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Our Take Why & How


Getting The Most From Your Airgun

If we were asked what the most common question is about airgunning, it would have to be "What is the best pellet to use with my airgun?" Without a doubt that question exceeds any other by a large margin. Everybody wants their airgun to perform at it's best in all situations. But we can only give general answers to those questions. So much depends on what the shooter will be using for a target, the distance he or she will be shooting and of course, the type of gun being shot. And to make it even tougher to answer, there isn't very much published information about how ANY airgun performs with all the many pellets on the market. So Straight Shooters decided to attempt making a dent in that information void.

We decided to take a standard new airgun off the rack in each caliber, take one tin of every type of pellet we sell (all calibers) and see how those guns shoot all the various pellets. Each pellet has a weight advertised by the vendor which we will state in the following test grids. But every tin of pellets varies a bit, so on our tests, we weighed 25 pellets from each new tin and entered that weight into the grid also. If the test pellets were a little heavier than the advertised weight or if the pellet diameter is slightly larger or smaller due to head size or skirt size, then the velocity decreased or increased to some degree. And it's important to be aware that the guns themselves vary in velocity from gun to gun, even the same models. It's not uncommon to see variations of 30-50 fps or more from one gun to another. This can be caused by slight differences in springs, varying inside barrel diameters, charge levels of gas rams and the charge level of PCP's. Our testing is meant to show a snapshot of an average gun taken off the shelf. It is not meant to be the "rule" for all guns of the same model. It is simply meant to give a prospective buyer a good idea of what to expect from his purchase BUT remember...results can and often do vary and your gun might be slightly more or less powerful than our tests show.

This exercise was not meant to be a "test" of the airgun, but rather an information source that could be used by new purchasers to aid in their buying decision. With this information, a buyer can find the proper pellet for an airgun or even choose an airgun which shoots in the velocity or power range desired. The following data will answer questions about velocity, downrange remaining energy and the ballistic co-efficient of each pellet. The ballistic co-efficient is of use for pest control and hunting. The higher the ballistic co-efficient of a pellet.....the harder it hits the target, bird or animal. You'll be surprised at some of the results.

After determining which pellet you'd like to try with your airgun, remember that you and you alone can check the grouping accuracy of that pellet with your airgun. All the listed pellets are of high quality but your airgun will like some more than others. The idea is to find which pellet in the velocity and power range you require will then group best with your airgun. Combining our information with your grouping tests makes a powerful combination. Remember that Straight Shooters offers Samplers with 25 of each pellet in a particular caliber.

What type of shooting do you do?
We will start by saying that ANY airgun can be used for ANY purpose. All airguns can be used for plinking, target shooting, pest control and hunting. But with that said, most airguns fit best in one or two categories. And to make that consistent across all our evaluations, Straight Shooters has attempted to assign some attributes to the four categories mentioned below. We believe that these attributes are important to mention before speaking about a specific air rifle. These attributes are simply meant to be guidelines to help our readers decide which airgun best fits their needs. All the airguns discussed on these pages will be rated on a scale of 1 to 5 (low - high) in each category. The ratings are based on our own experiences but your experiences may lead you to rate them a bit higher or lower. Here are the categories and our guideline attributes: Look for the Straight Shooters Use Rating Chart to see our suggestions for a gun.

Straight Shooters Use Rating
Target Shooting
Pest Control

1) General Plinking - airguns in this category should be light, easy to cock, easy to load and must have reasonable accuracy. In short, the gun should be fun for the whole family . This is the type of airgun that fits in at the family picnic or back yard barbeque. An airgun in this category should be manageable for shooters of all ages and sizes. It should be fun to shoot at targets ranging from paper to pop cans High cost, superb fit and finish and pinpoint accuracy are not the major factors for guns in this category.

2) Target Shooting - Consistent, repeatable accuracy is the key to this category. Whether shooting at paper targets or field targets, accuracy is critical. This category can include competition airguns such as 10 meter match guns, powerful field target rifles and non-competition air rifles with repeatable accuracy that ranges from very good to excellent .

3) Pest Control - this is a tough subject to define because pests can be many different kinds of birds and/or animals depending on the region of the country. To keep us all on the same page, let's just say that airguns in this category must be able to humanely dispatch birds up to crow size and/or animals up to squirrel or small rabbit size at a range of 50 yards or less. Garden variety pests would be an apt description. For those whose garden pests include animals larger than the stated size, see the Hunting category.

4) Hunting - These airguns are the most powerful and usually of a higher caliber. They must be capable of humanely taking small game out to 50 yards and sometimes beyond. Within 35-40 yards, they should even be able to take larger animals such as large rabbits (these are not bunnies), racoons, groundhogs or possum. Proper shot placement is still a must even with these more powerful air rifles. It is a good thing to remember that airguns are NOT firearms. Don't overestimate their power when larger furbearers are the target. Larger animals will require a head or heart shot from a gun with lots of power.

Common items we have found in our testing

Most of the barrels on the new guns we tested required cleaning. Some of the barrels were noticeably dirty and others were just slightly dirty. The condition varied from gun to gun but we would still suggest you clean your barrel before shooting for the first time. We have been told that most of the dirt in the barrel comes from products used for protection against rust and corrosion on the long trip over the ocean and is nothing to worry about. Straight Shooters always cleans the barrels of guns before we ship them to you. This helps make your first out of the box experience with your new gun as hassle free as possible. And remember that airgun barrels do not need to be squeaky clean like firearms. There is no baked-on gunpowder as there is in a firearm. There is only lead dust and a little lead dust left in the barrel after cleaning is often  good thing, not a bad thing. Be careful not to assume that airguns are the same as firearms. They aren't and their needs are not always the same.

As we inspected each gun for the tightness of the exterior screws, we found some that needed to be tightened. We would suggest that you check the tightness of the screws on your new gun before your first outing. And then check them again periodically as part of your regular cleaning and maintenance schedule. As an added protection you may want to add a product such as Gun Tight to your screws. This will help ensure that the screws stay as snug as possible.

Enjoy the information and good shooting to all. Kevin and Craig - Straight Shooters