What are These CO2 Cartridges? What are They Used For?

How Long Do CO2 Cartridges Last?

The CO2 cartridges are used in Airguns as a source of power to fire the spherical shaped pellets commonly known as BBs (Ball bullets).

An airgun has various working mechanisms. Among them, the usage of a CO2 cartridge leads to a lower priced airgun that is most affordable and user-friendly.

Why Do We Use CO2 Cartridges in Airguns? 

To understand why CO2 cartridges are used in Airguns, one has to understand the construction, usage and the nitty-gritty of an airgun.

An airgun is a kind of gun that makes use of air pressure, or in a more broader term, the pressure of a gas to fire a bullet.

Airguns don’t need to undergo a chemical reaction unlike most guns in order to fire.

Therefore, these don’t rely on the exothermic chemical reactions which produce heat and propulsive energy to launch projectiles ( or more reader-friendly word for projectiles —bullets).

These airguns come in both long gun and handgun forms. In a layperson’s terms, a long gun is more like a rifle that is long in its dimensions and usually demands two hands for operation. A handgun is more like a pistol or a revolver which is operated with a single hand.

Airguns shoot both ball bullets as well as pellets and arrows too, in some cases. There is a wide range of makers for these guns, and they come in many different variants.

The airguns have been used ever since the 1500s. They are used for hunting, recreational shooting and other sports activities like competitive shooting.

Let us take a closer look at the type of airguns—spring-piston, pneumatic and bottled compressed gas. These types are common for both rifles and pistols as well.

The primitive, not so advanced and user-friendly version of airguns are the spring-piston airguns. These are operated when the user manually cocks the guns and does each time he or she operates the gun to shoot.

It is recorded that the spring-piston airguns tend to reach muzzle velocities greater than the speed of sound.

However, these guns suffer when it comes to accuracy. The spring vibrations tend to hurt the accuracy and precision of these guns.

The second type of an airgun is the Gas Spring airgun. These make use of a pressurized inert gas with the piston pump enclosed acts as the spring of the gun. These guns usually require a higher level of engineering and craftsmanship resulting in a higher price.

The third and the gun of the hour for our discussion is the gun which is referred to as the bottled compressed gas gun. This gun is commonly known as a CO2 gun because all these compressed gas guns use CO2 as the gas of their choice for manufacture.

The bottom line is this, as the second type, which is the Gas Spring gun is very expensive and requires a higher amount of engineering and precision in terms of making, many people had to go with the spring piston guns.

Though the guns in the present times have a wide range of applications, during the inception of these airguns, they were mostly used for shooting purposes, and their usage and merit depended on how much they aided the participants in a shooting efficiently.

In that perspective, spring piston guns weren’t the best option. Due to lack of any other alternative, many used these in the competitions.

However, when CO2 guns started getting produced, all the competitions and participants started advocating the usage of these guns.

Today, they have been the default choice for most competitions. Lack of vibrations and user friendliness along with an affordable price range is the key factor behind CO2 guns’ success.

So How Does a CO2 Airgun Work? 

CO2 guns work when a removable CO2 gas cylinder is installed in them. These gas cylinders are available prefilled and are purchased as refills as well.

Once a particular gas cylinder, or in this context, a cartridge runs out of CO2; one has to replace it with a new cartridge.

Many of these guns use disposable cylinders. These cylinders are usually called as Powerlets. These Powerlets or cartridges contain 12 grams of pressurized CO2 gas.

Few expensive models use larger cartridges which makes the gun owner go longer without having to change the cartridges very often.

You can read more about CO2 and how a CO2 gun works.

What You Need to Know About CO2 Cartridges 

The CO2 cartridges have liquid CO2 in them. These cartridges are usually packed very tightly and have very low chances of letting the gas escape.

After pouring the liquid CO2 into the cartridge, it is capped. According to Umarex USA, a leading airgun supplier, there are three styles of caps in airgun cartridges.

You have to understand how these caps work and what makes one cartridge better than the other.

O-rings are the most commonly used seals in these cartridges to hold the gas.  The better the seal, the better the gun and the longer it will last. We will now get down to two important features of a CO2 airgun.

1- The CO2 cartridge will last very very long only when you leave the seal intact, undisturbed and put it in a very safe place.

Also, the seals are usually pretty tight, and one doesn’t need to worry about the seals and their quality post-purchase.

The main responsibility would be on the consumer; he or she must carefully store those cartridges, and they will last as long as possible.

2- Never leave them intact in a gun. If you leave your cartridge inside a gun and put it away for a good amount of time, we cannot be sure about the condition of the cartridge.

However, if you’re storing the cartridge separately and safely, it will be fine for a considerably long time. There have been many gun owners who have used cartridges that have been manufactured in the 19th century as well.

Check out this forum for a quick, witty read about the long lasting capability of a CO2 cartridge.

Also, follow this Reddit thread to stay updated about any discussion with regards to the life of a CO2 cartridge.

This YouTube video explains two key issues about CO2 Airguns and the life of CO2 cartridges and whether you should leave the cartridges inside and if or whether you can refill your cartridges.

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