullpup has classic bullpup looks and ergonomics. It’s available in .177, .22, or .25 calibers and weighs 7.5 pounds without a scope. The synthetic thumbhole stock has some stippling and comes with integrated sling mounts. The scope is mounted on a standard Weaver/Picatinny rail that doubles as a carry handle. There are three Picatinny rail sections on the muzzle-end of the forestock for mounting lights, bipods, or other accessories.
The standout feature of the Avenger is the externally adjustable regulator, and you get the same great feature in the Avenger Bullpup. Finding a gun at this price point that incorporates a regulator into the design is impressive, but one offering the flexibility to allow fine-tuning is especially so. The regulator works with the adjustable hammer spring to fine-tune the airflow for a specific projectile or application. The regulator can be adjusted as high as 3000 psi, and adjustments are monitored using the regulator pressure gauge located on the right-hand side of the action. Increasing the pressure can be done at any time, but be sure to degas the gun before decreasing the pressure. Simply turn the easily accessible degassing screw found just behind the reg adjustment to degas.
The Avenger Bullpup uses the same sidelever action as the rifle, cycle with a short charging stroke that cocks the airgun and auto-indexes the magazines, ten shots for the .177 and .22 and eight shots for the .25. The sidelever handle is substantial, offers a tactile grip, and is fast and easy to engage. The bullpup comes with two magazines, and the spare can be held in a recess under the stock for a quick reload in the field. In what I consider a significant feature benefit, the magazines are a proven design and additional magazines are available at a reasonable price. In my experience, the design of this component is reliable and rugged.
The trigger is two-stage and adjustable, and out of the box is set at a medium weight that breaks clean and crisp. I was glad to see that the bullpup retained the feel and ergonomics of the original rifle’s trigger, which can be challenging when designing a bullpup.
The Avenger Bullpup has a 180cc under-barrel air reservoir that charges to 300 BAR (4350 psi) and connects to the filling tank with a quick release fitting. A threaded dust cap covers the male quick release fitting after filling. In my opinion, this standard-fitting is the most practical and convenient interface between rifle and air tank.
Why an Adjustable Air Rifle Regulator Is Awesome
As mentioned previously, I believe the standout feature on the Avenger is the regulator, which can be adjusted up to 3000 psi and fine-tuned with the adjustable hammer spring. This adjustment (hammer spring)increases preload and determines the acceleration of the hammer. The effect when the hammer moves faster as it strikes the valve stem is that it causes the valve to both open further and stay open longer. There are two manometers (pressure gauges) on the bullpup, the one on the right-hand side of the gun showing the regulator pressure setting and the one on the left showing the air reservoir pressure state.
There are multiple advantages to regulating a PCP airgun. For example, if the regulator is set at 2000 psi, then every shot will be at that pressure until the reservoir pressure drops below the 2000 psi threshold. The shot-to-shot consistency dramatically improves and, therefore, accuracy improves. Conversely, the pressure drops with each subsequent shot in an unregulated gun.
You can use the regulation to fine-tune an air rifle to work with a specific projectile or for a particular application. It allows each shooter to decide what best suits their shooting needs, whether they want to increase shot count at the expense of energy or vice versa. Basically, the airgunners equivalent to handloading for firearms.
Testing the .25 Caliber Air Venturi Avenger Bullpup
During my range session with the Avenger Bullpup, I found that the gun generated an average velocity of 870 fps over a 25-shot string, using 25.39-grain JSB King Heavy Diabolo pellets, producing a muzzle energy of approximately 42 ft-lb. There was only a 15-fps spread over the string, which is excellent consistency. Using 26.54-grain JSB Hades pellets, I was getting velocities in the 850 fps range, with the same excellent shot-to-shot consistency, for a muzzle energy of approximately 41 ft-lb. I shot both on a very windy day, at a range of 50 yards, and thought both pellets were accurate and managed the conditions well.
With all things being equal on the accuracy front and based on my positive past experiences, I decided to use the Hades for my upcoming hunt.
The Avenger Bullpup shot well on the bench, and the cocking and magazine indexing were smooth. I adjusted the trigger to break at about 2.7 pounds, and it was a pleasure to shoot. The integrated shrouded barrel does an excellent job suppressing the report, making this hunting air rifle backyard and basement friendly.
The Avenger Bullpup in the Field
As mentioned, I received the gun right before departing for South Texas on a javelina hunt and always select a small game gun to use for rabbit hunting on these trips. This time it was to be the Avenger Bullpup. When I hit the ground at my friend’s ranch, the conditions were hot, dry, and very windy. After quickly checking zero on the gun, I headed off on a rabbit hunt.
Over the course of the following few days, I carried this gun over many miles of rough terrain, did a fair amount of rock climbing with it, sometimes carried in my pack scabbard, sometimes on a safari sling, and sometimes cradled in the crook of my arm. It was an easy carry, and even though the gun and I both took a couple of tumbles, it held up perfectly.
I found that I shot this rifle well both offhand and rested on my ubiquitous Polecat shooting sticks. The gun held steady, whether I was standing, kneeling, or occasionally found a cactus-free spot to sit. This airgun comes comfortably to shoulder, and as I often find with bullpups, the weight is pulled into the shooter’s center of mass, providing a very stable offhand hold.
I shot several jackrabbits and cottontails, generally at 50 to 60 yards but reaching out to 100 yards on a couple of occasions when I could take a rested sitting shot. The terminal performance offered by the Avenger Bullpup and the JSB Hades pellet was excellent. I found that I could cycle the sidelever action very quickly for follow-up shots, and the rapid reloads from the second magazine was an asset in a target-rich environment.
What the Avenger Bullpup Does Best
The Avenger Bullpup performs higher than its price point; it is regulated with all the associated advantages and is a feature-rich shooting platform. This bullpup delivers excellent accuracy, power, and the adjustable regulator and hammer offer the flexibility to optimize it for a specific projectile or intended use. The regulator ensures shot-to-shot consistency, which means that between the first and last shot in a string, the pellets point of impact will not shift. The clean, crisp trigger is a pleasant surprise in a bullpup and goes a long way in capitalizing on the gun’s accuracy. The bullpup cycles quickly and smoothly, and the magazines auto-index reliably every time in my experience.
While you could build this bullpup into a target shooting platform, it shines as a small game hunting gun, especially the .25 caliber version. It’s an air rifle that could be an entry-level into PCPs, but it won’t be soon outgrown.
Read Next: The Best Air Rifles for Hunting
What Could Be Improved
So, is the Avenger Bullpup perfect? As always is the case, there are areas for improvement. That starts with the synthetic stock, which is a bit bulkier than it probably needs to be. That said, it does feel less plasticky than the original Avenger. The Avenger Bullpup isn’t ultra-compact, and at 7.5 pounds, it’s also not ultralight. However, I carried this rifle for miles and thought it packed quite well.
As with the rifle, the Avenger Bullpup fills to a high pressure (4350 psi) which is at the upper end of what most carbon fiber tanks can manage. This is not surprising because the bullpup uses the same components as the original rifle, but it can present problems in keeping the gun charged to its maximum pressure.
On the other hand, it ensures that even if you’ve set the regulator at 3000 psi, you’ll still get a respectable shot count on one fill. In the event a high fill pressure is problematic for you, one option to circumvent this is to dial down the regulator to operate at lower pressures, so that the gun need not be charged as high. With that solution, you’ll give up some power. But even with the regulator set at 2000 psi, it’s still a solid small-game getter.
Another solution to keeping the Avenger Bullpup aired up is to purchase one of the small air compressors designed to charge an individual rifle rather than fill a large volume tank.
I believe that the Avenger Bullpup is one of the best values in airguns these days. There is a very good reason bullpups are so popular; they are compact while offering most of the advantages of a full-sized rifle. As with the Avenger rifle, the bullpup design, materials, and build quality are solid but no-frills, but at the same time offer everything for the gun to perform in the field. With the ability to adjust the operating parameters, the Avenger has the functionality and performance to be your primary hunting rifle for many years.