How Many Shots Can You Take with a CO2 Airgun?


When enjoying the airgunning sport, you have almost certainly come across a CO2 airgun at some point. While learning about or using these guns, you may have had reason to ask, “How many shots can you get with a CO2 airgun?”

There are many factors that affect the number of shots a CO2 airgun can output, but a good average is 75 shots per canister. Ambient temperature and features of the gun will play a part in how many shots you can expect from a CO2 canister.

Some guns have been known to get about 30 shots out of an airgun, while sometimes, they can get a hundred or more. Why this wide discrepancy? Well, as we said before, there are quite a few factors that play a part in the number of shots that you will get from your airgun.

What Factors Play a Part in How Many Shots I Can Get From My CO2 Airgun?

In order to understand this answer, we need to make sure that we know how CO2 airguns work. CO2 cartridges are inserted into an airgun, and the compressed gas inside of that cartridge expands when you pull the trigger. That expanding gas moves your BB or pellet out of the gun.

At room temperature, a CO2 cartridge will have about 850 psi. But, like we said, that is at room temperature. If the canister’s temperature drops, so does the pressure inside, so they have less energy that they can dump into your pellet or BB. This means you will have fewer shots and less power in each shot.

The same is true in reverse: more heat means more energy, means more shots.

For fun I once decided to shoot a CO2 powered BB gun until the canister was empty, but after about 100 or so shots, I got bored, So your canisters will last a while.

You might also be interested to know that when a gas expands, it cools down. Insert a fresh CO2 canister and then pull it out of your gun, and it will dump out all of its gas. You may notice that the gas coming out of it is cold, and that the canister is freezing, like collecting frost on the surface freezing.

That’s an extreme example, but as you shoot, your canister cools down, and if you don’t give the cartridge time to warm back up by spacing out your shooting, you may see a drop in performance.

All of the energy used by the gun is found in the cartridge. This is perfectly fine, but certain features of guns will take extra energy out of the canister per shot, and pull it that energy away from the BB.

If there are moving parts on your gun, like a blow back slide, those parts are getting their energy from the canister also. This means that your canister has to work harder to get your BB or pellet moving at the same fps as if there were no moving parts.

This essentially translates into: your replica airgun looks really cool, but will get about 20 fewer shots per canister. If your gun has a slide action, expect somewhere around 50 or 60 for an average airgun. If you are using a non-blowback airgun, 75 shots is a good number to expect.

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