Tips For Choosing The Best Air Rifle
There are many individuals all around the nation that love their guns. Of course, new technology has brought about some new products, which are capable of replicating the same experience, without an overly expensive price. Air rifles are capable of giving the shooter an authentic and powerful experience. Suffice to say, air rifles are no longer a child’s play toy. Instead, they’re capable of giving adults a suitable way to hunt, practice their marksmanship and target shoot. Of course, there are a wide variety of different air rifles on the market, which can make the purchase much more difficult. With this in mind, we’ve put together a helpful buying guide, which will help you make the right decision. Be sure to read the information below and take it all into consideration, before making your purchase.
Your Intended Use
Before you begin exploring the guns and manufacturers, it is imperative to judge your particular needs, desires and specifications. The biggest factor is going to be the specific way you’re going to be using the weapon. If you’re interested in hunting, you’ll need to equip yourself with a gun, which is capable of striking down the animals that you wish to hunt. Throughout the years, these guns have been used for many hunting applications. In fact, they were once used to bring down elk and other large animals.
Hunting – If you’re interested in hunting with your air rifle, you’ll need to determine the particular type of pests and prey that you’re content with targeting. Truthfully, today’s guns are mostly suitable for hunting small game, such as raccoons and squirrels. Again, your prey will help to determine the needed specifications of your rifle. For those that are going to be killing off pests, such as rats and crows, it is imperative to choose a gun, which is capable of firing at least one thousand feet per second. Any of the three major calibers should be sufficient, including .177, .20 and .22 calibers.
Hunting bigger prey, such as raccoons and similar sized animals, will require a gun with a little more power. You’ll want to find a .20, .22 or .25 caliber gun, which is magnum powered. By following the range guidelines, you will be able to deliver a humane kill, so you don’t feel too badly about hunting.
Although shooting competitions are popular all around the world, they’ve only recently started to gain popularity in the United States. Regardless, some individuals prefer to shoot targets and practice their marksmanship. Surprisingly, airgun competitions are actually a part of the Olympics and both genders are able to compete in these games. In order to partake in these games, you will need to equip yourself with a .177 caliber air rifle. This is the case, because .177 caliber air guns are capable of providing the user with a much-improved range. A side-cocking spring piston .177 caliber air rifle will be sufficient for getting you started.
Practicing In the Off Season
Individuals, who enjoy the hunting season, might not see enough action, during the offseason. Thankfully, these individuals can fulfill their desires, with an air rifle! In fact, they can kill two birds with one stone. By equipping themselves with a suitable air rifle, they’ll be able to practice their skills and hone their shooting. Be sure to practice field shooting a few times a week, as this will help to improve your marksmanship and get you prepare for the hunting season.
Next, you’ll need to take the time to determine your particular shooting preference. In this regard, it is imperative to remember that your specific air rifle will help to determine your range. This is very similar to real weapons. Shotguns are unable to provide much range, but they pack tremendous power. At the same time, rifles are capable to deliver much better range, but the power might be decreased. Of course, it is vital to remember that there are many different characteristics that make an air gun. For instance, the caliber and propulsion method are both important for determining range.
If you’re intent on pursuing targets, which are far away, you’ll want to make sure to choose the PCP (Pre-Charged Pneumatic) system, which is capable of providing much more accuracy and further distances. The variable pump generally offers the least range. Therefore, you will need to determine your specific preferences and choose the particular parameters that suit your needs.
There are innumerable propulsion methods that you can select from. Each type must be matched with your overall expectancies, requirements, and preferences. While some gunners may not mind manual pumping or cocking actions, others prefer the convenience and quickness in a more automatic-type air rifle. To break down the propulsion methods for you, so that you will become familiar with each type, before you actually purchase an air gun will aid you in selecting appropriately and properly.
- Variable Pump comes equipped with a lever that must be stroked at least 3-10 times, in order to compress the air needed to fire off one shot.
- CO2 requires a 12-gram cartridge that is filled with CO2. This will allow you to shoot around 40-60 pellets or BBs, without the need to reload another cartridge. This is the most automatic-type air rifle that you can find and is highly preferred over other brands.
- Break Barrel is equipped with a spring or piston lever that requires manual cocking. You will need to cock the lever or barrel at least one time, before every shot. This is a convenient, but manual method that will allow you the independence to target shoot.
- Pre-Charged Pneumatic is equipped with a high-pressurized tank and lever that requires a manual pumping action, in order to shoot. You will be required to pump the lever 5-10 times to fill the tank with the sufficient amount of air appropriate for one shot. This is quite time consuming, but is suitable for teens and young adults.
Throughout the years there have been many different types of air rifles produced that shoot different types of caliber ammunition. While today there are still some manufacturers that produce custom calibers for specific purposes, the majority of rifle manufacturers have transitioned to four types of calibers: .177, .20, .22, and .25. The most common type of caliber is the .177.
- The .177 is close to the same diameter as a steel BB. Most .177 caliber air rifles can either fire BB’s or pellets, however you always want to be sure to read the informational manual included with your rifle, because there are some .177 air rifles that do not shoot both. They will only shoot one or the other. The .177 is an excellent choice for shooters, who are looking for cheap target practice, or taking down small game like rats or sparrows.
- The second most common type of caliber is the .22. This caliber is mostly used for small game hunting, and is great for shooting long range, because the pellets are usually much heavy than the .177 pellets. However, this means that the bullet will not travel as fast as the .177.
- The next most common type of caliber is the .20 calibers. While the .20 calibers are not as popular as the .177 or the .22, many people believe that this is the perfect caliber for small game hunting. The majority belief this because the .20 caliber rifles produce high velocity, flat trajectories, and shoot far distances.
- The least common type of caliber air rifles is the .25 calibers and they really lack much of a following in the United States. With this being said, they are, however good for small game hunting. This caliber rifle carries a lot of energy downrange for quick, humane kills. It also shoots much more slowly than the above-mentioned calibers, which means that they shoot in a rainbow trajectory.
Power or Caliber
Obviously, the power of the weapon is going to be very important for your particular desires. Those that want to be able to slay medium sized animals will need to choose a much higher caliber. If you’re only interested in perfecting your accuracy, you can skim by with a much lower caliber and less power. Remember that the specific propulsion system and caliber will work in conjunction to help determine the rifle’s power.
If you are practice or target shooting for fun, the accuracy may not be that significant, but if you are looking to defeat your opponents in a shooting match, accuracy is critical. Each type of rifle offers a different amount of accuracy including:
- Variable pump action air rifle is questionable, in how much accuracy it offers, as far as aim and shot goes. This may not be the appropriate air gun for competitions.
- CO2 air rifle offers a benefit like no other type, especially in convenience. You are not required to perform any manual action except for pulling the trigger. This will allow you to focus on your target, so that you can get a much better accuracy rating than the variable pump.
- Break Barrel provides a significant amount of accuracy, while you will be required to do a lot of practicing, before you can perfect your shooting abilities.
- Pneumatic air rifle will provide you with a superb amount of accuracy. This is the perfect air gun for shooting game at long distances, since the accuracy rating is significantly higher than other brands.
Features and Preferences
Finally, there are many different optional features that should be considered. Being able to equip yourself with a semi-automatic air rifle can be tremendously fun and will give you more peace of mind. If this is something you’re looking for, you will want to find an air rifle, which features a removable magazine. Depending on your selection, you may be able to fire 5 to 8 or more bullets, without reloading or pumping. At the same time, you’ll want to contemplate a scope. For long distance shooters, a scope is imperative and will dramatically improve accuracy.
Look and Weight
Depending on your style and stature, you’ll need to consider the air gun’s specific appearance and weight. If you plan on taking your rifle with you, it is vital to choose a gun that doesn’t look overly realistic. This can cause trouble. Otherwise, some individuals will be keen on getting a gun that is hyper realistic. At the same time, the gun’s weight is significant. Since you’re going to be carrying the gun throughout the woods, you need it to be lightweight. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself panting for air, before you spot any prey.
With the crash economy many people have turned to air rifles instead of actual guns for hunting. With that being said air rifles can still be quite expensive. If you want to purchase a good air rifle for the right price, there are several things that you need to consider. You need to make sure the rifle is accurate, and won’t break apart after the first year of use. Suffice to say, air rifles are undoubtedly much less expensive, when compared to real weapons. Still, each gun varies in regards to price.
When purchasing your first or fourth air rifle, you should consider what type of ammunition it is capable of utilizing. Many gunners prefer an air gun that will allow them to switch up their ammunition for different uses. While pellets are perfect for shooting small game, it may not be preferred for practice shooting. A gun that is equipped with a large BB reservoir that will hold 300-400 BBs are great for those that prefer convenience over having to continuously reload.
The caliber of the ammunition is very important, when it comes to the air gun’s use. If you want to target shoot or get rid of pesky critters, the .177 is sufficient for this usage, but if you are looking for a caliber that will assist you in small gaming hunting the .22 and .25 is more suitable.
Now, you should have a good ideal what to look for in an air rifle. With this information in mind, you’ll need to determine your own specifications, needs and desires, in order to make the right decision.