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Missing Barns and Telling Yarns
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey All, I've got a .177 Ruger AirHawk spring rifle. I've got it zeroed in at 15 yards, but I've been struggling to find a good hunting pellet. I've tried a variety of pellets, and so far the best groupings have come from Crossman Premium .177 Hollowpoints at 7.9gr. I've got three questions for you seasoned airgunners:

1. I'm achieving 1"-1/4" groups at 15 yards. I'm by no means a great shot, and my trigger isn't exactly wonderful. Is this considered pretty good accuracy for a cheap air rifle, or should I keep experimenting to try and tighten things up? The 1" group is the norm. The 1/4" group is a happy accident every 5th grouping.

2. Is the 7.9gr lead hollowpoint good enough for squirrels and rabbits? I tried some 10.4gr pellets but they would get caught in the barrel and go flying everywhere. I'm not sure about fps, but the rifle is rated for an avg 900-1200 fps. I figured the hollowpoints would go a little slower and pack more wallop.

3. Can you recommend a good pellet sampler? It's getting expensive to keep buying tins. If I should keep hunting to find better accuracy, are there any sample packs you would recommend with multiple types of pellets?

Thanks for the help!
 

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Unfortunately, every barrel is unique, so you need to experiment a lot. 1" groups at 15 yards is really bad though, so I am sure it is mainly a technique issue mainly.
My gun likes jsb monster diabolo a lot, but in your gun they may not work. Do try and use pellets on the heavier spectrum, you really dont want to break the sound speed barrier when shooting.
 

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Missing Barns and Telling Yarns
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Mike
Is that rifle scoped or open sights?
I've got it scoped with a cheap 8x32 that came with it. I think I've got it sighted in well, because there are occasions when I'm dead on with it. Other times, not so much, which I mainly attribute to user error. Apparently spring airguns are a little tricky to shoot. I've been practicing the 'artillery hold' but that's probably why my shots tend to wander. What would you say an acceptable range is for a gun like this? 30yds?
 

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Mike
plop your butt down, put your rifle up on bags, (we used to use bean filled shot bags). Make double sure that the crosshairs are perfactlly
positioned up and down. Some people have a cant. take a deep breath, let it out and SQUEEZE slowly. Gun should surprise you when it fires.
Hey all this sounds familiar don't it.... Trueism follows
....You can't hit the target if the gun aint on it when it goes off....
 

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Missing Barns and Telling Yarns
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Mike
plop your butt down, put your rifle up on bags, (we used to use bean filled shot bags). Make double sure that the crosshairs are perfactlly
positioned up and down. Some people have a cant. take a deep breath, let it out and SQUEEZE slowly. Gun should surprise you when it fires.
Hey all this sounds familiar don't it.... Trueism follows
....You can't hit the target if the gun aint on it when it goes off....
Easier said than done! My only shooting experience is with a short barrel 12ga. It's great for anything under 25-30 yards but hasn't really refined my shooting technique. More practice is definitely required!
 
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Missing Barns and Telling Yarns
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
MLI -

Springers are notoriously difficult to shoot accurately. If you are experienced, please forgive me for giving you unnecessary advice. Otherwise - Google "artillery hold" and either break barrel or spring airgun. Lots of info and vids on this.

Pyramid Air is your best bet for pellet samplers.
Sound advice. I didn't realize springers would be so tough to shoot, but I watched a couple artillery hold videos, so I'll try implementing that with my next range session. It doesn't help the thing weighs as much as a regular rifle, so gently cradling it with my left hand takes some muscle and skill.
 

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Mikey, experiment with different ways you hold the gun. Most springers like a looser hold . Let them float in your hands and recoil how ever they want to.Also you were asking about hunting. I have always went with this as a basic test. If your pellet can penetrate a 1/2" pine board at your hunting distance, it should make a close range kill on small game.Some of the sampler packs can be be quite pricey. Pyramid has several tuts. on shooting springers. My finding for the less expensive air rifles is they seem to favor pointed type pellets as compared to the rest . Pellet guns are fussy to say the least. Pellets don't seem to like to ride hard in the rifling like a powder gun,that's one reason they are hard to understand.
 

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Haendler & Nattermann pellets (H&N) are excellent performers: https://www.hn-sport.de/en/air-gun-hunting.

Pointed pellets will ensure the best penetration - such as these: https://www.hn-sport.de/en/air-gun-hunting/red-scorpion-177.

Hollow point pellets will provide high stopping power with high expansion properties: https://www.hn-sport.de/en/air-gun-hunting/crow-magnum-177

Bisley pellets are a very good choice too: https://www.bisley-uk.com/products.php?c=274

They also sell pellet sampler packs: https://www.bisley-uk.com/product.php?i=BISSHA&c=274

To my knowledge, the average air rifle limited to 12 ft/lbs in the UK cleanly kills rabbits up to 35-40 yards - here a relevant article:

https://www.shootinguk.co.uk/guns/air-rifles/could-you-advise-on-the-best-air-rifles-for-shooting-rabbits-20824

Thus, your air rifle should be fine for the intended purpose: Ruger make excellent products.
 

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Missing Barns and Telling Yarns
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the feedback gents! It seems that while pellets choices can certainly improve the shooting, the fault here lies with the man, not the machine. I'll keep banging on, but it seems like it'll be shotguns for the squirrels and air guns for the targets this year (unless I miraculously become William Tell all of a sudden).
 
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Thanks for all the feedback gents! It seems that while pellets choices can certainly improve the shooting, the fault here lies with the man, not the machine. I'll keep banging on, but it seems like it'll be shotguns for the squirrels and air guns for the targets this year (unless I miraculously become William Tell all of a sudden).
If you do get some good groups and then it opens up I would look at your trigger finger. Be sure you are pulling straight back. You can get away with a quick shot if you don't push the trigger side ways. Put your hand in the shooting position on an unloaded gun and watch how your finger behaves as you pull. There is a different feel to a straight pull. Good Luck
 

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Hey Mike,

Great advise from all the other guys. I have a bit of experience with airguns (About 40 years and a few state field target championships.). Guns like the Ruger, Gamo, etc. are made for the mass market and produced accordingly. Every once in a while you get one that surprises you with outstanding accuracy, but in general they are meant to be in the hands of people that want a pellet to go as fast as possible and are happy to hit a soda can at 30 yards. One of the first things to do is remove the stock screws (usually two up front and one in or near the trigger guard). Clean them with a good degreaser and re-install them with Locktite (or similar non-permanent thread lock). Do not over tighten! If you can find a lock washer that fits the front screws, that's a bonus. Springers vibrate a lot and are notorious for becoming loose.

Next, ditch that scope! Look at the Leapers/UTG brand. I suggest the Bug Buster range. They are very well made and will focus down to under 7 yards (some even closer). You want a scope with an adjustable objective. Parallax errors with give you fits with cheap scopes, or regular firearm scopes. Springers destroy even well made scopes, so the cheap freebies really don't stand up well. Get a good set of mounts as well.

These consumer grade airguns come with lawyer proof triggers, so getting the most out of them can be tough. Really pay attention to trigger control. Be careful with adjusting it. They usually don't make a huge difference and you can easily make it unsafe or even worse than the factory setting.

As for pellets, I HIGHLY recommend either JSB or Air Arms (Made by JSB). There is a reason why pretty much every single winning competitive shooter uses them. There are other very good brands, but if you can't make it work with JSB I would be very surprised. Added benefit of JSB is they are available in several different weights. as well as head diameters. Once you find one that works, you can order from the same lot number. I would suggest 8.4 grain JSB in a small diameter (sounds like you have a tight barrel).

I'm really not getting down on your selection. They are affordable and readily available. If you get a good one, they can be a lot of fun and a decent hunting tool. If you can keep your groups under 2 inches at 30 yards with one of these, you are about at it's limit. I started with the lower end airguns and worked my way up to very high end customs.

I've been shooting mostly .22, but I may have some .177 JSB pellets. I will go through my stuff and if I have some I will send them your way. I may be able to help you with a scope too. One thing to seriously consider is to keep the Ruger as a fun soda can plinker and then get yourself a decent springer that you will be happy with. If you PM me with a comfortable price range for you, I could probably steer you in the right direction. I will PM you later!
 

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PS For the best accuracy you want a medium weight pellet (about 8.4 grains) moving between 800-850 fps. For most springers that's where the sweet spot is. A 7 grain pellet going 1300 fps sounds impressive, but will quickly destroy your gun, be extremely noisy (breaking sound barrier) and accuracy will be terrible.
 
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