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Airgun Safety

Started by steveoh, January 10, 2021, 12:42:48 PM

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I've been chewing on the subject of Airgun Safety. Sure seems like there are a lot of new air gunners these days, and I worry about folks hurting themselves or others. I had airgun training when I was a 10 year old, and about 7 years ago got my hunting license and had to take a hunter's safety course to get said license.

So, I'd like to create a sticky that will show up in web searches titled Airgun Safety or similar, and have a list of things to follow to stay safe. I'd also like this to be a collaborative project with all of you folks.

What say you?

Here's a start from the NRA for firearms. Will need to add specific airgun safety rules for fill pressure, compatible fittings, etc.

Airguns as well as Firearms require respect for the damage they can do to humans, animals, and property. Treat every airgun as though it is loaded.
Never point your AirGun at anything you do not intend to shoot. Always treat the airgun as though it is loaded. Always keep the airgun on safe until you are ready to shoot.
ALWAYS Keep The AirGun Pointed In A Safe Direction
This is the primary rule of AirGun safety. Common sense dictates the safest direction, depending on different circumstances.
ALWAYS Keep Your Finger Off The Trigger Until Ready To Shoot
When holding a AirGun, rest your finger alongside the frame and outside the trigger guard. Until you are actually ready to fire, do not touch the trigger.
ALWAYS Keep The AirGun Unloaded Until Ready To Use
If you do not know how to open the action or inspect the chamber(s), leave the gun alone and get help from someone who does.
Know your target and what is beyond.
Be absolutely sure you have identified your target beyond any doubt. Equally important, be aware of the area beyond your target. This means observing your prospective area of fire before you shoot. Never fire in a direction in which there are people or any other potential for mishap. Think first. Shoot second.
Know how to use the AirGun safely.
Before handling an AirGun, learn how it operates. Know its basic parts, how to safely open and close the action and remove any ammunition from the gun or magazine. Remember, a AirGun'a mechanical safety device is never foolproof. Nothing can ever replace safe AirGun handling.
Be sure the AirGun is safe to operate.
Just like other tools, AirGuns need regular maintenance to remain operable. Regular cleaning and proper storage are a part of the gun's general upkeep. If there is any question concerning a gun's ability to function, a knowledgeable gunsmith should look at it.
Use only the correct ammunition for your AirGun.
Only BBs, pellets, cartridges or shells designed for a particular gun can be fired safely in that AirGun. Most AirGuns have the ammunition type stamped on the barrel. Ammunition can be identified by information printed on the box and sometimes stamped on the cartridge. Do not shoot the AirGun unless you know you have the proper ammunition.
Wear eye and ear protection as appropriate.
AirGun can be loud and the noise can cause hearing damage. They can also emit debris and hot gasses that could cause eye injury. For these reasons, shooting glasses and hearing protection should be worn by shooters and spectators.
Never use alcohol, over-the-counter drugs or prescription drugs before or while shooting AirGuns.
Alcohol, as well as any other substance likely to impair normal mental or physical bodily functions, must not be used before or while handling or shooting AirGuns.
Store AirGuns so they are not accessible to unauthorized persons.
Many factors must be considered when deciding where and how to store AirGuns. A person's particular situation will be a major part of the consideration. Dozens of AirGun storage devices, as well as locking devices that attach directly to the AirGun, are available. However, mechanical locking devices, like the mechanical safeties built into AirGuns, can fail and should not be used as a substitute for safe gun handling and the observance of all gun-safety rules.
Additional Safety Precautions
Be aware that certain types of AirGuns and many shooting activities require additional safety precautions.
Regular cleaning is important in order for your AirGun to operate correctly and safely. Taking proper care of it will also maintain its value and extend its life. Your AirGun should be cleaned every time that it is used.
An AirGun brought out of prolonged storage should also be cleaned before shooting. Accumulated moisture and dirt, or solidified grease and oil, can prevent the AirGun from operating properly.
Before cleaning your AirGun, make absolutely sure that it is unloaded. The AirGun's action should be open during the cleaning process. Also, be sure that no ammunition is present in the cleaning area.

Perhaps this list can be included in a page dedicated to new airgun owners?

PCP airguns or Precharged Pneumatic airguns require a source of air to fill. That source might be:

A hand pump that looks like a bicycle pump, but is capable of much higher air pressure than a bicycle pump.

A high pressure electric 110, 220, 12volt, or gas powered compressor. These compressors are typically capable of pressures ranging from 3,000 to 4500 psi.  A shop compressor will not work to fill PCP Airguns.

High pressure air is inherently dangerous and can cause serious injury or death if you are not careful.

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When you speak of cleaning, most folks relate that to their barrel. However, some barrels, like brass ones shooting pellets, shouldn't be cleaned, as doing so regularly, will literally remove the rifling. If you must clean brass barrels, don't use a brass brush!

I have a Hill EC-3000 compressor. If you're a fellow Guild member, and you pass through Roswell, NM, I'll fill your tank as a courtesy (4,250 PSI limit).