All about Nitro Piston Air Rifles

All about Nitro Piston Air Rifles

Hunting using air rifle is preferred among some serious hunters. Although it is challenging when using air rifle, and hunting with an air rifle is demanding of you more than any other types of sporting. Yet, air rifle offers you the benefit of not spooking the prey of which when hunting required an emphasis on quiet movements such as squirrels, pigeons, rabbits and some varmints. Since air rifle is quiet and your hunting is done in stealth mode without getting busted.

All You Need to Know about Nitro Piston Air Rifles

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In this article I will introduce on the spring air rifle type using Nitrogen power source. In spring piston air rifle, there is gas spring or we call it Nitro piston air rifles. Recalls some of my last articles, there are 3 types of air rifle power source which are spring piston, Pneumatic (Pump), and CO2-powered (compressed gas). The Nitrogen piston air rifle is a gas spring rifle, and in Pneumatics rifle there are single stroke, multi-stroke, and pre-charged Pneumatic air rifles.

Now let’s talk about how and when did the nitro piston airgun available in the market. Then we will see how it works, what to take into account for advantage and disadvantages of a nitro piston air rifle.

When Nitro Piston Air Rifles were introduced to the market?

A Nitrogen piston air rifle is a spring gun but without the spring. In 2009, the Nitro Piston Short stroke was the first nitro piston airgun introduced to the market which is made with nitro piston technology and its operation mechanism is based on the same technology.

How it works?

The power plant of a spring gun is a coiled spring, but for a nitro piston airgun, it uses a cylinder filled with nitrogen as the power plant. This nitrogen-filled cylinder has already kept under tension so when you cock the gun, the time you put more pressure to this cylinder. Inside the cylinder, the air is compressed and only released after the trigger is squizzed. Whenever the trigger is pressed, the piston is then propelled forward by the expansion of the pressurized air.

By then, as the gun chamber is fully sealed so the compressed air will go nowhere but expend real behind the pellet. When that happens, the compressed air offers a fierce driving force which pushes the pellet out of the gun barrel and completed the fire.

Why Nitro piston air rifle is recommended


In comparison with spring air rifles, Nitro piston guns have many advantages. I can list them out as following:

  • Light: the first advantage of a nitro piston air rifle is that it is weighted much lighter than a spring air rifle. This is really help for the hunters who are walking whole day long and who often need to carry their guns a lot in the woods.
  • Less recoil: compare to the traditional spring gun the nitro piston gun offers much less recoil. When a spring air rifle is fired the barrel is vibrated in all directions due to the spring extends, thus lots of recoil are generated. In a nitro piston air rifle, with the nitrogen technology, the gun piston is extended quietly and smoothly so that the barrel is less being affected thus it has much less recoil.

Because there is less recoil in nitro piston air rifle, there are certain benefits we can see:

First, there will be no effect on shooting accuracy when you are in the hunting field and rest your gun on the shooting rests (such as rock, tree, and so on), and if your hand positions are constantly change during the shot cycle. However, if using a spring air gun, every time you shoot and your hand is not hold at the same position, it will effect in the different Point of Impact and accuracy (the point the target is hit).

Second, as there is minimal recoil in a nitro piston gun, so even the shooters with the average skills and with a minimum effort still can make the shots accurately.

Last, there are less practise required to hold the gun properly.

Advantages of nitro piston air rifle

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  • Fire faster: a nitro piston air gun has a faster lock time, and a faster lock time means the gun produces better accuracy (lock time is the time the pellets are kept in the gun barrel until it is fired). It is reportedly that a nitro piston airgun produces 55% faster fires than the spring gun coiled power plant, and 15% faster fire than the traditional gas piston airguns.
  • Not affected by the weather: the spring air gun is affected by weather while a nitro piston gun is not. It is because the main coiled spring will get harder and tougher when the weather gets cold as it used grease for lubrication. The gun is slow down and harder to cock. Whereas, in a nitro piston gun, since the nitrogen cylinder is lubricated with specialized lubrication, thus, regardless of the temperature in the environment, it functions almost the same.
  • Can be left cocked for a long time: with a spring gun, if the gun is left cocked for a long period, its power and accuracy is reduced because the spring would lose its strength while the gun is cocked for a long time. But a nitro piston air gun is different; you can leave it cocked for days or as long as you like. However, it is recommended that you still have to shoot it even though it can be left cocked for days. It is noted that every few months you need to cock and release the gun so as to prevent the seal from getting sticked with the gun bore.
  • No spring torque: with a nitro piston air gun, you are only required a force of only 28lb cocking effort to cock the gun because it does not have spring torque like a springer.
  • Less noise and completed in stealth mode: a nitro piston air rifle is definitely quiet. It is reported that a nitro piston offers as much as 70% less noise in the shot cycle, compared to a spring gun. This is really a great benefit for field hunting which hunt is required to process in stealth mode and no busted.
  • Long lasting- reliability: Nitro piston airgun has a longer lifespan than a spring airgun. An average spring gun can shoot only 5000 shots, but the nitro piston airgun can easily shoot up to 10,000 shots before the gun loses it power. In the airgun users, to maximize gun performance, the shooters often make their guns’ compression up to 100% every time. The general rule would guide you not to get spring compression excess 50% to remain the gun durability and reliability. Because with 100% compression, the spring is weakened and the gun’s lifespan is harmed and shortened. However, a nitro piston does not care about what level of compression there is, thus there is nothing affects its life.


There are many advantages of a nitro piston airgun as listed above, yet there are still some disadvantages.

First, in a nitro piston air rifle, if the gas ram is damaged, it will not function at all. Fortunately, if the gas ram fails within the first 2 or 3 weeks after you have purchased it, you can make a refund as you want during this period.

Second, if the spring of a spring airgun is defective, you can still get it serviced or replace it. But with a nitro piston gun, if the gas ram is damaged, you can hardly find a new ram to replace it; or if you like to service and upgrade a nitro piston airgun, there is also no used or after-market nitrogen air rifles you can purchase.

These are some disadvantages to take note when you want to use nitro piston air rifle. But these cons are very minor.

Disadvantage of Nitro Piston Air Rifles

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Operation mechanism

Now let’s talk a bit about the operation of Nitro piston air rifle in term of ammo type, sight, stock, cocking the gun and loading the pellets.

Ammo type

The typical ammunition types are .177 and .22 pellets size. The .177 pellet is easy to find at a reasonable price and it is prevailed among the target shooters. Alternatively, the .22 pellets are preferred to use for shooting under windy weather as it offers more stability in its trajectory than the former pellet size. Moreover, using this pellet size enables you to get the hunting job done in one clean shot. Thus, it is a popular size and is recommended.


Unlike spring airgun, the nitro piston gun has no front sight and no rear sight (it means it does not have an open sight as in spring airgun). Instead, it has a variable power scope of 3-9 x 32mm centre point which allowed you to have a high accuracy in shooting. The front lens of the scope has the diameter of 32mm, and the scope magnification power is 3-9. That means the target object is magnified from 3 to 9 times, larger than the object itself when you see with no scopes. This power scope is best for the hunters who are in a long-range shooting, and makes your hunting day a successful one.


Nitro piston airgun has a synthetic stock which works perfectly well in any outside temperature and condition. Synthetic stock is much lighter to handle unlike wood stock which is heavy and tends to be affected by the weather. Moreover, the modern synthetic material is quite durable. Thus, synthetic stock of a nitro piston air rile is best for the hunters who often hunt on the field for long period.

Also, it is recommended you look for thumbhole stock nitro piston gun.  The stock will have a thumbhole and enable more relaxed grip by resting the stock on your wrist instead of holding the stock with your hand. It is recommended to be best use for the hunters who often spend intensive time focus in shooting position.

How to cock the gun and load the pellet?

To cock the gun, first, you need to hold the gun by your side after put it on SAFE. Next, to open the breech, you tap the gun muzzle end firmly. Then rest the gun on your thigh, and hold the muzzle end to pull the barrel down firmly to cock the gun. After cocking the gun, the breech is opened, so when you load the pellet, you put the pellet by lying its nose slightly forward into the breech. After that, pull back the gun barrel to the beginning position, the barrel is then locked and the gun is ready to shoot.

How to cock the gun and loading the pellet

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In short, when you are searching for the right air rifle, beside understanding the traditional spring air rifle, how many Air Rifle Action and Type of Power Source, it is very helpful to know how nitro piston technology works in a nitro piston airgun. Understanding its advantages and disadvantages will give you more references information and confidence in your search for the air rifle which best suits you and your hunting needs. Nitro piston air rifles have a synthetic stock, so it is lighter than spring airguns. The nitrogen piston technology enables the gun a smoother cocking, less recoil, offer a high level of accuracy, do hunting quietly and in stealth mode, plus it required less maintenance.

If you want to enjoy all of the above advantages, then nitro piston air rifle should be the gun for you. But if you wish to modify or upgrade a gun for better performance purposes later, or if you would like to get it service later, then the nitro piston air rifle should not be your choice.

All in all, if you are interested in small game such as squirrels, pigeons, rabbits, and so on or even varmint which requires a high emphasis on quiet movements and precision shots, you should consider getting a nitro piston air rifle. Again, it is depending on your shooting purposes to get the right airgun that best suits your needs.

Practise made perfect! Choose your air rifle soon and get started.