Advice for buying your first airgun...

Discussion in 'Tips, tricks and tutorials' started by RobF, Oct 28, 2008.

  1. RobF

    RobF Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2010
    Messages:
    11,771
    Location:
    Poole, Dorset
    Club:
    Parkstone Gun Club, South Dorset FTC, Southampton Buccaneers
    This is a work in progress, so let me know your feedback. Its to avoid new members/shooters buying the wrong gear. Its more about providing advice, rather than the definitive 'must buy' answer.

    Golden rules : Don't buy a thing until you have visited a club and never make a rush purchase decision.

    Buying new pros : Warranty and service backup. New gun less likely to have faults.

    Buying new cons : VCR bill means that guns need to be bought face-to-face from a registered firearms dealer and cannot be posted. Item will lose value, and probably hold only around 60% of purchase price once used for any length of time. Sales advice might be more geared around the seller's profit margin than your best choice, and the choice may be limited.

    Buying 2nd hand pros : Cheaper prices. Ease. Wide choice. Items may be available that are no longer in production.

    Buying 2nd hand cons : Requires knowledge of pricing and equipment to make the best purchase. Backup relies on the seller, and warranties are often not transferable to the new owner. Previous history beyond current seller can be unknown. Seller may be not aware of faults. Item may not be suitable for either the seller or buyer.

    Safe bet : Spend time at a club, get as many opinions as you can. Think carefully about your current and future requirements. Get recommendations on a good gun shop and only purchase when confident.



    Calibre

    .177 Pros
    : Flatter trajectory which means targets are easier to hit if missranged, can be used for hunting, plinking and target, vast majority of target shooters use this meaning the gun has more applications so resale value will be higher. For the most choices, .177 pellets are cheaper than .22

    .177 Cons : An over exaggerated perception of over penetration and less 'stopping power' when hunting, but this is something only a highly experienced hunter would be able to perceive.

    .22 pros and cons : opposite of the above

    .20 pros and cons : supposedly somewhere in the middle between the two calibres, but any actual tangible advantage is offset by a much smaller pellet choice and their expense.

    Safe bet : 0.177




    Power method

    Precharged pneumatic (pcp) pros : No effort in cocking, guns are recoilless, several shots available from a charge. Triggers are often lighter. Guns can weigh less. The majority of target shooters choose to use a PCP.

    Precharged pneumatic (pcp) cons : requires a method of charging the compressed air, so additional equipment such as an air cylinder is required and the cost of filling. (however a lot of clubs have air). Pcps can be temperamental or more delicate. More complexity to pcp's mean that their cost often reflects their quality.

    Spring pros : Fun, the recoil feels more like a live fire weapon. No air is required.

    Sping cons : Effort required to cock. Recoil means the gun is harder to shoot accurately, even though many are just as physically capable of being as accurate as a pcp. New guns take time to settle in. Scopes need to be able to withstand the recoil, and mounts need to be good in order not to slip. Often heavier than pcps.

    Gas ram : Has all the pro's and cons of a spring gun, however the gas chambers can be problematic. Only a small choice of manufacturers.

    Safe bet : PCP




    Ammo loading mechanism

    Break barrel pros : Easy to load and cock. Ambidextrous.

    Break barrel cons : Barrel alignment is never exactly the same so it requires a better gun to be accurate

    Sidelever/Underlever pros : Barrel is fixed providing more consistant accuracy

    Sidelever/Underlever cons : Pellet loading can be more fiddly, cocking can be more difficult for left handers on sidelevers.

    Magazine pros : Only found on pcp's, these allow a second shot to be made more quickly and easier.

    Magazine cons : Easy to get carried away with meaning more shots are taken. To avoid an empty mag being shot, you need to remember how many shots have been taken. A common problem of inaccuracy as magazines can suffer from misalignment. Target disciplines require the removal of magazines when moving from point to point. Need to be maintained well. Magazine guns often need modification back to fire a single shot. Magazines can restrict scope position.

    Safe bet : For spring guns, underlever. For pcp, single shot.




    Sights

    Telescopics pros : Easier to shoot accurately. A wide range of uses. Can provide rangefinding capabilities and/or multiple aiming points.

    Telescopics cons : Expense. A variety of choices and specifications at many price points means that a purchase needs to be carefully considered. Many scopes need to be specifically designed with airgun ranges in mind or able to take the recoil of a springer. Require set up knowledge and additional mounts. More fragile than open sights.

    Open sights pros : Cheap. Often supplied with gun. Quick and easy setup and use.

    Open sight cons : Often used only for paper target disciplines or short range shooting. Can often be of limited quality. One aiming point only. Can interfere with telescopic sight picture.

    Safe bet : Telescopics, but only after good advice and careful consideration as to which one.




    Stock design/style

    Sporter pros : A wide variety of applications, often ambidextrous. One size fits many. Cheaper.

    Sporter cons : Lack of adjustment may mean stock becomes limiting for target disciplines.

    Target stock pros : Adjustable features allow better stock fit. Often better eye to scope alignment.

    Target stock cons : More expensive. Often handed. Can require setup knowledge and often requires adjustment between different shooters.

    Collapsable pros : Allows gun to be made small for transportation. Lightweight

    Collapsable cons : More expensive. Can limit adjustability. Often too light. Inconsistency can lead to inaccuracy. Often a limited range of adjustments and fit. Often less comfortable than sporter or target.

    Safe bet : Work out how you will use the gun and decide


    Accessories

    PCP charging kit

    Air cylinder pros : Easy to use. Many gun refills from one cylinder charge.

    Air cylinder cons : High pressure air is dangerous if missused. Requires care and maintenance. Air cylinders need inspections. Expense. Weight. Cost of refill and accessibility to refillers. Certified cylinders will hold a significant amount of their purchase price on resale.

    Air pumps pros : No cost to refil or requirement to find a refiller. Lightweight.

    Air pumps cons : Considerable effort required to fill a gun. Almost the same purchase price of a cylinder. Not popular, which will affect resale price.

    Safe bet : Air cylinder, normally 300 bar. 7 Litre size gives the best comprimise between size, weight, cost and refil amounts.

    Gun bag pros : Protects gun from damage and elements. Required when transporting gun. Additional pockets may be useful

    Gun bag cons : Not suitable for posting guns. Hard cases offer better protection.

    Hard case pros : Better protection than gun bags. Cases disguise shape of gun. Useful for posting guns.

    Hard case cons : Heavier and more awkward to carry. Expense. Gun may only fit certain models. Less pockets for accessories.

    Safe bet : A good fitting soft case with soft lining.

    Silencer pros : Quietens shot which disturbs quarry less.

    Silencer cons : Expense. Misalignment or cheaper silencers are a common cause of inaccuracy. Lengthens gun.

    Safe bet : Without. One can always be added later if absolutely neccessary.
     
    Stream123 likes this.
  2. clubshot

    clubshot Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2008
    Messages:
    446
    Location:
    North London - UK
    Above covers mosts aspects

    But well worth Checking out your Local Air Gun Club

    And see what others are shooting and Why

    Also many believe that .22 calibre is still best

    But find that many club Ranges work better with .177

    Especially the likes of Lea Valley where ranges go out to 60 metres plus ;)

    BOB/R
     
  3. RobF

    RobF Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2010
    Messages:
    11,771
    Location:
    Poole, Dorset
    Club:
    Parkstone Gun Club, South Dorset FTC, Southampton Buccaneers
    Blackpool Air rifles also have an article on the subject here
     
  4. Feral

    Feral New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2009
    Messages:
    338
    Location:
    South London
    links to UKAHFT and BFTA equipment rules might be useful Rob... if people are buying with the intention of taking up a target discipline it's worth being aware beforehand.
     
  5. shelly84

    shelly84 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Cardiff
    Club:
    Castleton shooting club
    Hi
    Yeah I bought a new hft 500 before I started comps and now I think it's a bit of handicap now but a very nice Rifle.
    Cheers.
     
  6. Stream123

    Stream123 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2018
    Messages:
    67
    Location:
    Manchester/salford
    Club:
    Atherton indoor range
    Biggest problem I have found is that without a movable check piece my head position/alignment needs a lot of work as I can’t get my scope mounts any lower because of the magazine hight on my s510 multishot. It’s more my jaw than cheek that’s conected to the stock. It’s getting better though just practice, practice, practice!
     
  7. Stream123

    Stream123 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2018
    Messages:
    67
    Location:
    Manchester/salford
    Club:
    Atherton indoor range
    A single shot rifle would also have helped as there would be no magazine “port”(if that the terminology) in the way
     
  8. bow

    bow Glenn

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2012
    Messages:
    305
    Location:
    doncaster
    Club:
    PARC
    Don't!! It'll ruin your life. End up divorce.
    you will become addicted to it.
    As Rob has put above.
    But each category breaks down into a thousand strings then your lost forever.
    It's a nice life.
    On second thoughts. Buy 2
     
    Stream123 likes this.

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