By B.B. Pelletier
Shooters in Florida, the Southwest and Hawaii don’t worry much about cold weather, but the rest of us do because the winter puts an end to outdoor shooting with CO2 guns. Now that summer is back in almost every corner of the US, all of us can head outside again for loads of powerful CO2 shooting!
Many of you may already know that warm ambient temperatures can increase velocity in a CO2 gun. How? Because CO2 evaporates at higher pressures as the air temperature increases. As the air temperature increases, CO2 is warmed and more pressure is achieved inside the CO2 container. And, as you know, higher pressure means more power!
Did you know that barrel length also increases velocity? Let’s take a look at a CO2 pistol that demonstrates this perfectly.
How to get an extra 110 f.p.s. from a pistol
The velocity for a .177 TAU 7 Match pistol is 450 f.p.s. The same gun with an extra two inches of barrel – the TAU 7 Silhouette – gets 560 f.p.s. It’s amazing that just adding length to this barrel – with no other functional changes in the gun – will make a pellet go 110 f.p.s. faster!
A longer barrel means compressed gas has more time to accelerate a projectile because the released gas is escaping in an enclosed environment – between its source and the pellet. Because it is captive, the gas is channeled into moving the pellet forward. Once a pellet leaves the barrel, it immediately starts to slow down. Since the gas is pushing the pellet for a longer period of time (an extra two inches, in the case of our TAU pistol), it is giving it that much more speed. So, you can choose between higher gas pressure (when temperatures are warmer) or a longer barrel to increase velocity in your CO2 gun. What if you combined these two? You’d extract the maximum velocity from your gun!
Another trick to get the most velocity from your CO2 gun
To get even more velocity from your CO2 guns, simply pause for a longer time between shots – at least 30 seconds is good in cooler weather. In the hot summer with the sun shining, a pause of 10-15 seconds is all it takes. The gun cools down with the shot because CO2 acts as a coolant. By allowing it to warm up again, you’ll gain extra power.
Warm weather safety for CO2 guns
There is a limit to how hot a CO2 gun or container should get! If you leave a gas gun or container in a closed car on a summer day, it can explode! At the very least, it will blow the seals out of the gun; at the worst, it could remove your windshield or even injure somebody. CO2 containers not enclosed in the gun could also explode. Be very attentive whenever a gas gun is exposed to temperatures above 80 degrees F. If that means exhausting the gas from the gun or the container, then do it. That’s better than an accident.