Learning about airguns
by B.B. Pelletier
I get questions all the time that sound like this:
I know a lot about real guns. I shoot a Winchester .270 and a 12-gauge shotgun during hunting season, and I know how to take care of them. But I'm completely new to airguns. Can you recommend a book or books where I can learn about things like tuning a spring gun, shooting a PCP and how to scope a rifle?
While that sounds like a good question, it really isn't well thought out. If, for example, the writer REALLY knew a lot about "real" guns, he would know how to mount a scope on his .270, but he doesn't. He probably bought his rifle from a gun store with the scope already mounted.
Mounting a scope on a .270 is essentially the same as mounting one on a Beeman R1. The rings may be a little different, but the process is the same.
And, he says he wants to learn about tuning a spring gun. Fine - that's a noble pursuit. Some people spend their lives doing just that. However, don't think you can read a manual or a blog and become good on the first try. There is experience to be gained through trial and experimentation, and that's as important as the book knowledge.
But this person wants it all right now. He wants a book to tell him step-by-step how to do what others have learned over the course of years. I have only been writing about airguns since 1994, but in that time I have watched a number of tuners who now are very well-known. Back then, they were the ones asking the same questions, but they stuck to it and learned their craft.
From time to time, I'm asked to write a glossary of terms and definitions to help people learn airgunning faster. I used to think it would help, but now I know it won't. Just because you know what the acronym PCP stands for doesn't means you understand all that it implies. Let me give you a few examples.
Let's say there's an airsoft pistol with a magazine that holds 20 plastic BBs. It's an inexpensive springer pistol that has to be cocked every time before it will fire. That's done by pulling back on the slide. Do you know there are airgunners who call such a pistol a single-shot, because something has to be done by the shooter to make the gun ready to fire each time? Are you one of them?
What about the shooter who buys a Colt M1911A1 pellet pistol and calls it a semiautomatic, because every time he pulls the trigger the gun fires? Is he unaware that a Smith & Wesson 586 does the same thing? And it's a revolver, just like that M1911A1 Colt. It isn't what the gun LOOKS like that determines what it is - it's how it FUNCTIONS. A Crosman 1077 rifle is a revolver, and so is a Sumatra from Eun Jin.
I just got a message from J-F who asks for a maintenance blog. He says he knows about putting a drop of Pellgunoil on a CO2 cartridge, but what about cleaning a barrel? And how many pumps should be put into a multi-pump pneumatic for storage?
I've addressed those topics at least 5 times in this blog, but probably more. So, I took my own advice to J-F and used the search function to find where I wrote about them.
For cleaning the barrel I got this when I typed barrel cleaning into the search function:
Is your airgun barrel REALLY clean?
Should you clean a new airgun barrel?
and from that report, I got this link:
Cleaning airgun barrels - the stuff you need to know!
Incidentally, J-F, your question about the use of cleaning pellets was also addressed in the last link.
There were 41 more links, in addition to these - all addressing barrel cleaning. One of them, J-F, was devoted to the maintenance of a PCP. If I had used different search terms, I'm sure I could have added another 20-40 links to the list - all on the subject of barrel cleaning.
Next, I looked into the subject of how many pumps to put into a multi-pump for storage. I typed pump storage into the search function and came up with:
Safe storage of pneumatic airguns
A couple helpful tips/sealing CO2 guns and eliminating rust
Despite its title, the last report also works for multi-pumps. I'll admit there weren't as many reports for this topic, but I did get several others, and changing the terms to multi-pump storage netted me another couple.
Those are just two examples of how this blog works to answer questions. This is just one resource available on the internet. There are many other great sources to examine to find what you need.
The information is probably already there - you just need to learn how to search for it. This blog is fully indexed by Google, so even if you search outside the blog search tool, a regular Google search will probably still find what you're looking for.