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Air rifles!

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Tarendol, Nov 6, 2006.

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  1. Tarendol

    Tarendol Member

    Nov 14, 2005
    Sorry for making two threads in the same day. :)

    A while ago I was watching a special on the Lewis & Clark expedition. Much to my amazement, they carried an "air rifle," which is something I had never heard of before. Though it seemed a little impracticable, it was extremely cool... except for the part where they explained how the air chamber could burst (i.e. one of the reasons the air rifle didn't catch on). I didn't think any more about it, until I was looking at this forum today and saw an air rifle topic. They are still made! And they don't blow up anymore! So of course I had to immediately think about buying one.

    There are a lot of other purchases I need to make before I could get such a rifle, but I was wondering if I could get any advice. Though it is possible I could get really into air rifles later, the first purchase would be only for the thrill I would get shooting a rifle powered by air. So there are two criterion.

    1. Must be powered by air
    2. Must be capable of being filled by hand (though not necessarily exclusively).

    I looked up the topic on Wikipedia and I found a class that seem very similar to the rifle Lewis and Clark carried, a PCP rifle, and though it would be a pain in the butt these rifles can be filled with a hand pump. But how much would everything cost? Is this a kind of air rifle a beginner could start with? The idea of such a rifle is exciting but I don't want to get over my head to start with.

    Edit: Sorry, one more thing; what are the legal status of air rifles? Can you just order one or does it have to go through a dealer?
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2006
  2. jlmurphy

    jlmurphy Member

    Apr 1, 2006
    A Pre Charged Pneumatic (PCP) is what you want. They can be charged with a hand pump or from a scuba tank. Easily the most accurate and powerful air rifles, they can be expensive and loud if not moderated. They also have a limited number of shots before needing recharging. Try the Airgun Forum on network54, they will have all the answers to your questions.
    Legally, they are not considered firearms in most places and came be purchased without an FFL.
  3. Anteater1717

    Anteater1717 Member

    Jul 25, 2006
    your going to find a plethera of different typse mine cost only $20 and performes on par with my single shot 22 though there isnt much of a safty that always botherd me.
  4. DougCxx

    DougCxx Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    St Louis/Mo/USA
    First off--airguns are not firearms, and so are governed by state/local laws. You'd need to ask at a gun shop if you can mail-order them directly to your doorstep or not.
    If you want a PCP airgun, then about the least-expensive one is the Eun Jin/SamYang/ShinSung rifles. Pyramid Air ( http://www.pyramydair.com/ ) carries all three brands, they are all very similar (you will see). Other airgun places online carry them too so it's worth looking around.

    They look crude but can be tuned to shoot quite well, and (for a PCP airgun) they can hit hard (most are adjustable-power) and don't cost a lot (most other PCP airguns cost at least a couple hundred dollars more than these do).
  5. crunker

    crunker member

    Sep 9, 2006
    In some states they need to go through an FFL.

    On the plus side, though, if they are integrally suppressed or full-auto there is no tax stamp.
  6. Shoney

    Shoney Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    Transplanted away from MT
    Lewis & Clarks expedition did in fact carry a few air rifles. Their air bladders were made of shark skin, glued with the best glues of that day. They shot wooden fleschettes.

    Why were they used? If you were in hostile territory and didn't want to broadcast your presence, shooting small game with quiet weapons makes a lot of sence.
  7. cuervo

    cuervo Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    If you're just starting off and aren't sure you want to stick with it, check out Gamo. Not too expensive but not the best quality. Any repairs have to go back to the factory.

    If you're a little more confident that you'll want to keep a nice air rifle, check out Beeman or RWS. A little more expensive but nicer. Many gun shops will also carry these. I believe Cabela's and/or Pro Bass carry all three brands and more. On the high end, you can get into Walther and Anschütz and spend into 4 digits.

    Back in L&C's days, air rifles were the high-technology firearms Gentlemen used. As you probably read, it took a lot of pumps to have a usable firearm. Pneumatics are still popular today and, as Mr. Murphy mentioned, can be filled with a scuba tank. They usually have a removable tank that lets you keep several charged and can swap them out when one is empty. When they are all empty, you can go somewhere to get them refilled.

    Many air rifles use a piston. These are the ones that are very often break-barrel, but can also be side cocking or under-barrel cocking. Piston rifles can be fairly loud, but they are light because you don't have to carry air around with you. If you buy one and want to scope it, make sure it is an airgun scope that can handle the front-back recoil of the piston.

  8. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    DFW Area
    The L&C airgun didn't use shark skin air bladders and it shot lead balls, not wooden projectiles. It may have been used for hunting, but some of the notes about it indicate that its primary practical use was to impress the natives with its multi-shot capability. And high-powered airguns are quite loud. Definitely on a par with similarly powered firearms in terms of noise.
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