What are the Most Common Forms of Pellet Gun Available

By: Muna wa Wanjiru

The pellet gun or air gun is a pneumatic gun that can fire projectiles using high gas pressure or compressed air as a propellant. As per the name suggests, this gun fires pellets.

History of Pellet guns

The pellet guns are a representation of the oldest pneumatic technology that has existed since 15th century. These guns were a great advantage over the primitive firearms. These pellet guns were able to fire in wet weather and the rapidity of fire was more than the muzzle loading guns available at that time. They were quieter as compared to the other firearms present at that time. They were totally smokeless and had no muzzle flash. This helped in keeping the position of the shooter a secret.

On the other hand, black powder guns from the 18th and 19th century produced much noise and smoke when fired. Hence the pellet guns were preferred more over them.

Pellet

An air gun pellet is a non spherical projectile. They are different from the bullets that are used in firearms owing to the pressures that are encountered. Firearms require thousand atmosphere of pressure to operate whereas only 50 atmospheres of pressure is required to operate airguns.

There is sufficient pressure generated by the firearms to swage a slightly oversized bullet to fit the bore for forming a tight seal. On the other hand, the airguns require an undersized projectile that is designed in such a way that it obstructs while engaging the rifle and shooting to seal the bore.

The pellets are required to be shot from a smoothbore barrel. Therefore they are designed to be inherently stable. This is similar to the foster slugs that are used in smoothbore shotguns.

The most common design of the pellet found today is the wasp waist pellet or diabolo.

The tip of the diabolo pellets are pointed, flat, hollow or round. This is tapered to a thin waist. The pellet is hollow from the waist back and it flares out to full diameter. The solid part in front of the waist or the head is sized to fit the bore just touching the rifling. This lowers the friction as well as keeps the pellet in the centre of the bore.

Lead, which is a soft deformable material, is used to make the skirt which is thin. Other non toxic alternatives are also available that makes the use if plastic or tin. The skirt will obstruct in order to fit the bore providing a good seal when shot from the pellet gun. This engages the rifling and provides a spin.

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