Getting consistent accuracy from your airgun can be a challenge, but you can do a few things to get the most out of any airgun. Let’s take a look at some simple things any airgunner can do. Most airguns have the same accuracy-improving fixes, but springer and gas ram guns are unique. Seeing as they are the most popular airguns sold, we’ll start with them before getting into the generic fixes.
Getting the Most from Your Spring or Gas Ram Airgun
Springer airguns can challenge new shooters due to their harsh and unique recoil. Let’s walk through some simple steps to ensure you get the best performance. Loose stock screws are the primary cause of poor accuracy. Spring and gas piston air rifles have more recoil than you may realize. This recoil can cause the stock screws to loosen, which in turn causes errant shots due to the receiver slopping around in the stock. So, if you find your shots starting to wander, check your stock screws.
Once you’ve tightened your stock screws, you may also want to check the rest of the screws on your gun. Starting with the scope mount and scope rings. Basically, anything that can work its way loose will tend to do so on a springer, so make sure you check them often.
Adjusting Your Trigger
With springers and gas ram airguns out of the way, we can take a look at more generic fixes to help improve accuracy, starting with the trigger. The trigger is your primary connection to the shooting cycle. A harsh trigger can be overcome, but it makes it far more difficult than needed. A lot of airguns these days have some adjustability to the trigger. Take a look at the manual and see what options you may have with your airgun.
More important than pull weight is smoothness. A lot of airgun triggers are “two-stage” triggers. A two-stage trigger has a first stage that’s usually much lighter than the second stage. It’s the second stage that releases the seer to fire your airgun. If either stage is gritty or crunchy, you’ll have difficulty achieving consistent accuracy. Sometimes this can be handled through basic adjustments, whereas other times, you may need to rework components in the trigger to solve the problem. Regardless, a good trigger goes a long way to achieving consistent accuracy with an airgun.
Hold and Technique
Most people want to put all the blame on their airguns when it comes to inaccuracy. There is certainly some truth to that perspective, but it’s not always the case. Having proper trigger control, hold, follow through, natural aim point, etc., all play a major role in accuracy.
Trigger control is key. If you are pulling or pushing your shots, it may simply be the position of your trigger finger in the trigger. Also, squeezing vs pulling is important. Finally, you want to have a controlled and repeatable trigger pull so that each shot is consistent.
Hold and follow through are the next points. Most airguns have some reciprocating mass. It can be dramatic, like springers, or more subtle, like PCPs. Regardless, when there’s a mass of metal moving in the action, it can make consistent accuracy more difficult. Proper hold and follow through help shooters overcome these challenges. Each airgun is different, so experimenting with your hold, rests, bags, and other helps will be important.
Lastly, let’s look at follow through. If you look at airguns like black powder guns, then follow through starts to make sense. You want to hold your sight picture long after you fire to give the projectile time to exit the barrel. Airguns shoot much more slowly than a firearm, so follow through is critical.
Cleaning Your Barrel
This topic is an interesting one with many different opinions. Basically, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If your airgun is shooting well, cleaning the barrel may not make it shoot better. In fact, it may send you backward. An airgun barrel will become “seasoned” after a while. Once that happens, you want to just leave it be. But, if you suddenly see a drop in accuracy, then cleaning the barrel may be the right course of action.
When it comes to cleaning your barrel, you really don’t need to get too aggressive. Dry patches seem to do just fine. If you find that you need to get more aggressive, then using a nylon or bronze brush can also be effective. Remember that you may need to shoot for a while for things to get back to normal after you clean your barrel. This is that “seasoning” process we talked about earlier.
Other Things to Watch
If you find your shots are simply going all over the place with a shrouded or moderated airgun, check to see if your pellets are clipping the moderator. This happens more often than you think and will trash accuracy for sure.
An inconsistent shot curve from a poorly set up airgun or bad regulator can also be the culprit. The best way to know if your airgun is performing to spec is to use a chrony to test your velocity. If your velocity is all over, then your shots will also be.
That’s a Wrap
That’s a great starting point for airgunners, both new and old, to start to get more out of their airguns. It’s not an exhaustive look, but it’s a good starting point. If you’ve tried all the above and still can’t get consistent accuracy, then there may be something else going on. We’d recommend getting in touch with a knowledgeable airgunner or gun shop that understands airguns to see if they can help you further diagnose any problems. If you need further assistance, you can always give us a call here at Airgun Depot.