View Full Version : Gas piston vs spring piston guns?

Ithaca Gunner
12-01-2014, 03:10 AM
I like things simple as possible, nothing extra to lug around I don't have to, no pumps to pre-charge, no co2 cartridges. One stroke, load and shoot! That brings us to two types of pellet rifles, traditional spring piston, and newer gas piston. I'd like opinions and a discussion on the good and bad of both.

I'm fairly new to airgunning, but have one of each, (so far) a Crosman Nitro Venom and an RWS-34 springer.

Things I like about the RWS-34 springer, a fantastic trigger foremost, a clean slim profile and integral grooves for scope mounting, the gun feels good and fits well, it's been accurate so far, comes with good open sights.

Here's a few things I don't care for about the 34, the automatic safety, (hate the thing) cocking effort, while not brutal it does give you a work-out for long shooting sessions, loud report mostly due to the spring...and they say you can't shoot these springers in the cold! Gee, I like walking out the back door and perforating things in the winter!

Here's what I like about the Crosman Nitro Venom, smooth easy cocking effort, manual safety, good fit to the shoulder, plenty of power, came with a pretty good scope on a Weaver rail, supposed to able to shoot it year round, quiet.

What I don't like about the Nitro Venom, the trigger sucks, it's a real piece of junk, adjustable, but no where near the clean crisp trigger on the RWS, (or even the worst milsurp I have) no open sights, clumsy gun to carry, and it takes around 20 shots to "warm it up" (no matter what the temp.) and shoot to POA, once it does it's accuracy is pretty good with pellets it likes.

And there you have my opinion of the air guns I have experience with, the Crosman I would consider an "entry level" gas piston while the RWS-34 is one of the better "basic" springers.

Looks like, since I want to shoot in cold weather, I probably want to get a better gas piston rifle. What's your opinions of gas piston air rifles?

12-01-2014, 06:10 AM
You just wait until you enter the next phase and start tuning. I went springer for that very reason. Give that 34 of yours a tune and chances are your view of the Crosman will change some more ;)

Ithaca Gunner
12-01-2014, 11:56 AM
The thing that gets me most about it is, they say you can't use a springer in cold weather, (just when I want to shoot a pellet rifle the most). They say, gas piston guns are good in all weather, the Crosman shoots okay, certainly not up to the RWS standard, but I can knock off a starling at 30yds...once I get 20 or so warm up shots through it! My opinion is that the Crosman is a entry level gas piston gun and fully $100.00 less than the RWS-34. No doubt in my mind which gun I WANT to shoot, the one that gives .5 MOA, (at least) at 30yds consistently, but it's said a springer won't shoot in the cold.

12-01-2014, 09:23 PM
All my springers shoot just fine in the cold, Tennessee cold anyway. Fully believe that is an old wives tale that has been discussed in the dim past. Airgun Letter did a story on it I think. I have a gas spring Theoben and have not seen the issues you describe with the the nitro. I have seen a POI issue when the Theoben had spent the summer work day in my truck, It was hot and thus had more (much more) pressure . Never had any temp related issues with a steel spring gun. I think ou will be unhappy to have to "break in" the nitro every time you take it out. +1 on a mild tuneup on the 34 ,you will be pleased.

12-02-2014, 06:17 AM
Do you have a chronograph? It would be interesting to see true velocity comparisons between both the guns as well as hot vs cold.
Thinking of one curve ball theory here cold air is more dense than hot so would a springer not shoot at higher velocity in cold conditions?

Ithaca Gunner
12-02-2014, 12:27 PM
I do have a chrony. I shot both at a 55gal. drum in about 60 degree weather, the gas piston was the more powerful of the two making a noticeably deeper impression.

12-02-2014, 08:12 PM
My gas-ram guns dont loose veloicty compared to my spring guns.The spring guns take time to warm up in the sub freezing weather.

01-06-2015, 07:38 AM
All airguns have their own problems.

Steel spring guns, you can't leave them cocked while walking in the woods, the twang is loud, and you have to use the artillery hold to get good accuracy due to the reverse-recoil of the spring.

Gas spring guns can stay cocked and are quieter, but they have their own set of issues. One is that they can't sit for years on end... the seals on the gas ram bond to the cylinder and the next time you use them... the seals tear and the gun does nothing. Unlike a spring gun which will continue to work with a broken spring, though with less power, when the gas piston fails, you're done. The simple solution is to shoot the gun every few weeks, this keeps the seals from sticking.

All of the springer guns, once you get them to the power level of being hunting rifles, have another problem. Weight. Eight pounds is normal, ten isn't unheard of, especially after mounting a scope. But, you need the weight because you had to build a structure capable of handling the 30-40 pound cocking effort.

They all have their issues, figure out which set you can live with best and go with it. One old trueism that you'll hear with airguns... you get what you pay for. No hundred dollar Walmart gun will be as nice as an RWS, which won't be nearly as nice as a $2K custom tuned PCP gun. It's all about how much you want to spend.

01-06-2015, 08:00 PM
"Steel spring guns, you can't leave them cocked while walking in the woods, the twang is loud, and you have to use the artillery hold to get good accuracy due to the reverse-recoil of the spring."

Not on all of them. The RWS 48 platform, The AA TX200 as well as the new Walther LGV shoot well held tight and double rested. For me the RWS 34 and FWB 124 are hard to shoot with anything but a loose hold though. Gas guns also are just as finicky to hold as spring power plants IMHO. Better? to hold loose at first I guess but always differ holds and you may be surprised.
You do get what you pay for but some guns lie the RWS 34 copies by Xisico are good deal if you can do the tuning work youself. But even at that still aren’t as good as the gun they copy. No PCP air gun is worth $2000 IMHO.(ok Olympic grade 10 meter guns with sights)But people pay it so that’s what they charge!

01-07-2015, 10:18 PM
Yes, Harry, there's always exceptions... but for the majority of spring guns what I said is true. I wasn't picking on any type of gun, simply stating that none are "perfect" because such a thing doesn't exist. Some guns have metal springs, others gas springs, some are inexpensive, others are overpriced... The point is, what one person finds the he can't live with may be what the next guy finds to be something he can't live without. Try them all and figure out what works best for you has always been my mantra.

01-08-2015, 04:26 PM
True. Some guys just hear the “artillery hold" and that’s all they will use.

01-10-2015, 08:37 PM
True. Some guys just hear the “artillery hold" and that’s all they will use.

True statement, but lots of folks are lazy too. When someone told me I needed a bipod, I decided to get one and try it. They have their uses, but for the hunting I do, not so much. Ditto certain bullet weights, cartridges, pellet styles, range gadgets, barrel cleaners, reloading tools, etc, etc, etc.

Each one of us is different, and we each hunt in different places, so no two of us can be expected to decide that "X" is the perfect solution... there's too many variables, so each one of us needs to figure out what works on an individual basis.

Ithaca Gunner
01-11-2015, 02:51 PM
The cold weather this past week, (highs in the teens) gave me a bit of insight. The RWS 34 springer shot low and a groups opened up at 25 yds. It's usually a 3/4" shooter at that distance with Crossman Premier hollow points. Groups opened up to around 2" and shot low. The Crosman Nitro Venom gas piston rifle actually shot better than it usually does, although a bit low like the RWS. Today it was warmer, in the mid 30's and the RWS was back to 3/4" groups and right where it should be. The Crosman didn't change much. Maybe a German nitro piston the quality of the RWS would be better. I don't think the Crosman Nitro Venom is a very high quality gun.

01-11-2015, 06:22 PM
My 48 in .177 and 52 in .22 would get goofy in the really cold weather(20's).That darn lube on the spring get pretty stiff. My gas also guns shot better in the cold.I recently had a fellow ram a Hatsan 125 .25 with a Crosman 725 ram and do trigger work and its really nice.


Ithaca Gunner
01-13-2015, 01:48 PM
Maybe next time Pyramid Air has a sale I'll get better gas piston rifle as I like to shoot pellet rifles mostly in the winter. Been thinking of the Hatsan 95 Vortex, or the Weihrauch HW 90. Big difference in price, but I'm kind of addicted to the German quality in air guns. Anybody have a Hatsan 95 Vortex?

01-13-2015, 07:50 PM
I would buy a standard hatsan 95 spring powered and send it to Mike Ellingsworth in Montana and have him do a new seal and adding RAM to it and you will have everything you ever wanted.hatsans are built like tanks but require a little bit of refitting to get them to shoot well and even the gas Rams they're piston and seals are typically a bit too undersized.

Ithaca Gunner
01-14-2015, 12:26 PM
Harry, could you explain further why you would do a standard Hatsan 95 springer over the gas piston model, I already have an RWS 34 that's one heck of a shooter. I'd like to enjoy the two main advantages of a gas piston gun, having it loaded, cocked, and ready for several hours, and shooting in freezing temps. I only have experience with one of each type gun, (both .22) the RWS 34 and a Crosman Nitro Venom. The 34 is a great rifle, a classic even. The Nitro Venom so-so at best rifle from my personal shooting with it.

01-14-2015, 01:25 PM
Mike tuned the Quattro trigger, did the standard deburr and generally cleaned things up. The added gas ram really smoothed things up.PM me and i'll give you his number and email and he can go over what he does. He’s a great guy to deal with and fast on the turn around. He just did a 95 for himself.

.30-06 fan
02-09-2015, 04:15 AM
Springs don't leak. Sooner or later the gas piston will leak.

02-09-2015, 08:35 PM
I've had three springs beak on German guns and render a gun inoperable. They are not immune to wear.

02-10-2015, 02:56 PM
I have a nitro venom, and it shoots pretty well in .22. Biggest thing is about the trigger. I replaced mine with a CDT GRT111 and it performs much better. Better trigger, better groups. Pellet rifles can be picky about which pellet it likes as well. You may need to try several before you get the one that works the best.

04-21-2015, 06:58 AM
I find your negativity on the Nitro Venom interesting. Only reason I bought mine was the glowing reports online and I researched as many places I could find on the net for a week before I made my choice. Yes the trigger is no target trigger however it is manageable. You could always get a after market trigger. I don't have an issue with it no worse than the lawyer triggers on some guns.

Ithaca Gunner
04-21-2015, 01:22 PM
My experience with the nitro venom over the several years I've owned it is one of frustration. At first I thought it was the scope, but no less than 4 have been on it with the same results. The best it'll do is about 3" at 25yds. The trigger I can live with, and it has plenty of power. It'll out penetrate my RWS-34 by a considerable margin and it's easier to cock, and nearly as silent as you could expect. Accuracy with a variety of pellets I've tried is frustrating though. 3" at 25yds. is just unacceptable. I've had it apart and together several times, no change in accuracy...

04-21-2015, 11:00 PM
How's the lockup? Mine was pretty loose, out of the box. You could move the barrel up/down a bit. I had to Dremel on the groove in the live jam to get it to stick out a little farther. It's called the "alive jam" on the parts schematic. When you break the barrel, it's the part that sticks out under where you insert the pellet. This eliminated the occasional horrendous vertical flyer. You might also improve the horizontal lockup with brass washers. The plastic washers wear out over time, and mine is starting to get loose, there.

All you need is a phillips head to get the stock off, and a flathead to unscrew the barrel pivot screw. And a proper sized punch can help to push out the hollow pin/tube that holds the washers and retains the live jam, but it's not really in there super tight if you depress the live jam to let it out.

Papa smurf
04-24-2015, 01:56 PM
Ithaca Gunner ; I got a Nitro Venom .22 cal two years ago and had similar problems with mine . I found that this rifle does not act like a air rifle . The artillery hold dose not work . It wants to be treated more like a powder burner. It wants a firm hold . Not being a fan of mil dot I mounted a Hawke 3-9x40 AO with a duplex. Crosman domed pellets give me a 1 1/2 inch group at 35 yards (most of the time ). My 76 year old eyes added to the mix don't help. Hope my little note helps out .------Good Shooting to you----John --AKA -Papa Smurf

Ithaca Gunner
04-24-2015, 11:34 PM
Okay John, I haven't tried holding it like a powder burner. The 3" groups are with Crosman H-P's and RWS Super Domes. Anything else shoots 5-7" at 25 yds. One thing I have noticed with this gun, it seems to have a large chamber. I read someone say theirs is loud? Not mine, quiet as a church mouse, yet more powerful than my RWS 34 with the same pellets and same target. I'll give a firm hold a try, but not expecting much change. Midway just sent my Hatsan 95 Vortex gas piston today, I'm hoping that's a better gun!

04-26-2015, 01:26 AM
It might have been me calling it loud. But then again, I have never shot a springer, so I could be mistaken. It's quiet, I guess.... Just not nearly as quiet as an Aguila Super Calibri out of my 22. :)

I just took mine to the range, today. I had no problem hitting soda bottles out to 45 yards. Most of them didn't break, but I knocked them over almost without fail. Out of curiousity, I took a couple shots at the 110 yard berm, and I got about 4 feet of drop, lol.

I put some on paper the other week at 20 yards, and I got about a one inch 5 shot group with largely horizontal stringing. I have to replace the washers on mine. My barrel swings around after cocking, and i can feel some side-side play, so I am confident I could tighten that up to maybe just over half an inch.

I don't know about large chamber. I can't easily push the harder Crosman pellets all the way in, even. I leave the edge of the skirt sticking out when I shoot mine. And I do get the best accuracy with the Crosman Premier domes, out of the three pellets I tried. The others were JSB Exact and another brand I can't recall.

Ithaca Gunner
04-26-2015, 11:43 AM
I got mine right after they were introduced, maybe they got better, I won't chance another for sure. A tight hold like Papa Smurf suggested didn't help it either. Same palm size groups at 25yds.

04-26-2015, 05:44 PM
I was an early adopter, too. Check the crown for defects. Check the lockup of the barrel. Does it wiggle? Try a different scope? There's not that much that can go wrong in a break action to make groups THAT large. We're probably talking easily identified problems, rather than issues like "chinese made barrel vs lothar match barrel."

What makes you think your chamber is loose? Do the pellets drop in?

If all that is ruled out, I guess you might have a bad piston seal. I still wouldn't expect groups to be THAT big at short range.

I would have a hard to to give up on the gun as long as the bore isn't totally buggered and the nitro pistol is working. I had my own trials and tribulations, initially, due to poor lockup. Once sorted out, I was pleasantly surprised how little hold sensitivity affected the shots. Compared to my imagination run wild, anyhow.

Yes, it sounds like your gun has a problem. Forget trigger time and targets and hold and start looking at the gun. Closely. The devil is in the details.

04-28-2015, 07:23 PM
Update: I just did the brass washer replacement on my gun, and it was as easy as this guy says.

I also bought the washers at Lowe's, incidentally. They come in a two pack. My calipers measure the plastic washers at ~.063", and the brass washers at ~0.061-0.064. After turning down the outer diameter (using a bolt and a nut as a mandrel) and chamfering the edges, they were a perfect fit... super tight, requiring some hard whacking with a plastic screwdriver handle to get the barrel back on. The only thing I'd add to this guy's post is to take some sandpaper and break the edges of the pivot screw hole, lest you shave part of your left washer off on assembly.

04-30-2015, 12:17 AM
Did you call Crosman? I would and tell them you cannot get it to group. I bet they will replace it or fix it.

04-30-2015, 02:09 AM
Fixing it might be easier than getting an RMA, packing it up in a box, and printing a shipping label. Just saying. And fixing it up yourself, you can more than likely make it better than the average out-the-box rifle and keep it maintained to that level, to boot.

Even easier is to just order a new rifle, which he already did. More shooting, less troubleshooting. :)

04-30-2015, 04:44 AM
True but these days with the internet companies will bend over backwards not to get any bad publicity at least the good ones. I had a brand new Tasco varmint scope that had a stripped out screw from the factory on the target turrent. I called Bushnell (they own Tasco) and told them my problem. All I wanted was an other turrent. It was easier for them to send me a new scope. I drilled and tapped the hole and fixed that one too. Obvious IG got a bad one as I have read too many satisfied Venom owners out there. If nothing else it should be reported to a company when a substandard product is sold and should be remedied.