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Thread: Spring piston vs Gas piston



  1. #1
    Tenderfoot
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    Spring piston vs Gas piston

    Looking for info here. Want to get an airgun to give me something else to shoot and save money on ammo. Don't want to spend the money on a PCP (at least for now), don't want to be bothered with co2, definitely don't want a multi pump. Seems like that leads me to a break barrel, I see there are spring piston models and gas piston models. Can anyone tell me which is better and why? Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Gun Wizard
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    I put a search into Beeman's site for gas piston and got no results. I think those are going to be co2. ADD: I have not shopped air guns in a little over twenty years. there may be something else out there. For simplicity and operating cost, spring piston is the way to go, IMHO.

    There are many makes and models to choose from. I never considered hunting when I choose mine. I picked a target grade break barrel, walnut stock model 55MM from Weihraugh. It is not high velocity, and it fits my needs perfectly. I shoot in the garage using a cardboard box with vertical stacked magazines as a bullet trap. Something over 550 fps is advertised. Ten shot groups of one ragged hole .25" outside to outside are expected (from a bench) with either the excellent aperture sight system or with a scope. Velocities twice that of the 55MM are available. Prices run from sub $100 to several hundred, depending on quality.

    Side lever cocking models are also available, but the good ones get more speedy. The sky is the limit on those.

    A tip: If you scope it get an air gun compatible scope. I trashed a regular Simmons with shot #2. The spring recoil is just the opposite from that of a firearm? A Burris Mini-4 PA and a Leupold Ultralight 3-9 EFR have both served me well. (You will need an extra scope stop or two, on the rail to keep the scope in place. it looks like a base without the ring.). Neither is marketed as air gun, but they stay together. You need close parallax adjustment for accuracy. I shoot at 33'/10m.
    Last edited by papabear; 10-08-2013 at 09:39 AM.
    Jack.

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  3. #3
    Tenderfoot
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    Papabear, thanks for the info, especially regarding the scopes, will keep that in mind. I've been looking at airguns on pyramydair.com and it seems like there are break barrel gas piston guns (not co2 powered). The little I found about them is they are smoother cocking, work better in the cold and can stay cocked without a spring to wear out. Not sure of any other benefits. You can see the 2 types listed at pyramydair. Even among one manufacturer they list the 2 types. Check out the Ruger Air Magnum and the Ruger Yukon. Those 2 specifically have my interest just trying to find which mechanism is better to make my decision. Also look at the Crossman nitro piston models, its a gas piston mechanism.
    GaCop likes this.

  4. #4
    Gunfighter
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    We have every type of air rifle and pistol there is. My husband and I have built a nice air gun range on our 7 acres with stations out to 50 yards.

    We have the Benjamin Nitro XL in 177 and we got it just in case we need to do some pest control and/or times when we run out of air or don't want to pump up our PCP guns and, well, because it is a magnum and a bit different. Just nice to have variety. Gotta tell you, though, that the Nitro has much more power than you will ever need for target work or plinking and you do pay a price for all that velocity. For one, it is a bugger to cock - takes a lot of oomph - so forget long shooting sessions. For another, it is very fussy about pellets used with all that velocity and you will need a long break in period to achieve decent accuracy. For another, it is loud to the point of not being much of an advantage over quiet 22 LR rounds. Gas piston not withstanding, you still get an appreciable amount of recoil, so your technique is critical. Lastly, the trigger on the Nitro series won't win any trophies - I plan to upgrade mine, soon.

    Compared to my venerable old RWS 45 spring piston gun, the Nitro does cock smoother and the recoil seems a bit smoother, too, if that makes any sense. The big advantage of gas piston guns, though, is supposedly their ability to be left cocked without any damage to the gun or loss of power, compared to a spring piston gun. This would be a real advantage for hunting, where you might leave the gun cocked for long periods of time, but I can't see it as being important for target and plinking work.

    If you want a good general purpose air rifle and are trying to get the most out of one gun, I'd stay away from the magnum/super velocity guns. We have the Nitro only because we have plenty of other guns to shoot. Gotta warn you, though. Do not shoot a nice PCP gun or it will spoil you. They are very addictive. Nothing shoots sweeter than a PCP.
    kraynky likes this.

  5. #5
    Sidewinder
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    G'day rf22 and welcom to the MO group.
    Very good info has been given in the posts above. I have not long got back into air rifle shooting after about 20 years of nothing but burning powder.
    Like your self was looking into gas piston vs spring piston.

    Well springer won for me and got a Diana (RWS) 34, older T1 trigger model.
    My conclusion is a springer is a tryed and tested technology, very easy to tune and parts are plenty.
    Did hear some bad reports about the gas piston systems failing due to gas leaks.

    Stick to something German or British made and you cant go wrong. RWS Diana, Weihraugh or an older BSA.
    Take all the sales gimmicks of the "high velocity" with a grain of salt, if an air gun exeeds 900fps you won't be hitting much beyond 40yards.

    My .177 Diana 34 is a challenge to shoot, artilliry hold is a must but 3/4" groups @ 40yards with H&N Barucudas off the bench is becoming more common for me as time passes.
    After a simple strip down clean and pollish of the internals regrease with a moly grease, 10.65gr Baracudas are running 700fps, 8.2 gr RWS are @ 800fps which puts me in the 11.5-12fpe region. Plenty of punch for pests and a nice smooth gun to shoot. Trigger on aint half bad either.

    Hope this helps and happy hunting for an air rifle.

    I don't regret the Diana buy at all!
    RB Rider and GaCop like this.

  6. #6
    Gun Wizard
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    I love my 34 Panther and it's a real workhorse. I read a ton of stuff on GTA for a year before I bought...went into it prepared to do a teardown, but the more I shot it, the more I realized it didn't need my help any! Not so with the Chinese copy of the RWS34, branded as Ruger...that one benefitted greatly from a rebuild/polish/tune. The foundation is there to make it worthwhile though, and it's fun to do. Forget the advertised velocities, they are achieved with crappy lightweight pellets...speed isn't what does it in a pellet rifle, it's precision and penetration. (My MAC1 Steroid 392 does have the power though)

  7. #7
    Tenderfoot
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    Thanks to all who answered. Lots of good info here! I'm sure to be looking and learning for the next month or 2 then will decide what to go for.

  8. #8
    Gun Wizard
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    I'm shooting a Beeman RS2 in 22 cal. It's quieter than a .177 and has plenty of oomph using a 15 gr pellet at a chronographed 750 fps. So far this year I've eliminated 43 squirrels from my yard who were intent on digging up my wife's gardens.
    Tomray likes this.
    Tom Vietnam Vet.........June 66 to Dec 67

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  9. #9
    Site Contributor Contributing Member
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    There are several companies that cater to online air gun sales. Cabelas and Bass Pro sell them too. The gas piston is the latest and maybe the greatest advance in air gun technology. Gal, above has good advice. Go look at some air rifle forums for addl info. Benjamin's new piston rifles look good. The Chinese make them, too. Looks like prices go up to $200 (+). There are a lot of third party places selling triggers, etc. Good luck. Air guns are sure fun to shoot.
    Kansas: Keeping America safe from Missouri since 1854.

  10. #10
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    I am no expert on air rifles, however, I can put forth an objective observation of the two offerings. The air rifle springs used in pellet guns look something like what is used on the forks of a motorcycle and have considerable mass which equates to movement of the gun. When that spring expands there is a movement of that considerable mass that includes one half of the spring's mass plus the piston that will eventually (an instant, actually) come to a screeching halt with the resultant forward recoil. A gas spring takes essentially all of the spring's mass out of the equation leaving only the piston's mass to exert when it starts its journey and abruptly stops. From an engineer's point of view I see the gas piston as being a significant technological advancement, especially in the reduction of moving mass department. AC
    Last edited by gunscrewguy; 12-02-2013 at 07:15 PM.
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