The year 2020 will go down in history for many reasons. Probably none of them will be airgun related, but that does not mean that we didn’t see some great tech come out this year. Let’s take a look at a few things that have improved airgunning here in 2020.
Power Plant Combo
The top pick is found in the Umarex Origin. The Umarex Origin is a PCP rifle that comes bundled with a hand pump so that new shooters need only add an optic and ammo, and they can start shooting. But that’s not what sets the Origin apart.
Most PCP airguns need a lot of air to take that first shot, up to 50 or 60 pumps on a typical PCP hand pump. Umarex USA determined to change that by combining a gas ram into a PCP! How this works is ingenious. As you pump air into the cylinder, the Reaxis Gas Ram “boosts” the cylinder’s pressure, achieving 1000 psi in only 13 strokes of the pump.
The benefits don’t stop there. By constantly boosting the pressure, filling the Origin only takes about 140 stokes compared to the typical 300+ required by most PCP airguns.
If that were the only benefit, it would be pretty amazing, but the Origin is not done yet. As you shoot the Origin, the gas ram continues to boost the pressure acting much like a regulator would. Not by measuring volume and pressure going out, but rather by maintaining a higher pressure in the air cylinder throughout the shot curve. The result is an extremely affordable airgun that’s easy to fill, easy to shoot, and very accurate.
Inertia Driven Magazine
As several industry players are coming out with their own version of the multi-shot break barrel, Gamo pulls ahead yet again. One of the issues that plague multi-shot break-barrel airguns is the constant possibility of double feeding. It’s easier than you might think to cock the gun in preparation to take a shot, only to not take the shot. Should you make the mistake of cocking it again, you just drove the 2nd pellet into the breach. This can cause all sorts of problems, not the least of which is damaging your airgun.
How did Gamo solve this? They developed the inertia driven magazine. Most airgun mags are spring-driven with a physical top that holds the pellet in line for the pellet pusher. If you kick that pellet out of the way, the mag automatically just rotates to the next pellet. That’s where the double feeding can happen. The new Inertia Driven Mag does things differently. It senses the shot recoil and only then rotates to the next pellet in line. This way, if you were to accidentally cock the gun again, you don’t get the double feed. It’s a great solution that solves a problem in the market.
Portable HPA Air
The barrier to entry for PCP airguns has always been the need to fill them. It’s always been expensive, and compressors have been bulky and heavy. While we’ve seen significant improvements in portability, there has still been the issue of longevity.
Compressors get hot, very hot. This creates a lot of wear on the internals, making them prone to failure. Companies have been working on ways around this problem, but that just made things bulkier, heavier, and less portable. Enter “smart” compressors.
This year we’ve seen at least two smart compressors enter the market. We’re not referring to compressors with auto-shutoff, as that’s not really “smart,” it’s just a mechanical (or electronic) switch that turns off the power when a preset pressure is reached. We are talking about computer-controlled compressors that sense the heat inside the system and take measures to prevent overheating and equipment failure. That may be slowing down or changing how it’s running, to automatically shutting down until the unit cools down, and then restarting to finish the fillup.
The ReadyAir is not only smart but very affordable. It’s oilless, waterless, and knows when to shut down when temps get too hot. The fans stay running until the unit reaches a safe temp. From there, you can restart the fill process. You can do this as many times as needed until full. It’s also user-serviceable, allowing end-users to easily maintain it for years to come. It runs on both 12v and 110v, making it an excellent option for home or field use.
The Air Venturi Hill compressor is more expensive, but it’s also smarter. It does require oil, but even that is smart. The oil reservoirs are easily accessed, and the computer system asks you each startup if they are at the right level. It counts it’s hours and tells you when it needs an oil change. When it gets too hot, it pauses to cool down and then automatically starts up again. It’s built like a tank, exceptionally quiet, and just looks cool also.
Those are just a few of the new innovations we’ve seen in 2020. Some honorable mentions are the massive big bore guns like the Hatsan Piledriver and the Air Force Texan Carbon Fiber, affordable airguns with high-end features like the Air Venturi Avenger, and the list could just keep going.
The bottom line is that we are seeing regular advances in airgun technology all the time. Things just keep getting better and better for airgunners.