Air Rifles – An Overview

Air Rifles

There are many different types of air rifles available on the market today. On this article we’ll go over some major type of air rifle available and discuss the differences between each type. The aim of this article is to help you choose the best air rifle available to meet your needs. There are three main types of power sources for air rifles: CO2, Spring, and Pump. We’ll discuss each type below.

CO2 Powered Air Rifles

This type of air rifle uses CO2 (compressed gas) cartridges. All semi automatic air rifles use CO2 as their power source.


One big advantage of using CO2 is that you don’t have to stop and pump up your airgun before each shot. Just pop in a CO2 cartridge and your ready to go. Generally one 12 gram CO2 cartridge will give you about 50 shots before you have to change it out. However this number can vary from airgun to airgun depending on the efficiency of the air rifle. One of the most popular co2 powered air rifles is the Crosman 1077. In the last year or so Crosman has released it’s new line of Airsource air rifles. These rifles use the new 88 gram CO2 cartridge which will give you up to 400 shots per cartridge before you have to change it out. A nice thing about the airsource rifles is that you can also use the 12 gram CO2 cartridges in them as well. Another big advantage of using CO2 is that it allows for semi automatic fire (fire as fast as you can pull the trigger) if the air rifle is capable of it.


CO2 air rifles are great for ease of use and semi automatic capabilities but there are a couple of drawbacks. CO2 powered air rifles are usually not as powerfully as spring or pump powered rifles. The most powerfully CO2 powered air rifle(the RWS 850 AirMagnum) shoots at 754 FPS and most other CO2 air rifles shoot at around 600 FPS. While this is decent power, pump and spring air rifles are capable of shooting at 700-1250 FPS. Another drawback is expense. While CO2 is relatively cheap these days the cost over time can add up.

Spring powered air rifles- This type of air rifle uses a spring to compress air in a chamber. There are several different spring designs that should be discussed. They are as follows: break barrel, underlever, and side lever. With a break barrel design the barrel actually is hinged and you pull the barrel down which cocks the spring. Then you put a pellet directly into the barrel, swing it back into place and you are ready to fire. This is probably the most common type of spring powered air rifle. With a underlever, there is an actual cocking lever that runs underneath the barrel. To cock the gun you just pull down on the side lever which opens the breach where the pellet goes. Underlever and sidelever air rifles are nice because the barrel remains fixed in place which imporves accuracy. With sidelever air rifles there is a cocking lever on the right side of the airgun which you pull back on to cock the gun.

PROS- This is where the power is at. Any magnum powered air rifle uses a spring as its 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 “springers” as they are commonly reffered to are rated at 1000 FPS and can be used for small game hunting, target shooting, and pest control. Higher velocity means greater accuracy over longer distances so if you are going to be doing any hunting with your air rifle a springer would be the rifle of choice. They also come in .22 cal and .177 cal. If you don’t know which caliber is right for you then read our article “.22 caliber pellet guns vs .177 pellet guns: Which caliber is best for you?”

CONS- There aren’t a lot of cons with spring powered air rifles and that’s probably why we sell more springers than anything else on our website. Some springers can be tough to cock for a younger person. Adult males will have no problem cocking the rifles but if you are buying the air rifle for your younger kids (Under 14) or wife make sure you know the cocking pressure before you buy. Most springers take about 25-30 lbs of pressure to cock. The more powerfull springers use a bigger spring and therefore are harder to cock. Some springers are specifically designed for easier cocking such as the Benjamin Legacy and Tech Force 97 air rifles. These two models are easier to cock yet still provide 900 -1000 FPS. The only other drawback is that all springer air rifles (with a few exceptions) are single shot which means you will have to load a pellet after each shot. Gamo makes a rifle called the Shadowmatic, which uses a unique loading tube that holds 9 pellets, and everytime you cock the gun a new pellet is loaded into the chamber so if single shot is a problem for you then take a look at this rifle.

Original article by Airgun Depot


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