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There are a number of different types of air gun, all with a number of different features. Individuals will want their air gun for different reasons, and the range of air gun types will offer certain advantages for choosing them over another type. We have taken a look at the range of air guns below:

Break Action

Break Action guns use a spring piston, and often involves using the barrel as the cocking lever. As pressure is applied onto the barrel, it will “break away” from the body of the gun, revealing where the pellet is to be loaded. There have been other variants devised, such as under lever loading or side lever, where a lever is either pulled downwards or backwards in order to compress the spring, but the principle is still the same as a break barrel.

Break action rifles are quite widely used in hunting, due to the fact they can produce quite high velocities, resulting in more stopping power. This is because a break action rifle works by using a strong, heavy spring to push a piston forward to compress the air. However, this action means that there will be a certain amount of movement in the gun itself before the pellet has left the barrel. For this reason, many shooters find it hard to shoot a break action rifle accurately, and it requires a lot more practise to use effectively. Break action guns can also be quite noisy, as they let a load “twang” noise upon firing. The rifles tend to be heavier and longer than others as well.



Multi pump means that in order for the rifle to gain power for the shot, it must be pumped a number of times. As this number of times can vary, it means the rifle can achieve varying levels of power, depending on the preference of the shooter. The pump is built into the gun, which means that there is no need for any external device to recharge it.

Multi pump rifles tend to be short and light in relation to the power they produce, which is quite an advantage. However, one major disadvantage of a multi pump rifle is that reloading is quite slow, and requires a great deal of movement to achieve. In order to pump the rifle, it is necessary to grip the middle of the gun, with one hand, applying pressure to the gun, in opposition of pumping by the other hand, which can be particularly awkward if there is a scope mounted onto the rifle!

Pre Charged Pneumatic (PCP)

PCP rifles have the idea of pumping air into a large reservoir in a rifle – known as pre-charging – and allowing only a small part of it when the rifle is fired. Advantages of a Pre Charged Pneumatic rifle means reloading is quick, and pretty much silent, no need for a long receiver to allow a piston to move, only air moves when fired meaning the gun is more stable, and the reservoir can be filled and then left until ready to fire, so it is ready for quick use. Disadvantages means that reservoir has to be filled by a special kind of pump, which will often require a large number of pump strokes. Often, a full reservoir can provide 25-30 shots before having to recharge. If you require more shots than this, the pump will have to be taken along, which can be an inconvenience it itself.

Pre-charged rifles are often quite powerful, and are accurate due to their fix barrel, with the fact that only air moves when fired and not a piston also adds to accuracy and reduced vibrations.


Even though the internal pressure of a CO2 gun is limited to the pressure produced with the dispersal of the gas, it can still generate a reasonable amount of power when fired, and is quite often used in the hunting of small species. An advantage of CO2 guns means that a CO2 cylinder which powers said gun will often hold enough gas to power a number of shots, as opposed to just one. This means that you can fire shots as quickly as you can reload the pellets. CO2 cylinders are also small and lightweight, meaning you can carry many on you at any time, and will not be burdened by their weight.

Nitro Piston

Nitro Piston acts similar to a Break Action, where cocking the rifle moves a piston to the rear. But instead of compressing a spring, nitrogen is compressed in a cylinder. When the rifle is fired, the compressed gas propels the piston forward, which compresses air in the receiver behind the projectile, causing it to fire. Advantages of the compressed gas (or gas ram as it is otherwise known) includes the fact it has a lighter weight, as well as less vibration and noise. However, it has been noted that is can be slightly more difficult to cock this type of weapon than other Break Action rifles.

Depending on what you wish to use your Air Gun for will mean that you will pick a certain style. Here at Surplus Store, our air rifle shop features a selection of all of the above styles of air gun, so why not take a look and see if we have one to suit you?