Have you ever wondered how many types of air rifles are out there? Is your head spinning around with various powerplants and you don’t know...
You just received your dream air rifle. What next? Shoot? Yes! And No…
Owning a good air rifle increases your desire to get it right and be comfortable when shooting. What you need is a complete set of air rifle accessories to enhance your shooting experience.
There are tons of accessories out there. The Airgunmaniac team has compiled a list of the most important airgun accessories you need to better your shooting experience. First is a summarized list, followed by a detailed discussion on the most important accessory.
Weaver and Picatinny bases, rails – Used to mount your scope, laser, and other accessories and keep them secured so as not to fall when shooting.
Front Sights & Rear sights – Used to give you better focus on the target so as to improve your accuracy
Binoculars – used to improve vision especially for shooters who hunt at night. Some are fitted with high power infrared illuminators to isolate the prey.
Flashlights – Allow you to lock on to your targets quick and easily, especially in dim light. Designed to cast the right amount of identifiable light without blinding the operator.
Cases – Usually made of thick wall construction and padded with high density foam to protect the air rifle when in transit.
Survivor’s multi-tool – Offers all essential tools that you may need during your hunting expedition in a compact unit that fits in the hand.
Oil – Applied to the tip of every third CO2 cartridge before inserting into the chamber, and to the pump head of multi-pump pneumatic guns.
Quick cleaning pellets – Shot through PCP and CO2 air rifles to remove dirt, debris and lead build up.
Conversion accessories – Set of adapters designed to convert rifles and pistols from one body design to another.
Safety Glasses – Protects eyes against ricocheting pellets and BBs. They also usually have anti-fog ability and UV protection.
Hearing Protection – Compresses harmful noise beyond a certain decibel level to protect the ears. Also magnifies low sound to enable the hunter to converse seamlessly with his shooting partners.
Metal Traps – Designed with heavy-gauge, sheet steel to stop and hold air gun pellets after hitting target.
Paper targets – Marked with rings and bull’s eye in the center for target shooting practice.
Bipod/Monopod – Used to support air rifles for stability and longer focus time.
Shooting rest – Fitted with spirit bible. Includes a rubber pad to rest the rifle while shooting.
And finally… scopes!
Generally, the scope attaches to the top of your air rifle. The glass of the scope magnifies the target so that you can see it as far as it is and hit it accurately.
We can broadly categorize airgun rifle scopes into two types – the fixed and the variable.
In addition to that, for both the fixed and variable scopes, we have the reticle type. The reticle is what you see when you peek through the scope. All the reticle types are designed to show you the centre of focus. The centre should ideally coincide with the exact point you are targeting. Here is a list of the main reticle types:
For all the crosshair types, some scopes give you the option of illuminating them for better clarity.
There are as many brands, models and types of scopes as there are of air rifles. So, what do you consider when choosing a scope?
For CO2 and PCP air rifles, you can use virtually any type of scope. However, for a break barrel air rifle, the scope you choose must match the recoil of the air rifle. The sudden backward jerk of the air rifle can really affect your shooting accuracy. The rigorous movement is also known to quickly damage the normal scopes. Choose a scope designed for springer airguns.
25 mm diameter tubes are the most popular for scopes with 3 – 9 x 40 or similar magnification. Higher magnification scopes may have bodies with 30 mm diameters. The 25 mm tubes are usually more fairly priced and satisfy most shooters.
Magnification allows you to see a bigger version of a small target that would otherwise be impossible to see with bare eyes. If your target is only 50 yards away, you may want to keep the magnification to around 3 – 9 times. When you choose so high a magnification, the image tends to be blurred. Leave higher magnifications for long range shootings.
You need to keep some distance between your eye and the scope. Having a long scope tires you eye very quickly. Think of moving the scope forward along the rail if you are already having no eye relief.
The most popular brands are Hawke and Bushnell. And that is for a reason – value for money. They stock a wide range of scopes. You can always find a good match for all your needs. High end brands include Nightforce, Schmidt, Zeiss and Bender. Go for these if you have thousands of dollars to spare.
Scopes can generally be mounted on 3 types of mount – the dovetail, weaver, and picatinny rails. Dovetails are the most basic. The weaver is designed to hold several accessories at once, including the flashlight, laser and red dot finder. The Picatinny rail is the cream of the crop. It features two parallel rails with several perpendicular slots for secure attachment of all sorts of accessories.
For pest elimination, all you mostly need is a 4×32 fixed scope. The same is a perfect choice for fun plinking in the backyard, as well as medium range target shooting. For small game hunting, you can consider a variable scope.
For competition shooting, consider getting a scope with magnification between 4 and 20.
One important rule – never use a firearm scope for an air rifle. The reason is simple. Firearms usually have a higher range than air rifles. Most air rifles are used for shooting in the range of 10 to 50 yards, and so are adjusted to that specific parallax.
Contrary to this, most firearm scopes are adjusted to a parallax of between 50 and 100 yards. Picking a firearm scope and directly mounting it to an airgun may lead to inaccuracies due to blurred images. Some scopes are designed so you can adjust the parallax, but you need to know what you are doing.
Hunters are rugged. No offense meant. That is the nature of the job. But even so, you should never underestimate the importance of looking after your air rifle and all the accessories. You have spent thousands of dollars investing on good shooting gear, so protect your investment.
Scopes are basically glass lenses enclosed in plastic bodies. Falling from a height can break the lens at once and you may never be able to use it again. Always handle your scope like a newborn babe that never gets old over the years.
Since they are used in the field, the lens is very likely to accumulate dirt and moisture. If stored that way, the lens coating can easily be damaged. This reduces the clarity of vision.
Discipline yourself to always clean the lenses after every use. Invest in a good cleaning kit with a quality lens brush and make sure to use it often. Stay away from using a piece cloth to wipe the lenses since you are likely to rub the dirt onto the lenses and damage the coating.
Avoid the unknown by storing your scope in a soft lens cloth.
You are now fully accessorized! The airgunmaniac team wishes you success in your shooting.