The anatomy of a spring-pis­ton ri­fle

To shoot a springer with con­sis­tent ac­cu­racy you need to know how to han­dle them ... ... and the good news is, springer tech­nique makes you a bet­ter shooter with PCPs too!

Air Gunner - - Know Your Air Rifle -

K now­ing what the main com­po­nents of your ri­fle are called and what they do is ex­tremely handy, and once you’ve fa­mil­iarised your­self with all that, you can re­ally get down to learn­ing, and more im­por­tantly ap­ply­ing a re­li­able spring- gun shoot­ing tech­nique. This will take time, ded­i­ca­tion and prac­tice, but the re­wards are huge. The fact is, the tech­niques you’ll learn in order to get the most from your springer, will set you up per­fectly to do the same from your pre- charged pneu­matic. In ba­sic terms, if you can shoot a springer ac­cu­rately, you’ll do the same with a PCP. It doesn’t work the other way round, though, and that’s down to the less-for­giv­ing na­ture of the springer’s fir­ing cy­cle and the re­coil it pro­duces. Let’s study that cy­cle, then we can do what’s re­quired to ac­com­mo­date it.

START BY UN­DER­STAND­ING THE CHAL­LENGE

Springers re­coil when they shoot and it’s the con­sis­tent man­age­ment of this re­coil that is the key to suc­cess. In­side your springer, there’s a large, heavy pis­ton assem­bly, plus a pow­er­ful main­spring, which drives the pis­ton to com­press the air in front of it and it’s this blast of com­pressed air that launches the pel­let down the bar­rel. As the trig­ger is squeezed, the pis­ton, held against the ten­sion of the main­spring, is re­leased and lies for­ward at high speed. The pis­ton then ‘bot­toms’ against a ‘ wall’ of com­pressed air and bounces off it. This is a very ba­sic de­scrip­tion of springer re­coil, and the les­son is even sim­pler - you can’t stop it, so you have to ac­com­mo­date it within your shoot­ing tech­nique.

A LIGHTER TOUCH IS FAR EAS­IER TO RE­PEAT

Shoot­ing a springer with con­sis­tent ac­cu­racy de­pends on re­peat­ing ev­ery­thing about your tech­nique for ev­ery shot, be­cause your ri­fle will re­act to the way you hold it. Your han­dling af­fects the way your ri­fle moves un­der re­coil, so you need it to move in the same way ev­ery time you shoot it, and the best way to re­peat some­thing, is to have as lit­tle as pos­si­ble to re­pro­duce. For in­stance, if you use a tight grip on the stock, and you pull the ri­fle hard into your shoul­der, you’ll have to re­peat those de­grees of pres­sure ev­ery time, and that’s all but im­pos­si­ble, be­cause your mus­cles will tire and your grip will change. Con­versely, if you use the light­est grip you pos­si­bly can, and ‘rest’ the ri­fle, rather than grip­ping it, that’s far eas­ier to re­peat and your springer will shoot far more con­sis­tently.

THE GOLDEN RULES OF SHOOT­ING A SPRINGER

* AL­WAYS main­tain per­fect tech­nique un­til the pel­let strikes * NEVER take your eye from the scope un­til the pel­let strikes * AL­WAYS work on de­vel­op­ing per­fect fol­low- through tech­nique * NEVER rest your springer di­rectly on a hard sur­face * AL­WAYS al­low the ri­fle to re­coil nat­u­rally and con­sis­tently * NEVER try to ‘re­duce’ the ri­fle’s re­coil by grip­ping it tightly * AL­WAYS do all you can to con­sciously re­lax your mus­cles * NEVER al­low mus­cu­lar ten­sion to build as you shoot * AL­WAYS use the light­est pos­si­ble ‘grip’ and keep it con­sis­tent * NEVER mount your scope too close to your eye or you’ll flinch * AL­WAYS wear cloth­ing with a de­gree of ab­sorbent pad­ding * NEVER stint on prac­tice no mat­ter how ef­fi­cient you be­come

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