Weihrauch vs Hatsan

When it comes to Weihrauch and Hatsan, there are many similarities that can be drawn between the two companies in their products ranges. These include the fact thats they both produce spring-powered air rifles, as well as pre-charged pneumatic air rifles, as well as spring and PCP pistols in all the common calibres. All their items are usually imported below the legal limits, which are 12 ft/lbs for a rifle, and 6 ft/lbs for a pistol, although the rifles are usually available in FAC levels if you have the right licence.

Both companies produce their products mainly for sporting purposes, such as target shooting, hunting, and pest control, so deciding which one is best for you can often be a tricky task. Weihrauch’s and Hatsan’s products are both in similar price ranges, which doesn’t help make the decision any simpler, but hopefully this blog will help you make the right choice.

Let’s start off by talking about Weihrauch

Weihrauch are one of the oldest players in the airgun game. Founded in 1899 as firearms manufacturers, they even produced the first German .22 rimfire rifle. However, the company ran into trouble after World War 2 when the Allies put Germany on the naughty step and banned the production of firearms, forcing Weihrauch to put their years of research into creating the finest sporting airguns.

However, instead of sinking, Weihrauch thrived, and many of the designs they produced formed the basis of the modern spring-powered air rifle. The company has gone from strength to strength ever since.

What can you expect from a Weihrauch?

Well, their rifles are among some of the most reliable in the business, and we have many customers who still possess rifles they bought in the ’70s and still swear by them, despite the myriad of newer options available. The rifles themselves still carry an air of tradition, and feature solid wood stocks with minimal bells and whistles – just a well-made gun with a good barrel and all-round performance. This may be a turnoff for some, and another complaint that’s logged against Weihrauch guns is that they’re often heavy, with high cocking effort and clunky triggers; the whole thing feels mechanical and is operated as such.

I think this is maybe a little harsh though. Yes, the weight is higher than some other brands (an un-scoped HW97 weighs upwards of 4kg), but the cocking effort is nothing 99% of shooters can’t handle. I quite like the overall weight and feel of Weihrauch rifles; everything feels solid and built to last, and most importantly, powerful and accurate.

See more of the Weihrauch range of airguns here

The new(er) kids on the block

Hatsan were founded in 1976 and first started off manufacturing shotguns directed at sport shooters, with great success. They’ve now translated that knowledge of sporting competition to provide a range of airguns that are just as effective in shooting competitions. The rifles themselves are made in Turkey, which mirrors the company as an up-and-coming economic powerhouse that has risen rapidly upwards in terms of reputation and quality, and now stands firmly amongst the world’s elite.

The rifles themselves are modern and ergonomically designed with rubber inserts, thumbhole designs, and a wide variety of synthetic stock options. Another good thing about the brand is that they often come with silencers attached, and with front sights on the silencer; this means that you no longer have to choose between the two. Hatsan rifles also represent incredible value for money, with many coming with bipod, carrying straps, and other accessories for no added cost, and they also add extras like adjustable cheek pieces and inbuilt swivel studs to a lot of their models.

Two of the best

Let me preface this by saying that spring rifles are my bread and butter. There are also various PCP options out there for both brands, which may be subjectively better than these rifles. But not to be tied down with external gas canisters suits me best. So here are my two picks:

Weihrauch HW77K

The HW77 was Weihrauch’s first rifle that loaded directly into the breech of the barrel, as opposed to a loading tap, which reduced the power, but greatly increased accuracy. This has made the 77 extremely popular in countries with strict power limits, like the UK and Germany.

This K or carbine version of the 77 also decreases the weight to make the rifle more manageable and easier to aim, whilst a raised cheekpiece and sculpted butt-pad make the rifle a nice fit into the shoulder. The gun itself is also equipped with a front sight, but I would make use of the long rail mounted across the top of the rifle, and get a good quality scope.

The gun is exceptionally accurate and shoots well in the field, but where the gun really shines is when shot down the range. The underlever makes bench shooting a little awkward, but the high accuracy and predictable shot placement are winners in my book.


Hatsan Dominator

The Dominator is round about the same price as the HW77 and also uses an underlever cocking mechanism. However, that is about where the similarities end. Instead of a wooden stock, the Dominator uses a synthetic polymer that is over-moulded with rubber for resistance to shocks and knocks. This also has the added effect of eliminating that horrible texture that some synthetic stocks have, where they feel like cheap car dashboards. Despite my usual preference for a wood stock, actually the Dominator started to win me over.

Another nice touch is the stock’s raised cheekpiece, and actually this rifle comes with a wide range of accessories – swivels studs, fibre-optic sights, bipod, strap, and muzzle break … to name a few. This rifle also features a top-mounted rail for optics, and the quattro trigger system is great.

I’d recommend this rifle for field work, especially as the rubber on the stock stays grippy in the wet or through gloves, whilst the rifle’s lighter weight means it can be carried long distances. You even get a strap included!

See more of the Hatsan airgun range here


I hope this has given some insight into the two brands and given some ideas as to what rifle you may want to pick.

If I had to choose one, the Weihrauch wins for me every time; but actually, after initially dismissing them, the Hatsan rifles were well made, well priced for what you get, and I could see their appeal.

What is an Air Gun?

Many of you will think of an air gun as anything that fires a projectile from a smooth-bore or rifled barrel using the power of air.

This is the standard definition that can be found across the internet. But air guns are so much more than that today, as some use compressed air, others CO2 gas, and some a spring and piston, which still all come under the umbrella of air guns. As a rule of thumb, the term air gun is generally used to refer to any type of gun that uses compressed gas as the propellant, as opposed to burning powder, as in rifles and shotguns. And you should always consider the right air gun pellet for your needs as well.

Spring Power

Probably one of the oldest air gun mechanisms to still be around today is the spring-and-piston type, with the first examples of their existence going back to the late 1800s.

The principle of a spring-powered air rifle is that a spring is cocked by means of a lever; it’s often the barrel that doubles for this job, but some guns are a side- or underlever type, which allows the barrel to be fixed in place. This lever then compresses the spring, which has a piston in front of it, with a washer on the front. This washer used to be made from leather, but today they tend to be made from plastic. This washer creates a near air-tight seal, so that when the spring’s tension is released, the piston compresses the air in front of it, which is then forced through a port into the barrel, propelling the projectile forward.

The Stinger Starter UL Tactical Kit is a great spring rifle for target shooting and plinking.

As this mechanism has very few moving parts, it’s probably the most reliable type of air gun, especially as so many models from nearly 100 years ago are still working flawlessly today!

One slight downside of this system is that the spring wears over time, causing power loss, but a gunsmith can easily replace the spring to get the power back up to where it should be. Spring air rifles come in a wide range of prices from choices such as the Stinger UL Tactical Starter Kit .22, right up to the top-of-the-range, state-of-the-art Air Arms Pro-Sport Walnut Stock .177, which offers some of the best accuracy and consistency straight out of the box.

Choose from the best Spring Powered airgun brands

Gas Ram

An upgrade on the standard spring airgun is the gas ram system, which is very similar in its principles to a spring air rifle, except the spring is replaced with a gas strut. For those of you who can’t picture a gas strut, it’s basically a larger version of what holds a car boot open. The gas strut doesn’t suffer the same downfalls as a spring does, such as spring fatigue, meaning that the power stays the same for longer. The gas strut also offers better shot-to-shot consistency, as the compression of the gas is more consistent and accurate than that of a spring would be. Again, prices vary in the gas ram range, from the e Webley VMX D-Ram .22 – Black Synthetic, right up to the Weihrauch HW90K .177.

Choose from the best Gas Ram powered airguns

CO2 Powered

The next step up from spring and gas ram air rifles are CO2-powered rifles, which use either the small 12g capsules, or the larger 88g cylinders. Both are filled with compressed CO2, and once loaded into the rifle, the gas flows through a valve, eventually being released into the barrel to propel the pellet when the trigger is pulled and the hammer strikes the valve. This system is completely recoil-less, so it’s a lot easier to get better accuracy with one of these rifles straight out of the box.

CO2 does have its disadvantages though, as it’s very dependent on temperature, so it’ll be a bit more powerful on a warm day, but less powerful on a cold day. Spring and gas ram don’t experience this fluctuation by comparison. CO2 are a lot quieter though, as they don’t have much internal movement going on, so with a suppressor fitted, they are close to silent.

Choices start from the Rat Sniper .22 CO2 Air Rifle, which is a great rifle for those looking for a bit of target shooting and light pest control, up to the all-bells-and-whistles Umarex 850 Air Magnum XT .22 Deluxe Kit, which offers multi-shot, full-power shooting.

Choose from the best CO2 powered airguns

PCP Powered

The Zbroia Hortisia Bolt Action PCP Rifle is an excellent starting point

PCP (pre-charged pneumatic) rifles are the next step up from CO2 and offer the best in accuracy and consistency out of all the airgun types currently on the market.

PCP rifles use high pressure air – some running at pressures of up to 300 BAR – to propel the pellets along the barrel. The advantage of high-pressure air is that it doesn’t change power as the temperature varies, and is also a lot more stable than CO2, giving much better results when firing pellets. The principle is similar to the workings of a CO2 gun, with the air held in a reservoir, which is recharged via a diving cylinder or a stirrup pump. This air is then released into the barrel via a valve, which is struck by a hammer when the trigger is pulled.

PCP rifles are available in all shapes and sizes, with both single-shot and multi-shot actions available.

Some good starting points would be the Zbroia Hortitsia .22 – Black or the Daystate Griffin .177, with prices varying anywhere in between, depending on your budget!

Choose from the best PCP Powered airguns

An airgun is not just a gun that uses air to fire pellets. It’s much more than that today, with some top-end rifles even utilizing electronic actions to fire the pellets! There are still many new advances to come, but I hope this blog post has helped explain some of the different types.

Pistol Pest Control

Pistol Pest Control

There is no doubt that summer is prime season for pests but it is by no means the only time that pests are around so you need to be vigilant. Rats, unlike many other mammals, do not typically hibernate during winter and as the temperatures drop, they are more likely to be looking to move inside looking for warmth and shelter. This means that they will appear inside barns and garages where range is not so much a factor as manoeuvrability and ease of use.

When choosing a hunting pistol it is important to ensure that you have a pistol that shoots as close to the 6 ft/lb legal limit as possible. Careful consideration must be paid to ensure quick dispatching and the more powerful the gun, the more stopping power the pellet has. A 2-3 ft/lb 1911 is just not going to do the job humanely or otherwise.

There are two main airguns gun calibres .177 and .22. There are others but they are either too heavy for 6ft/lb guns and often more difficult to get hold of. So what is better .177 or .22? Sigh… this is an argument as old as time but here goes :

Relative size of the 2 most common calibres.

Well, .22 is often cited as the “hunting calibre” but, with the right shaped pellets, .177 can be just as effective. Due to power being worked out as a relationship between weight and speed the lighter pellets of the .177 calibre actually fly much faster than their heavier counterparts. This becomes an advantage as their trajectory is much flatter and therefore it is easier to be accurate. Hitting the head or vitals of a rat or small bird means shooting an area the size of a pound coin and so I actually prefer .177 for pistol pest control. As .177 pellets are travelling faster domed or pointed pellets have a habit of passing though the target which not only reduces lethality but can be problematic if shooting without a clear backstop. For this reason I would recommend flat head or hollow points for .177 and domed pellets for .22. That is my case for using .177 calibre anyway, but I have plenty of friends that swear by .22 especially for furry animals such as rats and rabbits which tend to be quite tough.

At the end of the day every hunter will tell you that accuracy is the most important factor when it comes to humane dispatching, you are often aiming for an area no larger than a pound coin so as long as you can reliably hit that, you will be fine. Just pick whichever calibre you prefer, it IS that simple. With that in mind, perhaps the most important aspect of pest control is practice, reliably hitting the same spot with a rifle is hard enough, but with a pistol it will require hours and hours of hard work until it is in your muscle memory. There are some people that will tell you that you hunting with an air pistol is inherently impossible to do humanely but I disagree, reliable expansion occurs at around 4ft/lbs, even less in hollow points, and a pellet that is fired from 6ft/lb air pistol will have this level of energy at ranges of around 15m.

Which Type of Air Pistol?

So you have your calibre, now what to choose, spring? CO2? Gas Ram? PCP? Single stroke? At least there was only 2 calibres to choose from…

Well, using my uncanny ability to treat my own opinions as fact, I’m going to trim the list down a bit. PCP pistols are undoubtedly effective but you are talking minimum 700 English pounds for a good one and that’s without factoring in the dive bottle and hose that you need to have one and that is probably too much money for a couple of rats so, unfortunately, they’re out.

Gas Ram pistols are essentially the same as spring pistols but use a non fatiguing piston system instead of a spring, sounds great right? Well, to my knowledge there are none close to the 6ft/lb limit that we are after so they are also out. Multi Stroke pistols suffer a similar fate with the majority of the models available being under powered with one exception. The Zoraki HP-01 has a variable power system which means that after 3 pumps the pistol will be powerful enough to be used for pest control. This means that having the pistol ready to shoot as by the time you have pumped the pistol up to full power, the rat or bird will likely be gone.

So that leaves us two viable options CO2 and spring power. As they are the most popular, let’s talk CO2 first.

CO2 pistols

The ProShot Pro-Target

There are a wide variety of CO2 powered pistols available that come in all shapes and sizes but for the majority, there are only a couple that are capable of killing. And the majority are based on one tried and tested design. The originator of the full powered air pistol is a model called the Crosman 2240 Buster which utilised an ingenious bolt action design that was powered by a single 12g CO2 capsule that produced around 5.5ft/lbs of muzzle energy. The 2240 stood as the undisputed king of the pest control world for a long time until a new design came along and took its crown.

The SMK CP1 has refined and ungraded the 2240s original blueprint and has become not just one of the best selling pest control pistols, but also one of the best selling airguns currently on the market. What makes it so effective is not just the power, but also the refinements made to the gun, the bolt has been moved to the left side to allow easier cocking, there is a chequered wood stock instead of the 2240s polymer and both the trigger unit and iron sights have received a significant upgrade. The CP1 also features a dovetail rail for the fitting of external optics and comes in a wide variety of calibres for maximum versatility, there is even a multi-shot version available. When looking for a pest dispatching pistol it is very hard to look past this model.

See more CO2 air pistols

Spring Powered Pistols

Spring powered pistols generally utilise a break barrel or lever system to fill a chamber with air and then release a spring which rapidly compresses the chamber forcing the pellet out of the barrel. The advantage of this design is that everything you need to fire is right there in your hands, no external gas canisters are required so if you can cock the gun, you can shoot it. This does also mean that unfortunately all spring pistols are single shot but with Gamo bringing out an ingenious multi shot spring rifle, the Maxxim Elite, I would imagine that a multi-shot spring pistol is not too far away.

Perhaps the most famous spring pistol is the XS26, one of the stalwarts of recent years that has continued to sell high numbers since its inception and has formed the basis of a lot of spring powered pistols that followed after it. Most notably was SMK’s own XS32 which not only upped the power slightly but improved the trigger system to make the gun more accurate and more reliable. The XS32 is equipped with fibre optic sights which is a plus as pests tend to be more active in low light, and is also surprisingly lightweight which not only reduces fatigue but also makes aiming easier, important when aiming for a small vital area.

The HW45 is a beautiful piece of construction

Whilst the XS32 is a superb choice, the undisputed king of the spring powered pistol world is the Weihrauch HW45. Despite being several orders of magnitude more expensive than an XS32, particularly if you want the fantastic looking Silver Star model, this is the spring pistol I’d personally have. Of all of the names in the airgun industry, Weihrauch is probably the name you can most trust when it comes to delivering high quality construction and overall great performance. The HW45 is accurate to a tee and shoots a shade over 5 ft/lbs making it one of the most powerful spring pistols on the market and more than enough for a rat or pigeon at 10-15m. The pistol itself does require 13mm mounds to fit additional optics which is unusual but other than that I can’t fault it, one of the best pistols money can buy.

See more spring powered air pistols

So there you have it, a list of a selection of the pistols I would consider to be the best for pest control. If you are looking to purchase one be sure it’s here at Pellpax and stay tuned to the blog for all your airgun information.

How To Get Into Shooting For Beginners (Air Pistol / Air Rifle)

IMG_20160413_153255If you’ve ever fancied getting started in the world of shooting, it’s probably easier than you first thought. Let us help you with this handy guide to starting out ……

First off, you have to be over the age of 18 to purchase an air rifle or air pistol, and have valid photo ID (passport / driving licence) to prove this when you purchase from a shop.  If you want to buy online, We’re one of the very few internet retailers that deliver to item to your door. Secondly, the rifle or pistol has to be below 12 ft/lbs, which is the legal limit for air weapons which don’t require a license. If you take a look in our Airguns category, then everything within there is below this limit, so they only governing factor now is your budget!

The Sport of Shooting

The sport of shooting has more benefits for it that you may think, and is by no means reserved for the upper class, as many believe it is today. Air rifles and air pistols are a low cost form of shooting, and there are many local clubs which have large memberships in the disciplines of Field Target and Hunter Field Target shooting. If you fancy joining one of these clubs, a couple of great websites to check out are www.shootingclubdirectory.com and basc.org.uk/airgunning, which have details of numerous air gun clubs across the UK that would be more than happy to accommodate new members.

Of course you don’t have to be a member of a club to shoot; you can quite as easily purchase several targets and shoot on your own land. A wide range of targets are available such as knockdowns, knock and resets, and standard paper targets. You can take a look at our full selection of shooting targets here and start building your own home range today!

A lot of air rifle users also use these weapons for pest and vermin control, such as rabbits and squirrels. They present the hardest of targets as they are prone to rapid movement, and shot placement must be spot on to ensure a humane kill.

All these targets and practicing target acquisition massively improves your hand eye coordination, steadiness and sense of distance which can benefit you greatly in day to day tasks.

The Law

The law is very clear on Airguns; they are classed as a firearm and hence carry heavy penalties for misuse. For this reason you must ensure that you comply at all times, which means you must first know the law.

The Law is split down into different age groups as follows…

If you’re over the age of 18 then there are no restrictions on you purchasing an air rifle and ammunition, but you must only use it on land which you own, or have permission to shoot on. If you do get some land to shoot on with permission, I would suggest getting it in writing, as well as a map of where you are allowed to shoot. You must also remember that whilst shooting, no projectiles must leave the boundary of the land, so know your boundaries!

If you’re between the ages of 14 and 17 years old, then you can borrow an air rifle and ammunition, and use it without supervision on private premises where you have permission to do so. At this age you can’t hire or buy an air rifle, buy ammunition, or receive one as a gift. Everything must be looked after by someone over the age of 18 such as a parent, guardian or other responsible adult. You also cannot have an air rifle in a public place unless you’re with someone over the age of 21 and have a reasonable grounds to do so, such as traveling to a shooting club.

The final age group is 14 years and younger. In this age group you can use an air rifle on private land with permission, but you must always be supervised by a person over the age of 21. You can’t buy or hire an air gun or ammunition, nor receive one as a gift, and those who do buy an airgun for use for someone below the age of 14 must be sure to exercise control over it at all times.

Air Gun Power Plants

When it comes to choosing either an air rifle or air pistol, there are a few different power sources to choose from, and each has advantages and disadvantages. This is just a quick rundown on them, but for a deeper insight, check out our blog post from our Gun Smith Jason here.

Spring power is the cheapest and easiest to use as it consists of a large spring moving a piston within a chamber to compress air in front of it to move the pellet along the barrel. These guns require very little maintenance and only need the movement of you cocking the barrel to make them ready for firing. They also don’t require any other accessories. Spring guns do have recoil though, but this can be seen as an advantage, as it teaches you how to correctly hold the gun to deal with this, henceforth improving your skills right away.

Co2 power utilises Co2 canisters which come in a couple of sizes. These are loaded into the gun, which is then released through a valve, into the barrel upon each shot. This method reduces the recoil to practically nothing, as well as cutting down on the noise from the action. This means in most cases that a silencer can be fitted to reduce the overall noise of shooting. However, Co2 does suffer from power fluctuations with the temperature, and requires you to carry spare capsules for reloading when they run out.

PCP stands for Pre Charged Pneumatic and these guns are based around an air reservoir, which is refilled with a dive bottle or stirrup pump up to pressures of 200 BAR. This high pressure air is then allowed through to the barrel through a valve. The use of high pressure air provides excellent accuracy and consistency and similar to the Co2 guns, and a silencer can be used to reduce the barrel noise. The drawback of PCP is that they are expensive to buy, particularly with the accessories, but once set up they are phenomenally accurate and simple to use which makes them the number one choice for top end competition and match purposes.

What do I need to get started?

To get started you need as little as an air gun, either a rifle or pistol, the necessary pellets, and other essential accessories such as co2 capsules, where required, of course.

Here at Pellpax we have a few kits that we have put together at a great price to get you started. One such kit is the Wildcat Kit which comes with the rifle, scope, a gun bag, a tin of pellets and a pack of our targets. Everything you need to start punching holes in paper as soon as it is delivered.

Or if you’d prefer a pistol then check out the Rat Dispatcher Kit, which is a spring powered pistol that comes with the pistol, scope, case and pellets to get you started. Our avid air pistol shooter, Ross, says that “This is a powerful, reliable and accurate pistol, that simply does what it says on the tin!”

Once you have your selected item, then it’s time to start shooting! As both of these are break barrel items, you first have to tap the barrel to break it away from the breech, then grasp the barrel firmly and pull it towards you to cock it until it clicks. Then load the pellet into the barrel and return it to its starting position.

Basic Technique

Firstly, take aim at your target. with the air rifle the best technique is to not hold the stock too firmly, as you need to allow the rifle some room to recoil slightly. With a loose hold on the rifle, disengage the safety, and slowly squeeze the trigger until the shot fires.

With the pistol it is much the same, except you will need to hold it slightly tighter to support its weight, and feel free to use both hands, one round the grip and one supporting the front of the pistol to get the best accuracy. Enjoy!

From here it is really down to you developing your technique over time and fine tuning the scope / sights and practicing hitting the centre of the target and learning your gun. Of course you might consider upgrading over time to a high quality rifle, but these basic tips and kit are a great place to start.

You can grab a Pellpax Wildcat kit here, or a  Rat Dispatcher Kit here

Our Spring powered air rifles can be found here. Our Co2 air rifles are here, and our PCP air rifles can be found here. 

Spring Powered vs CO2 vs PCP : Pros and Cons

One of the hottest topics of debates between air gunners is the power source behind the pellet. The three main sources are spring power, Compressed CO2 gas, and Compressed air (PCP). One of our resident airgun experts, Jason Whittle, ways up the advantages and disadvantages….

The three main power sources available in airgunning are at the heart of all air rifles and air pistols of all different shapes and sizes, but ultimately they all do the same thing, which is to fire lead pellets or BBs. There are advantages and disadvantages to all of them, as there are with petrol, diesel, and electric cars, for example. Ultimately it comes down to what is best for you, and what you’re going to be using it for, but hopefully the information in this post will help you with that decision.

Spring Power

The workings of a spring powered airgun

The diagram here shows how a spring rifle works and what components it consists of inside. Spring rifles are the simplest of the three power methods available to airgunners, thanks to the low number of moving parts and absence of high pressure seals and valves etc. This makes spring rifles the most reliable out of the three types of power plant.

Some advantages to the spring powered system are that it doesn’t require any gas or refills when shooting, just a person to cock and load it, and it’s ready to go. This is ideal in a hunting situation, when carrying spare gas or a diving bottle isn’t really an option. Spring rifles aren’t affected by changes in temperature like gas powered rifles, are which means you know that it’ll be just as powerful on a cold day as it is a warm day.

There are of course disadvantages. Spring rifles do have recoil when shot, some more than others, and while this can be reduced with tuning kits and polishing, it can’t be completely eliminated. Springers can also be quite noisy when shot, as the noise of the piston moving at a great speed then abruptly stopping is loud. This can’t be helped. The muzzle crack can be suppressed with the fitting of a moderator, but most of the time the difference isn’t very noticeable.

Over time, springers do suffer from spring fatigue, as the metal spring loses its springiness over time, and becomes tired, causing a drop in power. However, this can be easily remedied with a service and a replacement spring, which is often relatively inexpensive.

If you’re looking for a hassle free rifle which will work when you want to, with plenty of power, then a spring rifle is for you. They are often referred to as ‘workhorses’, as they just keep going, and in my opinion, it’s best to start with a spring rifle to learn how to shoot with the recoil, as that is an art in itself.

In terms of picking the best spring air rifle, there are a host to choose from, and the Weihrauch HW95k, and Air Arms TX200 are often mentioned.

CO2 Power

A diagram showing the workings of a Co2 powerplant in an airpistol
A diagram showing the workings of a Co2 power plant in an air pistol

Co2 air rifles and air pistols can be powered by either of the standard capsule sizes which are the 12g Capsule, as first introduced by Crosman, or the 88g Capsule that is commonly used on paintball guns. As you can see in the diagram opposite, the insides consist of a gas chamber where the co2 sits, or attaches, which then goes through a valve, which is knocked by a hammer to release the gas through to the barrel on each shot.

Advantages to the Co2 system include the absence of recoil. As there’s no large inertia of the kind to be found in the spring rifle, when the trigger is pulled, the hammer travels about an inch forward to strike the valve and that is it. This absence of recoil helps you keep your aim and hit your target as your hand is not being moved by this force, whilst the pellet is travelling down the barrel. Another advantage is the quietness of the actions. Most of the noise that comes from a Co2 gun is caused by the co2 gas and pellet escaping the barrel at great speed, so fitting a silencer can often make these guns near silent. CO2 systems are often bolt action, or in pistols they can be semi auto, so this permits a multi-shot system that means you can fit in a follow up shot a lot quicker than you could do with a spring rifle. Co2 pistols are also great fun in semi auto format as the projectiles come out the barrel as quick as you can pull the trigger so target shooting or plinking is always a blast.

Crosman air pistol with Co2 Capsules. Credit: By Hustvedt – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, $3

Disadvantages of this system is that temperature can massively affect the performance of these guns, which in England, with our cold winters and hot summers, can be a real problem! This difference can sometimes be a foot pound of energy or so, but it does depend on what gun it is. The number of shots also decreases on a cold day which can be a real problem when you’re on a hunting trip or shooting at a competition, and you forget to account for the change in temperature. As the co2 capsule in the gun is used the pressure decreases until it runs out which can be a problem as the pellet velocity drops, as does the point of impact, so if you don’t realise that the co2 is running out, you can totally miss what you’re aiming for very easily.

PCP Power

PCP airguns are very similar to Co2 guns in that the air is held in a reservoir, and then released through a hammer and valve system. Examples include the Walther Rotex RM8 and the BSA Scorpion SE.   The difference between CO2 and air is the compressed air is held at a much higher pressure than the Co2 is. Co2 on average is around 800 PSI, whereas PCP Rifles work on around 2900 PSI, so more than 3 times the pressure! This massive increase in pressure means that the compressed air gives the pellet a very quick push, opposed to Co2 providing a very slow push which in turn leads to better shot to shot consistency and accuracy.

A Daystate Pulsar Synthetic. A great example of a high-end PCP Air Rifle.

Other advantages of PCP are that the pressurised air isn’t affected by changes in temperature like Co2 capsules are. This is mandatory when in a serious shooting situation, whether it is hunting or target shooting as each shot counts. A PCP rifle’s power output is normally higher and much more stable than a CO2 weapon, as the rifles themselves are of better construction, and sometimes incorporate regulators, which increase the consistency even further. Accuracy is also phenomenal on the PCP rifles as high quality barrels and materials are used, and it is quite easy to put pellet on pellet.

As with Co2 power, suppressors can be fitted, which make most of the PCP rifles whisper quiet, and most of them feature multi-shot magazines, which are indexed through a bolt action or side lever action system making them a joy to shoot.

Disadvantages to the PCP system include the expensive set up costs. The rifles themselves start from around £380, then either a stirrup pump or a dive bottle are needed to recharge the reservoir. The dive bottle then needs to be refilled when they get low which is normally around £5 at a dive shop, although this is a small price to pay for the accuracy achieved. Other disadvantages are that there are a large number of seals within a PCP rifle, and for the most of the time they are hassle free, but over time they do perish and cause leaks, requiring a service. However, these regular services alleviate any down time.


Which one you choose is really your decision at the end of the day, but if you’re looking for a rifle which you will shoot occasionally for either pest control/hunting, and the odd bit of casual target shooting and plinking, then a Springer will be the best choice for you, as they are rugged and reliable.

A Co2 will be a step up from a springer for a similar job, although they are really more suited towards smaller pest/vermin control and casual target shooting and not up to hunting due to the fluctuations in power.

If you’re going to be using an air rifle a lot for hunting, and competitive target shooting, then a PCP is the way to go. A good PCP can last 10 years or more if looked after, and the refills are a small price to pay for the accuracy and quality that a PCP delivers.

You can check out our range of spring powered air rifles, Co2 Powered air rifles, and PCP powered air rifles in our airgun store. Unlike most online retailers, we can deliver these direct to your door!