Airguns come in many shapes and forms. You know this to be true if you've looked over our site or thumbed through a Beeman catalog. You think you might want to own one of these wonderful airguns but can't understand why Straight Shooters imports so many types when you want just one. I'll give you some basic information so that you can make a considered choice.
Precharged Pneumatics (PCP)
PCP airguns have long been sought after for their accuracy and ease of shooting. PCP isn't the newest in airgun technology - not by a long shot. PCP is considered amongst the oldest airgun power plants with versions dating back as far as the 1600s. In fact, Lewis and Clark used a PCP gun on their Voyage of Discovery in the early 1800s. PCP's have been around ever since, just not on the mass market. Traditionally, they have been made by companies catering to a small number of shooters with the financial resources to afford them.
In 2008, Crosman set the standard for affordable PCP guns with the introduction of the Benjamin Discovery air rifle. Designed to run on only 2,000 psi of air, it came equipped with a hand pump. The Discovery remains popular among those who use it primarily as a hunting rifle. Trouble-free and highly accurate, once the air reservoir is filled, there is no pumping between shots and no worry about the outside temperature.
Crosman's next PCP innovation followed in 2009 with the Benjamin Marauder PCP rifle. The Marauder is packed with all the important features found on thousand-dollar European pellet rifles at a far more affordable price. Available in .177, .22 and .25 caliber, the Marauder PCP is also offered in a .22 caliber pistol version. The Marauder really impresses with its extreme accuracy and quiet shot.
Before the first shot can be taken, you'll need to fill (precharge) the gun. The two most common ways to fill a PCP gun are with a scuba tank or a hand pump. Benjamin's DUAL-FUEL filling option allows shooters to use either option. For the most accurate fill, Benjamin PCP airguns are equipped with a built-in pressure gauge that shows pounds per square inch of pressure (PSI). Having this information is vital, as the amount of fill pressure effects pellet velocity. A PCP gun can be stored fully charged for an indefinite period.
Benjamin's powerful PCP airguns are capable of several shots per precharge. Each gun's quantity of shots depends upon the valve setting that expels air into the firing chamber. All Benjamin's PCP gun valves are set at the factory for optimum use for the caliber for which they were designed.
Compared to rimfire, the PCP's accuracy competes easily at up to 50 yards and beyond. Whether you are hunting, shooting casually or stepping up to the line in competition, a Benjamin PCP has all you need in an airgun.
Electronic Pre-charged Pneumatic (ePCP)
While big bore pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) airguns have been around since before Lewis and Clark, ePCP technology is NEW, patent pending and exclusive to Benjamin. The various ePCP components perform collectively to provide a new category of hunting air rifle boasting might and versatility.
What makes ePCP different from traditional PCP airguns is the patent pending eVALVE(TM). By providing an extremely precise regulation of pressure in the air reservoir, the eVALVE is able to supply more shots per fill with more efficient control of the release of pressure. More shots equal more hunting.
Regulation of the eVALVE is controlled by the EPiC LCD console. Simply enter the weight of the bullet you're using in the EPiC console and select your power level. EPiC will release only the amount of air you need, while conserving the remainder so you can keep shooting. It also estimates the number of remaining shots based on your customized settings.
In early 2011, Crosman introduced the first-ever ePCP airgun. The Benjamin ePCP Rogue .357 caliber air rifle provides unrivaled shot count and the ultimate in versatility.
There's enough power in this air rifle to take a boar-sized animal. While airgun hunting is known for the challenge of close range pursuit, having up to 4 to 20 shots per fill, allows you to hunt a variety of game ranging in size from raccoon to hog - all with one gun. The ePCP Rogue .357 air rifle brings airgun hunting beyond pest control and into trophy hunting territory.
In the last few years, there has been a shift in types of air rifles that are widely used in hunting and pest control. Today, the break action is much more popular than any other type of airgun for these uses. Long popular in Europe, the break action rifle is powered by moving a piston located in the receiver to the rear as the hinged barrel is pulled downward. The piston moves to the rear against a strong spring and is locked in position by the sear. When the rifle is fired, the piston is pushed forward at high velocity to compress the air in the chamber ahead of the cylinder. This air under high pressure is restricted so that it can flow out of the chamber only against the base of the pellet which forces the pellet down the barrel. Many break action rifles are capable of launching pellets at velocities of 1,000 ft/sec or more.
Because the spring in a break action rifle is so strong, a considerable amount of force is required to cock the rifle. Typically, a force of 33-38 pounds is required to cock a rifle that gives a muzzle velocity of 1,000 ft/sec. Crosman Corporation broke new ground with the Benjamin Legacy that requires a cocking force of only 28 pounds while still giving a velocity of about 1,000 ft/sec. Some of the very powerful break action rifles are advertised as giving muzzle velocities as high as 1,250 ft/sec and may require a cocking force of well over 50 pounds. Although the high velocity sounds appealing, it is not without disadvantages associated with a heavy piston and spring lurching forward as the pellet is being driven out of the barrel, making it difficult to shoot such a powerful gun accurately.
Break Barrels - Nitro Piston Technology
Power - Stability - Stealth
Break barrel air rifles offer a powerhouse of velocity for airgun hunters and target shooters alike. A traditional break barrel air rifle is loud and sometimes as noisy as a rimfire gun. At 70% quieter than a spring powered airgun, break barrels with Nitro Piston technology are quite possibly the quietest break barrels.
Among many other features, stealth helps to make airguns with a Nitro Piston the ideal choice for small game hunting. The auto industry has been using gas piston technology for decades and cars ride smoother and quieter because steel-free pistons have been incorporated into modern engines and suspension systems. Doors and hatchbacks last longer, operate more efficiently, and are more reliable since converting to gas piston technology.
The heart of the Nitro Piston airgun innovation is the nitrogen filled gas piston powerplant, rather than the traditional coiled steel spring. The Nitro Piston provides many advantages over spring powered break barrels. Unlike steel and CO2, Nitrogen is not adversely affected by changes in temperature the way a spring or CO2 is, allowing for easier cocking. By engaging at its peak strength the very moment the gun is cocked, the Nitro Piston allows the gun to remain cocked for long periods of time without degrading and losing velocity the way steel springs do. The patent pending internal technology dramatically reduces felt recoil by eliminating the double hit and spring torque associated with steel spring guns. Also, when a steel spring uncoils, the vibration is not only annoying, it may compromise precision. Nitro Piston technology solves these problems by creating a smoother cocking force and quicker locking time which result in less preparation before shooting. One simple cocking motion and your follow-up shots are fast, quiet and easy.
Although the use of CO2 as a propellant gas began in France, Crosman pioneered its use in the U.S. almost 60 years ago. The advantage of using CO2 to drive projectiles lies in the fact that a small container of liquefied gas can be held within the gun and provide power for a large number of shots without any pumping. Crosman developed the Powerlet which holds 12 grams of CO2 and is the standard for the industry.
Carbon dioxide is a convenient gas to use in airguns (although they strictly do not fire by air pressure, guns that are powered by CO2 are still referred to as airguns). It is inexpensive, nontoxic, and noncorrosive. Another desirable feature of CO2 is that the liquid exerts a vapor pressure that can be as much as 700-800 lb/in2 at temperatures of 70-75 oF. A pressure this high is sufficient to propel a .177 caliber pellet at velocities approaching 700 ft/sec or a .22 caliber pellet at almost 600 ft/sec. Therefore, it is possible to produce rifles powered by CO2 that are versatile enough for most airgun uses.
The widest use of CO2 is in pistols. A CO2 Powerlet is compact enough to fit in the grip of the pistol which allows a magazine to hold several pellets and several shots to be fired without reloading or recharging a reservoir. The result is that pistols can be made to resemble specific firearms very closely which provides an element of realism. Other pistols provide for attaching the Powerlet in a tube below the barrel and operate as bolt actions.
The major disadvantage of CO2 as a power source is that the vapor pressure it generates is dependent on the temperature. On cold days, the pressure is lower which results in pellet velocity being lower. As a result, CO2 guns are more practical in situations where the ambient temperature is above 60°F.
There are times when the number of shots provided may not be adequate for the sport. Crosman responded with the AirSource, a larger cylinder that holds 88 grams of CO2. This much CO2 provides enough propellant for as many as 300 shots. Crosman adapted the Model 2250 compact rifle and the Benjamin 392 to utilize the AirSource tanks, as does a special version of the Model 1077.
As a means of increasing the power, some airguns are designed so that several strokes of the pumping mechanism forces air into a chamber where it is held under high pressure. Each pump stroke forces more air into the chamber which increases the pressure which in turn increases the velocity of the projectile. The first Crosman airgun produced in 1923 was a multi-pump rifle in .22 caliber. Although some air rifles of the past were pumped up by pulling and pushing on a rod that was located below the barrel, the vast majority of multi-pump rifles are pumped up by swing the forearm downward and back up.
Because several pump strokes can produce a high pressure in the air reservoir, multi-pump rifles tend to be high powered models. The power achieved by a specific number of pump strokes depends on several factors, but the most important is the efficiency and capacity of the pump mechanism. Although the Crosman 760 is an airgun of modest power that gives pellets a velocity of over 500 ft/sec, the Benjamin and Sheridan models are quite powerful. The .177 caliber Benjamin 397 can fire pellets at up to 800 ft/sec while the .22 caliber Model 392 drives pellets over 650 ft/sec as can the .20 caliber Sheridan rifles. Of intermediate power is the Crosman 2100 (which fires pellets at over 700 ft/sec), but it is a rifle that is capable of outstanding performance. Many of the classic Crosman rifles including the Model 140, 1400, and 2200 were so powerful that they were popular tools for hunting pests and small game. The modern multi-pump air rifle is capable of excellent accuracy as well as being a powerful airgun.