5 Types of Air Guns

5 Types of Air Guns

Have you ever wondered how many different types of air rifles there are? Or which type of air rifle is best for you? In this article, you will get the detailed information about all types of air guns and each type’s advantages and disadvantages so you can save time and money in the quest of searching for the best air gun on the market for your needs. There are 5 types of air guns in the whole world. They are spring powered, gas piston, precharged pneumatic (PCP), variable pump and CO2 air guns. Each type has unique characteristics, but all of them got their names due to the way that they operate.


Spring Powered

In a spring air rifle (springer), there is a piston and a coiled spring inside the chamber. The spring is compressed when you cock the gun. When you pull the trigger, you make the spring decompressed so it causes the piston to move forward. The piston movement makes the air compressed and the pellet is propelled out of the muzzle due to the force from pressurised air. Most shooters begin their gun collection with a spring air rifle.

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Cheap to buy
  • Accurate, powerful, consistent on shot-to-shot basis
  • Fully self-contained, no need for CO2 cartridges or pumping equipment
  • Helps you sharpen your shooting skills since a springer often has lots of recoil
  • Gun parts are easily available in the market
  • Easy to service, modify or tweak the gun for better performance

Cons

  • More recoil compared to other types
  • Requires practice to cock and shoot properly
  • Cannot be left cocked since the spring will be fatigued and might not function perfectly
  • Gets weaker if you shoot for several years, but can be modified for better performance

Gas Piston

A gas piston air gun, (also called gas strut or gas ram), works the same way as the spring-piston gun, but a gas ram gun has a gas-filled cylinder instead of a coiled spring. The air in the cylinder is already compressed and you apply more pressure to it when you cock the gun. The pressurised air is kept under tension until you release the trigger. When that happens, the pellet is discharged out of the barrel due to propellant force of pressurised air. Gas piston air rifles have many advantages above a spring air rifle and are one of the most popular rifles for plinking.

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Cheap to buy
  • Accurate, powerful, consistent on a shot-to-shot basis
  • Fully self-contained, no need for CO2 cartridges or pumping equipment
  • Helps you sharpen your shooting skills since a springer often has lots of recoil
  • Gun parts are easlily available in the market
  • Easy to service, modify or tweak the gun for better performance

Cons

  • More recoil compared to other types
  • Requires practice to cock and shoot properly
  • Cannot be left cocked since the spring will be fatigued and might not function perfectly
  • Gets weaker if you shoot for several years, but can be modified for better performance

Precharged Pneumatic

The precharged pneumatic – PCP air rifles use high-pressurised air in the chamber as the propellant force to discharge the pellet. The pressurised air is compressed up to 3000-4000 psi by using scuba tanks or hand pumps. When the air reaches the desired pressure level, the gun is ready to use. We class PCP air rifle as the next level for air rifle collectors but they do give many benefits for serious shooters.

Pros

  • Virtually recoilless
  • Compact, high power, high accuracy
  • Highly effective with large calibre pellets
  • Very little cocking effort
  • Most are repeaters which allow you to quickly shoot the second round if you miss the first shot

Cons

  • Not self-contained
  • More expensive than other types
  • Need lots of charging equipment, so there are more costs for the gun

Variable Pump

A variable pump gun has a piston and a pressure cylinder in the chamber. When you cock the gun, the air between the piston and cylinder is compressed. It has nowhere to go and is forced into the cylinder. The cylinder has a lock valve that lets the air in and keeps it there until you shoot. When you pull the trigger, the pellet is propelled due to the force of compressed air.

Pros

  • Compact, lightweight, recoilless
  • Permits you to have control over the power of each shot. Pump more and you have more power. Pump less and you have less power
  • Most have medium power
  • Self-contained, no pumping equipment required

Cons

  • Pumping action can be tedious at some points
  • Requires practice to master the cocking action
  • Requires significant time and effort to cock so it is not great for hunting situations since your animal target can run off if you miss the first shot and are still busy with the pumping action

CO2 Powered

CO2 air rifles work in the same way as a PCP air gun but it uses carbon dioxide cartridges (CO2) as the power source instead of the pressurised gas. When you pull the trigger, the compressed CO2 is released and it causes the pellet to move forward inside the barrel.

Pros

  • Highly accurate
  • Easy to cock
  • Recoilless to shoot
  • Consistent on a shot-to-shot basis
  • Convenient for repeated shooting
  • Allows semi-automatic fire (fire as fast as you pull the trigger)

Cons

  • Not very powerful
  • Power and accuracy are affected by weather since the expansion of C02 is different at various temperatures
  • The cost of CO2 cartridges can add up if you shoot a lot

Conclusion

Choosing the best air rifle is much easier when you know which type of air guns are available to you. Each different type has both pros and cons so, at the end of the day – it all comes down to your choice and preference. It also depends on your budget and the type of shooting you are planning – whether you are looking to start plinking and target shooting or you are looking for an air rifle for pest control. Whatever type of shooting you need an air rifle for, we have you covered – take a look at our full range of airguns on our website at www.justairguns.co.uk