What is a Pre-Charged Air Rifle?


Air rifle advancements remained stagnant for years, but then came the pre-charged air rifle. These rifles first came around in 1580, but they were a mechanical air gun that was a little different than what we have today.

Big game hunting with calibers or .30 – .51 was first seen in the 17th century. There were air rifles used in warfare, too. Velocities of 650 – 1,000+ feet per second can be achieved with air rifles.

Single-stroke and multi-stroke options are available, too.

What’s a Pre-Charged Air Rifle

A pre-charged rifle is a rifle that allows for:

  • Rapid reloading
  • Near noiseless operation
  • A short receiver

The reservoir can be left filled with air for quick use. When empty, a reservoir will need to be refilled to a specific PSI. A PSI range (pressure) of 2000 – 3000 is most common. Once filled, these reservoirs allow for 25 – 30 shots to be fired without the need to pump again.

Accurate and powerful, these rifles allow for air to only move through the rifle when fired.

Most people call these rifles PCP (precharged pneumatics) rifles.

There was a long period of time when these rifles only allowed for smallbore calibers. An older rifle may have offered .177, .22 and .25 calibers. It wasn’t until the 1970s and beyond that the PCP started to use higher calibers to allow for big bore guns.

How to Fill a Pre-Charged Air Rifle

A question that many users have is “how do I fill these rifles?” The answer is: it depends. Every rifle is different, but there are certain rifle types available. The traditional ways to fill these air rifles are as follows:

  1. Hand Pump: The hand pump design is the most tedious. Users will use their hand to physically fill the chamber with air. While this is a cost-friendly method, it takes longer than other methods. The good thing is that these hand pumps can always be used, so you’ll never run out of
  2. Compressor: A small compressor can be used to fill the reservoir with air. This will require some form of power to use the compressor. This method is less common than the hand pump, but it’s a great option when target shooting.
  3. Scuba Tank: The scuba tank adapter is another option when filling your reservoir. You’ll need to have an adapter and hose that allows for easy connection to the corresponding rifle. This is a quick and easy way to fill your reservoir. You can bring tanks with you on-the-go, but they’re heavy, so they’re not ideal for traveling long distances.

Air and CO2 may be used as the required fuel, depending on the rifle.

What’s nice is that the newer rifles don’t fatigue the user’s arms and hands as they did in the past. Modern technology allows these rifles to be filled rapidly so that you don’t find filling the rifle arduous.

A well-maintained air rifle allows for shot-to-shot consistency with a high level of accuracy.

Pressure level indicators and well-hidden air intakes allow the pre-charged air rifle to be a popular choice for target practice and hunting game, too, with high caliber shots for humane kills.


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