OK after Relin had this great idea I thought I would put something together as well.
Hopefully the admins can forge together mine and Relin's efforts and make a sticky of this.
Anyway here we go.
OK so you have decided you want to join us in this wonderful hobby that is shooting.
Now the question you ask your self is what do I get?
This question is asked time and time again and the answers are almost the same every time.
The first thing you have to consider is what you are intending on doing with the gun:
- Are you going to be just target shooting in your back garden?
- Are you going Hunting?
- Are you going to have a Go at FT/HFT (field target/hunter field target)? etc
Depending on what you want to do depends on what kind of set up you will need.
The second question you have to ask yourself is what is my budget?
We all know we get what we pay for but what exactly are you getting?
If you are new to the sport the answer will be you don't really know.
Next thing you have to consider is what type of gun you want and I will give a quick overview of the 3 main types:
Springer’s/Gas rams - These guns a tried and tested, they have been around since the dawn of airguning.
They are relatively inexpensive, Can be full power, highly accurate with practice and most people start with one.
The downsides are they are single shot as you have to re-cock the gun with every shot and they can be noisy.
Also recoil is an issue with Springer’s so they do take some practice.
Price ranges from a few pounds second hand up to £00000's
for a good quality new Springer you are looking around £150-200
although like I say they can be picked up very cheaply especially second hand.
CO2 - These guns are powered by carbon dioxide gas in the form of a capsule. They have no recoil and are again inexpensive.
They are also usually very customisable (ratcatchers for instance) and can come in single or multi shot.
The main problems with CO2 are consistency as the power can vary with the temperature, Power can also be an issue as power ranges can go from 2/3 ft lbs up to 12ft lbs.
Also they have the running costs of buying co2 to charge the gun.
Price ranges are similar to Springer’s.
PCP's - These are generally the preferred choice of hunters and target shooters alike. The gun is powered by a refillable air reservoir.
They need to be charged up with a pump or a diver’s bottle. If fitted with a silencer they are virtually silent.
They come in the form of Multi shot and single shot, they are consistent regardless of temperature.
They are capable of producing the legal limit of 12 ft lbs although can be turned down lower if required.
They also have no recoil.
The downsides to PCP's are the initial cost because as well as the gun you also need a Pump/divers bottle as well as your scopes, mounts etc.
Price range of PCP's are in the region of £300+ for the gun plus £100 plus for a pump, prices of divers bottles vary.
OK so now you know what you want the gun for, how much you have to spend and the type of gun you will need.
So what calibre do you get?
Well this is a never ending argument amongst air gunners. There is no right or wrong answers. Only personal preference.
So here is the Low down:
.177 (4.5mm) smallest calibre and the 2nd most popular. Doesn’t carry as much weight as the larger pellets, Less stopping power but flatter trajectory and still kills bunnies!
.20 (5.0 mm) Rather rare but has the best features of .177 and .22
.22 (5.5mm) Probably the most popular calibre. Carries a lot of weight and energy into a target but has an unforgiving trajectory
.25 (6.4mm) Very rare, heavy and very curved trajectory but has huge stopping power.
OK so after all that what Gun do you buy?
This is the hard part. There are SO many rifles available you really are spoilt for choice (depending on budget more or less so
DO NOT just buy the rifle that looks nice or the one some guy on the internet tells you to buy.
Why? I hear you ask, well the answer is it may not suit you. A gun has got to be an extension of you.
It has to fit you and be comfortable just like a nice suit you spend your hard earned cash on.
So what do you do? The same as you do when you are looking for a suit!
Go and try them! Go down the local gun shop/club and have a look and a feel.
Make sure you can hold it steady in the standing position. If it’s too heavy you will struggle.
Make sure it fits, if you can’t hold it comfortably and pull the trigger comfortably you are not going to hit a garage door!
Last but not least make sure you can use the gun. I know this sounds stupid but again you don't want to struggle to load it!
Getting pellets into small holes with large fingers can be difficult, if the gun is to be used by a youngster or someone with arthritis etc can they cock it?
All very simple things that people over look but are very important.
But what guns are there?
There are many airgun manufacturers who make a wide range of models of a large Price Range.
Your main manufacturers are:
Webley - Once a great British company renowned around the world. Sadly they are now based in turkey and the quality of their guns is not once what it was.
They do however still produce some good guns at a low cost (Webley raider for instance). If you want a REAL Webley buy an old one with "Webley and Scott, Birmingham England" on the side.
Weihrauch - A German company that are considered one of the best air gun manufacturers in the world. They make amazingly high quality Springer’s and a PCP called a HW100.
BSA - Another once great British company, still make good quality guns at a reasonably cheap price.
They make one of the cheapest quality multi shot PCP's (BSA Ultra) and some good quality budget Springer’s. (BSA Meteor etc)
Air Arms - Not been on the scene long (1970's) But make some very high quality Air rifles. They are probably most famous for their S410 PCP which has proven itself with air gunners all around the world. They do make some Good quality Springer’s as well (TX200 etc).
SMK - These are cheap and cheerful Chinese guns.
They are by no means rubbish but there are certain models better than others. The B2 is a very basic Springer and as cheap as you will find. But unless you get a good one they won’t cut the cheese.
SMK do make some nice guns however. The XS19 is a reasonable Springer and the QB78 is a nice co2 gun which with a little modding can make excellent rifles.
Crosman - An American company famed for their Co2 Guns. Most notably in recent years for the Ratcatcher a very small and light CO2 carbine rifle that is very customisable and fairly cheap.
Armex - New company on the scene set to make an impact, they make a nice PCP called an X10 avenger which is a 10 shot bolt action. High quality low price.
Brocock - Responsible for the importing of all Umarax guns and several other brands. They also make a range of High Quality PCP's as well as the famous BACS system (Brocock Air Cartridge System).
Daystate - Considered to be the Best PCP maker in the world today. They were the ones who first produced the Modern PCP back in the 70's
Logun - These are not so popular any more but their most famous gun (the S16) is still very sought after. Personally I always considered them a bit of a "fad" but the S16 made its name in history as a "real hunters gun". It was a 8 (16 with the twist of the mag) Shot bolt action in a tactical style. They also made many other guns which never really made a similar impact.
There are many other manufacturers (Gamo, Cometa etc) But the above are the most popular.
What would I buy?
Someone asked what would I buy with different Budgets? Well like I said before its personal preference but I would Go with the following (these are all brand new gun only)
<£100 - A QB78
Reason being they will suffice until you have a little more time/cash and you can mod them into a nice rifle.
£100-200 - A BSA Meteor
Nice Quality Little Springer
£200-300 - BSA Lightening
Another nice quality Springer rifle.
£300-400 - Now you can start looking at PCP's as well as Springer’s.
I would go for an Air Arms S200 Or a Brocock Aim X in PCP
And a HW (one of many) For the Springer.
£400-500 - Well the Only Springer’s your likely to get in this price range are Air Arms or maybe a HW.
PCP's however I would be looking at an Air Arms.
£500> - Well you really are hitting the elite now and can expect to pay anything from £500 up to 0000's Whatever you get is going to be of high quality but I would be looking at Armex, HW, Daystate and Air Arms once again.
Remember there are lots of Bargains to be had in the For sale section second hand guns are just as good as new ones if they Have been Looked after. They will be "run in" And tried and tested.
Finally before committing to buy any gun think it over.
Read reviews, ask people’s opinions etc also ask lots of questions and try lots of guns when you are in the shop.
A good salesman will give you as much help and time as you need.
Remember prices on the internet maybe cheaper but the guy in the shop has over heads, He's taking time to talk to you etc.
So in short here are your basics:
- Intended use
- Type of gun
- Try before you buy.
Please also remember that if you have any questions or need help or whatever please ask in the forum.
I or one of the others will be able to help, There is a vast amount of experience and knowledge here and we are all willing to help. This is by far the best air gun forum on the internet.
I have written this after having many years in the trade selling guns. I always used this basic plan to help the customer decide what best suited them.
And over the years I found it to be effective. I always had happy customers and they usually thanked me afterwards.
I really do believe that you should be happy with whatever you choose. But remember at the end of the day you get what you pay for and it is you that has to live with the choice you make so make it wisely!
All information is correct to the best of my knowledge @ 10/09/2010 All information contained within is purely my opinions and beliefs and if you don’t like em tuff
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