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    About Airguns

General information
Air Rifle Caliber Selection
Air Gun Scope Considerations or "Airgun Scopes can help you to shoot better"
Finding best pellet for your airgun: The right pellet makes a difference
Gun care

General information

All airguns use air (or CO2) to drive a pellet down the barrel, and there are a variety of powerplants that are used to get the air moving. All of them have advantages, and all of them have disadvantages. So which one is right for you? It really depends on which performance characteristics are most important to you. Let's take a look at the different powerplants.

Airguns come in many shapes and forms. Besides the question of caliber, modern airguns fit into three basic groups defined by their power plant (means of pushing a pellet out the barrel):

- Pneumatic Airguns
- Spring-Piston Airguns
- CO2 Airguns

Pneumatic Airguns use compressed air for power. The way you get the air compressed in the air gun depends on the type of pneumatic it is. The most common pneumatic air gun is the Multi-stroke pneumatic (or pump-up) airgun. It requires 2-8 strokes of an on-board lever (usually the forestock) to store compressed air in the powerplant.

Advantages: These guns are virtually recoilless and are completely self-contained. In addition, the velocity of the pellet can be varied with the number of pumping strokes (from, say, 300 fps to 800 fps, depending upon the gun), and the fewer the number of strokes, the lower the noise.

Disadvantages: Once a multi-stroke pneumatic is fired, it must be pumped up again.

A more preferable form of pneumatic is the single stroke pneumatic air gun. It uses a lever to compress air in the powerplant, but require only a single stroke to fully charge the gun. This is the powerplant used on many 10-meter match guns.

Advantages: Single stroke pneumatics are fully self-contained, easy to cock, highly consistent and often incredibly accurate.

Disadvantages: There is a limit to how much air you can compress in a single stroke. As a result, the power of these guns is usually low, but the tack driving accuracy at close range is the reason 10-meter shooters love them.

The third type of pneumatic air gun is the pre-charged pneumatic. This is the best of both worlds. You can get variable power from low to high if you want it and you get incredible accuracy, easy cocking, no recoil and lots of shots from an air charge. The charge takes little effort on your part because the air is compressed at the dive shop into a SCUBA tank. All you need to do is siphon some of the 3000 psi out of the SCUBA tank and into the air gun via a special hose with a pressure gauge. Pre-charged pneumatics are assembled as competition air guns for the field target set, and lightweight hunters for those so inclined. Some of the pre- charged air guns are multiple shot repeaters so the air gun hunter with poor aim can get a second chance with no pumping.

Advantages: These guns are powerful, virtually recoil-free, very consistent, and often superbly accurate.

Disadvantages: Pre-charged airguns are generally expensive. In addition, they are not self-contained - you need a SCUBA tank or high-pressure hand pump available to recharge the gun - and somewhat complicated to operate.

Spring-piston airguns - also called "springers" - use a lever (usually the barrel or a lever under or to the side of the barrel) to cock a spring and piston. When the trigger is pulled, the spring is released, pushing the piston forward (and the gun backward) and compressing a powerful blast of air behind the pellet. As the piston nears the end of its stroke, it slams into the wall of air at the end of the compression cylinder and recoils in the opposite direction. All this happens before the pellet leaves the barrel.

Advantages: Spring-piston guns are self-contained, very reliable, accurate, long-lived, and often relatively quiet.

Disadvantages: Because of their unique whiplash recoil these guns often require considerable practice to shoot them at their highest accuracy. (Note: similar are gas-spring-piston airguns. Instead of a spring, these guns use a "gas spring" which is cocked by a lever and released when the trigger is pulled. The recoil effect is the same.) In addition, the unique recoil of springers demands airgun-rated scopes.

CO2 airguns CO2 are powered by cartridges of compressed carbon dioxide, either in the12-gram cartridge form or decanted from a bulk CO2 tank into the air gun reservoir. They have the advantage of not needing to be cocked or pumped up by hand. The use of CO2 as a power plant for an air gun is kind of interesting because it is used in some of the cheapest non-precision air guns along with the highest of the high-tech 10-meter match air guns.

Advantages: CO2 airguns are recoilless, convenient, and (in high quality models) extremely accurate. Noise levels vary from model to model. Cocking effort is usually very low, making these guns a favorite for family shooting.

Disadvantages: CO2 airguns require periodic refilling and performance can vary with temperature. Velocity will drop considerably in wintry conditions, and CO2 airguns will shoot faster than normal in very warm conditions.

So which airgun powerplant is right for you? If you want a gun that is self-contained, choose a spring gun, multi-stroke pneumatic or single-stroke pneumatic. If you want a neighbor-friendly report, a spring powerplant is most likely to deliver it, although you can find relatively quiet pre-charged, multi-stroke, and CO2 models. If you demand the highest accuracy, a single-stroke pneumatic match rifle or a pre-charged gun is the way to go. If you need an airgun that is extremely convenient to shoot, pick pre-charged or CO2 power. As you can see, no single powerplant type does it all. If you require any more help or information please email or call the shop as we will be more than happy to help.

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