Compressor talk

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • PCPs are becoming mainstream
  • The price has dropped
  • Disco
  • Economic hostage
  • DON’T BUY A CHEAP AIR COMPRESSOR!!!!!!
  • Inexpensive compressors you can trust
  • AirForce E-Pump
  • Value compressors
  • Stand-alone operation
  • Commercial compressors
  • Even higher?
  • Consider your probable use
  • Some simple thoughts about air compressors
  • Summary

Air compressors are a product that many of us want and some even need, but they aren’t airguns, so many people dislike having to buy one. Let’s face it — for many of us a high-pressure air compressor isn’t a necessity. But it is a huge convenience.

PCPs are becoming mainstream

Ten years ago, precharged pneumatic airguns (PCP) were considered special, and by many they were called the Dark Side. Too much was uncertain about them, there were too many fears and not enough reliable information.

Most shooters knew that a PCP wasn’t as sensitive to the hold as a spring gun was and they had the potential to be far more accurate than most springers, but they seemed too complex. What fill pressure is right? Did you want a gun with a regulator? How many shots do you get on a fill? What is meant by the power curve? Could a high pressure air tank hurt you if it’s stored in your house?

The price has dropped

Over the years there have been some significant price reductions in prercharged airguns. I am not including guns from Asia that sell with little or no support. They have always been cheap. I will consider any airgun that has responsive support.

Disco

The Benjamin Discovery was the first brand-name PCP that sold for a low price. When it came out in 2007 thousands of buyers bought their first PCP — and some of those folks were brand-new to airguns. A year later the Benjamin Marauder came along and really opened the market, because it offered high-end features for a reasonable price.

But the price-point PCP (PPP) made all the difference. Suddenly it was no longer a question of if or even when you would get your first PCP, but which one would it be. Sure, there are a few holdouts who won’t go with precharged airguns; there always will be. But the age of the precharged airgun has finally begun. And now the question on everyones’ mind is — what about the air? Do I get a hand pump, a scuba tank, a carbon fiber tank or possibly even a high-pressure air compressor? Today I want to talk about air compressors, because the past three years have seen an explosion of them!

Economic hostage

Some of you may remember the days before laser and ink jet printers — how the quick printers held us hostage. I’m only going back to around 1980 for this. Quick printers were small print shops that did a lot of personal and small business printing. And their process took time and put all of the burden of responsibility on the customer. Wedding invitations, for example, required filling out a work order, returning to proof an example and giving the go-ahead to start printing. Then you waited. If a mistake was made, it was usually the customer’s problem and involved more money and time to correct.

We live in the age of WYSIWYG — what you see is what you get. Office printers and software have replaced 95 percent of what a quick printer used to do. Find a quick printer today. Oh, they still exist, but they have had to change their method of operation dramatically because the customer has a laser printer sitting on his desk that can do most of what they can do.

Here’s another one — remember the photographic stores that developed film? They took days to do their work and you got what you got. Sometimes, as once happened to me when a print deadline came and passed, they lost or destroyed your film that had irreplaceable pictures. But hey — they gave you a free roll of film to replace the one they destroyed!

Then digital cameras came out and within a decade the world of film was in serious jeopardy. Ten more years and it had all but vanished, along with those stores and kiosks. Today you have a cell phone with a built-in digital camera and video camera that are both superior to what could be purchased a decade ago.

The high-pressure air compressor is doing the same thing to the need for high-pressure air. I can remember publishing a release that shooters could copy and take to their dive shop to release the shopkeeper from the liability of supplying them with air, even though their didn’t have a diver’s certificate. Here is a series of articles I wrote in 2009 that addresses this very issue. That was written just 10 years ago, and yet those articles read like ancient history today.

So — you have decided to join the party — which air compressor is right for you? The answer depends on several things. And price is an important one.

DON’T BUY A CHEAP AIR COMPRESSOR!!!!!!

… unless you are very handy and don’t mind dealing with issues as they arise. Ebay is loaded with cheap high-pressure air compressors. They all come from the Orient — mostly from China — and some of them are a very good value!

HUH?

BUT — and this is a big but — most of these cheap compressors have one or more design issues that need to be corrected before they will work reliably. Maybe the manufacturer used an aluminum part where steel was needed. Maybe they didn’t cut the o-ring grooves deep enough. And, for most of these cheap compressors, maybe the o-rings and seals that were used are the correct size but made from the wrong materials. Maybe the durometer rating of the o-rings isn’t high enough for the task they have to do (almost a guarantee) or maybe the material isn’t suited to the extreme heat the seal will endure. If you are a clever guy you can fix these things, because they are so obvious to you. But if you are a guy who wants to push a button and get results from the start, a cheap air compressor isn’t the way you want to go.

I expect to read some comments refuting what I just said, and that’s fine. You don’t have to agree with me. The guys who need to know what’s what have gotten it from what I just said.

Inexpensive compressors you can trust

The bottom line for inexpensive high-pressure air compressors you can trust to work as expected is somewhere around $650-700 at this time. I will use the Air Venturi Nomad II as my example because I have tested it for you and I know how it works. And I will be honest, the Nomad II isn’t the only small high-pressure compressor at this price point. There are a few and they all pretty much do the same things. They are for filling airguns — not air tanks. The Nomad II is recommended for use in intervals of 15 minutes or less. It takes about half that time to fill an airgun unless it’s a biggie like the Hatsan Hercules, but you won’t be filling any of them from empty most of the time.

Two really nice things about these compressors is first, they shut themselves off when they reach a pressure that’s been pre-set and second, they operate on both house current and electricity from a car battery. That means you can take them into the field where you are shooting.

AirForce E-Pump

For a little more money ($855 at the time this is published), you can buy the E-Pump that’s made by AirForce Airguns. This compressor has all the features of the lower-priced units, plus it will fill a large carbon fiber tank from empty. That’s possible because this compressor operates at a speed that is slow enough that heat never has a chance to build up. Heat is the number one enemy of the seals in compressors, and by keeping the heat low, AirForce has managed to give us a compressor that does it all — if slowly. It will fill an airgun in the same amount of time as compressors of the Nomad’s class, but you can also let it run for 12 hours and take an 88 cubic-foot carbon fiber tank from empty to 4,500 psi. And it’s safe to do. Of course filling one from 2,000 to 4,500 takes a lot less time.

Value compressors

The next step up is a broad category that I call the value compressor. These start at just over $1,000 and run up to $1,700. They are all water-cooled and will fill a large carbon fiber tank from empty in less than 2 hours, or top one off in well under an hour. They have all the features of the less expensive compressors, plus they add things like automatic bleeding during operation. The one offsetting thing about compressors in this class is their weight. These are beefy machines that are run by powerful electric motors. The Air Venturi compressor is a good example of this kind.

If you can afford one, a value compressor is the way to go. They are reliable, fast and efficient. They are made to be maintained so that isn’t a problem when the time comes. They are ideal for both individuals and clubs/teams.

Stand-alone operation

To this point the compressors are all set-and-forget. That means you can run them and just listen for them to stop — you don’t have to stand next to them and watch them operate. Many, like the E-Pump are so quiet that you can run them in a house or office and not be distracted by the noise.

There are some compressors that cost more more than I have set as the limit for the value compressors. They really belong to the value class if they just weren’t so expensive. They have all the same features and nothing more. They cost several hundred dollars more than the arbitrary ceiling I put on the class, and I put it at that level because the compressors within the group are all superlative.

Commercial compressors

There are, however, compressors costing more that are made for commercial work. What I’m calling commercial compressors are the units costing typically $2,500-4,000, with most clustered around $3,250. They can have powerful electric motors that are often 220 volt, or they may have a gasoline engine. They can top off a carbon fiber tank in mere minutes. They are made for commercial use or for clubs and professionals. One unique thing about these compressors is they are not set-and-forget. They have to be attended when they operate.

One example of such a compressor is the Nardi USA Atlantic G compressor that comes with a gas engine. A similar compressor is available with a 220V electric motor.

Even higher?

Yes, there are air compressors that cost more money and do even more. They are made for manufacturing shops and places that use large amounts of high-pressure compressed air. AirForce Airguns has one that’s the size of a washing machine and is extremely quiet. It will fill an 88 cubic-foot tank from empty in less than 10 minutes. If money were no object and quiet operation essential, you could spend the $10,000 to 20,000 to get one of these. And, you had better get a maintenance contract at the same time, because this unit is not one you’re going to fix yourself.

Consider your probable use

I own two value compressors at present, though I only need one. I do plan on buying an AirForce E-Pump soon, to both test for you and to have as a backup. I would do that because of its quiet operation, its ability to fill a large carbon fiber tank and the fact that it runs on both house current and batteries.

If you have just gotten into PCPs, consider buying a carbon fiber air tank before you get a compressor. That’s the thing you will use the most. I will tell you right now that I only use my value compressor (one from Air Venturi) about once a month or less to fill my two large CF tanks. I don’t go through as much compressed air as do many shooters — especially field target shooters and hunters.

Some simple thoughts about air compressors

 

1. If you shoot a big bore airgun, get a compressor. A hand pump will wear you out!

2. All air compressors require maintenance. Plan on it and do it when the time comes.

3. A cheap Chinese compressor is only cheap when you buy it. You will pay for it during operation.

4. If you go to the field and want to take a compressor, consider one that runs on 12-volt power.

5. Owning a PCP doesn’t mean you need a compressor. It might be best to start with a hand pump, then graduate to a carbon fiber tank and finally a compressor. I went for 17-18 years before I bought my first compressor.

6. When you buy your first PCP, think about how you will fill it. Make a plan at that time. That’s when things like a 2000 psi fill limit and a regulator will make the most sense.

Summary

We are in the golden age of precharged airguns and the field of airgun air compressors has matured a lot in the past 5-6 years. That doesn’t mean the evolution is over. You can make a good purchase right now and be assured that you won’t be eclipsed by some overnight phenomenon, but expect to see some improvements over the next few years. However, the price is pretty close to the lowest point. The prices may fall a little more, but we are already close to the bottom.

92 thoughts on “Compressor talk

  1. B.B.

    You went from $600 compressors to $2,000 compressors in just a few paragraphs. Way to rich for my blood.
    When they cost the same as that other piece of necessary equipment, the chronograph, I might be interested…
    Talk about inflation….

    -Yogi


    • Yogi,

      Chronographs are WAAAY over priced. For what you get they should be in the $20 – $30 range.

      Some of the compressors are a bit high also. I would never buy a Shoebox. IMHO it is still about twice as high as it should be. I have an Air Venturi. It does not run much and with proper maintenance it will last the rest of my life.


      • I have a cheap chinese compressor (Vevor clone) that usually works, and I went and bought an extra 20 seals for it. I still plan on getting a Shoebox though– because I want something I can set and let with minimal fussing. With the Vevor I need to vent out water vapor every 3 minutes. The Hatsan lightning has an automatic purge which would be a nice feature to have.


        • Tex,

          This is just my opinion, and we know that everyone has one and we know how they can be, but I have been around the Shoebox for some time and consider them high priced and high maintenance. You also need at least a small shop compressor to feed it. This is why I have never purchased one.

          I think you would be better off with one of the newer generation compressors. They are self contained, some have dual power capabilities and some can fill tanks if you are not in a rush.

          I myself have an Air Venturi. It can fill an 100 CF tank from empty in one hour. With my rate of usage some may consider this too much of a compressor, but I will not likely need to replace it in my lifetime.

          Just sayin’.


        • In_Tex
          My first HPA compressor was a Shoebox. Right after they went from chain drive to the cog belt drive.

          The Shoebox compressor compression cylinders still needed to be taken apart and cleaned and resealed over time. I had my Shoebox for a good amount of years before it needed serviced.

          I very much liked my Shoebox compressor and recommended it in the past and still do.

          My point is everything needs something done to it at some point in time. Including you and me and everyone else.


  2. B.B.,

    You are correct in recommending not to buy a very cheap compressor. There are a lot to variations in quality among them that the buyer better be aware of the pitfalls. There are a lot of stories regarding the failures of the early compressors but the market is wising up and the manufacturers and suppliers are beginning to get their act together. Maybe in a few years these will pull down the price of reliable and affordable compressors.

    Siraniko

    PS Section DON’T BUY A CHEAP AIR COMPRESSOR!!!!!! Third paragraph, last sentence: “They (The) guys who need to know what’s what have gotten it from what I just said.”


  3. B.B.,

    A good primer on compressors. The prices started to drop and new models started coming out about 2-3 years after I got a Shoebox 10, a 98 cu.in. CF bottle and a low pressure compressor to feed the Shoebox. All work very well, but now there is cheaper and faster. No regrets. You have to jump in at some point and this does seem like a good time.

    Good Day to you and to all,……….. Chris




      • John,

        If new to PCP’s, the .22 Fortitude, a small CF tank and ? compressor. I say ? because I have not done thorough/recent research on compressors as I already have a Shoebox.

        Jumping in are you? 😉

        Chris


        • Nah, I use my Hill pump, the Armstrong model, good exercise. The day is coming, however, when my osteoarthritic wrists are going to “Just Say NO” 🙁 At that point, a compressor may be appropriate.

          Have fun!


          • John,

            Good for you. For me, I get a fair bit of exercise at work. If exercise were a concern, I would do it specifically for that. When it comes to airguning, I want to enjoy and relax,… not stress or exercise.

            Plus,… that pumping does get the heart rate up. While good for the ticker,…. not so good for a steady hold soon after.

            My 2 cents,……. Chris




      • Yogi
        You always comment your a springer person so what I’m going to say don’t matter to you probably.

        But right now on eBay you can get the China compressor’s for under $200.00 with free shipping included. And they are shipped from the USA. No waiting for them to come from China.

        What else I found is some of the higher priced brand name compressor’s use the same China compressor parts. The rebiuld kits for the name brand compressor’s are the same as what I got with my China compressor. And my kits came with the black o-rings not the cheaper green o-rings I have seen in the other kits. Heck even the armature and crankshaft are the same as well as the pistons.

        But I have had my China compressor for close to a year now with absalutly no problems. Oh and I had a Shoebox compressor before it that worked fine.



          • Bejezus
            Actually the last I seen there was only two places in the USA that had them. One in California and one and New York I believe it was. Mine came from the California distributor just because it was a little cheaper.

            They I believe are individuals selling them. I think they buy a couple handfuls of them and sell them till thier gone. So not really to many choices to get from.

            And I think trust isn’t the word to use. It’s all about what you want and what you can afford. And more so about what kind of review the products getting. That’s probably what will tell the story of who or what to trust.


          • IMHO buy one from a vendor with a good ranking to ensure the unit is actually shipped to you, however to me if I was going to do things over again and buy another cheap chinese compressor I’d be VERY sure to get an actual Yong Heng as opposed to other types like the Vevor one I have. The reason for that is that the Vevor types piston seals are a very bad design and more prone to failure than the “standard” Yong Heng design. It’s also harder to find the seals for the Vevor where as the Yong Heng ones are more readily available. In the end if you get a Yong Heng or Yong Heng clone you can at least rest easy that you CAN get all the replacement parts you want so basically no matter what breaks you can fix it– if it’s worth the trouble to you.


            • In_Texas
              From what I understand the compressor like your talking about and the first China compressor I have are put together in secondary factory’s.

              What I get from it is the parts are not the same as the brand name Yong Heng compressor’s and not put together with the same quality control thought.

              I didn’t come realize that when I got my first China compressor.

              And just thinking out loud here. Today’s blog I do believe has been very educational about the China compressor’s. And like anything attention needs to be kept to product detail and reviews and such. Quality can be had and quality can be a problem. Research is what will for sure help. Chris USA is one to tell about that all the time. I say yes to research before assuming about a product. That’s a quick way to kill a product that really just might be good.


              • And I need to say is maybe those parts are as good with the secondary assembly shops. I haven’t seen it proven yet that they are not.

                I’m betting it’s more about detail in assembly between the brand name China compressor and the not brand name one.

                Now we need some info on the other HPA compressors that are available. Where are they assembled and where do they get their parts from. You know the compressor’s that are sold here with the brand names. Hope that’s not a mystery like the China compressor’s.

                Maybe there is somebody that can let us know about that also.


                • As far as I know ALL compressors less than 2K or so are made in China. Of course just because something is made in China doesn’t mean it’s of low quality– it can be, but doesn’t have to be.

                  I’ll bet you are spot on about the detail in assembly– many people have reported huge chunks of metal in various places in their compressors, while others do an initial teardown and find them clean. My Vevor was pretty clean, although there was some flecks of metal of course in the initial oil change after the first run.
                  I think it’s VERY important to break these things in appropriately. For instance you aren’t supposed to let these units go over 65C– when I got mine I timed how long it took to get to 60C– here’s the times for those initial runs– note how each time gets longer and longer as it breaks in:
                  1:30
                  3:34
                  6:41
                  8:43
                  After that it settled down around 55/56C and that’s what it runs at now.
                  The key to maintaining these units other than regular oil changes is COOLING. I use a bucket with some gel ice packs and frozen water bottles. An advantage of some of the higher quality/more expensive compressors is you don’t need to chill the water.

                  I have considered the shoebox because you don’t need that water cooling, just an additional shop compressor that kicks on and off every now and again. Much less hassle. The use of the shop compressor for the Shoebox also does a good initial job at removing water from the air, however you still should always use a good filter (I have one of the common “gold” ones).


                  • Tex
                    Both of my China compressor’s have never seen 69°C.

                    And talk to Chris USA about his set up it’s based off of what we use at work to eliminate moisture.

                    And back to the break in and temperature. That’s common when breaking a engine in too. But the important thing is don’t allow those cercumstances to happen on them.

                    What the heck is your room temperature anyway to let your compressor get that hot?


                    • Room temp is only 70. Yours doesn’t run at 55/56 normally? Mine hasn’t seen 69C either– I’ve never let it get beyond 64 ever AFAIK.


                  • Tex
                    Room temperature would be 21°C. Or around 70° Fahrenheit.

                    The temperatures on my compressor’s are in Celcius.

                    So that will make a difference if we are talking Fahrenheit or Celcius.

                    And no never 69° Celsius. That would be 170° Fahrenheit.


                    • Oops, yeah mixed up my C and F– 70F is the room temp, whereas I was talking about 55/56C. As a canuck in Texas things can go either way 😉





  4. BB
    Yep those big industrial HPA compressor’s are the way to go if you want something to last. That is if you got $80,000 or so laying around. And remember though everything breaks at some point in time.

    Another thing I bet the parts cost a whole heck of a lot more for those industrial compressor’s when they break.

    And yep I don’t think you need to sell anybody on what compressor to buy. Soon enough that word will get around of what works and what don’t. As I say. Time Will Tell


  5. The way I see it, 1) commit to get 2) do your thorough homework and ask lots of questions 3) get.

    There will always be better and cheaper coming down the road. Like my Maximus vs the Fortitude that came around just a few months later. My Shoebox and then a few years later, all the newer, cheaper pumps come around.

    If a budget dictates your choice, then work within that perimeter.

    You may find a hand pump will work for you, but on the other hand may find that this is definitely not adding to my shooting fun.

    Reservations? 1), 2), 3). PCP’s are so nice and so easy to shoot well with. Even though there is newer guns and compressors out now, I have 0% regrets by making the choice to go PCP.

    Good Day to one and all,…… again 😉 ,….. Chris

    I will add, a small CF buddy bottle is super nice. It will take care of my usual shooting session just fine. 2 gauges on the valve are super nice too. I can always just look at it and know where the level is.


  6. BB

    “3. A cheap Chinese compressor is only cheap when you buy it. You will pay for it during operation.”

    Maybe BB needs to test some Chinese compressor’s to back up that statement. Of all people why not you.

    And what do you mean anyway? “You will pay for it during operation.”


  7. Having been there, done that I can testify that using a hand pump to fill a big bore is indeed no fun. I too resisted buying a compressor until I bought my HM1000X. It was then that I jumped in with both feet. I also bought a large CF tank. I did hold out for another year or two before I dropped the bucks on a chronograph though.


  8. You are absolutely correct about the cheap compressors. I bought a cheap one from eBay and it ended up putting compressor oil into my tank. I didn’t catch it until my $2,000 air rifle started to act up. I disassembled it and of course it was full of oil as well. I was able to clean my airgun, tank, and modify the compressor to work somewhat properly (new o rings and a huge desiccant filter). It works fine for now until I can afford a better compressor.


    • Helimech
      Sounds to me like it had the green o-rings.

      Some of them from what I have read about came with the green o-rings and some the black. It was the earlier models that had the green ones and later having the black ones if I remember right.

      Mine has the black o-rings in the rebiuld kits that came with it. Don’t know what’s in my compressor though. I never had it apart as it’s been working fine.

      Did yours have the green o-rings. And another thing is you might of had the oil crankcase to full. That will cause the problem you described too.

      And if you want more info about HPA compressors just search reliable HPA compressors and see all the things that pop up. You might be surprised.


      • Yes, mine did come with green o rings. I filled the compressor with the proper oil to the recommended level as described in the manual. It was half way up the sight glass. When I took it apart, the piston ring gaps were lined up. I moved the piston rings to the proper location and it helped with the oil, but did not cure it. It doesn’t output enough oil to saturate the filters anymore, so I’m somewhat happy with it now. I still check the filters every 10 minutes of operation. I want a set and forget unit, so I’m saving my pennies for that.


        • Helimech
          A set and forget compressor. I don’t think that will ever happen. Anything mechanical will always need to have a eye kept on it in some way.

          Been around racecars and machines to much. Got a good idea how that goes already.


  9. Hi folks,

    I’m a regular reader but infrequent commenter here… I do want to share a link to a survey of compressor owners that I have been working on. So far I have received 255 responses from HPA owners sharing their experiences owning 41 different compressor models. I have pages similar to this one on most of the different airgun forums:

    https://www.gatewaytoairguns.org/GTA/index.php?topic=150065.msg1532538#msg1532538

    The above link serves as an index of links to owner’s responses to their experience owning various compressors. If you own a HPA compressor and have not logged your experience, please do it here!

    http://bit.ly/hpa-compressor-survey

    I was most interested in trying to get past the anecdotal experiences people share on the forums and help ME make a more informed decision regarding what compressor I should buy. (For the record I decided to buy a used Shoebox F10 and have been perfectly satisfied with how it works for me.) I hope this will help others feel that they are making an informed decision on their compressor purchase!

    – Matt


  10. My brother and I bought a Yong Heng from AliExpress last year. With limited use, it seems OK. One concern is the need for a dessicant filter. We bought a “gold filter” aluminum cartridge and modified it by inserting a cotton sock filled with zeolite and stitched shut, it occupies about half the volume of the filter cartridge. Zeolite is easily regenerated by heating, and adsorbs water vapor very effectively. The cartridge came with fiber inserts to impinge oil vapor. IMHO, running a compressor without some type of filter/separator brings a risk of putting water and oil into the gun. Some dealers are offering an expensive filter, half the price of the Yong Heng. I think BB has the correct view of the choices involved with getting one of these Chinese compressors. And, personally, I am still trying to get my carbon fiber tank filled with breathable air whenever I can.


  11. I bought a Yong Heng compressor just under 2 yrs ago and so far it has worked as I hoped it would. Had a burst disc on my CF tank blow out and had the opportunity to open it up and check inside. Not any sign of oil or water inside at all. Also took the time to open up the airtube on my marauder and found no water or oil in it either. $235 for purchase, 9 days for delivery, 2yrs of trouble free use—- I’m ok with that!
    Bruce


  12. Never felt the need to bring this up but since we are talking HPA compressor’s. I actually bought another China compressor. And trust me. My first one works fine still. It went out to my brothers house. He’s finally getting into air guns. He’s been a hunter and firearm shooter too since we was kids. He shot air guns throughout time but not seriously like his firearms. Oh and he ended up getting a synthetic stock .25 caliber Marauder. So now I don’t have to have a buddy bottle with me when I go out there and he’s got something to fill his Marauder with.

    But here’s a picture of my first one right when I got it. It was the no name one and didn’t have all the extra hard lines like my new one has that by the way do serve a purpose. My new one is the brand name one which is the Yong Heng. I’ll post a picture of both.

    And what I believe the hard lines do with the extra blocks with bleeds reduces moister plus that compressor runs cooler. But still pumps up the guns the same speed as my first one. Both are very fast at pumping. And I have moved the air dryer filter on my old one to like how the new one is. It seems to work better that way.

    Here’s my first one that is now at my brother’s house.



    • GF 1
      Your new one is the same as what I have. I did not buy any additional filtration system and have had no moisture issues so far. I usually only run for about 6 or 7 minutes at a time to fill my 92 ci bottle from 2800 to about 4200 psi. Since I have the compressor close by I don’t see the need to take the pressure all the way to 4500 and may be saving a little wear and tear on the compressor unit.
      Bruce


      • Bruce
        I use to have a Benjamin 90 cubic inch bottle when I had my Shoebox compressor. It would not fill it that fast at even those fill pressures. That’s great. I don’t have a buddy bottle right now to try with my China compressor’s. So never realized that. But I can say the China compressor’s fill my guns twice as fast as the Shoebox did.

        And yep the wear and tear that’s why I been just filling the guns instead of getting another buddy bottle. And heck I bought the second compressor for cheaper than I bought the Benjamin buddy bottle.

        The china compressor’s or small enough and light enough to transport easy to if a person wanted to take them with you instead of a buddy bottle. So just another way of doing it I guess. And plus now I do have another compressor for back up if I really needed it. That is actually why I bought the second one. But was more then happy to take my first one to my brothers. Just glad he’s finally getting serious with air guns. He’s got a lot of pest where he lives out in the country too. He’s got chickens and other farm animals. So he had the need for a air gun. I been telling him and he finally sees it with that.25 Marauder. He’s happy he got it.


        • GF 1
          I love my .25 Marauder for hunting and target shooting. I can put up a .57 inch ctc group at 50 yds on a good day. Headed up to the ranch in S.E. Wyoming in few weeks for some rat and rabbit shooting and also coon and coyote are in good supply. There also happens to be a P-dog town there! Just too much fun to resist!
          Bruce


  13. B.B.,

    I appreciate this report very much!
    I have been shooting PCP from very early in the dark ages (early 1990s) and currently have two Gen. III hand pumps, a bunch of 3,000PSI small diameter cylinders, 2 – 110cf steel SCUBA tanks, 1 – Aluminum 90cf SCUBA tank, and 2 – 100cf Carbon Fiber tanks. I also have a very nearby Dive Shop that currently charges me U.S. $7.00 per cylinder fill. Most of the breathing quality air goes out of my various Big Bore PCPs and most of the rest into me while I dive and make bubbles. I use a CASCADE system to get the most air out of each full bottle for Airgunning and that works wonders keeping my DAQs at approximately 3,600PSI without all to frequent trips to the Dive Shop for fills.
    I think everyone needs to heed the True Cost of Ownership of the various systems for keeping you shooting. My case only works because the Dive Shop is close and I don’t need to factor in lots of miles and my time (they fill on a walk-in basis) and most of all they maintain the filter, drying, and compressor. If not for the Dive Shop I would heed B.B.s advice on not buying the initially cheap compressors. Questions to ask are $$$ to operate, maintenance (parts availability, level of your mechanical apptitude/skills, compressor reliability and expected compressor life.) In my case I would also do the math to figure out my Dive Air needs to see if it would be cost effective to just add some coin and get big quality dive compressor.
    Don’t forget check out the practicality/cost of leasing a large 6,000 PSI Cylinder of various gases like Helium (spendy,) Nitrogen (slow,) Argon (?) Also, with the life extension program, to a potential thirty years of useful life, Carbon Fiber cylinders are almost 1/2 price (life cycle cost) compared to just last year.

    Bottom line each of us has a different situation and thank God we have choices to pick from;
    choose wisely!

    shootski


    • Shootski
      I’m guessing your bottles are out of date by now if you want to take them some where else to have them filled.

      So yes alot of things to factor in before you start buying pcp equipment. But you know how that is. It’s like that with anything you get.

      But that’s the thing about a nice HPA compressor. You don’t have to worry about a tank exsperization date. Just fill your tank at will. You know what I mean about tank pressure testing. Is that what you do?

      And yes I looked into the 6000 psi air tanks. The China compressor was still the cheapest easiest way to go. And reviseted that thought throughout time. A home compressor is what I like. Personal preference I suppose.

      And yep you said it again. Choices.


  14. Gunfun1,

    Actually since I dive and also because I fill at a Dive Shop all my cylinders that fall under DOT Rules are current on both visual and hydro inspections. My CF cylinders are new enough that they were just hydro tested last year. I suspect that I may not be shooting in 25 years! But you never no I might be in good enough condition to still pop a few downrange at 95 or so. I certainly will give it my best.
    The snow is still falling and the Alta POWDER CALLS!
    Gone for some downhill sliding ;^)

    Have some Gunfun1,

    shootski


  15. OK, here’s my dumb question for all you smart PCP guys (asked by the guy who has never owned or shot a PCP):
    Can I take a .22 Diana Stormrider, Gen 2, and using a hand pump to pump it to 2000 psi, get a backyard-friendly PCP that can get 15 to 20 shots (at about 15 fpe) on a fill (using a regulator, if necessary)?

    That’s the goal that would drive me to a PCP: 15 or more shots per fill at about 700 fps (14g pellet) that are very quiet, and all I need to do for a repeat performance is 20 to 50 pumps from a hand pump. Thanks for any replies. =>


    • Dave,
      I cannot speak to the Diana but I feel that the Umarex Gauntlet is no louder than a magnum springer in the same caliber. It will give you consistant velocity down to 1200 psi. Then pump it up to whatever pressure is not too much work.
      I will recomend you get the 10 for 10 on your choice of PCP so it comes with air in it. That way you can take a few shots before needing to start pumping.
      Gerald


      • Hi Gerald,
        Thanks for your input; the first paragraph I get, but I’m not sure what you mean by, “…get the 10 for 10 on your choice of PCP…”? Probably if I was already a PCP guy, I would know; thank you. =>
        take care,
        dave


        • Dave,
          If you choose any gun at Pyramid air and scroll down to the bottom you will see the 10 for $10 pre service. They make sure it is working right by shooting it before it is shipped. For a PCP gun it means that it arrives at your door with some air in the tank. Otherwise they are empty.
          Someone commented here a while back that it was nice their gun arrived with air for a few shots as their fill device was on backorder.
          Gerald



          • Gerald,

            FYI, my Gamo Urban PCP arrived with a full fill of 3000 psi. My hand pump arrived a few days later so I did had an opportunity to shoot the Urban, just to make sure it operated okay. That was last March and the Urban has not had less than 1500 psi in the reservoir since then. Also, I only shot the Urban a few times over the winter and did not fill it. It held 2800 psi over several months with no leak down whatsoever. This is really a quality PPP that is very accurate, light, and compact. It was the absolute best choice for me for pesting sparrows from my bluebird nesting boxes, and starlings from my woodpecker feeder.

            Geo


            • George,
              I am glad your Gamo is working well for you. I had selected the Umarex Gauntlet. I think it is just as accurate but heavier. I have pested mr. chipmunk who had started making a nest under the hood of my car. I shoot it quite a bit as I am well into my second tin of pellets with it.
              Unlike your Urban, My Gauntlet arrived with no air in it. When I started hand pumping to fill it I could hear air escaping out the barrel. Cocked or uncocked made no difference. After much fretting about what to do I removed the air tank and filled it to about 1000 psi. When I spun it back on there was enough pressure to close the leaking valve. That was a relief as I thought I may have to send it back as defective.
              That was when I decided it is a good plan to have Pyramid do the 10 for $10 so your airgun is ready to go when you open the box.
              Gerald



      • B.B.,
        OK; thanks; I could have been a little clearer. At this moment in time, I can use a .22 with CB caps to deal with the armadillos that are destroying our back yard because I am technically “out in the county.” But I see a day coming soon when we will be part of the city, where discharging firearms of any type is a no-no, but air rifles are OK. Hence, I am thinking ahead to prepare for that day by lining up a small PCP that can deal with such critters and also serve as a nice quiet back yard plinker. The 2000 psi was something I came up with on my own based on some previous reports you wrote; I was figuring the 2900 psi for which that gun is rated would be too hard to achieve with a hand pump. If it puts me in a better place on the power curve, I’d be happy to pump it to whatever I can comfortably achieve. =>
        Thank you for the input; I knew I could ask my dumb question here “within the family” without getting smoked, hahaha!
        take care & God bless,
        dave


        • Hi Dave,

          I have a Gamo Urban PCP and fill it to 2900-3000 psi with a TaoUSA Chinese hand pump. I am 72 and weight 185 and have no difficulty pumping the Urban’s reservoir to 3000 psi. I normally get about 20-25 shots from a fill but the mag holds 10 so I just shoot two mags and then refill. It only takes about 50-60 pumps to bring it back to 3000 psi. If I am doing some target shooting to verify the POI of my scope, I may shoot 50-60 shots, which requires 3 refills. Then once the scope is dialed in I only shoot the Urban to pest sparrows from my bluebird nesting boxes out back, or the starlings raiding my bird feeders out front. Once I get the crosshairs on them, they’re pretty much history with the Urban.

          Geo


          • Thanks, Geo,
            I’m only 60, so I guess I have all y’all have managed to convince me that if I can’t achieve 2900-3000 psi with a good hand pump, then I may as well join “the Wuss Brigade,” hahaha! =)~
            But seriously, that is good information; thanks again.
            take care,
            dave


        • Dave
          I don’t think I need to tell you no more about pcp’s.

          It’s kind of funny. Well not funny but more coincidence. But in a different way.

          Been going on for a while with my brother about air guns. He’s got a 760 and even a 1077. He lives in the country too. But he needs to do pest shooting sometimes at night. He’s always has shot firearms. So you know how much noise a shot gun makes or even a short fired out of a .22 rimfire. No need to wake up all God’s creation just to protect the chicken coop.

          He finally got his .25 Marauder. He can now go out at 2:00 in the morning and his wife and kids and the farm animals for the most part don’t even know it.

          What I’m getting at here is you can have pcp that is quiet. Gets a bunch of shots per fill for minimal work. Especially if you get a compressor. I’m telling you that you won’t regret getting a pcp. Oh and did I mention pcp’s are usually pretty accurate.


          • “He can now go out at 2:00 in the morning and his wife and kids and the farm animals for the most part don’t even know it.”
            Gunfun1, you nailed it there! These critters usually show up between 2:00 to 4:00 AM (I use a trail camera to check the timing of when they are coming, and set my alarm clock accordingly). I was looking at the Stormrider to start as it is small and light; with a 4X or 6X Bugbuster with an illuminated reticle, I believe it would work well for the intended purpose. And if I could leave it charged for a week or two at a time, like sitting there already to go, that would be great…less stuff to think about when the alarm goes off. =>
            Thanks for the info, man; much appreciated!
            take care,
            dave



            • Hi Dave,

              “And I could leave it charged for a week or two at a time,”

              For me, that was a big advantage of the PCP. When I was using my RWS 34P to pest, I would often have to de-cock it because the pest would leave before I could get a shot. With the PCP, I can just pump the reservoir to 3000 psi and leave it for any length of time, even for months. It’ much easier to de-cock the bolt on the PCP and it’s ready for the next pest by just cocking the bolt. No need to remove the pellet, but, the mag must be removed before de-cocking the bolt or a double feed will occur. Sometimes I just shoot the pellet out so I don’t have to de-cock or remove the mag. The nice thing is the PCP is always powered and ready to shoot. It was recommended to me here in the blog to try a PCP by ChrisUSA and Gunfun1. I’m very glad I took their advice, and have no regrets about the purchase.

              Geo


              • “I can just pump the reservoir to 3000 psi and leave it for any length of time, even for months.”
                Geo, OK, that’s exactly the kind of thing I needed to know.
                “The nice thing is the PCP is always powered and ready to shoot.”
                Yes, you nailed it; that’s what I’m looking for; the less I need to do at 3 AM the better! =>


    • Thedavemyster,

      Yard layout and size?
      Targets? Paper, steel or pests?
      Backstop(s)
      Neighbors! WHO are they? Laws, HOA, other busybodies nearby or walking past?
      Why .22?
      Why 2,000psi limit? Easy to 2,600psi with Gen III pump not all that hard to 2,900psi and above for me (at 70 years old) filling a 21 cubic inch cylinder (2″ diam. X 11″ long) and a Gen IV hand pump would be even easier!
      Regulator (internal) is going to eat into already small volume air tube and if you really only pump to 2,000psi won’t give you many shots on the regulator!

      Can be done technically…but as B.B. says, not ideal performance.

      shootski


      • Shootski,
        Please see my reply to B.B. above; that will answer some of your questions. The back yard is about 80 feet wide and 50 feet deep; it is fenced off by a 6-foot high wooden fence from the neighbors on both sides, and the back is a green page fence that blends in with the woods just beyond it. The targets, at the moment, are armadillos; and as I mentioned to B.B., a .22 with CB caps is OK today…but soon will not be. So, since I heard many of these PCP guns are pretty quiet, I thought I might look to the future, and get a small starter PCP gun that can take care of such critters, and also allow for some back yard plinking. I do have a small plinking range set up with an angled steel backstop. I can shoot my HW30S out there because it’s so quiet; but I think it’s too light for an armadillo. My Sheridan is powerful enough, but it’s WAY too loud. There is no HOA, but this neighborhood USED to be all military and very gun friendly, however, it is now moving toward more and more folk who are scared of guns…all guns…like even BB guns. Yes, I know how sad that is; hence, the reason for my 6-foot fence and my use of quiet airguns that leave nosy neighbors none the wiser.
        As for “Why .22?,” I thought the larger bore would be quieter and would work better on armadillos (I did kill one in Florida once with a HW97, using a 7.9 g Premier at 870 fps…it worked, but could have worked better).
        Why the 2000 psi limit? Because that’s all I thought I would be able to do with a hand pump. Thanks for showing me I was wrong about that (I’m quite happy to be wrong in this case! =>).
        OK, so between you and B.B., I see I need to move up on the power curve, which will work better on varmints, even if it’s not necessary for plinking. Thanks for the inputs!
        Much appreciated!
        take care,
        dave


        • Dave,

          I have a Crosman Nitro Venom .22 with a gas spring with which I have taken a large raccoon. I also have a Diana RWS 34P .22 breakbarrel spring gun with which I have taken a woodchuck. So those airguns are up to the task of taking out an armadillo I would think. In all cases a clean head shot would be required for a clean kill. My Gamo Urban PCP is a lower powered PCP at 23-25 ft-lbs of muzzle energy but is still much more powerful than the two spring guns, which are 15-16 ft-lbs. Just some additional information from my actual experience. Oh, and the Urban is quieter than either of the spring guns. Sound level is comparable to an air nailgun.

          Geo


        • Thedavemyster,

          I have felt your pain on one of my neighborhoods changing out from under me!
          I see you have gotten good information from The Family! I would recommend a Marauder in .22 and perhaps a .25 caliber that will pin an armadillo in place with the right Pellet/bullet and reasonable shot placement. A little more complex that a PPPCP but I’m certain with a little reading and asking questions here you will be totally comfortable with your rifle. You could also look at the Marauder Pistol set up as a Carbine with an aftermarket stock or even Crosman’s #1377 (I think that’s the pn)
          That way you could have a great pistol and carbine with fantastic aftermarket and manufacture support. Check out Crosman, PA, and Mac1 for deals, tunes and custom parts.

          shootski


          • Shootski, thank you for all that; that’s what I love about B.B.’s blog: no matter what question you have about a particular airgun and what you wish to do with it, SOMEONE here has that gun (or similar) and has already done what you wish to do…it’s a real time saver; thanks again. =>



            • Gunfun1,

              I agree!

              I gave him the choice since some folks still believe the .25 pellet choice is small. I also told him he could shoot bullets with the .25 and not just pellets. I have got had good performance from bullets smaller than .25 caliber; maybe some day someone will find a solution to that stability problem!

              Of course for a smaller shot count I bet Crosman could build a .308 Marauder!

              shootski


              • Shootski,

                You will have to expound on the “bullets” some day in the future. I have tried the “Grizzly’s” in .25 and the domes (JSB) seem to win over. Different twist and faster FPS seems to be the trend in bullet’s for air power. Thoughts?

                Chris


                • Chris USA,

                  I have a few minutes this evening Chris.

                  Rifling twist and FPS all result in RPM! It matters not (within reason) what the rifling twist ratio is if we can control INTERNAL BALLISTICS to give us the RPM that provides dynamic stability for a particular bullet. I don’t pay much attention to “trends” I depend on BALLISTIC fact. Your piece’s numbers will tell you what range of bullet weight, length, and type to look at. If you are able to make adjust(s) to the performance of the platform you are doing with an Airgun much what the Handloaders do when they workup a Wildcat or custom round for a particular firearm and use. They select a bullet, powder, grain weight of powder, casing, casing seating depth and more. Black Powder folks do much the same and B.B. has often written about how much he learned about Big Bores from the muzzle loading writers. When you start using bullets in a .25 that weigh more than say 45 grains the power from a .25 starts to look more like a junior Big Bore.

                  Remember RPM is usually the stability key for non-pellet (non-diabolo) shaped projectiles.

                  shootski


                  • Shootski,

                    So, simplistically put,…. just vary the weight?

                    Given a fixed power and a fixed twist, the only thing left to adjust is projectile weight. So, in theory, you could progressively step your way up weights (by say, 1 grain at a time) and in theory you should find the ideal weight (that in turn is the ideal rpm, provided by the twist rate and power)?

                    I do find the pellet selection in .25 to be limited. I did find a source for bullets that are made for airguns, (maybe provided by you?) and the selection is pretty good, but nothing that varies by 1 grain at a time. Maybe 6 weight ranges in .25 along with profile choices.

                    I will see if I can link it here, if I can find it.

                    Edit: At the risk of posting a competing link to P.A.,… Nielsen Specialty Ammo. 9 types in .25 alone.

                    Thanks, Chris


                    • Chris USA,

                      PA sells cast bullets under the Air Venturi brand; they appear to be made by Hunters-supply.com. ratsniperslugs.com and mrhollowpoint.com are additions for your list.
                      I would not creep up by 1 grain increments I would bracket at say 5 or 10 grain and then perhaps center if that is the only approach used. I would sooner change springs and Transfer Port size. Most Airguns have or have available through aftermarket spring preload adjustment systems, some have valve modifications and also a few have TP adjustability by various means.

                      shootski


              • Shootski
                I would love to see a ,308 Marauder or even a pellet firing ,30 caliber.

                I would have to say I would get the .30 caliber pellet shooter though over a bullet shooting .308. Just me. I like pellet shooters.


  16. I like this report. It is good to hear the views of compressor owners. My pick would be the Nomad II as it checks the important boxes. Also it does not need to be coupled with a bucket of water. Now to watch for an incredable sale price.
    Gerald


    • Gerald
      That is why the China compressor’s work. And even some of the brand name compressor’s use water cooling. Matter of fact they use the same water pumps on some. You don’t see them because they are enclosed in the compressor’s pumps housing. And of course not as big of a resivior as my 5 gallon bucket I use. My China compressor’s don’t get hot.

      The reason for the water cooling is because of how fast they operate. Plus the extra cooling helps keep moisture to a minimum. They are fast compressor’s. That’s why I got one instead of my Shoebox. And not to say there is anything wrong with the Shoebox compressor. I just wanted faster for the type of shooting I do.

      And another reason to check out why some compressor’s use the cooling and some don’t.

      Here’s a tip. For the most part PA has links to the owners manuals on the webpage for that product your viewing. That will tell you if you need to add water or not with a compressor.

      Maybe you really do want a bucket of water.


      • Gunfun1,
        I have looked at the compressors PA has. The Air Venturi models have a built in liquid cooling system. I also saw the pictures of your setups. Going by your pictures those compressors look to be not easily mobile. Portable is an important feature to me and needing a bucket of water makes it less portable. That is why the ones that can run on 12V have my interest.
        For me the ultimate set up would be one that would run on a Dewalt flex volt battery. Even if it only topped off the Gauntlet twice on a charge that would be ok. I have a second battery on the charger.
        Gerald


        • Gerald
          They are very easily moved.

          The bucket would be empty when moved. Then the compressor is very small and only weighs about 30 lbs.

          And don’t know if you ever went camping. But there is power converters that allow you to run the electric product off of your vehicles battery system.

          Maybe that would be good for what you want??


          • Gunfun1,
            I have a bit of experience with camping. Have taken a boat to camp on an island. There was no clean water except the jug you carried. The thought of it makes me want the battery one I described even more. It would be one piece with the battery installed, no extra parts to get lost or forgotten. I like it simple with no assembly required..
            Gerald


            • Gerald
              Yep probably would be better if your moving it alot.

              I usually just shoot at home or at my brother’s house. So works real nice for us now having a compressor at my house and his. Don’t even have to worry about transporting a buddy bottle now.

              But yep in your case the battery power would work the best. But heck what do you mean if your on the island you got all the water you need for the compressor. 🙂


  17. Just received my daystate Coltri 4500 psi compressor . A REAL 3 cylinder rotary belt driven work of art. Quiet as your home shop compressor . made in Italy and its stout . filled a 66cu in about then a hour. i added an hour meter to it as that the only thing missing . comes with a din300 long scuba tank fitting that fits the air venturi tanks . If you want to fill with foster fitting you will need the Din300 LONG adapter with the male foster. Five year waranty . That should tell you something about the unit. $2000 . Split it with friends . Stays at my shop and they fill their tanks up when they get low. No junk here , the chev small block of compressor


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