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!
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