Occasionally you’ll hear someone say that air rifles aren’t accurate. Perhaps that’s what brought you to this page. Most of these complaints are the result of magnum spring or gas piston air rifles being mass marketed without informing the consumer that they cannot be held like traditional rifles and shoot accurately.
Here are two 6 shot groups I shot indoors (it’s cold out) at 8 yards:
The rifle I used was my B3-3. It is nice and quiet for indoor shooting.
For the test, I removed the bipod and shot from a sitting position. The top group was shot using a traditional firm rifle hold. The bottom group was shot using the artillery hold. As you can tell, it is pellet on top of pellet. Keeping in mind this was at 8 yards, imagine what it would look like at 20.
So what is this artillery hold? It is named after the way that artillery piece recoils within its carriage:
Most spring and gas piston air rifles prefer to rest on your open palm at their balance point on their forearm. The buttstock is lightly shouldered. Breathing and trigger control is the same as any shooting discipline. When you squeeze off your shot, remember the artillery piece in the video. You are the carriage. Let the air rifle recoil freely.
Be sure to rest the gun on your hand at the same place each time. Try to apply the same pressure against your shoulder as well. Variations of this technique might be required to find the optimum hold for your rifle. Some will prefer to rest ahead or behind the balance point. Others like more pressure against the shoulder. The key to shooting accurately is finding what your gun likes and being consistent with that hold.
If all this hasn’t turned you away from shooting springers, I have a few more bits of advice for you. Don’t make your purchase based off the advertised speed. Instead, start with a lower powered rifle. High powered rifles tend to recoil violently and are often very hold sensitive.
Start shooting at 10 yards. When your groups start shrinking to your liking, back it up 5 yards. Continue that process until you are shooting good groups at your maximum range.
Don’t set unrealistic expectations. Most springers are rough around the edges, filled with combustible lubricants, and often have faulty seals right out of the box. You aren’t going to be stacking pellets at 100 yards. Shooting squirrel head groups at 30 yards is reasonable.
Be sure your stock screws as well as scope mounting are secure. Don’t be afraid to use some thread adhesive to keep them in place.
Experiment with pellets. This applies to pretty much any kind of air rifle. Some pellets will shoot better than others. It might take a few varieties to find the best ones for your gun.
I hope that this information gets you shooting nice groups with your springers! Springers are not for everyone, so don’t write off airguns if you don’t have the time or patience to master them. PCPs, single stroke, and multistroke pneumatic air rifles might be better options for you.