So you have picked up your first Pre-Charged Pneumatic air rifle or you are thinking about pulling the trigger, so to speak, on the purchase. What are the real costs associated with PCP airgunning? Hang in with us for a few paragraphs and we will address just that!
Step One: Hand Pumping
The cheapest way to get into PCP airgunning is with a hand pump. Shaped something like a bicycle pump, a high-pressure air hand pump is nearly as easy to use as a bike pump, but, yes, it will require more effort to fill. Buying a stand-alone hand pump will set you back about $160. We have a rifle/pump kit, the Umarex Origin in .22 caliber that pairs the rifle with a hand pump for a great price. And don’t think that you are missing out on performance with the Origin. The Origin uses a 10-shot rotary magazine, side-lever cocking mechanism, and an innovative pre-pressurized onboard air tank. The Origin also has a solid reputation for power and accuracy. Check out Sootch00’s Origin review right here.
Regardless, keeping a rifle topped off with air using a hand pump is not all that bad. As long as you remember to pump the rifle back up after shooting just a couple of magazines, then it will only take a minimum number of pumps to top the tank back off.
Step Two: Portable Electric Pumping
Hand pumping some rifles, especially out of the box can be a labor-intensive process. A smaller tank, in the 200cc range, might take between 120 to 300 pumps to fill whereas a larger tank in the 350cc range might take 600 pumps or more to fill out of the box. You don’t have to do this amount of pumping all the time, as you will likely never need to fully degas the onboard tank. For most people, myself included, shooting with a hand pump is really all that is needed, but if your shooting appetite is larger or you have multiple PCP rifles, stepping up to an electric pump is a logical move. Additionally, if you are not able to pump up a tank, likewise, the electric pump is the way to go.
The Umarex ReadyAir portable AC/DC powered high-pressure pump will fill an onboard tank to 4,500 psi, should your rifle require such pressure. Should it not, you can set the cut-off pressure to whatever your rifle’s max fill pressure is. Since the ReadyAir can be operated by a 12v automobile battery, this pump can be taken afield for hunting trips or trips to the range. And if you have several PCP rifles, keeping them all topped off is a piece of cake.
Step Three: Carbon Fiber Tanks
The undisputed king of ease when it comes to filling a PCP tank is the 4,500 PSI carbon fiber tank. The tank is light, easy to use, and FAST. Now there is the issue of getting the carbon fiber tank filled.