How to shoot an air rifle

How to shoot an air rifle

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Read through these air rifle shooting tips and bring your shooting up a few notches!

Air Rifle Shooting Tips to Improve Your Shooting

Stay on Top of Your Shooting Game

A lot of people think of air rifles as mere “toys,” something to use for fun or to cut your teeth when you’re just learning to shoot. But, an air rifle can be a serious weapon for hunting and self-defense. As with any weapon, of course, proper airgun shooting technique must be learned and executed to get the results you want. After all, a weapon is only as good as the person shooting it.

The secret as with most things is practice, practice, practice! The next thing you know is you’re getting better on how to shoot an air rifle accurately.

How to shoot an air rifle

  • Designed specifically for .22 rimfire maximum airguns
  • Includes interchangeable spinning targets
  • All-steel construction with slots to hold targets
  • Also works with paper targets
  • 7.6″ x 10″ x 2.5″ and weighs 3lbs

Air Rifle Shooting Tips

Rifle’s Natural Alignment

There are a few different air rifle shooting positions namely, standing, sitting, kneeling, and lying flat on your stomach. Apparently, the latter is the most stable that allows the shooter to be more accurate and relaxed. With this stance, the rifle points naturally at the target. Place the rifle down and move your body positioned nicely behind the air rifle. This way, you’ll have a much better natural line position.

How to shoot an air rifle

How to shoot an air rifle

Hold the Rifle Firm Enough to Support It

Hold the air rifle firmly to have a good positive control. This is important the rifle is not flailing about all over the place. Maintain a good grip of the firearm without having a real muscular effort. Place the bipod at the front if you have one and your body nice and low to the ground. Make sure your chest is on the deck and you’re not up on your elbows.

Sight Alignment

How to shoot an air rifle

Another important aspect of shooting is that the sight alignment must be correct. The shooter must have a nice and clear picture if the air rifle has a scope. Also, the front sight of the rifle should be centered perfectly in the rear sight aperture. Make sure that the target is properly focused for the distance you’re shooting at.

Shot Release

The shooter must be able to release the shot and follow through with less to no change in position. You can practice this in a dry fighting scenario. You’re not going to damage the rifle when dry firing and the natural progression of this is firing live ammunition.

There’s no need for you to lift your head away from the stock. Your shooting eye will give you that extra awareness, so keep both eyes open when looking at the target.

Watch this video by Fieldsports Channel about airgun holdover tips:

Whether you’re using an air rifle or a firearm that chambers a more powerful ammo, these shooting tips are a great way to practice your shooting fundamentals. The only major difference is managing the recoil, but your stance, grip, and sights are basically the same. Keep these things in mind to give your air rifle shooting game a level ahead.

Got more rifle shooting tips to add to this short list? Tell us about them in the comments section below!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 11, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

How to shoot an air rifle

Air rifles are easy to fire, and rifles can be fun and rewarding when you do it right. Here are some tips on how to aim and fire an air rifle. Pick a rifle that fits you. Length and weight are important. You should be able to comfortably hold it steady at ninety degrees to your body (parallel to the floor) without having to rest it on anything.

One method of sighting at home is to bore-sight it. For this you will need a break barrel air rifle. If you do not have one then skip this step. Break the barrel just a bit so you can see down the barrel. Look down it and aim at a target.

WARNING: Do not look down from the end of the barrel as it can risk eye injury. once you have picked and aimed at a safe target through the barrel look through the sights and line them up with the same thing while keeping the barrel aimed at the target.

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How to shoot an air rifle

Hunting using an air rifle is a popular sport. Part of the American tradition, hunting offers men a great time out in the outdoors and every year, more and more enthusiasts flock to shooting of rifles for recreation and as an outdoor hobby.

So how easy is it to effectively shoot an air rifle? Surprisingly, it can prove to be very easy, provided that one follows some elementary steps and remembers to use the correct rifle for shooting.

So how to Shoot an Air Rifle properly?

This section will offer you the basic knowledge of how to shoot a target using an air rifle with ease. It is not all that difficult to shoot an air rifle and if done right, it can prove to be quite rewarding and a whole lot of fun too.

Here, we will take a look at the basic steps that you need to follow in order to shoot using an air rifle.

1. Picking the correct rifle

While you may be impressed by the glamorous looking rifle that your neighbor just bought, you must not go about blindly making a purchase. After considering a budget, it is very important that you pick out a rifle of the appropriate length ad weight as per your body size. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to hold a rifle 90 degrees to your body steady enough to take a shot so as to consider the rifle to be a good fit for you.

2. Buying additional equipment

After you’ve chosen your preferred rifle, you will also need to purchase some additional accessories. These may include a bipod, which allows you to rest the rifle on, some targets so as to help you practice and also some cushions for you to rest on when not using the bipod. You may also choose to buy long range scopes as an add-on.

3. Learning how to use the rifle

The first thing that you will need to learn is how to sight the target down the barrel hole. While holding the gun steady, look down the sight hole, down the barrel and straight at the target. The gun should be tucked comfortably into your shoulder and keep the grip of your dominant hand very tight. Never touch the barrel of the gun and use your other hand to grip as tightly as you can the other handle of the gun, under the body of the rifle. Keep your finger off the trigger for now, but keep the gun aimed steady. You should be able to hold the gun pointed right at the target for at least fifteen seconds waiting to fire a shot.

4. Taking the air rifle shot

Now that you have held the gun steady and it feels comfortable, take a deep breath and put your finger on the trigger. Let out half of your breath and slowly and steadily squeeze the trigger. Make sure not to push the trigger too hard as this will result in jerk backs and will dramatically reduce accuracy. In fact, every time you squeeze the trigger, the motion should be smooth. In such cases, the firing will surprise you and you will require absolutely no effort in taking the perfect shot. While you will find this to be slightly difficult in the beginning, the more you practice, the better you will get.


It is recommended that you take a careful look at the guide or manual that comes with your air rifle so as to ensure the best shot. While the steps we have outlined are more or less the basic steps that can ensure taking a comfortable and an accurate shot, some rifles may have special instructions on how they can be used better.

How to shoot an air rifle

Getting good at shooting an air rifle is only half the battle. Staying good is the other half and it does not happen by chance – it requires constant attention. As well as getting to know your combo, hunters need to maintain a motor/muscle memory in order to get the best out of hunting.

Knowledge of how your set-up performs is the first step. Then learn how your trigger ‘feels’ and how to shoulder your gun correctly so that your face meets the cheekpiece in the same place every time, and that eye-to-scope alignment is consistent.

These processes need to be practised so that they become intuitive and you no longer need to think about it. Shooting from different stances and positions, at different distances and angles should be practised so that nothing surprises you in the field.

As a consequence of all this, most hunters will either have a practice range in their garden, on the farmland, or be a member of an airgun club. Hunters might also be interested in target shooting competitions, but even if they’re not, hunters still need target practice to gain proficiency and maintain a sufficient level of shooting skill.

If I haven’t been shooting an air rifle for a few weeks, I notice it immediately when I pick the gun up and have a few practice shots at a target. It matters not that I have been shooting for 35 years, the consistency in my shooting will have deteriorated – albeit marginally – and so a few test shots and thoughts about technique serve as a timely reminder until it all starts coming back to me.

It is often the case that the last time you were down the range shooting an air rifle you were drilling single holes at 35 yards, but don’t expect that proficiency to hang around without practice. Staying sharp requires dedication. Hunting is not always sufficient because you might go days before a series of opportunities present themselves, and hunting in the field is not the place to experiment with your technique.

How to shoot an air rifle

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How to shoot an air rifle

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Shooting an air rifle – tips for technique

I am certainly no target shooter. However, I am aware of the small idiosyncrasies that creep into all our styles of shooting, and I’ve thought long and hard over the years about what suits my style more.

Do not feel you need to shoot a certain way if it feels uncomfortable or unnatural to you. What comes naturally is most important, unless it truly leads to bad habits. The issue of cant is a good example of a clear bad habit. Cant is when the airgun is not being held level – either the left or right-hand side of the gun being higher than the other side. It can occur very easily when looking through the scope at a landscape that is not level.

We tend to be influenced by the horizontal plane of the environment and subconsciously adjust the orientation of the airgun in the shoulder to match what we see, but the truth is, what we see in the environment is itself rarely level. The magnitude of this can be slight, but will have a big impact on your shot placement and more so with increasing distance.

One tip when practising is to get a friend to stand behind you and correct your alignment when shouldering the airgun. Always make sure the airgun is seated correctly in your shoulder. There are lots of little steps in shouldering the airgun, so make sure the whole process of standing and shouldering is almost automatic by practising all these elements.

Another issue refers to shooting ‘thumb up’ or ‘thumb down’. I know a few target shooters who use a standard Sporter stock, but like to shoot ‘thumb up’. What this refers to is the position of your thumb, on your trigger hand, on the grip of the stock. Shooting ‘thumb up’ means the thumb on this hand does not go all the way around the grip, but rides up the back of the grip – as though to give someone a thumbs up.

Some find this more comfortable and argue that it allows for a better trigger-pull technique, by imagining squeezing between the trigger fingers and the thumb. Again, it is all subjective and likely influenced by the physical characteristics of the shooter’s hand, the rake angle on the grip of the stock and the position of the trigger. Nonetheless, explore what works for you and try to settle on a consistent shooting style.

Holding the airgun

Different configurations of how to hold and steady the front of the airgun.

How to shoot an air rifle

In the picture here, the forehand is at the end of the stock. By being closer to the muzzle one might argue that it helps to control the front end of the gun – however, the leading arm lacks support from the rest of the body.

How to shoot an air rifle

In this picture the elbow is tucked closer to the body and gains additional support from it.

Elbow up or elbow down?

Elbow up, or elbow down when the airgun is in the shoulder? Again, explore your technique and make sure that you practise the one with which you are most comfortable. For me, lifting my elbow creates a nice pocket for the butt of the stock to sit into, and dropping my elbow creates my chest muscle to pop the gun forward an inch or two – though it is still very comfortable. It is important to be aware of how such factors could be impacting on your technique – and it can be hard to monitor all these different facets once the gun is in the shoulder. Use what works for you, but be consistent in practice and in the field. Note: The rake on the pistol grip of the stock can also impact what feels natura. which means you might shoulder different airguns in very different ways. I find both comfortable.

How to shoot an air rifle

How to shoot an air rifle

How to shoot an air rifle

The Airgunner’s Companion is on sale now from Quiller Publishing £18.95

Been here a few weeks now full time and havent seen much talk of this.

How DO you shoot an air rifle?

I see lots of mention of springers teaching you correct stance and hold and posture etc,

Can anyone tell me how to shoot a springer? Currently I cant seem to hold the scope still enough, it dances all over the place!

Do you hold your breath sniper style? How do you counteract the recoil? Hold it firm or loose?

I cant do the one knee thing due to disability and ground shots aint easy,

For me its standing or on one of them shooting stick/chairs.

Any advise appreciated.

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Originally Posted by Bales1983

Been here a few weeks now full time and havent seen much talk of this.

How DO you shoot an air rifle?

I see lots of mention of springers teaching you correct stance and hold and posture etc,

Can anyone tell me how to shoot a springer? Currently I cant seem to hold the scope still enough, it dances all over the place!

Do you hold your breath sniper style? How do you counteract the recoil? Hold it firm or loose?

Springers respond best if hey’re held the same for each shot.
However you hold it whilst zeroing is the hold you should try to use whenever you shoot it. (for hold read grip.) Loosley.

If only I could hold it perfectly still, Lee!
No man can hold the rifle perfectly still, it’s just a case of timing.
Timing your breathing to coincide with realeasing the shot.

Breath control is very important, too. You should breathe slowly.
When you breathe in your aim should drop lower than the target.
Raise your aim very slightly whilst breathing in and hold when your crosshairs are steady on your target.

Whilst firing remember to hold the rifle as still as possible until the pellet has hit the target.

That’s what I do anyway.

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  • How Does an Air Rifle Work? The Complete Beginner's Guide

How Does an Air Rifle Work? The Complete Beginner's Guide

How to shoot an air rifle

How to shoot an air rifle

Have you ever wondered about air rifles? They are a fun item to buy for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you are a hobbyist or want to shoot professionally, investing in a great air rifle is a great way to ensure endless fun.

If you’ve ever been curious about buying an air rifle, we recommend you to do so. We know you’ll enjoy shooting – just make sure you familiarize yourself with gun safety first.

But have you ever wondered how does an air rifle work?

These are fascinating objects that have long been a great American tradition. We’ve put together this guide so you can understand how your air rifle works.

How Does an Air Rifle Work

Air Rifles and BB guns are a great item for both adults and kids to enjoy. While these are non-lethal weapons, they can cause damage if not used responsibly. They are also sophisticated weapons just as real guns are.

We also suggest you read up on the rules of owning an air rifle in your jurisdiction before buying one.

Here’s how they work:

1. Internal Mechanics

Within a few milliseconds, the air rifle fires as soon as you squeeze the trigger. When you squeeze the trigger, the sear disengages. When it’s disengaged, it causes the decompression of the mainspring. When this happens, the spring-piston pushes forward.

The piston then pushes the ammunition forward at rapid speed. This is how spring-piston air rifles work. The intensity and speed by which they fire depend on the model of air rifle you use.

Apart from spring-piston rifles, there are two other main types of air rifles:

  • Pneumatics: These air rifles have pneumatic potential energy that has pressurized compressed air. These air rifles have pumps that pressurize the air before you shoot
  • C02: These air rifles use external C02 gas cylinders (pre-filled). These cylinders provide the power for shooting and need replacing when the gas supply gets exhausted

2. Powerplant Modules

Next, let’s move on to the powerplant modules. These are for the air rifle’s operation – specifically for the creation of pressure in the air rifle.

Powerplant modules consist of two types. The first is the Break Barrel, in which the barrel is hinged. This barrel cocks the gun.

There’s also the Fixed Barrel, which is a stationary barrel. In this case, there is a lever for cocking the gun. There can either be an Underlever that is located beneath the barrel and is the most popular in air rifles.

The other two types of levers are the Overlever (though this is not found in air rifles specifically), and the Sidelever that is located on the side of the air rifle’s receiver.

3. Temperature and Velocity

The molecules within the air rifle have mass and are able to produce motion and kinetic energy. This is what causes them to push forward the ammunition.

The higher the temperature within your air rifle the higher the velocity at which the gun fires will be. Temperature gets measured in Kelvin (K). K is Celsius plus 273.

The temperature of the gas within the air rifle is what leads to the intensity of the velocity. The more gas that can enter the air rifle, the higher your velocity will be.

Now let’s understand how to use your air rifle.

4. Safety and Trigger

Let’s look a bit deeper into the safety and trigger on an air rifle. An air rifle will have a safety lever that has to be enabled to prevent accidental firing and disabled to begin firing. Many air rifles will have an automatic safety that is disabled when the gun is cocked.

When the safety is pushed forward the gun will fire when you squeeze the trigger. When it is pushed back, the gun is in safety mode and cannot be fired.

Some air rifles allow for adjusting the trigger to a position suited for the shooter. Usually, this is only used by experienced shooters. If an air rifle is semi-automatic, then the air rifle doesn’t need continuous reloading or pumping to fire. If it is automatic, then as long as the trigger remains depressed there will be continuous firing.

5. Choosing an Air Rifle

Now you know the basics of how an air rifle works – but you are still wondering how to choose the perfect air rifle for a beginner. As there are countless great air rifles available, you want to shop around before making your decision.

As a beginner, here’s what you want to look for when choosing your first air rifle:

You want to consider what the use of your air rifle will be. Is it for general target practice as a fun hobby? Or are you using it for hunting or pest control?

While all air rifles are great for target practice, you will need to pay attention to the specifications if you need them for more specific purposes. You want to consider if it has a scope for accuracy. Does it have a high velocity and the capacity for increasing its power? This is what you’ll need for far-flung targets including for hunting.

You want to consider how much power you want your air rifle to have. For example, PCP rifles have tremendous power and are a favorite for seasoned shooters. But as a beginner, you might only want to shoot casually and might want to opt for a standard hunting air rifle.

You also want to consider the accessories that you can add to your air rifle. As a beginner, you probably won’t give much heed to air rifles. But as you become more experienced with air rifles you will want to invest in accessories to enhance your experience of shooting.

Get Your First Air Rifle

Now you know the answer to the question “how does an air rifle work?” and how to choose your first air rifle, you are ready to start shopping. We recommend looking at our blog to learn more about making your air rifle purchase and about air guns in general.

Many people are discussing guns and whether they’re dangerous or not, but there’s one more issue that people seem to be concerned about: shooting into the air. Whereas it’s certain that shooting a gun straight at someone can potentially kill them if aimed properly, many are thinking about air shooting. There are many myths surrounding the matter, and people don’t know what the truth is.

In this article, we are going to debunk some of these myths and present to you the facts about air shooting. Let’s get started!

1. Shooting in the air is not harmful because the bullet gets lost. – False

A very common thing people used to believe was that a bullet shot into the air will travel so far up that it will get lost, thus being unable to reach anyone. That couldn’t be further from the truth, though. Bullets don’t travel that far up. They go upwards for one or two miles, after which they start falling back down. So, since they’re falling back, there’s no saying where they’re going to land, which means they could reach a person and harm them.

2. Bullets that fall back can’t hurt you since they don’t have the same power. – False

There’s a common belief that once a bullet reaches its peak and starts falling, it has no power to harm someone anymore. However, this is nothing more than another wrong statement. A bullet that starts falling will be affected by gravitation and the wind – so, although the power it has when leaving the barrel is not the same, it is still enough to cause an injury. There were moments when bullets have fallen on soil and they caused a little dent in the ground – so, it is possible to injure one’s skin.

3. If a bullet is shot into the air, it will fall back down in the same place. – False

Once again, a false statement. Since the bullet travels quite a while in the air, the wind can change its trajectory, depending on how fast and powerfully it’s blowing. So, the bullet’s path will be changed and the place it lands might be further away from where it’s been shot. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect it to come back, and that makes it even more dangerous since you have no idea where it will go, and whether it will hit someone or not.

4. A falling bullet might penetrate your skin. – True

As mentioned, the bullet is affected by the gravitational force and the wind, and just like any falling object, the impact with whatever it hits will be strong. Especially if the bullet’s tip is sharp, it can be dangerous combined with the falling force – so, it can break through your skin and cause an injury. There were situations of this happening in the past. Nevertheless, it really depends on the size and caliber of the bullet and the miles per hour. Some bullets may bounce off you instead, but that will still be painful and could still cause a temporary bruise.

5. Firing at an angle is more dangerous than shooting straight up into the air. – True

When you shoot up into the air, the bullet will easily be affected and slow down thanks to the gravitational pull. Therefore, it won’t get to travel for too long, as it will stop and start to fall back. Now, if you fire a gun at a different angle, things can be a little more dangerous. For example, if you fire it somewhere up to 45 degrees or more, it will cause the bullet to travel for much longer. So, although it’s shot into the air and not straight horizontally, it has greater chances of hitting someone with a greater force and injure them or even kill them.

Firing at such an angle could also happen when you accidentally shoot the gun. It can be a very dangerous case, which is why safety precautions should take place to prevent it from happening. A lightweight carry could be easier to work with and it will be less likely for you to fire it by accident. For example, a Crosman Fire Nitro Piston air rifle could work amazingly in such a situation. It has a lightweight synthetic stock, and it can hit as much as 1200 feet per second, thus being effective no matter what. It also comes with a Crosman to make sure you shoot accurately. If you use another type of gun, maybe you should make sure it has a safety system that prevents it from firing unless you take the lock off.

Final Thoughts

Considering how many myths there are surrounding air shooting, it’s important to know what is true and what is false. Hopefully, this post was informative enough in that regard.

This air rifle tips and tricks article is for developing your accuracy and perform best when shooting with spring piston pellet guns. You may wish you have known these wonderful tips beforehand, since they are will correct your wrong move and significantly improve your performance.

How to shoot an air rifle

  • Remember, every new airgun needs a break in time, so be patient before the air rifle comes to its prime state.
  • Be patient for first shots. You may have inconsistent groups for the first 100 shots. Worry not! Normally, a spring piston air rifle requires around 500 to 1000 shots to properly break in.
  • Never bench rest your air rifle, or any part of the gun for that matter, on a rigid surface or solid object.
  • Make your shooting surface stable with sand bags, pillows, folded quilts or tactical backpack. They will be good shooting surfaces that help stabilize the gun so as to you can confirm the airgun’s accuracy better.
  • Always protect your pellet gun barrel. Do not rest the barrel on any surface while shooting.
  • Put the air rifle in placed so that it is always resting and pointing at an exact target point without the need of holding. As the gun is set up, you can then easily get into the shooting position without the risk of changing sight picture. Your will get more accurate shots as long as the human interfere is limited in setting and aiming the target.
  • Remember you should squeeze the trigger, not pulling or jerking it, for most accurate shot.
  • Be sure to follow all shots to the very end. That is mean try not to blink while firing and focus solely on the point of aim.
  • Loosely hold the air rifle at the forearm and in the shoulder. Do not hold the spring guns tightly since the accuracy will decrease.
  • A stable position and grip will release the most accurate shots. Any change in your shooting position or grip can change your aimed point, thus, decrease the accuracy.
  • Get used to your air rifle and your pellets. Just like knife, air rifle is a personal thing. To attain the best air rifle shooting performance, you should try a sampler pack of pellets to choose the most comfortable and best air rifle pellets type and size.
  • Only use high quality airgun pellet. They are precisely manufactured for best accurate shot. Beside, good grade pellet will help protect your gun, while low quality calibers will wear your gun badly.
  • Do not dry fire a spring piston air rifle. Doing that will damage your gun.

How to shoot an air rifle

–> Click here to view the detailed content of the sampler kit above.

The tips above have been tested and recognized by many knowledgeable air rifle users. If you have any good tips and tricks in airgun shooting, do not hesitate to put them into practice and discuss here. Keep calm and aim well!