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What is an Air Rifle?

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One of the best ways of shooting rabbits, joining shooting competitions, pelting tin cans or hitting a pigeon for the broth is to use an air rifle. However, there’s so much to air guns than just purchasing an air rifle, picking it up and getting down to the field for some shooting amusement.

Through an air gun you learn how to effectively handle guns safely, how to shoot straight and the art of firing without a scope and so many other basics.  Here, we look at what exactly is an air rifle and much more.

What exactly is an air rifle?

In simple terms, air rifles are a type of air guns that propel BBs, slugs or pellets. Unlike typical firearms out there, they propel through different methods such as CO2/compressed air.  Air guns are categorized into either air pistols or air rifles and are replicas of real fire arms.

They may be different from normal guns but by no means minnows; some air rifles available today come with top velocities higher than a good number of powder burners. It’s actually the reason why professional shooters use air guns in hunting expeditions. In essence, they are dependable and engineered to fire BBs, slugs and pellets at a greater velocity.

Air rifles like air pistols are propelled via any of three mechanisms; CO2 canister, compressed air in high pressure or piston spring. Unlike traditional guns’ air rifles have different uses and choice depends on the intended use.

Typical air rifle uses

An air rifle comes in handy for different reasons, such as target shooting, hunting game and pest control.

  • Pest control: Not many know air rifles aren’t just for recreational purposes. They’re really effective in eliminating rodents like rats without the need for traditional fire arms that can be costly. They’re actually safer. With a small rifle of at least 1k fps (feet per second) and either .20-.22 calibre you’re more than able to deal with pests.
  • Hunting: Air rifles are extensively used in hunting escapades, particularly in small game hunting such as rabbits, fowls and squirrels. In most cases air guns have been used in hunting different kinds of game through lead/steel BB ammunition that can penetrate all manner of things.
  • Target shooting: If there’s one area air rifles have always been used it’s in target shooting. These include scenarios such as shooting range practice, plinking, and shooting recreational events, among others. In fact, apart from being in use since the 16th century, the popularity of air guns has been rising so high that in the 1980s they became a part of the Olympics. Plinking on beverage tins and bottles, tree stumps, logs or paper targets has always been a homely way of having fun with an air rifle; you can execute it on your yard, open field, balcony etc.

Cheaper than live rounds

Considering all the different things you can do with your air rifle, the clearest advantage is the fact that it’s way affordable than live ammunition. With so many types out there to select from and of different prices, you can pick what you need for the intended purpose you’ve in mind at a fraction of the cost of a real fire arm.

In fact, pellets are safer than live rounds and also affordable. You can be sure there won’t be ricocheting or having to carry a heavy weapon. Air guns are actually easier to manage through safety regulations in place allowing many people, including children, to handle them though with parental or adult supervision.  

Choosing the most ideal

When it comes to purchasing an air rifle, a number of factors can help you select the best. These factors include:

Power and precision: precision is key if you intend to shoot at targets or use it for competitions. In this case, precision refers to the pellet/BB propulsion method, muzzle velocity and weight. A heavier, high velocity air rifle is a highly accurate choice to go for.

Safety: Safety is critical in an air rifle, including its durability. Depending on the use, this shouldn’t be hard to know. Air rifles for shooting competitions for instance are powerful with superb muzzle velocity. For recreational target shootings or mere plinking safety is important such as safety of the trigger and weatherproofing. Also, the ease of using the air rifle really matters.

Method of propulsion: CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) propelled air guns are highly popular due to their simplicity of use.  Pneumatic air rifle utilises pump action to compact air for every propelled projectile. Pre-charged types of pneumatic air rifles are more precise due to a better compressed air reservoir resulting in better shots, power and velocity. Spring piston propulsion is highly popular and offers a powerful, reliable, consistent performance.

Air rifle laws

Air guns use, purchase and handling are already governed by law in the UK. In a nutshell, identification is required with any purchase, which should be face-to-face. Anyone below 14 years of age cannot purchase, hire or own an air rifle while teenagers 14-18 years of age require supervision by an individual above 21 years of age to work an air rifle. Note that there’re also laws governing where to use air rifles and the kind of quarry you’re permitted to shoot.

In essence, an air rifle is highly useful in many scenarios across England and beyond, whether you want to shoot prey, plink at the back of your residential home, compete in events or just control pest in your farm or backyard. Even so, the use determines the type that you choose. Also, remember an air rifle is still a weapon that has to be used under controlled scenarios as per the law applying.  

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