After spending nine years mostly within the marketing realm of the fishing industry I was astounded that there was such a big marketplace for airguns. I mean, an air gun to me 14 years ago was a Marksman pistol that shot BBs and darts and maybe pellets and what my memory assumes was a Daisy pump gun. Childhood memories. Then I met some people running a legit airgun company.
In 2006 Umarex USA set roots in Fort Smith, Arkansas and had a small warehouse of RWS rifles, Walther, Colt, and Beretta pellet pistols, some BB guns, and Walther Special Operations spring airsoft pistols. We had some RWS .22LR ammo and blank firing rounds too. A humble beginning really.
Today our warehouse is much, much bigger and we have quite the extensive list of shooting sports products. A few more pellet rifle brands including Ruger, many more pistols, some high end airsoft rifles, .43 caliber paintball pistols, and an optics line just to name some of it. Oh and the reason for this airgun blog, PCP or pre-charged pneumatic air rifles.
Why would anyone want to own and shoot a PCP rifle like the Umarex Gauntlet when sourcing a high pressure air source is not the cheapest nor simplest thing to do? With high pressure air rifles you can’t just crack the barrel over, stick a pellet in it, close it, and smack a target. There’s a little more to it. Actually, it can be intimidating when you’re just starting out. So why shoot a PCP air rifle?
Astounding Shot-to-Shot Consistency
When fully charged, the majority of smaller caliber PCP rifles with a regulator (to regulate the amount and force of air per shot) can shoot 25 or more rounds at consistent speeds before having to refill the cylinder. Some, like the .177 Umarex Gauntlet can shoot as many as 70 shots. That consistency in speed also means a consistent delivery of energy at the target which equates to excellent shot placement or point of impact from shot-to-shot (the shot curve). This consistency is one of the reasons that PCP air rifles have come to dominate airgun benchrest, 10-meter air rifle, and field target shooting competitions. Oh, and silhouette shooting too. But that consistency doesn’t only pertain to smaller calibers like .177, .22, .25 and .30. Air rifles up to and even beyond .50 caliber can boast a small consistent deviation between shots. For example, the intricately engineered Umarex Hammer provides just three shots at an exceptional power level with a full onboard high pressure air fill of 4,500 psi. While only three shots, its standard deviation of just 15 feet per second between shots on average equates to three lethal and accurate big game hunting shots should a situation demand it. To sum it all up on consistency, PCP rifles that regulate air use provide the shooter a high level of confidence in their equipment leaving only shooter error and external elements as the primary variables.
Load Fewer Pellets or Airgun Slugs with PCP Rifles
With high pressure air rifles shooters like you don't have to mess with inserting CO2 cartridges, breaking open a barrel to engage the air piston or with pumping up an airgun between each shot. Once the high pressure air cylinder is filled, PCP shooters can shoot for extended periods without having to reload as often. Most small caliber PCP rifles come with 8 or 10 round magazines and you can usually always buy extra airgun magazines for a quick swap during a shooting session. There are even some custom airguns and mags that will give you 38 shots with .177 pellets. Those aren’t cheap, but 8 shots from an Umarex Origin isn’t too bad on the wallet. So, unless you’re shooting a high dollar competition PCP rifle like a Walther LG400, a PCP pellet gun typically comes with a multi-shot rotary magazine which means you can make repeating shots with the flick of a lever or the actuation of a bolt.
Less Impact on the Shooter Means More on the Target
Shot to shot consistency and multiple rounds between reloads are great reasons to shoot a PCP, but there’s another good reason to get into the world of high pressure airguns and that’s physical effort or the lack thereof required. PCP rifles don’t have long cocking arms and the barrels don’t break open requiring arm muscle, at minimum, to cock the strong spring or gas piston inside. There’s no under lever or side lever and there’s no multi-pump lever underneath either. That means no arm workout from that old break barrel air rifle so long as you’re not having to use a high pressure 3-stage hand pump to put air into your PCP. Those lucky enough to have an electric compressor (Umarex ReadyAir coming soon) or SCBA tanks and a local shop to keep them filled for you expend little effort when on the range.
Two Out of Three is Good : The Starter PCP Airgun
What if you want the consistency and accuracy plus the multi-shot repeatability of a PCP but your pocket book isn’t quite ready to invest in an SCUBA tank or electric compressor? That’s usually what stops people from getting their first PCP air rifle. There is a great solution as long as you’re not afraid of a little bit of exercise. Really, it is just a little. The Umarex Origin .22 offers excellent consistency and repeatability and it comes with an airgun hand pump in the box. Yes, it means some effort is required, but don’t fret. It’s really not that bad. You don’t have to fill it all the way up to get two or three magazines out of it. If you stop after getting to 3,000 psi, pumping up the Origin is really quite manageable.
All-in-all when you decide the time is right for you to start shooting a PCP rifle you won’t regret it. You’ll enjoy the accuracy that comes with the air consistency and the convenience of multi-shot magazines. And if you can spring for an oil free electric air compressor you’ll be able to avoid the effort too. But if not, with the right PCP that has a small cylinder in terms of air capacity volume and something like the Ever Pressure Tank system in the Origin you can keep that effort to a minimum.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to start shooting a PCP airgun.
Shoot safe. Shoot often. -JB
JB is just a man in pursuit of a deeper relationship with God, a lover of his wife and family, the outdoors, and moments of quiet stillness when not shooting, fishing, camping, or hiking.