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Spring Piston Air Rifles

Spring piston air rifles are by far the most popular type of airgun sold today. They are powerful, accurate and require no power source apart from the shooter to cock them. Lots of them achieve the magic 1,000fps (or more) muzzle velocity, beloved of pellet gun company manufacturers. And they’re generally not expensive for what they offer.

Spring piston air rifles are also often known as break barrel airguns because they are cocked by one action of pulling down the barrel to the catch point, then loading a pellet before swinging the barrel back up to shoot. Almost all of these airguns shoot one pellet at a time, they’re not multi-shot.

For most of us, these are the best type of pellet gun for hunting and they can be fine for plinking and informal target shooting.

So why is it that they generally have such high (bad) RateAGun scores?

Well, they’re usually large and heavy. Cocking is tough and can require too much effort for some shooters. Unlike some other types of airgun, they recoil – both backward AND forward when fired. This means they require a special, light hold that is completely unintuitive to many shooters. Spring pellet guns require great consistency to shoot accurately, most are demanding on the shooter’s technique.

You can learn how to shoot spring air rifles accurately from this video Spring Air Accuracy.

That forward recoil can also destroy non-airgun rated scopes, so spring-powered pellet rifles cannot be used with firearms scopes. They need very strong scope mounts, too.

Gas ram (Nitro Piston) air rifles are similar in almost all respects to spring/piston airguns, except for the mechanics of the internal power plant. Many gas ram air rifles were previously available with spring/piston power and upgraded by the manufacturer to gas ram.

Spring piston air rifles can be great fun to shoot, but be sure you’re prepared to learn to shoot them in the manner they demand!

The heading photograph shows the Stoeger X20 air rifle combo with hard wood stock.