You don’t have to spend £1,000 on a pre-charged pneumatic airgun – or PCP for short – in order to hunt rabbits, but it helps!
That’s the message from West Country gunshop owner Ian Hodge. He picks two of his most popular PCP airguns off the shelf to explain.
There’s a BSA R10 with rubberised black plastic stock and a fitted scope, priced at £985 for the kit.
Then there’s a Stoeger XM1, which he sells as a kit with a scope for just under £300.
Both of them are perfectly adequate for pest control like shooting rabbits in a garden, Ian explains. They’re both accurate enough for the job, and have similar power at just under 12 ft/lbs. They’re both magazine-fed too, so you can make a quick follow-up shot without fumbling with individual pellets.
So what do you get for the extra money if you choose the BSA? Well, it’s European made, against the Stoeger which comes from China. You can see and feel the difference in the build quality; the bolt handle of the BSA feels more solid and operates more smoothly, for instance.
The BSA has a larger air cylinder, so you get more shots with each fill – well over 100 shots, against the Stoeger’s 30-40. That could be important to a serious pest controller who needs to be out for hours at a time and doesn’t want to stop to refill.
For some people, though, the price will be all-important. Ian tells of a family of four who came into the shop and bought a Stoeger airgun each. “They’re going to have so much fun shooting together in the garden,” he says.
Ian comments that sales of PCP airguns have rocketed in recent years, when once most airgun he sold were spring-powered. That’s partly because prices have fallen, but also it’s become easier to fill the PCP guns, with gunshops like his selling compressed air bottles in a range of sizes from 3 litres to 12 litres.
People are no longer put off by the complication of filling the guns, and they can see the benefits over a springer – such as improved accuracy and magazine feeding.
Click here to find out more about Stoeger airguns.
Click here for more about BSA airguns.
Click here to visit the Ian Hodge Fieldsports online shop.
Search the UK’s gunshops for the airgun you want at the price you want to pay – go to Kitfinder.co.uk
More on airguns for hunting from Fieldsports Channel and Fieldtester
Which airguns do our viewers use?
It’s the results of our massive airgun questionnaire. First thing we noticed when we went through the results: it is clear that the break barrel’s glory days are over. Nearly everyone lists a PCP as their favourite airgun. So, which makes of PCP airguns do you buy? Three companies have more than half the market. The biggest is Air Arms, with nearly a quarter of the market by itself, followed by BSA and in third place Weihrauch. Watch the video to find out more.
Best spring-powered airguns under £400
Pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) airguns tend to get all the glory nowadays, but don’t overlook the good old spring-powered guns if you simply want an inexpensive airgun that will give you hours of fun in the garden, as well as killing the odd rat, rabbit or pigeon.
“PCPs are great, but by the time you’ve bought the gun itself, a scope, a silencer and an air bottle or pump, you’re pushing the price up quite a bit – when for under £200 you can have a springer that will do the job,” says Ian Hodge of Ian Hodge Field Sports.
Watch the video to learn which springers he recommends.
Webley Raider Classic
Webley is one of the oldest names in the gun trade. They’ve moved with the times, of course, and modern Webley airguns offer the latest technology and superb performance at an affordable price. The Webley Raider Classic is Webley’s latest PCP (pre-charged pneumatic). With a retail price of £449.99, it’s a light and compact air rifle offering superb accuracy and well over 100 full-power 11.5ft/lb shots from one fill of the reservoir in the .22 model.
In this video, Ryan Charlton from Highland Outdoors talks through its features.
Hunting with the Air Arms S410
Cai Ap Bryn deals with a pigeon problem in and around the cages of a local zoo, in this episode of our airgun series, Airheads. Also in this episode, Jamie Chandler has his trusty BSA Ultra on pest patrol on Hampshire farms. Plus there’s a round-up of the best airgunning films on YouTube in Airstreaming.
How to shift pellets stuck in the barrel
Airgun expert Johnny Muston from R&K Stockcraft explains how to clear your airgun barrel – and tells a few horror stories about barrels that are past saving.
For more from R&K Stockcraft, visit RKStockcraft.co.uk