Air Gun Buyer’s Guide
TYPES OF AIR GUNS
While most people are used to the conventional break barrel type air gun, there are several basic types of air gun on the market today, and some are even technologies derived from the original Girandoni and even older reservoir based rifles. The three basic types are:
When you think air gun, you are probably thinking a break barrel spring piston type. In order to charge the air gun with air, you break the barrel, which pushes a piston backwards by means of a strong spring. When you pull the trigger, the spring slams the piston forward, which rapidly compresses the air, which has nowhere to go except the base of the pellet, and thus the pellet is thrust down the barrel at high speeds.
Spring pistons are great guns and very available; they have the following pros and cons:
Spring Piston Pro:
- Can achieve velocities of over 1000 feet per second in .177 caliber pellets
- Are simple and relatively maintenance free
- Are intuitive to use and easy to operate
- Are capable of taking game which you can eat such as squirrels, rabbits, and birds
Spring Piston Cons:
- Lots of strength required to initially cock the rifle – in some air guns, as much as 38 pounds of pressure is required to break the barrel which may be hard for kids and the elderly.
- Only offers a single shot, then you need to break the barrel, load a new pellet, and try again.
- Accuracy sometimes suffers due to the slight play between the barrel and receiver. The scope is often mounted on the receiver, yet the breech and projectile are mounted in the barrel, which moves when you break it.