Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 61

lution of the mechanical powered airgun goes back to the late 1500s. But for practical purposes, I’m starting with the Girandoni repeating air rifle that the Austrian Army adopted in 1780. It had a rechargeable/removable air chamber in the butt stock, a replaceable 20-round gravity feed magazine on the side of the barrel, and it threw a 51-caliber ball at about 900 fps. It could shoot 30 rounds with consistent velocity before having to be recharged with a hand pump. Even the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1803-1806) used a Girandoni air gun, in what was possibly 46-caliber (others have stated 31-caliber). Although the majority of airguns sold today are used for early training and leisurely fun, a growing number of sportsmen are taking airguns to the next level of accuracy and aesthetics for serious shooting and competition. Even in some European countries that have severe gun control laws, airguns are taken very seriously (although there are velocity/power restrictions). Here in Pennsylvania, airguns are not allowed for hunting, or shooting animals of any sort. A real advantage of airgun shooting, especially in populated areas, is that noise levels aren’t a real concern (although eye protection should always be used), and effective backstops can be inexpensively made. Due to the shape of the projectiles, they lose velocity very quickly, and the maximum trajectory (at the correct angle) of even powerful rifled airguns, is about 500 yards. To understand more about airguns there are several aspects to go over, so let’s start with the projectiles, which are pellets or BBs. BBs are steel or lead round balls, and pellets are mostly hourglass shaped with a hollow skirt that expands a bit as it is forced down the barrel, due to the air pressure, which helps accuracy. These pellets come in dome, flat (wadcutter), hollow point or pointed heads, and each has its own purpose that affects accuracy, range and foot
SEPTEMBER 2010

pounds of energy. The usual calibers include: .177, .20, .22 and .25. Other calibers include .30, 9mm (.355) and .45 through .87, which come as round balls or conical. The 177-caliber comes in both pellet and BB projectiles and is the most common caliber used for target shooting. In comparison to pellets, BBs weigh about 5.2 grains (steel/copper) and 8 grains (lead) and are very inexpensive. The steel/copper BBs can be reused over and over again. Their downside is that they don’t fill the bore of the barrel as completely, or have the better aerodynamic shape of a lead pellet, and therefore do not have the accuracy potential at any range. Their accuracy, though, is certainly good enough for short range training and fun. Pellets come in a variety of weights that range from 5 to 16.8 grains. Next is the 20-caliber, which has a following, but certainly is not as popular as the .177 or .22. It is considered by some to have the best of both worlds for target shooting and increased trajectory. The pellet weights range from 9.2 to 24.2 grains. The .22 is very popular here in the U.S., and I think that’s mainly due to our affinity to the .22 rimfire cartridges. These have bullet weights ranging from 11.9 to 30 grains. I have owned several .22 pellet guns (rifles and pistols) and I can attest to their effectiveness. Even though my shots were rarely more than 30 yards, my more powerful airguns could easily keep shots inside the top of a coke can at 50 yards, and farther when using a scope. The 25-caliber pellet has only been around since the early 1990s, and pellets run from 30 to 35 grains. Those who use it like its superior knockdown power out to about 60 yards. I’m told, however, that past 60 yards it loses trajectory faster than the smaller caliber pellets at similar speeds. For those foreign countries that take airgun hunting seriously, the manufacturers of larger caliber arms (.30 and larger) have speeds varying from 600 to more than
61



Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010

Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010
Life & Times of the Whitetail Biologist
Contents
First Archery Buck
Red Oak, White Oak
Just Like the Good Old Days
Step Back in Time
Antler Restrictions in Pennsylvania
What Goes Up . . .
First Time’s a Charm
100 Deer
The Brute
Flight 93
Field Notes
Conservation News
Off the Wire
Another View
Fun Game
The Naturalist’s Eye
Straight from the Bowstring
Lock, Stock & Barrel
Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Life & Times of the Whitetail Biologist
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - First Archery Buck
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Red Oak, White Oak
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Just Like the Good Old Days
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Step Back in Time
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Antler Restrictions in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - What Goes Up . . .
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - First Time’s a Charm
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 100 Deer
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - The Brute
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Flight 93
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Field Notes
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Conservation News
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 43
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 44
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 45
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 46
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 47
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Off the Wire
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Another View
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 50
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Fun Game
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - The Naturalist’s Eye
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Straight from the Bowstring
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 59
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Lock, Stock & Barrel
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Crossings
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - I1
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - I2
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - September 2010 - Cover4
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