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SEPTEMBER 19, 2011 5:20 PM
Airguns are experiencing a renaissance not unlike archery hunters have seen with compound bows or muzzleloaders and their advancements in ignition systems. New technology such as the Crosman Nitro Piston-powered break barrel rifles and Benjamin pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) rifles have made it possible for hunters to take airguns beyond the backyard and pursue game as large as hogs and coyotes. Airgun hunting is not a new concept, however just as with a bow, centerfire or muzzleloader, there are considerations to be made in order to be successful. Because airguns do not produce the velocity of a firearm, it is important to be aware that shorter effective ranges are
to be expected. The ammunition does not have the cutting diameter of a broadhead, making head shots the most effective target. Head shots are not reserved solely for big
game. This technique applies equally to woodchucks, squirrels and pests such as rats. The heart/lung shot is ingrained in shooters at an early age because it is the largest target area and the animal will surely die. With airguns the distance between a chest impact and “will surely die” could be significant. Coupled with no exit wound, the hunter is faced with a difficult track, and likely a lost animal. Experienced firearm hunters often opt for a neck shot to put an animal down quickly. The buck in the photo above was taken with the Benjamin Rogue .357 with a single head shot at 43 yards. The entry was the size of a dime and there was no exit. No meat was ruined, the trophy was intact and no tracking was necessary. The same result on a 180 pound hog at 50 yards and a prairie dog at 135 yards left no doubt that a properly placed head shot is the most effective method of dispatch with an airgun. Professional airgun hunter and writer Jim Chapman approved of taking a deer with the Rogue and reflecting on his own whitetail deer experiences, wrote, “it’s not a matter of power but exact shot placement, and for that reason my personal guideline is to keep my shots inside of 40-50 yards” (Whitetail Hunt at Michigan’s Deer Tracks Ranch, 2009).
Crosman offers an Airgun Hunting Capabilities Guide to assist consumers in determining what Crosman or Benjamin airgun best fits their needs. The guide was developed with input from several veteran outdoorsmen with experience in multiple hunting disciplines. Suitable hunting airguns, from .177 caliber up to the ground-breaking Benjamin Rogue .357, are included along with suggested pellets and expected velocities and foot-pounds of energy (fpe). The guide lists a variety of popular small, medium and larger game and recommended maximum distances for shooting each species, all with a headshot being the recommended kill zone. There are species such as deer and exotics that, with practice and proper discipline, these guns are perfectly appropriate to use but are not included in the chart. Hunting with an airgun offers the exciting challenge of close pursuit across a wide variety of species if taken with a head shot. Ultimately, success will be determined by ballistics and the accuracy of the shooter, so above all know your distance and know your capabilities. Ready to hunt? We encourage you to check your local regulations then visit us online to find the perfect hunting airgun to fit your needs. See Crosman’s Chip Hunnicutt use the Benjamin Rogue .357 on a deer hunt next season on The Outdoor Channel’s “Hunting the World Southern Style”. Thanks to Cypress Creek Hunting Lodge for an outstanding experience. For more on hunting with airguns, visit crosmanhunting.com. TAGS: hunting, rogue, tv
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Mchristopherson September 27, 2011 at 9:05 pm
I agree with the head shot, the only shot you should take. I tried shooting a pesky coon and it took 14 shots to the heart area to kill it, ruined my whole night!
Glenn September 30, 2012 at 9:13 pm
I say take head shot only for grey/fox squirrel if you’re using a .177 caliber. My .177 caliber air rifle shoots 670 fps with 7 grain pellet. I shot a grey squirrel at about 10 yards in the heart/lung area. The squirrel lost control of his hind feet and crawled with front feet toward a tree. I shot him again – he kept moving. The squirrel finally reached the tree and climbed it out of site! The .177 caliber at 600 fps doesn’t produce a large enough wound channel, it takes too long for the squirrel to bleed to death.
Airgun Hunting (April 2012) Hunting with airguns
by Tom Gaylord exclusively for PyramydAir.com. © Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved
Can airguns be used for hunting? The answer is yes, but there are some things to think about, and this short article addresses them.
Are airguns humane?
Yes, and there are two key areas to address. The first is accuracy: if you can't hit the target, nothing else matters. Since airguns are best-suited for small game like squirrels, rabbits and many birds, the area that
must be hit to ensure a humane kill is small. How small varies from animal to animal, but as a general rule it's no larger than an American quarter -- which is just under one inch in diameter.
At what range can you hit this quarter with every shot? That's your maximum effective range for hunting with a smallbore airgun.
The most effective shot is a brain shot. If it's done right, the animal dies instantly. If you miss and hit the animal elsewhere, it can escape to die slowly. So, you must know where to hit each animal you hunt. On larger game such as deer, a heart/lung shot is preferred because the kill zone is about eight inches in diameter. Deer don't always die instantly from this shot; but when they run, you can usually track them. They don't climb trees or burrow into the earth. Small game often stays close to a burrow in the ground or a nest that's high in a tree. When they run, they can get to a spot that is inaccessible to the hunter. The kill must be instantaneous, or you risk losing the animal. Limit your shots to as far as you're assured of hitting a quarter-sized target every time. You must exercise discipline to take a shot only when everything is clear. If the animal's head is half-hidden, then the kill zone isn't the size of a quarter anymore. If that's the case, use your best judgment to decide if you can make the more difficult shot.
How much power?
The second thing to consider about airgun hunting is the power the airgun generates. Velocity without power is meaningless, so airgun hunters speak in terms of muzzle energy -- never velocity. This subject is hotly debated by two groups: those who believe in using all the power that's possible and those who feel it's possible to kill with very little power. The truth is that it's possible to kill game humanely with very little power; but the lower the power, the more important it is to hit exactly the right spot. In the end, this gets to the ridiculous point of almost no power that must be delivered by a million-to-one shot to be effective. Sportsmen do not like taking chances where there's a possibility that an injured animal
will escape.p. the pellet doesn't retain its energy after leaving the muzzle.s.177-caliber pellet gun shooting a lead pellet weighing 7. at the muzzle. And even those two are not equivalent.3-grain pellet at 615 f.9 grains at 827 f. The recommended lower limit for a hunting airgun is one that produces 12 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Of course. But those are only two of an incredibly long list of animals suited to hunting by airguns.22-caliber air gun shooting a 14. You'll be limiting your shots to distances at which you can place all your pellets inside a one-inch target.p. Gray squirrels. . the maximum range you should engage targets should probably be 35 yards. at the muzzle or a . They can absorb body hits and still run a long distance to escape. both in North America and the United Kingdom. Other pellet weights will obviously produce different amounts of energy at the same velocities. and the two most common animals that come to mind are the cottontail rabbit and the gray squirrel. which is a distance where it will become harder to keep all your pellets inside the one-inch target. A lower-powered airgun has a more limited range of effectiveness. on the other hand. With a 12 foot-pound gun. They can be taken with a heart shot as well as a head shot. A 30 foot-pound gun would be useful out past 50 yards. What is small game? Say "small game" to any hunter.s. while a more powerful airgun can reach out farther. The cottontail rabbit is fairly easy to take with an airgun. so there are practical lower limits to the power recommended for airgun hunting. and you can use Pyramyd Air's handy energy calculator to determine the velocity of your airgun. These limits are supported by decades of successful hunting experience. That equates to a . are far more difficult to dispatch. The maximum range at which game can be taken humanely is limited both by the power of the airgun as well as its accuracy.
one of the toughest of all small animals. . there's the wiry jackrabbit -.If you open the topic to all rabbits. They are to cottontails as bighorn sheep are to domestic sheep.
When you consider hunting small game with airguns.. raccoons and opossums. What constitutes small game is really a pretty broad category. This topic deserves its own article because of the intricacies of the subject matter. The critter that is bothering you personally can be considered a pest. There's also a much broader category of animals that society and your community consider a pest.like a jackrabbit. Rats are on everyone's pest list. What are pests? There are two different definitions of a pest. That didn't stop NASA from obtaining airguns to shoot them when they attacked the insulation of launch vehicles at Cape Canaveral. but the red-headed woodpecker who's ruining the shingles on your house is a protected species throughout North America. It takes a very precise shot with sufficient power to anchor him. it isn't enough to just lump all the animals together in one bunch and get an airgun for everything. the gray squirrel is tough. Not only are they many times the body weight of a gray squirrel. Then there are larger critters such as woodchucks.Though small. . so this is all I'll present at this time. they're also tough to take down.. You need to actually know what type of animals you intend hunting and plan for them accordingly.
Can air pistols be used? Like air rifles. Since air pistols are much harder to hold than air rifles. the term pest has two important points of view.20. and they're all effective for hunting as long as the accuracy and power requirements are met.177. costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs and grounding costly capital assets. So. The TalonP precharged pneumatic air pistol generates over 50 footpounds of muzzle energy. state and national. there will be a separate article devoted to just this topic. there can only be one viewpoint. air pistols must satisfy the two essential criteria of power and accuracy. either. . Their acidic excrement was blistering the paint on the wings of airliners.but they didn't publicize the program. The snowy egret is a large.25. but the .local. the accuracy requirement is just as limiting as the one for power.25-caliber TalonP air pistol is an exception. Because this is a very popular segment of airgun hunting. so it's one of the better-suited air pistols for hunting. Twelve footpounds is the lower limit recommended for all airguns. Not many air pistols can be used for hunting. where officials hired airgunners to get rid of the birds from the inside of hangars. Hawaii. Just as the air rifle is limited to the range at which a one-inch target can be hit reliably. majestic waterfowl with brilliant white plumage. That excludes most air pistols because they typically do not produce much more than 6 foot-pounds. When you hunt pests. . the same holds for an air pistol. But there are some subtleties the hunter should be aware of. and it has to agree with the laws -. . They're protected everywhere except at the airport in Honolulu. Those that can generate more power are always the more expensive models. What about calibers? This article addresses only the four smallbore airgun calibers of .22 and .
The reason for this restriction is because the kill zones in small game are not perfect circles. Where the general rule for accuracy is hitting a one-inch target.The four smallbore calibers are (left to right) .22 and . the shooter who uses a . But the hunter needs to restrict himself a bit more to compensate for the very small diameter of the . quarter.177.177 pellet.75 inches. Read further to see how each fits into airgun hunting.177 we'll reduce this to about .20.S. .177-caliber airgun should be able to hit a nickel. for . regardless of how much velocity or even energy your air rifle produces. you must be able to hit even this smaller target every time.177. The . Instead of being able to hit a U.25.177 caliber is the smallest of all pellet calibers. . and it has the unfortunate reputation for shooting through game without touching vital areas. This caliber is also the fastest of the four smallbore calibers. so the energy minimums for hunting can be met by many more airguns in this caliber than in the three larger calibers. . If you're using a . The brain of a gray squirrel looks more like a large piece of candy corn than a marble.
if not better. There's no room for accidents in hunting. and that's never going to change. The . .22 are so much alike that I'll discuss them together. there haven't been good pellets in this caliber. Airguns are often employed in more urban settings where firearms simply cannot be used. You must also be concerned about where your pellet goes after it hits the game.177 caliber should only be used to distances at which you can hit a nickel every time. Does it go through the animal and travel on in a dangerous direction? The most important thing for any hunter is to leave the environment as good as you found it -. and a . but so do your surroundings. Safety above everything One of the best things about hunting with an airgun is also one of the most challenging things. They give the hunter a broader impact and punch a larger hole in game. The guns existed without anything to allow them to realize their full potential. But even an airgun pellet will carry beyond the target. because the pellets cost so much more than pellets in smaller calibers.20 and . A hunter must conduct himself in such a way to ensure that he does everything as safely as possible. the .22. so the airgun hunter must be aware of what is downrange -.25 caliber should be the most effective caliber of all for airgun hunting.Because it's so small in cross-section.beyond the intended target. so they're much more effective than . The small kill zones restrict the distance at which you can shoot. And at the top of the list is protecting the safety of people and property. This isn't the caliber for casual shooting.25-caliber pellet can now hold its own with a . That has changed in the past couple years. Calibers . They're the most successful calibers of all for hunting when everything is taken into consideration. The only drawback the big caliber still has is cost. but until recently.177 caliber. Hunting is limited to close ranges at which perfect shots can always be made.
too. of course. frankly.Which airgun to buy. and most is shown incorrectly. I enjoyed the format and also found it very informative. I doubt much of that is real. Q: I sensed that. I'll tell you what --next time we meet. but I don't know anybody who shoots. Q: Okay. I could always take it on a test drive. A: You're right about that! TV and the movies portray a very small section of the shooting sports.com. buying cars and buying airguns isn't a direct comparison. I recently read a very informative guide to target shooting that was written more than a century ago. It was written in question/answer format and the author wrote both the questions and the answers. When you understand all that I teach about safe airgun operations. Which airgun should I buy? Part 1 by Tom Gaylord Exclusively for PyramydAir. the more confused I become. but you can't do that with airguns -. So. Most dealerships won't allow you to go off-road or do anything dangerous with their cars. that brings up an important point. I don't need a license to own an airgun. I hope you do. I'm also new to shooting and don't know what there is. New airgunner's question: I'm thinking of getting an airgun -. If I were buying a car. . I don't know. do I? So how do I get the training I need? A: Good question! I'm glad to see you thinking about it that way and not just supposing that because you're an adult living in the United States you're automatically qualified to operate an airgun. I've seen people shoot on TV and in the movies. It read well because the right questions were asked. Part 1. Could you please help me decide which airgun will be right for me? Answer: I'd be glad to help. but the reality is both different and far more attractive than they make it appear. They like to add effects for dramatic appeal. but to do that you would need to have a license to drive.at least not as far as I know. I'm on my own. Copyright ©2012. What kind of shooting would you like to do? Q: Well that's the problem. A: You say you could take a car on a test drive. and they were asked in such a way that the reader could understand exactly what the person was asking. All Rights Reserved.but the more I read and research on the internet. you'll be farther along in your quest to become an airgunner. And you could only test-drive cars on the road. I'll give you a lesson on the safe operation of airguns. but.
You don't know how many people saw that movie and felt the same as you. The gun you get doesn't have to meet any particular power requirement. I've played a few times. you're going to think this is stupid.Q: Great! I'm up for that. A: No problem. Let me ask you a basic question: Have you ever played darts? Q: You mean the throwing kind? Yes. but that's what I want. let's explore a little more about the kind of shooting you'd probably enjoy so you and I can narrow the field. Q: Hold on a minute! Just because I want to shoot long-range. A: That's not stupid at all. However. Any airgun we choose will be able to do that. Only you were smart enough to realize that you can reduce the distance to the target and still have the same challenge with an airgun. You just told me something very important about yourself. I wouldn't have said it that way. if that's what you mean. Right now. it'll be my responsibility to eliminate the rabbits and other pests. I guess you're right -. you will be better informed. knowing that you're interested in pest elimination is another important piece of information. and you want to do so with great precision. A: I know even more about you from what you've said. . I don't have the time or inclination to buy a Sharps rifle and learn to shoot like Quigley. but I thought that. but when I saw the movie Quigley Down Under I was fascinated by all the long-range shooting. A: Okay. we'll do it. So what about shooting guns seems attractive to you? Q: Well.I want to shoot a rifle. A: Okay. When you're ready to make a purchase. My wife always has a vegetable garden. I could sort of scale that down and even shoot a little in my backyard. So how does that help us? A: It allows us to rule out hunting at this time. let's not rule out some hunting. Q: What's that? A: You're more interested in shooting rifles than handguns. A: Did you like it? Q: I suppose. That narrows the field a lot. I didn't get into it as a hobby. You want to shoot a rifle. As long as it's accurate. Q: I've never even thought about that. that will be the most important thing to you. Q: Exactly. It'll help us decide on the right caliber for you. with an airgun. and we agreed that if I get an airgun.
Q: Oh boy. does that ever open a can of worms. Quigley was what got me started thinking about shooting. Your answers don't seem to lead in that direction. You asked if I ever played darts. When the time comes. I'll recommend a caliber that I think is best for what you want to do -. thanks for your time and I'll see you after I read all those blog reports. If you read this before we meet again. I walked her through everything she needed to do. I've read so much about why you should choose this caliber or that one that I'm twisted up in knots! A: No problem. I get asked this question: By repeatedly breaking open a breakbarrel rifle. could that lead to accuracy issues due to possible misalignment of the barrel with the action? There are some customer reviews on this site where shooters have stated that they know their . I'll send you to the last report. I recommend reading them starting with the first one and going forward because they build on each other. and the links to the others are at the top of the page. Mom wanted to be their teacher. step-by-step. but you should know that airguns are one of the shooting sports in the Olympics. In this series. I want you to read this series of blog articles that I wrote for a single mother of two young boys who wanted to start shooting. I probably would not be interested in shooting just at paper targets all the time.and I'll give you my justification for selecting it. Q: Before you go. I have one last question. There's also a World Cup championship circuit that airgun target shooters follow. What was that about? A: If you enjoyed darts more than a little I would have explored formal target shooting with you. Yeah.com ©2010. most of the work in the next lesson will be a review. but she was a novice. All Rights Reserved. Does the pivot point of a breakbarrel rifle make it potentially less accurate? (February 2010) Does the pivot point of a breakbarrel rifle make it potentially less accurate? by Tom Gaylord Copyright PyramydAir. Like I said. so I dropped the subject. Remember. I think we're off to a good start. Well. Every now and then. next time I'm going to cover the basics of safe airgun operations. You can cross-examine me and go a different way if you aren't convinced. New airgunner: I see. and I have a homework assignment for you.
There have been any number of accurate breakbarrel target rifles throughout the years. the Whiscombe JW 75 is as accurate as a fine precharged air rifle.with no discernable accuracy advantage for either. but RWS decided to change the configuration by transforming the action to a fixed-barrel sidelever when they created the rifle that finally became the model 75. but that was the way the market was headed.. and it's been made as both a breakbarrel and a fixed barrel. This Whiscombe JW 75 comes with all four smallbore airgun barrels. nothing could be further from the truth! One of the most accurate long-range spring rifles ever made is a Whiscombe. Although it's a breakbarrel spring gun. It could hold its own with any target rifle of its time.rifle could never attain great accuracy because it's a breakbarrel. We also get similar comments on the blog. . I doubt that any accuracy was gained through this conversion. so it was a good business decision. In fact.. but the epitome must be the Diana 65.
by letting the barrel slam shut just once. On a gun with a mechanical lock. Can the barrel come back into alignment with the scope time after time? Yes! It can and it does.. The "problems" we've looked at here are not really problems at all. The purpose of all locks. yet they're breakbarrels. therefore. This bearing is of large diameter to spread out the load. they don't. They won't lose accuracy. there's also a spring-loaded detent. Airgun barrels are made from dead-soft steel and can be bent by hand if you know what you're doing. Breakbarrels have a pivot bearing that serves as the barrel's axle when the rifle is cocked. However. is to prevent air loss on firing and to return the barrel to the same place every time.. but their aperture rear sights are also mounted on the receiver and should. even after hundreds of thousands shots have been fired. barrels can be cocked hundreds of thousands of times with zero deflection.in fact.every time. There's also some kind of lock to keep the barrel closed during shooting.. Yet. Another fallacy regarding breakbarrels is that the continuous action of cocking the rifle will eventually bend the barrel. Many target-class breakbarrel air rifles have shot 10-meter groups measuring less than one-tenth of an inch between centers of the widest shots. you can easily bend it. but it's usually smaller and uses less spring force than the detent on a gun that has no lock because the mechanical lock serves to keep the barrel closed.The Diana 60 and 61 are precision target rifles. mechanical or springloaded. The barrel latch on this Weihrauch HW55 target rifle locks the barrel in perfect alignment with the rear sight. . It's the reason breakbarrels are just as accurate as fixed barrels. They don't have a scope. This can be a spring-loaded ball bearing. The HW55 won the 1969 World Championship. a spring-loaded chisel detent catch or even a mechanical catch that's unlatched by the shooter prior to breaking open the barrel. The simple truth about breakbarrel spring-piston rifles and pistol is that their designs are both robust and potentially accurate. have the same alignment problems. that's how they're straightened! The final fear about breakbarrels is that the scope is mounted on the receiver and the barrel moves independently.. In truth. too.
louder siblings. It's not at all similar to the bullet from a firearm. published in 1997. think of the game of darts.It's only a pellet! Why airguns are so different from firearms (October 2009) It's only a pellet! Why airguns are so different from firearms by Tom Gaylord Copyright PyramydAir. with all the weight concentrated forward in the nose. even without the stabilizing spin imparted by rifling. Like a birdie. The diabolo pellet is designed for stable flight. If you haven't played badminton in a while. How can a pellet gun out-shoot a refined firearm that has had thousands of dollars worth of customization lavished upon it? The answer lies with the projectile--the thing that differentiates an air rifle from its larger. it will turn 180 degrees in flight and strike the target point-first.com ©2009. Take a long look at an airgun pellet. The dart is weighted in its nose to the extent that if you throw it tail-first. the forward weight of the pellet gives it directional stability. All Rights Reserved. This article originally appeard in Airgun Revue #1. for all the world. It's long and hollow. like a badminton birdie made of lead. . or even the ball from a blackpowder arm. An airgun pellet looks.
Even so. The birdie tapers straight back from its head. This is not to say that airgun shooters should disregard safety practices simply because their guns are so limited. airguns are the ideal tools for initial gun training for all situations. A powerful pellet rifle today may be capable of launching its pellet at 1. as the already-inefficient pellet is rendered even more so by deformation after striking the surface from which it rebounds. are much less likely to endanger others. The most powerful pellet rifles commonly available today can only shoot a maximum of about 500 yards.Another pellet/birdie similarity is that both projectiles have a flared tail. as well. renders the pellet extremely safe at a very short distance from the muzzle. which keeps the nose pointed straight forward to the line of flight. Airguns can cause painful injuries at close range when they're handled without care. but it also serves to slow the projectile rapidly. no matter how fast the initial velocity. which have long been the bane of the firearm. Ricochets. a speed that a few years ago was thought to be impossible to attain. . it will soon be harmless. and lack of harmful recoil. Like the birdie. such as rats and poisonous snakes at close range. But the flared skirt serves the same purpose for both projectiles. It's because of their aerodynamic properties that pellet guns are best for safe training. low noise. a pellet is extremely light for its size.s. the pellet rapidly decelerates. It causes an immense amount of aerodynamic drag. they've taken over the role of the world's most accurate arms of all types out to ranges of 50 yards. their pellets fall safely to earth in less than 150 yards. It allows the game of badminton to be played in a small area.22 long rifle bullet will travel a mile and a half and come back to earth with sufficient energy to maim and even kill. They can even be used to eliminate small pests.. This same drag is what makes a pellet gun many times safer than a firearm of any kind.100 f. Even disregarding their cheaper operating expense. combined with the high aerodynamic drag. This is a second stabilizing feature. And today. as a result of this. This light weight. And. Military departments all over the world have been using them for training since the turn of the century. even though the birdie may start out at well over 100 mph with a powerful serve.p. A . while the pellet is shaped more like an hourglass. just like the birdie. they can only do that when they're elevated to a 30-degree angle to the horizon for maximum range! When shot relatively level.
but they hardly represent a threat to anyone. At close range. Of course. The pellet weighs 7.9 grains. which are far less likely to bounce back. Don't use them in rifled barrels! Other types of airgun projectiles. BB guns all shot lead balls. Replicas of those guns are being made in ones and twos throughout the world today. These guns were initially designed in the early 1600s for European nobility. A BB.443 lead ball for the Farco air shotgun. the ball 120 grains! There are some air rifle projectiles in existence that do not have the poor aerodynamics mentioned above. The logistics of shooting a powerful air rifle like these is so great that a flintlock looks like an assault rifle by comparison. is quite prone to ricochet because of its round shape and hard steel composition. One model was actually used by the Austrian Army against Napoleon in the 1790s. they're surprisingly accurate. Some air rifles even fire round lead balls with the same force as blackpowder rifles. when steel shot was introduced to the market. for example.A . Some low-powered. have their own unique safety requirements. smoothbore airguns are suitable for these darts. . such as BBs and darts. Until the 1920s. This is where "You’ll shoot your eye out" originated. the shooter must still practice safe shooting at all times.177 Crosman Premier is dwarfed by a .
and you decide if you want to listen. but if you want the BANG to mean something. showed up. In other words. I didn't mind it that much.The airgun dart is tipped with a sharp point that sticks well in a special target surface like a dart board. We had all the 1911A1s from our B-Troop arms room at this range. All Rights Reserved. which sets up a potential accident in an instant. I watched the 10 non-commissioned officers who each had two shooters to watch. and my squadron commander. so I asked Colonel Bonsall to select a pistol from those lying on the table and join the line in the next rotation. Washington. You can grab a pistol any old way if all you want to do is hold it while you pull the trigger. who am I to tell anyone how to hold a pistol properly? I'm not a former Olympian. bad things happen quickly. On a pistol range. there was a whole lot of watching of the shooters. I hold no titles in pistol shooting. One day I was running a . then read this short article. I ran a lot of ranges. Let me tell you why. Parents should exercise close adult supervision at all times when children are shooting airguns with darts. If a shooter has a malfunction and fails to follow . I was responsible for announcing all the commands on the range. They're to be used in low-powered guns at short distances. He wanted to shoot with us. LTC Bonsall.com ©2009. they are the safest guns in existence. I'll tell you. and to tell you the truth. even at low velocity. and my NCOs watched each of their shooters to make sure they complied. That's one of the extra duties that officers are assigned. watch the video and follow along.45 pistol range at Fort Lewis. Airguns are what they are by virtue of their extremely specialized projectiles. and as a first lieutenant under his command I was not about to argue. and that was the last I thought about it because I had 20 shooters on the line at a time. watching for things that escaped the eyes of the line NCOs. when used in an unsafe manner. When I was in the Army in the 1970s. How to hold an air pistol for greatest accuracy (September 2009) How to hold an air pistol for greatest accuracy by Tom Gaylord Copyright PyramydAir. The nature of the sharp dart makes it very dangerous. Even adults have been known to turn with loaded pistols in their hands. What gives me the right to write about this subject? Well. Although capable of world-class accuracy at close range. My troop training NCO was walking the entire line. He did. And.
He was surprised by the 1. but after this day we all started learning real fast. It's scary. Col. He wore a gold medal on the breast pocket of his dress uniform that signified he was a Distinguished Pistol Shot. Like everyone else. everybody who isn't shooting is watching everybody who is. because he was used to a 4-lb. he showed up and I gave him my personal 1911A1 that I had gunsmithed to my tastes. Therefore. I was shocked to see a tiny hole in the area of the heart. I was only watching to see where all the muzzles were. he volunteered to teach me how to do it.5-lb. the nearest NCO or. competition pull. a silhouette at 25 yards. he can turn his body in an instant. It was all in the grip. The other shooters were lucky to get 25 of their 50 rounds anywhere on the sillhouette. because the gun gripped him back aggressively. he liked the target sights and the tight bushing that aligned the barrel on every shot. and he told me about the program and the fact that he had reached the level where he could have tried out for the U. Bonsall hadn't been in the squadron that long. Olympic team. He put 50 rounds through that hole. The muzzle of the pistol will go with him and will probably by pointed at the shooter next to him. He managed to shoot an incredibly tight group with that pistol. because we don't put the targets anywhere near that spot. Distinguished Pistol Shot badge At the next pistol range. And. I've seen the dust kick up six feet in front of a shooter once the command "commence firing" has been given. heaven forbid. Because I was interested in shooting. He never did. me! I've seen shooters do things like that on occasion. but when I told him how surprised I was at the shooting performance he demonstrated on our range with non-accurized guns. when my training sergeant walked over and mentioned that the Colonel was doing very well. So. I was surprised. trigger-pull. More frequently.S. so nobody knew much about him.the procedures we told him to follow. . I asked him about that. then he showed me how to do it. When I stepped to where I could see his target. He liked the stippling I did on the front strap and the mainspring housing. which is to remain in place with the muzzle of the pistol pointed downrange and raise his non-firing arm for assistance.
Finally he told me that the real secret of good pistol shooting was to not care what happened when the gun went off. published in 1998. no. I'm not a pistol champion. Bonsall started me on the path to good shooting offhand in the same way that Elmer Keith had taught me how to shoot a rested handgun. I learned from one. to lock the elbow. But. of course. pulling the pistol straight back into the web of my hand. Col. Bonsall taught me a valuable lesson back in 1972. How much more accuracy can I expect?" "If I can get someone to tune my gun so it shoots smoothly. I have enough experience to know that his way was right.The barrel by Tom Gaylord Copyright PyramydAir. And. "Let it surprise you. All Rights Reserved. Col. even if I can't take it as far as I would like. Let the other fingers and the thumb just wrap around the grip lightly and put no pressure on it.p. This article originally appeared in Airgun Revue #2.s. and I'm passing it along in his honor." he said.000 f. Related articles: Accuracy--it's not a given! Part 2: The projectile Accuracy--it's not a given! Part 3: The sights "I want to tune my airgun so that it shoots at least 1. When bringing the pistol up to fire. but hearing it from a man I had watched put 50 rounds from an arms-room pistol through a two-inch hole at 25 yards had greater impact. So. Airgun accuracy: It's not a given! Part 1-The barrel (September 2009) Airgun accuracy: It's not a given! Part 1 . Why is my friend's recoiling gun able to shoot tighter groups than mine?" Sound like something you might have said? All of us have said these things at one time or another. will that make it more accurate?" "I bought a recoilless airgun for the extra accuracy they are known to have.He told me to grasp the grip with my middle finger only.com ©2009. What is accuracy. and how do we get it? . I had read that before. roll the shooting arm as far to the right (for right-handers) as possible.
In a rifled gun. the early M16s had an incorrect twist rate for the bullets they fired. New shooters are sometimes surprised when a veteran is more pleased with a tight group of shots anywhere on the paper than with a random shot through the center of the bullseye. These are the "natural" shooters. They would even suffer abuse and continue to group well. Any ballistic projectile can be stabilized by rotating it. and the bullet may begin to go in an erratic direction. to make them perform. which can build up in the bore of the . but we'll look just at twist rate. In firearms. In Vietnam. Good barrel=good accuracy. All these things are important. the early US M16 rifles were said to be more deadly than the larger-caliber rifles they replaced because their smaller-caliber bullets naturally tumbled when they hit flesh. bore friction and bullet deformation on both the base and sides. and it's where the bullet gets its physical programming for the rest of its ballistic flight. A gyroscope provides the proof for this. If they were so great as flesh destroyers. For starters. the twist can also be made too fast. accuracy is consistency--the repeated striking of a shot in the same place. the bullet will be stabilized well and travel very straight. but nothing I do can guarantee the repeat of a lucky shot. Unfortunately. A spear also travels straighter if it's spiraled when thrown. a barrel that rotates a bullet one complete turn in 10 inches of travel is said to have a one-in-ten-inch twist rate. the rifling affects many of the bullet's physical characteristics (and vice-versa). why did the Army bother to change the twist rate in later rifles? The answer is accuracy. they destabilized in flight and became erratic at long distances. The rate of twist is a measure of how many inches of barrel a bullet must traverse to rotate one time. barrels with a fast twist tend to erode more quickly. and I advise you to keep every one of them you come in contact with. even though most gyroscopes we are familiar with are not ballistic projectiles. because they aren't that common. as well. such as hold and the ambient weather conditions. Actually.Accuracy is several things. but they may begin to strip lead from the pellet. they don't erode. The barrel guides the bullet the whole time it's under the shooter's control. If the twist is slower. Other guns have been remarkably stable--shooting well in all conditions. That will put undue stress on both the bullet and the barrel." They can be made to shoot quite well. like footballs. The old warning to beware of the man who owns just one gun because he probably knows how to use it--is true. I can always move a tight group by adjusting the sights. Accuracy is a function of the shooter. Among these are rate of twist. and the striking of flesh simply made this more apparent. For example. Some guns are "twitchy. as long as the right things are done. which is all this article will examine. all of which must be present for results to pay off. So does an arrow. they travel farther and straighter if they're thrown with a spiral twist. the stability will not be as good. In airguns. but the shooter must stay on top of several factors. If the twist is fast enough. But bullets are! They rotate on their long axis like American footballs thrown in a forward pass. And. Left alone. I'm convinced that most of the accuracy in any gun resides in the barrel.
gun. It won't change much from that rotational speed after it leaves the barrel. The twist rate of the Korean-made Career 707 rifle is extremely fast.p.s. because the bullet is no longer under its direct influence. because there are 12. At 600 f.p. it does slow just a bit. I'm not aware of anything that has been published on twist rates for airguns. the twist of the barrel has imparted a spin to the bullet that's now expressed in rotations per second (r. will eventually cease. it will also over-stabilize a lighter pellet.22 rimfire rifles clear out to an amazing 100 yards. The thing to remember about r. Instead.p. because I don't know.p.000 f. I'm quite sure such work has been done by the individual manufacturers (probably several times..S. since no one publishes it) but that's of no help to airgunners. The same pellet shot from a gun at 800 f. as described earlier..p.. in comparison to the length of time it takes to stop rotating.000 inches in 1. Longer pellets need more spin to stabilize them than do shorter ones. It shoots an extra-heavy.s. a pellet that's unstable at slow speeds may stabilize when it goes faster.p. and . So.s. So. but the amount is so small it doesn't affect anything we're looking at here. the VELOCITY of the pellet begins to drop immediately after it leaves the muzzle--and with some guns and states of tune. this could cause a problem. Remembering that lighter pellets require a slower spin to be stabilized than heavier pellets.. for essentially its entire flight. especially in the blackpowder field. but the flight of a bullet is so brief. Like any mechanical force. Although it's no longer imported to the U. that it's irrelevant. it will also be spinning (rotating on its axis) at a rate of 1. In reality. would be 720.p. So. Downrange velocity doesn't mean very much for this computation.200 r. even before. extra-long 29.s. On the other hand. twist rate ceases. would be rotating 960 r. It will still be accurate.p. there will be pellets that perform better because the twist is fast enough for them and for pellets that are unstable because of their size.200 r.000 feet.s. the pellet remains at 1. If it exits the bore at 1.p. and the pellet is rotating once every 10 inches of travel while it's inside the barrel. r. at one turn in eight inches.s. Since most airgunners don't clean their bores. Over-stabilization isn't bad--it's just an expression that means there's a greater spin than required to stabilize the pellet in question. What I DO know is that once a bullet or pellet leaves the muzzle of the gun. Think of a pellet shot from a one-in-ten-inch-twist barrel. because there's very little besides air friction to slow it down.s. There has been a lot of work done on firearm twist rates.s. as this air rifle is as accurate as many . The compromise is this: if a barrel can stabilize a heavier pellet.s.). for any rifled barrel. It's a direct relationship. unless it begins to strip in the bore.6-grain domed pellet that can group five shots in 0. That's only the beginning.30" at 50 yards. though. they can be expected to do better at slow muzzle velocities. but nothing on airguns. is that it increases as velocity increases. Most of this is due to the barrel. the r. Before this discussion proceeds. it had a reputation as one of the most accurate air rifles on the market. (800 x 12 = 9600 ÷ by 10 = 960). I must mention that I'm NOT going to tell you what the "right" twist rate is for an airgun.s.p.
While all of them have the ridges mentioned. uniform bore. The barrel can be lapped. but the average Chinese airgun barrel has most of the uniformity faults mentioned here. Either condition promotes inaccuracy. The width of the bore (the distance between the opposing walls of the bore) should be as uniform as possible. Uniformity is another factor in barrels. even most. A lack of uniformity is quickly compounded. or else they'll fail to grab it at all--allowing it to traverse the bore without guidance. Another trick is to bore the hole undersized. though. or the barrel can be ruined beyond hope of redemption. Don't automatically assume that all barrels NEED to be lapped. Fortunately. It is done with abrasives and requires skill. There are several different methods of lapping a barrel. Still another barrel factor is the straightness of the bore. then ream it to the final dimension. they'll either impart uneven friction on the pellet. Top barrel makers sometimes bore their barrels in the vertical plane to eliminate the influence of gravity pulling on the boring bit. there's no guarantee that it's parallel to the outside of the barrel. ruining their near-perfect uniformity. They haven't yet gotten a handle on making uniform barrels in the quantities needed to keep pace with the rest of their production. many shoot quite accurately and would only suffer if they were lapped . Their fine Olympic models are proof that they can make good barrels when they must. Smoothness inside the bore also affects accuracy. But don't assume that any barrel is straight on the inside--no matter how it measures on the outside. If they're not uniform. so the pellet is guided through without undue influence. Finishing at the muzzle hides this from the consumer. because it robs the pellet of velocity through friction. Airgun manufacturers sometimes compromise the best work of the barrel makers when they press-fit their barrels into a base block of steel to form the barrel assembly. though. I've seen many. That's why accurate barrels can be made. Boring a straight hole is a problem that barrel makers have never solved.most of that is due to the twist rate. Lapping is a process that reduces the high spots in metal surfaces to a uniform level. While the barrel can be turned on a lathe after the bore has been drilled and reamed. firearm barrels off-center this way when they were cut off behind the muzzle. something can be done about this condition. there are no easy answers to the straight-hole/parallel-hole dilemma. The walls can be uniform and parallel but tiny ridges in the rifling itself can wreak havoc with accuracy. There have been great strides in dealing with this problem. but it isn't. Another uniformity factor is the height of the rifling lands. This operation can swage constrictions into the finest barrels. but they all seek the same result--a smooth. but it's there just the same. You might think that this uniformity is a given. this operation can also put stresses in the steel that leads to things like uneven movement when the barrel heats during shooting. Airgun barrel makers must keep the height of the rifling to the minimum possible. This is one of the major problems the Chinese airgun manufacturers face today. It represents one of the most challenging control factors barrel manufacturers have been dealing with for more than a century. Even if a hole runs straight. So.
where it resides today in the form of consistency of hold. The one common denominator seemed to be that they were allowing the barrel group to move as much as it wanted. Lo and behold. Finally. Top shooters practice it. If it is properly stabilized. For the airgunner. With gas guns it's much less. in spring guns. there was a barrel-lapping fury that swept the firearms industry and ruined many fine bores. when the pellet exits the muzzle. I was following Beeman's recommendation (in their catalog) to hold the rifle firmly when I shot it. The neutralizing of vibration became embedded into the fabric of good marksmanship. the gun will always be in the same position. hire someone who does. I let it buck and vibrate all it wants with every shot. I rest the forearm of a spring rifle on the flat of my open palm and grasp the pistol grip very lightly with my shooting hand. And. It's often one of the deciding factors in a match. In the 1960s. I reflected on my military training with artillery pieces and mortars. I do this by holding my airguns the same way every time. I don't pull the rifle into my shoulder. I shot a 0. Until recently. Some airgunners have taken to shortening their barrels in an attempt to get the pellet out before there can be much influence from vibration. that C1 just would not group. with "fire-lapping" being hotly debated in the magazines. in frustration. barrel (and even whole gun) vibration is a key to accurate shooting to a much greater extent than for firearms shooters. vibration was either ignored by manufacturers and shooters.incorrectly. A better approach to vibration is to cancel it from the shooting equation. The payoff in spring guns is enormous and dramatic. As a result of both my experimentation and observation. That's what I'm after." I didn't invent the thing--only gave a name to what the good shooters were . it will fly as true as possible. yet they're also highly accurate at many miles distance. This was followed by lots of experimentation with many airguns and observations of others who are known for their prowess. average ones do not. alike. That's because the pellet is so much slower that it's influenced by the gun to a much greater extent than a bullet. if you don't have the experience to do the job.10" five-shot group at 10 meters that way. I laid the rifle on a comforter to see just how poorly it would perform. That has the effect of always launching the pellet from the same point. and I'll be rewarded with the tightest group that gun can make with that pellet. No matter what I did. Only lap the poor performers--leave the good ones alone. but all that does is reduce velocity--and. That way. Also. They recoil severely when shot. or else it was treated in such a manner as to be rendered neutral. Barrel vibration is still another factor that greatly affects accuracy. It's probably best to shoot a gun before determining that it needs to be lapped. I figured this out after becoming frustrated with a Beeman C1 carbine a few years back. but I do it just the same to remain consistent. This sets the gun up to recoil and vibrate to the maximum extent it can. the fad came back. In the '90s. increase the harshness of the firing cycle. but ensuring by design that it always started out from the same place. I named the hold described above the "artillery hold.
B. but that hasn't always been the case. According to authors like W. the Browning corporation introduced their BOSS muzzlebrake as a solution to barrel vibration. The first accurate airgun projectile was the dart.H. but the barrel is where it all begins. Airgun makers are just starting to take barrel vibration into account. Today's adult airguns shoot pellets almost exclusively. Darts. slugs and round balls have all been used with good results over the centuries. now. but there are now several other designs in the works. published in 1998. the early target airguns were accurate to about 50 feet. It's only a question of time until you'll be able to buy many airguns with vibration adjustments built in. One dark strand of hair was put into the tail to serve as an alignment reference point.com ©2009. Airgun accuracy: It's not a given! Part 2-The projectile (September 2009) Airgun accuracy: It's not a given! Part 2 . and airgunners are starting to experiment with firearms add-on muzzlebrakes with adjustments. John Whiscombe was the first manufacturer to install devices on the barrels of guns he makes. This article originally appeared in Airgun Revue #2. a few years ago. All Rights Reserved. let's look at what comes out. Smith.The projectile by Tom Gaylord Copyright PyramydAir.already doing. why not incorporate it into your quest for accuracy with airguns? There are many other subjects to be dealt with. If you agree that my reasoning about the barrel makes sense. . and shot placement was controlled by the removal of the hairs in the tail of the dart--one at a time. Related articles: Accuracy--it's not a given! Part 1: The barrel Accuracy--it's not a given! Part 3: The sights We have already looked at the barrel in our quest for airgun accuracy. Finally. This concept is so demonstrable and works so well that Browning held annual competitions for BOSS owners. The lower-powered airguns of the 16th and 17th centuries used them because they were often the only projectiles those guns could launch at any velocity. The BOSS has a movable weight that lets shooters adjust the vibration patterns of the barrel to suit a specific load.
The Complete AirGunner. they're dangerous. They were fletched with animal hairs that measured an inch or longer. Today. we call it the diabolo design and acknowledge that it's done more for airgunning than any other single invention. was an affordable airgun with a precision rifled barrel and ammunition that was at least reasonable. Even in 1907. The fletching appears to be a synthetic fiber instead of a natural one. They were supposed to have been remarkably accurate at the proper range. the Crosman Corporation marketed a cylindrical pellet. but the pellets were. a Quackenbush or Bugelspanner was an informal gun for fun and recreation.Early darts were considerably longer than the ones sold today. by that time. so they acted much like the feathers on an arrow. but the design has changed. and it's much shorter. And at least a part of this was due to the pellet they used. they're much shorter and have a metal head with point for sticking into the target. Here. described in R.B. the points are so penetrative that they should only be shot in lower-powered airguns. Darts have continued to this very day. And. called the Super . even at very low velocities. but none more than the BSA Military Trainer. By the start of World War II. That sharp point can do great harm. Stories abound of one-inch groups being shot with BSAs at 20 yards and beyond. It was actively marketed as a direct training tool for the Short Magazine Lee Enfield rifle. Darts should be relegated to smoothbore guns. as the metal in the head can damage steel rifling. for the first time. or the extraction effort will quickly ruin them. As a consequence. many of the period airguns that used those pellets got a new lease on life when better pellets became available some time in the 1970s. the airguns of yesteryear are much more accurate than when they were new! Just to give an example. to say nothing of what it will do to brass! Also. The early air rifle was quickly assigned a military training role in both the United Kingdom and throughout Europe. and government contracts were pursued. advances were by degrees. lagging behind. a Crosman pneumatic rifle from 1940 went from being an average shooter to a fly killer at long ranges. Suddenly. At best. From that time forward. which was first produced in 1906. Today. There was very little advance made in diabolo pellets from 1915 to the end of WWII. as two truncated cones with the bases away from each other. I consider the first serious target airgun for general consumption to be the BSA underlever. if safety precautions are not taken. It was a new type. Many of these early air rifle designs showed strong military origins. but it could shoot as well as gallery guns of that time at a fraction of the price. And this is all because the ammunition being fed into it was so superior that it tapped the latent accuracy the manufacturer had put in but which had never before been realized. In 1876. airgun design had evolved to a very mature stage. Townshend's book. Owing to the better pellets of today. both guiding and slowing the projectile as it flew to the target. rather than quantum leaps. the Quackenbush air rifle made quality adult airguns available to the American buyer for the first time (the German Bugelspanner had done the same thing for Europeans decades earlier). Townshend could see the remarkable improvement that the nowfamiliar wasp-waisted pellet has upon accuracy. It was by no means an accurate gun.
Of course. Some Crosman pellets are smaller than other brands. These were made from pure lead and were as soft as pellets ever become--often to the detriment of performance in the repeating guns that Crosman made. these are the most uniform pellets the airgun community has ever experienced. They don't seal the bore well enough to cushion the piston from slamming into the front of . It's just that. many accurate repeaters and single-shots have come along that are as good as the 707. nowadays. Curiously. In all calibers. as far as uniformity is concerned.. Not that a shooter should convert from firearms to airguns. when you consider that the gun is capable of dropping woodchucks at 75 yards and rabbits at 100 yards. though: 1. if he or she knows what to ask for and where to look. In the early half of the 1990s. and the Career 707 is no longer imported to the U. In fact. They are best left unfired.22 rimfire target rifles from the scene at distances out to 50 yards. and today it's airguns.25 caliber before they embrace those guns.Pell. I refer. where all shooting was offhand at 15 meters with iron sights. Field target shooters. what have you lost? [This article was originally written 11 years ago. so a weight comparison for the purpose of determining uniformity is useless. an airgun shooter can shoot many times more often because of the reduced cost and less stringent range limitations. Today's airguns have all but pushed . experienced airgunners expect to see an overnight change in that caliber. Pellets made in China are generally sub-standard. seldom win a match with anything else. Suffice to say that they were okay for their time. So. 2. since they're not wadcutters. but no one would advocate using them now. Crosman pellets are among the finest in the world. the bulk-packed Premiers will eclipse even the hand-selected Olympic pellets from other companies. the Premier is such an important pellet that some are just waiting for it to come out in . but don't use the small ones in powerful spring guns. And nothing is given away.] One third of the modern Olympic shooting events are for airguns.. Even the number of shots fired remains at 60. however. accurate ammunition is inexpensive and available for the new airgunner. the rules they use are a close adaptation of those used in the latter part of the 19th century for the zimmerstutzen. Crosman brought another pellet to market--one that immediately earned it an enduring place in the airgun hall of fame. but the user should know a few things before using them. they cannot be used for bullseye matches. Often. They are made for repeating mechanisms and are made of a harder lead alloy so they feed more reliably. any Super Pells you encounter will probably be white with oxidation. Use them in gas guns (CO2 and pneumatics) and repeaters.S. A lever-action Career 707 is just as fast to shoot and more accurate than a Winchester 9422. They are often sold at gun shows and flea markets or bundled with Chinese airguns. The maturation of the diabolo pellet has had a tremendous impact on adult airgunning. However. but the head and skirt were so predominant compared to the slightly constricted waist that the overall appearance was that of a metal garbage can. Today. If it ever does. to the world-famous Premier. Only back then it was firearms. A few things should be kept in mind.and some have surpassed its accuracy. at a fraction of the cost. of course. during the '60s and '70s. And. It was actually a highly modified diabolo shape.
This advice does not extend to Crosman Premiers. Much of that can be credited to my work testing and writing about airguns. in much the same way new airgunners feel there must be some inherent inaccuracy in breakbarrel rifles today (there isn't). Airguns definitely have me shooting more often than I would otherwise. They cost less because of Daisy's marketing volume. People just didn't trust optics back then. I contrast that with the less than 2. So. but they're definitely worth a look. optical sights on an airgun were rare. 5. I shoot 25. published in 1998.000 pellets and BBs per year. which are the world standard for all accurate airguns except those used for paper punching (because they aren't wadcutters).The sights by Tom Gaylord Copyright PyramydAir.000 shots or more are for my own recreation. Every airgun responds a little differently to every pellet. just as they were for firearms 10 years earlier. All Rights Reserved.000 to 35. The Spanish-made pellets sold under the Daisy label are about as good as German pellets.000 shots of firearms ammunition that I've fired within the past 12 months. Try to learn who really makes the pellets you like. because often the reseller has little or no control over the specifications--they can change at any time! 4. Test for yourself. let's look at iron sights first and finish with optics. Airgun accuracy: It's not a given! Part 3-The sights (September 2009) Airgun accuracy: It's not a given! Part 3 .the compression chamber. Related articles: Accuracy--it's not a given! Part 1: The barrel Accuracy--it's not a given! Part 2: The projectile Sights are an important component of an airgun's accuracy. This article originally appeared in Airgun Revue #2. Before the 1970s. While some generalizations often work (like the one we've made about Crosman Premiers). I believe I'm a better shot because of it. and there has been a revolution in sighting over the last 20-30 years. There are many private-branded pellets on the market. 3.com ©2009. but about 5. . they are not ALWAYS true.
had only a front sight. such as rabbits. Crossbows were better for light hunting. but they worked well and can still work well if a shooter takes the time to learn them. and even then it took some time to be widely accepted. made by Joseph Schembor. You only have to look at the Girandoni windbuchse of 1780--a repeating rifle capable of hitting and killing a man at 100 yards--to see that sights were not keeping pace with the capabilities of the time. The first sights were crude by today's standards. A coarse sight was one in which the front sight stood high above the rear. So. he would be able to discriminate slight variations in between. As the shooter became familiar with the gun. there wasn't much call for precise sighting devices because the guns of that period were only capable of mediocre accuracy. and there were even special-purpose crossbows that shot round stones at birds and small game. as it has come to be known--could be applied. so sights had to evolve to extract the extra accuracy available. Hitting a man at 100 yards was presumed to be luck with military long guns. Elevation was determined by how much of the front blade could be seen above the rear notch. But rifled barrels did eventually prevail. In the 17th century. and only a few highly crafted sporting weapons were any better. a fine sight was one where it only barely showed. A blade on the front of the barrel was centered in a rear leaf that had a shallow "V" notch.Iron sights evolved like the other parts of a gun's mechanism--when they were needed. If a person shoots just one rifle ." variations left or right-or windage. it's only natural that airguns followed firearms in the types of sights they used. because they were generally as inaccurate and range-limited. Rifling did not come into general use until the 1700s. Even the sporting version of this rifle. By holding the front blade to the right or left of the center of the rear "V. I've owned certain rifles that were so repeatable that I gained a sense of where to aim to hit the target.
The M1 Garand even went into battle with a peep sight. The next innovation in sighting--aperture sights--came at a time I haven't been able to establish very accurately. but they're much larger than target apertures for rapid target acquisition. and even the same percussion caps. "Beware of the man with one gun. I believe this is one of those things that probably bumped along for many years before coming into general use.all the time. either. so there must have been an even earlier gestation period. and many thousands of servicemen learned just how good these sights can be. we should not forget that their grandfathers once learned the same lesson with the famous Buffington rear sight of the Trapdoor Springfield. the target should be well-lit and the shooter should be in relative darkness. The rear aperture. And they didn't come all at once. such as lenses). . evolved separately from the front. Like a camera lens. To use aperture sights to their fullest. The phrase. which I believe is the most important part of the discovery. the same powder all the time. The aperture sight is the easiest to use of all iron sights (a term that means sights without optical assists. According to the literature I have examined. which actually took longer and is still changing today. and the whole thing has to be recomputed and relearned. described above. all this talk about instinctive sighting requires a faithful dedication to just one single load. Of course. Change any part. one load of powder. when they came into the picture. And. (There ARE aperture sights with magnifying lenses and even prescriptionground corrective lenses. though. Aperture shades and eye patches for the other eye help create this situation. because they don't understand how these sights work. allowing some very accurate shooting that could almost be termed instinctive." came from such an association. this sense develops fully. Aperture sights existed before the US Civil War (1861 to 1865). but they will not be addressed in this article. Of course. Sporting apertures also exist. Those sights were already well developed. That means one bullet from one mold. because the shooter must peep through the small aperture in the rear to see the front sight. German muzzleloading schutzens had them many years earlier. they were in use as early as 1840 on muzzleloading Schutzens. the human eye becomes much more capable of precise focus over a broad range of distance (depth of field) when the light admitted is restricted by a small hole. That's because the shooter has only to look at the front sight and the target--one less element than the simpler-looking open sights.) Aperture sights are also commonly called peep sights in the US. this feature is the very thing that keeps most people from using them.
This was partly due. The telescopic sight presents a single sighting plane to the shooter--the easiest of all the sight pictures to work with. Noted blackpowder writer Sam Fadala estimates that putting a scope on a gun increases the average shooter's realized accuracy by a factor of two. breakage. to take scope mounts with little fuss. they were regarded as somewhat less than sporting and even prone to failure at the most inappropriate times in the field. It dates to 1884. Receivers had to be spot-annealed. in the end. Gunmakers now customarily prepare their rifles. which looks like a telescopic sight on the outside. The tube helps align the elements and. to the fact that no rifles were made for easy scope mounting. There was a dramatic revolution and change of opinion concerning scopes in the 1960s. there are no lenses--just a front and rear element. A special variant of the aperture sight is the tube sight. The most common sights in use on airguns today are the telescopic sights. the additional factor of magnification is a treat. parallax. reduces light for a sharper picture. Of course. but. Before that time. and. Companies like B-Square have made a business out of supplying no-gunsmithing mounts for the others. Most people are now aware that an airgun is . Today. Even the muzzleloading crowd is starting to put scopes on their guns. with scopes comes the special problems of mounting. Scope manufacturers battled this prejudice for years before tipping the balance their way. though. alignment with the barrel. after which holes for the mounts had to be drilled and tapped--hopefully level with the top of the receiver. it's the rare shooter who goes afield with iron sights. and shotgunners are more than halfway converted--at least among the slug gunners. they won almost completely.The Buffington sight brought the aperture from target shooting to combat. and even some pistols. allowing farther shots with greater precision. Also. Inside the long tube. no doubt. at least with recoiling airguns. of course.
So. the parallax is off--but the effect is so small that no one really cares.harder on a scope than a firearm. simply brace all their scopes against all jarring movements and make no special distinctions about application. 50 yards is generally the far limit at which shots will be taken. or very close to it. Scopes have long been braced against recoil to the rear. Better scopes have parallax adjustments. Parallax. For an airgunner. but few were ready for the strong forward thrust of an air rifle. The fact that you're shooting at a target 40 yards away. where an inch may . their scopes must be adjustable down to a much closer range. Some companies now make special airgun scopes that are correctly braced. is common among the airgun-specific scopes having a parallax adjustment. or adjustment for the range at which the scope is used. by virtue of its two-way recoil pattern. and even 7-1/2 yards. but they usually adjust only as close as 50 yards. It is very disconcerting to watch a group open up to one inch in front of your eyes. On scopes designed for centerfire guns. the parallax may be fixed at some distance that averages out to the probable range at which the gun will be fired--say 100 to 150 yards for centerfires and 50 yards for rimfires. At greater or lesser ranges. The telescopic sight is responsible for more interest and confusion among new airgunners than any other single item of equipment. while others like Leupold. Ten yards. is another airgun quirk.
But scoping your gun is still the way to wring out the most potential accuracy. don't forget the barrel maker--a different company in almost all instances. To use a scope successfully. an airgunner has to take the time to learn a bit about the technology before charging out into the woods to win field target matches. that's exactly what some airgunners expect. If you think about all the variables. Similar to the coincidence rangefinder of a camera. by the way) with zero deviation in relation to the machined grooves on the scope rail. so why should it be different for airguns? Firearm shooters who use scopes have known for decades that very few rifles leave the factory with their barrels pointed in the same direction as bases for their scope mounts. which may then be read off the range scale on the adjustment knob or ring. the scope is corrected for that range. having a two-inch variation in trajectory makes the shot a crap shoot. although 18x will usually get you within five yards of the true range.177 pellet give the visual impression that you're shooting all over the place. in which two images converge into one at a certain predetermined range. the airgunner is typically watching his group take shape through an 18-40x magnification that renders the image of the target as large as a barn door! This is the frustration. Open sights. And. and scopes--there's a lot to learn about airgun sighting equipment.be the best you can expect. that often leads some people to pursue a fanatical assault on ultimate accuracy in which thousands of dollars will be spent on all possible improvements to a gun. While it's true that modern manufacturing methods. and that those fixed barrels will (or should) be pointed in the same direction as the scope rails. Knowing the range helps. the parallax adjustment is precise enough to determine the range to the target to within one meter. and then the bushing into the receiver tube (which can have no variance in wall thickness. They want the manufacturer to press that barrel into that bushing. it's a wonder that a scope ever works! So. on some powerful scopes. I believe. have improved this situation greatly. When it comes into sharp focus. Shimming has long been an accepted cure for this. there's a lot to learn if you're going to use a scope on an airgun. The shooter simply adjusts the parallax while watching the target through the optics. For instance. so the time spent in study is well worth the investment. When you're trying to shoot through a hole one inch in diameter. a popular misconception among new airgunners is that airguns having fixed barrels are more accurate than breakbarrel guns. It takes about 24x or more to make very precise estimates. And. such as investment casting. It's similar to watching a 22/250 print a 2-1/2" group at 100 yards--not a pretty sight! Compounding this problem. apertures. is seldom taken into account. That isn't true for firearms. we still don't expect to just slap on a scope and hit the bricks. They have somehow learned how to drill a straight hole through the exact center of a steel bar. Another help a scope gives airgunners is rangefinding through parallax correction. because the air rifle pellet has a very pronounced trajectory at close range. The small holes left by a . of course the scope mount maker attended the same meeting and agreed to the precise final dimensions of the rails and the receiver tube diameter--along with every airgun maker on the planet! And. Yet. .
Accuracy is always subjective. Here. we will discover what you can expect from several types and even some specific models of airguns. One person shoots at a tin can 20 feet away and another wants to hit an aspirin at 50 yards. Both consider their guns to be accurate if they can hit their target. Still other shooters want to see what an air rifle will do at 100 yards. © Copyright 2004 All Rights Reserved Russia's IZH 46 is a 10-meter target pistol capable of world-class accuracy. like dot sights and lasers. not one but five pellets have sailed through the 10-ring.we haven't even touched on the exotic stuff. Such a pistol groups top-quality target pellets in five one-hundredths of an inch or less at 10 meters.com. while hunters usually just want a clean killing shot on their quarry. Just remember that your sights are what help you align your barrel with the intended target. . Choose wisely! Airgun accuracy (June 2004) Airgun accuracy What should you expect from today's airguns? By Tom Gaylord exclusively for PyramydAir. In this article.
a group is the arrangement of shots from a gun that shoots just one projectile with each shot. This is often shortened to the expression "center-to-center. but that may become increasingly important with some kinds of powerplants if the shooter does not practice proper shooting techniques. but it isn't as precise.220" across their widest distance. Other factors such as how controllable the trigger is and how well the stock fits the shooter are also important. the term "group" is correct. Some powerplants. Use a scope if it helps you shoot the gun the way you want to shoot.0". we have to use some easily understood means of comparing relative shot placement. In the beginning it helps to stick a pellet in the holes to visualize where the edges are. You need to find the true edge of the two widest holes. are very forgiving while others. Measuring a shot group is not hard. and it works the same for all groups and all calibers. such as for long-range precision shooting and hunting. A scope sight will make it easier to shoot any airgun more accurately." Measure a group by measuring the distance from the far edges of the two widest shots.Every product has specifications that limit performance." or "c-t-c. a red dot sight allows much faster target acquisition than a scope. . A pattern is the spread of shot from a shotgun. The most common way of stating the size of a shot group is the distance between the centers of the two shots farthest apart. don't forget that most bullets except wadcutters will tear raggedly through paper instead of cutting a clean hole. but there are some things you need to know. it could be a good choice. are not. With some experience. the c-t-c distance is 1. Shot-group size is by far the most popular way to do this. like those using compressed air. but also consider if other kinds of sights might even work better for what you are trying to do. For example. powerplant and pellet are at the heart of every airgun's accuracy. The barrel. The powerplant adds a small amount of additional potential. it is not a pattern. If the two widest shots of a group of . but the barrel and pellet comprise about 90 percent of the accuracy potential for an airgun. The math is simple. but it will not make the gun more accurate.22-caliber shots measures 1. Incidentally. How to measure a shot group If we're going to talk about accuracy. When you measure the group spread. namely spring guns. If you don't need that last half-inch of accuracy. and then subtract one bullet diameter to get the distance between the centers. it becomes easier to estimate where the edges are and you won't have to use a pellet.
28". Don't be fooled by the precision of the It's easy to measure groups with a plain old ruler. given the same circumstances. center-to-center. The edges of the pellet holes are difficult to see in this photo but are more obvious when you have the target in hand. 0. groups shot closer will be smaller than those shot farther away. What accuracy is possible with an airgun? Obviously. though.125" group. Here. Use a sloppy technique and you can easily see a half-inch group from the same gun at the same distance. such as a 0.group of five .22 rimfire rifle to shoot this well unless it has a great pedigree. if the shooter uses the correct technique. This shots. which is about 33 feet. With a sporting rifle such as the Webley Longbow. five-shot groups measuring only a few HUNDREDTHS of an inch in width are possible. Subtract the measures just 0. This is a common mistake. a Condor from AirForce puts five .50-caliber airgun bullets was fired at caliber Korean pellets into a group that measures a 25 yards from a Dragon big-bore air rifle. With an Olympic-grade 10-meter rifle like the Walther Alutek or a target air pistol like the Aeron B98. That's at 10 meters. You can measure the distance across the group with a common ruler marked in sixteenths of an inch or you can use a dial caliper that indicates thousandths of an inch. reading. Some of the top . It hair larger than 1-1/2" at 50 yards. Whatever you choose.Dial calipers make it easy to rapidly measure group size.22. You'll be fortunate to measure Simply bracket the outsides of the two widest correctly to within a hundredth of an inch.22 diameter of one pellet and you get a group size of just over 1.816". The Condor will shoot groups half this size on calm days. don't kid yourself that a more precise measuring tool will make your measurements more accurate. It just makes the results sound more impressive. Not bad for a breezy day in Texas! Don't expect your . compared to a 1/8" group. a group size of one-tenth of an inch is possible. Simply because you are measuring in thousandths doesn't mean you are doing it accurately.
but they are not as common as you might believe. rivaling the target guns. As the range increases. A high-quality CO2 pistol like a Smith & Wesson 586 might group five shots in three-quarters of an inch and a low-cost CO2 gun like a Gamo P23 might shoot a 11/2" to 2" group. so does the group size for all airguns. while a top-quality sporting rifle like the AirForce Talon SS can shoot a half-inch group. but they're not. a Falcon FN-19 rifle put five Beeman Kodiak pellets (also known as H&N Baracuda) in a group of just 0. At 40 yards. All pellets would have hit Roosevelt's head on a dime! At the same 10-meter distance. At 50 yards. Everyone loves to talk about such things. Air pistols are pretty much out of the picture beyond 30 yards or so. You may read discussions about half-inch groups at 50 yards and they may sound easy. . but they can be fun to shoot at the longer distances if you like a real shooting challenge. A half-inch five-shot group at 50 yards with an air rifle is the shooting equivalent of a par hole in golf or a bowling score of greater than 240. a nice sporter air pistol like the Webley Tempest or Weihrauch HW 75M will group five shots in one-tenth of an inch.sporting rifles like the BSA Super 10 MK II will give even smaller groups at this distance.327". A lower-cost rifle like a Crosman 1077 might shoot a quarter-inch group at this distance. while a Benjamin Sheridan single-shot pneumatic might group in one-eighth of an inch. a 10-meter target rifle will be shooting a group of three-quarters of an inch to one inch.
but they are even more rare than half-inch groups at 50 yards. They happen with the same frequency as holes-in-one in golf or 300 scores in bowling.At 35 yards.22 caliber isn't accurate! My wedding ring is size 12. The longer a pellet takes to fly to its target the more wind will influence it. but it wouldn't surprise me if someone did. some folks say . a 10-shot group will be about 40 percent larger than a five-shot group from the same gun. A three-shot group looks pretty convincing. Indeed. quarter-inch groups at 50 yards are not unknown. Eight of the 10 shots went into a group . 10-shot groups are considered the standard measurement tool. The number of shots in a group affects the size There's a secret to shooting small groups. ever invest the time and effort to shoot them. I have recently shot some 10shot groups at 50 yards with a Ruger 10/22 rifle I'm testing. shoot whatever number of shots you want. Whenever the accuracy of a gun is being measured. the bragging group size is one inch. including yours truly. When the only person you have to please is yourself. Nobody has tried to put a one-shot group up for scrutiny yet. a Talon SS from AirForce shot this five-shot group of . I would rate a one-inch 100-yard group as four times more difficult to shoot than a half-inch 50-yard group. it stands to reason that there will be even better groups from time to time. When the distance is stretched to 100 yards. Simply shoot fewer shots. And. And. If 50-yard five-shot groups of one-half inch are possible.22-caliber pellets. On the other hand. such groups have been shot. but a test report with groups of less than five shots is suspect. and it is 60 percent easier to shoot than a five-shot group of the same size. though few shooters. to say the least. A two-shot group is even easier and some shooters are so eager for bragging rights that they will settle for two close shots.
On Army pistol ranges. I have seen soldiers deliberately aim at a target 50 feet away and hit the ground 15 feet in front of where they were standing. All Rights Reserved There are four popular airgun calibers today--. or you'll never get all the accuracy your gun has to offer. I like to use a line from the movie "Patriot. take the same tired Army . my squadron commander. I have also seen a national champion shooter.177. The group sizes mentioned and shown in this article are very achievable with a good airgun." Whoever made up that expression knew what it takes to shoot accurately. Copyright ©2003. Airgun Calibers (June 2003) Airgun calibers.25. he said. "Aim small.com. . your mental frame of mind is essential to accuracy.20. so what does that say about the 1-1/2" eight-shot group? Settling down to shoot You have to settle down to shoot good groups. All because of improper trigger control. We'll also see how BBs differ from the four pellet calibers. but I never got a 10-shot group of less than 2-1/2" with that ammunition in that rifle.22 and . . . .22 and ." When Mel Gibson was telling his sons how to hit their mark. You have to settle down and use the proper technique. . but shots nine and 10 opened up that group to 8-1/2"! That's an extreme example of what I'm illustrating. your time spent with an airgun will have sharpened your skills. When you move back to the more forgiving firearms. In this article. The hyperactive shooter has no chance of shooting as accurately as the shooter with proper technique.25. we'll look at each of those four calibers and see what it does best.177.20 (also called 5mm). miss small.45 and shoot a 2" 10shot group at the same distance. plus a quick look at BBs By Tom Gaylord Exclusively for PyramydAir. . from left to right.measuring 1-1/2". One good reason to shoot airguns is that they give you the best shooting training money can buy. The lowdown on the four most popular airgun calibers. good pellets and a good shooter. The four popular smallbore pellet calibers are. Not only does your breathing and heart rate come into play.
shooters must select the heaviest pellets in . . in fact. the accuracy suffers.177 is somehow more accurate than the other three calibers. Once the speed of the pellet approaches the speed of sound (a variable speed of approximately 1. but the smaller holes are by far more common in a match.22 pellet is larger and some people find it easier to load than the smaller .177 caliber was probably created shortly after the start of the 20th century. America and perhaps other countries. but since all target guns are made in this caliber only.. . there's a good chance the target won't fall and no point will be awarded.177 caliber is by far the most popular today and will be the easiest pellet to find in a store.177 to keep the velocity down. guns come in both .22 caliber target airguns made in the past in England.177/4. There have been .p. at sea level). knocking down the target and registering a hit. If the pellet touches the side of the hole. if all things are equal. Which should you get? Well.177 and .177 than in . The rules of all official shooting organizations mandate a . but today the only target guns made are . Germany. Because of this. The .5mm The . The kill-zone holes range from 1/4" to 2" in diameter. The advantage of .s. the smaller size of the .177 caliber gun for both pistol and rifle competition. plus there are often more of them in a box. the .22.177. This is not strictly true.100 f. The shooter must shoot a pellet through a small hole in a steel target to hit a paddle.177. One final thought.177 places the shooter at a distinct advantage. It seems to have surfaced first in England.22 pellets. The . more accurate than guns in other calibers. Sometimes.177 is a smaller pellet that uses less material--usually lead. which was a hotbed of airgun development both then and now.22.177 guns ARE.177 pellet makes it the statistically superior choice in this sport. The sport of field target is one competitive shooting sport in which a . the popular misconception is that the .177 pellets have is that their light weight allows them to go faster than the larger sizes.22 calibers. That same gun will hit about 20 percent harder (have more energy) in .20 caliber was actually created that way from the start. It is widely used for general shooting and is the only caliber that can be used for bullseye target shooting anywhere in the world. For powerful air rifles. The . a lot of .20 caliber is the only one also designated by its metric size? While all pellets are marked with both their English and metric sizes today. A problem . So.20/5mm Did you notice at the start of this article that the . Any given gun will shoot faster in . consider this.177 pellets tend to be less expensive than .
no other airguns were made in that caliber until Robert Beeman requested Feinwerkbau to make up five special model 124 rifles for his company. The .20 caliber than in . The pellet makers are also making more designs of pellets in this caliber.20 at a great distance.20 as a long-range pellet that's superior to the .22.20 caliber gun for general shooting and for hunting or pest elimination. Of course. they might not buy the gun. but within a few more years Weihrauch.22. Ed Wackerhagen designed a multi-pump pneumatic air rifle that he called the Sheridan.177 in terms of the cost of the pellets and pellet weight.20 caliber pellet to the world in 1947. but there are fewer styles to choose from. In 1947.20 caliber/5mm airguns. Robert Beeman promoted it that way in his catalogs for many years.177 and . Many shooters consider . it can also backfire and destroy the entire marketing plan. Actually.22 has a great number of pellets that are better for long-range shooting than any . but the gap is narrowing. .20 caliber/5mm got off to a somewhat tenuous start. nobody gave it much thought.22. While that sounds like a good way to make more money. .20 caliber to be a good compromise between .20 caliber pellet. The market blossomed from there. began making 5mm guns. but Europe is producing more of them all the time. so he created a proprietary caliber--the .20 is a little closer to . There are still fewer choices in . The .22 than it is to .Sheridan introduced the .22 pellets. That project never went anywhere. He found commercial airgun ammunition of the time too inaccurate to work well in his rifle. Even then they also referred to it as a 5mm. this also meant that his company had to supply all ammunition. though there's nothing wrong with shooting a . they're looking only at the very specific instance of Crosman Premier pellets in that ad. However.177 and .20. America has been the leader in . The pellets cost about as much as . the German maker of all the Beeman R-series guns. but Sheridan remained in production and by the mid-1970s. Get a . While some British ads promote the . If shooters feel they may not be able to purchase an odd-sized caliber in the future (consider the Remington 5mm rimfire that can now cost a dollar a round).22--the hunter's choice .
In firearms.s. It hits harder and also transmits more of its energy to the target than the smaller . Even a chipmunk can be "acupunctured" in this way.25 To many shooters.22 caliber pellet grew out of the . leaving no visible signs of trauma if a vital organ or bone is not hit.p.p.25 caliber has to be the best . and BSA made it popular in 1906 with the first rifled smallbore air rifle to use . yet in . It's the second most popular airgun caliber.177. The .The .s. at the start of the 20th century was the choice for most small shooting jobs such as pest elimination.217" to 0. Velocities were in the 300 to 400 f. some guns that OUGHT to be great in . but. Speaking of high velocity and hunting with pellet guns. it's much less likely.22 caliber pellet is no longer the same diameter as a . A . "Bigger is better.177 pellet traveling at high-velocity is small enough to pass completely through the body of a small animal. The pellets do cost more than .p. nor will a rimfire barrel work well for pellets. The same thing CAN happen with a .177. let's clear up a misconception. it appears to simply run off. because of the larger size. On the other hand. but a good shot will have no problem with a . Of course. The quarter-inch bore is somewhat older than the . while the airgun barrel is sized 0. The funny thing is. But.25 caliber air rifles were low-powered and slow. and others that SHOULD be too puny to do well are surprisingly good! The RWS 48/52 is one of the most popular spring guns ever made. So a "fast" pellet is of no advantage to a hunter unless it also carries a large amount of energy that it can successfully transfer to the animal. Even at a top speed of 1. all . a pellet is going WAY too slow to have a similar hydraulic shock effect on game. That's why the .25 caliber. This began with the introduction of the .22. In .222" to 0. after suffering increasingly greater pain. As far as general shooting goes." So the . a high velocity bullet does so much damage to its target that much smaller calibers can be used to hunt big game. but since animals don't act the same as humans. pellets are not centerfire bullets. Twenty-two caliber was the most popular airgun caliber in America until the late 1960s.22 is the king of the hunting calibers.22 rimfire bullet. the lightweight . a . That's why more airguns of that caliber exist among the vintage and antique guns made in this country.22 caliber pellet is definitely the choice of the hunter and pest eliminator. The big . It existed in smoothbore airguns at the end of the 19th century. it will die several days to weeks later. which. They don't travel 3. Usually.25 caliber don't fulfill their promise.right? Perhaps.22 pellet.22 caliber is just fine.22 it is very powerful for a spring rifle.22 rimfire.000 f.s.25 the power drops off a bit.218".200 f. The rimfire barrel is sized 0.220 Swift in 1935 and grew very popular through the promotion of Roy Weatherby. But. In those days.223" across the grooves. the animal is in extreme pain. but learn all the facts before making up your mind. and faster. It wasn't until the 1990s that the emergence of powerful rifles made this caliber truly viable and brought it fully back to life. and on up until around the 1980s. range.177s and the velocities of the guns are usually slower.. the .
177 caliber almost the universal choice for an air pistol. The magnum spring pistols top out at about 6 foot-pounds. As long as you keep the power level in mind. BBs: Are they the same as . Yes. which is a delight in .25-caliber air pistol. Even so.22 and ought to be a dog in . but the rifles get up as high at 80 foot-pounds! There are a few specialty pistols made in the Orient that get 30 to 50 foot-pounds. it's possible to kill certain pests like rats and mice with an air pistol.25.172" to 0. as a rule. What's the deal there? The deal is that they're . The Beeman P1 is considered a very powerful air pistol. but it's almost never a sporting choice for a hunter. When people ask about hunting with a pistol. . there is absolutely nothing wrong with owning and shooting a . In fact.and even a . This difference in power between pistols and rifles makes .BSA Supersport Magnum. they really shouldn't hunt.22. air pistols in the four smallbore calibers we're looking at get up to 12 or even 14 footpounds.177? No! The BB is smaller than . a . Yes. but they take away some velocity. while the rifles get up to the low 30s.22s.20-.22 pellets are already so heavy that there is no clear advantage for a .180" in diameter. at just six foot-pounds. Through the years. there are solid .25.177 and . Where do the pistols fit in? For starters. Some airguns can shoot either BBs or pellets.173'. seems to defy logic by also handling the big caliber well. Air pistols All we've talked about so far is air rifles. Just knowing about the big power difference between air pistols and air rifles will help you decide what to get. it's a completely different caliber. we tell them that unless they have a 12 foot-pound pistol. which makes long-range shooting that much more difficult. it's not powerful enough for small game hunting. In the precharged rifles. In the precharged guns.25 caliber doesn't deliver much of an advantage.177. but these airguns are as large and heavy as small carbines. until todays steel BB is 0. air pistols are MUCH less powerful than air rifles. When it was first created in 1886.25 pellets that are even heavier than the heaviest . a BB was a type of shotgun shot sized 0. That's because the new solid . the size became smaller.
25 and a few other calibers. the final answer to what's the best caliber or best pellet lies with you. there's no rifling to ruin. this article has helped you understand the most important fundamentals.designed with some kind of compromise bore that will not be damaged by steel BBs. A good way to shoot round balls in a pellet gun is to use a round lead ball. Summary The four main airgun calibers give you a lot of choice. These are sized the same as lead pellets and won't harm your barrel. . Hopefully. Like anything else in life. yet a lead pellet can also be shot.22 and .177 bore is still oversized and will give poor performance. but a .177. then pick an appropriate pellet and try it out. These guns are seldom as accurate with either ammunition as regular pellet-only guns. You have to think about what you want to do with your airgun. though some of them do a pretty remarkable job at short ranges. NEVER shoot steel BBs in a gun designed to shoot only pellets! Pellet gun barrels are softer. and the undersized steel BB will damage the rifling (if there is any) as it rattles down the bore. If the gun is smoothbore. . A few manufacturers make round balls in .
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