Guest Post: Brief History of Air Guns

Article submitted by Michael.

Brief History of Air Guns

Air guns have been around for about 500 years and they are a great alternative to firearms. They can be used as entertainment or for pest control and small game hunting and modern models use one of the three available types of power source: spring-piston, compressed gas, or pneumatic.

Air guns are also used in sportive competitions such as Field Target or the Olympic 10 m Rifle. They are also more powerful than airsoft weapons and use different types of pellets. I felt the need to add this explanation as many people get them confused.

Today I’ll take you on a short trip down memory lane and I’ll talk about the history of the air gun.

The beginnings

The first historical record of an air gun is dated back in 1580 and you can even see it at the Livrustkammaren Museum in Stockholm. This time is also recognized as being the start of the modern air gun.

Still, before it got to what we know today, the first models used a pump to fill the air reservoir. Until the 19th century, people used air guns to shoot large game and they even used them in warfare (take a look at the Girandoni air rifle). These guns supported a .30-.51 caliber and reached a speed of 650 to 1000 feet per second.

Given the time and the fact that firearms weren’t at their best time, air guns were considered superior. For instance, an air gun wasn’t affected by the weather (if the gun power would get wet it was rendered useless), and it was quieter so it wouldn’t disclose the shooter’s position – a feature that made them great for an armed conflict.

Time for Glory

As the air gun proved so effective in the battlefield, both France and Austria had sniper detachments equipped with air rifles. The Austrian forces even developed a weapon that was about 4ft long, weighed 10 pounds, and supported a .51 caliber, called the Girandoni air rifle. The rifle had a tubular magazine and could hold up to 22 rounds.  This gun had the power of a modern .45 ACP caliber pistol.

The Modern Times

As the firearms developed, the air rifle lost in terrain, but it’s still used for the level of energy it delivers. During the 1890s, people started using them for competitive target shooting and the sport became quite popular. Even more, over 4,000 associations and clubs were founded during this time all over Great Britain, but Birmingham was the main center.

Today we still use air guns for competitive sports and for hunting and I think it will be a long time before the air gun will be rendered obsolete.

Air guns vs. Airsoft Guns

Many people (especially beginners) tend to consider that airsoft guns and air guns are the same. While there are some similarities in design and in popularity, the two types of guns are very different.

A quick look on goog gun will tell you that airsoft weapons are safe to use in war games and even children can play with them. Well, air guns are a lot more powerful and they use metallic ammunition, not plastic pellets like airsoft models. Because of this, air guns can’t be used to shoot at people or property – they do inflict damage and can be lethal.

You should also know that both types are legal to own in most areas and they are great for practicing your shooting skills and keeping your hobby alive. Still, the history shows us that air guns were the first ones at the table.

Just got back home after Irma.

The acronym SHTF has gotten quite popular in the past few years.

I remember that it used to be popular to say that your preparations were for fighting off the inevitable Russian or Chinese invasion, sometimes instead the Blue Helmets were mentioned.  I’d tend to think Blue Helmets would be a Turkey Shoot, but lets hope it never comes to that.

Now days the common excuse is zombies, that one is prepping for zombies.

I just got back to my home after hurricane Irma.  Fortunately my home weathered the storm well, but some of my neighbors have extensive damage to their roofs.

Don’t fall too far into fantasy when you are prepping, there are all manner of real world problems that can cause the proverbial shit to hit the fan.

Updated – Safety Bulletin for the Ruger Precision Rifle

New Ruger Bolt Shroud

I received a replacement bolt shroud from Ruger yesterday.  The new bolt shroud is on the left, the original on the right.

If you own a Ruger Precision Rifle, I would highly recommend you check if your rifle falls under the safety notice.  If it does, get the replacement bolt shroud.  It is not good to have a firearm that might not fire when you need it and worse might fire when you don’t want it.

The Ruger Safety Bulletin can be found here.

 

Read moreUpdated – Safety Bulletin for the Ruger Precision Rifle

Zero your damn MRDS.

Before zeroing the pictured mini red dot sight, it was impacting 4 feet high, and a foot right at 50 yards.

Some time back I really got into the piggy back mini red dot sight (MRDS) on top the ACOG.  I’ve also run them on top and offset from higher magnification scopes.

So having started running these offset and piggyback MRDS, I got really curious about how other people were using them.  So I asked people, in person and on gun forums.

“Oh, it’s for close range, so it’s not zeroed.”

Now to be fair, there was one person who said he zeroed his at 10 feet.  All the rest had their mini red dots unzeroed.

The point of a firearm is to be able to place rounds on a desired target.  Be that target a piece of paper, prey, or a hostile combatant, we index our firearm on the target in order to achieve that effect on target.  We use our sights to verify that the firearm is aligned and indexed with the target.

It is pointless to have an unzeroed optic.

“But Howard, I’m only going to use the red dot at super close range.”

At close range is there it is most important that your shots are effective.  If you have a less than ideal hit on a bad guy 500 yards out and they take a few minutes to bleed to death, that would just be a shame.  But if up close you fail to instantly neutralize a target, the result could be deadly for you, or those you care about.

The big downsize to having these secondary miniature sights is odd height over bore or offset issues.  These issues can lead to these offset sights being massively off, like the one pictured above.  Offset sights are usually sitting on a stack of mounts attached to a handguard that may or may not be parallel with the bore.  It can be very easy to be multiple feet off target at close ranges with an unzeroed offset sight.  Your average sight on an AR15 is 2.6 inches over the bore.  A piggy back red dot can easily be 4+ inches over the bore.  This height over bore makes picking a good zero difficult.

There is going to be a part 2 to this article, where I will go over some of your options when zeroing an offset or piggyback MRDS.