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Home > Magazine > Guns > New Breed of QUIET Airguns

New Breed of QUIET Airguns
May 19, 2009

I've long been a fan of airguns. And I really like my old Sheridan pellet gun, which I've had for 30 years now.

Airguns are accurate, relatively quiet and can be used for both target shooting and small game hunting.

Even so, most airguns are still pretty darn loud when used at the higher velocities needed for long ranges (out to 50 yards) and for hunting.

I suppose that airguns have become much more popular as the landscape has filled with houses. But plinking with one of the best-quality airguns in your backyard might still be annoying to the neighbors.

As soon as any pellet goes over 1000 fps --- as many of the faster guns do, in .177 caliber --- you break the sound barrier and add a "crack" to your report.

What I really like about my Sheridan is that I use it with 3 pumps for target shooting in my back yard. It's darn quiet at that level, but it still makes a report. For hunting and long ranges I can pump it up to 14 times, which delivers 900 fps for my .20 caliber / 5mm pellet.

(I note that I had a $75 "steroid" job done on my gun by a neat outfit called Mac1 Airguns. It freshens and strengthens a gun plus boosts power from 600 to 900 fps.

The big, fancy break-barrel or lever-cock spring airguns mostly have one power level: fast and loud. They also kick pretty good. They have a weird "thwak-sproing" sound and motion that takes getting used to but which folks learn to enjoy.

All this is a round-about way of announcing a big new trend in airguns: silencers. OK, maybe they're not technically called that. But that's what they do. They also reduce recoil and muzzle-jump.

Of course, real silencers are illegal in the USA, but this big new fad seems to be a grey area. Buffs are going hog-wild for it, though. Quiet is good.

I also recently got news of a superhot new made-in-the-USA Benjamin airgun, the Marauder. It's powerful, accurate, a repeater...and gorgeous (if probably heavy). It's also super-quiet. The following review says it's as loud as a pen falling into plush carpet. Dang... And it's fairly affordable, in terms of high-end airguns. It's always neat to read about an aspect of a scene where US manufacturing is coming on strong. Airguns have long been a Euro stronghold.

Anyway, if you haven't wandered around the airgun scene lately, check it out.

The fun thing to do is the Field Target event, where folks set up courses with tiny, creative figurines as targets laid out at 50 yards. Airgunners love shooting at tiny things a long ways away.

There's a big variety of ammo, too. It's also fun testing ammo to find out what your gun likes. All this can be done FAR cheaper than with firearms. Pennies on the dollar.

My Sheridan can give 1" groups at 50 yards from my back porch. It's a gas.

Pyramyd Airguns is a big player in the US airgun scene.

It's sometimes hard to read between the lines as to which airguns are quiet ones, but the customer comments usually let you know.

Here's a link to another popular quiet gun:

Pyramyd also sells a huge variety of another trendy scene in gun fun: Airsoft. These are guns that shoot plastic pellets. You can tell them by the blaze orange muzzle caps. They shoot .2-gram BB's at 300 fps. And they're pretty darn accurate -- some give 1" groups at 30-50 yards. Dang! ...And they only cost $25-35 for springers. CO2 models are also made, but they run more like $150. Basically, every kind of gun has a replica made in Airsoft.

Henry and his buddies are enjoying shooting each other with these guns. It's like poor-man's paintball for them. (Paintball costs like $300 to get rolling decently!) They put on heavy clothes, goggles and facemasks and run around shooting. They get me to join in sometimes. The pellets just "click" on your clothes or they sting a little when they hit your skin. Henry is getting well up to speed on gun safety, too. And he's learning that he needs to make sure that all his pals are fully up to speed as well.

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