The shooting range is one of the best places in the world for air gun enthusiasts. Not only can you improve your shooting skills here, but you can also simply have fun and practice shooting all sorts of weapons for fun. However, not every rifle or pistol is suitable for use in a shooting range. This article is going to tell you how you can tell the difference, and also what kind of ammunition you can fit.

What kind of air guns are used in shooting range?

Before we get into the basics, let’s start by clarifying that there is simply no such thing as a ‘shooting rifle’. Many people believe that all sporting air rifles can be classified in this category, but can’t a hunting rifle be taken to the range to be used for target practice? Or why not use a submachine gun at the shooting range and see how it behaves at different distances? Thus almost any existing air rifle can be used in the shooting gallery:

  • Rifles;
  • pistols;
  • submachine guns;
  • smoothbore guns;
  • automatic rifles etc.

However, any professional shooting range has its own universal arsenal with several models of each variety of pneumatics. Such weapons should meet the following requirements – they should be easy to use by both beginners and professionals, have a simple design (for fast repair and maintenance), as well as have the ability to upgrade, because many people come to the range specifically to shoot with a collimator rifle or optics.

Pistols and revolvers

Now let’s take a closer look at what air guns are used in shooting ranges. And we won’t start with rifles, but with the most popular type of air rifles – pistols and revolvers. We’ve deliberately grouped these two varieties into one section, as most beginners see no difference between them other than the fact that one uses a magazine to store ammunition and the other uses a drum. Be that as it may, here’s a list of popular models that are often found in shooting ranges:

  • MP-654K-20 or MP-654K-28. The world’s finest replicas of the Makarov pistol, used by government agencies since Soviet times. This pneumatic pistol is distinguished not only by its high build quality, but also by its maximum likeness to the original. Just as in the case of the PM pistol it is not very difficult to carry out a complete disassembly of the air gun. The pistols behave very dutifully and are excellent for shooting at a shooting range.
  • Ataman M is another model of air gun that is often seen at shooting ranges. Unlike the previous two models, this one is based on the Beretta pistol, which was mainly used by the Federal Security Service. It featured a high-capacity 120-round magazine chamber and excellent performance.
  • Umarex Glock-17. One of the modern pistols, based on the US Glock, used by both the police and the army. Owners of shooting galleries were attracted by its high quality build and availability of modifications. In addition, the pistol has minimal weight due to the use of mainly polymer parts. Therefore, this gun can be used by both professionals and beginners.
  • ASG Schofield-6. Shooting gallery owners are very reluctant to buy revolvers in their arsenal, but there are many individuals among the customers who dream to feel like a cowboy from the wild west. This gun, developed in Denmark, can help you make your dreams come true. Besides the maximum resemblance to its military analogue (Dan Wesson revolver), this gun can boast of a manually cocked trigger – pathetic but very cool.
  • Ataman AP-16. What can we do, our shooting galleries like to support domestic manufacturer. And no one can say that this PCP-model is not worth its money. This pistol is a prime example of how a correct pneumatic pistol with air pre-pressure mechanism should look like. And it is also a model that is used in professional sports competitions.

As you can see, there are a lot of guns and revolvers in the arsenal of shooting galleries. And these are only those models that are encountered more often than others. Many shooting galleries try to stand out from their competitors and attract the attention of customers with unusual weapons. However, this rule does not apply only to pistols, so let us consider other types of airguns, such as assault rifles, submachine guns or classic rifles.

Rifles, machine guns and submachine guns

Airsoft submachine guns are one of the few categories of air rifles not often seen in shooting galleries. Nevertheless, they are very popular among fans of air gun shooting, so they often come to such places to shoot or to practice.

Here is a list and brief description of a few popular models:

Swis Arms Sa-Protector

One of the most popular submachine guns, based on the world famous Mini UZI. Generally, the trend of using Mini UZI as a pattern for submachine guns is quite common, so don’t be surprised if most airgun models look similar to each other. Nevertheless, this submachine gun is notable for its high range, good accuracy, and the presence of a Blowback system.

The ASG Ingram M

The ASG Ingram M is a budget-priced airsoft submachine gun, which is ideal for fans of airsoft shooting and target practice. Why these two categories of buyers? Firstly, the submachine gun has a low weight which allows for quick aiming. Secondly, it has 27-shot magazine, which is a great advantage not only in combat but also during training (it does not require frequent reloading).

Gletcher UZM

And how not to mention one of the highest quality replicas of the UZM, which not only has Blowback system, but also has a lot of design similarities with the original. For example, how about the fact that the model weighs 2200 grams? Yes, it is a bit heavy. However, it is the weight that leads a shooter to believe that it is a real submachine gun, and not a pathetic copy.

As for the air rifles, this category of weapon is gaining popularity rapidly. The reason for this is the development of the Blowback system (simulation of bolt movement during firing), which was so lacking in automatic weapons. Also, these models can be upgraded and fitted with ammunition, which is important for both recreational and sport shooting enthusiasts. Here is the list of models:

Crosman DPMS SBR

This is an excellent automatic rifle for range, based on the famous American M4A. This rifle is fully automatic and has the magazine for 30 rounds. In addition to this gun it has a very comfortable pistol grip and an adjustable telescopic buttstock. It also features adjustable telescoping buttstock, adjustable rear sight and integral quad rails.

Crosman MTR77 NP

Another excellent rifle from the American gun company. This model is also based on the combat prototype, but only on M16A. Just like the original, it has variable rate of fire (automatic, single or 3-shot). It has excellent long range accuracy and can be used in conjunction with rifle scopes.

CyberGun AK-47

And once we started talking about copies of the legendary automatic weapons, it would be unfair not to mention our Russian Kalashnikov submachine gun. Turkish company produced not the best submachine gun, but it is a fish out of water. It differs from its fire original slightly, but it is not prevented from frequent use in shooting galleries. It has excellent fire rate, excellent accuracy and good build quality.

When it comes to air rifles, there is a huge variety. However, it should be noted straight away that the three models in the list below are not the best in the world. They are only found in Russian shooting ranges much more often than others. We will talk more about the top of the best rifles, but for now, here are 3 good models for you to review:

Baikal MP-555K

An excellent replacement for the legendary MP-512 and the equally legendary IZH-22. This rifle differs from older models by its improved tactical and technological features, better ergonomics, and higher quality of assembling. This rifle is very suitable for beginners as it forgives most of mistakes made during training shooting.

Hatsan Alpha

This well-known Turkish rifle has many similarities to the MP-512, but differs from it by a better quality trigger unit. It is not a very powerful rifle, but it is perfect for indoor shooting as it has very low dispersion at long range (about 1 inch at 50 meters). The only drawback is too big weight.

Baikal MP-512

Despite of the fact that more than 20 years passed since its release, this model is still present in 90% of shooting ranges as a training weapon. What is the reason for its popularity? Because of the simple construction as well as the high quality of the workmanship. It seldom breaks down, but if it does, it can be repaired even by a novice. It is also frequently used in sporting events.

Rating of air rifle models for shooting ranges

Now let’s talk about which models of air rifles for shooting ranges are the best in the world. The following table shows not only the names but also the prices of such guns and the ranking based on customer feedback. It goes without saying that these rifles are not often found at shooting ranges due to high cost and difficulty to obtain spare parts. However, these rifles are rightfully considered the best models for training and recreational shooting, as they have good specifications for performance, ergonomics and possibilities for upgrading.

Air rifle accessories for shooting ranges

It should not be forgotten that ‘range air rifles’ are also weapons that can easily be upgraded. Many people, when they come to the shooting range, want to try out not only the new models of rifles, but also the ammunition that goes with them. With that in mind, we have compiled a small list of the accessories that are most often fitted to rifles for practice and recreational shooting:

Optical sights are the most common type of scope for air rifles and automatic rifles. These sights can have a variable magnification so that the shooter can adjust the level of detail depending on the size of the target.

  • Collimator sights are a modern technology based on bipolar vision. No matter what angle one looks at the sight, the dot or circle will always be aimed at the centre.
  • Laser designator. Quite a useful accessory for those who like to shoot at targets. The best thing is that it can be combined with collimator or optical sights, as it is installed under the barrel.
  • Bipods are a special type of accessory that are very useful for air rifles with telescopic sights. Bipods provide fastening of the barrel and allow for shooting from a distance of 100 metres or more.
  • A diopter sight is an option for those who wish to learn to shoot for sport. Diopter sights are used for distances between 50 and 100 metres (depending on the magnification).

And don’t forget about the various accessories that allow for the transportation of weapons from home to the shooting range. For example, a case that holds not only the weapon itself, but also various accessories and consumables (oil, bullets, targets, etc.) is indispensable.

Air rifle bullets

The question of which air rifle bullets to choose is one of the most pressing, because there are a huge number of options that differ not only in calibre or shape, but also in weight, material and performance. Here is a list of ballistic projectiles that are suitable for shooting at a shooting range:

  • Lead balls – indispensable ammunition for the pistol. It is characterised by minimum weight as well as a copper jacket. A weighted steel version is also available and offers improved accuracy.
  • Flat-head ammunition is the best choice for paper target shooting air rifles. They have minimal penetration, but leave behind a fairly consistent pattern of projectiles.
  • The bullets with a hemispherical head. Due to its streamlined shape, resistance to the air is minimal, and the ballistic projectile hardly deviates from the set course.

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