A Comprehensive Guide To The Pellet Gun (Updated for 2020)

A Comprehensive Guide To The Pellet Gun

If you're new to pellet guns then this is the article for you...We'll go over the basics of a pellet gun, point you to detailed pellet gun reviews including everything from pellet revolvers to pellet sniper rifles. We'll even help you find the best pellets or bbs for every type of gun (hint: FPS matter greatly).

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.

What Is A Pellet Gun?

Pellet Gun with Ammo Black

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. For this reason, alot of people like pellet guns for small game hunting as well as more serious target practice.. .These guns can be suitable choice for anyone: beginners, hunters, sportsmen, plinkers, experts and young shooters.

What Are The Advantages Of Pellet Guns?

The fact that pellet guns (also known as airsoft guns) are getting more popular is not by chance. These guns feature plenty of useful functions that provide user with a number of benefits.


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.


Another huge advantage 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.

They Cock Easily

The high-quality air guns normally cock easily and still deliver huge power. In fact, classic pellet guns are very easy to cock. However, there are some models that require some upper body strength.

Cocking a Pellet Gun


Accuracy is probably one of the biggest advantages of pellet guns vs. BB guns.  Because of the rifled barrel and shape of the pellet, the pellet is able to cut through the air more easily and find its target.  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.  

The pellets are usually lead which is a soft metal.  Because of this, the likelihood of them ricocheting off a surface is much lower than it would be with a BB.  This is a crucial advantage over BB guns when it comes to long-distance accuracy.

What Is The Use Of Pellet Guns?

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.

Main Types Of Pellet Guns

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:

  • If you intend hunting – .22 caliber air rifle will be the best choice
  • With target shooting – go for .177 caliber
  • Pest control or small game – best option is .177 caliber or .22 caliber
  • Competition air rifles - usually classify for .177 caliber


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.  Some pellet revolvers are shockingly like the real-deal.

Pellet Handgun With Drum

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.

BB Bullets in a box

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.

Pellet Gun Calibers

In this section, we will go over the most popular pellet gun calibers, discuss their specifics and uses.

The Most Common Pellet Gun Caliber - .177 (4.5mm)

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.

.177 4.5mm Caliber

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.

.22 (5.5 mm & 5.6 mm)

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.

Pellet Crow Magnum

The events also allow for use of any other caliber, up to .22 caliber, which is a maximum.

Other popular pellet guns calibers include:

.20 (5 mm)

This caliber is initially featured via the Sheridan multi-pump pneumatic air rifle. However, recently, other pellet guns also use this caliber.

.25 (6.35 mm)

This is the largest common caliber that is available in the market. The air rifles with this caliber are used for hunting large animals.

Pellet Gun Vs BB Gun

While these two types of guns share a number of common features, they also have some fundamental differences.

Different Ammunition

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.

BB vs Pelet Ammo

The BBs are just steel balls, as we discussed above.

Variety Of Powerplants

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.

Pellet Guns Manufacturers

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.


Crosman 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.

Crossman Gun

In the past years, air guns and rifles from Crosman were produced with a young user in mind. However, this strategy has been amended, and now Crosman delivers air guns and air rifles that are suitable both for professionals and for beginners.  Alot of sportsmen LOVE Crosman guns because they're very easy to customize with any and every type of mod imaginable.

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 from high-powered air rifles to powerful pellet pistols.


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.

Gamo Silent Air Gun

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. cA range of Ruger’s products includes bolt-action pellet guns, single-shot rifles, auto loading rifles, lever-action rifles, shotguns, center fire pistols, rim fire pistols, double-action revolvers, and single-action revolvers.  Ruger also makes one of the best .22 cal pellet gun on the market.

Ruger Air Gun Company

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

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 pellet guns in the mid-to-upper price range.

Black Ops Rifle

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.

Daisy Gun Review

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.

Pellet Gun Injury India

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:

  • Always wear shielding eye protection when your air gun is in use;
  • Use common sense, when handling your pellet gun – never play with it, never point your gun loaded or unloaded at any person or anything you do not intend to shoot at;
  • ​Always keep your gun unloaded unless you are intending to shoot it;
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until you are aiming at the target and ready to shoot.

Maintenance And Cleaning

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:

  • Run a few clean patches through the bore of your pellet gun to get rid of dirt;
  • Clean your air gun from the breech if it is possible. Make sure to be very gentle to protect the rifling at the muzzle. In case it is damaged, the gun’s accuracy is at risk;
  • ​Never use solvents for cleaning your air gun. Some proper lubricant (oil) on the patch will do the job. Make sure to use the oil that is recommended by the manufacturer;
  • Dry the bore after you are done cleaning, unless it is going into the long-term storage. In this case, a good gun oil will be the best option. Spread it over the bore and store as needed.

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:

  • Use a brass or bronze brush to remove the lead;
  • Scrub with back and forth like movements;
  • Never do this procedure unless it is really necessary since it can damage the bore.


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.  Like picking the best paintball gun, finding the best pellet gun requires research.

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.

Cricket .22 Air Rifle

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.

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