Lets Talk: Air Rifles!

For those who live in areas where firearms are not an option and those that are smart enough to have a back up.

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Lets Talk: Air Rifles!

Post by Halfapint » Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:23 pm

I currently live in a suburban area where firing a firearm would be both illegal and dangerous out the back door. So I use the air rifle to practice with, and to protect the livestock in the backyard. The air rifle I have is a .177cal 1200fps break barrel, the ranges I shoot at are about 50 yards (give or take 5 yards). At this range the rifle is rather accurate, I've taken a raccoon that was stalking a chicken in broad daylight at about 50 yards with a single shot.

I've been looking at getting a larger caliber air rifle, something that would have a little more oomph to it. I was looking at getting different ammo for the .177 but the heavier pellets at the edge of the property would drop a lot more. I'd have adjust the scope each time, or just buy the far more expensive ammo ($9.99 per 100 compared to $4.99 for 1250) and just shoot that. So I was looking at getting a .22 that would be used as the game getter. I'd buy the more expensive ammo for the .22 so it would be a lot easier to take larger racoons (possibly zombies?!?!?!?! :rofl: ).

What do people think? Get a larger caliber air rifle? Buy heavier better quality ammo and just shoot that in the .177? Are .22 air rifles really that much better than the .177 air rifles for getting small game? Lets keep this discussion to JUST air rifles, sure I could get a can for my .22lr and shoot subsonics but that would still be illegal in my area.

Lets discuss!
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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by itzybitzyspyder » Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:25 pm

I don't like the idea of relying on CO2 cartridges. Are there any tough air rifles that have a pump feature? Or is that something left to the BB guns?
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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by Stercutus » Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:37 pm

Unless you are spending real money a .22 caliber will likely not serve you any better than a .177. You are also going to jump up a bit in weight if you want to push a larger projectile faster. So what is your budget and how fast do you want to go?
Are there any tough air rifles that have a pump feature?
Yeah, tons of them.
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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by Halfapint » Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:57 pm

itzybitzyspyder wrote:I don't like the idea of relying on CO2 cartridges. Are there any tough air rifles that have a pump feature? Or is that something left to the BB guns?
Most decent air rifles are break barrel, and are either spring piston or gas piston.
Stercutus wrote:Unless you are spending real money a .22 caliber will likely not serve you any better than a .177. You are also going to jump up a bit in weight if you want to push a larger projectile faster. So what is your budget and how fast do you want to go?
Are there any tough air rifles that have a pump feature?
Yeah, tons of them.
Looking at maybe $250-$350 and pushing 1200fps with some heavier pellets (20gr+)
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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by majorhavoc » Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:58 pm

I agree with your reasoning about moving up to a larger caliber in an airgun in terms of stopping power. For a given airgun power plant, a larger caliber pellet will generally deliver more kinetic energy to your target, simply because the round with more mass will spend additional time in the barrel, allowing the pressurized air to impart more energy to the pellet before it clears the barrel crown. Plus, heavier rounds are more likely to stay subsonic, which might also (marginally) increase your odds of getting off a second shot.

One disadvantage to a spring piston break barrel is that you generally don't want to keep the piston spring cocked for long periods of time, even just a few hours while hunting. Obviously, waiting until you identify your target before cocking the weapon is a decided disadvantage. A nitro piston break barrel airgun doesn't have this problem, or so I'm told.

I think that a PCP airgun with a built in pump (or at least one paired with a quality high pressure hand pump) might be about the best non-firearm SHTF hunting weapon out there. Something like the Benjamin 392 or the Benjamin Discovery or Marauder. Takes considerably less skill to employ effectively than a sling, slingshot, bow or even a crossbow.

Ammo availability is an issue, I will concede; and I don't necessary agree with people who say you can cast your own small caliber lead pellets with sufficient precision for shot to shot consistency.

But you can stock a hell of a lot of hollow point pellets pretty damn deep for not that much money.
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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by Halfapint » Mon Oct 27, 2014 8:06 pm

majorhavoc wrote:..... snip I think that a PCP airgun with a built in pump (or at least one paired with a quality high pressure hand pump) might be about the best non-firearm SHTF hunting weapon out there. Something like the Benjamin 392 or the Benjamin Discovery or Marauder. Takes considerably less skill to employ effectively than a sling, slingshot, bow or even a crossbow.

Ammo availability is an issue, I will concede; and I don't necessary agree with people who say you can cast your own small caliber lead pellets with sufficient precision for shot to shot consistency.

But you can stock a hell of a lot of hollow point pellets pretty damn deep for not that much money.
I was looking at a PCP but the ones with a built in pump are damn expensive normally. I also agree with cast your own would probably be stupid inaccurate, but when you can spend $100-$200 on good quality ammo and probably have a damn near lifetime supply!
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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by Sworbeyegib » Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:39 pm

I know that while .117 and .22 airguns are the most popular, but as far as production guns go, they go up to a .25cal as far as typical "pellet rifles" go. The .117 seems to be mostly target shooters that take the occasional small game, and .22 being used as an "all around" shooter that likely sees as much targets as game, and the .25 is what serious airgun hunters prefer.

As with all modern advances in bullets, the .177 with top quality hunting ammo is a lot different from what the .177 could do 20 or 30 years ago. The guns and the pellets have only moved forward. For .177, I found Gamo Rockets to be one of my favorites. Not sure which ones you were looking at, but these I could find easily locally. As with all bullet technology over the years.

I found this nifty little chart that shows approximate velocity and ft/lbs of various pellets.

Seems that according to this, the difference between the .177 and the .22 is actually fairly marginal. The real jump in power doesn't seem to happen until you hit the .25 cal guns. Of course we know that ft/lbs isn't everything when it comes to effectiveness on large game, but it's a jumping off point.

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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by Paladin1 » Mon Oct 27, 2014 9:58 pm

I've been looking at upgrading myself and have been eyeballing this one:

Gamo Silent Stalker Whisper .22 Cal

http://www.alloutdoor.com/2013/11/28/ga ... le-review/#

It can stay cocked, less effected by weather than springs, super quiet w/ built in can, and pretty good power.

There are others that have way more power, but would be less useable during any extended Zombie Apocalypse scenario. :D

It would be real easy to spend big bucks on the really advanced ones.
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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by Halfapint » Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:03 pm

Interesting chart, I like the information. The ammo I was looking at was were This one and This one. The last one states the heaviest .177 available, and the most accurate.

I was looking at the .25cal rifles but they were more expensive than what I was looking at spending for something that would only be used a few times a year at most for hunting.
Paladin1 wrote:It can stay cocked, less effected by weather than springs, super quiet w/ built in can, and pretty good power.

There are others that have way more power, but would be less useable during any extended Zombie Apocalypse scenario. :D

It would be real easy to spend big bucks on the really advanced ones.
Why do you think others would be less useable for extended periods? This one that I have I've been using for about 5 years (it's at my parents house but I'm the one that sighted it in for my dad who like to shot targets with it) so it got a lot of use for 5 years.

I agree, I'd LOVE to spend $800+ on a REALLY nice .30cal PCP air rifle...... But I just can't justify it :( :gonk:
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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by majorhavoc » Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:23 pm

If you do stick with .177 caliber, experiment with pellets on the heavy side of the weight range. Don't get hung up on FPS because your 1200 FPS rifle got it's velocity rating using some sort of absurdly light pellet that exists for the sole purpose of generating gloat-worthy chronograph numbers. Those 5-ish gram pellets shoot for shit out of any high powered air rifle. Inflated FPS marketing numbers translate to almost nothing in terms of practical, real world use.

My Beeman RS2 loves, loves, loves Crosman Ultra Magnum Premier .177 pellets, relative heavyweights at 10.5 gr. Shoots better than anything I've tried from Beeman or RWS. Plus, they're a relative bargain at about $10 per tin of 500.
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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by angelofwar » Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:32 pm

I recently acquired the Crosman Back-Packer (EXCELLENT ZPAW food getter BTW!). Having owned and shot .177, I will say that the .22 pellets can penetrate more. Stell cans? No prob! I will also say, however, I have little to experience in the "rifle" arena of pellet rifles, as the backpacker comes up just short of a rifle...but, I'm a dead shot with it using irons. I do eventually plan to get an actual rifle, as opposed to a pistol with a stock, so am interested in where this thread goes. That aside, the fact that the back-packer easily fits in a back-pack, and you can easily take small varmits with it, makes it a no brainer for a zpaw air-rifle...and being based of the classic Crosman American, upgrades are plentiful...
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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by crypto » Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:34 pm

Sworbeyegib wrote: Image
I'm not a fan of this chart. The only 4.5mm pellet that they have is the flat head one. Of course it bleeds off speed fast and doesnt have a lot of ass downrange.

A 1200-1400 rifle and pointed or domed pellets will retain more speed at range, and retain quite a bit more energy.

Now that said, in my own personal experience, a 4.5mm pellet runs out of ass at any range long before a raccoon or possum runs out of skull.

I absolutely prefer a .22 pellet for killing critters that are not birds.
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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by Halfapint » Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:41 pm

crypto wrote:Now that said, in my own personal experience, a 4.5mm pellet runs out of ass at any range long before a raccoon or possum runs out of skull.

I absolutely prefer a .22 pellet for killing critters that are not birds.
I would agree but, with my crossman pointed tips I did penetrate (wasn't through and through) a racoon scull at 50yds.... Now I may have been really damn lucky and hit it just right, but I did penetrate.

I still really want a .22 or .25 possibly a .30..... Because bigger is better, right?????
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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by Paladin1 » Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:26 am

Halfapint wrote:Interesting chart, I like the information. The ammo I was looking at was were This one and This one. The last one states the heaviest .177 available, and the most accurate.

I was looking at the .25cal rifles but they were more expensive than what I was looking at spending for something that would only be used a few times a year at most for hunting.
Paladin1 wrote:It can stay cocked, less effected by weather than springs, super quiet w/ built in can, and pretty good power.

There are others that have way more power, but would be less useable during any extended Zombie Apocalypse scenario. :D

It would be real easy to spend big bucks on the really advanced ones.
Why do you think others would be less useable for extended periods? This one that I have I've been using for about 5 years (it's at my parents house but I'm the one that sighted it in for my dad who like to shot targets with it) so it got a lot of use for 5 years.

I agree, I'd LOVE to spend $800+ on a REALLY nice .30cal PCP air rifle...... But I just can't justify it :( :gonk:
I was referring to some of the PCP rifles which require an external pump or source of compressed air. In addition, .117 and .22 cal pellets are, in general, more available than the .25cal.
Sorta like the odds of finding/trading for 9mm vs .41
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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by Halfapint » Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:04 pm

Still looking around I spent a couple hours looking through some PCP air rifles only a couple were in my budget. Then you had to buy the pump to pump it, or other adapaters to connect to scuba tanks.

I think I'll stick with a .22 in break barrel. Just need to find one that I really like, but there are SOOOO DAMN MANY!
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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by MaconCJ7 » Tue Oct 28, 2014 5:33 pm

Y'all made me look up them PCP's. Some are quite pricey, but such are the cool toys of any class. While neat, I think I would prefer a break open a little more. All the cool bells and whistles aside, I don't like relying on an air tank I can't fill in the field. Sure, go out with a full tank every time, but there are too many other variables that can mess up that plan. A week long camping/plinking/squirrel bagging trip 8hrs from your house and you left the adapter on the counter, right next to the oil/cleaning kit you also knew you wouldn't forget. Forgetting/misplacing a special piece is probably the most common failure of the system.

KISS and be done with it. It is a pellet gun after all, not your SD tool. Of course, if you want a cool toy, then by all means, have a cool toy. I'm not trying to talk anyone else out of one. Just saying that my preference is for the simpler break barrel.
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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by Sworbeyegib » Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:01 pm

Right now, I just have a .177, which fine for what I use it for. But if I were to own just one air rifle in your situation I would absolutely get a .22.

However, since you already own a .177 (and a very fast shooting one), I think I would be inclined to skip the .22 and look more into the .25 guns to use as a dedicated varmint gun. I don't know what your target price is, but I think there has to be some good .25 guns out there for your budget.
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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by Stercutus » Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:03 pm

This might be just the ticket right here:

http://www.amazon.com/RWS-Pellet-Model- ... rds=rws+22

I have an older model (94) that I really, really like. You would be hard pressed to do better in your price range. It feels and performs like a quality firearm and mine has given me over a decade of regular service with no issues.
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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by Halfapint » Tue Oct 28, 2014 9:37 pm

Sworbeyegib wrote:Right now, I just have a .177, which fine for what I use it for. But if I were to own just one air rifle in your situation I would absolutely get a .22.

However, since you already own a .177 (and a very fast shooting one), I think I would be inclined to skip the .22 and look more into the .25 guns to use as a dedicated varmint gun. I don't know what your target price is, but I think there has to be some good .25 guns out there for your budget.
The more I look the more I agree..... I can buy some better quality ammo for the .177 and resight the scope then get a .25 break barrel for taking care of pests. 800fps with some good ammo wouldn't be all that bad especially with the extra weight the .25 would bring.
Stercutus wrote:This might be just the ticket right here:

http://www.amazon.com/RWS-Pellet-Model- ... rds=rws+22

I have an older model (94) that I really, really like. You would be hard pressed to do better in your price range. It feels and performs like a quality firearm and mine has given me over a decade of regular service with no issues.
That one looks exactly like the one I currently own in .177 but just like the one I own its a spring. I really want a gas piston so that it can stay pressurized for a long period, and isn't affected by weather.

Lets keep this discussion going I for one think air rifles are something underrated but are quite useful. Especially since ammo is generally dirt cheap and you can keep a lifetime supply for $100. They can easily get small game as proven by nearly any kid growing up.
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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by NamelessStain » Wed Oct 29, 2014 7:39 am

I have a Benjamin Trail NP ( http://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Benjamin_ ... combo/2049 ) in .22 caliber.

Works well for smaller varmints including up to groundhog size. I could probably take coyotes with a good shot, but I probably wouldn't go bigger than that. I now have it stashed at BOL2 in PA.
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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by MacWa77ace » Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:01 am

In terms of larger caliber ammo, it'll take more gas to propel it down the barrel. So this means that the larger caliber rifles have to have larger pistons or use more CO2 or gas. They're also usually sold with big wooden stocks and other features. So the overall weight of the rifles are usually heavier. And you'll go thru CO2 or gas faster. [spring piston actions excluded] But down range they bleed off energy rather quickly. If you look at that chart, the 177 is at 5 fp @ 50 yds and you have to go to a 25 caliber [over 3 x the weight] to get more significant energy down range. Most air rifles rate their fps muzzle velocity so if you have a 177 and a 22 and a 25 all going 1000 fps at the muzzle then the pellet weight will determine the energy at impact at whatever range.

So if the weight trade off is important to you then get the 177 and just get closer to the target. My ideal setup is a 25 yd headshot, and that is what my scopes are doped for, but if I can get closer I do it. Much farther and I'm not confident with my ability to headshot or have an instant killshot. And since that's what I'm going for, wound track isn't a factor.

My personal experience is with 177 and it takes varmints and birds with BBs or pellets. My friend hunts rabbits in the cane fields with a Crosman 760 and pointed nose pellets. And that's the same gun I've taken varmints and birds with. I've even successfully fished with it. Yep that's right. [and I didn't tie a hook and line to the barrel] And that is only about 700 fps at the muzzle.

I also have a Ruger Airhawk 177 break barrel for target shooting and hunting but I haven't hunted with it. BB guns and pellet guns are definitely part of my plan for taking varmints and such. Not relying on to much equipment in the system is important to me in a PAW, so external pumps, CO2 cartridges or refill canisters etc, aren't what I'd look for if I wanted to use it few years into a PAW. But BB's are part of that plan too, not just pellets. 5000 shots for $10. No brainer. I don't see the higher caliber ammo in any of the stores I frequent in my AO so that is also a determining factor. Ordering in 25 cal off the internet may get difficult in the PAW.

The cross over from air rifle to 22LR in my AO doesn't make all that much sense, we have possum, rabbits, raccoon, turtles, armadillos and birds, and I can get within 25 yds of those easy, if I had to shoot at longer ranges or at bigger game then the 22LR would be the go to. But in my AO the step up from large raccoon is wild hog and a 22LR isn't what I'd use there.

For backyard shooting, pump or CO2 rifles are quieter, my break barrel and other spring piston rifles are pretty loud. I do have a 22LR bolt gun that is unusually quiet.

[/air rifle talk]

see also viewtopic.php?f=109&t=96947#p2169303

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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by itzybitzyspyder » Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:55 am

What about casts to make your own pellets? Where can one get those?
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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by Halfapint » Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:28 pm

http://airgunpelletmaker.weebly.com/

That's the go to I've found
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Re: Lets Talk Air Rifles!

Post by majorhavoc » Wed Nov 05, 2014 1:42 pm

DEAL ALERT

FWIW, Hatsan model 95 air rifles in .177, .22 and .25 caliber on clearance at MidwayUSA, $98 - $106 plus about $13 shipping. Each model comes with a 3-9x32 scope, Never heard of the "Optima" brand of optics and wouldn't hazard guess as to it's longevity. As has been mentioned previously, a high-powered spring piston air rifle can be bloody hell on scopes that aren't specifically designed for bi-directional recoil.

I have heard of the Hatsan brand however, and it enjoys a good reputation for quality. Not RWS quality, but certainly Beeman/Benjamin/Ruger airgun quality.

http://www.midwayusa.com/product/768345 ... cope-black

Solid user reviews on sites like Amazon and PyramidAir. Here's an interesting comparo between the Hatsan and the Benjamin Trail NP: http://www.airgunone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6378

Also came across several YT video reviews after a quick Google search, but I haven't bothered to check them out as I'm presently at work.

This strikes me as a solid deal for a quality break barrel air gun.

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