So you just got your new breakbarrel airgun and you are wanting to wring out the most accuracy. Now, if I were talking about a Ruger 10/22 it would be pretty simple; mount a good scope, get some good ammunition, attach a bi-pod, find a comfortable place to shoot and thats about all you need. That’s not the case with most spring or gas ram powered airguns.
Spring airguns / pellet guns DON’T shoot like rimfire or centerfire guns.
When it comes to achieving consistent accuracy from break barrel spring airgun, the formula is going to be completely different. I dont know if I could count all the times Ive been asked about mounting a bi-pod to a break barrel spring airgun, needless to say Ive been asked a lot. It seems like a logical step to use a bi-pod to set up a stable shooting platform to get repeatable results. Unfortunately, due to the unique recoil generated by traditional spring and gas ram equipped airguns, its just not that simple.
Lets start at the beginning and talk about what happens when you pull the trigger on a traditional spring airgun. When you pull the trigger it releases the piston which is propelled forward by a coiled spring. Three things happen at this time. First, the airgun recoils rearward as a result of the piston being pushed forward. Secondly, as the spring expands it will tend to torque, or twist which can cause the rifle to twist. Lastly, when the piston reaches the end of its stroke, it slams into the head of the compression chamber and jars the airgun forward. This last movement is called reverse recoil and is what kills scopes that are not specifically designed to handle the forces generated.
So essentially you have movement in three different directions and all this happens while the pellet is still in the barrel. Now, the effects will be different from airgun to airgun and many factors play in to how great of an effect it will have. Usually speaking, lighter airguns will be more affected and heavier guns will be less affected. Also, regardless of the marketing machine that promotes them, nitro piston or gas ram guns also suffer from reverse recoil. While they do not have torque thats generated by a traditional metal spring they still have a very sharp recoil in two directions.
You’ll hear this a lot, “artillery hold…”
The way that you overcome this type of recoil and achieve better accuracy is to utilize whats called the artillery hold. This is a method by which you cradle the gun with your off hand at its balance point while lightly holding the grip with your trigger hand. When you squeeze the trigger you allow the airgun free movement, much like you see when artillery is fired. Although the artillery gun recoils wildly and moves in all directions, its still extremely accurate because this movement is repeatable for every shot. By learning to use the artillery hold consistently, you can achieve great accuracy with a spring gun.
The problem, if you want to call it a problem, is that learning the artillery hold takes a lot of patience and practice. This is where the question regarding using a bi-pod generally comes in. There are no shortcuts to learning how to shoot a spring airgun accurately. When you attach the bi-pod to the barrel of a break barrel airgun the balance point is moved way forward and its much more difficult to re-create the exact pressures applied to the gun between shots. More critically, if you have in airgun with a week barrel or barrel joint, then adding the bi-pod can literally bend or distort the rifle while shooting. In short, the only way to see real repeatable accuracy is to take the time to learn how to shoot the airgun correctly.
Every now and then…
With all that said, there is always the exception to the rule. Some spring break barrel airguns actually can take a bi-pod and maintain repeatable accuracy. These are very few and far between but they do exist. Years ago I tested a Winchester 850 XS22, which is essentially the Hatsan model 95, and it shot very well with the Dragon Claw bi-pod from Leapers. But like I said, this is the exception to the rule.
When it comes to other categories of airguns such as: CO2, pump pneumatic, or PCPs, then abi-pod becomes very practical. But when it comes to a spring gun, you really need to put the time, energy, and effort into learning the artillery hold. Once you learn it your shooting will improve across all disciplines.
For more information about how to get the most accuracy out of your airgun, visit read “How to get a Springer to Shoot Straight.” Part of our Airgun University here at www.airgundepot.com.