Types of airguns - spring, CO2, PCA, PCP
As we mentioned recently in the blog "Which airgun for the beginners?“ there are so many types of air rifles (types of propulsion, calibers, ways of charging, etc.) that a person unfamiliar with the topic may feel a little bewildered. That is why we will try to explain a little bit what he is shooting and what will be necessary to make him shoot without any problems.
The most important and at the same time the most differentiating feature of airguns is the power source. Unlike firearms, the propellant is not included in the ammunition, but directly in the carbine.
Due to the type of power source we can divide airguns into:
- Spring powered:
- with metal spring
- with GAS RAM spring
- CO2 powered
- PCA (Pre Charged Air)
- PCP (Pre Charged Pneumatics)
CO2 powered airgun
Let's start with a bit of a specific side of the carbon dioxide powered guns. Classic carbines powered by this system usually offer easy handling, mediocre power and a semi-automatic action. So they will prove themselves as recreational devices and for younger users.
To power them you will need CO2 cartridges, 12 or 88 grams, depending on the model. It is also a good habit to apply a bit of silicone grease on the cartridge seal. This will protect the o-rings from premature wear.
Among the replicas supplied with dioxide, we can separate a specific, definitely dominant group - replicas. Airguns which are replicas of firearms are in 99% purely recreational devices, in 99% powered by CO2 cartridges.
Airguns that are replicas of weapons are often signed with the markings of the original manufacturers - company Umarex offers replicas licensed by Glock, Beretta and Smith&Wesson
When choosing this type of model, we should be guided by two factors. First of all, our taste, because they will be purely recreational things. They are not used to shoot clovers on the target, and we cannot expect this from them. They will certainly give us a lot of fun while shooting bottles or silhouette targets.
The second aspect worth paying attention to will be the quality of execution. Avoid suspiciously cheap, fully casted Chinese products. Topical constructions, strange working triggers and suspicious magazines can discourage you from shooting after a few sessions.
The most classic construction in the case of air rifles on the other hand, are spring-based constructions. As the name suggests, spring powered models use the energy of a pre-tensioned spring to compress air and push the shot out of the barrel.
Such structures are usually characterized by a noticeable recoil and require force to tension, but thanks to simplicity they are relatively cheaper than other types of pneumatics - a good spring rifle will cost as much as the cheapest, dubious quality PCP models, in addition without the accessories necessary for their operation.
Hatsan airguns from the MOD series, such as the 55, 70 and 90 models, for example, are the perfect choice for the first air rifle thanks to the great price-performance ratio
In addition, the operation of spring ones is also extremely cheap. All we need to shoot is an ammunition. It is also worthwhile, as in the case of any other kind of shooting, to get certified safety glasses.
GAS RAM springs
Sometimes we can meet with models of airguns equipped with a GAS RAM spring. This is a specific system in which a classic metal spring is replaced with something we can associate with a pneumatic cylinder. During breaking the piston compresses the gas contained in the cylinder, which expands when the trigger is pressed. Compared to metal springs, this system generates less vibration and an overall higher working culture.
Another type of airguns are the PCA (Pre Charged Air) models, equipped with an integrated air compression device. Most often it takes the form of a simple pump in long ones, or a piston hidden under the "slide" in pistol styled ones. They require manual air compression before each shot, and usually allow the power to be adjusted by the number of pump movements.
The PCA power system is in the form of a pump or piston integrated with the airgun
Models of this type theoretically combine the advantages of PCP models (high shot culture, no kickback) with springs (low operating costs, no requirements for additional accessories). This is, of course, at a much higher price than in the case of spring guns. From PCAs we can also expect slightly lower muzzle velocity. However, in combination with high precision, this will make such models perfect for target shooting at a distance of 10 m.
PCP (Pre Charged Pneumatics) airguns are also compressed air-powered models. Unlike PCAs, they have an integrated cartridge for storing compressed gas instead of a pump. In their case, an external source will be required to operate - a cylinder with previously compressed air or a high-pressure pump (they require a lot of force, the cylinder is a much better idea).
PCP guns are technologically advanced devices. Not only do they ensure high working culture, precision and no perceptible kickback, but they also allow to shoot several shots without changing position. However, such models are much more expensive both in terms of the rifle or pistol itself and the necessary accessories.
Manufacturers of PCP airguns are experimenting with the forms of their carabiners to provide the user with the opportunity to choose for maximum comfort of use
When buying a PCP, we have to be cost-oriented. However, it is worth to follow the old Polish proverb here, and spend more at the beginning, so as not to charge the funds to improve what we wanted to save on. By the way, it's worth mentioning that there are no cheap PCP models - for example, Hatsan's PCP offer (with a really good price/quality ratio) starts with a Flash model for about 320 EUR.
This is a model that meets all the quality requirements, but as for budget PCP, and is set in a very simple stock, similar to used in the cheapest spring guns from this manufacturer. This shows how expensive the components are, important for the shooting process itself. If you find somewhere a PCP available for a much lower price than this, you can safely assume that it will be a product that will not fulfill its role and your expectations.
Finally, quickly with calibers. The larger mass of the projectile makes it behave more stable and limits the impact of wind gusts on its trajectory. So we can assume that the larger the caliber, the greater the flight stability of the shot, but the greater the precipitation of the bullet and thus a smaller range.AP