Monday, December 31, 2012


Ruger’s High-Velocity Break-Action Air Hawk is a Natural Born Hunter

By James E. House

My association with Ruger products goes back almost 60 years, and I must say, it’s been a darned good ride.

Air Hawk
   The Ruger Air Hawk is an entry-level break-action air rifle that can be
used for hunting small game and pests.

My first Ruger was the initial model that Ruger produced: the .22 auto standard model pistol. My second was one of the early Single Six models that had the flat loading gate with a curved thumbnail notch. That was followed by a Single Six in 1958. I’ve owned a considerable number of other Rugers over the years, but my most recent gun from Ruger is not a firearm; rather, it is an economical high-velocity break-action air rifle called the Air Hawk, and the subject of this month’s Air gunning evaluation.


Like many other companies, Ruger has diversified the product line to include air guns made elsewhere but carrying the firearm label that is used under license. This is now common for Remington, Winchester and others, as well as Ruger. In this case, the importer is Umarex USA.

I recently bought a Ruger Air Hawk, which is a .177-caliber break action that is advertised to give velocities up to 1,000 fps. This “1,000 fps” category describes numerous break-action rifles, but pellet velocity depends on several factors, such as pellet weight and altitude. Yes, /altitude/, because just as it is harder for you to breathe at high altitude, cocking a break-action rifle at high altitude draws in less air in an analogous way. Less air in the compression chamber means less air compressed at the time of firing, and that means lower velocity.

Not having had firsthand experience with any of the Ruger airguns, I decided to remedy that situation by going to one of the big box stores and buying one. Of the Ruger models offered, the one that interested me most was the Air Hawk, because it is the most powerful, making it suitable for hunting small game and pests. The Air Hawk comes bundled with a 4x32 scope and mount and sells for slightly more than $100. So, what do you get for your money?

When I opened the box, I was impressed with how carefully the air gun was packed. Not all airguns are fully supported, so if the box is dropped on end, damage to the front sight can occur. The Ruger was fully supported on each end and in the middle by sturdy foam inserts. Moreover, the scope was neatly packed in a box that fit in recesses in the foam supports.

The rifle comes enclosed in a plastic sleeve. When I removed this, I was impressed with the hardwood stock. Although not beautifully grained, the stock is nicely shaped, with a raised Monte Carlo section to support the cheek. Also pleasing to me was the fact that the stock was of a conventional design, with no cutouts, thumb holes or a bulbous forearm. Compared to some of the modern break actions, this is a sleek air rifle of stylish design.

The Air Hawk measures 44.8 inches in length, weighs 7.9 pounds and has a cocking effort of 30 pounds. In summary, it is an air gun for an adult shooter.

NOTE: This was excerpted from a recent issue of Gun World magazine.

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