When choosing your next air rifle, the question of the propulsion system will quickly arise. On the airgun market there are four main propulsion mechanisms. To help you determine the system best suited to your recreational shooting sessions, find all our expert advice Luftpistol.
SPRING PISTON: THE CLASSIC PROPULSION SYSTEM
Before we get to the heart of the matter, let’s start with the basics. All air rifles operate on the principle of a piston being compressed in a master cylinder. To compress the latter, simply “break” the barrel forward to compress it with air. The piston is released to propel a pellet in caliber 4.5 mm or 5.5 mm When firing.
The spring piston represents one of the first propulsion systems to be developed for a pellet rifle. Since its creation, this technology has equipped thousands of air rifles . Widely proven in the world of recreational shooting, this device has established itself for its reliability. Requiring very little maintenance, it ensures excellent firing regularity.
The spring piston propulsion system is fitted to both 20 joule pellet rifles and high-power rifles (30 joules and more). From a precision point of view, spring technology offers remarkable shooting precision. With a little practice, you will be able to group them into a two euro coin.
GAS PISTON: THE NEW GENERATION PROPULSION SYSTEM
The gas piston propulsion system is a fairly new technology. The first models of pellet rifles equipped with this technology appeared in 2011. The objective of the gas piston is to offer a much more efficient propulsion mechanism than a classic spring piston. Rifle models equipped with this technology are often more expensive than those with a spring.
Very quickly the largest manufacturers of compressed air weapons developed their own gas piston system. Thus, we can find this innovation under the name Nitro piston I then II at Crosman, N-TEC at Diana or IGT at Gamo.
This device is very similar to the one seen in the first paragraphs, with the exception that the spring is replaced by a gas cylinder. This mechanical part is filled with nitrogen under high pressure then closed hermetically.
The advantages of gas piston propulsion are numerous. The gas spring still delivers the same power, even after several years of intensive use. Compared to a spring, this mode of propulsion promises much more regular shots throughout the life of the rifle.
Another advantage of gas propulsion is that it reduces piston friction in the master cylinder. When firing, the cylinder deploys smoothly and regularly. Thus, vibrations are reduced by approximately 70% to provide the shooter with better precision.
PCP: THE HIGH-END PROPULSION SYSTEM
The precompressed air propulsion system or PCP represents the most advanced device. This technology involves compressing air in a cylinder using a high-pressure compressor or a hand pump. The air pressure contained in the cylinder is expressed in bars.
Compared to a conventional propulsion system, weapons with PCP technology offer significantly greater firing power. This power can go to more than 100 joules depending on the rifle model chosen.
The most demanding shooters will appreciate the performance developed by the PCP. This type of air rifle produces almost no vibration when firing. This characteristic is ideal for precision shooting over a long distance.
The PCP is intended to be much quieter than all other propulsion systems. When firing, the only sound produced by the rifle is that of air escaping from the barrel. Finally, over time, it maintains a more constant regularity of shooting.
The high power developed by the PCP allows the use of 5.5 mm or 6.35 mm caliber pellets over a distance of up to 100 meters. For long distance shooting, a PCP rifle offers the same performance as a 22 long rifle. Except that the compressed air model remains much safer and less expensive than a 22LR caliber weapon.
CO2: THE PROPULSION SYSTEM FOR PRECISION SHOTS
The Co2 propulsion system requires the use of 12 gram capsules filled with Co2 gas. This energy source allows the propulsion of 4.5 mm caliber projectiles. This technology allows you to shoot in semi-automatic or full auto mode for the most recent models.
Co2 air rifles often offer less power than other compressed air models. On the other hand, Co2 propulsion has the advantage of reducing vibrations at the start of the shot. Thus, the precision of firing groups is increased.