Try a springer, you just might feel like a kid again.

Discussion in 'Rimfire and Airguns' started by hawk45, May 2, 2015.

  1. hawk45

    hawk45 Well-Known Member

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    So I've been into centerfire and rimfire since I was a kid of about 13yrs old. But, I cut my teeth on a BB and pellet guns starting about the age of 8 in my basement and backyard.

    It was easy to get sucked into the big dawgs and watching them eat, but when I want to do that I have to pack-up and head to the range min of 5 miles away (100yd max) with my long range option about an hour away.

    So while helping my neighbors put in a neighborhood garden at the end of the street, I realized I have a super nice place for a little range in the woods just 3 houses down.
    On a "water" break I took look around, yanked a few honeysuckles and cut off a few hanging branches. Low and behold I have about a 40yd clear path into an embankment.
    While I could probably get away with shooting some rimfire and centerfire there, I decided getting a pellet rifle would be the most neighbor friendly option.

    So I got on some air rifle forums and online stores and started looking. I was surprised how far air guns have come and how many different types (springers, pumps, PCP) and sub categories. Prices range from $50 up over $3000.

    I thought about what I wanted and would be a good starting platform. I listened to the suggestions of the veteran forum members and went with an RWS 34 MPC spring powered rifle. The 34 is a break barrel, single cocking stroke gun. Cock barrel, insert pellet and you have 900fps from a 7.9gr pellet. The 34 comes in many flavors, but the MPC is compact which I thought would help going through the woods for some small game hunting. The gun feels like a real gun at about 8 lbs scoped. I went with .177 even though going in I though .22 would be the best option. Again, research and the veterans pointed out the high versatility of the .177. The RWS is known for having one of the best airgun triggers in a springer gun. Having a good trigger was VERY important to me. Most airguns have junk triggers, so I stayed away from those. I got the gun in a package format with a good mount and decent 3-9x40 duplex scope for $300. More than I ever thought I would pay for a gun that doesn't burn powder.

    Now that I had the gun on the way I had to make a bench for my mini-range. Made this with some scrap wood for about $20 and some elbow grease.

    First time out I was surprised about the recoil the springers have. Feels more like a .223. With the spring guns having a double recoil of the piston and the lower velocity, I'd have to learn how to work with the rifle to get good groups. Luckly after about 25 rounds I was getting quarter to penny size 5 shot groups at 25 yds.
    The gun is a little "twangy", so I ordered a kit that reduces some of that and quiets the gun down.

    In the end, it's great b/c at lunch or after work, I can walk a few houses down, sit in the woods and punch some paper. All I can say is I'm hooked! Next I'd like to try one of the higher end under levers (TX200 or HW97).

    Anyway, if you want to have the ability to get out and shoot daily by yourself or with kids, grab a nice air rifle or two. With a tin of pellets running about $12 for 500, you can't shoot enough. Luckly my gun loves the $10 for 750ct pellets.. bonus!! Takes me back to being a kid.

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    I've since cleared some more brush behind and move the target back another 15 yds.
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    Pellet testing. Dime size groups at 25yds. This gun like the 7.9gr Benjamins, H&N FTT 8.64gr and 10.5gr Crossmans.
    Top left was sighting in (2 high, 1 low).
    [​IMG]
     
  2. HARPERC

    HARPERC Well-Known Member

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    Looks like fun! I tried to do the same thing awhile back, didn't have advisors, ended up with another brand with the worst trigger I've seen. Think of the worst double action you've had in your hands. I didn't expect much in the price range, but did hope for more.

    Moral: I tried to go too cheap, your process was much better.
     
  3. hawk45

    hawk45 Well-Known Member

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    It was really hard to not go with a $100 gun on sale at Midway, but there are some good options if you want to go cheaper. Flying Dragon Airguns imports the same gun as the Remington/Rugers you see for $150, which are asian copies of the RWS 34. But with FD, you can have Mike (owner and professional airgun tuner) do one of two different types of tunes. Basic lube tune, which for $40 he breaks the gun down, cleans and lubes everything to make sure it's quiet and no manufacture defects. You could also go with the $100 full tune where he will do everything in the lube tune, but also machine parts for tight fit, upgrade the trigger and verify it's a good shooter. I got my wife a basic lube tuned XS12, which is thier low power (600fps .177) rifle, great for smaller ladies and kids and very backyard friendly. The XS25 is a mid power 800fps .177.

    While my RWS is nice, they are known to come dry. You can shoot them like this but they really come to life if you break them down and do a simple debur, clean, inspection and lube. Pretty simple for anyone who can slightly tinker. I ordered a Vortek tune kit for mine with a factory spring and a lower power spring to see which it likes more. With airguns, faster isn't always better when it comes to accuracy. They have nodes just like centerfires.

    Anyway, it's a great time. GatewayToAirguns is a great site if you are thinking of getting one. Do your homework and make a good investment. With the quality of mine, I'll be able to pass it down to multiple generations.

    While I'm no expert, I'll happily pass on any knowledge and my experiences. Readily available trigger time is a wonderful thing.

    Cheers.
     
  4. justinp61

    justinp61 Well-Known Member

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    I've been wanting to buy an air rifle for a couple years now but quickly get lost when I start looking. I have a buddy that shoots them but some of his rifles are over $2000, no way I'm spending that much. I'd like something accurate enough to kill sparrows off my bluebird boxes at 40 yards.

    I can shoot out to 500 yards from the bench behind my shop so a range isn't an issue.
     
  5. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    I have several Air rifles (A Feinwerkbau and a RWS) and really like to shoot them a varmints.

    Both are .177 cal but will eventually buy one of the 22 or 25 calibers for the energy.

    Lots of shooters use the air rifles for practice when the weather is to bad to go outside. you can buy or build a bullet trap for indoors and never leave you house if there is 3 foot of snow outside.

    The only thing you have to watch is the scopes. The Spring type air rifles are very hard on scopes due to the rebound (Recoil in both directions).

    Some scopes just will not handle this type of recoil because they are not made for the forward recoil.

    So if you start having trouble with accuracy, It could be your scope. (there are good quality scopes designed for springer air rifles) cheep scopes don't work.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  6. Laelkhunter

    Laelkhunter Well-Known Member

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    When shooting the springer type air rifle, don't try to hold it tight to fight the recoil. It is best to use what they call an "artilley hold". Picture the heavy field cannons, the way they recoil in a "cradle". Control it, but don't fight it, and you will see better accuracy when you let it recoil in your hands.Drop grip it will your support hand, but cradle it.
    Also, a scope that is designed for air rifles is best, as it is designed for the forward thrust (piston bottoming out in the air chamber). I have never seen it, but have heard of regular rifle scopes being ruined when mounted on air rifles.
    The best scope I have found for my RWS M34 is a Hawke. It has adjustable parallax which is really important for air rifles. Most high power rifle scopes have the parrallax factory set at 100 yards, which is a little bit out of the range of an air rifle.
    When you really get into the Air rifle circles, look at the Benjamin Marauder. It is a pre-charged pneumatic. Light 2.5 lb trigger, no recoil, silent, and shoots a 1/2 inch group at 50 yards. Only problem is you need a tank to fill it (scuba tank works great).
     
  7. hawk45

    hawk45 Well-Known Member

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    Good advice above. Air rifles are extremely hard on scopes. I have a Hawke on my 34. Their customer service is outstanding. Best thing about airguns is you can get a good scope for less than $300, and most for around $100.

    Springers usually run in 3 power levels: (using .177 cal velocities)
    Low (600 fps or less)
    Medium (600 fps to 900)
    Magnum (900 and up)

    The more power, the harder to shoot b/c of the extra recoil and the harder they are on mounts and optics. Just something to think about depending on your needs.

    If you want something more like a centerfire, look at the PCPs. These run by filling a pressurized reservoir on the gun. Most in the 2500 - 3000 PSI range. With the springers, you have to cock the spring every time. With a PCP you can shoot many shots in a row. Most are either single load or repeater (like a bolt action). PCPs can shooting from .177 up to like .450 caliber rounds in the 350gr range. Most like something in the .25 cal for PCP as it is flat and plenty of power for hunting varmint/pests. Depending on the power (fps), caliber and your guns reservoir size you will get X shots. That can be as many as 100 or as few as 5. PCPs don't have the recoil of the springers and most have very nice triggers. Entry level is something like a Benjamin Discovery or Benjamin Marauder. As mentioned though, with PCPs you have to have a way to fill them after X shots. You can buy a pump or get pressurized tanks to carry with you. Since you have to hold 3000 - 4500 psi in the tanks, they can be expensive, and you have to find a place to fill them, or use a pump. The pump are like bike tire pumps, but much more expensive b/c they have to handle the high PSI pressures. They are in the $200 - $300 range. Figure 2-3 pumps for each round you shoot to get back up to max on something like .177 or .22 cal. As you go up in caliber and speed, you use more pressure so more pumps are needed to replenish. PCPs are usually higher priced than springers also, but not always.

    If you want semi-auto, get a CO2 gun. The only thing with these is the are usually much less power than a springer, pump or PCP.

    Here are the most recommended makes for each type at an entry level price for something of good quality.

    Springers:
    RWS (Any)
    Weihrauch (HW series)
    Beeman (R and HW Series)
    AirArms (TX)
    Walther (LGV and LGU series)
    Flying Dragon (XS series - budget options with at least a basic lube tune)

    PCP:
    Benjamin (Discovery & Maurauder)
    AirArms
    Hatsan
    AirForce
    Flying Dragon (XS60 with tune)

    Pump Rifles:
    Benjamin (397/392) - Tons of mods and aftermarket support
    Cosman 2100

    Pump Pistols:
    Crosman (1377, 1322) - Tons of mods and aftermarket support

    CO2:
    I know nothing about these.

    Check out Pyramyd Arms, Airguns of Arizona, Air Gun Depot, etc for models.

    There is something so nice about having a gun shipped right to your front door too.
     
  8. Laelkhunter

    Laelkhunter Well-Known Member

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    Sorry for the mis-spelling, I meant "ARTILLERY HOLD". Another Senior moment :)
     
  9. ShootnMathews

    ShootnMathews Well-Known Member

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    My dad bought a Gamo shadow hunter. Or something like that last year. I brought it to my house to line it up for him. He bought the redfire hunting pellets. It shoots dime sized groups at about 15 yards. Maybe 20. But with squirrels running everywhere on my property, I just couldn't resist. I killed several squirrels and a couple coins with it last year. I always aim for the head as that seems to be a clean kill or clean miss. Dropped one stone dead at about 35 yards with a perfect headshot. That felt killing a deer at 500. Was a good feeling. The trigger in this one is not super but is manageable. It's supposed to be adjustable but I haven't messed with it. I'll post a few pics from a couple outings.
     

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  10. ShootnMathews

    ShootnMathews Well-Known Member

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    Another day
     

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  11. Laelkhunter

    Laelkhunter Well-Known Member

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    Google "charliedatuna trigger". He makes an excellent replacement trigger for the Gamo, and a bunch of other air rifles. Reasonably priced, and it makes a world of difference in the feel of the trigger. Makes it feel like a match grade trigger. You will see a world of difference in your accuracy with a good trigger.
     
  12. Scot E

    Scot E Well-Known Member

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    You are speaking my language!

    I have an RWS 38 in 177 which is the gun that got me started down this addiction 20+ years ago.

    I have a HW77 in 177 which is an absolute tack driver with an amazing 2 stage trigger.
    I have a Beeman RX-1 in .20 that is my hunting gun. Great trigger and very accurate for a gas ram gun! Puts the hurt on small game.
    I have an Air Arms 410E in .22 with custom barrel shroud. Quiet and deadly.

    They are great fun in and of themselves but are really good for LR big game hunting training. Put a quality scope with turrets on one and then go to work learning how to dial and dope wind!

    Great thread!
     
  13. ShootnMathews

    ShootnMathews Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. I'll check them out
     
  14. geo4061

    geo4061 Well-Known Member

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    I bought a RWS springer. I thought I was buying the best. Maybe it is. Anyway it was a pain to shoot. It was very sensitive when it came to the way you held it in order to achieve acceptable accuracy. Sold it and then bought a PCP. Shoots great, however, it is a royal pain to pump up. I have been thinking about buying an old school Benjamin pump(#392). Would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks.