Pellet guns are designed to fire a soft lead cone-shaped pellet ranging from 0.177 inches up to 0.50 inches. Powered by a spring or CO2 cartridge, pellet guns are used for backyard target shooting, nuisance varmint control and competition shooting. Pellet guns are manufactured by several companies, including RWS, Crossman, Marksman, Palco and Umarex.
Pellet Gun and Ammunition
There are many types of pellet guns on the market today, made by several manufacturers. Selecting the right gun can add to the enjoyment of the shooting experience. Once the pellet rifle or pistol is chosen, prepare the gun for shooting. Carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions before loading, inserting a CO2 cartridge, cocking or operating the gun in any manner. Gather the items necessary to operate the gun, including pellets and CO2, which will typically take the form of a 12-gram cartridge. Carefully select the proper pellets to be used in the gun, referring to the manufacturer’s instructions and imprinting on the gun itself. Typically, most guns will use a .177 or .22 pellet. Make sure the correct pellet is used. Also consider the type of pellet to be used, as there are different types designed for target versus hunting use.
Target Selection and Safety
Choose a location which allows enough distance for pellet gun shooting. Make sure there is a safe and secure backstop such as an earth bank, solid fence or plywood enclosure to collect and stop any stray pellets from exiting the range and potentially causing damage or injury. Select a target for practice. There are several styles and types which can essentially be divided into paper and stand-up. Paper targets feature a printed traditional target scoring ring, silhouette or combination of both. Stand-up targets are typically made of metal with a base, or they may be attached to a rotating target stand. These targets, when shot, will either spin or fall. There are also stand-up targets such as clay disks which break when shot.
To shoot the pellet gun, once again refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specifics. Place the safety to the “on” position. Insert a CO2 cartridge, if needed, by accessing the retaining mechanism and securing it with an engaging screw to puncture the the cartridge. Load pellets into the gun either one at a time or into a round clip which holds between 6 and 8 pellets, and load the clip into the gun if using one. Spring guns will typically require the barrel to be broken down, or pulled down and then back up, to cock the spring. Put on safety glasses and raise the pellet gun to the shooting position. Remove the safety, and for rifles, position the stock of the gun against the shoulder. Place the gun on the right shoulder with the right hand near the trigger and left on the forearm if right handed. Reverse if left handed. For pistols, if right handed, hold the pistol so that the right forefinger is near the trigger, and support with the left hand. Reverse if left handed. Line up the center of the target, using the front and rear sights of the gun. Look through the rear sights so that the target is framed by the sides of the rear sight. Adjust the front of the gun until the front post sight comes into view, and position the top of the sight just below the center of the target. Squeeze the trigger to fire a shot.