Pellet guns and air rifles are great as a hobby or for professional competition shooters. No matter what your skill level is, it helps to know the various parts of your rifle. Understanding what each piece does can help you make customizations, fix things that go wrong, and overall make you a better shooter.
While each is different and may contain more or less components, there are many parts that can be found on virtually any rifle sold today.
The Parts Of An Air Gun
- Butt Pad – Also just known as the butt, this is the piece of the stock on your rifle that connects with your arm pit during shooting. This pad is usually made of rubber or is coated in rubber for the comfort of the shooter. The butt pad allows for more comfortable shooting for prolonged periods of time. It can also help prevent strain on the body from holding the rifle or absorbing the shock of shooting some higher powered air rifles. These guns may not seem powerful but prolonged and repetitive hits from the butt of even a low-powered rifle can begin to make your arms feel soar.
- Stock – The stock is the main rear part of your rifle where your cheek rests while shooting. This piece and its iconic shape are part of what makes a rifle what it is. Stocks are typically made of either wood or some kind of polymer or plastic. Without a stock, you don’t really have a rifle any more. The stock is the main component that makes shooting a longer gun possible. Without it, the rifle would be hard to stabilize and aim. Stocks also help absorb some of the aftershock from shooting high-powered air rifles
- Safety Mechanism – The safety mechanism is a feature that prevents the trigger from being pulled when it is engaged. It is typically located on or near the trigger guard and is painted with red paint on the inner rim when it is not engaged, indicating to the user that the weapon is ready to be fired. A safety on a rifle or any gun for that matter, is crucial for the safety of the shooter and others around him/her. Safety devices built into rifles prevent accidental shootings. They also prevent users from accidentally discharging a weapon when they didn’t mean to.
- Rail or scope mount – Also known as a scope mount, this is a piece of metal on top of the back end of a barrel that is used to mount a scope on the rifle. Scope mounts are typically very sturdy and can accommodate different sizes of scope. If you ever want to add a scope or some other type of sighting assistance to your rifle, the scope mount ensures that you can. Not all air rifles have a scope mount. The width of the mount and the material that the barrel is made out of influences what type scope you can use.
- Pistol Grip – The pistol grip is a part of the rifle’s stock. It’s the part that you hold when pulling the trigger. Even though the grip is part of the overall stock, there are different variations in texture and girth that are optimal for different users. The more appropriate the pistol grip is, the easier and more comfortable the rifle is for the shooter. This is especially important for competition shooters or those using their gun on a frequent basis.
- Trigger Guard – The trigger guard is the little strip of metal that goes around the trigger. In many rifles this is made from stainless steel and is a part of the entire trigger assembly. Trigger guards are very common on all modern air rifles. The trigger guard serves a few different functions. It prevents the trigger from being inadvertently pulled when the rifle is being handled, moved, or stored. It also protects the trigger assembly from damage in the event the rifle is dropped.
- Trigger Adjustment Screw – This feature is not available on all air rifles and it adjusts the sensitivity of the trigger. It is a small screw typically found on the rear of the trigger assembly and is usually only manipulated by a special tool that comes with the rifle. For rifles equipped with a trigger screw, this feature can adjust the usability of the rifles trigger making it more efficient. This is especially important for competition shooters that require different trigger sensitivity depending on the shooting event.
- Barrel – Obviously the most recognizable portion of a rifle, the barrel is the long cylindrical piece of metal that the projectile fires out of. There are different length barrels that are made of different materials. The type of barrel can influence accuracy and longevity of a rifle.
- Magazine – Some rifles are single shot while others accept a magazine or clip. This is a piece that holds multiple pellets that can be fired one after another before the rifle needs to be reloaded. Magazines can hold a few shots or many more. For rifles that use a magazine, they are essential for the operation of the rifle. For competition shooters that do events with multiple, fast paced shots, a rifle with a magazine is essential. A well-made, high quality magazine can make a rifle fire much faster because it can be reloaded quickly.
The parts of an air rifle outlined in this article are some of the most common. Not all rifles have these parts. Some lower end rifles may have far fewer while some higher end rifles may have advanced or higher-quality features that make them more complicated. Breaking down the parts of an air rifle can help you identify issues and upgrade when necessary.