What’s the difference and why do I care?
One of the most difficult learning curves in airgunning is figuring out what fitting does what when trying to fill your new PCP airgun. With the shortage and expense of .22 LR these days, more and more people are moving to PCP airguns as an alternative. This makes good sense. They are generally more accurate at 50 yards than the typical .22 LR. They are extremely easy to shoot. And, the pellets cost a fraction of what you’ll pay for .22 LR, if you can find it. When you add that to the fact that you can get most PCP’s in a suppressed version, it opens up the possibilities of getting in a lot more trigger time in the back yard vs having to drive to the range.
Make everything QD (Quick Disconnect)
With all these wonderfully positive attributes, why doesn’t everyone just shoot PCPs? The big reason is that you have to fill them. This causes people to start performing all kinds of mental gyrations about how to get high pressure air into their guns, as PCP guns usually require up to 3000 psi. There are many different ways to conquer this issue, and I’ve covered some of them in the past, (Filling your PCP Airgun, Air Venturi G4 Hand Pump & Filling PCPs Part 1, Air Venturi G4 Hand Pump & Filling PCPs Part 2) but I’ve never addressed the conundrum that is BSPP (British Standard Pipe Parallel) and NTP (National Pipe Taper) thread types. Hopefully this article will be helpful.
I love airgun companies that have the foresight to just put the 1/8″ Quick Disconnect connector on their guns to begin with. The first airgun that I tested that had this fitting was the BAM B51. Just “click” and fill. No fuss, no muss. Next came the Benjamin Discovery followed shortly thereafter by the Benjamin Marauder. All setup from the factory with the 1/8″ Quick Disconnect fitting.
Getting from your High Pressure Air (HPA) source to your airgun
Having the QD fitting on the airgun is only half the solution however. Most fill kits used to come with just a bare threaded end and this is where things could get really fun. If you purchased a generic fill adapter here in the states it may have NPT threads. If you purchased an airgun specific adapter, it may have BSPP threads as most airgun probes are of European design and they use the BSPP standard. While the various fittings may look identical, the threads are slightly different and NOT at all compatible. It’s critical that you match the right thread type or you’ll most likely ruin your airgun’s fill probe or fill equipment.
The good news is that some of this is becoming a thing of the past. Most fill systems, when purchased along with your airgun, come preconfigured with a female QD fitting. Make sure to read the full description to make sure, and if it’s still unclear, then ask for help via email or phone. It really stinks to get your new airgun or new fill system, and not be able to immediately get the two to work together, especially when a $10 part would have solved the problem. If the fill system does not have a QD connector, then pay close attention to the thread type so you can either directly connect your probe, or setup your own QD system to easily fill multiple guns. Once you’ve gone through the learning curve, the process is not really that complicated, it just seems so at first.
Converters, adapters, hoses, oh my!
While I try and purchase all my personal gear from Airgun Depot or PyramydAir, sometimes I need a part sooner rather than later. When I find myself in a pickle trying to get things to work, I take a drive down to my local hydrolic and high pressure supply shop. They stock high pressure NPT fittings that can covert anything to just about anything else. What they didn’t carry until just recently were simple connectors that converted BSPP to NPT and vice versa. Fortunately, they’ve started carrying them and it basically means that regardless of the fill kit or airgun probe, as long as either is NPT or BSPP, I’m able to rig something up in a jiffy and get back to shooting.
The bottom line is that you need to always read the fine print in the description. So many people are caught short when they get their new PCP airgun and then don’t have the one little part that’s required to make the connection to fill it up. Airgun Depot has everything from full fill kits to the male and female QD fittings to setup your fill system and your airgun. If you have any questions, be sure to pick up the phone and make the call. That way, you’ve got what you need, when you need it.