Skip to comments.Need Air Rifle Advice
Posted on 05/13/2012 6:32:58 AM PDT by RightOnline
Good day, fellow FReepers. I've come to the single best source of information/recommendations online....especially for advice on anything gun-related.
Short version: I'm going to purchase an air rifle (aka "pellet gun"). Darned squirrels here have simply gotten out of hand, and it's time to take 'em out. Heaven knows I've tried everything else; little vandals simply don't take a hint.
I've done a fair amount of research and, so far, I seem to have settled upon the Benjamin Marauder. Pricey, but reviews of this gun are stellar.
Here are my questions, since I've never owned an air rifle:
1. What caliber would you recommend for picking off squirrels? I've been leaning toward their .25 cal, but is that overkill for squirrel dispatching? Should I opt for the .22 instead?
2. They sell (a VERY pricey) hand pump for this gun....but what's the best way to fill one of these beasties with compressed air? Keeping a scuba tank around, by the way, won't happen....so any recommendations besides that.
3. Scopes: "Leapers" brand scopes seem to be popular with air rifle aficionados. What say you?
Also note that I don't necessarily plan on using this for "hunting" or target shooting; it will be intended almost solely for ridding my yard and immediate environs of marauding squirrelage.
Thank you in advance for your advice and recommendations!
I’d recommend .177 cal, because the projectile is more accurate with increased fps.
I have two that are break barrel. Break the barrel, insert pellet, close barrel, click safety, rdy to fire.
As far as scopes don’t know, but make sure it’s an air gun scope, because they have considerable spring recoil that goes in the opposite direction of normal recoil.
Another thing that works well for squirrels are the shotgun type pellets that shoot about 5 projectiles from a smooth bore. Either way though, having had to shoot a couple pesky ones myself, they don’t die right away with any caliber or shot type. They are fiesty, and they go dying crying. Was a bit troubling.
Save yourself some money. Buy the Crosman Nitro .22 cal. It turns squirrels inside out. Took care of my critter problem in a hurry.
Floating LOLCATS: silent and deadly.
Buy the best air rifle scope you can afford. The best scopes may cost more then the rifle.
If you live in the country buy a 22 rim fire instead. If you need quite use CB long cartridges out of a rifle they are as quite as a air gun.
I wouldn’t go with the CO2 cartridge style, get one you pump. .22 will kill a squirrel. I would personally stick with the iron sites. Do you have any cats? They are pretty good at keeping squirrels away.
Hmm....Step One: check local regs. In most areas, an air rifle (BB gun, etc.) is classified as a firearm. Discharging one within most neighborhoods is a big no-no. Also, anything potent enough to dispatch squirrels will be loud enough to disturb the neighbors.
One thing I might warn you about, not sure what state your in but in TX the squirrel is considered a game animal and It’s illegal to take any game animal with an air rifle. My personal favorite is the GAMO Whisper but they make other models along with Beeman. Squirrels are not a problem here in West TX but the Urasian Collard dove sure are and the Whisper works just fine, plus their good to eat!
Unfortunately, I live in a subdivision, not the country....but with a very high wooden privacy fence and the back yard (the intended “killing ground”) sits in a sort of “bowl”, if you will; VERY private....but no way to use anything beyond an air rifle or slingshot.
I use a single pump(spring) .177 cal with Iron sights Pretty good success rate..I think its a Daisy. Kills the little bstrds dead.. If u wanna use a scope don’t get a spring rifle it beats the hell out of scopes because the kick is in the wrong direction and for some reason it screws em up. Haven’t tried red dots but the Iron sight work great. I have pecan trees in my yard and have to kill em if I want to have any for myself. Deer corn nailed to a stationary object(saw horse) is a great bait. Pesky little rodents love and just can’t stay away
Take the advice given by above posters about scope selection seriously. An air rifle will kill a scope meant for a .460 Nitro.
You should be able to do fine with open sights, but as at least one other pointed out, if you scope it, make sure it is an air-rifle scope.
I like the spring-air system because it is easy to power, and it is consistent. For squirrel, .177 is adequate, .22 is mroe than adequate. Bigger pellets cost more, so you won't get as much target practice for a buck, with the bigger ones.
In my over 50 years of shooting, only very few rifles have earned the title of "keeper". Those guns I will never sell, but pass on to the children, or grandchildren.I'll concur with that. The Beeman R-7 that I have is a fine piece. I will not part with it.
We have a .177 Gamo Varmiter. With the gold Raptor pellets it has the power of .22. We kill squirrels with it all the time. When you hit them they drop like a rock. Personally I think we could easily kill a coyote with it. The Gamo is really awesome. Comes with scope, laser and flashlight.
Fixed barrel (accuracy) side cocking single shot. Extremely accurate and consistent. 3x9 airgun scope with lighted reticle. No pumps or tanks. Very durable even under heavy use. .22 or .177, probably use a .177 myself due to availability of a wider range of ammo.
I prefer the type you hand pump and more pumps = more power - keeps cartridges from leaking away if you only shoot occassionaly. Understand that one with enough clout to take out a squirrel will also "bark" pretty sharply so neighbors will be aware that something is afoot.
I use a Mossberg .410 for squirrels and such.
I would go with a 22 caliber rifle loaded with bird shot.
I’ve got a Gamo Silent Cat for killing critters...1200 fps projectile speed...with a good 4X32 scope on it.
You can get one at Bass Pro Shop. (http://www.basspro.com/Gamo-Silent-Cat—177-Caliber-Scoped-Air-Rifle-Combo/product/10202698/139599)
2 suggestions (particularly if you don’t have any experience with rifles)
1) get some practice targets. Make sure the scope is sighted in properly. This is of particular importance if you are in a subdivision. Don’t want to accidentally shoot a toddler instead of a critter. Also, make really sure you have a good backstop for the targets. Such as a thick piece of sheet metal. The Gamo will do a number on any kind of plywood...even 3/4 inch...not to mention that it will knock holes in cinder blocks.
2) When you are actually using it, don’t ever, ever, ever shoot up...when you’re shooting in a subdivision. Always shoot down. The reason being is that if you shoot up (like going for a squirrel in a tree) and miss, you won’t have the slightest clue where the .177 round landed. Granted, you may have to deal with ricochets when shooting at a downward angle, but that’s not nearly as risky as the other way around.
Same choice I made. You only get targets on occasion and a pump is always ready - nothing to leak. I also like heavier rounds that are subsonic. That's why I got a .22 rifle. At that close range (<30 yards), iron sights ia the way to go. I'd save the money that you would spend on the scope and buy a better quality rifle.
Excellent. I was gonna look for that vid if no one had yet posted it.
Now THAT looks impressive. Wonder how loud that sucker is, though? IF possible, it’d be great if the air rifle of choice was pretty darned quiet, as well.
I know someone who lives in a similar setting. He picks off his squirrels from a bedroom window using a .22 rimfire loaded with primer-only ammo.
This ammo is very quiet (because there is no powder charge in the casing), travels at around 500 fps and is squirrel-deadly out to about 25 yards.
I forget the technical name for this ammo (Freeper help here!!) but you can get it anywhere, especially Cheaper than Dirt.
I agree with #7, check your local civil regulations, neighborhood or development rules, local laws and animal control.
In some areas, you cannot . . .purchase, own possess or otherwise cause to be owned or possess ANYTHING that even looks like a “weapon” without the blessings of the state.
This includes paint ball guns, pellet or other air-rifles, black powder configurations or . . . wait . . .
“threatening water weapons”, i.e for those in Rio Linda, squirt guns!
Children’s water pistols have to be brightly colored and not look like anything realistic.
.177 is very popular, I don’t own a high end model $200+ but can vouch for as my cheapo Crosman has bagged a few opossum’s as well as other dangerous game.
A friend of mine nails an ear of corn to the fence then picks off squirrels while they are snacking.
If you have kids or a wife with a weak constitution make an action plan ahead of time for disposing of the body.
Make a head or upper torso shot. If you shoot their digestive system it stinks pretty bad.
Yep - good rifle and iron sights is best for short, varying distances. Popped a cottonmouth in the head at 60' with one a while back. Unless you're hunting at a distance, I prefer iron sights and using my instincts to accommodate distance and wind effects. Plus, I haven't hunted in years and my weapons are more for self-defense these days - hard to justify a scope on a self-defense weapon...
Beeman now makes a range of product, some cheaper, some better. You won't need the most powerful or fastest pellet, and the more power, the more effort for each shot. But you'll be glad you paid a bit more for a good trigger and good barrel.
I love my Gamo with 4x scope. Ten year old grandson shoots a 3 shot group at 35 yards you can cover with a dime. Paid $129 at Bass Pro Shop. Killed a racoon with it. Shoot nothing but ordinary lead pellets, .177 cal. Love it.
It’s not terribly loud. Of course, I shot ground squirrels for years in the suburbs by having a shooting bench in the middle of the room and firing out an open sliding glass door with .22 shorts. The room soaked up most of the sound.
“reign of terror... annoying... heathens. “
Have you thought about dishing out your own terror and annoyance to the heathens?
I have a Crossman pump and that puppy shoots straight as an arrow. And near total silence, just a sort of whooshing sound like the air coming out of a balloon.
There is a small gunsmith in Boliver, Missouri who will do the job.
Check out Quackenbush air guns. His smallest shoots a .495 (.50 cal) round ball.
The range and pattern using .22 shotshells out of a rifled barrel is disappointing. However if you have a .22 smoothbore, they (especially the crimped type) are deadly. Keeps most of the pattern on a paper plate at 30 feet. Plus, even if pointed up at a 30 degree angle, #12 shot will only travel 100 feet.
I’ve owned a Crosman 766 ‘75 and it is still putting fuzzy tree rats in the frying pan, and out of my tomato patch. While I don’t think it’s manufactured anymore, the model 2100 is a close match, and a hell of a lot cheaper than Benjamin (manufactured by Crosman).
200 BB magazine, or single shot pellet .177 caliber.
As for scopes, I don’t use them, but Tasco makes some inexpensive scope for air rifles.
Hope this helps and saves you some cash.
just get a Daisy. $50ish bucks at a Walmart near you.
Pump it up 20 times and fire away. Not expensive, extremely accurate and reliable.
If you can, pick up a good used Webley Vulcan. Good velocity even in .22, plenty of power. Parts and service still available.
Mine's taken out a good sized groundhog @ 50yds, so squirrel's w/o doubt.
~$190 on Daisy's site, ~$150 with a bit of looking around.
I have 6 pecan trees in my front yard(a corner lot) in Houston. I declared war on the squirrels 2 years ago that were claiming all the pecans as their own. I set out 2 live traps. One a havahart. the other is a squirrelinator. I trapped 17 squirrels that first year. Though one of my trees put out so many nuts that it broke several main branches.
So last year I didn’t set the traps out so often.
Traps are the way to go.
Yep. You say you live in a subdivision. You should definitely check out the local regs and even your HOA regs. Even with a tall privacy fence, all you need is one neighbor to call the police to report that someone is firing a gun in his back yard. That could end up causing you more problems than the squirrels.
Help me end the reign of terror of these cute-but-hugely-annoying little bushy-tailed heathens.
What exactly are the squirrels doing that is so annoying? I didnt really mind them in the yard until they invaded my attic. I had to call a professional trapper to get rid of the buggers.
Set up with CO2 and high pressure pump and night vision.
I’m in the city also....and actually a plain BB will kill squirrels (with a double or triple pump); my Remington has the capability for both BBs and .177 pellets, but I’ve made my kills with only the BBs.
Decades ago, I started out with a Crossman 1400 Powermaster .22 cal. pump pellet gun. One friend had a .177 Benjamin and one .20 Sheridan, all pumps, similar fps, but of the three, I still like that Crossman .22 the best. Too bad they don't make that model any more.
The pumps are nice, since you can choose how much power you want behind the pellet with the number of pumps. So, if some critter is where you don't want it to be, you can adjust the power from lethal down to a sting, depending on your intent.
If I was only going to hunt with it, I'd probably buy a single pump, and get a more quiet model if I lived within the city limits and didn't want the neighbors to freak when I took care of the squirrel problem and call 911 on me.
Good luck with your search and with the squirrels!
I've always said, you can't miss with a Havahart. ;)
Not bad advice at all.
Frankly, the discussion here on this thread made me finally do what should have been obvious (but wasn’t): check local regs.
Turns out....our esteemed City (happens to be Raleigh, NC) doesn’t allow the discharge of even a BB gun (or air rifle) within the city limits....however, it seems to offer an exception for use against varmints if you get a 90-day permit, etc.
As a side note, was perusing Wally World’s Web site, and most of the ‘decent’ BB or air rifles cannot be sold in NC.
Guess this is just a seriously wussified State. Sigh......
You could always go Airsoft:
After you’re done with the squirrels, you could mow the lawn with this baby.
If you’re using a scope, it shouldn’t matter that much.
Just practice, practice, practice - and you will be able to hit your target.
And while you’re at it, why not try some squirrel pot pie!
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