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Posted: 7/1/2013 11:01:41 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/22/2015 7:59:48 AM EDT by Bladeswitcher]
A preview:
For the TLDR crowd, let me cut to the chase: I’m going to explain the various types of airguns but, ultimately, recommend a moderately powered spring-powered airgun, of decent to excellent quality. I’m going to tell you to pass over the brands that advertise the most and I’m going to tell you to buy LESS power than you think you want. Spend $400-$500 and get an RWS 34 or a Beeman R9/Weichrauch HW95 and a decent scope/mounts.



What airgun should I buy? That’s the number one question asked by folks considering adding an airgun to their rifle battery. As with any other “What should I buy?” question, the answer primarily depends on two factors:
1.)What are you going to do with it
2.)What’s your budget

Often, the people who ask the “What airgun?” question really don’t know what they’re going to do with it. They’re just attracted to the IDEA of an airgun. Fine, let’s start there. Unless you have a very specific need (Olympic-style 10 meter paper targets or “Field Target” competition, for example), you’re probably just going to plink with your airgun.  You’ll punch paper, shoot spinner targets or snipe spent 9mm cases off the fence. You may also do a little small game hunting or pest elimination. Basically, you just want something you can shoot in the backyard or the basement or maybe take to the woods to hunt squirrels and rabbits.

If that sounds like you and what you think you want to do with an airgun, then I’m going to try to set you on an acceptable path toward a satisfactory airgun experience. Mine is not the only path, but it’s a path that will serve a lot of folks reasonably well.

Why?

In case you’re feeling a little silly about the idea of buying a “BB gun” let me reassure you. You’re making a perfectly reasonable decision. Airguns are perhaps the lowest cost, most accessible form of recreational shooting around. The per-shot cost is minimal (about 2 cents for good pellets) and you can shoot almost anywhere. Yes, a .22 long rifle will do a lot of things a pellet gun will (maybe better) but you probably can’t shoot .22 rimfire in town (or in the house). When you’re worried about how far your shot will travel, airguns are a great choice. Few other rifles in your battery will do as much to improve your skills, simply because you can shoot an airgun anytime, anywhere, you’ll get a lot more trigger time in. Spring powered airguns in particular will force you to develop solid skills. You won’t shoot them well unless you learn some fundamentals and those skills will transfer to your other shooting. Besides, they’re simply a lot of fun. They simply can’t be beat for hauling out at a backyard barbecue or picnic and enjoying a little shooting without scaring that annoying sister-in-law who hates guns. Finally, truly good airguns are built with such precision they will offer a pride of ownership not found in many other guns without spending a LOT more money.

What KIND of airgun?

“Airgun” is actually a bit of a misnomer. The term generally applies to three types of powerplants: spring, gas and air.

Spring guns – a spring gun doesn’t actually produce “air” until the moment the trigger is pulled. Imagine a syringe, the kind the nurse uses to give you a shot. It is a cylinder with a hole on the business end and a plunger (with a tight seal) on the other end. When the plunger is pressed forward, whatever is in the cylinder comes out the front. Now imagine a metal cylinder with a sealed piston at the back end and an air hole (and rifled barrel) on the other end. At rest, the piston of a spring airgun will sit forward in the cylinder, thanks to a massive coiled spring placed behind the piston. Cocking the gun (by whatever means) pulls the piston backwards, compressing the spring, until a hook on the back of the piston mates with a corresponding hook on the gun’s trigger. Placing a pellet in the back of the barrel creates a closed airspace between the retracted piston and the rear of the pellet. Trip the trigger and the spring releases, causing the piston to fly forward, compressing the air in the cylinder until the rising pressure overcomes the resistance of the pellet in the breech and the pellet goes flying down the barrel and toward the target. Simple, huh?

The $29 Daisy Red Ryder you used as a kid was a spring gun. The $500 Air Arms TX200 that dominates the hunter class of Field Target airgun competitions is also a spring gun.

The main advantage of spring-powered airguns are that they can produce a fair amount of power in a relatively compact and COMPLETELY SELF-CONTAINED package. If you’re a squirrel hunter, you can go into the field with your spring rifle, a tin of pellets and you’re good to go. You can shoot until you run out of pellets with no concerns about running out of power or carrying extra do-dads with you.

Spring airguns are simple, robust and reliable. With minimal maintenance, a good spring airgun will shoot for decades, and actually get smoother the more you use it.

The main disadvantages of the spring airgun is all the twang and vibration that happens when that big spring releases, sending the piston flying forward. Spring guns move around in your hands when you fire them, forcing you to concentrate on proper hold (don’t grip the forearm) and follow-through. They’re not easy to shoot well. They’re also hell on scopes. Depending on power levels, they can require a fair amount of effort/strength to cock.

UPDATE TO ORIGINAL POST: A variation on the spring gun concept is the gas ram. Crosman's Nitro piston is likely the most popular incarnation of the concept that was developed by Theoben of England. Another example is the Beeman RX-2/Weihrauch HW90. A gas ram operates the same way as a conventional spring gun but instead of a coiled metal spring, the Nitro/Theoben powerplants use a sealed piston filled with nitrogen, similar to the air pistons that keep the hatchback on your car from crashing down on your head. Cocking the gun compresses the gas piston. Releasing the trigger lets it expand. Unlike metal springs, a gas ram doesn't take a set when cocked. You can cock the gas ram when you sit down under your favorite squirrel tree, nod off and sleep all day without any worry about damaging your spring. While a metal spring looses some of its springiness over time, the gas piston should stay the same strength forever (or until it blows a seal and doesn't "spring" at all). Also, because they don't have all those metal surfaces bouncing around, a gas ram should offer less twang and be quieter than a metal spring. Gas rams/pistons have been used in airguns for about 30 years now and while opinions vary about them, the technology is likely here to stay. Options are limited, though. You can either buy consumer-grade gas piston guns with crappy triggers or deluxe European models that cost more than most new airgunners are willing to spend. Beware: cocking effort can be higher with gas rams.


Gas guns
– For all practical purposes, modern gas guns are all powered by carbon dioxide (CO2). A charge of carbon dioxide waits at the ready in an enclosed reservoir. When the shooter trips the trigger, a valve is opened for a split instant, releasing a measured charge of gas, sending the pellet down range.

Most of us are familiar with the little CO2 cartridges that were first used in self-inflating life jackets and to create soda water behind the bar. Who knows how many little 12-ounce-gram CO2 powerlets have been consumed powering all the different cheap pellet guns that Crosman and other companies have sold over the years? But there’s more to CO2 guns than the myriad firearm look-a-like pistols sold at Walmart. There was a time when some of the finest match-grade pistols and rifles were powered by CO2, though most of these were fueled by larger bulk-fill tanks. But bulk-fill CO2 didn’t begin with Olympic-grade guns. Back in the 1950s Crosman offered a really neat line of bulk-fill pistols and rifles that are still valued by collectors and airgun enthusiasts today. They even came with a 10-ounce steel tank that could be sent back to Crosman for a refill when the owner ran out of juice.

Today, C02 guns run the gamut from firearms clones, to design-your-own single shot pistols and rifles sold through the Crosman custom shop. In fact, customizing and modifying CO2 guns is a vibrant and interesting segment of the airgunning hobby, with lots of cottage shop suppliers offering custom parts and do-dads to individualize these guns.

The main advantages of CO2 guns include ZERO recoil, relatively low-cost and the ability to cram the mechanism into almost any shape and form of gun (thus all the look-a-likes). Also, unlike spring guns, it takes almost no effort to cock a CO2 gun, a characteristic that makes them good for kid’s guns. Also, because not all the CO2 is dumped when you pull the trigger, follow-up shots are immediate and repeater designs are possible. In fact, Crosman made a successful semi-auto CO2 repeater as early as the 1960s.

Disadvantages of CO2 are many. Because of the physics of compressing carbon dioxide, there is a practical limit to the amount of power that a CO2 can produce. They are best for low-to-moderate powered guns. They’re also loud (almost as loud as a .22 short). Finally, carbon dioxide freezes. These guns don’t work well in cold weather and rapid firing can cause them to lock up. Also, CO2 costs money and airgunning is supposed to be cheap. Other than the classic Crosmans from the '50s and '60s (which I love) and the modern Crosman based Tinker Toy projects, I can't see recommending a CO2 gun for most users.

EDIT: There is also a line of Chinese-made Co2 rifles that are copies of the old Crosman 160. These are actually pretty cool guns and offer quite a bit of versatility for those who like to tinker/customize. The "QB" rifles are an interesting sort of subset of the airgun hobby.

EDIT2: Recently, I've been shooting a Co2 match pistol from the 1980s. I've come to the conclusion that Co2 is a viable bottom-feeder approach to airgun precision Nirvana. My Feinwerkbau C10 pistol is capable of the highest level of accuracy at a price that's the fraction of current top tier match pistols. If paper punching is your thing, don't overlook Co2 guns. We're talking low-powered guns, though.


Pneumatic guns – These are air guns in the truest sense of the word. These guns contain an air reservoir. When you pull the trigger, a valve opens momentarily and the resulting burst of air propels the pellet. There are three basic forms of pneumatic guns: single-stroke, multi-stroke and pre-charged.

With a single-stroke pneumatic air gun, you operate a lever (usually) ONCE to charge the air reservoir. That’s all the power you get. When you pull the trigger, all of the air is released and the gun must be recharged for the next shot. Single-stroke pneumatics run the gamut from cheap kid’s guns to high-grade match guns (though they’ve largely gone out of favor in competition due to cocking effort-induced shooter fatigue).

Multi-pump pneumatics allow you to vary the power of the gun with subsequent pumps. The Crosman 760 you had as a kid was a multi-pump pneumatic, as was that fancy Benjamin or Sheridan the rich kid down the block had. Every kid knew two or three pumps was good for quick shots at plastic army men, but that a full charge of 10 pumps would practically rival the awesome power of G.I. Joe’s Colt .45 (or so it seemed). In truth, guns like this are fairly powerful, and like the spring gun, are completely self-contained. You can go to the field with your pump-up Sheridan, a tin of pellets and shoot all day. Like the single-stroke pneumatic, tripping the trigger releases ALL of the air in the gun. You have to pump some more before you can shoot again.

While multi-pumpers like the Sheridan and Benjamin are handy rifles, they don't scope that easily. There are decent aftermarket mounts for them but you're still faced with variable point of impact, depending on the number of strokes.

Pre-charged pneumatic airguns (PCP) have an air reservoir that must be filled from an external source, such as a hand pump, a larger air tank or a compressor. Unlike the multi-pumps that dump their entire air charge each time the trigger is pulled, the valve of a PCP airgun releases a measured/regulated burst of air, leaving the rest of the air in the on-board tank for subsequent shots.  Not only are rapid follow-up shots possible, but the pre-charged pneumatic design lends itself to repeaters.

The advantages of pre-charged pneumatics are many. Unlike spring guns, there is virtually no recoil and absolutely no spring twang. This makes a PCP much easier to shoot accurately and there’s no worry about trashing scopes. If you fill from a tank or a compressor, there is no physical effort required to charge the gun. Also, there really is no practical limit to the amount of power a PCP airgun can produce. You’ve seen those massive pumpkin-chunking cannons on TV? Yep, precharged pneumatics done large! Those .40 caliber airguns that guys are killing wild boar with? Yep, PCP. The possibilities are nearly limitless.

BTW, this is not new technology. Lewis and Clark carried a large bore, 22-shot airgun on their 1804 Voyage of Discovery. The gun featured an air reservoir in the butt that was charged with a hand pump. They used it to amaze the Indians and scare them into submission. Powerful magic, those PCP airguns!

Pre-charged pneumatics are not without disadvantages, though. First, they’re expensive. The popular and very good 10-shot Benjamin Marauder broke a huge price barrier when it was introduced at about $450. (Great  -- read: European -- PCP repeaters could be 3 times that money.) That’s just the gun. Add a scope, rings, a hand pump or some sort of air tank and you could easily double the price. They are also definitely not self-contained. Run out of air in your on-board tank and you need to hook up to your SCUBA or SCBA tank or start pumping that hand pump. As you might imagine, pumping up your gun with a hand pump requires a fair amount of physical effort.

EDIT: Anyone considering a PCP gun needs to give some thought to how they're going to fill the thing. Hand pumps suck. SCUBA tanks are OK but may not provide that many fills before you have to run back to the dive shop. High pressure SCBA tanks (i.e. 4,000 psi) are the best choice but they're expensive -- like $400 or more -- and it may be difficult to find anyone willing to fill them to truly useful pressures. If you go PCP, you could easily spend as much or more money on your fill solution as you spend on the gun itself.


So, what to get?

Opinions are like assholes. Everybody has one and most of them stink. Here’s mine: Your first adult airgun should be a spring gun. They’re self-contained and simple. Cock the gun with one stroke. Load a pellet and shoot. Repeat until you’re collecting Social Security. No matter how much you get involved in airgunning, there will always be a place for a decent spring gun in your air rifle battery. They are simply the do-all-reasonably-well airgun. No fuss, no muss. You can get bogged down in air tanks and pumps later. To start, get a spring gun.


What caliber?
Airguns come in a wide range of calibers, from .177 up to .50 or more. While .20 and .25 caliber have their advocates, for most of us mere mortals, pellet selection, cost and gun availability will limit the choice to .177 or .22 – especially for our first gun. Reasonable people can make reasonable arguments for either caliber. Generally speaking, .177 will shoot a little flatter, allowing you to shoot more accurately at varying distances. The .22 will carry a little more energy, producing more smack at the target. If you’re a casual shooter you can likely accomplish whatever you need to with either caliber (though .177 will definitely be cheaper to shoot). Pay your money and make your choice. FWIW, I’m a .177 guy.

What about velocity?

New airgunners always ask about feet per second, but velocity is only part of the power equation. The same gun will propel a light pellet faster than a heavy pellet. If you do the math, the energy will be about the same (measured in foot-pounds) but the performance of the two pellets may be completely different. Faster is not necessarily better. Without getting into the weeds here, I suggest you forget about velocity. It’s a way over-rated measurement. If airgun makers all used the same pellet for testing (they don't) and they didn't lie (they do) then velocity might be a way to compare guns, but that's simply not the case. It's likely that one gun advertised at 1,000 fps might actually produce close to that with an appropriate pellet, while another one that makes the same claim might only run that fast with pellets so light that you run the risk of breaking your gun if you use them very much. If  you can find foot-pound measurements you may be able to compare guns for power but velocity by itself is meaningless.

Frankly, you don’t need that powerful of an airgun to kill a squirrel at reasonable distance – one at which you have some assurance of being able to accurately hit your target. You certainly don’t need a lot of power to bust antacid tablets or paint balls perched on golf tees. Remember, über accurate match airguns only produce about 600 fps.  With spring guns, power comes at the price of increased vibration and twang. Ultimate power is the enemy of smooth, pleasant firing behavior. Increased power will increase range, but you really only want JUST enough power for the task at hand and no more. Trust me, the "hold my beer" thrill of a super powerful magnum airgun gets old pretty fast. You'll get much more enjoyment out of a calm, gentle-shooting spring gun. Less is more.

If you're the type that just HAS to have the most power possible, you should probably be looking at a pre-charged pneumatics.

You get what you pay for
The new airgunner who’s decided on a medium-powered spring airgun has a lot of choices. He can go to Walmart and buy a $130 Ruger or Crosman. He can spend $200 on a Gamo . . . maybe one with a “Whisper” silencer . . . or he can step up to a European airgun at the tune of $300-$500. How to decide?

Let’s be clear: If all you want to do is plink at beer cans and kill nuisance starlings in the back yard, the Walmart package guns ($120 for gun and $4X scope) will probably get the job done just fine. The gun will go bang, hit with authority and will likely group reasonably well if you follow some basic guidelines (good pellets, don’t grip the forearm).  Your bargain gun will also come packaged with a terrible trigger and will twang and vibrate enough to warrant a trip to the dentist. While a diehard tinkerer could probably smooth the gun out some, you’re basically resigning yourself to a relatively crude rifle that could easily leave you disappointed with the whole airgun thing. If you want to get some real enjoyment out of airgunning you’ll need to step up a bit. (ETA: If your big box store special comes with two-piece scope mounts, plan to replace them with a one-piece mount. You'll never get those cheap rings to stay where you put them.)

If you read gun magazines, you’ve seen ads for Gamo airguns. Let me put this as gently as I can: Friends don’t let friends buy Gamo airguns. No, they’re not terrible, but they’re terribly over-hyped. Gamo’s marketing department has dreamed up some of the most ridiculous gun concepts and performance claims in the entire history of the gun world. The basic guns are OK and there’s a strong online community of Gamo followers who can help you tweak the guns and improve their performance but, in the end, they’re just cheap Spanish guns gussied up to sell. There is very little after-market support for them and they will never satisfy the way a better gun will. With a reminder that opinions are like assholes, my advice is to forget Gamo. If you already own one, I offer my apology for offending you and dissing your choice. Use it in good health and enjoy it. It's just one asshole's opinion. Don't take it personally. I'm sure your Hi-Point pistol is very nice, too. . . . In hindsight, this is too cruel. Gamo's are every bit as good as the budget guns, and probably a little better. They're just not as good as the good stuff. As long as you're 2/3 of the way there price-wise, you might as well step up and get something you'll treasure forever.

This has gone on long enough. If you want a good airgun that will last you a lifetime (seriously) , buy a GERMAN-made RWS (Diana)  or Weihrauch (some Beemans) airgun or perhaps a British made Air Arms. Limit  your choices to guns that advertise 1,000 fps or LESS in .177 caliber (.22 is fine, too, but the rated velocity figures will be lower.) My specific recommendation is either a RWS 34 (about $250) or a Beeman R9/Weihrauch HW95 (about $400). Get a good airgun-rated scope and airgun rated mounts.  Remember, quality is remembered long after price is forgotten. Money buys you a good (maybe incredible) trigger, quality manufacturing, precision, less twang and vibration and the availability of aftermarket parts for tuning and performance. We're talking serious rifles that will outlast you and that your children will cherish (if they have any class and sophistication).

(UPDATE: I've been reading a lot of reports of premature spring breakage on recent production RWS 34 rifles. The good news is that Umarex will fix the gun under warranty, but be aware of the possibility.)

UPDATE2: As of 10/15 the best deal going is the $299 Weihrauch HW95 being offered by Airguns of Arizona. That's a smoking good deal.

Yes, there are lots of other options out there, but the RWS 34 and Weihrauch HW95 are time-tested, proven airguns that will not disappoint. You will never regret owning one of these. They're not the only choice, but they're both good choices. They'll get you going with airgunning. Note: both RWS and Beeman/Weihrauch offer bigger, more powerful airguns. Don’t be a typical American male and assume more power is better. It’s not. These guns – which produce about 900 fps real-life velocity with appropriate pellets represent the sweet spot of general purpose first airguns. They’re not so powerful that they’re unpleasant to shoot but they’re stout enough to take small game. Personally, I prefer LESS powerful guns than these, but I understand I’m not going to convince you to buy a 700 fps gun.

Whatever you get, you’ll have to shoot it quite a bit before forming an opinion. Spring airgun require break-in. You’ll need to shoot at least 500 pellets before the gun will settle down.


Anyway, that’s about 3,000 words to get to this: Buy an RWS 34 or Beeman R9. Get a good scope. Don't grip the forearm. Get some good, round-nose lead pellets. Start shooting.


Link Posted: 7/1/2013 11:47:32 PM EDT
Great post!

I liked the statement you made about getting some round nose lead pellets.

Figured the ones that had a pointed conical end would do well, but for me, they really don`t perform ( accuracy wise ) as well as round nose do. Have read other statements which seem to back up my experience.

Another pellet shape I haven`t tried yet are the flat points. Have read that they are accurate. My results with them are as of yet, to be determined at another time. Still using a bunch of the round nosed stash I bought ( And enjoying the accuracy they have to offer ) when I bought my rifle.
Link Posted: 7/1/2013 11:55:40 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Xringlover:
Another pellet shape I haven`t tried yet are the flat points. Have read that they are accurate.  . . . .


They usually perform best in lower-powered guns. Like all wadcutters, they're made for cutting a clean, easily scored hole in a paper target. I've read that they can be effective on small game with moderate powered guns, but I'm not a hunter so I can't speak from experience.
Link Posted: 7/2/2013 12:00:10 AM EDT
My wallet wishes you hadn't posted this.
Link Posted: 7/2/2013 12:26:20 AM EDT
Originally Posted By LoganSackett:
My wallet wishes you hadn't posted this.


Your wallet will groan while your soul will sing!
Just tune out the bemoaning when your credit card statement shows up!
Link Posted: 7/2/2013 12:30:05 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/2/2013 12:30:53 AM EDT by Xringlover]
Originally Posted By Bladeswitcher:
Originally Posted By Xringlover:
Another pellet shape I haven`t tried yet are the flat points. Have read that they are accurate.  . . . .


They usually perform best in lower-powered guns.  I've read that they can be effective on small game with moderate powered guns


Read the same here.
I may try some soon to see how they group with my rifle.



Link Posted: 7/2/2013 12:12:43 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/2/2013 12:17:13 PM EDT by ArimoDave]
Only one correction that I think needs to be made.

The standard CO2 cartridge is 12 grams, not ounces.  A 12 oz CO2 bottle would be good to have to bulk fill with.

ETA:

The advice of the RWS 34 is very good.  It's trigger is rather exceptional for a gun in this price range.  However, . . .







it is the gateway drug of airgunning.   It was my first adult purchase of an airgun, I now have several more and want even more---each to serve a particular purpose, or do better at some task than what I already have.  
Link Posted: 7/2/2013 3:03:37 PM EDT
Thank's for the informative and well thought-out write up Bladeswitcher!

Link Posted: 7/4/2013 1:14:06 AM EDT
Thanks for the excellent write-up! My wife's gonna kill me as I've picked out an RWS 34 with scope on Amazon. I've been putting this off for too long.

I can't wait to get my hands on one to start getting good weekly trigger time without breaking the bank or dipping into my ammo stash.
Link Posted: 7/4/2013 1:30:27 AM EDT
Great writeup Bladeswitcher, and ditto on the Gamo setups.

I have 3 springers and the raw one is a Norinco. After 2 years it still smokes and stinks and a 4" group @ 10 metres is a good day.
The Stoeger is a well finished rifle and even with my eyesight the grouping comes down to an inch. I can take gophers with this rifle out to 30 metres. It is a pleasure to shoot with standard sights.
I have a Hatsan (Turkish) with a decent 3X9X32 AO that is a tack nailer out to 50 metres, it is quite heavy for a .177 but a great rest shooter.

My others in the collection are pistols and the most accurate so far is the Crosman MKII Target.
Basement range plinkers are whatever I feel like picking up (mostly on how they look).
I stay with .177 since I feel that larger calibre examples cost nearly as much or more than rimfire or centrefire counterparts, I set the bar pretty low when it comes to the cost of my airgun shooting.

Got a nice Sig delivered on Sunday and I'm not sure why I bought it because I don't need any more BB guns and have been thinning that collection.
I only have one plastic gun left and cannot part with it since the Mrs bought it for me as a gift  ( HK-MP5 ). Fun to shoot but not great for pest control.

Anyways, thanks for your contributions to this new forum and I'll be looking forward to more.

Just thought I would chime in and offer thanks for the new forum.

Link Posted: 7/6/2013 12:05:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/6/2013 12:14:08 PM EDT by Skg_Mre_Lght]
Link Posted: 7/21/2013 9:36:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/21/2013 9:37:12 PM EDT by noob5000000]
Great post! I have a few cheap air rifles with crappy triggers and sights, and as fun as they are I'm ready for something nicer. Thanks for taking the time to put it all down.

Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Xringlover:
Your wallet will groan while your soul will sing!
View Quote

This is a great quote that applies to many areas of life.
Link Posted: 7/22/2013 5:56:51 PM EDT
If you go for a pre-charged pneumatic and charge with a pump, make sure you have an air dryer.  Moisture is the enemy of pumps and PCPs.  The Hill brand hand pump is one such model with a factory option for a hand pump, most others can be retrofitted.  The Shoebox compressor uses a shop air compressor to precharge, the best shop compressed air filter will help greatly.



For my Benjamin hand pump, I have an air tank with two pounds of molecular sieve desiccant in it to dry the air.  Air from this tank is withdrawn though a regulator set at 20 PSI through a hose and fitting into the hand pump.  More complex but no water issues.  Cheap to build from hardware store parts.  Well, save the molecular sieves.  These are 1-2mm diameter pellets I ordered online.  4A specification is fine, they last for thousands of shots before recharging.  Silica gel will also work, a bit less effectively.

       
 
Link Posted: 7/23/2013 10:29:25 AM EDT
I'm glad I stumbled on this section of the forum. I have been shooting adult air rifles since my boys were little. Now my boys are adults and we have moved on to the AR platform. I have not shot the air rifles in a few years but I took one out of the safe last month and fired a few rounds. Last week I broke down my beeman R-9 and relubed the piston and spring, and gave the cocking shoe some attention. I currently own a beeman R-1, R-7, R-9, and a Theoben Crussader. For some general plinking, I still have my Crosman 1400 pump gun from the 1970's,  now I just have to clean up my 50 yard range and I'll be all set to go.

Mike
Link Posted: 7/25/2013 6:35:01 PM EDT
Thanks to this post I now own an RWS 34 in .22. I picked up a Williams diopter to go with it. I will also say that I have to give a shameless plug to a local to me shop here in Arizona.
Link Posted: 7/25/2013 9:28:54 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By aphxgmc:
Thanks to this post I now own an RWS 34 in .22. I picked up a Williams diopter to go with it. I will also say that I have to give a shameless plug to a local to me shop here in Arizona.
View Quote



Great. Now I am forever on the hook for your satisfaction . . .

All I can say is give is a good shot. Shoot at least a whole 500 round tin of pellets through it before you start forming opinions. Try to grip it so that the thing just floats in your hands . . . natural point of aim so that you're not trying to muscle the gun to your target . . . rest the gun on your open palm. . . . . shoot a lot. Eventually, you'll get a feel for it and you'll KNOW when you're doing it right.
Link Posted: 7/25/2013 9:40:17 PM EDT
Funny I should see this post today.
I am talking to a buddy of mine out of state that shoots airguns, and I asked him what I should get.

I want one to practice with off of my deck here at my place in the country, and shoot varmints, small game and turtles with as well.

He recommended a Beeman R9 or a RWS Diana 460.

I am thinking about the RWS 460 in .22.

I am curious to hear ya'lls  thoughts on those choices.
Link Posted: 7/25/2013 9:52:01 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/25/2013 9:54:34 PM EDT by Bladeswitcher]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By NE450No2:
Funny I should see this post today.
I am talking to a buddy of mine out of state that shoots airguns, and I asked him what I should get.

I want one to practice with off of my deck here at my place in the country, and shoot varmints, small game and turtles with as well.

He recommended a Beeman R9 or a RWS Diana 460.

I am thinking about the RWS 460 in .22.

I am curious to hear ya'lls  thoughts on those choices.
View Quote



Well, I'm on record endorsing the R9. I've never even seen an RWS 460, much less owned one, so all I've got to offer is Tom Gaylord's take on the gun . . . http://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2007/09/rws-diana-460-magnum-part-1.html
RWS 460 Part 2
RWS460 Part 3
Link Posted: 7/26/2013 5:16:36 PM EDT
Of the 5 rifles that I have, the R-9 is my favorite. I have no experience with the RWS model.
Mike
Link Posted: 7/28/2013 7:11:14 PM EDT
Great info and I had a few laughs. Before reading this I decided on a rws 34 compact. I have a gamo currently. I loved the hi point comment lmao. I was undecided on caliber.... you persuaded me to the .177. I basically have an ocd about shooting black birds. I did it when I was a kid and still 20yrs later I am popping them. Can't wait for the rws. The birds are getting smarter and my shots further. The 34 should serve me well in my quest to "save our dogs food from those feathered thieves.
Link Posted: 7/28/2013 10:53:02 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By DeAdEyE956:
Great info and I had a few laughs. Before reading this I decided on a rws 34 compact. I have a gamo currently. I loved the hi point comment lmao. I was undecided on caliber.... you persuaded me to the .177. I basically have an ocd about shooting black birds. I did it when I was a kid and still 20yrs later I am popping them. Can't wait for the rws. The birds are getting smarter and my shots further. The 34 should serve me well in my quest to "save our dogs food from those feathered thieves.
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Be aware, the compact model requires more cocking effort.
Link Posted: 7/29/2013 1:00:08 AM EDT
How much harder is it than a gamo pos? I do have a bum shoulder but manage to do most things. Im still in my 30s so I hope it isnt to bad to were I cant use it for 15 yrs.
Link Posted: 7/29/2013 7:03:04 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By DeAdEyE956:
How much harder is it than a gamo pos? I do have a bum shoulder but manage to do most things. Im still in my 30s so I hope it isnt to bad to were I cant use it for 15 yrs.
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I've not compared them so I can't say. My point is that the Compact is a bit harder to cock than the standard RWS 34 because the barrel is shorter. When compared to the standard RWS 34, the Compact Pro seems to be the better deal because it comes with a scope and mount. There is a cost, though, and that's harder cocking effort.
Link Posted: 8/5/2013 9:30:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/5/2013 9:33:32 PM EDT by ultramagbrion]


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Originally Posted By ArimoDave:
The advice of the RWS 34 is very good.  It's trigger is rather exceptional for a gun in this price range.  However, . . .
it is the gateway drug of airgunning.   It was my first adult purchase of an airgun, I now have several more and want even more---each to serve a particular purpose, or do better at some task than what I already have.  
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That's the rifle I bought about 4 years ago at Cabella's . It was an impulse buy in their bargain cave . $200 , and it came with RWS's scope as a package . .177 cal.





I still havent put , maybe , 300 shots through her so she really isnt broke in yet ......but lately Ive been plinking more with the RWS and a couple Crossman pistols I own . Good cheap fun
ETA--- Great post Bladeswitcher
 
Link Posted: 8/25/2013 6:58:14 PM EDT
Arfcom costs me money yet again.

Beeman HW97K Elite Series Combo Air Rifle ordered from Pyramid air (.22).
Link Posted: 8/27/2013 4:10:54 PM EDT
What is meant by the advice "Don't grip the forearm"?
Link Posted: 8/27/2013 4:22:19 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By jnichols2:
What is meant by the advice "Don't grip the forearm"?
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See this thread: http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_6_54/402645_The_artillery_hold_for_piston_rifles_to_improve_accurarcy_.html
Link Posted: 12/27/2013 9:20:04 PM EDT
Thanks for this great writeup!

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 2/2/2014 11:56:10 AM EDT
Nice write up but was not expecting the Beeman R9 to be $500 bucks.
Link Posted: 2/2/2014 2:17:30 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/28/2015 10:12:45 PM EDT by Bladeswitcher]
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Originally Posted By jukeboxx13:
Nice write up but was not expecting the Beeman R9 to be $500 bucks.
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You can find them used in the $350 range.


ETA: AIrguns of Arizona has been running a $299 special on the Weihrauch HW95. This is the same gun as the Beeman R9. Weihrauch is the manufacturer. This has to be the best deal going on an adult airgun!

http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/ You'll have to hunt a bit for the HW95 as the website uses frames and there's no direct link to the HW95 special.
Link Posted: 2/18/2014 7:55:37 AM EDT
I have updated the original post slightly to include a mention of gas rams (Nitro piston).
Link Posted: 2/19/2014 12:36:55 PM EDT
First off, THANKS FOR THIS!  

I found that this write-up is absolutely solid advice and great info - thanks for the spoon-feeding!

And just wanted to give a heads up to anyone in AZ about  Airguns of AZ in the Phoenix metro area.  Hope that's ok to post but I had no idea we had such a big player right here in town with a retail location and fantastic pricing.

I had done some research and remembered the two rifles that were mentioned here.

The guy that helped me was very knowledgeable.  I always go into places acting like I don't know anything just to see what I get from them.  The guy pretty much regurgitated this post word for word and I walked out with a Weihrauch HW95 in .22 (.22 because I bought this solely to take the larger ring-neck doves in AZ.)  I got a Vortex Crossfire 4-12 AO that is airgun rated as well as a nice one piece mount (dont' remember the name but it was made in UK and about $60.)  I also got some different pellets (yeah ammo!) and a couple of other little things.

All in all I spent just over $700 but feel like I now have something that should last a lifetime and the best bang for my buck.

Only thing I think I"ll do now is figure out how to make it smoother.  Drop in kit sounds like it should do the trick, if not, I will probably send it out.  The gun actually gives me a headache from the goofy recoil (typical of any springer I"m guessing.)

And NO - DO NOT go into this store if you think this will be a cheaper alternative!  Ammo yes....everything else....not likely!

BTW - in AZ Ring-Necked Doves (Eurasian Collared Doves) are legal to take all year long and there is no bag limit.  Also legal with airguns........And in the Pinal County area there are literally thousands of these.  If I end up being in a area near a dairy I'm guessing I won't be able to shoot fast enough and probably still not make a dent.

I actually just got my first one about 20 minutes ago.  My job keeps me in rural farmland areas sitting doing nothing for 2-8 hours a  day.....day will go by faster now!

Link Posted: 2/19/2014 1:14:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 7/27/2014 12:53:46 PM EDT by Bladeswitcher]
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Originally Posted By azscooby:

And just wanted to give a heads up to anyone in AZ about  Airguns of AZ in the Phoenix metro area.  Hope that's ok to post but I had no idea we had such a big player right here in town with a retail location and fantastic pricing. I don't see any reason not to plug a place that gives you good service.

I walked out with a Weihrauch HW95 in .22 (.22 because I bought this solely to take the larger ring-neck doves in AZ.)  I got a Vortex Crossfire 4-12 AO that is airgun rated as well as a nice one piece mount (dont' remember the name but it was made in UK and about $60.)  Sounds like a great rig. I really like my R9, which I believe is the same gun (mine is .177, though)

Only thing I think I"ll do now is figure out how to make it smoother.  Drop in kit sounds like it should do the trick, if not, I will probably send it out. Two choices: Maccari or Vortex. The Vortex is probably slightly easier to install. Either one requires you to build a spring compressor before attempting the work.
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Link Posted: 11/10/2018 9:35:23 PM EDT
Thanks for the guidance.......I'm in the market and appreciate the advice!!!
Link Posted: 11/10/2018 11:31:10 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By TUMOR:
Thanks for the guidance.......I'm in the market and appreciate the advice!!!
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You should know that in the years since this was written, the PCP (pre-charged pneumatic) market has really taken off. There are lots more guns available and prices have come down. I haven't been paying a lot of attention but I suspect that the PCP pretty well rules the "serious" airgun game these days. Spring guns seem like they're rapidly becoming passe.
Link Posted: 11/11/2018 12:00:12 AM EDT
Link Posted: 11/11/2018 12:13:59 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Skg_Mre_Lght:

I can't really argue with that, although I still use my old springers, and have a fondness for them.
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Me too.
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