Pneumatic Pnews

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hunters - spring gun or pneumatic?

by Tex Force

Thirty years ago, the choice between spring gun and pneumatic was far different than today. Springers were more expensive then; if you wanted real hunting power, you pretty much had to go pneumatic. That has all changed as spring gun technology has advanced and prices have dropped. The question that remains is this: Should you use a spring piston airgun or a multi-pump pneumatic to hunt small game?

Multi-pumps first
Airgun hunters want to use either .20 or .22 caliber for hunting. The larger pellets hit harder and don't penetrate as much as the smaller .177s. That's not to say you can't hunt with a .177; but, if you're still in the buying mode, look to the larger calibers. The Benjamin 392 should be at the top of your list. It produces around 14 foot-pounds. In the right hands, it can take game up to the size of crows and raccoons. Keep the distance to as far as you can hit a quarter, and you'll do fine.

Another good choice is Sheridan's Blue Streak and Silver Streak. Available only in .20 caliber, either rifle is virtually identical in performance to the 392. The one drawback is fewer types of .20 caliber pellets exist than .22 caliber, but all you need is one good one.

For hunters on a tighter budget, Daisy's 22SG is a wonderful bargain. It shortens the maximum range by 8-10 yards, but it's very capable out to about 25 yards. It's also the perfect tool for eliminating pests in tight spaces, such as attics, basements and barns. Key features everyone will love are the easy pumping and the fact that this rifle comes with a scope!

Let's talk springers
To keep this comparison fair, I'm going to stick with airguns in the same price range as the pumps. Obviously, there are very capable spring guns in the $200-500 range. Since there is nothing equivalent in a pneumatic, there's no choice. Spring rifles take some technique to shoot well, while pneumatics do not. A spring rifle has to be held very lightly to group its best, and this is not a natural hold for a shooter. So, shooting a springer is a learned skill.

Let's start with the Tech Force 97 in .22 caliber. This is the flagship of Compasseco, and one of the more highly developed Chinese air rifles. Hunters will find it plenty powerful for the same game they hunt with the Benjamin 392 and at the same range. Because it's an underlever spring gun, it's much easier to mount and use a scope than any pneumatic, because the scope doesn't get in the way of cocking the gun. The trigger is also much nicer and lighter than those found on multi-pumps.

Stepping up in both price and power, the Tech Force 99 is the real powerhouse in the line. It's a much larger rifle than the 97 but just as smooth and just as nice. It also accepts scopes very well - even big ones - and the extra power (in .22 caliber) stretches the maximum range out even farther than the Benjamin 392. Keep it to the maximum distance at which you can reliably hit a quarter.

Winchester, Remington, Crosman, Beeman and Gamo have spring rifles in this price range that are available only in .177. As I said earlier, you can hunt with a .177, but you are limiting yourself if you do. Your shot placement must be exact, or the pellet will pass through the animal while inflicting a non-lethal wound. If you want to try, there are a great number of models to choose from. All are breakbarrels, which means they will need the maximum technique for accuracy. With practice, a shooter can do well with any of them.

Recent years have seen big changes in spring-piston air rifles that make them competitive with multi-pump pneumatics in the same price range. But, for hunters who want the heavy calibers, Tech Force seems to be leading the way.

2 Comments:

  • Greetings -- I own a TF99 and ater about 1000 rounds, it's finally grouping well. Unfortunatly, it shoots high. I've adjusted the rear sight to it's max, but it still shoots 1 1/2 to 2 inches high at 30 meters. Kind of a let down that the iron sights can't adjust to hit right, but I was considering a scope anyways. My concern is that the front site is rather large and I thought it would impede the view out of the scope? I know the insert can be removed, but the hood is still there and big at that. Can it also be removed? Thanks for any help and suggestions.

    By Anonymous Tug, at 5:13 PM, October 17, 2006  

  • Tug,

    The front sight is located too close to the scope to be seen through it. You cannot see a thing.

    The front sight is part of a larger front unit that doesn't come off the gun easily.

    Tex

    By Anonymous Tex Force, at 3:45 AM, October 18, 2006  

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