Same old newbie question: What to buy?

Forums General Discussion Same old newbie question: What to buy?

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    robinsoncr
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    I have been shooting rifles and pistols for over 36 years.  I have owned everything from benchrest rifles through wildcats.  Back in the early 90’s, I used to do some gunsmithing and build custom 10/22’s.  I want to start shooting air rifles but I’m a little intimidated by all the choices, and types of delivery systems.

    I like the PCP guns except the entry price is steep.  $300 for a hand pump, or $600 for a small tank to carry around?!  That seems burdensome to me.  One thing that I hate now, is carrying a 40# range bag to the range when I want to shoot (Pistol).

    I’m 6’4 & 250#, and my 13 year old daughter is 5’9 & 110#.  I want to get her into shooting with me.  I have taken her to the range to shoot 22lr, but there are so many nutcases at the public range, and it’s so loud that she’s uncomfortable.  Yes, we wear ear protection, but she has been plagued by ear problems her entire life, and oftentimes, the concussion from firearms is painful for her.

    I have been watching videos on the Weihroach HW97K .22cal, AA TX200 MK3 .22cal, AA Pro-Sport .22cal, and the Walther LGU Master.  If I were to consider a PCP rifle, I saw where I can get the Marauder directly from Crosman using the AGNATION 20% off coupon for $432.  I have read and watched videos about Hatsan rifles but I worry about parts and customer support.  If I got a PCP, I could potentially recharge it at work, where we use Nitrogen, or I could rent a small bottle from our Nitrogen supplier.  Rental on a large bottle is $15/month and $50 refill for NI300.  That’s a bottle the size that welders use.  I could get a bottle the size divers’ use and the rent is about the same, refill is less.

    So, my laundry list gets longer. 

    • I’d like an air rifle that both of us can shoot, is accurate at least to 50 yards
    • My daughter can learn to ready it to fire
    • Doesn’t cost more than $1000 to get into shooting
    • Very quiet
    • High quality, something that could be handed down to the next generation
    • Doesn’t require a lot of expensive maintenance to run
    • Parts availability & not extremely expensive
    • Could be used for small game

     
    Thanks,
    Chris
     

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    Bobbed06
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    I know you didnt mention this, but have you considered a Crosman 1377 custom built or 1322?? Your girl could easily pump this model with an aftermarket pump handle, and match grade barrells are available.

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    Alan
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    Light weight, low power springers are good out to 25 yards, but past that they spread out quite a bit. Pumpers are fine too (Benjamin 397/392), and can be accurate out to 50 yards if the wind is light. 

    Break barrels are a mixed bag of tricks in my opinion. Some do well, some are junk, and price doesn’t seem to matter which is which. 

    PCP anything does get expensive, even if you’re stout enough to use a hand pump (which get old, VERY fast!). But sooner or later, that is going to be your bottom line if you want 50+ yard accuracy. And no doubt, a .25 or .30 caliber.

     

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    robinsoncr
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    Bobbed06, I hadn’t considered the Crosman 1377 or 1322 custom or stock.  I will do some research on them.

    Alan, I hear you about the PCP.  The PCP rifles are appealing to me for a lot of reasons.  I used to shoot long range and had wildcat guns, too.  Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s when no one really hunted with a pistol, I had used a T/C contender in 3030, Ruger Super Redhawk with scope, and a Ruger Super Blackhawk Hunter with scope.  I used handloads that I developed for each pistol.  I used to make my own primitive archery gear too!  So, I like to tinker…

    I just talked to my Airgas rep, and I can purchase a NI 80cuft tank for $230 and it’s mine with the first fill free.  If I go PCP, which gun offers the best value, accuracy, and robust build, and suppressed?

    thanks,

    Chris

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    spysir
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    Keeping small folks in mind, maybe consider the Crosman 1720T  w/shoulder stock.  LW barrel, decent trigger, outstanding support, EASY to pump , power can be adjusted up to 12fpe which will hunt/target shoot out to 50 yards no problem.
    “best value, accuracy, and robust build, and suppressed?”   would be a matter of opinion but rapid air weapons fit’s the description though maybe over you budget. 
     Can you het to a match and test a few rifles out?

    John

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    pndofflesh
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    You should check out the Benjamin Discovery. You can get the package deal with a hand pump for reasonable money $300 ish. It is a little loud but mods are easy to do and it is the ultimate tinkerers gun. BEWARE the whole thing is addictive and you can quickly throw budget out the window. Which is the scenario I ran into, started with the disco in .22 then moved up to a .25 marauder and now graduated to a .30 FX Bobcat. The next requirement is a compressor as they all LOVE AIR.

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    robinsoncr
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    I’ve tried searching for matches locally, but haven’t found any.  It’s mostly IDPA stuff.  I’ll keep looking though.  It might mean that I buy my daughter her own rifle, and one for me to play with!  ;0)

    How many charges can I get on a Marauder using an 80cuft NI tank?

    What’s considered the next step up from a Marauder?  I’m torn, because I still love the finely crafted AA rifles, too!

    Chris

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    sharroff
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    Chris,

    Have you seen the used guns for sale on Yellow Forum or TargetTalk?  Every now and then some target guns show up at a great price.

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    sharroff
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    Here is an example of a good price on a gun you could use very cost effectively from Yellow: 

    http://www.network54.com/Forum/79574/message/1470437238/FS-Walther+LGR-M+SSP+10+Metre+Airgun

    and if you wanted PCP

    http://www.network54.com/Forum/79574/message/1470322492/WTS-+Gen2+Synthetic+.22+Marauder

    If you went the PCP route, ajshoots from this forum is a great marauder gunsmith. 

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    Smaug
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    First things first, you have to adjust yourself to our shorter range world. 50 yards with any kind of smallbore airgun is like 200 yards with a powderburner.

    100 yards is like 500, due to much lower aerodynamic efficiency, velocity, and bullet weight. 

    We we also tend to shoot at MUCH smaller targets. So you think you need 50 yds min., but it is actually a reasonable MAXIMUM range. For reasonable airguns. 

    I have a custom built Crosman 1377, and it is nice, but it’s a 30 yard gun. And that’s with 10 pumps for every shot. It gets old faster than pumping a PCP every 30 shots. 

    My advice is to start with a Hill pump and Marauder, per your first instinct. The Benji pumps are junk. You’ll get 30 very good shots, and you only have to pump from 2000 to 2500 psi; not too hard. The higher end PCPs need 3000 to 3300 psi, which is where hand pumping is tough. In .177, it puts out 18 FT-lbs which is great out to 60 yards for hunting small game, and out to 80 or 100 for plinking. 

    Then, supplement it with a top quality springer or gas ram rifle that shoots 12-15 FT-lbs. (AA TX200 is a perennial favorite.) for just relaxed plinking and target shooting, the Weihrauch HW30s or Beeman R7 are hard to beat. They’ll shoot a 7 gr. pellet at 650 fps, which is even enough for pest control and small game (rabbit and smaller) out to 30 yards. (Head shots for mammals, body for birds)

    that’ll have you into the hobby and not paying firearm tax for ammo, for around $1k. You’ll be surprised how much you like low-medium powered airguns, I bet. I came from powderburners too, and don’t miss it much. I rolled  my own ammo too, so I was getting the most out of it. 
     

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    robinsoncr
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    Smaug, thanks for your post, it’s very helpful.  I agree, I need to readjust my mindset about distances.  I used to be big into primitive archery and took great pride in the challenge of getting close to prey.  I have some interesting pictures where I stalked a badger in Colorado once. 😳

    I keep eel going back to bottom lever spring guns because they are simple and light.  I have a place to shoot 35 yards that is safe and 5 minutes away.

    I saw that AofA has a Brocock Contour Elite S6 for $595.  I have shot bullpup 223 before and always thought they were interesting.  Is that a good rifle?  I have been watching videos of the Walther LGU Master Class and they seem to be very accurate and AofA have them for $505.

    So many paths.  I could get two springers, one for my daughter and one for me and have a competition!

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    Smaug
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    Brocock makes good air rifles, but they need filling to 3000 psi. 

    Springers are good, and fun, but they’re almost impossible to shoot well beyond 50 yds. They have to be held a certain way, (not firmly) or they’re inconsistent. Also, the more powerful they get, the worse the balance and heavier the weight. They’re still fun. 

    Where do you live? Maybe there’s a member nearby who’ll let you try some of his airguns before you buy. If you’re in the Chicago area, drop me a line by personal message. 

    Also. Re. Springers, break-barrels are much simpler than under or side levers. They’re not loosey-goosey, as you might think. 

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    robinsoncr
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    Smug, I’m in southwest Virginia, and according to the member map, smack dab in a giant air rifle black hole!  The 80cubic foot tank of Nitrogen should be good for a LOT of refills, and is cheaper than a good pump!

    ​chris

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    T3PRanch
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    “robinsoncr”Smug, I’m in southwest Virginia, and according to the member map, smack dab in a giant air rifle black hole!  The 80cubic foot tank of Nitrogen should be good for a LOT of refills, and is cheaper than a good pump!

    ​chris

    
Not to mention N2 is vastly superior to air from a hand pump because it IS DRY!

    Thurmond

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    JohnL57
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    A couple comments-The Marauder is a fantastic gun for the money-you hear a lot about defective barrels but I wouldn’t let that put me off getting one-I have two, .22 and .25 and both shoot very well. They are kind of heavy to tote around though and somewhat air hungry in stock tune. They can be adjusted for more efficiency by a knowledgeable tuner. Another possibility which I am coming to really like is an Air Arms/CZ s200. They’re very light, accurate and very efficient air consumers. They do lack a safety however. It’s great that your daughter wants to shoot with you-mine did till she got too”girly”, lol!
    John

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    Smaug
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    “JohnL57”The Marauder … somewhat air hungry in stock tune. They can be adjusted for more efficiency by a knowledgeable tuner.

    That depends on how you look at it. Marauders are set up from the factory to be filled to 2500 psi and refilled when they get down to 2000 psi. That’s about 3 magazines worth. (30 rounds) For hunting or pesting, that’s a lot of ’em. For plinking, less so. It’s done that way to make it easy to hand pump. As far as I know, Benjamin is the only manufacturer to make that kind of concession to the budget-minded shooter, or someone who just wants to keep it simple.

    If the OP will be shooting with infinite nitrogen, (OP: make sure the tank is rated to well over 3000 psi; 4500 psi carbon fiber tanks are the most popular) then the 2500 psi fill pressure is not necessarily a priority to him, and he may want to retune. Retuning the Marauder is easy to do oneself, and there are good instructions in the manual and lots of good tuning reference points on the internet. Some want to shoot their heavy pellets at the maximum subsonic velocity. Others are fine with lighter pellets at lower speeds.

    I find airgunning to be a pretty sedentary sport, (except for hunting) so I relish the full body exercise I get from pumping. (it’s a LOT more exercise than pumping up bike tires, but nothing to be afraid of. Just wait for your heartbeat to settle back down again before you start shooting with any expectation of accuracy)

    Here’s the shot curve on my Marauder. (factory tune)
    http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q112/jzorns/Airguns/Marauder_shot_curve.jpg

    At any rate, I don’t think there are any good alternatives for under $1k for two guns.

    I also like the independence of springers and pump-up pneumatics, even though they are a bit less accurate. It’s like driving a stickshift. My son and I were shooting our low powered rifles in the basement last night. At 13 yards with no wind, for punching paper, one doesn’t need more than about 300 fps and light, cheap wadcutter pellets.

    http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q112/jzorns/Airguns/6ad4522b.jpg

    http://s134.photobucket.com/user/jzorns/media/Airguns/6b1a3a18.jpg.html

     

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    robinsoncr
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    [edited and deleted previous text]  Forget what I said!  The appeal of having a PCP where I can shoot out to at least 50 yards is too appealing.  Plus, I’m a tinkerer by heart, and I love playing with things to make them better, and that makes the Marauder appealing.

    I’m going to look for a used bottle because I found out that the bottles that my local Airgas people supply are only filled to 2000psi.  That wouldn’t do me a lot of good!  If I could find a used air bottle for less than the cost of a decent hand pump…

    I think I’m going to have to sacrifice one of my 223 varmint/target rifles for this endeavor.

    Thanks,

    Chris

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    JohnL57
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    If you’re going with a springer, bear in mind that those underlevers are all about a pound heavier than a comparable breakbarrel of similar power. The weight can make them easier to shoot accurately, but it makes them more work to carry on a hunt. You may want to consider the great deal AOA has on the HW95, it’s a great balance of power to weight imo.
    John

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