Occasionally my phone conversations concern a friend’s airgun, which “can’t hit the broad side of a barn door”. Most of this information applies to conventional spring piston airguns, but is appropriate to other systems as well. Loose Stock Screws are probably the most common cause of inaccuracy in airguns. Even a quarter turn loose can translate to 50mm difference at 25 meters, most airguns have screws securing the action to the stock (two in the fore-end, one through the front of the trigger guard and one in the rear of the trigger guard). These must be firm at all times.
On Open Sight guns – check that the front sight attachment screw is tight, and the sight element held within is secure.Check the rear sight for play and tightness, on the breech block.
Any old scope mount just won’t do on an airgun! On springer air rifles and PCP’s, you must use a scope mount specifically designed for airgun use. Many airgun mounts have a “stop pin” that fits in special holes at the back of the receiver, and their bases range in width from 11mm-14mm depending on the brand.
These stop pins are necessary because spring piston airguns don’t just recoil backwards, they snap forward too. And when coupled with the vibration of the mainspring can drive an improper mount off the scope grooves. Separate scope stops are also available for the same purpose. Scopes can also move through the scope rings (scope creep) but this problem is usually eliminated by using the right scope mount. As mentioned previously, airguns recoil backwards then snap forward. This action is what destroys regular, non-airgun scopes.
Proper airgun scopes have their lenses and reticules braced at the front and the back where as most regular firearm optics are only braced at the rear. This double recoil peculiar to airguns, coupled with the vibration of the mainspring, will quickly destroy even the biggest brand names in scopes. But be aware that even airgun scopes can be rated for Light, Medium and High Recoil rifles. We, at Straight Shooters rate all our scopes for the proper use so it’s easy to match a scope to the power of the gun you choose. Secondly, airguns shoot at shorter distances than regular firearms and most regular firearm scopes are parallax corrected for 100 yards or more.
Proper airgun scopes have an externally adjustable parallax ring on the front end objective or a side focus knob to focus clearly at all distances down to about 10 yards or 10 meters. This can also be used as a range finder to estimate distances to your target. Finally, airguns have a much more pronounced trajectory than firearms and airgun scopes have an elevation, so there is more up than down adjustment, eliminating the need to shim the scope mount and possibly crush or bend the scope tube.
Incorrect Barrel Tension.
Break barrel airguns must have the pivot tension set carefully. Too much and the barrel detente will not consistently lock up and there will be galling of the breech block. Too little and there will be blow-by at the breech. Both situations will cause erratic groups. The correct tension is the point where the barrel will just stay anywhere on the return arc after cocking. Better barrel cocking airguns have adjustable pivot tension. You must use proper gunsmith screwdrivers, keep your fingers out of the trigger guard and don’t adjust a cocked gun!
The Wrong Pellet.
Most inaccuracy queries come from owners of airguns, in terms of accuracy, energy and velocity retention downrange where it counts. Every gun barrel is slightly different and the pellet that groups best in one gun may not work with the next gun even if it is the same make and model. Powerful spring guns work better with medium heavy or heavy pellets rather than light pellets. This will decrease the velocity but increase the accuracy. Buy a Straight Shooters Pellet Sampler in your caliber, and see which pellets shoot the best group at your preferred shooting distance. Pellet induced accuracy problems on lower powered airguns can usually be cured by switching brands or types. Don’t use old and oxidized pellets or any deformed examples, but rather discard them immediately. Only use high quality lead pellets from respected manufacturers. Cheap pellets are false economy.
Airguns do foul barrels but not in the same manner as regular firearms. Instead, minute traces of lead and the gun’s mechanisms spray lubricant compression chamber leave deposits in the rifling. This must be carefully removed with a proper airgun barrel cleaning kit. We strongly recommend the Napier cleaning kit . These kits use a compact flexible rod that won’t damage the delicate crown or rifling and cover all four calibers.
Incorrect Shooting Techniques.
Regular firearm doesn’t work on spring piston and gas spring airguns. That is why many expert firearm marksmen can’t shoot airguns accurately and why many expert air-gunners shoot regular firearms so well. There are two basic reasons: Hold your airgun firmly against your shoulder and let it jump around when you fire it. Don’t pull it in hard into your shoulder or strangle it’s fore-end, and don’t rest the fore-end on a hard surface. Let it recoil and vibrate freely – don’t try to prevent it. When you sense that your airgun has fired, the pellet is only just starting up the barrel. Although very fast, the lock time is considerably slower on airguns compared to firearms so you have to adjust and follow through.
Hang onto your sight picture just a little longer and your groups will shrink. Natural trigger control and relaxed breathing and stance principles still apply and there are plenty of books available on these topics to consult. If you have followed all these suggestions and still have accuracy problems, your airgun may need the attention of an airgun smith.
Don’t even attempt to disassemble your airgun unless you are very familiar with airguns and their use. From experience it is far cheaper in the end to have an airgun specialist attend to it I hope this helps you all its once again my turn to give something back..
If you have any technical shooting questions to ask Chev, Fire away on our Q&A page.Here:
Chev is an ex Royal Marine sniper, with years of training his knowledge on firearms and weapons is vast, but his main passion is hunting.
He and some friends set up Cn G pest control to offer a service but also teach. Primarily set up to educate, train and promote all aspects of airgun shooting to the public by a small group of dedicated airgun shooters this has now grown with some dedicated coaches across the country
.Our mission is to encourage people of all ages and abilities to enjoy their chosen airgun sport, we believe this can be enhanced by having appropriate training without harm, or injury to persons or wildlife, or any detriment to the environment. This education needs to start at an early age to focus youngster to the dangers of misusing guns of all types and the laws and legislation that can be broken, the use of this equipment correctly can be a way to control some pest species with out risk toother species that other methods can cause and how some of these pest species can be used to provide a organic and health food source.
Since it’s developed professional training programs for the pest control professional delivering this training to local government councils and pest control companies.CnG pest control & marksmanship courses actively working with other organisations to raise the profile of airgun sports and the formation of clubs to encourage the safe use of airguns as recreational sport .
Airgun Training and Awareness for the Pest Control Industry
The aim of the programme is to train pest control operatives and their managers in the safe & effective use of air weapons and to complete any necessary documentation to ensure H & S regulations are met.
On completion candidates will be able to: –
Humanely dispatch pests.
Demonstrate the safe use of air weapons
for pest control purposes.
Comply with government legalisation.
Maintain and demonstrate due diligence.
Demonstrate and follow good practise.
Set-up and maintain equipment.
Certificate on completion.