Air guns for VERY CHEAP plinkering?


January 4, 2013, 06:10 AM
Hey folks, just wanna know what THR thinks of BB/Pellet guns, Airsoft guns, or PaintBall guns for cheap practice.

after all, trigger time is trigger time right?

If there are any models you recommend feel free to post pics!

Thanks THR!

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January 4, 2013, 06:38 AM
I own a couple of air rifles. One is a .22 cal break barrel RWS 350 Magnum and the other is a Benjamin .25 cal Marauder pre charged pneumatic. I enjoy plinking with the RWS .22 cal, but bear in mind that you don't hold a break barrel pellet gun the same way you'd hold your .22LR. Yet it is inexpensive to shoot, it's accurate out to 50 yards and you can hunt small varmints with it to boot.

The .25 cal Marauder is held as you would any firearm. It's very quiet and accurate out to 75-100 yards. It will take down a raccoon and even coyote with the right shot placement. The rifle isn't inexpensive to purchase (it costs about 4x what the RWS does) and it's not cheap to shoot. So as a plinker it's not ideal. Although I have the disposable income to shoot it pretty much when I want to. It is however a great hunting pellet gun.

For trigger control and just plain shooting fun a pellet gun is the way to go. Forget paintball guns and BB guns, get yourself something you can hunt with. Get a .177, or .22 break barrel pellet gun and enjoy yourself. If you have the money and I'm talking just under $1000 with the charging tank, a PCP air gun is a hoot. It's just not as inexpensive to play with as the $200 break barrel pellet gun.

January 4, 2013, 06:44 AM
Thanks NWCP!

I plan on plinking in my back yard with said guns, I've got neighbors now so I can't runs the .22lr's like I used to.

Do you shoot paper or some kind of reactive target?

January 4, 2013, 07:06 AM
This is how I trained my kids...before they graduated to RF and later CF
stuff. It was a lot of fun even for me!

January 4, 2013, 07:23 AM
I own 27 air guns (long and short) of all types from PCP to springers to Co2, they can be good for practice.
However these days, I tend to shoot .22 Colibri and .22 Super Colibri cartridges more than air guns. These are powderless cartridges (.22LR length) with a 20-grain bullet propelled only by the primer charge. Colibri works well in my .22LR handguns and Super Colibri works well in my .22LR rifles (Safety note: tight target bores or barrels over 22" can be problematic with powderless cartridges...use common sense).
You have to hand cycle them through semi-autos, but most lever, bolt, and pump action guns will feed them like Pez candy. They are a hoot from a Henry lever action.
Colibri are virtually silent when fired, have low energy levels (Colibri around the 3fpe energy level of a Red Ryder, Super Colibri around 6fpe), and can be fired in most normal .22LR rimfire guns.

With Colibri, instead of working-out with the trigger/sights on my Hammerli air pistol, I work-out with the triggers/sights of the .22 guns that I normally shoot.
And your neighbors won't hear a thing. Just make sure it's legal to discharge a firearm in the yard. :)


Al Thompson
January 4, 2013, 08:31 AM
Perhaps more visibility in NFW. :)

January 4, 2013, 08:36 AM
I got a Remington 77 117 cal air rifle and a Crossman pump up air pistol.
They are fun to shoot and I keep the field rat population down around the Bird Feeders. My single shot Mossie with this SSS Corbri rounds or standard velocity 22 short HP handle the rest in my yard.

January 4, 2013, 08:43 AM
Air guns are a great way to plink since the ammo is cheap and the fundamentals of marksmanship are enhanced since the ammo is so small. Trigger squeeze and breathing importance are enhanced with a .22LR, and even more with a .177 or .22 lead air pellets.

Browning Guy
January 4, 2013, 09:25 AM
I have a .177 break barrel just for fun. I found out that you must hold it different thaan a powder gun but it requires more concentration on form and follow through which helps on rifles. I don't want to hijack a thread but it was mentioned above that the Marauder (which is a precharge) dosent require thae special "artilery hold" I had considered a Crossman 22 cal (the multi pump model) or a .22 nitro piston break action. Do these types require a special hold or shoot as you would a .22?

Yo Mama
January 4, 2013, 10:09 AM
Crossman pump has been amazing. We also have a Red Rider for the kids, as they are unable to fit into a full size air rifle.

January 4, 2013, 10:10 PM
I've got an 80's vintage Crosman A.I.R 17 that is a hoot. BB's or pellets can be fired with it. With ammo availability down and costs going up, I think I'll be plinking with this more and more come spring time.

Might even splurge for it's younger cousin, the M4-177.

January 5, 2013, 11:50 AM
I've got an 80's vintage Crosman A.I.R 17 that is a hoot. BB's or pellets can be fired with it. With ammo availability down and costs going up, I think I'll be plinking with this more and more come spring time.

Might even splurge for it's younger cousin, the M4-177.
Dang I haven' t seen one in years

Dave Markowitz
January 5, 2013, 12:39 PM
Trigger squeeze and breathing importance are enhanced with a .22LR, and even more with a .177 or .22 lead air pellets.

This is absolutely correct. For learning and practicing marksmanship fundamentals you cannot beat a high quality air gun. The longer time between when you pull the trigger and the pellet leaves the muzzle compared with a .22 rimfire means that you must master your follow-through to get good groups.

For plinking and indoor practice a magnum airgun isn't needed. In fact, the lower powered rifles doing about 700 FPS are better indoors. They are quieter and less destructive to backstops. Either a spring piston gun or a single-pump pneumatic are ideal for this purpose.

January 5, 2013, 08:59 PM
Okay. If you want the ultimate plinking pistol, then I highly recommend the Baikal IZH-46M. It is a single pump pneumatic 10m competition air pistol. It is expensive for plinking at $480, but cheap compared to Olympic capable 10m air pistols.

It is capable of 2" groups at 10m single handed, freehand, with moderate practice, and 1" groups with lots of practice. Plinking, it can easily knock down shotgun shells at the same range, and when I try, I can hit an 8" skillet at 70 yards about half the time.

It's construction is typically Russian. Where it counts, it is rugged, and functional. Where it isn't, it is fairly crude.

Ed N.
January 17, 2013, 08:11 PM
I have one of the ultra-cheap .177 Chinese spring air rifles you see at gun shows and flea markets. I paid $30 for mine. It's lever cocking, not a break barrel, with the lever under the barrel. The thing is poorly made, the stock looks like it was made from a packing crate, the wood screws keep pulling out of the trigger guard, the plastic hand grip on the cocking lever disintegrated, but man is that thing accurate.

Although I can shoot rimfire .22 at my place, I more often take out the air rifle. Cheaper to shoot, very quiet, no mess of spent brass.

(BTW, I shoot Colibri ammo occasionally, but I find that its pure primer load is very dirty. My son's bolt action gets so fouled that the bolt is almost impossible to turn.)

I also have an inexpensive Crossman .177 CO2 pistol. It's not terribly accurate, but it works well for cheap practice and is great for teaching my wife to shoot (no recoil, quiet, etc.) My wife gets very nervous at the range, and doesn't like being the only woman on the line. Backyard practice with the Crossman is easier for her, not to mention convenient.

Air rifles and pistols, even the dirt cheap ones, are marvelous practice tools, and loads of fun for plinking. Get whatever you can afford, along with a bucket of ammo, and start popping away.

January 17, 2013, 08:31 PM
Wow! I remember those '80s Crossman guns that looked like M16's.

I recently bought a C02 powered gun modeled after the Smith and Wesson M&P. Lots of fun for plinking. The trigger pull is different from my competition M&P, but the gun fits in the same holster so I can get trigger time at home.

Dave Markowitz
January 17, 2013, 09:24 PM
So the other night I picked up a 40-count box of Crosman CO2 Powerlets, thinking I'd get some trigger time in with the Crosman 38T revolver I bought close to 30 years ago. Well, it turns out that the seals gave up and it won't hold gas. I wound up shooting my Benjamin HB-17 instead, and remembered why I never was all that fond of it. Pumping up an air pistol between shots is a pain in the neck. Plus the trigger and sights stink.

I may get the 38T fixed but in the interim, I've been looking at single shot replacements, specifically the Crosman 2240 .22 and 2300T .177. The 2300T already has the steel breech and as I understand it, better sights. .177 pellets are also a lot cheaper than .22 pellets.

Anyone here have experience with either of these two models? Intended use is indoor target practice at about 25 feet. I did look at some of the spring piston pistols but they are a lot bigger and more ungainly than the Crosman CO2 pistols. Also, I am left handed, so the Crosmans' ambidextrous grips are a point in their favor.

January 17, 2013, 10:05 PM
I have a crosman phantom. It is a 177 cal break down pellet rifle. It is accurate to around 100 yards. It will take small game at 40/50 yards. I paid around $80 for it. I shoots best with crosman premiere pellets.

January 18, 2013, 01:30 AM
Bought a Crossman 1377 like a lot of my friends had in the 70's. Fairly accurate and you pump it up ten times to a max of 600 fps. The difference is mines a .177 and back then everybody had .22s as I recall.

Pistol Ranch
January 18, 2013, 02:04 AM
Here's a shot of my Benjamin, Mod. 392 pellet rifle in.22 caliber. Installed an inexpensive .22 scope on it when it was new.
Cheap to shoot, extremely accurate and muscle builder :D

January 18, 2013, 02:25 AM
As I was reading this I couldn't believe no one had mentioned the crossman 1377!!! Thank you DNS! The 1377 is a great pump gun. No CO2 to buy, you can fire just a couple shots and not worry about wasting most of a canister/cartridge. I got one used from a gun store with my father when I was young but didn't realize until researching recently how popular they were. I also shoot a Daisy 770. It used to be both co2 or pump but co2 seals are gone. Both are great for some trigger time.

January 19, 2013, 10:28 PM
I just bought a 1377. I've only shot a couple of pellets, 4 of them at 5 pumps and they have no problem punching through a pop can.

I shot my first pellet at 3 pumps (what Crosman considers the minimum amount of pumps) and it barely dented the can, like the way my airsofts do it.

To the OP - if you want cheap target practice, you might like an airsoft pistol or rifle. They come in replicas of popular firearms, I have a CO2 replica H&K USP by Umarex that's pretty good. I also got a replica AK-47 AEG recently for Christmas. I'd like to start getting involved in airsoft matches.

To the people who like the Crosman M4-177 - it's just a dressed up version of the Crosman 760 which costs half as much as the M4-177.

January 20, 2013, 09:57 AM
I have used spring powered break barrel types in 177/4.5 caliber for when I could not shoot anything else.

I enjoy shooting with the kids with spring powered Daiseys like the 94 series and Red rider. I took one of the cheaper plainer guns with a wood stock and cutt it short enough that a five year old girl could use it under very close supervision so as to not have her jealous of her two year older brother.

Kids are older now and use full sived Daiseys, one uses a Red Rider the other an older gun with the screw out barrel.

I also use an AIR17 usually with BBs but sometimes with pellets. Mine is missing the rear sight and screw and currently has a cheap Chinese COlt AR15 looking scope on it (it already had the AR type accessory hole in the carrying handle so why not) screwed down to focus at ten yards, barely. I had earlier had a .45 AUto Rim case taped in th eback of the carrying handle as a rear sight with the base painted black and the priner hole bored out for use with wax bullets serving as the aperature. Worked well. I had bought the Chinese scope when they first appeared, placed it on an AR and found it to be next to useless and almost tossed it when I thought of the AIR17.

The kids and I occassionally go on Safari shooting little plastic critters or even dinosaurs and of late have been doing "combat shooting" with Little Plastic Army far we are winning. I am convinced it beats ugly video games to pieces.

I feel that a couple of years with a Daisey CO2 200 in the way back got me ready for a Ruger RST and later pistols and still credit it with giving me good "muscle memory" still employed in handgun shooting almost half a century latter.

Obviously the best trigger time is with whatever you plan to usually shoot or defend yourself with. But sight alignment is sight alignment, sight picture is sight picture, possition and eight steady hold factors are same same and follow through is followthrough.


January 20, 2013, 02:37 PM
The added benefit of the air rifle is pest control when you have the right gun and ammo. My Remington 77 with Crossman HP Pellets work on mice and rats.

Bob M.
January 20, 2013, 03:01 PM
My nephew has one of these. It shoots pretty well and is quite powerful for an airgun.

I like this pistol myself, but it ain't exactly inexpensive. :)

Dave Markowitz
January 20, 2013, 05:45 PM
My dad hasn't been shooting his airguns so he let me take a couple home yesterday. The first is his old Geco Diana Model 27, vintage 1970s.

It's a real nice shooter. The 5 shot group in the top left target was shot offhand at 25 feet with RWS Meisterkuglen .177 pellets. I put a couple drops of silicone airgun oil on the breach O-ring and down through the transfer port into the compression chamber.

The other gun he gave me was this RWS C225. It's a CO2 powered .177 pellet pistol he bought in 1997. AFAIK the mechanicals are basically the same as the Walther CP88 CO2 pistols.

I shot it a little today. The trigger is sticking after each shot so I have to give it a little push to reset. It's a neat gun but I still want to get a single shot target pistol.

January 20, 2013, 10:42 PM
The Crosman 1377 and 1322 are decent plinkers that do really well under 15 yds. You can hit the same hole if you do your part. You won't spend over 75 dollars for either one.

Pop for an after market set of grips and you have a nice looking set too.

January 25, 2013, 10:02 AM
.177 would be the cheapest and easiest to use.I like spring-piston guns and cut my teeth on them.A very nice break barrel RWS-34 in .177 would make a decent choice.
I like PCP guns(pre-charged pneumatic) but the set up costs are much higher and you must have a source with you.The springers are self contained.

January 26, 2013, 01:46 AM
If your primary goals are recreational shooting, don't get sucked into buying something based purely on high velocity.

My favorite airgun, a Beeman R7, shoots Crosman 7.9gr premiers at about 650fps. It's accurate, not very hold-sensitive, very easy to cock and it's quiet.

I have other airguns that are much more powerful, but they don't get shot as much because the cocking effort is higher, they tend to be more hold-sensitive (at least the spring-piston airguns), and they make a lot more noise.

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