This blog is for air gun beginners to understand various kinds of air gun types and power mechanisms. Air guns were precursors to modern explosive filled cartridges fire arms. Air guns have been around for more than 700 years. Austrian army used large caliber 20 round PCP air guns in their war against Napoleon’s army, though Austria lost the battle, but air guns came to be feared by the French army.
With the perfection in development of cartridge guns, large caliber air guns lost prominence as a war or big game hunting in Europe, until the end of world war. During this period small caliber .177 and .22 became popular for target practice and is now a part of Olympics as a 10 M shooting sports. At the end of world war-II, the victorious allies prohibited production of fire arms in Germany. It encouraged German engineers to develop small and big bore air guns for hunting and target sports.
This was a bit of history. Let us now move to explaining various kinds of air guns and their powering technology.
Pre- Charged Pneumatic (PCP) Air guns-
PCP air guns are the oldest powering technology for the air guns, with oldest PCP model dating back to 1600 AD. Today, PCP air guns have become very popular among shooters as these air guns are very convenient, accurate, jolt free shooting and repeat rounds firing without having to cock after every shot.
These air guns work by using pressurized air burst released through a valve on every shot. The air chamber is charged by using hand pumps to necessary pressure. There are many PCP repeater models available in the market; Crosman Benjamin Marauder, Hatsan AT4410, .22 calibre, Evanix Rainstorm, Hammerli AR 20, Walther Dominator, Anshutz 8001 etc.
e PCP Air Guns
PCP air guns are popular for the power and accuracy they bring, but shooters often find it tiresome to keep pumping after a few rounds as with drop in pressure, the PCP air gun shooting speed goes down. So the inventors developed a microprocessor controlled e-valve to release the calibrated pressure of air from the air chamber. E PCp air guns deliver controlled power for controlled and accurate shooting. The American Manufacturer Crosman pioneered in developing this technology.
Break Barrel- Spring Powered Air Gun-
These are the most common type of air guns today. These air guns became popular as manufacturers could pack great amount of power by using strong springs at much reduced cost compared with PCP of equal power. These air guns are cocked by bending the muzzle after each shot. The Break barrel guns can pack enough power to propel .22 calibre pellets to speeds exceeding 1000 FPS.
Break Barrel- Gas Ram Or Nitro Pistom Air Guns-
Nitro piston of gas ram powered air guns were developed to address some issues faced by spring powered air gun shooters. First spring powered guns are very noisy and generate a lot of vibration. Nitro Piston air guns are upto 70% less noisy and create reduced jerk after shot is fired. Springs require periodic maintenance and over a period lose torsion strength resulting in reduced power.
Nitro Piston air guns use a familiar technology of using nitrogen gas filled chamber which is compressed by cocking the piston and the compressed nitrogen releases powerful force when shot is fired resulting in consistent noise and jolt free accurate shot. Nitrogen gas remains unaffected by temperatures, so shooters can use this air gun all around the year.
CO2 Powered Air Guns-
French were the first innovators of using pre-filled CO2 cylinders in powering pellets. Co2 guns have become very popular as shooters now just need to replace the spent CO2 cylinder with new pre filled one and continue their shooting practice. The advantage of CO2 filled cylinder is that liquefied CO2 is filled in small sized sealed containers and liquid CO2 can generate pressures up to 700-800 Lbs/in2. Owing to the small sized containers, CO2 powered pistols have become very popular. A CO2 powered gun can thrust a .177 calibre pellet at shooting speed nearing 700 FPS