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Chicom Air Rifle
Dimensions Barrel Length Weight Caliber Action Type Magazine Capacity
42.5" 19" .177 pellet Pneumatic 1

        It may seem strange and pretentious to be putting a page about an air rifle on a site section about firearms, but this is not so inappropriate as it may seem. There are some very serious "adult" air guns out there and some very serious competitions being shot with them. The respectability of the air gun has increased in the last few decades, because not all of the world is the United States, and not all adults are free to own fire arms as we are. Citizens of less enlightened countries may be limited to the use of air guns in competitive and recreational shooting, but this does not mean they need to limit themselves to Red Rider carbines, and Daisy 500 shot lever actions. Many of these adult guns are every bit as well made and, within their limits, as accurate as any real fire arm. They lack only the power, and in most cases the rapid fire of a "real" gun. This should not be taken to mean that these guns may be handled without the same care as a firearm. Much small game is taken with them every year, and some begin to touch the lower limits of power generated by firearms.

        This particular model is a good illustration of how serious air guns can get. The gun is manufactured in communist China as a military rifle. It is, admittedly a practice piece, and is not issued to combat troops, but it is still considered to be a piece of military equipment. This rifle was designed to be about the same size and weight, and have the same balance as the SKS rifle. It is given to members of China's youth brigades, and is used as a preliminary practice piece in the early stages of recruit training in their army. It seems that the Chinese communists are hesitant to allow guns even in the hands of their military.

        The guns are quiet, and cheap to shoot. Their ownership is rarely restricted for adults, and they can be safely and legally practiced with in the house, with a proper pellet trap. This particular example, launches an 8.5 grain pellet out the muzzle at around 1000 fps. This generates a bit over 20 fp of energy. According to the "velocity is every thing" crowd, the .177 air rifle should be a good man stopper, since it's velocity is higher than that of the .45 or the .38. Of course they would never make such a foolish claim, but this is a good extreme example of the folly of this particular bullet lethality theory. Though this round is hardly a man stopper, it is adequate for some small game and for the ten meter ranges used in competition, it is also very fun to shoot.

        This is a pneumatic gun, and uses a piston, rather than a CO2 cartridge. The gun is cocked by breaking the action, in a manner similar to that of the venerable old double barrel shotgun. In addition to cocking the spring loaded piston, breaking the action also gives access to the chamber, so that a single pellet might be loaded. There is no safety, and I suppose none is really required.

        The gun features a 16" sight radius, with a hooded front and an adjustable rear.  The rear sight adjusts in increments of five yards, from ten to thirty yards. Anything more than that is pretty pointless on a .177 pellet gun. The sights and sight adjustments are pretty accurate, and the gun itself shoots well, within it's range limitations. There is a distinct crack, when the gun fires; but it is not particularly loud, making the gun suitable for indoor practice with a proper pellet trap.

        Between this gun. my co2 pistol, and my pellet trap and spinners, I can have myself a pretty good time in my basement, and not risk arrest.  Air guns are generally accepted to have about a third the practical range of real firearms, so a seven foot range could be practice equivalent to a seven yard range with a real gun. There is also no noxious smoke, no lead in the air, and no need for hearing protectors. With range time, ammunition, and firearms all getting so expensive, this is a nice viable, and casual way to get in regular practice.