You want to fill your PCP air rifle? But what is the cheapest, most flexible or fastest way to do that? Those questions have reached me countless times in the last five years. Finally, I have purchased all the equipment I need to answer these questions and show you the different possibilities.
What matters is the cylinder and the system of the air rifle
First of all, it is important which connector your compressed air cylinder or air rifle has. Does it have a connector for a 1/8″ Quickfill adapter? Or does the rifle come with a brand-specific adapter with a connection to a 5/8″ thread, which makes it possible to fill the cylinder outside the air rifle? There are air rifles that even have a built-in adapter for the cylinder. There are different connector types. Diana P1000 Evo2, for example, only requires a Quickfill hose without an additional connector. However, I think that might be the only air rifle with this feature.
Once you have decided on your air rifle, you can choose which refill option you want. I will show you how you can revise your first decision afterwards and how you can fill Quickfill cylinders with a pump that has a 5/8″ thread connection. But if you buy the right material right away, you save expensive adapters.
A compressed air pump for filling a PCP air rifle
When I bought my first air rifle, I bought a Gehmann 4-stage pump with it. I still have it. It has proven itself over the years and has always worked reliably. A nice feature of this pump is that you can fill the cylinder with either 3- or 4-stage operation. Stage 3 is slower but easier. Muscular people use stage 4. The pump has a 5/8″ thread and is suitable for cylinders from 200 to 300 bar.
But if I could make the decision about my pump again now, I would probably decide differently.
If you want a high-quality pump that also extracts moisture from the air, you will have to consider the Hill pump with dry air filter. By drying the air, you prevent corrosion in the air rifle and thus protect the material. But this pump costs twice as much as the one from Diana. I think the target group for this product are shooters with high-quality match air rifles from Anschütz, Steyr Sport, Walther or Feinwerkbau.
Another pump I own and the cheapest but good option for filling a compressed air rifle is the Diana Quickfill pump. It works reliably and offers an inexpensive introduction to the world of compressed air rifle shooting.
I deliberately refrain from cheap no-name products from China. If you are handling 200 or 300 bar pressure, you want to be on the safe side and make sure that everything works reliably. I lack the trust in cheap imitations.
The advantages of a pump are obvious. You are mobile, you are independent, and they can be the cheapest way to fill your air rifle. The disadvantage is that you have to use a little bit of physical strength.
A compressed air tank for filling a PCP air rifle
The most common and well-known sizes for compressed air tanks are 5, 6, 10 and 20 liters. While the 5- and 6-liter tanks are still suitable for mobile use, the 10- and 20-liter tanks can only be stored at home or in the sports club. Those are too heavy for transportation.
Compressed air tanks are available with a pressure of 200 or 300 bar. If you have a compressed air rifle with a system for 200 bar pressure, then it is recommended to use a 200-bar compressed air tank. I think that isn’t a good approach. If you have filled several cylinders with the compressed air tank, then it has a filling pressure of only 190 bar, for example. This has the disadvantage that you can only fill your air rifle up to 190 bars.
I bought a 300-bar compressed air tank and then adjusted it from 300 to 200 bar using the adapter shown on the picture above. But you have to be very careful here. The cylinder can quickly be filled with more than 200 bars. Therefore, I don’t give any recommendation for this adapter. Everybody has to decide for themselves if they feel confident to fill the cylinder carefully.
If your air rifle has a Quickfill connection and you still want to fill it with a tank, you can use a adapter hose for example. It adapts directly to Quickfill.
Please pay attention to the manufacturer’s specific instructions for filling the cylinder. For instance, it is recommended to turn the compressed air cylinder of Anschütz 9015 360 degrees before removing it, shoot three blank shots and only then unscrew the cylinder completely. This preserves the seals. Important for all systems: Before you remove the filled cylinder from the tank, pump or compressor, loosen the screw of the pressure release. You should only remove the cylinder when the hose or the pump is without pressure.
Refill the tank
A disadvantage of the tanks is that they can only be refilled with an extremely expensive compressor. It can cost several thousand euros. Therefore, I list you three possibilities how to get your tank full again. The first one is a Frankonia store. According to my last information you can get your tanks refilled there for free.
The next alternative is the fire department: Go to your local fire department, donate 10 Euros for a good cause and ask them to take your tank with them on their next trip to a filling station.
The last option is a dive shop. However, unfortunately I made the experience with shops in my area that they can only refill tanks up to 200 bars. I recommend you ask beforehand.
Let’s summarize the advantages again: The fastest way to fill a cylinder is with a tank. You are mobile with smaller tanks. The prices are in the middle range. The disadvantage is that you always have to find someone to refill it.
A compressor for filling a PCP air rifle
Well-known compressors are available starting at around 400 euros. There are practically no limits to the top. I deliberately refrain from cheaper import models without a German distributor. I feel the same way about these as with cheap pumps. Personally, I lack confidence in these products.
All compressors I know have a Quickfill hose to fill a PCP cylinder. It can be connected with an adapter or directly to the air rifle. I have assembled an adapter myself, so that I can also fill my cylinders with my own filling piece with 5/8″ thread. You can have a look at this on the photo.
All affordable compressors I know can fill cylinders up to a maximum capacity of 0.6 l.
The advantage of a compressor is that you can refill your cylinder without any effort in a relatively short time. However, a compressor is probably the most cost-intensive purchase of the three options. Additionally, you need a power supply, and most models are quite loud.
Conclusion on the possibilities for filling a PCP air rifle
I have now changed my set-up after initially using only pumps. I only use my compressor at home. If I’m on the shooting range, I take my small 5-liter tank with me. The pump is just a backup at home.
If you are a beginner and don’t know if you will fall for the hobby completely at some point or if you just can’t spend that much money, then an inexpensive pump is the right choice for you.
If you shoot excessively, then you should buy a big tank or a compressor.
If you just can’t decide what’s right for you, then just buy everything and take turns. No, all jokes aside. If you still couldn’t decide after this review and the corresponding video, then contact me. We can work out what is best for you.
How do you fill your air rifles?
Have you noticed the good quality of the video recording?
For two years now, I’ve been struggling with myself. A few days ago, my new, high-quality camcorder arrived. Now the quality of the recordings is much better and as soon as the directional microphone arrives, the sound quality will be much better, too. However, this has to be the last investment of 2020. Unfortunately, I’m not the ECB and don’t have endless resources. 😉
Thank you for reading!
I’m looking forward to having you back next week!
P.S. Today, on the day of the publication of this article, my replies will probably take some time. It’s my birthday 😉 The whole family will visit. But in the evening, when everything is quiet again, I will read everything here and answer every question.
Do you already know my international YouTube channel? HERE you will find videos of more powerful air rifles in English.