I often receive questions very much like this one. I thought I would turn it into a blog to help folks hat are new to airguns.
I could use some good advice on air guns. I have bought two over the years and accuracy of these guns has been terrible. The last one I purchased about a year ago was a XXX Model XX. It fails to deliver any accuracy I would expect from an air gun. I use an air gun for plinking grackles and starlings around the farm and want something that is least similar to a 22 rifle for accuracy. So far, I have not found one. I am only shooting at 25-30 yards and would expect at least a 5 shot quarter size pattern at this range. To date with the air guns I have bought, none come close to this. I am not looking to spend more than a couple hundred bucks. If I have to spend more than this, I just a well go back to using a 22 rifle. Can you give me any recommendations on what I might try? The market is full of air guns and all boast of being the best but you and I both know this is mostly BS.
Springers, and I mean guns that fire with springs or gas pistons, have a lot of vibration. It doesn’t matter if the rifle is a break barrel, side lever or if the gun uses a coil spring or a gas piston. The issue is vibration. This often results in poor accuracy. There are some good springers but most are in the higher price ranges and that topic is for another time. Most inexpensive spring guns are simply not constructed with the level of quality required to produce an accurate air rifle.
There is a lot of discussion about how to shoot spring guns accurately. See ” Artillery Hold”. Again his topic is for a different discussion.
First lets define accuracy, as this means different thing to different people. We define accuracy as a 1” group. We like this because it is about the size of a squirrels head or a sparrow’s body. With a gun that shoots a 1” group, you should be able to make a killing shot on these animals every time. Yes, many air rifle will hold a much tighter pattern than that but that is a different topic. We call this effective accuracy.
C02 guns have very little vibration and few moving parts. The Crosman 2260 is a good example.
At 600 fps your effective accuracy will be out to about 25 yards. At longer distances the groups will begin to open up.
HPA, high pressure air or PCP, pre charged pneumatic are the current state of the art in airguns and include most high end airguns and a few moderately priced ones.
PCP guns use plain old air compressed to 2,000 -300 psi. Most PCS are 3,000 psi. The Benjamin Discovery and Maximus are 2,000 psi rifles. That doesn’t mean that they are have lower velocity. They will still shoot 900-1000 fps they just do so with lower operating pressure.
The advantage to 2,000 pie guns is that they can be pumped easily with a hand pump. 3,000 psi guns can be pumped with a hand pump but it’s more of a work out. It won’t take long, you be looking for an air tank. 2,000 psi. These guns can also be charged with a scuba tank. Scuba tanks are filled to 3,000 psi so you can get lots of fills from a tank. 3,000 psi require a HPA carbon fiber tank which is typically 4500 psi.
These guns typically shoot about 900-1000 fps ( feet per second).
The effective distance on these guns stretches out to around 40 yards for the typical shooter. For experienced shooters these guns can hold tight groups out to 50-70 yards. And again, yes some of the high end guns will hold groups out to extraordinary distances as we read claims on the internet. Who knows, some of them may even be true…..
Airgun technology has increased exponentially in recent years. The degree of sophistication in accuracy, shot capacity, triggers, and cosmetics is astounding. The sky is the limit…. Well…and money. There are also some very effective air rifles available at moderate prices. Check them out.