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How Many Shots Can You Get From a CO2 Cartridge?
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How Many Shots Can You Get From a CO2 Cartridge?

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How Many Shots Can You Get From a CO2 Cartridge?


This is a simple question that gets asked a lot in the airgun community. Although the question is simple, the answer is unfortunately not.


There are too many circumstances included in getting an accurate answer to how many shots you can get from a CO2 cartridge. A single 12-gram CO2 cartridge can produce anywhere from 30 - 200 shots dependent on temperature, valve settings, rate of fire, and blowback.


Let's see how each of these factors affects how many shots you're getting.


CO2 canister size


CO2 canister size

The canister size is important here because of the way that the CO2 cools as it's used up making it less efficient. The bigger the tank, and we're talking about 88 - 90 gram tank here, the more shots you'll get before you have to let it warm up again. A single 12-gram tank will give you 20 - 30 good shots before taking a break and letting the tank warm up again.


A dual 12-gram airgun is more efficient than a single tank one as it has double the capacity when rapid shooting. So, that's double the number of rapid shots before taking a break.


Blowback operation


Blowback operation

You either love blowback or you hate it. Although it simulates the semi-auto pistol's slide action and gives you some recoil, it does steal some CO2 from the tank when doing the blowback operation.


Blowback guns are less efficient and less powerful because of that fact, and you will get fewer shots in from the same amount of CO2 than from a non-blowback airgun.


Shooting pace


Shooting pace

I have bad news for the fast and furious out there. Although shooting rapidly, like there's no tomorrow, is really fun, you're getting way fewer shots in because of the cooling effect that the CO2 has. If you want to stretch your CO2 tank, you're really better off shooting at a steady pace, letting the tank warm up in between shots. You'll probably be more precise as well.


Some guns can shoot in both semi-auto and in full-auto mode. And, even though they have a full-auto option available, they still only have a standard 12-gram CO2 tank. If you were to shoot in semi-auto mode with that kind of gun, you'd get up to two 25-round magazines of shots. This is not bad, especially if you compare that to a single magazine's worth of shots if you'd be using it on full auto. Not to mention that you'd have to then let the tank warm-up for a considerable amount of time and switch it to semi-auto to get the rest of the magazine's worth out of it.


Full auto airguns are very ineffective in using the CO2 when coupled with 12-gram tanks. You'll be gassed out in no-time, so you better bring those canisters with you.


Temperature


low Temperature

Temperature is a big factor in CO2 efficiency. You've probably noticed that in very cold weather, your gun is super-inefficient and less powerful. Cold weather has a noticeable effect on tanks as we already mentioned.


Because CO2 needs heat to expand, warm weather has a positive effect on the tanks and the number of shots you'll get out of them. When there's more heat, we need to use less CO2 from the tank!



Valve setting


CO2 air gun Valve setting

The CO2 valve setting is a common setting on airguns. If you like to do more powerful shots, you'll have the valve open more, meaning that more CO2 will escape in the process of shooting. More CO2 used, more powerful shots, but much fewer shots taken. And vice versa.


With less CO2 released, you'll get less powerful shots but you'll be able to get more shots per cartridge.


Even though most people are aware of these settings, sometimes it's hard to piece them all together and really understand why you're not getting as many shots per cartridge.


There can be a lot of discrepancies in how many shots you can get, depending on the outside temperature when you're using your airgun, the way you're using it, the actual CO2 valve settings of the gun, and of course the size of the CO2 cartridge. Once we understand all the components that go into using an airgun, we can get a feel for how many shots we'll get from it.