Date Published: 2021-03-17

Five Types of Pellet Guns


Five Types of Pellet Guns

By Adelia Ladson

What Is a Pellet Gun?

A pellet gun is an air rifle that shoots .177 caliber, .20 caliber, .22 caliber or .25 caliber pellets, which are non-spherical projectiles usually made of lead. More or less, the caliber is the size of the internal barrel diameter of a gun, so, ammunition is sized accordingly to fit. The most popular pellet gun sold is the .177 caliber because the pellet size that it shoots is perfect for a variety of things including plinking, target-shooting and small pest hunting.

Five Types of Air Guns

Whether it’s a break-barrel or a fixed barrel, all air guns are powered by a charging mechanism of some kind that propels the ammunition forward out of the barrel.

Spring-Powered

A spring-powered air rifle has a charging mechanism that consists of a spring and piston that’s compressed when the barrel is cocked. On breaking the barrel, the spring coils up and locks into place, ammunition is loaded and once the barrel is locked straight, it’s ready to fire. Pulling the trigger releases the spring and forces the piston forward to generate the energy necessary to propel the ammunition forward.
Pros:
  • No external charge source is needed to operate.
  • It can be upgraded, and parts are easily accessible.
  • The overall design is age-old and time-tested.
Cons:
  • There’s a possibility of the spring rusting or fatiguing.
  • It is one of the heavier air guns.
  • It’s more expensive.

CO2 Powered

A CO2-powered air rifle follows the same principle as the PCP rifle because it also uses air to propel the ammunition out of the barrel. The difference is that they use CO2-filled cartridges as their power source, which provide enough power to shoot repeatedly without having to refill. The cartridges are pretty easy to load and only a specific amount of gas is released during each shot, allowing you to keep shooting. With CO2-powered air rifles, semi-automatic shooting is also possible with some models.
Pros:
  • These air guns are typically lightweight.
  • The repeatability of shooting without having to refill.
  • Great for youths because there’s no cocking.
Cons:
  • The CO2 cartridges have to be purchased separately.
  • They can be less durable if not consistently maintained.

Gas Piston

A gas-piston air rifle’s charging mechanism consists of a gas-filled piston that is compressed when the barrel is cocked. The gas in the piston is already compressed but is compressed even further, holding immense pressure once the ammunition is loaded and the barrel is locked straight. When the trigger is pulled, the gas piston is released and pushes forward, generating the energy that propels the ammunition down the barrel. Typically, a gas-piston air rifle has more power than a spring-powered air rifle.
Pros:
  • No external charge source is needed to operate.
  • It can be left cocked without any negative effects.
  • The gas-piston will not rust and is more durable than a spring-powered rifle.
  • There is less recoil than with a spring-powered rifle.
  • It’s going to be a little less expensive.
Cons:
  • With a higher FPS, you lose a certain amount of accuracy, so, it may not be ideal for target practice or pest control.
  • The internal mechanism is not as easy to access and fix.

Nitro-Piston

A nitro-piston air rifle’s charging mechanism consists of a nitrogen-filled piston that is compressed when the barrel is cocked. The nitrogen in the piston is already compressed but is compressed even further, holding immense pressure once the ammunition is loaded and the barrel is locked straight. When the trigger is pulled, the nitro-piston is released and pushes forward, generating the energy that propels the ammunition down the barrel.
Pros:
  • It can be left cocked without any negative effects
  • There is less recoil than with a spring-powered rifle
  • The gas-piston will not rust and is more durable than a spring-powered rifle
Cons:
  • The internal mechanism is not as easy to access and fix.
  • It won’t work at all if the gas leaks out.
  • Being faster and more powerful can also mean that it’s not as accurate.

Under-Lever

An under-lever is a fixed-barrel air gun where the cocking lever is underneath the barrel or receiver and is pulled downward to cock the air gun. Since the extra weight is straight below, it acts as a counterweight, resulting in less recoil. Under-lever air guns also are easier to shoot with more accuracy than other spring-powered air guns.
Pros:
  • Underlever air guns have less recoil and are more accurate.
  • They will last for years if taken care of properly.
Cons:
  • They are one of the heaviest air guns.
  • Can be tougher for a youth to cock.

Main Types Of Pellet Guns

A pellet gun come in more styles, today, than ever before as manufacturers continue to get creative with design and use actual firearm designs to create accurate replicas. However, generally, it comes in either a handgun or a rifle type of body, which can come in different calibers.

Rifle

A pellet rifle is a long air gun with rifling inside its barrel, which are grooves that cause the pellet to spin, making the flight of the pellet stable and accurate. You can find them in models like the M4 Carbine replicas and more traditional ones like the Remington models. Many pellet rifles out there will come with scopes in the package.

Handgun

A pellet handgun is an air gun that is designed to look like a firearm pistol with the short barrel and smaller body. You can find them in replicas that look like snub nose revolvers, .357 Magnums and even 1875 Remington Revolvers. Some of them will shoot both pellets and BBs.

What Is The Use Of Pellet Guns?

Pellet guns can be used and have been used for decades as an introduction to guns and shooting for youths. They are also used in target-shooting competitions and for plinking in the backyard to practice shooting accuracy. A pellet gun is good for hunting small pests like squirrels and rodents, with some pellet guns powerful enough to take down larger animals like opossums and raccoons.

Pellet Gun Versus BB Gun

  • Grooves inside of a pellet rifle barrel cause the pellet to spin, making the flight of the ammunition more stable and accurate compared to a BB rifle, which has a non-grooved barrel.
  • BB guns are better suited for younger users because they are easier to master, typically lighter than pellet guns and the steel BBs are cheaper to buy.
  • When looking for an all-purpose air gun, a pellet gun is more effective for hunting and can do everything a BB gun does.
  • Since pellet guns generally have a higher FPS than a BB gun, there is more of a potential for danger when using them.

Pellet Gun Safety

It’s important to remember that even if you’re using air to fire ammunition, it is still metal going through the air at a high rate of speed and does have power behind it. A pellet gun can inflict injury and, in the worst case, death. Yes, people have been killed by pellet guns. Pretty much, you should follow the rules of firearm safety.
  1. Every gun is always loaded – consider it and treat it as such.
  2. Never allow the muzzle to cover anything you’re not willing to destroy. Combat games are the exception, assuming all involved are properly shielded.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are on target and you’ve decided to shoot.
  4. Be aware of your target and what’s around it.

Maintenance And Cleaning Pellet Guns

As with any firearm, to keep it performing up to its full potential, regular cleaning and maintenance needs to be performed. The bottom line is that if you take care of your air rifle, it will take care of you. That means just doing regular maintenance like cleaning the barrel and tightening the screws. You can buy special lubricants just for your pellet gun and kits with everything that you need including gun cleaning rods and patches. Do not use regular gun cleaner in your pellet gun! Some lead pellets, depending, on their composition, will leave residue in the barrel and this will affect accuracy if not cleaned out. Spring-powered air guns have a spring that’s susceptible to rust so, it should also be cleaned oiled regularly and it’s recommended that a drop of the lubricant should be put in the compression chamber of a gas-piston air rifle through the port hole every 200 shots. The best way to make sure that you are cleaning and doing the proper maintenance on your pellet gun is to consult the owner’s manual that came with it.


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