January 7, 2017 0:00

// Pneumatic weapons

Air rifles have been used for more than 100 years. Of course, modern pneumatics has gone far from the first models (its high accuracy is especially pleasing!), so today manufacturers offer us such a wide selection of brands and calibers of “air guns” that choosing your first weapon is quite easy to get lost in this abundance. This is not so surprising, because sometimes even experienced shooters cannot decide on a new model for months. However, if you go from simple to complex, then the question of choosing an air rifle will become clearer, and you can already choose a certain range of models to suit your taste and purse.

Which air rifle to choose? Pneumatics is a great weapon that you can buy in a store just like that, without special permission. At least certain calibers. Which ones exactly? Read at the end of the article.

Pneumatic air rifles with a spring or a spray can be bought for hunting… Yes, it’s simple, in order to shoot at cans in nature, while a barbecue is “maturing” on the grill. There are many different variants of pneumatics on the market now.

Which air rifle to choose: types of “air guns”

To be simpler, then all the “air” can be divided into three types:

  • Spring-piston, or “fractures” are classic models that require manual reloading after each shot. For novice shooters, recoil can be a problem, but professionals usually prefer these models: they are inexpensive to maintain, they are easier to keep in order.
  • PCP (PreCharged Pneumatic), or pre–pumped, work on the principle of “Charged once – shoot a lot!”. They are charged manually with special cylinders or pumps. Some models allow you to make up to 80 shots on one pump.
  • Compression and multicompression – these rifles are loaded with compressed air or carbon dioxide (CO2), so they are pre-ready to fire, but their pumping is usually not enough for as long as in the case of PCP-pneumatics. (Although these rifles are significantly cheaper than PCP.) The disadvantage is the difficulty in care: often the valve system of such models becomes clogged (it is impossible to clean them yourself), which requires replacing the entire pneumatic system. Gas cylinder rifles are very sensitive to cold. In addition, for the most powerful combat, the rifle must be pumped up every 5-10 shots.
  • See, it’s not that complicated! For beginners, the choice of an air rifle is also simplified by the fact that as shooting skills develop, it will most likely have to be replaced. So, most experienced shooters agree that the choice of pneumatics for beginners should not be long–term – that is, buying yourself an “air gun” for shooting training, you should not expect that this model will stay with you for years. Most professionals almost unanimously say that it is necessary to start with spring-piston air rifles. Just take into account the basic characteristics of your first weapon – and bon chance!


    A gas spring (in gas-spring) should not be confused with a mechanical one. Only the name and the principle of operation (ejection) are taken from the mechanical spring here.

    Pre—charged pneumatics – PCP

    A pre-charged pneumatics or PCP/ PSP air rifle with the need for pre-mechanical pumping operates from a replaceable compressed air canister.

    Air pneumatic PCP / PSP are divided into direct-flow and geared. The latter are most often used for sports, but direct-flow ones are more suitable for hunting or self-defense. In gearboxes, the power of the shot is almost the same (thanks to the gearbox, which supplies air in equal portions), in direct–flow – depends on the inflated tank.

    Advantages and disadvantages of an air rifle with a spray can

    The main and, perhaps, obvious advantage of a pump canister for air pneumatics is that a rifle with it does not need to be constantly “broken”. That is, I filled up the canister — and shoot as much as your heart desires.

    There is also no need to pump up the mechanism for ejecting the bullet every time, unlike a spring with pre-pumping. You can make a series of shots without thinking about when you have to stop. As a rule, on average, one canister per gun for hunting is enough from 60 shots to 150. Of course, depending on the manufacturer, the gas formula and the power of the shots. As a rule, the power of shots can also be adjusted here, and after a series of additional pumping is not needed.

    Advantages of the PCP / PSP air rifle:

    • a large number of shots from a single charge;
    • there is no need to “fracture” (pumping) manually, so women can use;
    • easy maintenance.

    Minus the PCP/ PSP air rifle:

    • the need to have a special pump.

    PCP/PSP rifles are considered one of the most popular today. If you choose your first air rifle, then PCP/PSP is one of the most acceptable options.

    Air rifles for hunting — how practical is the CO2 gas cylinder system

    Air rifles for hunting or air pneumatics should be of high power. If we are talking about spring-piston rifles (IFR), they have high enough power to provide a high-quality shot. But to recharge (spring cocking), fracture, requires a lot of physical strength. Although it might be worth it. Because some variants of such air rifles for hunting with a platoon by means of a “fracture” give a power of up to 25-30 joules.


    CO2 rifles are very similar to PCP / PSP, their principle of operation is completely identical. Except for the compressed gas formula. In PCP / PSP, the cans are charged with simple compressed air, and in gas cylinder systems — with carbon dioxide, respectively.

    Attention! Activating a disposable can of CO2, the shooter breaks through the soldering. It is better not to reuse it. Therefore, if a new can was started, that is, brought into working position, then it is desirable to shoot it immediately.

    In the warm season, CO2 cans behave very well. That is, the power of a shot with such a system without pumping can reach 16 kJ. But as soon as the ambient temperature drops below +8-10 degrees, the power begins to drop. And if the column drops to below zero, CO2 cans become practically useless. The fact is that under the influence of low temperatures, carbon dioxide loses its activity. Thus, air weapons with carbon dioxide are unlikely to be suitable for winter hunting.

    If we are talking with you about PCP / PSP air rifles for hunting, then they are not so afraid of the cold snap. As a rule, regardless of temperatures, the maximum shot here is about 16 kJ.

    Maybe it’s better to buy air rifles with a spring?

    Piston air rifles with a spring or IFR are the “parents” of all modern air weapons. Fractures, as they are also called, can produce the greatest power. But not everyone can “get” such a power of air weapons for hunting and self-defense. You don’t need a lot of physical strength to reload the barrel.

    Air pneumatics with a spring happens:

    • piston-spring (PPP);
    • gas-spring.

    PPP is considered the most common option. It is such an air weapon that you can most often find in a shooting gallery. Gas-spring is more powerful, it can already be attributed to professional options.

    How to choose an air rifle: look at the basic characteristics

    What should you pay attention to when choosing your first “air”, in addition to the caliber (only 4.5 does not require permission)? Its dimensions and weight are important, because it’s one thing if you get out in a jeep into the forest – then it’s not a problem to transport a PCP with a pump, and it’s another to move around the city, for example, to a shooting range.

    Of course, most people are primarily concerned about power, although this is a very relative characteristic and besides, beginners are not recommended to choose models with maximum power.

    The question of money: firstly, you should not choose too expensive “air”, perhaps you will burn out with the idea of becoming a professional shooter, and then you will have to sell it for a long time, losing money. However, you should not choose the cheapest one either – its shortcomings and inconsistency with the declared characteristics can forever discourage the hunt for shooting. In addition to the price of the rifle, take into account the operating costs in advance, especially if you still decide not to take a spring-piston, but with pre-pumping, or even more so PCP. In this case, in addition to bullets, you will need more cylinders (or a pump).

    Consider what you are going to shoot, balls or bullets, and depending on this, choose a barrel. Rifled is designed for firing lead bullets, smooth – balls. The former, although they cannot be reused, provide significantly higher shooting accuracy.

    When choosing an air rifle, the brand is what really matters: the louder it is, the lower the risk that you will have to spend time and money on fine–tuning the rifle to a combat-ready state.

    Which air rifle to choose: steampunk or classic?

    Many gun lovers also pay attention to aesthetic aspects when choosing rifles, while some prefer classics, others like technicality. But for everyone there is something to choose from: the lodge material for models of any classes of air rifles is made in wood, laminate or polymer materials. The first option is rather a tribute to tradition, the second already prioritizes comfort and reliability: such rifles, as a rule, are lighter and resistant to meteorological adversities. So the butts, watering can and forearm made of composite materials like carbonoplastics will add durability to the rifle, while reducing its weight.

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