Are you new to pellet guns? Then this article is crafted particularly for you. Here, we will discuss the basics of a pellet gun, its advantages, key uses and types of pellet guns. In addition, you will learn about the safety matters when using pellet guns and how to clean a pellet gun.
We will start with basics. With pellet guns being something new to you, it might be quite hard to grasp a lot of detailed information about this type of guns all at once. However, I will make sure to introduce you to the most relevant and fresh information about pellet guns gradually.
The pellet gun is a kind of small arms that pushes out pellets with help of high-pressure compressed air or any other gas, which involves an exothermic chemical reaction. Pellet guns exist either in rifle or handgun form.
These types of guns are propelling either metallic projectiles, spherical BBs or non-spherical pellets. Some of other types of pellet guns can also shoot arrows or darts.
In fact, pellet guns are more accurate than BB guns thanks to their rifled barrels, the powerplants used and the shape of the pellets. These guns can be suitable choice for anyone: beginners, hunters, sportsmen, plinkers, experts and young shooters.
While pellet gun is a very popular trend these days, it is not just by chance. These guns feature plenty of useful functions that provide user with a number of benefits.
There is a big number of people who shoot pellet guns on a regular basis. However, there is also a group of people, who shoot air guns from time to time. Either way, these guns are growing popularity day by day. What is the reason?
One of the key reasons is the simplicity of shooting with a pellet gun. Pellet guns are very easy to use, whether you are beginner or experienced shooter. Moreover, these guns are normally do not weigh much, providing shooter with sufficient mobility for better performance.
One of the key advantages of pellet guns is that their shots are usually quiet. This feature will be extremely helpful for those, who hunt. In case you did not hit the aim, it is less likely you will frighten off the prey.
The high-quality air guns normally cock easily. In fact, classic pellet guns are very easy to cock. However, there are some models that require some upper body strength.
Accuracy is one of the key things you need to pay attention while choosing a pellet gun. Pellet guns are capable of providing high level of accuracy, depending on the quality of a gun.
One of the most usual uses of pellet guns - rodents hunt and pest control. These small animals include rabbits, birds, mice, squirrels and others. Some people use pellet guns to keep their yards protected from these small animals.
The other great use of the pellet guns is target shooting. A person can practice target shooting alone or with friends while competing in a professional field. For instance, a field target is a competitive form of target shooting.
The targets in FT are usually the knock-down metal silhouettes of animals. This sport was originated in the UK in 1980 by the National Air Rifle and Pistol Association.
Another popular use of pellet guns – plinking. Plinking, or recreational shooting, is a process of shooting at targets like bottles, cans or logs for target practice and for fun. In addition, people use pellet guns as a key equipment in some competitive sports, such as Olympic 10 m Air Rifle and 10 m Air Pistol events.
The small game hunting is another popular use of pellet guns. Industry experts believe that the pellet gun is an excellent weapon to take down small game. You can successfully hunt rabbit, squirrel, dove, quail, duck and the like with pellet gun.
Finally, enforcement and military authorities use pellet guns as a form of non-lethal crowd control methods.
As you are already familiar with the key uses of pellet guns, it is just the right time to go over the main types of these guns. Pellet guns can be broken down into two key types – rifle pellet guns and pellet handguns.
Pellet rifles are normally used for a wide range of activities. You can hunt small game and pests or shoot targets in your yard. In fact, each activity implies using the air rifle of a certain caliber for the best results:
Typically, pellet handguns are more affordable than air rifles. In fact, some of the industry experts strongly believe that pellet pistols are necessary for every air gunner. These guns provide high mobility, while being very versatile in terms of their functions, as well.
Pellet handguns are great for hunting pests, plinking or for the competitive games.
Talking about pellets, it is worth to note the variety of types of pellets that is available in the market. Normally, pellets have the diabolo shape, which implies that the front and rear parts have the larger diameter than the middle part of pellet. Such shape is given to pellets not by chance, but with the purpose of reducing the friction between the pellet and the barrel.
Moreover, pellet gun projectiles have hollow bases that are normally larger in diameter than the front section. This provides the skirt with an opportunity to seal the bore against the pressure that pushes on base of pellet in the moment when the friction on the head area is not too high.
The velocity of a pellet is dependent on the weight of a projectile. The heavier the pellet, the lower is its velocity. However, heavier pellets tend to retain their velocity better, as they have higher ballistic coefficients.
Pellets are usually made from tin or a mix of materials like steel-tipped plastic.
The BB is a single type of round steel projectile. The BB once was known as the most common air gun ammunition in the USA. Usually, the BB is made of the steel, with a copper or zinc plating. The common diameter of BB is 4.5 mm/.177" diameter.
This ammunition provides a great accuracy for air guns at short distances. However, in order to function properly, the BBs need to be fired from the right BB guns, which have smoothbore barrels.
Since the BBs are made of steel, they are not meant to be fired from the rifled barrels. Exactly for this reason, they are also undersized. In order to be fired from rifled barrels, the BBs come in the smaller 4.4 mm size. The bigger size of the BB can easily jam the bore. Due to this factor, BBs lack the spin stabilization that is needed for long-range accuracy.
The typical use of BBs includes the indoor or the outdoor plinking. Moreover, some of the air gun enthusiasts use BBs for practice, as an alternative to the high-powered air gun systems. In addition, shotgunners utilize sightless BB rifles to practice in instinctive shooting.
In this section, we will go over the most popular pellet gun calibers, discuss their specifics and uses.
The International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) has set this caliber to be used in the international target shooting competition at 10 meters. The .177 caliber is used at the Olympic level in both rifle and pistol events. Moreover, this caliber is adopted by the number of National Governing Bodies for local use in similar target shooting events.
The .177 caliber has the record flat trajectory of all the calibers, taking the given energy level into consideration. This allows for a superior accuracy. Additionally, this caliber is suitable for hunting small game purposes.
This caliber is usually used for hunting. It also a good option for the general use. In the past years, some of air rifles and pistols in .22 caliber were allowed for use in both international and domestic target shooting in events that are not in the oversight of ISSF, along with other calibers.
The .22 caliber is mostly used in FT/HFT and Smallbore Becnhrest competitions.
The events also allow for use of any other caliber, up to .22 caliber, which is a maximum.
Other popular pellet guns calibers include:
This caliber is initially featured via the Sheridan multi-pump pneumatic air rifle. However, recently, other pellet guns also use this caliber.
This is the largest common caliber that is available in the market. The air rifles with this caliber are used for hunting large animals.
While these two types of guns share a number of common features, they also have some fundamental differences.
An essential difference between pellet guns and its BB counterpart is the type of ammunition. If you look at pellets, you will find that they are normally pointed, or sometimes have the shape of an arrowhead.
The BBs are just steel balls, as we discussed above.
With pellet guns, it is easy to find different powerplants - CO2, pump, pre-charged-pneumatic, spring, while BB pistols are normally CO2 powered.
The size and shape of pellet are designed for hunting pests or small game. Moreover, they are perfect for target range practice.
The BB guns are almost always used for practice sessions. Yet, they can be used at close range and for beginner practice.
Now, when you know a lot about the uses, types, and advantages of pellet guns, it is high time to take a look at the companies that produce them. With air guns becoming more available and popular day by day, manufacturers put efforts to keep up with the latest trends in the industry.
Many of existing producers specialize in producing just the pellet guns, where others also have the BB guns in their product lines. In this section, we will examine the most reliable and popular pellet gun manufacturers on the market.
Crossman is an international company that specializes in designing, manufacturing, and marketing of pellet guns, BB and airsoft rifles and guns. Moreover, the company produces high-quality accessories and ammunition.
In the past years, air guns and rifles from Crossman were produced with a young user in mind. However, this strategy has been amended, and now Crossman delivers air guns and air rifles that are suitable both for professionals and for beginners.
In addition, the company has commenced the production of airsoft guns with CO2, spring and electric powerplants. Crosman claims to have an air gun for every shooter.
Gamo is a manufacturer of air rifles, pistols, and pellets. The company is the winner of international recognition for quality and performance of their products. This company is the largest air gun manufacturer in Europe.
Particularly, the firm specializes in production of air rifles. However, its air pistols are also capable of delivering high-quality user experience. Gamo produces a number of great air rifle models along with its famous hunting air rifles, and other air pistols.
Ruger is an American firearm manufacturing company. The company focuses on producing high-quality firearms for the commercial sporting market. A range of Ruger’s products includes bolt-action rifles, single-shot rifles, auto loading rifles, lever-action rifles, shotguns, center fire pistols, rim fire pistols, double-action revolvers, and single-action revolvers.
Ruger offers more than 400 variations of over 70 products in 25 product lines. The company states that its products are capable of meeting every shooter’s needs.
Black Ops is the USA based company that focuses its efforts on researching, designing and manufacturing airsoft and air guns. The company is known for its high quality and high-value guns in the mid-to-upper price range.
Black Ops is committed to bringing professional air guns to the shooters that are seeking tactical and practical military guns. The company’s range of pellet guns is suitable for every shooter, starting from the beginner and finishing with the professional sportsman.
Daisy is a manufacturer of air guns and BB guns with the history that goes back to 1886. One of the most popular products by Daisy - the 1938 Red Ryder BB Gun. These days, this gun is still available in the market.
The company produces more than 5 million air gun products on an annual basis. The biggest part of this production goes for Daisy air guns. Other Daisy products include pellets, BBs, and air gun accessories. Daisy air guns are suitable for all levels of shooters, according to company’s promises.
Pellet guns might appear to you as relatively harmless weapons. In fact, these are potentially lethal guns, if used inadequately. Air guns use expanding force of compressed air to push the pellet out of a barrel. Interesting fact – these guns were subject to a general use since Napoleonic wars.
In the recent years, technological innovations have been progressing the muzzle velocity of pellet guns. As a result, penetrating power of pellet guns was rising, as well.
In one of his studies, Vincent Di Maio has concluded that the critical velocity for penetration of human skin by an air gun pellet is between 38 and 70 m/sec (125–230 ft/sec). Di Maio is the USA based expert on the subject of gunshot wounds.
Injuries from air guns can be quite serious and even fatal. Therefore, basic safety precautions are important, when using pellet guns. Before you shoot your pellet gun, carefully read and understand the instruction manual that comes with the gun.
Some of the general safety rules for the use of pellet guns include:
Cleaning is definitely an essential part of overall pellet gun maintenance. In fact, airgun barrels get dirty – they collect dirt in the bore. Particularly, lubricant in the bore gathers dirt, which sometimes leads to some performance issues, if not taken care of.
However, some of air gunners do not clean their barrels. Even some Olympic champions do not clean their guns.
Bear in mind that airguns with faster velocities and hard pellets can deposit lead in the bore. As some of pellet guns are able to have velocities up to 900 FPS, pellets can leave a streak of lead in the bore. Hard pellets are actually worst at leaving streaks.
There are some basic rules for proper pellet gun cleaning procedure. Remember, cleaning is not a requirement, but if you are willing to clean your gun, there is no harm, unless you do it wrong. Follow the next steps, unless you know the barrel has lead inside:
In case you noticed your previously accurate gun started to underperform, you might need to remove some excessive lead that has built up in the bore. In order to remove it in a proper way, ask for a professional help or follow the next steps:
If you have read this article, good job – you can consider yourself being one step closer to becoming the pellet gun expert. Learning about pellet guns might be fun, but choosing one can be quite a confusing experience.
Some types of pellet guns have their roots back in the 15th century. As you can imagine, there are thousands of pellet gun models available on the market at the moment.
Pellet guns have been evolving in accordance with consumers’ needs and preferences. Just like that, modern manufacturers keep up with new developments and trends on the market.
In order to make a wise and reasonable investment decision, you will need to consider a number of factors prior to buying a pellet gun. Beginners may think that the power and velocity of a pellet gun are the key aspects of the good pellet gun. However, I would also recommend paying attention to the accuracy of the gun. What is the meaning of powerful gun, which cannot hit the aim?
For your convenience, we have summarized the most important information on how to choose the right pellet gun in our Best Pellet Gun Buying Guide. There, we discuss the significance of choosing a pellet gun carefully along with reliable pellet gun models.