Folks, I think Pre-Charged Pneumatic (PCP) airguns are awesome. They have an onboard high-pressure cylinder that holds enough air to shoot a certain number of rounds before needing to be recharged. After years of having your basic pneumatic and spring-piston air rifles, I bought my first PCP, a Hatsan Gladius Long in .22, back in May of 2017 and a Hill Mk IV hand pump. In this post I want to recap what your options are and then talk about move into the world of having my own compressor.
You Have Three Options To Fill PCP Airguns
To fill a PCP airgun, you xN own a hand pump, have an air cylinder or own a compressor. For almost three and a half years, I’ve used a Hill Mk IV hand pump to top off the Gladius and it has worked well. These pumps are like an old fashioned bike tire pump on serious steroids as they can enable you to fill a cylinder with thousands of pounds of air pressure. By the way, the secret to longevity with a hand pump is to keep the shaft lubricated to protect the O-rings with silicone grease and to not overheat parts if you are doing a lot of pumping.
The second option is to have an air tank that you would take to your local dive shop and have them fill it to 3,000 to 4,500 pounds. You would then use this to top off your airgun until it too was low and you’d go back to the dive shop to get the tank refilled. We do have a dive shop in the area but this never appealed to me because I didn’t shoot enough to need a tank vs. the hand pump. I also figured that I could use the hand pump any time day or night as needed. You can only refill an air tank if the dive shop is open or you own your own compressor.
Now, this brings us to the third option and that is to own a high pressure air (HPA) compressor. These are not what you get for a garage and air tools – those only go to 175-200 pounds. With PCP airguns, you are talking 3,000-4,500 PSI depending on the rating of the tank or airgun you are filling. What stopped many people for years was that these HPA compressors were a fortune and then crossed below $1,000 a few years ago and now you can see inexpensive units from China that are below $400 but they require water cooling, lubrication, and don’t always get good reviews (some do though).
In many cases, you get what you pay for. The decent HPA compressors start at $800 and go up from there. In 2019, I ran across an HPA compressor on Amazon that I had not heard about before – the manufacturer was Ankul and the model was the FX CS3 compressor. The price was around $500 and it was getting good reviews. At the time, I didn’t really need it so I added it to be “Save For Later” list in Amazon just in case.
Maybe 3-4 times since then, I would open up the listing and read the reviews. You know what? The reviews stayed solid over time. Ankul released an updated model that was air cooled – no more water to deal with – and it was self-lubricated and didn’t need the user to add oil or grease. What’s more, the reviews stayed positive – it scores a 4.6 out of 5 with 196 reviews. That’s pretty good. So guess what? I bought one.
Introducing the GX GS3 PCP Air Compressor
Okay, there are a bunch of reasons why I bought this compressor in addition to the reviews and $499.99 price:
- It can pressurize a cylinder to 4500 PSI
- It can run off house current with the supplied inverter or it can clamp to a 12 volt vehicle battery
- There is an automatic-off switch where you can set the pressure via a dial and when it reaches it, the unit shuts off. This gauge is labeled both with PSI and BAR increments.
- It has an integral filter for oil and water
- There are three over pressure safeties – the user sets the pressure on the dial plus there is both a safety valve and a burst disc to help prevent a catastrophe.
- They claimed the unit ran fairly quietly at 75 decibels (this puts it somewhere between average street noise or being in a shower at 70 db and city traffic or a vacuum cleaner being at 80)
- The unit is maintenance free – no water/antifreeze to deal with or oil or grease to add.
- The design was elegant with a spool on the side to hold the power cable, the high pressure hose could rotate and there was a carry handle
- The pump unit measures 10-3/4″ tall, 5-1/8″ wide and just under 9-1/2″ deep — it’s remarkably small – most of my laptop computer bags are bigger and these measures are based on my unit.
- The duty cycle is 30 minutes run-time and then 20 minutes to cool
- The unit only weighs 19 pounds 6 oz (I weighed my pump unit)
- The AC adapter is separate and measures about 8.85″ long x 4.52″ wide x 2.36″ tall and weighs 1 pound 14 oz with the cord.
Here’s a link to the unit on Amazon:
I ordered the unit on a Monday and it was delivered five days later on Saturday by UPS. The pump and power adapter were packed together in one amazingly well packed box. How often do you here somebody comment on a box? This thing was made from thick cardboard and was practically like opening a wood crate and inside was thick foam cushions protecting the air pump and power adapter from all angles.
The unit arrived in great shape and as described. In the next post, I’ll review how to set up, test and use the unit. Again, here’s the link on Amazon and I will jump ahead a bit and tell you that I recommend the unit based on my experience with it so far:
Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.
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Here are some well rated hand pumps on Amazon. While I do not have personal experience with them, they do get good reviews: