Popular Post Marksman 934 Posted May 22, 2011 Popular Post Report Share Posted May 22, 2011 (edited) How do guys n gals! Well after reading far too many subjects lately about "Which gun should I buy", "What pellets should I use" topics I thought I'd make this topic up for your perusal. It may seem a little long winded but hopefully it contains what I would anticipate as the necessary basic information into buying or owning an air rifle & hopefully it will shed a bit of light onto the subject. The following information is designed to help those of you who are new or returning to air rifle shooting. The first thing you will need to do before looking at purchasing any shooting outfit is to familiarize yourself with the current laws & legislations involved in owning and shooting an air rifle in your particular country. For the UK these can be found here...... http://www.basc.org.uk/en/codes-of-practice/air-rifles.cfm Although the air rifle is the most important piece of equipment, the air rifle combination kit is split into five basic categories. These are: THE AIR RIFLE Air rifles can separated into many different groups, but one of the most obvious differences during use, is between those rifles that Recoil and those rifles that are Recoilless: Recoiling Rifles Recoiling rifles (spring or gas ram powered) move sharply during the firing cycle, making them less forgiving to shoot, however used correctly can be shot as accurately as a recoilless rifle. To shoot a recoiling rifle accurately, techniques must be learned to compensate for the recoil of the gun. Learning and improving these skills is all part of the hobby, and a huge amount of satisfaction can be gained from learning how to get the best performance from your rifle. Spring Powered Spring-piston guns operate by means of a coiled steel spring-loaded piston contained within a compression chamber, and separate from the barrel. Cocking the gun causes the piston assembly to compress the spring until a small hook on the rear of the piston engages the sear; pulling the trigger releases the sear and allows the spring to decompress, pushing the piston forward, thereby compressing the air in the chamber directly behind the pellet. Once the air pressure has risen enough to overcome any static friction and/or barrel restriction holding the pellet, the pellet moves forward, propelled by an expanding column of air. All this takes place in a fraction of a second. Gas Ram Some makes of air rifle (e.g. Weihrauch, Theoben) incorporate a gas spring in some models instead of a mechanical spring. Pressurized air or nitrogen is held in a special chamber built into the piston, and this air is further pressurized when the gun is cocked. It is, in effect, a gas spring commonly referred to as a "gas ram" or "gas strut". Gas spring units require higher precision to build, since they require a low friction sliding seal that can withstand the high pressures when cocked. Gas spring units are available as an upgrade for some popular models such as the Weirauch HW80 & BSA LIghtning. The advantages of the gas spring include the facility to keep the rifle cocked and ready to fire for long periods of time without harming the mechanism. Also, since there is no spring (and therefore a reduction in moving mass during firing) there is less (although some say slightly sharper), recoil. There is also an elimination of the associated problems of long-term spring fatigue and a faster "lock time" (the time between pulling the trigger and the pellet being discharged). The improvement in lock time makes for better accuracy since there is less time for the gun to move off target. Finally, gas springs are practically maintenance free and last longer than conventional metal springs however more expensive when they do need replacement. Advantages of recoiling rifles: Quick to load, generally cheaper and lighter in weight No need for an external power source Mostly easy maintained Disadvantages of recoiling rifles: As a rule only single shot. The recoil of the rifle makes good marksmanship all the more important. They can also be broken down into Sub-groups,the most common being Break Barrel & Under-lever and the less common nowadays sidelever. Pre-Charged Pneumatic or PCP Pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air guns are usually filled by decanting from an air reservoir, such as a diving cylinder or by charging directly with a hand pump. Because of the need for cylinders or charging systems, PCP guns have higher initial costs but very low operating costs compared to CO2 guns. These guns are often used for hunting purposes in countries with restrictive firearms laws. PCP guns have very low recoil and can fire as many as 500 shots per charge depending on the application. PCP guns are very popular in the UK and Europe because of their accuracy and ease of shooting. They are widely utilized in pistol and rifle shooting events when fitted with telescopic sights. Using air decanted from a scuba cylinder also provides a clean, dry, high-pressure air supply that is consistent and available at low cost, however another mthod is using a stirrup pump. During the typical PCP's discharge cycle, the hammer of the rifle is released by the sear to strike the valve. The hammer may move rearwards or forwards, unlike firearms where the hammer almost always moves forward. Prior to being struck by the hammer, the valve is held closed by a spring and the pressure of the air in the reservoir. The pressure of the spring is constant, and the pressure of the air decreases with each successive shot. As a result, when the reservoir pressure is at its peak, the valve opens less fully and closes faster than when the reservoir pressure is lower, resulting in a similar total volume of air flowing past the valve with each shot. This results in a a degree of self-regulation that gives a greater consistency of velocity from shot to shot than would otherwise be expected. A well-designed PCP will display good self-regulation properties, meaning good shot to shot consistency over a range of pressures as the air reservoir is diminished. More expensive PCP rifles and pistols are often pressure regulated, i.e. the firing valve operates within a secondary chamber separated from the main air reservoir by the regulator body. The regulator maintains pressure within this secondary chamber at a set pressure lower than the main reservoir's. This occurs until the main reservoir's pressure is diminished to the set pressure, after which the PCP behaves in an unregulated manner. Calibre The most common air gun calibres are: .177 (4.5 mm): the most common calibre used in many shooting events, it has the flattest trajectory of all the calibres for a given energy level, making accuracy simpler. As well as its very effective targetry use, this calibre can be effectively used to hunt small quarry or vermin. .20 (5.0 mm): found in some European air guns. This is generally considered to be a "compromise calibre", having a flatter trajectory similar to the .177 but more energy retention. .20 pellets tend to be of a similar weight to .22 pellets, but with an elongated profile, resulting in a higher Ballistic Coefficient (BC) than either .177 or .22 pellets. .22 (5.5 mm): the most common calibre for hunting small game/pests, as it delivers large amounts of energy on impact (more so than the smaller calibres). .25 (6.35 mm): This caliber is renowned for its impact, having the most energy retention of all calibres. It does have a highly parabolic trajectory at low energy levels and is thus more suited for higher powered rifles. Telescopic Sights or "Scopes" To the beginner scopes may look very complicated, and when you take a look about at the number of different types avaiable you'll see why! As an example if we take a standard 4 x 32 scope, the number four equates to how many times closer the object you are viewing becomes when viewed through the scope. The number 32 equates to the size in mm of the front lens, also known as the objective lens. The theory behind the objective lens is that the bigger this lens, the brighter the image will be when viewed through the scope.There are however other factors to consider, such as lens quality, that makes one scope brighter than another.When looking at a 3-9 x 40 as an example of zoom scopes, the number forty is once again the size of the objective lens. The numbers 3-9 mean that when the image is viewed through the scope and the 3-9 zoom (located at the rear of the scope) is adjusted the image will move from 3x closer all the way through to 9x closer Telescopic sights have adjusters fitted to them that enable the scope to be set up in such a way that the pellet will impact on the target at the same point where the cross hair also appears on the target. These adjusters are generally called turrets. The top turret adjusts the cross hair up or down depending on which way the turret is turned . The side turret will adjust the cross hair left or right depending on which way it is turned. This is only a basic guide for telescopic sights and you will find as your shooting develops so too will your knowledge and understanding of them. If you further search the forums you'll find topics with more in-depth information on reticles, parallax, turrets and lenses. MOUNTS These are a very important piece of your equipment that enable the air rifle and telescopic sight to work together as one. Mounts are available in many different sizes and as a general rule the bigger the objective lens the higher the mount required. As long as you use good quality mounts from a quality manufacturer you can not really go wrong. GUN BAGS, CASE or GUN SLIP There are 2 main types of protection for carrying your air rifle, a soft gunslip or hard gun case. This is required to enable you to carry your air rifle safely in a public place (with good reason for doing so) and will offer a good degree of protection from the elements. The thicker the lining of the gun bag, the more protection it will offer your equipment. If you attach a silencer to your rifle, decide on the correct length of case or bag to accommodate this to avoid having to detach it during trips. When considering which gun bag/case to purchase, think about the accessories you will be carrying with you. If you need storage space for pellets, spare air cylinders, targets, etc make sure you choose a bag that can accommodate these. Internal straps to secure your rifle are a useful option on many bags, as are rucksack-style carry straps. Hard cases offer the ultimate protection but can be unwieldy to store in car boots, so measure up before you buy! Never store an air rifle in a gun bag as it will rust. PELLETS A bit of a minefield when it comes to choosing pellets. My advice is stick to a good quality lead round head pellet from the likes of H&N, Air Arms, RWS or Daystate and you cannot go wrong. I advise to experiment with many of these brands and you will find a least one that will perform incredibly well in YOUR rifle. Just because your mate uses "X" brand doesnt say they will work well in your rifle. For clarification..... Roundhead or domed pellets are what are more commonly used for most applications due to the nature of the shape and its abilities. Hollow point pellets are generally used for close to medium range vermin control eg rats, as they impart a lot of force on impact. But dont react well to long distance. Flat head pellets are popular for paper target shooting as they punch the target cleanly and make it easier to work out your scores. Pointed pellets are used as they are supposed to give more penetration on impact. They are not as accurate as roundhead pellets as they are not as ballistically efficient. I hope this brief guide will be of help in choosing your first air rifle. Darryl Edited May 22, 2011 by Marksman 41 2 Quote Link to post
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