View Full Version : Air Rifle Questions

Single Six
October 18, 2010, 08:24 AM
On average, are "break barrel" air rifles more accurate than pump rifles? I've shot both types, and find that while the break barrel models offer more velocity, they aren't as accurate [for me, anyhow..especially when fired from a rest while in the prone position] as the pump models. For me, it seems to be that "Buh-WOINGG!" of the internal spring causing all that vibration upon firing that throws me off. Example: My Crosman 2100, a pump model, is wonderfully accurate, with zero "recoil". I just bought a Crosman Titan GP .22 break barrel, which, no matter how hard I try, will not group well at all. I sight in my pellet rifles at 10 yards, and always use Crosman pellets in my Crosman guns. So: Is it the type of rifle at issue here, is it the ammo...or am I doing something wrong? Any thoughts and / or advice is appreciated as always.

October 18, 2010, 08:44 AM
I have a Benjamin Pump 22 Cal. and it is very accurate. No recoil. I also have a RWS 48 .177 that uses a cocking bar on the side and it is very heavy but also accurate with a very felt recoil. Over all I like the Benjamin Pump.....You may want to try different pellet brands and see if any are more favorable to your rifle's accuracy. I will be watching this thread to see what others say. Good Question. Lemmon

October 18, 2010, 09:56 AM
It's about being consistent in LETTING the springer air rifle recoil. Don't use a bench rest or hold the gun down on anything. Practice shooting it off hand or over the roof of a car with the rifle totally supported by your arms shoulder and hands. Use rests for your hands, elbows, arms shoulder but don't rest the rifle on sandbags or try to limit its movement in your grasp.

It sounds backwards to shoot the rifle OFF HAND to see how accurate it is but when you are off-hand (or in a supported off-hand type of posture) your groups will shrink and you can see where the center of the cluster is quite easily.

The recoiless air rifles like CO2, pump reservoir, PCP (scuba tank or hand pump filled air chamber) can be shot in any type of rest or non-rest easily without disturbing the group.

Not the springer. The springer needs your own body to recoil freely with or consistently with.

Single Six
October 18, 2010, 10:19 AM
Pythagorean: Hmm...you've given me pause. When trying to sight in the Titan, I was indeed using a rest. But you're right; not using a rest does sound wrong. Still, if it worked for you, I'll try it as you suggest and see what happens. Lemmon: The RWS and Benjamins are a bit out of my price range, but I'll also give your suggestion [different ammo] a whirl. Thanks, gents.

October 18, 2010, 10:26 AM
He's right. I've had a Beeman HK97k in .20 for years. Underlever, high velocity. When I first bought it, I was disappointed with my groups. I've been shooting since I was a tiny little kid so I wasn't sure what was going on. My German made rifle does have an outstanding trigger so that helps. But I just had to practice with it on a little metal swinger until I found a way to be consistent.

That's the key to me. There is a lot of movement when they fire. A high quality springer will be super consistent though mechanically. So your challenge is to make your position and hold the same for every shot. Not to grip it super hard and pull it too hard into your shoulder. Just relax and do the exact same thing on every shot. And then they will start going right into the same hole on the target.


October 18, 2010, 12:27 PM
You need to find a good balance point. This is usually just in front of the trigger guard. Try resting it on a rolled up towel or your hand a few inches in front of the trigger guard. This might help. There is definitely an art to shooting springers accurately, which is why many prefer the recoiless PCP rifles.

October 18, 2010, 12:38 PM
Follow-through is *everything* with any springer. Once you master the recoil it's amazing how well they shoot. My Beeman C-1 is incredibly accurate for what it is.

October 18, 2010, 12:40 PM
My own "springer" is a Theoben Gas Ram Eliminator in .25 Caliber. My first rifle was a springer from England or Germany in 1968 in .177. I didn't know about "bench rest shooting" in those days and shot offhand or kneeling. I learned on that rifle. When I got a .22 rimfire next it was so easy to shoot and hit targets I thought I'd never go back to the pellet rifle.

However, there are MANY MANY times when shooting at home or silently outdoors beats the pants off any firearm of any sort!

So in 1982 I found the shop Beeman's Air Rifles in San Rafael and saw the same types of German springers I had since I was a kid. Then it began all over again to later include PCPs, pneumatics, CO2, etc.

Off hand I can shoot my Eliminator better than my Falcon R--a PCP--in .25 caliber. At a rest the PCP is easier to shoot accurately.

But the gas ram or springer is low level maintenance, lasts a lifetime, doesn't need a hand pump or scuba tank, has less complications, etc.

October 18, 2010, 06:07 PM
1. For springers, you need to have an artilary hold. As already mentioned by alfack, you're hold is probably just in front of the trigger guard. Don't grip it tight and don't try to fight it. Try to just rest the gun on the back of your hand. You're right, that spring is going to twang no matter what.

2. Crossman pellets are not the best bet. I personnally use RWS dome, pointed and h-points. I also just found H&N are as good as RWS. For indor, I recently discovered Beeman FTS Copper Plated == no lead dust (I've got young kids). Having said that, don't order mass quantities until you find what works for YOUR rifle.

When I got my 1st springer a year ago, I tried saving money on pellets. Big mistake. At like $13/500 for RWS or H&N, is it really worth it to save a few dollars for Crossman? Just inserting them in the breach, you'll know the quality from the schlock. The quality pellets have a tight fit every time. The schlock will be loose to too big. That obviously affects your accuracy.

If you find the Crossman pellets are the best for you, I've got several tins of different styles (.22) that I'd be willing to part with for a few dollars...

Single Six
October 18, 2010, 06:40 PM
Seanc: Now, that is interesting...in my own experiments, I've found that air guns seem to group best when used with pellets made by the same manufacturer of the rifle I'm using. So I take it you've found that to not necessarily be the case? Pythagorean: I heartily agree. Air gun shooting is cheaper even than .22s, nowhere near as loud, and pretty much requires the same efforts from the shooter as actual firearms: Trigger control, sight picture, sight alignment. Thanks for the thoughts, all...enjoying the discourse, as always.

October 18, 2010, 10:42 PM
Break barrel isn't enough to describe the rifle, now what they have nitro piston short stroke break barrels...

October 19, 2010, 05:08 PM
What seanc said. I hold mine more like a pool cue than a rifle. Don't fight the recoil; the pellet is probably still in the barrel.

October 20, 2010, 08:44 AM
The biggest difference between pump rifles and springers (break-barrel) is power. The heavy duty springer rifles are quite a bit more powerful than a pump (not PCP type rifles) rifles. I think pump rifles can get somewhere between 400-600 fps. Springer rifles can get up to about 1,000 fps in .22 and above 1200 fps in .177.

Accuracy depends more upon the quality of the rifle, sights/scope, etc.

October 20, 2010, 12:06 PM
Single Six, Here are a few tips and tricks. Do NOT hold your break barrel rifle by the forearm, let it rest on something. Heavy pellets such as the Crosman Premier 10.5 grain and the Benjamin Discovery 10.5 grain are extremly accurate and LOTS of knock down power.

October 20, 2010, 01:56 PM
I tried a $200 Gamo that claims 1000fps, accuracy sucked so I got Walmart to exchange it, wasn't any happier. Got a Beeman 1000fps that was somewhere around $400, put a $150 Bushnell 4-12x on it. The rifle beat the scope up and the POI was bouncing around an inch or more, it would shoot consistant and then change an inch or more when I tried to adjust it 1/4".

Said to heck with it and got a limited edition R9 with the best trigger they make, the package had another of the Bushnell 4-12x scopes but I scrapped that and went with a Swift Premier Airgun scope in 6-20x. Super clear optics and meant for air rifle recoil (which trashes scopes). These are sleeper field competition scopes.

Super accurate rifle but pellets make all the difference in the world. I wasn't satisfied until I had ordered over 20 types of pellets (a costly venture to be sure).

The aspect of how to hold a springer has been covered in different ways. If I want to use a solid rest I try to lay the rifle on my hand or fist, meaning I'll press my fist against a hard surface like a tree and rest the rifle back toward the trigger on the fist or arm so it is allowed to jump with the recoil. For bench shooting it seems to like a loose bean bag used back toward the trigger lets the rifle jump.

Funny story, I set a portable bench rest inside my garage door so I could shoot during the day and not be in the sun. I had a huge pine tree with a four foot thick trunk at 22 yards which I use as a backstop for targets. I was shooting little 1/4 to 1/2 inch groups and squeezing off a shot when a Gray Squirrel ran down the tree and stood at the base looking at me. I started laughing too hard to shoot as I had this perfect hold on his head, this was the worst case of poor survival skills I think I've ever seen. He lived to be shot in a more sporting way. It's a pretty deadly rifle for squirrels that are even all the way up in the top of a tree. Head shots rule with it.

From what I could gather the springers are more accurate as you get into quality features. Also the cocking effort is a night and day difference. I was reading that as you get into more and more powerful magnum velocity springers the aspect of working with the recoil for accuracy gets more pronounced to where they take even better technique to shoot. The really nice trigger on the Target R9 makes them easier to shoot.

There's no better way to practice offhand shooting. I got a silhouette target set printed with different sized animals that's meant to be shot at 20 yards that emulates 100 yards. I've got a friend that wants to shoot a single shot at each for scoring. I had just set out pellets and an archery backstop to set them up on.

October 20, 2010, 03:56 PM
I have a Chinese made - B21 made by Xisico or its predecesor It's a side-cocker similar to an RWS 48. Except, I think it's much improved over the RWS-48. It has a well designed trigger assembly. All of the parts of the trigger unit are machined solid steel. The trigger pulling force and pulling distance are adjustable by turning both screws on the bottom of the trigger unit. (RWS has a plastic trigger, it looks "cheap", but I believe it has some adjustablity), The B21 has a heavy barrel and an expandable heavy-duty side cocking lever. I've dissasembled it and it is a very nicely made sid-cocking springer.

The only complaint I have about it is that you MUST take it apart and clean out the metal shavings before you start to use it. This means that you need to make a clamp to dissasemble it. Not hard to do, but a PITA. If you don't clean it out, then your seals will deteriorate at a much higer rate.

My B21/22 (22 caliber) is now about 4 years old. It has functioned flawlessly and is quite accurate. I put a $75 Walmart scope (forgot actual band name) on it that works really well that mounted easily on the scope rail.

IMHO, the B21 is the best value in springer air rifles. I think I paid about $120 for it. To be fair, I have heard stories about how the iron sights didn't line up properly. Mine were fine - but the rear sight broke when I dropped the rifle on a hardwood floor. I could replace the sight for about $15, but now that I have a scope on it, I don't have any need for the sights that came with it.

And, for anyone who wants to blanketly put down "Chinese" air rifles, including the B21 - buy one......try one.....take it apart....and then come tell me how they are "cheap crap".

PS - if you want to see the B21 fully dissasembled, check this out: http://www.xisicousa.com/files/B30_Diagram.pdf

October 20, 2010, 07:05 PM
The scope is IMPORTANT on a springer. A springer WILL break most centerfire scopes sold today!
I use the Weaver V-16 on my Theoben Eliminator. Never a problem since I got the rifle and scope in 2002.

October 21, 2010, 07:34 AM
The scope is IMPORTANT on a springer. A springer WILL break most centerfire scopes sold today!

I've heard that from others - and the reasons given make some sense. Personally, I haven't experienced this....yet. It's been about 8 months and my not-made specifically-for-springers scope is still 100%

October 21, 2010, 10:58 AM
On a regular rifle the recoil is just pushing backward, so the recticle in a scope only needs to be secured on one side. For an airgun that is spring-operated, the recoil is going forward, so the recticle has to be secured on the other side.

October 21, 2010, 12:15 PM
If you look for information on scope warranties you will see that air rifle use negates a warranty on most scopes. Elite 4200 scopes are airgun proof and get used for field trial shooting. I am using the Swift Premium Airgun 6-20x and am very happy with the clear clean optics at 20x.

I've had three Bushnell Banner and Trophy scopes get trashed from airgun use, friends who think they are fine have taken them off my hands and got replacements.

When your scope starts to go south on an air rifle it's frustrating because it can take awhile to figure out the scope is causing problems.

The funny thing is companies like Midway will put scope and rifle packages together with Bushnell scopes that are not warrantied for airgun use, there's something wrong with that.

October 23, 2010, 09:23 AM
I own my German made Beeman R8 break barrel, spring piston air rifle since 1986.

1. Ordered w/ "select barrel angle" very important for scope mounting
2. Using Beeman SS-3 scope
3. Sighted-in for Beeman H&N Match pellets
4. On 10m air rifle target, best group 5 shots through same hole, sitting on ground. elbow on knee, 5 reloads no benchrest.

Rifle is rated at .11" ctc at 10M - pretty accurate I would say. If you can point it, it will hit it - worth every penny!

Single Six
October 23, 2010, 10:19 AM
Well, here's what I'm thinking now, after reading all of these very helpful [and much appreciated] posts: I'm having a hard time envisioning sighting in a rifle of any kind without using a solid rest and a firm hold. I understand from what some of you are saying that that's the way to go when it comes to break barrel air rifles...but I just can't see myself sighting one in freehand, with no bench rest involved. I also have learned that, for me, a pump is better than a break barrel. What the pump rifles lack in velocity they make up for with accuracy. So, I confess: The Crosman Titan has now been put back in it's original box and returned to Wal Mart for a full refund. I used the refund to replace it with a Crosman 1377 pistol and also a Remington Air Master [which is really just a Crosman 2100 made for Remington by Crosman, with black furniture and a stainless barrel]. Don't hate me! Guys, thanks again for all of the great advice, you've all helped me to make the decision that was best for me. Now if you'll pardon me, my back yard has just been invaded by a horde of paper targets and empty Pepsi cans, and SOMEBODY'S gotta stop 'em! :D