Springer or PCP? Our guru of­fers his ex­pert ad­vice

Air Gunner - - Contents -

QIn re­cent years, the world seems to have gone PCP bonkers, with new mod­els or vari­ants ap­pear­ing in Air Gun­ner by the month and al­most ev­ery ar­ti­cle on air­gun hunt­ing based on some­one shoot­ing his PCP – and here’s me, still shoot­ing my 20-year old TX200 and won­der­ing what all the fuss is about. I will ad­mit to hav­ing weak­ened a cou­ple of times and found my­self in the lo­cal gun shop look­ing at PCPs, but in or­der to buy one I’d have to sell my TX, and could not bring my­self to do it. Am I miss­ing out by not climb­ing on board the PCP band­wagon?

AGURU SAYS: The great ad­van­tage of a PCP is that to all in­tents and pur­poses it is re­coil­less, and that makes it eas­ier for the user to achieve a given stan­dard of ac­cu­racy. Whether a spring-air­gun user is ‘miss­ing out’ by not switch­ing to a PCP rather de­pends on how good a shooter he or she is; a top springer shooter will shoot just as well with a well-sorted springer as a PCP, and at the other end of the scale, a poor shooter will achieve greater ac­cu­racy with a PCP.

The ease of use of a PCP is not with­out cost. For a start, you need a means of get­ting air into the cylin­der, and the choice is be­tween a pump and a bot­tle. A pump isn’t wildly ex­pen­sive, but un­less you’re fit and strong, us­ing it can be very hard work, es­pe­cially if the ri­fle has a large cylin­der. The al­ter­na­tive is an air bot­tle, which isn’t cheap, and to which there are two draw­backs; first, it has to be taken some­where pe­ri­od­i­cally to be filled, which costs money both for the trans­porta­tion and fill; sec­ond, it has to be taken for test­ing ev­ery five years, and the near­est test sta­tion might be a long dis­tance away, so that’s more time and ex­pense.

Now let’s con­sider your TX200. You can pick that ri­fle up any time know­ing it’s ready to use 24/7, with­out hav­ing to top up the air. If you’re out hunt­ing but things are slow, you can have a tar­get or plink­ing ses­sion lim­ited only by the num­ber of pel­lets you can carry, and not by how much air is left in a cylin­der. Best of all, if you’ve had that ri­fle from new, you should be at one with it and so be able to get the best from it, in which case you would not have much to gain, ac­cu­racy wise, from swap­ping to a PCP.

Guru tip: Never al­low a re­coil­ing ri­fle to touch a hard sur­face as you fire. It will bounce away and your shot will go wide. Sep­a­rate it with your re­laxed hand and you’ll do bet­ter

This is the TX’s equiv­a­lent of a ‘pump’ and ‘dive bot­tle’. It never needs re­fill­ing, and you won’t break into a sweat op­er­at­ing it.

The TX200 is still a very pop­u­lar springer in its MkIII guise.

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