Give me more power!

Two questions that we are frequently asked are can I make my airgun more powerful and is it viable to up-rate the weapon to firearms status?

All responsible manufacturers have for some time been incorporating anti-tamper devices in their products to ensure that the guns cannot be illegally increased in power. The trade can now easily ascertain if attempts have been made to alter the kinetic energy output and if found then the warranty is deemed as cancelled.

Our legal limit in the U.K. where an air rifle can be purchased without a licence is 12ft lbs kinetic energy and 6ft lbs on a pistol. Elsewhere in the world it can be a lot lower so customers in the U.K. would do well to avoid purchasing “grey imports”.

Manufacturers generally set the power of new “high power” guns at between 11ft lbs to 11.8ft lbs as they understand that it is essential that a margin be maintained for the vagaries of different pellets. The gun trade has been trying for years to get the authorities to agree on one standard test pellet that could be used when setting limits however they (the authorities) prefer to retain the ability to use, when chronographing, any pellet that may result in the kinetic energy exceeding 12ft lbs (6ft lbs of course on a pistol). It is a firearms offence if you are caught with such a gun that exceeds the legal limit so it is definitely something to be avoided!

We all know that ignorance of the law is no defence so it is important when purchasing a second hand gun that you ascertain if the gun has been tampered with and is exceeding the legal limit. Equally you would want to know if the gun is “down on power” as it can be expensive to rectify either fault. We at Woody’s will chronograph your air weapon for a small charge in order to give you that peace of mind.

Just recently we had a customer come into the shop with an Air Arms S410 that he was convinced was down on power. The previous week he had taken it into the factory as it had suffered a drop in power. The customer’s experiments conducted after the work was carried out involved firing it into a piece of wood, not very scientific as wood is not of uniform density. Our SKAN chronograph was able to convince him that the chaps down at Air Arms had in fact done an excellent job as the gun produced 15 very good readings using Air Arms pellets.

This incident involving an Air Arms gun is not to be read as an indictment upon this maker’s reliability as we consider the S410 to be a very reliable air rifle. The fact remains that all makes of pre-charged air rifles can give a problem as they are operating at very high pressures and are dependent on perfect seals. This just underlines the fact that good after sales service is a valuable safety net. We as customers rarely consider when making a purchase the possibility that the item can go wrong. Unfortunately some products do and that is precisely when we find out if the retailer is interested in giving after sales service. The chances are that if he has made little or no profit then he will not be so keen for as the old saying goes only a monkey works for peanuts!

With regards to the question should I have my existing gun up-rated, it is useful to remember the following. A “high power” air rifle producing in excess of 11ft lbs is sufficiently powerful for most form of pest control up to a range of 35-40 yards (32-37 metres). It can essentially be used wherever you have permission to shoot unlike an F.A.C. rated gun where generally the size of the land has to be “cleared” or agreed with the police as being suitable. We ourselves find that F.A.C. air rifles are slower to sell as a buyer has to be found who wants that particular model, who also has a firearms certificate and of course the money! Many shops may not want to take them in part exchange.

The police will grant certificates where a justifiable need exists but not simply because you have the urge for more power!

We at Woody’s hope that you will find these observations useful and once again would like to thank our customers for supporting their specialist shop.