Everyone likes to think that you can judge an airgun by its
specifications, but the truth of the matter is that accuracy depends on the
user. Training, technique and a number of other factors go into airgun
accuracy, so it’s impossible to judge an airgun based on its performance in one
What You Need to Know
About Airgun Accuracy
Naturally, an airgun is only as accurate as the shooter’s
training will allow. Different airguns produce different results. It’s
important to note that the techniques you’ve learned will need adjustment based
on what you’re shooting.
However, even in light of small adjustments you need to make,
the basics of marksmanship still apply.
The basics include:
Steady position includes holding your airgun lightly and making
sure it’s stable enough to give you pinpoint accuracy.
Aiming is a given; if you can’t get an accurate sight picture, you’re
not going to be able to hit anything with any semblance of accuracy.
Breath control is unique to the shooter. Most people find that
their shots are more accurate during the pause after an exhaled breath, which
the U.S. military teaches, but it could be different for you.
Trigger squeeze is important because you have to keep the
weapon still and sighted-in as you squeeze. Otherwise, your shot will follow a
different trajectory than the one you intended for it to follow.
Specifications in Airguns
Each airgun has its own limits when it comes to accuracy. While
some airguns will let you shoot an 80-meter target the size of a dime and
others will only be accurate within a 35-meter range, it’s important that you
recognize the built-in limitations each airgun has.
The barrel, powerplant and pellet all combine to affect an
airgun’s accuracy. Further, the trigger must be controllable and the stock must
fit the shooter — but those are minor considerations compared to the barrel,
powerplant and pellet.
A longer barrel usually means greater accuracy. The pellets you
choose will certainly impact your shots; if they can’t produce a stable
trajectory, you can forget about hitting your target. Powerplants using
compressed air are more forgiving than powerplants based on spring action are.
Testing Your Own
Because a combination of the shooter’s skill level and the
weapon’s natural limitations determine accuracy, it’s important that you check
your shot groups and see what needs work.
Your shot group size is the best way to gauge how accurate a
particular airgun is in your hands. Don’t measure the pattern; measure the
group. In order to properly sight-in your weapon, it’s essential that you keep
your shot group within a quarter’s width on a 50-meter target.
A scattered shot group usually signifies that it’s your
technique that needs work. An off-target but tight shot group means that your
weapon is limited in its capabilities. Sometimes minor windage adjustments will
do the trick and improve your weapon’s accuracy. If they don’t, you may be
dealing with an airgun that isn’t cut out for high accuracy at 50 meters. Try
moving your target closer – about 35 meters should do – and use the same type
of pellets to further pinpoint your accuracy problems.