Did you know that as well as shotguns, Sportarm at Lady’s Wood stock a range of new and preowned air rifles? We’re here to answer all of your burning air rifle questions!
1. Should I get a .22 or .177?
.22s are great for hunting, as the pellet is slightly heavier and therefore has slightly more ‘knock down power’. However, because the pellet is heavier, it has a more curved trajectory. This means having a good understanding of distance becomes very important. If you are used to shooting at 20m and don’t allow for distance when shooting at 25m or 30m, you will miss! To help judge distance, Sportarm at Lady’s Wood sell a wide range of laser range finders – an invaluable tool for the serious air gunner!
.177s are arguably easier to shoot as the lighter pellet has a flatter trajectory and gauging distance isn’t quite as important. This isn’t to say you don’t have to gauge distance at all – you do – but you have slightly more room for error. It is common to see target shooters use a .177 as they prefer the flatter trajectory, though these can still be used effectively in the field.
2. PCP or Springer?
This is one of the most frequent questions we’re asked. It comes down to what you want to shoot and what your budget is.
Springers are often (but not always) far cheaper to buy, and are generally easier to maintain. They’re great for occasional use: a spot of plinking or hedgerow walking for the odd rabbit. However, they are harder to shoot accurately.
PCP – or pre-charged pneumatic – are thought to be more expensive although they are becoming far more affordable. For example, the most popular air rifle sold at SPLW is the Gamo Phox in .22, which retails for £515. This includes scope, pump, moderator and bag; an incredible deal for an incredible rifle! PCPs are popular for the accuracy one can achieve with them. They are often magazine fed so another pellet can be loaded quickly just by recycling the bolt. Charging a PCP’s air tank can be hard work if using a stirrup pump. The alternative of a dive-cylinder air tank is an initially expensive investment, but far easier in the long run.
3. Should I get a scope for my air rifle and how much should I spend?
These days, most air rifles are set up to take a scope. However, some models will come with iron sights. Whilst these are perfectly functional and adequate, purchasing a scope (even for a more ‘basic’ air gun) will make a huge difference in accuracy, and therefore fun.
How much to spend will obviously come down to budget. We always suggest that our customers invest in their glass (scopes). It can make a huge difference, especially in light gathering; if you are hunting at dusk, a more expensive scope will allow you to see for those extra 10-15 minutes, whereas a cheaper scope will let you down earlier. We suggest looking at scopes that cost between £85 and £200 (though there are scopes far more and less expensive than this if required).
4. What are the laws surrounding air rifles in the UK?
This article over at Air Gun Shooting provides a much more in-depth look at the laws surrounding air rifles in England and Wales . We’ve simplified the key information that you need to know here:
- Effectively, anyone can own an air rifle with a power below 12ft lb or an air pistol below 6ft lb. For anything above this, you would need a Firearms Licence.
- It is legal for people above the age of 14 to shoot an air gun unsupervised, on private land and with permission. If a child is below 14 they would need to be supervised by someone older than 21. However, to purchase an air rifle, you have to be over the age of 18, with a valid form of ID.
- Air rifles need to be shot at least 15 m or 50ft away from any public highway, footpath, bridle way etc.
It is worth noting that the laws on owning air rifles are different in Scotland. To own an air gun in Scotland, you need to have an Air Weapon Certificate (AWC). An AWC can be obtained by applying to the Scottish Police, who will access your suitability to possess an air gun. Find out more about Scottish air rifle ownership laws.
5. What pellets should I use?
Our best advice is to experiment! Different air guns will prefer different pellets so spend some time trialling the various ones on offer. Sportarm at Lady’s Wood stock a wide range of pellets (alongside lots of air rifle accessories). If you’ll be using the air rifle for hunting then look for a slightly heavier pellet as this will help with knock-down power.
6. How should I store my air rifle?
The best way to store an air rifle would be to safely lock it in a shotgun or rifle cabinet. Sportarm at Lady’s Wood stock a range of cabinets large and small. However, whilst this is good practice it isn’t the law. The law states that you should take reasonable precautions to stop those under the age of 18 getting unauthorised access to the air gun. This could mean locking it away in a cupboard or even using a wire and padlock to secure it to a solid object.
7. What can I shoot with my air rifle?
There is a wide range of quarry for air rifles, from the obvious paper targets to rabbits and pigeons. We would advise regularly checking on the Natural England website to check what is currently legal as this is subject to change. With an air gun, accuracy is key to making a clean and ethical kill. The only way to ensure accuracy is with lots of practice!
Sportarm at Lady’s Wood stock a range of new and pre-owned air rifles, all of which can be viewed via our online catalogue. We can also source a variety of brands and models should you have a particular one in mind. Our knowledgeable team are on hand to help you with any other questions you might have. You can get in touch with the Sportarm at Lady’s Wood by calling 01454 294246 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.