Can you leave a PCP air rifle charged?

21 June 2024  |  Air Arms

Can you leave a PCP air rifle charged?

Air rifles powered by pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) systems have become popular among shooting enthusiasts for their accuracy and power. These air guns are excellent for power, stability and reliability - but what are the best ways to use them? 

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at how a PCP air rifle works, how this type of air gun charges and how best to use and store these rifles to maintain safe and reliable gun practices?

A Quick Overview of How PCP Air Rifles Work

Pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifles require charging with compressed air in their air reservoirs to function effectively. Unlike spring air rifles or CO2-powered air rifles, which rely on mechanical or gas-driven mechanisms for power, PCP air rifles utilise stored compressed air to propel pellets or projectiles. 

PCP air rifles require charging with compressed air for operation and the ability to store pressurised air in the reservoir to allow for consistent and powerful shooting performance. 

How to use a PCP rifle

  1. Power Source: PCP air rifles rely on the pressurised air stored in their reservoirs to generate the energy needed to propel pellets accurately and consistently.

  2. Initial Charging: When acquiring a PCP air rifle for the first time, it must be charged with compressed air to the manufacturer's recommended pressure levels before use. This initial charging prepares the rifle for shooting.

  3. Continuous Charging: To maintain optimal performance, PCP air rifles need to be recharged periodically as the air reservoir depletes with each shot. Regularly monitoring and refilling the air reservoir is essential for consistent shooting.

  4. Pressure Considerations: As the air reservoir pressure decreases during use, the velocity and trajectory of pellets may be affected. Recharging the rifle restores the pressure for continued accurate shooting.

  5. Usage Frequency: The frequency of charging a PCP air rifle depends on factors such as the number of shots fired, the power setting used, and the desired shooting consistency. Shooters often recharge their rifles after a certain number of shots or when performance declines.

Is charging your rifle a simple task?

  1. Equipment Requirements: To charge a PCP air rifle, you will need the appropriate charging equipment, such as a hand pump, air tank, or air compressor. Ensuring you have the correct fittings and adapters for your specific air rifle model is essential. Important parts to note are:

  2. A) Air Reservoir: Usually located under the barrel or integrated into the stock, where compressed air is storedfor powering the rifle.

  3. B) Fill Port: The air reservoir has a fill port equipped with a male quick-disconnect fitting or other adapter for connecting to the external air source.

  4. Understanding the Process: Familiarise yourself with the charging process outlined in the manufacturer's instructions or user manual provided with your PCP air rifle. This will help you understand the steps involved in safely and effectively charging the gun.

  5. Connection and Pressurisation: Connecting the charging device to the air rifle's fill port and pressurising the air reservoir involves straightforward steps. Ensure a secure connection to prevent air leaks during charging.

  6. Monitoring Pressure: Keep an eye on the pressure gauge of the air rifle and the charging device while filling the air reservoir. Slowly increase the pressure to reach the recommended level without overfilling.

  7. Safety Precautions: To prevent accidents, it is important to adhere to safety precautions, such as wearing appropriate eye protection and ensuring a clear workspace, when charging a PCP air rifle.

  8. Practice and Experience: As with any skill, training and experience will improve your efficiency and confidence in charging your PCP air rifle. Over time, you will become more adept at the process.

So, can you leave your PCP air rifle charged?

So, in short - Yes, you can typically leave a pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifle charged for extended periods without significant issues, as long as certain precautions are taken. 

PCP air rifles are designed to hold pressure in their air reservoirs for relatively long durations compared to other air guns like spring-piston or CO2-powered rifles. However, like most things, you must ensure you're keeping your air gun in top condition so that no faults may arise.

  1. Pressure Levels: It's generally safe to leave a PCP air rifle charged as long as the air reservoir pressure is within the manufacturer's recommended range. Avoid overfilling the reservoir beyond the specified pressure limits, as this can damage the rifle.

  2. Storage Conditions: Ensure the PCP air rifle is stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Excessive heat or cold can affect the seals and internal components of the rifle.

  3. Regular Inspections: Periodically check the air reservoir pressure to remain stable within the recommended range. If you notice a significant pressure drop over time, it may indicate a leak that needs to be addressed.

  4. Safety Considerations: When handling a charged PCP air rifle, follow proper safety practices to prevent accidental discharge or damage. Treat the gun with care and respect for its pressurised state. Leaving a PCP air rifle charged can pose safety risks if not handled properly. The stored compressed air in the reservoir can lead to accidental discharge, potentially causing injury or damage if the rifle is mishandled or dropped. It's crucial to follow safety protocols and ensure that the gun is safely stored when not in use to prevent any accidents.

Importance of Maintaining a Charged PCP Air Rifle:

Keeping a PCP air rifle properly charged is essential for ensuring its optimal performance. A well-maintained charge allows for consistent shooting velocity, accuracy, and shot-to-shot consistency. Failure to maintain the air rifle's charge can lead to decreased power, inconsistent shots, and potential damage to the rifle's internals.

Impact on the Rifle's Performance and Longevity:

Leaving a PCP air rifle charged for an extended period can affect its performance and longevity. Constant pressure on the internal components may lead to wear and tear, affecting the rifle's efficiency and accuracy over time. Additionally, prolonged storage of a charged rifle can cause seals to deteriorate faster, potentially resulting in air leaks and decreased overall performance.

So, while keeping your air rifle charged is perfectly fine, it's also important to note that overcharging or incorrectly storing and charging your rifle can negatively affect your air rifle.

Managing a Charged PCP Air Rifle

Managing a charged pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air rifle involves following guidelines to ensure the rifle's safety, optimal performance, and longevity. Here are key practices for effectively managing a charged PCP air rifle:

  • Charge Before Use: It's recommended to charge your PCP air rifle before each shooting session to ensure consistent performance and accuracy.

  • Discharge After Use: After shooting, it's advisable to discharge the remaining air pressure from the rifle by firing a few blank shots in a safe direction to prevent strain on internal components.

Storage Recommendations 

  • Store in a Cool, Dry Place: When not in use, store your charged PCP air rifle in a cool and dry environment away from direct sunlight and moisture to prevent damage and maintain performance.

  • Use Protective Cases: Consider storing your rifle in a protective case or sleeve to shield it from dust, debris, and potential impacts that could affect its functionality.

Benefits of Using a Pre-Charged Pneumatic (PCP) Air Rifle

Now that you're better equipped on how to work and look after your PCP air rifle, we can look at why these types of air guns are such a fantastic choice - and why it's so valuable to look after these peeves of machinery. 

  1. Accuracy: PCP air rifles are known for their high levels of accuracy due to minimal recoil and consistent shot placement, making them ideal for target shooting, hunting, and competitive shooting.

  2. Power: PCP rifles pack significant power, allowing for effective hunting of small game and pests at varying distances. They provide ample energy for shooting enthusiasts seeking versatility in their airguns.

  3. Consistency: The regulated air supply in PCP rifles ensures consistent velocities and shot-to-shot performance, resulting in tighter groupings and improved overall shooting experience.

  4. Quiet Operation: PCP air rifles are relatively quiet compared to other types of airguns, making them suitable for backyard shooting and pest control without disturbing neighbours or wildlife.

  5. Ease of Use: Charging a PCP air rifle is straightforward, and once charged, shooters can enjoy multiple shots without the need for cocking mechanisms or frequent reloading, enhancing shooting efficiency.

  6. Customisation: Many PCP air rifles offer customisation options such as adjustable triggers, stocks, barrels, and optics, allowing shooters to tailor the rifle to their preferences and shooting style.

  7. Long Range Shooting: PCP rifles can shoot accurately at longer distances compared to other airgun types, making them suitable for precision shooting and varmint control at extended ranges.

  8. Reduced Recoil: The lack of significant recoil in PCP air rifles contributes to better-shot follow-through, reduced fatigue during extended shooting sessions, and improved accuracy over time.

  9. Environmental Friendliness: PCP air rifles are environmentally friendly as they do not produce harmful emissions or loud noise, making them a sustainable choice for shooting sports and hunting.

  10. Versatility: Whether used for target shooting, pest control, hunting, or competition, PCP air rifles offer versatility regarding power settings, ammunition choices, and shooting applications.

Overall, the benefits of using a PCP air rifle encompass accuracy, power, consistency, customisation options, and user-friendly operation, making them a preferred choice for shooters looking for precision, performance, and reliability in their airgun experiences.


Responsible PCP air rifle charging practices ensure consistent performance, longevity, and safety. By adhering to proper maintenance routines, such as charging before use, discharging after the shooting, and storing the rifle securely, you can safeguard your air rifle and enjoy optimal shooting experiences. 

At Air Arms, we're here to help you find the perfect air rifle. From entry-level air rifles to high-powered break barrel air rifles, our team is here to find the best air rifle for you and your shooting endeavours. Contact us today if you have any questions about our spring powered air rifles, PCP air rifles and the accessories that come with them. For more information on local recreational and sporting activities, pest control or small game hunting events, send an enquiry to a member of our team and we will get back to you as soon as possible.