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The Modern Air Rifle

The Modern Air Rifle


Many of us grew up where our first gun was a Red Ryder or similar BB gun given to us by our parents. This weapon taught many of us the necessary skills of shooting. While the Red Ryder is still a popular BB gun, the evolution of the air rifle has changed the game considerably from a kids beginner gun to an adult’s alternative gun.

Today’s modern air rifle shoots projectiles (often pellets) at speeds in excess of 1200 FPS (feet per second) with some of the PCP air rifles teetering on 2000 fps or more. These are deadly hunting machines and a lot of fun to shoot. Ammo is available, affordable and comes in many different configurations. Models from most manufacturers run the gamut in price from around $100 to well into the thousands. While few of us will actually purchase a thousand dollar air rifle, there are many in the price range that most can afford that are available that can accomplish everything we need.

There are basically two types of air rifles. The single piston or break barrel action models and the Pre charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifles that actually have an air tank that is compressed air that fires the pellets at designated pressures to achieve maximum speed. The piston actions are the most affordable, and the PCP models are the fastest and most deadly. However, don’t underestimate the piston actions as a child’s gun. These are definitely for adults or at a minimum to be used with adult supervision.

Recently I purchased a Gamo Whisper Quiet piston action air rifle. It shoots the .177 pellet at 1200 FPS. While the name says Whisper quiet it is anything but. The only disappointment I have is it noise level and the vibration is makes when shot. While there is no recoil, there is a vibration when shot. However, after testing several rounds in it at different targets, I must say overall I am impressed with this air rifle. (I haven’t hunted with it yet but will when small game season opens) It comes with a scope and a set trigger that increases accuracy.

If there needs to be improvement it is in the manufacture of pellets.  Some of the pellets literally fall into the barrel when loading, while others have to be pressed in, this greatly effects accuracy. It seems that the manufacturer of pellets hasn’t achieved the precision that bullets have. I believe as air rifles and their popularity increases we will see better projectiles.

Having said this, I have noted that the Gamo hunting pellet, gets far greater penetration than other models. I would recommend using the pellets designated for hunting before heading out to try and kill some animals with it.

While some television shows have shown professional hunters harvesting larger game such as hogs, coyotes and others with the air rifle, it is largely a small game gun. It’s a lot of fun, and with the limited range of the pellet, a lot safer than the .22 long rifle. Plus with the shortage of .22 bullets available the air rifle is something some should consider as an alternative.

Perhaps the greatest asset of the modern air rifle is the limited range. While this may seem contrary to some, for those who have squirrels invading their bird feeders, or rabbits invading their vegetable garden the air rifle is perfect for getting rid of these pesky rodents from their yards and gardens. (be sure to check your local regulations before shooting squirrels or rabbits)

There are many uses to the modern air rifle, and many major gun manufacturers are jumping on the band wagon with Remington, Ruger, and Stoeger to name a few that now have air rifles to choose from. As stated they are fun to shoot, and affordable. When considering another gun to add to your arsenal, consider one of the many available today. Check out the links below for more information on today’s modern air rifles.