by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Basic questions
- Easy airguns to fill from a hand pump
- Moderately easy airguns
- PCPs that are harder to fill with hand pumps
- PCPs you don’t want to fill with a hand pump!
- Difficult to accept
- Air Venturi G6
- Test plug
- Feel of the pump
- Give me your thoughts
You want to come over to the dark side of airgunning (those who use precharged pneumatics), and you’re considering getting a hand pump to fill your airgun. This review will look at the Air Venturi G6 hand pump specifically; but before I dive into the description of this one pump, let me address some basic issues about hand pumps and precharged airguns in general.
The first question nearly everyone asks is how hard is it to fill an airgun with a hand pump, and should they consider going that route? My answer has always been another question. How much work are you prepared to do? If you have a riding lawnmower for a suburban yard of less than a half acre, maybe a pump is not for you. If you pay someone to mow your yard, it almost definitely isn’t right for you.
Hand pumps take work to do what they do. If you don’t like to exert yourself, I think you won’t like using a hand pump to fill a PCP. But there’s a scale of guns that should be considered, as well easy airguns that are a snap to fill with a pump; hard airguns are a chore. Consider the following.
Easy airguns to fill from a hand pumps
The Benjamin Discovery is the easiest mass-produced PCP airgun to fill. It was designed with the hand pump in mind. A USFT target rifle is even easier because of a lower fill pressure (1600 psi), but also takes much longer because its reservoir is huge.
A Crosman Challenger PCP that also fills to just 2000 psi is also very easy to fill. Plus, you get more than 100 shots per fill because the power is set so low.
Moderately easy airguns
Any 10-meter air rifle or pistol that only goes up to 200 bar or 3,000 psi is moderately easy to fill. However, many target airguns now require a 300-bar fill; and, while that’s possible for a pump, it isn’t easy. At least, I don’t think it is. Anything over about 2500 psi takes some hard pumping, and once you go past 3000 psi, it gets very hard. The test we’re starting today is for a pump that is rated to 4500 psi, and I will report on just how easy or difficult that is.
The AirForce Edge target rifle fills to just 3000 psi and also gets way more than 100 shots per fill. So, it’s solidly in this moderate category.
Believe it or not, the entire line of AirForce Escape survival rifles is also in this moderate category. They max out at 3000 psi, yet deliver up to almost 100 foot pounds of energy in .25 caliber (the long-barreled Escape). And, their small reservoirs put them in the moderate class.
PCPs that are harder to fill with hand pumps
Most PCPs that have large air reservoirs and high power are harder to fill because they go through air so quickly. The Escape rifles do go through air quickly, but in their roles as hunting/survival rifles they shouldn’t be shot that much at one time. But airguns like the AirForce Condor and the Evanix Rainstorm are usually shot a lot at one time and will tax you to keep up if you fill them with a hand pump.
Also, consider the maximum fill pressure of the airgun. BSA PCPs, for example, fill to 232 bar or 3364 psi. That makes them harder to fill than guns that stop at 3000 psi. Yes, you can stop filling BSA airguns at 3000 psi, but you lose shots from the total per fill. You encounter the same thing to an even greater degree with those Walther airguns that fill to 300 bar/4350 psi.
PCPs you don’t want to fill with a hand pump!
Any Quackenbush big bore gets 2 shots per fill — maybe 3 if the third shot is close. The reservoir is large. For 15 minutes of pumping (with rest breaks to allow the pump to cool) you get 2-3 shots. That’s a gun you want to fill from a tank. The same holds true for most big bores for the same reasons. The Benjamin Bulldog gets 5-10 good shots on a fill. Even some of the lower-powered Korean big bores still get just 10 shots per fill, and their reservoirs are as large as 500cc. While it’s technically possible to fill all these airguns with a hand pump, it isn’t something you want to plan on doing.
I normally don’t recommend opening your pump and replacing parts. During the time I worked at AirForce, I regularly spoke with pump owners who didn’t follow that advice. Some are maintainable with the right parts, but you have to be scrupulously clean in your work or you’ll ruin the rebuild. Also, these pumps don’t come apart like a flashlight, and many people get in over their heads when they disassemble them. My advice is to leave them alone.
That said, the Air Venturi pump comes with 5 sets of parts for the user to rebuild it. So, I have to assume it was manufactured with the average airgunner in mind. For that matter, I took a look at the Hill hand pump and noticed that they’re selling rebuild kits and other replacement parts. So, if it’s your intention to do your own maintenance, buy a hand pump that’s built for the user to do so.
One of the worst things you can do is wipe off the grease on any hand pump and relube the shaft with something that’s more appealing to you. You’re asking for trouble if you do that.
Lastly, the quickest way to ruin a hand pump is to let dirt get on the pump shaft. That can happen when the air hose is bled outside in the dirt. I lost a 12 year-old Swedish pump that way.
Difficult to accept
At first, there was resistance and even disbelief that a hand pump could generate air compressed to 3000 psi. Edith once gave a demonstration by filling a Career 707 at the Roanoke Airgun Expo back in the 1990s. When a gray-haired lady does it in public, it stopped a lot of the trash talk. But there was and still is some truth to what people say. Hand pumps are not for everybody — nor are they especially easy to use. Some guns like the Discovery stop at 2000 psi and represent a whole different game than the guns that need 3000 psi and more pump strokes to fill them.
Air Venturi G6
Now, let’s look at the pump. The Air Venturi G6 hand pump is the only pump on the market that’s rated to 4,500 psi. For that reason alone I want to test it for you. I’ve owned 6 hand pumps over the past 20 years. I owned one of the first 50 that came to the U.S. and have owned most of the major models that followed. When I look at the G6, I’m looking with some experience behind me.
The pump weighs one ounce under 6 lbs. and stands 25 inches tall when fully assembled. It has spring-loaded feet that retract to make it slimmer to carry. Everything needed for operation comes packed with the pump, including spare o-rings. Treated right, this pump should give you over a decade of steady use. It comes with a 2-year limited warranty.
The Air Venturi G6 is a pump I’ve never tested before. It is the same general size and shape as all hand pumps, but I notice that the pump shaft of the G6 does not have moly grease on it. Instead, there’s a clear grease that appears more like a high-pressure silicone grease than moly grease.
Like all hand pumps, the G6 comes partially disassembled to fit in the box. Assembly is easy but is not covered in detail in the owner’s manual. I found it very easy to do. The handle is attached with 2 long screws, the gauge screws on where you see it in the picture and the pump hose attaches beneath the gauge. The tools needed for assembly come packed with the pump.
There are synthetic seals in the gauge and hose holes, so no plumber’s tape is needed. I had this pump together in 5 minutes and ready for testing.
There’s a test plug that blocks the air hose and lets you test the pump. Mine was hard to install, but that’s a characteristic of many brand-new female Foster quick-disconnect fittings. Until they’ve been attached several times, their inner o-ring seal is still tight, making connections difficult. I connected the hose to an airgun inlet port that was easier because I had the whole airgun to hold when making the connection. After that, I got the test plug in with a few taps from a plastic-headed hammer. Now, I was ready to test.
The owner’s manual has a testing procedure for you to follow that I uncharacteristically did. Everything worked fine, and I found that 6 pump strokes filled the air hose from zero to 100 bar. Twenty total strokes took it to 250 bar, where I must tell you, pumping became difficult.
Feel of the pump
Today, we’re just reviewing the pump and the other stuff that’s in the box with it. Yes, I did pump it a little, but by no means is today a test. However, having gone to 250 bar, I do have an observation. This G6 pump is very similar to the other pumps on the market with one exception. This pump is much smoother on the strokes than all the others. I attribute that to the silicone grease on the pump shaft. O-rings slide smoothly over parts when lubricated with this grease.
Give me your thoughts
I’ve used hand pumps for the past 2 decades. Maybe you’ve never seen one and wondered about it. I know what basic things to tell you; but if you have any questions about hand pumps, now would be the perfect time to ask them.
I read some questions online. One person asked if this pump would fill his airgun faster because it pumps up to 4500 psi instead of 3000. The answer is “no, it won’t.” Putting more gas in your car’s tank doesn’t make it go faster, does it? Same thing here.
How does it remove moisture from the air? As far as I can see, it does it by condensation — the way most hand pumps do.