Breaking In Your New Pellet Rifle

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So you finally did it. You went to the store and picked up that $100+ pellet rifle, so now you can eliminate those pesky squirrels that dig up your yard. Now before you even sight it in, you must break it in. If you skip this step, you will be unable to sight in the scope, rendering the gun useless.

The Preparation

You will first need to get out that trusty can of Tri-Flow. Apply it to the moving parts in and around the break of the barrel. This will greatly smoothen the barrel break. This is a very crucial step, because you will get tired quickly from operating an unlubricated break barrel.

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Next, you will need to set out some sort of backstop/pellet trap. I personally recommend Glad Garbage bags full of sand. These will stop pellets from ricocheting in hazardous directions, or tearing up fences. You will want to make sure even though you are using a backstop, you still fire in a safe direction.

The Break-In

This part is very self-explanatory. Fire the recommended amount of rounds (often 100) into your pellet trap. For this process you are going to want to use the least expensive pellets you can find. The cheaper pellets I have seen tend to be manufactured by Benjamin. You are going to want to talk to the man behind the counter at your LGS, they may have a more inexpensive type of pellet.

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After about 70 rounds, (if you can see the holes) your groups will begin to tighten. Do Not stop there. Fire the recommended amount of rounds to break in. If you do stop, it will take much longer to sight it in.

Sighting It In

You will want to have a very good and accurate pellet for this step. I have had a lot of luck using Gamo Hunter pellets. These come in a four pack, with three other types of Gamo pellets, and will run you around $15. These are not to be confused with Gamo's match pellets, which are not as accurate.

Breaking In Your New Pellet Rifle - Shooter - 2011-03-08-gamo-hunter-pellets-008-914.jpg

This step is very similar to any other rifle. Place a cardboard box directly in front of your pellet trap, and fasten a paper target to the box. You will need some sort of rest to fire from. You can use a rest for any other rifle, or make your own with bags of sand. Make sure to have a steady rest, or run the risk of a lengthy, unsuccessful sight in process.
After you have made your rest, and have your target set up, sight it in as you would any other scoped rifle. Scopes will not vary greatly. This process is fairly simple and easy to do.

Final Step

Now you have finally broken and sighted in your pellet rifle. Bag yourself a squirrel or challenge your friends to a day of target shooting in the backyard.

This is a pretty long process the first time you do it. Make sure you have a good three hours of daylight set aside before you take this one on. It also helps to have a spotter, so I would recommend seeing if a buddy could help.

As always, stay safe, and always read the owners manual before using your new pellet rifle. Know and obey your local laws, as well as state and federal laws, at all times during and after this process, and any time you fire your pellet rifle.

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February 9, 2013  •  11:06 AM
Great information!

And dead on accurate.

For some additional fun, try shooting (and hitting) Necco Wafers. These are coloured candy about an inch in diameter that 'explode' when hit by your pellets!

Fun for the whole family.

May 15, 2013  •  08:16 AM
while somewhat informative, there are some inaccurate statements in the above article. A preliminary sighting in of scopes is still necessary. In some cases @ 25 yards an unsighted scope may not even print on a target.
Break in can easily exceed 100 shots, my personal copy of a break barrel took right at 200 shots. Still another reason to sight in at first, you'll want to see how and when the groups start to tighten up.
As for presuming one certain pellet will be more accurate than another brand or style is bunk. Air rifles like powder burning firearms will show a definate preference to one brand and style and like powder based firearms it takes experimantation. Overcleaning the barrel of an air gun will also require re-breaking in of the barrel.
At final sight in Never, Never adjust scope settings with the forearm of a break barrel resting directly on a sandbag type rest. Doing so will result in a different target impact point than when shooting freehand for example. When using a rest, always grip the forearm in exactly the same manner and rest your hand on the sandbag.
Break barrels are the most hold sensitive air guns made, and even a change of grip location or pressure can affect target point of impact.
September 14, 2013  •  05:53 AM
In 2007 I bought a Crosman G1 Extreme and used the method above to brake in the rifle. I must say the rifle to this day is extremely accurate at up to 50 yards. I must admit the scope that came with the rifle is of good quality or I just lucked out with a good one. Being consistent while shooting and pellet experimentation is very important.