Air Guns – How Do They Work?

The most common air guns use a mechanical spring to compress (squeeze) a reservoir of compressed gas and propel a projectile (usually small lead pellets called BBs). They are usually cocked and fired using a lever that opens a valve on the back of the gun that releases a set volume of pressurized air with every trigger pull. Once the reservoir depletes, you must manually pump the gun to refill it and re-cock it to continue shooting. They tend to be long-lasting and easy to repair.

More recently, pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifles have been developed that don’t require re-cocking to fire. These weapons have an internal reservoir that is pre-filled from a tank, a diving cylinder, or by manual charging with a high pressure stand pump. When the hammer of a PCP airgun strikes the release valve, a set volume of the stored pressurized air is released behind the projectile and propelled forward to fire it.

It is important to note that a high-powered airgun can shoot very accurately, but it is important for the shooter to know what they are doing before pushing their equipment to the limits of performance. This is because a high-powered airgun with a heavy projectile traveling at a great rate of speed produces an extremely curved trajectory. This translates to an exaggerated pellet drop that can cause sloppy shooters to quickly run out of upward adjustment on their scope’s elevation dial. Shooters who plan to use slug ammunition need to be even more careful because these high-powered rifles produce massive amounts of muzzle energy that can result in a very dangerous level of carry and ricochet risk. airsoft gear

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