Types of Air Guns

When most people think of air guns they probably imagine a little kid in a cowboy hat holding a BB gun or Ralphie from A Christmas Story being warned that he’ll shoot his eye out. While these are the classics, modern air rifles are a lot more advanced and can be used to hunt everything from squirrels to wild pigs and even deer.

All air rifles use the same basic principle – pressurized gas (usually air but sometimes carbon dioxide, CO2) is introduced behind a pellet or BB and propels it down the barrel and out the muzzle. They come in a wide variety of calibers (pellet sizes) and power levels to suit different hunting and target-shooting applications. The different types of air rifles differ mainly in how the pressurized gas is stored and released.

There are four main categories of air rifles:
PCP airguns use the same air as we breathe – but at high pressure (2700 to 3000 pounds per square inch, or PSI). That’s about 25 to 30 times higher than the air pressure in a lorry tyre. They can fire a single pellet or a group of them in quick succession but they’ll need to be reloaded after each shot as the amount of compressed air gradually reduces, with every shot. Unlike black powder rifles, which had to be loaded and fired using a flintlock or matchlock-style breech, these types of air rifles use a trigger mechanism that retracts a spring and activates an internal piston, to propel the pellet forwards and out of the barrel. They can be used with standard ‘diabolo’ pellets made from lead, or a range of non-lead alternatives that are more dense and have a better ballistic coefficient. air guns

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