Tuesday, November 18, 2008


With higher gun prices, a cheaper alternative for many people may be the spring powered air rifle. This type of air rifle uses a spring to compress air in a chamber. They offer power, accuracy and ease of use. They are also less expensive in most cases than regular rimfire or centerfire rifles. These types of air powered rifles are commonly referred to as “springers”.

There are several different spring powered air rifle designs that include break barrel, under lever, and side lever. With a break barrel design the actual barrel is hinged and you pull the barrel down which cocks the spring. Then you put a pellet directly into the barrel, swing the barrel back into place and you are ready to fire. This is probably the most common type of spring powered air rifle.


This is the type of air rifle with the best power. Any magnum powered air rifle uses a spring as its main power source. The two biggest advantages for buying a spring powered rifle are power and ease of use. With a spring powered air rifle you only have to cock the gun once to achieve maximum power. Most are rated at 1000 FPS and can be used for small game hunting, target shooting, and varmint control. Higher velocity also means greater accuracy over longer distances. They usually come in .22 cal and .177 cal.


Some spring powered air rifles can be tough to cock for younger persons or females due to the upper body strength required to cock the air rifle. Make sure you know the cocking pressure before you buy one if it is going to be for a younger person or a female. Most spring powered air rifles require anywhere from 25 to 30 lbs. of pressure to cock. Some spring powered air rifles are specifically designed for easier cocking such as the Benjamin Legacy and Tech Force 97 air rifles. These two models are easier to cock and they still provide anywhere from 900 to 1000 FPS velocities. The only other drawback is that most spring powered air rifles are single shot which means you will have to load a pellet after each shot. There are a few exceptions though. Gamo makes a rifle called the Shadowmatic. It uses a loading tube that holds 9 pellets. Each time you cock the gun a new pellet is loaded into the chamber.

Examples of Air Rifles Available

Spring powered air rifles are the best selling type of air rifle. There are quite a few different models that will fit most budgets. If you want to spend under $150 go with the Crosman Quest 1000x, Winchester 1000SB or Winchester 1000XS. All of these models come with a scope included so they are perfect for pest control or small game hunting.

If you need a mid-range rifle go for the Tech Force 99 in a .22 or .177 cal. Gamo is another fairly good brand. They have some really cool models such as the new Viper Express Shotgun that doubles as a .22 cal and the new Varmint Hunter that comes with a scope, laser and torch light.

If a premium air rifle is what you need, then go with RWS or Beeman. Both of these brands offer a lifetime warranty. Specific models are the RWS 34 in either a .22 cal or .177 cal or a RWS 350 mag combo. These rifles offer good accuracy and power. They also have a good warranty.

Spring powered air rifles can be a good choice for hunting small game and pest control. They have the necessary power, accuracy and ease of use that will fit the needs of most individuals. They can make a good alternative to higher priced conventional rifles for persons on a budget. They should also be considered as an alternative for your wife or girlfriend whom you may not have convinced to use a more powerful conventional rifle.

Staying above the water line!



gott_cha said...

Very good tool for no-noise small game.

Have seen some very nice ones at the gun shows....

mockum said...

I like the concept of these pellet guns to lower costs of target shooting. I bought a $45 springer 1911-style pistol earlier this year for practice shooting in my basement. Works great and I'm satisified with the accuracy.

One disadvantage that I've heard about break barrels is that they are less accurate than air rifles. I don't know if these claims are valid and to what degree they are less accurate.

Anonymous said...

Not less accurate (mine or demonstratably more accurate than my pnuematics), but those mainsprings that springers use for power can take a set if left loaded for a long time. Not bad if only for a coupla hours, but damage can occur if left overnight or longer.

Also, springers have a harsh 'recoil' that takes getting used to. Thats where to PCPs come into their own - very nice shooting behaviors. Often lighter than springers too. But if something breaks down, harder to take care of.

riverwalker said...

To: gott_cha

Maybe a better choice for an urban environment with the lower noise level?


riverwalker said...

To: mockum

Saving money is a good thing! Especially if you can stay in practice with your shooting at the same time.


riverwalker said...

To: anonymous

Pneumatics have somewhat less recoil, but doesn't that affect their range also?

A little "harsh" recoil might take some getting used to, but the increased accuracy it seems would be worth it.


Anonymous said...

Sorry for long response time RW.

Yes, range is a factor as well. Springers do have a more velocity (meaning flatter trajectory as well), but as with any firearm, putting that bullet / pellet exactly where you want it makes up for the power. The springers have a pretty substantial 'shock' - its like holding a piece of wood that gets a light exterior impact. The PCP and pneumatics don't have that characteristic - it does require some practice to get used to.

Owning the hardware does not make anyone an instant expert or authority, but I've owned a few pneumatics (Benjamins in both .177 and .22. my favorites) as well as a few springers (RWS 350 in .22, Webley Tomahawk in .177 as well as a few others) and can safely state the springers do take some more time to get used to, and fire accurately. But the payoff IS substantial - you get a powerful pellet rifle that given care, will last you a very long time. Spare parts - a replacement mainspring and maybe a few screws - thats about it. One very important note - NEVER pull the trigger or let the barrel go on a partially cocked springer - the rifle will snap shut and very likely damage the gun, possibly even cracking the stock.

I would suggest anyone interested in learning about airguns take a look at the Pyramyd Air website - there is an airgun blog there by Tom Gaylord which is very interesting.

riverwalker said...

To: anonymous

Thanks for the great comments and the safety tip!


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