Top 10 reasons why I’m an airgunner

by Tom Gaylord, a.k.a. B.B. Pelletier

10. Cost
Airguns cost less to shoot. A tin of pellets costs less than any firearm ammunition I can buy or reload. Even the premium pellets cost less than the run-of-the-mill .22 rimfire ammo that I don’t buy because it isn’t worth the money. I don’t shoot for the recoil, the smell or for the sound. I shoot to hit what I aim at. With a pellet gun, I can afford to do that as often as I like.

9. Human scale
Dr. Beeman coined this term. It means the gun is scaled to contemporary life and can be used without major disruption. A .50-caliber Browning Machine Gun (BMG) round is accurate and reliable — but try finding a place to shoot one! I can shoot a pellet rifle or pistol in my house. Indeed, 90 percent of my airgun shooting is inside my home.

8. Airguns can be gunsmithed by their owners
Not many of us can exchange barrels on a 98 Mauser, or headspace a Sako Vixen. But with the right training, anyone can safely tune a spring rifle in their home. Or reseal a CO2 gun. Or modify a precharged pneumatic! Indeed, many airguns are designed with those goals in mind. You can change barrels and calibers in an AirForce Talon SS in 5 minutes. A few firearms are designed for barrel and cartridge swaps; but compared to airguns, the choices are limited.

7. I can shoot more
Besides cost, the fact that many airguns are quiet and relatively safe allows me to shoot in my home. I get to the rifle range about 4 times a month. On the average trip, I fire between 40 and 200 rounds of ammo. I do that in my house about every two or three days. So, I shoot from 5 to 10 times more often with an airgun than I do a firearm.

6. Safety
Airguns are safer than firearms. They don’t have internal pressures that are nearly as high, their projectiles don’t go as fast and they certainly don’t go as far. When a bullet ricochets, it can go a long way. When a pellet ricochets, its range is very limited. I’m not saying that airguns aren’t dangerous, but they’re far less so than firearms. When there’s an incident, it has fewer and less catastrophic consequences.

5. I can afford to own the best
The best spring rifle available today is the Air Arms TX200, and it costs $600. You can argue about what the best firearm rifle is, but whether you go for a Blaser, a Steyr, a Sako or a Dakota, you’ll be shelling out anywhere from $1,100 to $6,000 for the entry-level model. A TX200 might be a stretch, but the firearms represent such a leap that they impact the budget for a long time. The TX200 is hands-down the best of its kind. One of the rifles I mentioned is still arguably no more accurate or powerful than a more common gun costing a fraction as much.

4. I can collect more
An FWB 124 in pristine condition in the box can still be bought for $600. A pre-’64 Winchester model 70 in the same shape will cost you thousands. My Falke 90 is one of fewer than 200 such guns known to exist. A Winchester One-of-One-Thousand that exists in greater numbers costs six figures every time! Yes, my comparisons are lopsided, but think about what they mean. You probably can’t afford to buy a Colt first generation single-action in 90 percent condition, but you can afford a Sheridan Model A (Supergrade) in the same shape. Airguns that are vintage and rare simply do not command the money that firearms do. Colt Pythons are bringing $1,500 these days, while Hakims that are far rarer will fetch $400.

3. Range requirements
Even a lowly .22 rimfire needs at least enough distance that the lead doesn’t splatter back on the shooter. But in World War II, a German submarine captain had a BB pistol in his cabin. I don’t know if you’ve ever been aboard a World War II submarine, but it doesn’t offer a lot of room to shoot. A Class A motorhome is a mansion by comparison. Airguns can be shot with very limited range conditions.

2. Noise
When I go to the rifle range, I have to wear hearing protection all the time. Maybe I’m only shooting a .22 rimfire — that doesn’t stop the guy next to me from shooting his .300 Win. Mag! But any smallbore airgun, even the really loud ones like the Condor or the Evanix Windy City, still aren’t as loud as my .22. So, if I shoot alone with my smallbore airguns, I don’t need hearing protection.

1. Accuracy
I have to pay a lot to get an accurate firearm, but an accurate airgun can be very cheap. The $35 cost of a Beeman P17 is a trifling compared to what it costs to get an accurate M1911A1 pistol. And then I can shoot the air pistol for a lot less money than the firearm, which means a lot more shooting. Sure, airguns don’t shoot accurately at the far distances firearms do, but that gets us back to human scale.

49 thoughts on “Top 10 reasons why I’m an airgunner

  1. When I go to the rifle range, I have to wear hearing protection all the time. Maybe I’m only shooting a .22 rimfire — that doesn’t stop the guy next to me from shooting his .300 Win. Mag! But any smallbore airgun, even the really loud ones like the Condor or the Evanix Windy City, still aren’t as loud as my .22. So, if I shoot alone with my smallbore airguns, I don’t need hearing protection.

    Might depend on one’s ears, and the surroundings…

    I /have/ had window based vibration sensor alarms go off (in the next room yet) from the discharge of a spring-piston pellet rifle… A rare situation, and probably a bit of detonation from oil — since they weren’t affected by the Condor fired from the open front door toward the hall closet.


  2. Most of my reasons have to do with range time and money too! I don’t have to pay for range time in. my basement…. Actually, I usually do the laundry while I’m there.

    Another reason is it’s a handy stress reliever. A form of meditation that I can pick up and do anytime I’m home. I actually shoot better when I’m peeved about something and then the steady repetition helps my mind relax and come up with an answer to whatever was troubling me in the first place.

    /Dave


  3. All of the above are reasons I enjoy airgunning.
    But noise…I gotta admit (I guess it’s the kid in me), the only thing that would make my Slavia or Umarex Colt better would be if they had an internal recording that went BANG every time I pulled the trigger.
    Now, I’ve only been seriously been shooting PB’s since this past spring…but the noise is part of the appeal…maybe in 5 years I’ll feel differently.


    • The appeal of noise is not so much when your ears ring for several days, or when you find yourself always asking “Say what?”


  4. Sidebar ( again…) I would like to forward the Discovery PCP information on Pyramyd Air item description. I only use email. Do not have any Facebook, and all the other links. Why doesn’t PA have the email Link ? My pal in Alaska is just starting out and I cautioned him that CO2 air guns are ambient air temperature sensitive and he has very low temperatures. I want him to consider a PCP, a Pumper like a Blue Streak or a Springer. Why I like air guns is the sense of my involvement and having to discover the best air gun for my needs, the best pellets, and ease of use in urban areas without driving all the way to near Morro Bay, California, rifle range.
    Thank you !
    Pete


    • Pete,

      The option to email the description already exists on every Pyramyd Air product pages.

      I went to the Disco’s page:

      http://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Benjamin_Discovery_Rifle_Pump/1534

      Above the main image, there are a bunch of icons, including facebook & twitter. To the right of the twitter icon, you’ll see a box that shows an envelope & the word “Email.” Click that box, and a window will pop up that let’s you put in your email address & the email address of the recipient. You can add a message or not. Up to you. Click the SEND button, and it’s gone. I just tested that feature, and I emailed the Disco’s product description to myself.

      Try it & let me know if you have any issues.

      Edith


      • Hi Edith ! Thank you very much ! But, we are on different pages since I have your earlier web site which, as you recall, I much prefer. Thanks, went to your new web site and emailed to my pal in Alaska the Benjamin Discovery and Marauder.
        Happy New Year to all !
        Pete in California


  5. I’d like to add two more reasons. First, you can practice long range rifle shooting at short distances. By this I mean if you practice airgunning 1 inch targets at 25 yards, it’s probably similar to hitting the vitals on a deer over 150 yards away (someone can check my math on that). Second, it’s more challenging to shoot a spring/gas piston gun than a .22 rimfire in my estimation. While some people consider a tough shooting gun as a negative, I take real satisfaction when I’m able to really follow through and make a good shot despite all that vibration. Happy New Year!!


    • 1″ at 25yd would be 4″ at 100yd, and 6″ at 150yd… That might be pushing it for the deer unless you are aiming at center of rib-cage, rather than targeting shoulder or spine.


      • I figured the sweet spot on a deer was an area of about 6 inches by 6 inches to hit the vitals. Thanks for the clarification. Practicing on 1 inch targets at 25 yards would be like aiming at the kill zone on a deer at 150 yards. Cheers!!!


  6. A word of caution; firing a .22 caliber (powder burner) round produces a 165dB SPL peak pressure reading, a good set of ear muffs or ear plugs provides 30-35dB of attenuation reducing sound to 130 or 135dB under ideal conditions. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggests one exposure to noise over 140dB can potentially cause hearing loss. So if you wear a good set of ear plugs and shoot one or two rounds of a small caliber per session your hearing should be safe, more rounds or larger caliber would greatly increase your chances of hearing loss. (to make it worse- there seems to be a synergistic affect of lead dust, noise, and solvents on hearing loss). I’ll stick to my pellet guns.
    Grant B.


    • That doesn’t sound right. A .22 rimfire – even indoors – is very innocuous even with one set of earplugs or cheap muffs. Where is that 165db reading taken? 2″ from the muzzle, or where the shooter’s head is actually positioned?


    • Another think to note is that the noise varies a LOT by barrel length, with shorter being louder. Without knowing the specific cartridge, testing configuration and firearm details… quoting a single number is pretty much useless.


      • Vince,

        Trying to get caught up on some of these articles… Anyways, my Ruger Mk II is VERY loud. Yes, you are correct about shorter is louder, but this particular gun is surprisingly loud. Definitely need ear protection!

        Victor



  7. Since we’ve moved the discussion here to noise, I was wondering is there anyone out there that wears earplugs under their hearing protectors? I have thought about doing this at the range when I have someone in the port next to me banging away with some 9 or 40 cal. Gloc-sig-colt-smithky.

    Fred DPRoNJ


    • Howdy Fred, Yup, plugs under muffs, always. 35+ years in radio with the cans & studio monitors usually cranked, I need ta protect what I have left. Just f.y.i., nobody asked but I’m tellin’ anyway. For me #11. the beer. #12. the chicks. Happy New Year. Shoot/ride safe.
      Beaz



      • Beazer, I wanted to say something really pithy but after I read it, it just sounded silly. So, I’ll just say it’s good to see your still the Beaz we all know and… and; well, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Crank it up, drink and ride (just not at the same time). ~Ken


    • Fred DPRoNJ,

      Back in my competition days, when I spent a lot of time in an indoor range, I always wore ear-plugs and ear-muffs. I think it’s always a good idea when shooting around cannons, because on occasion you might accidentally knock your ear-muffs off, or simply need to remove them for a second. At least that’s been the case for me. As my luck would have it, that’s exactly when someone decides to shoot off some big cannon.

      Victor


  8. Where is fun in your list? That’s the main reason I shoot airguns, just because it’s fun. Shooting pop cans in the backyard, clipping weeds, shooting a wasp… just the fun of it.

    I didn’t have time to read yesterdays blog so I just took the time, always explaining each and every term would get redundant so I think it can be skipped once in a while. I think some compromise has to be achieved so that more experienced people can read without problem and new comers can have an idea of what is meant by the writer and if in doubt you can ask what the meaning is and the guys who have the experience will often be very happy to help if the question isn’t asked in a rude way. And if you don’t want to look like a noob just google it! “airgun LDC” will give you a pretty good idea of what it is. But accurate terminology should ALWAYS be used, “everybody knows what I meant” doesn’t cut it. I think it’s one of the big point this BLOG has and why it has the success and respect it has. The terms are always accurate and clear.

    Hope you all had a great Christmas time and are enjoying yourselves. If you’re on vacation and you have kids go play with them. I played with lego blocks half the day yesterday and I think I had as much fun as my son, I took the other half of the day working with my daughter on an electricity experiment kit my daughter got. It’s great spending time with family and taking the time to enjoy life.

    J-F


    • J-F, I think it is great you are enjoying spending time with your children and other family. You are so right, fun is a big part of shooting an airgun.
      I believe you mentioned once that English is not your first language. I have been curious ever since whether French is your first language. I’m just curious. My mother and her family are from south Louisiana. Of course, there is variation in the way any language is spoken in different sub-cultures, but the base is the same. Aside from this, any other first language is also good. ~Ken


      • I’m french-canadian (like most people in my province) and it’s the only language my wife and kids know (for know as the kids are young) but the kids will pick it up soon.
        I love playing with the kids, tommorrow the blizzard that hit the US shouod be hitting here, the wife will be back at work but I’m staying home with them so we should be able to go outside and play in the snow.
        They’re saying anything from 6inches to almost 2feet shouod be delivered during the day depending on which side of the depression will hit us. It’ll be fun.
        My kids is the most precious thing I have. I’m trying to spend as much time as possible with them even if it means having a bit less money. I can work when they leave the house and I’ll have all the time to sleep when I’m dead.

        J-F

        J-F


  9. BB,
    You pretty much summed it all up. I think the only thing I like better than shooting springers is shooting a flintlock, but they aren’t all that different, except the airguns require MUCH less maintenance and money!


  10. Cleveland, OH, has blizzard conditions, and Pyramyd Air will close down at 1pm Eastern today.

    Pyramyd Air’s employees are leaving, but there may be some employees who will return calls from home and answer email inquiries from home.

    Our live chat will be available, but with a skeleton crew.

    This will also affect shipping, so expect any shipments to be delayed. We are unsure what the conditions will be like Thursday morning, so we don’t know when Pyramyd Air will be open for business that day.

    Thanks for understanding!

    Edith



  11. BB,
    Just ran across the Webley Rebel. I generally hate multi-stroke pneumatics (so much effort for so little gain, and counting is a chore for dimwits like me), but that one looks like something people might be interested in. Is it new or am I behind the times? I realize it is probably Hatsan, but some people were having good luck with their PCP’s, and it isn’t too expensive.


  12. This is off-topic and late in the day, so it might not get read. However: a short while back I reported that my Sheridan .20 CB9 had quit working; it wouldn’t hold air, and you you could hear a whooshing sound when you tried to pump it up. I have always stored it with at least one pump in it, so I didn’t think dirt or anything had got into the seals. BB and one or two others suggested that I try oiling to fix the problem.

    I put about 1/4 tube of Pellgun oil into the air hole under the pump handle and let the gun stand on it’s butt for three days (in the past I have always stored it lying on its side) and it has begun to work again. I don’t have a chronometer, but I’m able to hit small plastic targets at 10 yards; it shoots point-if-aim, and the pellet strikes with authority.

    SO, I’m thanking everyone for their good advice, and I hope that y’all have a Healthy, Prosperous, and Happy 2013!

    –Witt


  13. I always liked shooting airguns when I was young. I started with a Daisy 1894 BB gun and when it died I move to a Sheridan “C” which I still have. When I was old enough for cartridge guns I started to use them too but never quit airguns. They are just too much fun and so easy to use at home.

    Mike


  14. O.K. guys…

    What’s this blizzard stuff ? It snowed. It blowed. Many starlings came to my back yard to see my crabapple tree. Many starlings died. Courtesy of the TSS.

    Tomorrow the ground will still be covered with snow. There will be less wind. Fewer starlings will escape.

    I will wait for the snow to melt before I retrieve the remains from the yards of at least three neighbors. They are buried right now.

    twotalon


    • What’s this starling stuff?

      Around 1630hrs I went out on the patio and starting cranking the handle of the Scott’s spreader (sunflower seeds and feed corn)… The back yard was soon mobbed… 13 Turkeys at full run coming from around the end of the building (over 100 feet away) to squeeze into about 15×15 feet of snow covered leaves.

      I scattered a few handfuls onto the patio (normally I just do 1 handful for the ambitious), and about 5 minutes later had 6 fox squirrels on the patio (about 4×8 feet)…


      • Interesting… The forum software apparently recognizes when an “x” is used between numbers and replaces it with a math symbol… AxB vs 1×2


  15. B.B.,

    For the most part, I’ll be late for the party during this week.

    You’ve pretty much summed up why I’m an airgunner. About all I can add is that being able to have lots of airguns, it’s easy to share both guns and ammo with people who you’d like to share your fun. When you treat a friend to a day at the range at a dollar a round, it’s painful. But when you treat a friend to a day at the range at a couple a pennies a round, you don’t even think about it.

    Coming from a precision class shooting background, I appreciate accuracy and can care less about the bang. Air-guns provide every bit of satisfaction that I can ask for.

    Victor


  16. Wulfraed,

    I’ve seen a bucket of evidence picked up after the spring thaw which says it’s serious business for the starlings. All head shots as near as I could tell.

    I would like to add a reason that I enjoy shoot air guns now is the connection they give me to my childhood which was, Holy Hat Rack Robin, 5 decades ago. :)

    Bruce


  17. BB,

    I would add two more reasons to your list:

    1) It’s legal in most places, even in very restrictive countries, and that help us to share our sport with people from all around the globe (by the way, I live in Brazil);

    2) Shooting for fun with family: firearms may be appreciated by others in our families, it is just unusual that kids will enjoy a day shooting a 12Ga shotgun. But I bet they love shooting an airgun.

    Cheers, and Happy Holidays to all readers.


  18. The ability to shoot safely in a variety of places is the kicker for me. I’d prefer to live in Wyoming or some place with enough space to shoot firearms off my back porch…Until that pipe-dream comes true, airguns will have to do!


  19. Maybe you can add to the list,the safety of pellet left unattended vs live ammo. A kid finds a pellet on the ground,worse case scenario he will swallow it,as for a .22 rim fire the danger is multiplied in scope and consequences. The same may apply to the pellet rifle,but even airguns can kill people. So bottom they are not toys and at the same time they less dangerous than firearms. Plus they are a handy tool to have around to rid the garden of pests.



    • Ryan,

      Crosman rates the TR 77 at 1,200 f.p.s. We don’t know what pellet they used to get that, so we’ll assume it was a lead-free lightweight. Wth a medium-weight pellet like you are shooting, figure around 1,000 f.p.s., give or take.

      The distance at which you can hit an American Quarter 10 times out of 10 shots determines your maximum range. That size kill zone is adequate for squirrels, cottontail rabbits and crows, assuming you aim for the best kill zone on each animal every time.

      Animals larger than those can certainly be taken with your rifle, but it starts becoming problematic — a descending scale of probability the larger the animals become.

      B.B.


      • Good thing I’m not hunting… At that criteria my current skill level would make leather gloves and a renaissance stiletto equally effective…


      • The fps with the bullet I use is about 939. And the maximum range according to what u said would probably be 40 yards. Basically the reason why I asked was I wanted to know if I would be able to take out a pesky raccoon that’s eating our cat food at about 15 yards.


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