Air Rifle Accuracy Tips & Tricks
Do you find it hard to hit right where you’re aiming with your air rifle sometimes? You’re not alone. Both beginners and advanced airgun enthusiasts struggle with accuracy from time to time. Whether it’s your fault or the fault of the gun, misses can occur frequently. Below are some tips and tricks that can help you improve your shooting accuracy:
- Break that gun in!
Spring powered air rifles that come brand new can often have dismal accuracy. The spring in them often needs to be broken in over the course of a couple thousand pellets. As the spring tension gets lighter, the rifle will shoot better.
- Make sure to use an air gun scope mount
Air guns require the use of air gun-specific scope mounts instead of normal firearm scope mounts. Airguns are unlike firearms in that they also have a forward force component of recoil. The airgun scope mounts will cut down on the scope sliding forward, which can diminish accuracy over time.
- Find the right scope
Since airguns have a forward recoil that is unlike normal firearms, an airgun specific scope is needed. Airgun scopes also tend to have lower magnifications and more efficiency at closer ranges than firearm scopes. Make sure you pick a proper reticle that suits your accuracy needs as well.
- Use proper trigger control
One of the biggest accuracy killers is a bad trigger pull. If you pay close attention to your trigger pull, you may find that you are jerking it or pushing/pulling your reticle to one direction. Focus on a nice, even trigger press that barely disturbs your sight picture. This tip will take a lot of practice to get right. Don’t expect to be able to do this overnight, as it is important to become repetitive in your technique.
- Make sure your barrel is clean
Keep your barrel clean on your airgun. While they don’t have to be cleaned as much as firearms, there are many reasons to keep your barrel thoroughly cleaned. Too much fouling can ruin an accurate air rifle. Another reason is to prevent rusting in the barrel.
- Find the best pellets
With so many pellets on the market today, it can be hard to know which pellets you should use. A great way to figure it out is to try several different designs from different companies. You will eventually see what variety of ammo shoots the best out of your air rifle. Using the same pellets every time will increase the consistency of your shot placements, making you a more accurate shooter.
- The all-important artillery hold
If you’ve been around air rifles for a while, you’re sure to have heard about the artillery hold. The artillery hold basically states that you shouldn’t grip your so tightly when you shoot, as it can make the recoil throw your pellets off the proper flight path. Also, don’t set the air rifle on a hard surface, as this can cause inaccuracy.
- Keep away from high FPS
If you’re new to airguns, a high feet per second gun can be detrimental to your growth as an air rifle shooter. The high FPS guns can have a lot of recoil and are heavy, making it harder for less experienced shooters to shoot very well with them.
- Choose the range for sighting in your scope
Depending on how your air rifle performs and your intended uses, there are different ranges you can choose to sight in your scope. One of the best ranges is around 30 yards, because you’ll be relatively right on the money from 10-50 yards this way.
- Focus on your breathing
Take a couple of quick normal breaths to calm your nerves. Then take one bigger breath and exhale while you wait for the crosshairs to settle on your target. When you’re well lined up, take the shot. Getting used to the proper breathing technique can take some getting used to, so it’s important to practice this every time you shoot.
- Never change your hold
Once you find a way of holding your air rifle that works for you, practice many times to make sure that you always have the same grip. Using the same grip every time you shoot decreases inaccuracies. If you sight the scope in using that grip, every time you use the grip it will be perfectly zeroed in.
- Stability is key
Always try to get into a position that affords you the maximum stability possible. If you can, kneel to make the shot. Even better, try to go prone to make the shot. One great rest when hunting is by using a tree, a stump, or any other object as a rest. If you do this, make sure to use your palm to rest the rifle on, because hard surfaces destroy accuracy.
- Aim small, miss small
The smaller the spot on a target you pick, the better your accuracy will be on the overall target. For example, don’t just pick the bullseye for your aiming point. Pick the very intersection of the x in the bullseye. This way, even if you miss the intersection by a little bit, you’re still well within the bullseye.
- Tighten down some screws
There are many screws on air rifles that can wiggle loose over time. Stock screws specifically can cause big accuracy problems over time. When you do go to tighten up screws, make sure not to over tighten them, as this can strip the screws, completely ruining accuracy.
- Rifling can go bad
Especially on older air rifles or air rifles that have been used hard for years, rifling that is worn out can be a major factor that can cause inaccuracy. This can become a pricey problem, as gunsmiths should be left in charge of fixing this issue.
- Try a bipod
If you hunt with your airgun, a bipod can be an invaluable addition to your air rifle. Bipods, or even tripods, allow you to have a stable shooting rest regardless of where you are. Make sure to practice with your bipod on the range so you can make sure it doesn’t cause any inconsistencies.
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