I’m yet to come across an air-rifle lover who knows nothing about PCPs. It’s like living in the US with no idea of who Trump is. In the airgun world, the PCP has long been king, and there is no sign of soon dropping that title.
The masses love it. Hundreds of thousands have ordered it from airgun stores. Air Gun Maniac has also been effusive in its praise of the PCP.
And so you ask – wha’s the hype all about? What is a PCP air rifle, after all? Let’s introduce you to these wonderful air rifles.
Let’s define PCP
PCP is the abbreviation for pre-charged pneumatics. I don’t intend this to be a linguistic piece but it is worthwhile to quote the dictionary definition of pneumatics as that branch of physics that deals with the mechanical properties of air and other gases.
And so you understand that PCP air rifles simply work with air. Yes, breathable air, freely available to everyone. All you need to do is compress this air to the highest density you can to enable it to launch projectiles.
How to charge PCP air rifles
To compress the air, you need a high-pressure hand pump, scuba tank, or carbon fiber tank. Depending on the specs of the PCP air rifle, you can fill the air cylinders to pressures above 3,000 psi.
Does the size of that figure strike a chord? It should. Note that the recommended maximum pressure for car tires is 35 psi. Multiply this by a hundred and have a feeling of the amount of pressure PCP air rifles hold.
Can you attain such pressure levels using a hand pump? Certainly, yes – but it’s damn hard work. More so with the fact that it becomes harder and harder to pump as the pressure builds up. Opt for the scuba tank to preserve that strength for hunting or target practice.
But note that the hand pump is more readily portable than the scuba tank, and the scuba tank will also need to be refilled at some point.
How do PCP air rifles work?
The action starts by pulling the trigger. This releases a powerful burst of the compressed air from the cylinder into the barrel of the air rifle. Remember the ammo sits at the rear end of the barrel. The forcefully released air pushes the pellet through the barrel and finally out into the air.
As expected, every shot slightly reduces the pressure and volume of air in the reservoir. And therefore you can’t fire indefinitely. Some brands support only 30 shots per fill while other support up to 400 shots per fill – it all depends on the depth of your pocket.
Are PCP air rifles consistent?
To be honest, the first few shots fire with less-than-average velocity as the air rifle adjusts itself to the optimum pressure. Manufacturers have successfully solved this issue by incorporating regulators in the PCP air rifles.
But once the optimum pressure is attained, the rest of the shots fire at a fairly constant velocity until the air pressure in the cylinder drops significantly. Once you notice the pellets veering considerably off the target, know that it’s time to recharge the air rifle.
Advantages of PCP air rifles
- PCP air rifles have great accuracy owing to their high muzzle velocity.
- PCP air rifles have near-zero recoil. This is the extreme opposite of spring-powered air rifles which register great recoil as the spring jerks backward after the shot.
- Due to the zero recoil, PCP air rifles are incredibly quiet
- PCP air rifles boast more shots per fill than CO2 air rifles
- PCP air rifles require much less effort to load and use, unlike break barrel air rifles which require cocking the lever after every shot.
- PCP air rifles are both powerful and accurate and thus find good use in hunting, backyard plinking, pest control, and target practice.
Disadvantages of PCP air rifles
- Cost – PCP air rifles are generally more expensive than the other types of air rifles such as CO2, gas-piston, and spring-powered air rifles. And on top of that, you have to spend more on refilling equipment.
PCPs definitely rule the land of airguns, but they don’t cost nothing. For detailed reviews on the best PCP air rifles in the market, as well as the best value for money PCP air rifle, visit Airgun Maniac and make an informed choice. Cheers!