T
he following video explains all the options for charging a PCP air rifle with compressed air, including hand pumps, portable tanks and methods of refilling portable tanks, including scuba diving shops and compressors -

 


Omega Compressors & Portable Carbon Fibre Tanks
There is no doubt that the Omega Range of compressors, especially the Omega SC3 Compressor are exceptional but expensive. The SC3 compressor can be purchased from Best Fittings in the UK along with spares and accessories. They also supply Carbon Fibre Portable Tanks


Hill Hand Pumps

My 20 year old Hill hand pump is easy to setup for pumping compressed air into the air chamber of my PCP Logan air rifle. I simply plug the connector end of its lead into the socket charging point of the Logan, close the bleed valve on the pump, stand on the foot stand and pump away, up and down. At first it is relatively simple and I don't have to look at the air gauge on the gun because the pump has one and I know exactly how much air has to be pumped in. However, as I get nearer to that critical full setting on the Hill gauge, the pumping puts one hell of a strain on the hips and my back.

My mind knows I have to reach the full fill point for the gun and only willpower keeps me going. When I am finally finished, I release the pump's air bleed valve and there is a loud hiss of air; I remove the pump connector from the gun and twirl the gun's cover to protect the fill point socket from dust and muck. I then have to sit down and face the stark realisation that I will probably have to use the Hill pump later in the day, if I want to get the best performance out of my Logan.

 


Putting the physical exertion aside, my Hill Pump is amazing. It has been sitting in a cupboard for 20 years and it operated flawlessly when I started to use it again. The MK4 and the new 2020 MK5 Hill Pumps use a Dry Pac which draws out all the moisture in the air before it goes into the gun. I checked the Hill website and they supply a standard Spartan Hill Pump and a higher performance Mark 5 Hill Pump with a gauge.

Compressed Air - Travel Cylinder Tank
I have thought about the travel cylinder tank solution and there are many to choose from. Certainly, I would want one that could be filled with compressed air and yet light enough that I could take it with my PCP gun to the fields for my gun top ups.

As an example, Uttings in the UK supply Midland Diving Equipment - 300 Bar Airgun Charging Cylinders which can be filled with 300bar compressed air from a diving equipment shop or filled by an air compressor at home. A 3litre x 300bar cylinder costs 6 to be filled at a shop or club (non members) and weighs in at 10kg empty. It then contains enough compressed air pressure to fill an average 200bar PCP rifle with a rifle sized air chamber, around 26 times (refilled once the gun's air chamber reaches around 110bar). A 12litre bottle weighs in at 17.75kg empty and can refill an average 200bar PCP rifle with a rifle sized air chamber, around 106 times and costs around 7.50 to be filled.

 


I like the idea but not the hassle of having to travel to the nearest scuba diving equipment shop or a gun shop to have it re-charged. A travel cylinder would prove to be very convenient for carrying refills for my Logan but it might be prudent to own a 240v compressor, sitting in the garage, to fill one.

The costs seem to be adding up if I want to swop the Hill Pump for a travel cylinder, and especially if I also purchase an air compressor to top it up.

Air Compressors
When you commence to researching air compressors, it becomes obvious that a half decent one will cost around 500 to 750 and it will not be the kind that you would like to carry into a field with a huge 240 volt mains extension lead. Choosing the correct connectors for the compressor to a tank or directly to your PCP air gun can be a tricky business but there are many kits available from the various UK gun suppliers that offer portable tanks and compressors.

Perhaps one of the most important considerations when purchasing a compressor is to make sure that it comes with a proper filter which removes any moisture in the air supply which could get into a travel tank and/or into your gun.

Sure there are cheaper and lighter air compressors and there are even ones that work from a car battery but I guess there has to be a balance relative to the number of times in any week or week-end that you will fire your PCP air rifle. An expensive air compressor does not mean that it will prove reliable, especially if it is used a lot. Lets face it, if you are a member of a club that provides facilities for PCP air gun members, the club will invariable own an air compressor and charge a small fee for filling up your gun or a 3litre x 300bar travel cylinder full of compressed air.

A very nice air compressor like the Hill EC-3000 would prove ideal to keep in the garage connected to the 204volt mains and used to re-fill a 3litre to 12litre x 300bar cylinder with compressed air and the EC-3000 costs around 790.



 

 

Conclusion
For the amount of times that I fire my PCP Logan, I think I will stick to a hand pump. Nope, strike that, once this Covid-19 nightmare is over, I will purchase a 9 litre carbon fibre tank kit from Best Fittings and get it filled up at my local gun shop, some 20 miles away. The tank should be good for at least 70 refills of my .22 PCP Logan air rifle before it requires to be refilled and I still have my Hill Hand Pump as a backup, should I run out of compressed air.

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Richard Lawrence
Scotland
United Kingdom