Well, here are my Spring Piston Air Rifles.
• The one on top, a Break Barrel for cocking the spring and loading the chamber, this is the first I bought of the 4, about 20 years old. Fine Air Rifle, I removed the rear sight and installed a receiver mounted peep sight. In theory, that could be a problem, the original rear sight was mounted on the rear of the barrel, so any imperfection in lining up as the barrel is closed wouldn’t effect the point of impact since both front and rear sights are on the barrel and would equally be effected. Mounting the Peep Sight on the receiver and having the Front Sight on the barrel would, in theory, serve to make the gun less accurate with because of alignment errors, but it hasn’t worked out that way.
A gun, not in my possession, uses a Receiver Mounted Peep Sight and Barrel mounted front sight, and a locking mechanism to help assure proper barrel – receiver alignment.
As mentioned in:
HW 55 Custom Match: Part 1
And that classic air rifle that I could have bought, 25 or so years ago, at a gun show, with money in hand, yet I bought something else, to this day I regret passing up the chance. Notice the Barrel Lock on this one as well.
The next two rifles came in quick succession, I’m not sure which was first, so lets discuss them as shown.
• The Under-Lever is next. Great idea, barrel rigid, so choice of sights or a scope isn’t restricted. This rifle has a unique feature, a 7 round magazine, and I don’t believe they make this model anymore.
The magazine carrier has a detachable 7 round magazine, and spares are/were available. But returning the magazine to the carrier requires care. There are detents in the margazine that have an indexing component from the magazine carrier that needs to fit within it. By rotating a seated magazine and feeling the clicks helps assure correct alignment, leaving the magazine detained by the indexing component is essential to reinsert the magazine/magazine carrier into the gun, to do otherwise the small shaft that pushes the pellet from the carrier might be damaged. Other problems might occur if pellets are placed in the magazine backwards, attempts to load another pellet in a bore already containing one, etc., can cause problems. For this reason, last I saw, this rifle was offered in a single shot version, I’m glad I purchased mine when I did.
• This Side-Lever, huge in itself, is not quite as long as the rifles above. But it has a unique feature, a recoil canceling mechanism. I’m not suggesting air guns have anywhere near the recoil of even modest firearms, but powerful air guns have a jump to them when the spring piston is released. Well, this side lever has a channel embedded in the stock. When the side lever is pulled fully rearward, the rifle receiver and barrel move forward in the channel and latches. When the gun is cocked, loaded, and aimed, and the trigger pulled, the spring piston lurch forward, and the receiver and barrel jump backwards slightly. The effectiveness isn’t really noticed until another spring power air rifle without this feature is fired, then the jump initially seems startling.
To load the rifle, after cocking, with the spring under tension, the loading port opened. The pellet is placed into the barrel directly with the fingers. Well, yes there’s an automatic safety, like the other guns above, but things go wrong at times. If your fingers are in the loading port, and the trigger is pulled, releasing the piston, your fingers are history. To prevent that, there’s a small latch next to the loading port. While the port is open, the latch engages the closing side lever at various points if accidentally released and is needed to let the side lever close once the pellet is loaded.
To uncock the gun without firing, a Houdini hold is required, the side lever needs pulled back, then let go forward a tiny bit, holding the gun and side lever firmly, the safety pushed off, trigger pulled, and side lever is under immense tension, as it is slowly lowered while pulling the trigger, the latch by the loading port engages, so it has to be held down. Continue to do so until the side lever is no longer under tension and the loading port closed.
• The Minuteman Air Rifle, I’ve already written about. Never as powerful as the rifles above, it is very light, very compact. It’s from the late 1960’s, and it’s power was commensurate with other common air rifles at the time. A friend owned the .177 version, this is the .22, I bought it online several years ago. It’s fairly unique, I’ll need to research it’s origin. But just for cans, informal target, this one would do nicely, the rifles above are quite heavy and I can’t see carrying them around all day like we did as kids. I’m thinking of looking at a modern inexpensive small spring air gun for comparison to the Minuteman.