Home Nitro Piston

Nitro Piston

Gas pistons are all the rage now, overtaking even springers. Enthusiastic gunners have witnessed the fast paced evolution that has riddled the airgun industry.

Airgunmaniac hereby introduces you to this unequaled air rifle technology.

How Nitro piston air rifles work

So, what is a nitro piston air rifle? Let us approach it from the springer air rifle perspective. Springers, which you can also call break barrel air rifles, use a compressed spring as the powerplant. Cocking the gun basically makes you compress the main spring. 

This spring is housed in a cylindrical chamber with a piston to the front end.  When the spring is released from its compressed position (i.e. by pulling the trigger), it drives the piston forward in a quick jerky motion. The piston explosively drives the air in front of it through a transfer chamber and into the barrel. Having nowhere else to escape, the air forces the ammo down the barrel and out into the air.

How to choose the best Nitro piston airgun

Now replace the main spring with gas and you’ll get how the nitro piston works. Cocking the airgun essentially drives a shaft into a cylinder filled with nitrogen. An airtight piston is fitted at the bottom of the shaft such that the nitrogen in the cylinder cannot escape. Once the nitrogen is compressed in that manner, your nitro piston air rifle is ready for use. 

Pulling the trigger makes the nitrogen inside the cylinder expand. In a bid to escape, it forces the piston and shaft forward. The shaft drives the air in front of it to meet the ammo. The ammo has no choice but to fly away from the pressure behind it. Thus the air gun is fired!

And so you ask – why Nitrogen? Why not breathable air? Or even CO2 like in other air rifles?

First, nitrogen is a readily available gas and harnessing it is not complicated. The cylinder containing the gas is metallic. Any form of oxygen in there is likely to cause rust. Nitrogen is therefore a wise replacement of oxygen. Further, nitrogen is non-flammable – absolutely no possibility of exploding into flames due to overheating. Nitrogen is also not affected by changes in temperature like CO2.  Lastly, nitrogen is an inert gas and won’t react with lubricants, seals or the metallic parts of the cylinder.

experts discuss about nitro piston air rifles

Advantages of Nitro Piston Air Rifles

Given the nitro piston is an advancement of the springers, let me discuss the advantages of the nitro piston air rifles over spring powered air rifles.

Most importantly, the nitrogen gas vibrates vigorously like the spring after the trigger is pulled. The forceful reaction of the spring is what causes the large recoil in springers. This is known to reduce accuracy and even damage accessories like the scope. Nitro piston air rifles have considerably reduced recoil. For this reason, the learning curve for the nitro pistons is not as steep as that for the springers.

nitro piston metallic spring

Second, noise levels are reduced for the mere reason that the metallic spring is replaced with gas. You can’t compare a spring rubbing against a metallic cylinder and gas rubbing the same cylinder.

Springers have to be greased regularly to maintain the action of the spring for long. This is not a concern with Nitro Piston air rifles. 

Leaving the break barrel air rifle cocked for a long time reduces the elasticity of the spring. A less elastic spring means less power. On the contrary, nitro piston air rifles can remain cocked as long as you wish without any worry on elasticity.

Nitro Piston air rifles are generally lighter in weight than springers. A metallic spring is definitely heavier than gas. Shooters who carry their airguns for long can therefore opt for nitro piston models to reduce muscle fatigue.

Nitro pistons generally last longer than springers

Considering the above arguments, Nitro pistons generally last longer than springers.

There’s so much good in the Nitro Piston – but we certainly don’t intend to tarnish the springer. Each air rifle type has its good and bad side. 

How to choose the best Nitro piston airgun for you

Not all Nitro pistons are similar in build and power. You need to be careful while choosing so that you gain proper satisfaction with your choice.

Power remains the most important consideration in choosing an air rifle. Power is almost synonymous with the target use. If your wish is to pass time during the weekends aiming at metallic birds hung in the backyard, a low budget nitro piston air rifle is enough for you. Think on the lines of Crosman Vantage NP, Gamo Wildcat Whisper, and Gamo Hornet Maxxim. All these will cost you less than $200.

Gas pistons

If you are into small game hunting and can dig a little deeper into your pocket, think of acquiring the Weihrauch HW90, the SIG Sauer ASP20 Whiskey3 Combo, or the  Benjamin Trail NP XL Magnum. 

The Benjamin Trail NP is a particularly popular model. With ammo speeds of up to 1100 fps, and muzzle energy averaging 30 FPE, for the .22 caliber, you can successfully use it to hunt all manner of small game. The .177 caliber drives ammo up to 1500 fps with an impact of 24 FPE on the target.

Never overlook the machining quality of the air rifle. You do not want to keep replacing your air rifle every summer. That tells you to stick to reputable brands with a track record of high quality. Crosman, Gamo, and Hatsan are a good place to start.

Last but not least, consider the design and build. We can no longer deny the fact that some of us cannot simply do without a monte carlo. At the same time, there are those who are solely into bullpups or pistols. Choose what makes you feel proud.  

How to use and maintain a Nitro Piston air rifle

One Italian manufacturer – Special Springs – claims their nitro piston gas cylinders can give you a million shots before you call it quits. Some talk of 400,000, others as low as 10,000 shots. Now, all these are way too many. It will take you four full years to make 10,000 shots if you religiously do 50 shots every week. What about a million shots?

Despite the durability promises, make sure you take good care of your nitro piston air rifle. Some power-hungry shooters have been reported to attempt to pump air into the cylinders to increase pressure so that their shots can be more powerful. This is simply ridiculous. You are damaging the air rifle in broad daylight. Shun this practice.

You do not need any refill of the cylinder like it happens with PCPs and CO2 air rifles. General airgun maintenance routines will help you keep your rifle for many years. Best wishes from the Airgunmaniac team.

Benjamin Varmint Powerpack Review

The Benjamin Varmint .22 air rifle has the word “varmint" in its name, Implying that the manufacturer’s vision was to bring back peace into...

Benjamin Trail Nitro Piston 2 Review

Everywhere you turn in the air rifle world, you can hear the buzz around the Benjamin Trail NP2. Crosman has put a lot of...

Benjamin Trail NP XL 1500 Review

The Benjamin Trail NP XL 1500 belongs to the beautiful NP XL airgun series . It has the smallest caliber of all (.177, the...

Benjamin Trail NP .22 Review

If you hate the idea of being caught in the rain with a wood stock air gun, you're going to love the Benjamin Trail...

Benjamin Titan XS Review

Crosman Benjamin Titan XS. That’s quite a name. "Titan" infers that this gun is powerful and robust. Fortunately, it is not misnamed. While putting...

Crosman Nitro Venom Dusk Review

The Crosman Nitro Venom Dusk .22 is the twin brother of the Nitro Venom rifle. As the twins, they share lots of common features...

Crosman Vantage Review – The Cheapest Nitro Piston Gun Available

Don't let the mediocre look of the product images fool you about this rifle. This gun could be the one of the best value guns...
Best Air Rifle Deals

Popular Posts

Air gun 101: The differences between .177 & .22 – Which jobs they do...

I’ve always believed the popular phrase: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight that matters - but rather the size of the...

What can you kill with a 177 air rifle?

"Unleash Your Precision: Discover the Power of a .177 Air Rifle to Take Down Targets with Accuracy. Explore the Versatility and Potential of this...

PCP vs Spring Piston: Which one is better?

When reading about guns in the search for the first one that would be perfect for you, an age-old debate comes into question. Should...

Synthetic vs Wood Stock: The Final Showdown Between Brunette And Blonde

I understand that you’re here to get some quick facts on synthetic vs wood stocks Probably to guide your purchase.  Quick alert - the debate...

Can a Felon Legally Possess an Air Rifle in Tennessee?

"Understanding the Legalities: Felon Ownership of Air Rifles in Tennessee" can a felon own an air rifle in tennessee? In the state of Tennessee, the ownership...