What is a PCP Air RifleMark Watts
PCP’s (Pre-Charged Pneumatics) – How do they work?
So what are PCP air rifles? PCP Air Rifles use compressed breathable air as the propellant to fire pellets. For this purpose, the air in the gun’s air tank is compressed to 2700-3000 psi (pounds per square inch) by using a high-pressure hand pump or scuba tank. Once the Airguns tank is filled to the desired pressure level, the airgun is ready for use. The firing sequence of a PCP is really quite simple. When the trigger is pulled a valve opens and a quick burst of compressed air is released to travel up the barrel pushing the pellet in front of it. Each time the gun has fired the pressure and volume of available air in the gun’s air tank is slightly reduced.
How many shots can you get before recharging is necessary?
Eventually, the gun’s air tank will not have enough air pressure or volume left to propel a pellet at the velocity needed to maintain a predictable trajectory. At that point, the pellet’s path degrades and alters the point of impact by as much as a quarter-inch or more. Subsequent shots will not be “predictable” for shooting with pinpoint accuracy so the gun should be recharged.
We refer to all those shots with a nice, flat, predictable trajectory as “usable shots”. Simply put, once the trajectory degrades due to lack of air pressure/volume, they are no longer “usable” in any predictable sense. The number of usable shots a shooter can take before reaching the recharging point varies due to a number of factors such as the gun’s power, original charge level and the distance one is shooting.
You should get between 300 to 400 shots from a full tank but it will be determined on the make and model of the PCP air rifle you have.
Filling Methods for Pre-Charged Airgun
You can choose from a number of new charging tools now available. There are multiple hand pumps available on the market today from Hill, Benjamin Sheridan and Air Force. They all use the same thread patterns so all can be used for PCP charging. All three brands are very universal because they have a hose to which any number of adapters can be attached as needed for different gun models. The Hill also features a moisture filter called a Dry Pac which the other brands do not have.
Before your airgun will function it needs to be filled with compressed air (not CO2) as stated above.
There are three basic tools that can be used to fill your PCP airgun:
1. A handpump, which works much like a bicycle pump except for the high pressure.
2. A scuba tank, scuba tanks are standard 80 cu. ft. diver’s tanks. All scuba charging adapters are made to fit the din on a 80 cu. ft. tank.
There is no right or wrong tool to perform the charging function. Each of these methods has its pros and cons. A hand pump requires multiple strokes to add air and although they pump quite easily, the process can be a bit tiring. On the other hand, it is a portable tool which can quickly renew your air supply wherever you happen to be when you wish to shoot. Scuba tanks require periodic refilling at a dive shop and are heavy to carry. But on the plus side, they make refilling quick and easy with little physical effort.
What items/parts are required to fill an individual PCP?
Determining which parts are needed to charge an individual PCP will depend largely on the gun one chooses, so some explanation is required at this point. It’s quite easy to understand if you think of it in the following way. There are only three parts in the charging process. The air source (hand pump or scuba tank), the gun’s air tank (fixed to the gun or detachable) and the parts in-between which are the link between the air source and the gun’s air tank. The confusing part for a buyer has been trying to figure out which part or parts are needed to link the air source to the gun’s air tank.
Hopefully, this section will make that task a lot easier – we at Just Air Guns make this easy:
We only stock PCP rifles that have a FILL PROBE that is included with the air rifle when you buy it. The fill probe simply fits on any of our Scuba Tanks or Hand Pumps. So you can relax and be confident that everything you buy from us at Just Air Guns will be compatible and work out of the box.
Hopefully, this information will help new shooters understand that owning and charging a PCP pistol or rifle need not be complicated or frustrating, but it does require the proper connecting pieces to make sure your shooting experience a pleasant one.
For more information about PCP airguns please see our air rifle section on our website at www.justairguns.co.uk