A Look at the Different Types of Pellet Rifles

By: Muna wa Wanjiru

Pellet rifles are at the air rifles that makes the use of pellets for firing.

Spring piston pellet rifles

Spring piston is one of the operating mechanisms for the pellet rifles. The spring piston air rifles are able to achieve muzzle velocities that can equal the speed of sound. This can be achieved from a single stroke of a cocking lever or the barrel itself. The power of the rifle is related to the cocking stroke of the gun. Therefore high muzzle velocities require greater cocking effort.

The operation of the spring piston rifles depend on the spring loaded piston of a coiled steel. This is contained within a compression chamber which is separately located from the barrel.

The assembly of the piston compresses the spring when cocking of the gun takes place. The spring is compressed until a small hook present on the rear of the piston engages the sear. This sear is released when the trigger is pulled and the spring is decompressed. Thus the piston is pushed forward and the air behind the chamber is compressed directly behind the pellet.

After the air pressure increases enough to overcome any barrel restriction or any static friction that holds the pellet, the column of the air expands and the pellet is propelled to move forward. This action requires only a fraction of second to take place. During this process, the air is adiabatically heated to several hundred degrees owing to the compression. The air expands again after cooling.

Pre charged pneumatic rifles (PCP)

The PCP pellet rifles are used for competitions and hunting. These are filled by charging from the hand pump directly or by decanting from a reservoir of air like a diving cylinder. The initial cost of the PCP pellet rifles is high owing to the requirement of charging systems and cylinders. But the operating cost of these rifles is very low.

Owing to the restrictive firearm laws, these guns are used for hunting purposes outside United States. The recoil of PCP guns is very low. They fire 30 to 500 shots per charge. The development of semi automatic PCP pellet rifles has become possible due to the ready supply of gas. PCP pellet rifles are very popular in Europe and UK because of their ease of shooting and accuracy. They can be fitted with telescopic sights and are widely utilized in the field target shooting sport. When fitted with silencer or sound moderator, these rifles can be made quiet.

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