The main causes of inaccurate airguns

by B.B. Pelletier

1. The wrong pellet
Pellets make a big difference in accuracy. Some work better in some guns than in others, but here are the very best I have found:

Beeman Kodiak
JSB Exact
Crosman Premier (These come in two weights. Use the 10.5 in pneumatics, the 7.9 in spring-piston and all other guns.)

Crosman Premier
Beeman Kodiak

JSB Exact
Beeman Kodiak
Crosman Premier

Diana Magnum
Beeman Kodiak

2. Improper shooting technique (spring-piston guns only)
Hold the gun as loosely as you can and try to let it recoil as much as possible. Never rest the forearm on anything but skin (your open palm).

3. The gun, itself
You can put lipstick on a pig, but it will still be a pig. If you want to experiment with oddball brands of airguns, feel free, but don’t complain when they don’t shoot well. The barrel is the key to a gun’s accuracy. Airgun barrels made in the following countries are ranked in descending order:

Czech Republic/Russia/Hungary/England
U.S. (Only applies to Benjamin Sheridan Crosman and Daisy pneumatic and CO2 guns. U.S. spring-piston guns use foreign barrels, as far as I know)

All U.S. spring-piston airguns with rifled barrels are made in other countries. Spain and Turkey make most of them. AirForce Airguns uses German barrels. A few rifled airgun barrels are made in the U.S. by Dennis Quackenbush and Gary Barnes. These generally have the quality of German and Czech Republic barrels.

4. Cheap scopes and mounts
Nearly all good scopes are made in China today. So are bad ones! Do your research and read articles before buying a scope. Mounts made for .22 rimfires and sold in Wal-Mart are pure crap! They can take a good scope and make it bad. Buy good mounts. And never forget this – NO MOUNT WITHOUT A SCOPE STOP WILL HOLD ON A RECOILING AIRGUN. NOT ONE! Leave the clamp-only mounts for PCPs.

Remember that this blog is my personal opinion. I am often correct but I am also prejudiced in ways I can’t control. Test everything I say before you accept it as the truth!

21 thoughts on “The main causes of inaccurate airguns

  1. A little more than often correct BB.

    I spent a few hours on the range today fine tuning a Talon w/ a cronie. I squeezed every bit of power out by using a lower setting then tried your suggetion on tweaking the front barrel mount screw and Ive got my talon back.
    thank you,
    thank you,
    thank you.
    everyone shoots 50 now I’m back out to 100yds and it may even be tighter than the orig.

    I do have one question for ya, now that a match kodiac is very worth while again. Do they make em. Ive saved a site that advertised them but many places have said they don’t mfg. them…there’s so much missinformation out there…

    also. when is the 24″ 25cal Barrel gonna be available. or do you know who will bore one out.


  2. Turtle,

    I’m glad to hear such a good report!

    Pyramyd has Match Kodiaks on this site. They are sold as baracuda Match Gold, but that’s what a Kodiak is called in the rest of the world.

    As for AirForce making a .25 caliber barrel, don’t hold your breath. Too many things would need to be changed to make it worth their while. Just ask any other shop that has tried to convert one of their guns to .25 what a hassel it is.
    Also, with 35-grain .22 pellets, they feel they don’t need to go to .25. Maybe someday, but not soon.


  3. B.B. What great advice. I have been reading your posts everyday and they are very helpful. If any one wants more detail on your advice, they need to look no futher than previous posts. Here is my question/issue. I own three rifles, two in.22 and 1 in .25. I am having difficulty in accuracy in my .25. It is a Patriot Export with the soild mount made specificlly for this rifle and an air force 40 scope. I am shooting Kodiak heavy pellets. I have read extensively your posts of zeroing a scope, mounting a scope, holding the rifle and everything else associated with accurate shooting of springers. I have applied all this info to my Gamo 890 .22 and have great results. The Gamo puts about 90% of the pellets where I want them. I’ll attribute the other 10% to pellet deformaties. I am shooting Gamo magnum pointed (about 17 g) at ranges from 35y to 50+. My trouble is with the .25. Right and left of the target I’m usually right on, even at various distances. It’s the elevation I’m having trouble with. I have an adjustable mount, as this was my only option for this rifle and I have all kinds of up and down adjustment on the scope knob. But no matter how I adjust, I can’t get an accurate group. At this point I would take any group and just aim where I’m off just to group some pellets. If I shoot a 5 group, it looks like I’m climbing a ladder on the target. All shots are in a straight line up and down. This is my first .25 springer, and it has a lot of recoil. Never felt one this powerful, but what good is all that power without being able to put a pellet where I want it? I have a Raider Venom that I can put a pellet (jsb exact, thanks for that advice) through the same hole consistently at 25 y. I would really like something similar to that in the Patirot and I know it’s possible. I assume this is a better made rifle and barrel than my Gamo and an equal to the Radier (eventhough the later is a PCP). I have ordered some diana pellets to see how they shoot but I can’t think of anything else. Can you help? Is there a diagnostic process I can follow? Your help is greatly apperciated. Thanks


  4. Springlover,

    From what you say, it sounds like your scope is shifting with each shot. Is your scopew, by any chance, adjusted very far up to bring the shot to where you want it? If so, the scope’s erector tube spring is relaxed and may be bouncing with the recoil.

    We won’t discuss solutions until I know the problem for sure, but here’s another tip. Try doing everything I said NOT to do! With the Patriot, hold it firmly instead of loose.

    Please get back to me about the scope adjustment.


  5. Ill have to look into the barracudas for sure.

    I’ll be trying out the limbsaver barrel stabelizer tomorrow as well.

    Also as for sorting pellets by wieght… going thru a sleve of 5 tins of Kodiaks(1000) I ended up w/ about 300 at 21.1 gr, 200 at 21.2, 200 at 2.3, about 150 at 2.4 and the remainder at below 20. I’ll bet the difference will mean alot better accuracy on the long shots. great advice again


  6. I ran into a new (for me, anyway) reason for inaccuracy. Apparently, later batches of JSBEH pellets were having problems with bits of lead being left in the machine (“swarf”). Many pellets in some tins have a little cap of swarf that will come off if scraped with the fingernail but does not come off during the usual lubrication tumbling.

    This cap apparently does come off sometimes during the shooting cycle — whether on insertion or when the pellet is actually shot, I don’t know. About 10% of my shots were going very wildly. I finally noticed the swarf (some in the bottom of the tin, too), and then tried scraping with my thumbnail. I noticed that when I polished the end of the pellet on a cloth to remove this swarf cap that my shot accuracy improved considerably.

    Some pellets had such a heavy cap of swarf that I discarded them but most were salvagable. [Since production was shut down for about a year, these pellets are very scarce — otherwise, I would just discard the tin.]

    It might be interesting to polish the heads of other brands to see if any differences are observed, but that’s for another time.

    As I have said, one of the things I like about FT shooting is that there is so much to learn. The better one gets, the more there is to learn since incredibly minute things can make a difference.



  7. Well I thought I’d let you know how it went with the barrel stabelizer on the tallon.

    Groups did indeed tighten at 100yds. but they moved just as you predicted (almost 5″ left). However, I think that as pressure drops the tourqe and vibrations on the barrel change as well. groups moved to the left again for about 20 more shots shortly after resighting. then moved again…This continued as pressure dropped.

    I can see a clear advantage to someone only shooting less than 8 rounds and topping the tank, or hunting and only taking less than 8 shots or so and would highly recommend one.

    They would probable work wonderfully on high powered springers!!!

    But for the longrange PCP plinking I do it’s completly wrong.

    Typically I’ll take around 60 100ys shots out of a tank using the mil dots straight down the vertical crosshair. I could probably keep lobbing them out but I run out of scope.


    Exploding pellets..hmm sounds like way too much fun to be safe…way too much fun!

  8. I see where some of the lower priced .177 rifles are listed as able to shoot both BB’s as well as pellets, but have a rifled barrel. I would assume shooting many BB’s in these would eventually ruin the accuracy. Right or wrong?

  9. bigvic,

    Daisy and Crosman both use a special type of rifling that accomodates steel BBs without damage. It is a compromise for lead pellets, though, and it is never as accurate as a dedicated rifled barrel.

    I can’t say that all airgun companies allowing both BBs and pellets do it this way. After all, EAA, the importer of the Drozd, tells the customer to shoot steel when the gun is clearly meant for lead balls only.


  10. Hi,
    What kind of barrels are used in Mendoza rifles? Some internet customer reviews are very complementary of them, however I see that Pyramydair does not carry the brand.


  11. BB –

    Regarding your comment about a .25 caliber barrel for Air Force guns, you may want to refer anyone to where I hang out from time to time. There are some very skilled hobbyists and machinists there and I know for a fact that some aftermarket .25 cal conversions have been done on the Condor with impressive power and accuracy results.

  12. Hello Air Rifle Shooters,

    I have a Benjamin Nitro 22 caliber.
    It came with a centerpoint scope that appears funtional. I have test shot several pellet brands and weights.I installed a replacement trigger and the tang screws have been snuggled up several times, yet the Point of Impact on target seems to move in a verticial plane. I traveled to a more humid climate for a month I have considered glass bedding the receiver section. I hope for some advice, would glassing help maintain zero and/or tighen up my already acceptable groups? The rifle has been test shot well over 700 times, barrel cleaned and penoil applied to the correct points.


  13. Winterhawk

    That would be a very good question to ask on the current day's blog which can always be found at this address:


    Lots of people reading that current article, not as many people checking the older ones.

    I don't think bedding is the answer. But it could be. You could try shooting with open sights, if the rifle has them. This would confirm or eliminate the scope as the problem.

  14. Winterhawk,

    Take Slinging Lead's advice.

    Copy and paste the link in your browser and come to the current blog discussion.

    You posted your question under an article that was written almost 6 years ago. Very few will check back this far in order to see it.

    You will get a lot of good advice if you post under the most current article since that's where the most active discussion exists.

    Lots of airgunners with lots of experience. Hope to see you there.


  15. Winterhawk,

    Is your scope adjusted up near the high end of the vertical adjustment? Because if so, the erector tube is probably floating on its return spring and will not hold a zero.

    The scope must be adjusted in the mounts to angle it down, if this is the problem.


  16. Inaccuracy in Airguns: diagnosing the problem. Anything and everything except the gun itself. Just so long as you keep the crappy gun and we keep the money.

    Oh yeah, you just don’t know airguns. there’s a 2000 pellet or 31 day break-in period, whichever comes last. That’s the ticket.

  17. My new Sniper Afrilec cal .22 has a good grouping but adjusting the rear sight’s wind age is a nightmare as the rifle continues to shoot a perfect grouping on the right of the target at 20 m with the wind age set to left at maximum, I used Gamo magnum pointed pellets, I use cheap pellets to shoot pellet guns in (to run in). Could it be the pellets as it does this on jsb pellets as well, or just a bad brand of gas piston rifle. Why does it have such a good grouping of +- 15 mm on the right of a 10m target but fired on at 20 m. About 30mm from the bulls eye.
    Regards Marius.

    • Marius,

      Welcome to the blog.

      I have no idea why your rifle doesn’t respond to adjusting the open sights. My guess is the breech is loose and when you fire the barrel moves in the direction of the group. But that’s just a guess.


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