After purchasing or inheriting an air arm the first thing to do is to oil it. WD40 is ideal as it can be sprayed onto surfaces and mechanisms, left to soak and wiped away. WD40 doesn’t seem to attract dust onto mechanisms and is good for washing away dust residues that contain abrasive particles. Oiling should be carried out on regular intervals and become a habitual practice on spring or compressed air arms. Don’t spray anything down the barrel as what you are shooting is essentially lead. Lead used to be employed in fuel as an anti knock agent in car engines, it also acts as an anti seize and anti friction agent. The lead pellets lubricate the barrel. To test your sights aim at a target and fire one shot make sure you are relaxed. Realign your sights to suit the single shot you have taken. Take another shot in the same relayed position, if you are not within 12mm or ½ inch of your first shot, you are not relaxed and are trying to hard to hit the point. Do not try too hard, just relax and let your air gun do the work and you should be within the 1/2inch target. This is imperative as when you are out on the field and taking a shot you don’t want your game to be foul shot or maimed and suffer a difficult surmise.
When Should Your Air Gun be Serviced?
Spring operated air guns should be serviced every 3 years if you are pigeon shooting as standard springs lose there tension. On your first service ask for an “ox” spring to be fitted, these springs keep the air rifle within the legal maximum foot poundage and will not leave loads maim pigeons hopping around our town centres. Ox springs when fitted will keep up pigeon killing performance for 5 years if you’re a weekend shooter. Compressed air guns should be serviced every 5 years as the seals that are fitted are made of rubber and will perish and crack after being subjected to constant refills of compressed air. Stotfold engineering have developed their own seals that last for 10 years and are self lubricating, hence allowing you to have consistent power shooting over a much longer period cutting out service charges.
Advanced servicing by a specialist
Advanced servicing or restoration is called for when the air rifle is not operating in the way you are accustomed to i.e. the trigger has become sluggish and heavy, the barrel has 1 or more shots jammed into it, The under or side lever does not locate and lock into position and the gun gives a very poor power shot. Hand pumped compressed air guns sometime lose pressure over several hours or overnight, this is caused by a leaking one way filler valve and it will need special attention.
Why Own an Air Rifle?
Many people purchase air guns or pistols for general plinking and target shooting. If a farmer were to buy one he would have the added bonus of pest control i.e. rats and mice. I, for instance, love pigeon breast meat and this is what I mainly shoot for my meals and it saves a small fortune every year on my meat bill through the times of rising prices.
What Air Arm Should You Buy?
Depending on what you want to shoot will dictate what type of air rifle that should be used. Serious competition marksmen would generally use compressed air filled from a divers bottle, they will be very light in construction and will employ materials such as titanium and composites like carbon fibre and will have a price tag that reflects its high state of build. If you require one for serious hunting of rabbits and pigeons choose whatever you like the feel of, not what it looks like, as you will have it in your hands for quite long periods. Avoid guns that have plastic triggers and scope mountings as they never stand the test of time and can let you down in the field. I advocate a rifle above the mid range price, about £500 up to whatever you can afford above this. Cheap rifles never have the quality materials needed for good solid construction or long use so avoid them for hunting. For hunting purposes choose a bottle filled air rifle as you do not want to be scaring pigeons away by breaking the barrel on a spring loaded gun. Bottle filled rifles also don’t have any twangy recoil noise. Break barrel air rifles will give thousands of shots. But when hunting we will never bring back thousands of pigeons or rabbits. Compressed air guns will give you about 40-50 maximum power shots and this is more than you will need. When shooting at your prey you will need to get head shots for a good clean kill so your target will be quite small and will require a scope, as with air guns of quality you will require a scope of quality build but it does not need to be powerful anything up from 4×32 will be suitable.
The Calibre Required
177 is the calibre to use contaray to what most magazines and websites say, the reason being is I have shot at a pigeon’s neck and the 22 has glanced off the feathers. I have tested several types of 22 and 177 pellets of varying head shapes on dead pigeons and found that even a 22 sometimes glanced off of the head and very rarely pierced the body feathers. 177 caliber dome head pellets were defiantly the best for head shots. A 177 calibre flies faster at about a muzzle velocity of 800 feet per second whereas the 22 only travels at 600 feet per second because a 22 is a heavier pellet.