5 Reasons to Splurge on Your First Break Barrel Air Rifle
When you are standing in the aisle at your local sporting goods store, checking the prices on air guns, it may be difficult to understand the difference in prices. Some of the break-actions cost less than dinner and a movie on date night. Others cost more than some centerfire rifles.
So why the wide disparity? And do you get what you pay for? I think you do. I’ve gotten hooked on shooting air guns, and I’m beginning to appreciate some of the more nuanced distinctions some break actions offer.
Ease of mounting optics.
Back when you were shooting your first lever action BB gun, the one with the compass in the stock and this thing which tells time, you may not have had much call for an actual optic. Times have changed.
When accuracy becomes reliably consistent, optics matter. They make shooting that much easier. And some break-action rifles are tack drivers.
The RWS rifles come with a LockDown mount. These connect directly to the 11 mm dovetails and provides a secure rail.
The most recent twist on the optics mount is Umarex’s Nucleus Rail. This full-length rail covers the rifle's receiver and also dampens the sound.
Better recoil control.
Some air rifles have a tendency to kick. It is more of a shock than a kick. The sudden release of the spring driving the piston makes for a jarring sensation that can wear on a shooter after a full day in the field.
This same sensation can scare off a new shooter. It is detrimental to accuracy, too. Parts, inside the gun, are shifting violently. Overcoming that requires practice.
Some shooters will anticipate the recoil and flinch when pulling the trigger. I’ve even seen people close their eyes just before the trigger break in anticipation. It is a terrible habit and easy to avoid.
I find it well worth the extra price to have a recoil reducing system (like the Umarex StopShox) to level things off. And when you couple that with a gas piston like the T.N.T. Piston or the ReAxis gas piston, it makes for an even more effective combination.
Better fit and finish.
If you’ve spent much time with air guns, you know that some are on the small side. This is a byproduct of years of marketing BB guns to kids. Times have changed. Break-action pellet guns are producing speeds that are effective for hunting.
As the prices on air guns go up, you’ll find the same level of attention paid to fit and finish that you would from a traditional firearms manufacturer. Plastics give way to checkered wood. The rifled steel barrels are expertly blued. And they fit an adult’s frame.
If you ever get your hands on a Walther LGU, you’ll see what I mean. Or look for a 340 N-TEC Luxus by RWS. These are guns you have to actually hold in your hand to appreciate.
All of the fun of shooting, without the expense of ammo.
Take a look at the professional shooters and their habits. They shoot thousands of rounds (rounds they don’t pay for themselves). Sponsorships handle that. I’ve known a mediocre shooter who discovered they were quite good when they could shoot all the ammo they wanted. Practice. Repetition. These have a way of increasing your skills.
I’ve talked to numerous rimfire devotees who will sing the praises of their .22 caliber survival guns. Yet they can’t shoot them without going out to the range. They often times have trouble finding ammo, and there’s no end to the mess they have to scrub out when they do manage to blow through a brick of .22 LR.
As I’m writing this, the lowest price I’m seeing online for rimfire is $.05 (but you have to buy 5,000 rounds to get that deal). Even high-quality pellets come in well under that, closer to $.02 per shot. Field grade pellets are less.
When you aren’t paying for ammo, you can afford to spend more for the amenities you really want on the gun.
The end result will be a culmination you see on your targets. A decent scope mounted on a firm base will increase your targeting abilities.
The ease of shooting a rifle with less felt recoil will increase accuracy.
The result of a gun that functions as an extension of your body is, of course, an increase in accuracy. You may begin to see a pattern developing here.
This holds true for my fourth point, too. Practice counts.
I’ll close with this thought. I’ve developed a philosophy that I try to apply to everything I do. Quality counts. While it hasn’t always been beneficial to my savings account, I try to buy the best possible tool I can afford. It simply makes the job easier.
With shooting sports, it also helps me know what I control. If I miss my target, I want to know why. If my gun is shooting accurately, and I miss, it is likely my fault.
David Higginbotham is a writer and educator who lives in Arkansas. After years of writing and consulting in the firearms industry, he's coming back to his roots with air guns.