Since the site is geared towards the beginning airgun hobbyist the articles here are written to be simple concentrating on the basics of the subject.
The first question you need to answer when thinking about getting your fist airgun is what do you want to do with it and where are you gonna be shooting it. This will help in your decision whether to get a pistol or rifle. Pistols can be fun to shoot and are good for short range target practice. Where rifles are best for longer distances. The maximum range on a air pistol is around 25-35 feet where with a air rifle you can go 50-100 yards with accuracy.
Now that you’ve made the decision of what to purchase for your first air gun hopefully this article will give you a few ideas on what to look for when your out shopping. I would recommend you get a mid-range priced airgun in the $150- $250. price range. If you try going with a very cheap airgun you’ll probably get frustrated and not enjoy the experience. And it’s best to wait until you’ve been in the hobby awhile before spending thousands of dollars only to find out that the airgun you purchased isn’t right for what you want to do with it.
There are several types of airguns including the spring & gas piston powered ones. These styles are the most common and you can get good quality at a reasonable priced making them the most commonly used style of airgun. as with any airgun they have advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a few of them for you to consider before you purchase either.
Some advantages of a gas piston airgun include the fact that they are often, but not always, quieter then a spring one. They have less recoil when your fire them (too much recoil can have an affect on the pellets flight path), they tend to be easier to cock, the gas piston will handle weather and damp conditions better. And lastly they can be left cocked for longer amounts of time, even days, without damaging the gun. The only disadvantage of a gas piston is that if they are heavily used the gas can start leaking from the piston after awhile and will need replaced.
The advantages of a spring airgun is they usually cost less, need less maintenance and tend to last longer. Some of their disadvantages include more recoil compared to other types. You need to be sure to not grip the airgun tightly because it will first go forward then recoil backwards. So it takes a little practice to get use to this double action on it. Also some of them can be hard to cock when loading if they are a break barrel style.
With both the spring and gas piston style of airguns they get their power from either the cocking action if they are break barrel style or from pumping them up. With a variable pump airgun you control how powerful you want each shot to be by how many times you pump it. The more pumps the more powerful the shot will be.
Lately the price of what is known as PCP (precharged pneumatic ) airguns have come down. They use to be several hundreds of dollars but recently there have been several new low entry level PCP style airguns introduced by the manufacturers as low as $200.
PCP airguns advantages include them having precision accuracy along with almost no recoil along with being very effective with large caliber pellets. You can also get many shots out of them before they need the air tank refilled. Some of their disadvantages include being a lot more expensive to buy. Also you’ll need some type of charging equipment to refill their air tanks that can be costly. Simple pumps to accomplish the job start around $100. and up. While the special high psi compressors that are needed can run hundreds into the thousands of dollars. Although recently a few less expensive models of compressors have been introduced in to the market.
If you want the advantages of PCP without the cost a alternative might be CO2 powered airguns. With CO2 you have virtually no recoil and the quietness of their actions, along with being highly accurate. They have some big disadvantages though too. You can quickly run up a big bill buying the necessary CO2 cartridges if you do a lot of shooting. They are also less powerful then other modes of airguns and highly affected by the weather. The ideal temperature to use them at is 70 degrees. If you live in a cold climate this means you can forget using your CO2 powered airgun outside for several months out of the year.
Airgun rifles can be divided into four categories by their power; light, medium, high, and super high powered rifles. Light powered guns have a good range of 35 yards or less, medium guns works best at 50 yards, high powered guns at 60 yards distances and super high powered ones are effective at distances of 80 yards and up.