Monday, August 30, 2010

Air guns

The post from our friend in Portugal reminded me of air rifles.
Air rifles aren’t toys, they are indeed weapons that keep getting better and better as time goes by. This is something I was considering buying while visiting USA but eventually didn’t because of time, lack of space and avoiding possible hassle with the airport security.
The prices in USA are usually ¼ of what we pay here, that’s why I was tempted to get one when visiting.
I currently have an old break barrel Mahely .22 that has dispatched countless birds and pests, the old gun is pretty beaten esthetically but still works, a clear example of how durable airguns can be when you get good ones.
I also had a Daisy Powerline Co2 pistol. Mostly for plinking, but killed a big fat dove with it once. I didn’t expect to do much damage with it but it was dead right there.
Currently I like the Crossman line, I think its great value. The Crossman C11 costs 38.28 bucks, has excellent reviews and shoots 80 feet/second faster than the Daisy.
Crosman C11 CO2 Powered Semi-Automatic BB Repeater Air Pistol
Crosman C11 CO2 Powered Semi-Automatic BB Repeater Air Pistol

Air Rifles

Air pistols can take care of pests and kill small critters but they are mostly fun guns given the inherent defensive nature of the handgun and the lack of power Co2 has to fulfill that role. Air rifles on the other hand are more useful for small game hunting and pest killing given that they are more accurate and more powerful.
The Crosman 760 Pump master Variable Pump shots both BBs and pellets at a very respectable 600fps. For 36 dollars this a pretty versatile air gun.
Crosman 760 Pump master Variable Pump BB Repeater/Single Shot Pellet Rifle
Crosman 760 Pump master Variable Pump BB Repeater/Single Shot Pellet Rifle

For a more dedicated small game getter, I’d want a speed of 1000 fps or more. Break barrel's are of course single shots, but those speeds make it an effective one. One thing I also like about single shot topbreak air guns is that they are tough as nails.

Crosman Phantom 1200 FPS .177 Caliber Break Barrel Air Rifle with Adjustable Trigger and Synthetic Stock
Crosman Phantom 1200 FPS .177 Caliber Break Barrel Air Rifle with Adjustable Trigger and Synthetic Stock

Then you have the big bore air guns. .30, .45 and .50 . Most people just don’t know that you can kill bear with an air gun. The prices here are much higher and you spend as much as you would in a firearm. They need a scuba tank or compressor for refilling and because of that its not as rugged and practical as say, a nice 1200 fps air gun in .17 or .22 but if you have big game in mind this is what you need.



Anonymous said...

Mine says in the manual, never dry fire it.

Some people never read the manual, so I thought I would mention it in case they read this blog.

That's amazing that they use the higher cal. airguns to take down bison and boar - wow. I never knew.

This post caused me to wonder if paintball guns can be used for self-defense?
Is there a type of pepper spray filled paintball... ball?
Better than nothing perhaps, and it might be good for those who use paintballs to have a few on hand when doing the sport?
Or to have just laying around for self-defense at home, or for the elderly who can't see to shoot?

I don't know anything much about them except that I saw a guy shoot a fully grown farm pig on the hind leg once and the pig seemed not to like it, but it didn't run away all that fast as a result either.

Nolan said...

I can tell you that the crossman 760 can be very frustrating to use as well as wear out in a few years. I've also had the pointy pellets bounce off of squirrels at max-pump. I'd put this one strictly on the list of kids toy (even though a lot of kids will have trouble pumping it until they get a bit of muscle on them). It also isn't very accurate (no rifling in the barrel).

I also have an older version of that Phantom and it is scary effective on squirrels, rabbits, and that kind of thing.

However, I can't see either of these being effective for self-defense other than when accompanied by a warning of "The next one will be a real bullet". My friends and I used to put on goggles and shoot each other with the Crossman 760 and while it hurts pretty bad it just isn't going to stop somebody.

Anonymous said...

just wanted to comment on the question of paintball guns as self defense weapon.
i've mentioned this a few times to some friends but if you have an air compressor and the ability to refill the paintball tanks then buying a few hundred childrens marbles can turn your fun pastime into self defense capability.
Ive seen very deep dents put into the side of a car. SO BE CAREFUL because your airsoft gun can be capable of killing and make sure of fitting, marbles come in different sizes.

FerFAL said...

Guys, please get some of the facts right before commenting, I dont want people out there reading comments here, getting the worng idea, and then getting hurt or worse. Paint guns are not self defense weapons, if you want a firearm get one, even in the most resitrictive countries its just a matter of taking the time, money and effort to do so.
Let me make this as clear as possible: unless it has the capability of putting down effectively a person, it can't be consdiered a self defense weapon, self defense weapons dont "hurt" they stop the bad guy, probably armed.
1) Air guns are not self defense wepaons ( unless you're talking about a wepaon capable of big game hunting like the one I mention)
2) DONT BE AN IDIOT and play shooting each other with airguns. When you do force on force you not only use protective glasses, you also use masks made for such a purpose, and you train under the supervision of several instructors in a controled environment, ok? Not the same thing.


Nolan said...

I should have mentioned that the BB gun wars were a result of the stupidity of youth. Don't do that. You should be aware that your kids, should you own one, might decide that it would be a cheap alternative to paintball and you should dissuade them of that notion.

I shared my experience to emphasize the fact that normal bb/pellet guns are NOT meant for self-defense. I have a wealth of experience with the crossman short BB guns and about the only thing they are good for are killing very small birds (but why do that?).

I have no experience with the big bore BB guns FerFAL mentioned but anybody contemplating purchase should check the legal definition of firearm or weapon where they live. Where I live the definition of firearm would include those weapons as well (Louisiana).

Anonymous said...

I intend to buy an air rifle for foraging purposes as soon as I decide which caliber, brand and model to get. I would use it for squirrel, starlings, raccoons, cottontail rabbits and hares, crows, maybe even feral cats if it gets bad enough. I think a .22 or .25 would be powerful enough for raccoons and hares, not sure a .177 would be.

In a somewhat related note, growing up during the Great Depression, my late father and a childhood friend of his used slingshots to kill starlings, which the friends' grandmother, from Italy, would use in recipes.
The ammunition was marbles they had won from other boys, "shooting" marbles.

Also, a friend of mine survived Vietnamese communist prison camp, which consisted of an airplane hangar with mesh over the windows and doors, by supplementing the daily tub of poor rice by making snares out of bits of strings and cloth, and snaring sparrows and other birds in the rafters of the hangar.

Eric in MI

Anonymous said...

Air guns, not only as a dog deterrent, but for drunken baboons too? Animal deterrent tool might be a better phrase to describe pellet guns and the like?:

"They are not just eating our grapes, they are raiding our kitchens and ripping the thatch off the roofs. They are becoming increasingly bold and destructive," said Jean Naude, general manager at the vineyard, which is celebrating its 325th birthday this year. Guards banging sticks and waving plastic snakes have been deployed with only limited success, and not even a blast of a vuvuzela, the plastic horn made famous at the World Cup, seems to frighten them.

It is not just the vineyards in South Africa which are under siege, however, but also the exclusive neighbouring suburb of Constantia,

Dustin said...

Air guns can be useful for stealth hunting, as well. The smaller caliber pellet guns with pump-action are likely the most sustainable unless you have access to many CO2 canisters.

Regarding the use of paint (marker) guns, I would avoid these if possible.
1) Regular marker guns are designed for a max FPS of around 300 - the pistols are usually harder to modify to increase the FPS than the "rifles" with attached tanks. Frankly, most paint balls start to suffer when the FPS is much over 300 and you will get more ruptured rounds inside the barrel, effectively fouling it until it's cleaned.
2) Pepper spray is impartial - if you use non-lethal spray too close to you (or have a in-barrel rupture of your own round) you risk incapacitating yourself.

Anonymous said...

For some reason this post reminds me of a scene in the novel, Of Mice and Men.

In the novel the main character ends his mentally handicapped friends life during the Great Depression instead of leaving him on his own to defend himself against a cold, cruel and unjust world. said...

Good post.

A couple of very capable airguns are the Daisy 880 (700 fps) and the Crossman 1377 pistol (over 600 fps).

With some of the special polymer-alloy pellets out there - velocities can go way up.

Airguns can certainly have a role on survival/preparedness - just make sure it is the right one.

Take care all -


Weaseldog said...

As a teen, I had no trouble popping doves with a pump action Crossman. The gun didn't make enough noise to scare them away if I was careful, and could get several before the flock would panic.