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Old April 27, 2014, 03:00 PM   #1
alg460
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Pellet Gun For Dispatching Injured Small Critters

A few days ago I had an incident that has me extremely distraught and I can't get it out of my head. I have some feral cats in my neighborhood and saw one of them coming across the street with a small animal in its mouth. A half hour later I notice that the cat had the animal on my rear deck. It was a baby rabbit no more than 3 or 4 inches long, it was still alive and able to walk a little. However just about all the fur on its rear body was missing. It was just raw flesh and muscle showing.

My first thought was to go out there with a .22 revolver but then I thought it would be too loud and the neighbors would call the cops. My next thought was a single shot Winchester 67 rifle, which when fired, a .22 LR's report is not much louder than the firing pins "click". I then thought better of it figuring the neighbors might see it an report that there's someone firing an "assault" rifle.

In my state its probably even illegal to fire a pellet gun but I grabbed my Crossman American Classic .177 cal pellet gun which is a single shot. I fired a shot at the rabbits head with the muzzle 2 inches away and the rabbit seemed to go instantly limp and on its side. I walked back in the house and was fumbling with the gun trying to load another pellet. Looking through my sliding glass door I was horrified to see the rabbit roll over onto its stomach and start looking around. Now I'm really fumbling and having trouble getting the tiny pellet into the chamber but when I finally did I fired a second shot, from 2 inches away, into its side right behind the shoulder area. Same effect as before - seemed to do the job but 10 seconds later the poor rabbits looking around. I did this a third time with the same results. Finally I put the rabbit on a piece of wood and carried it into my attached garage and did the deed with a .22 LR.

I don't know the first thing about hunting or killing animals but I caused this rabbit a lot of suffering (probably not as bad as the cats eating it alive for the next hour). What did I do wrong? Am I stupid and negligent for thinking a .177 cal pellet gun could kill a baby rabbit? Should I have just let it alone and let nature take it course? Can anyone recommend a repeater type pellet hand gun that is up to this kind of task?

Sorry for the long post.
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Old April 27, 2014, 03:23 PM   #2
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Years ago my girlfriend (now wife) had a chihuahua that injured but didn't kill a baby cotton tail, and left it screaming in the back yard. I went outside to take care of it, first thing I saw to grab on my way out the door was a snap-on dead blow hammer (didn't even think to grab a gun), one quick rap to the head took care of the situation.

IMHO, I'd be more concerned with dispatching the feral cats and actually remedy the problem. Sub-sonic 22lr rounds don't really make anymore noise than an air rifle.
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Old April 27, 2014, 04:22 PM   #3
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A .22 air rifle rated at 1000-1100fps, loaded with heavy pellets would likely be good medicine. And I would think depending on the gun, would be quieter than a unsuppressed .22LR with subsonic bullets. There are some REALLY quiet pellet guns, considerably quieter than the 16'' bbl .22LR's I've shot. The .177's I've shot with subsonic pellets literally sounds like the 'silenced' guns that they have in movies from 15 feet away. The .22 rim fires still sound like a gun firing or firecracker going off.

Your .177 likely failed due to light pellets not penetrating enough. I'm not sure of the pellet weight and velocity of the pellet gun you were using, but I'd bet they were fairly light pellets. Try some heavy weight pellets, you should be getting exit wounds with a decent rifle and heavy pellet.
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Old April 27, 2014, 05:01 PM   #4
loic
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I have a daisy powerline 1000 in.177 , it can dispatch a pigeon to about 35 / 40 yards. Its a bit noisy but not as loud as a .22
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Old April 27, 2014, 08:57 PM   #5
Mobuck
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Why didn't you just step on the rabbit's head?
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Old April 28, 2014, 03:47 AM   #6
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Next time just use your own two hands. The most common way to kill an adult rabbit is to hold it by the back legs in your non dominant hand. One swift karate chop to the back of the neck will dislocate the spine. With the brain no longer telling the heart to pump, and no body to tell the brain it is in pain death occurs quickly with minimal pain and suffering. Rabbits are soft animals, a baby is next to delicate. Breaking the neck could probably be done by gripping its neck with two fingers, grabbing the back legs and giving it a quick yank, or simply twisting the head farther than it was designed to go in as quick and as fluid of a single movement as possible to minimize pain.

Other than that, either get some heavier pellets for your air rifle. Or get a more powerful air rifle, maybe one of larger caliber. With a .22 air rifle, or a .17 with a really high velocity I wouldn't have any qualms about taking some of our 5-6lb cane cutter rabbits that hang out in our yard with a single shot to the head.
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Old April 28, 2014, 03:48 AM   #7
hartcreek
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What really is the question?

What really are you looking for..... a way to dispatch a wounded critter or to take care of the feral cat problem? I have this crazy lady across from me in town and she feeds on the front porch. I started trapping and tried to get animal control involved but it took a petition signed by all her neighbors to get animal control involved. At last count 140 cats had been removed from her place and all had to be put down due to feline aids.

What kind of rabbit was it? Some species of rabbit are protected in certain areas so you may be able to go that route. I called my police department and had a chat with them about me shooting .38 Special and .38 S&W shotshells and got authorization to dispatch any with my special loads.

For that rabbit....the backside of a shovel would have worked just fine.
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Old April 28, 2014, 04:11 AM   #8
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I think you just need more practice and obviously the cat(s) would be the best form of target practice.
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Old April 28, 2014, 07:38 AM   #9
Brian Pfleuger
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It's hard for me to imagine how that could happen. I killed many adult rabbits with BB/pellet guns essentially identical to the American Classic from distances of 20-30 yards.

Even at that distance, a head shot causes them to back-flip around for a few seconds and then fall down and die.

If you shot a baby rabbit from 2" and didn't kill it, you made a bad shot, your gun is broken or MAYBE you used 1 pump. Those guns just aren't that weak. I'd be more worried about the BB going through it's head, bouncing off the deck, coming back through it's head and hitting me. At the very least, I would expect if to bury itself in the deck.
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Old April 28, 2014, 10:43 AM   #10
alg460
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Quote:
It's hard for me to imagine how that could happen. I killed many adult rabbits with BB/pellet guns essentially identical to the American Classic from distances of 20-30 yards.

Even at that distance, a head shot causes them to back-flip around for a few seconds and then fall down and die.

If you shot a baby rabbit from 2" and didn't kill it, you made a bad shot, your gun is broken or MAYBE you used 1 pump. Those guns just aren't that weak. I'd be more worried about the BB going through it's head, bouncing off the deck, coming back through it's head and hitting me. At the very least, I would expect if to bury itself in the deck.
Its hard for me to imagine how this happened as well but as I said I have never killed anything before and that's why I am posting here.

As far as being a bad shot, I freely admit that at 900 inches the best I can manage with any handgun is about 8" groups. So yes I'm a bad shot: but at 2 INCHES???

I did in fact pump the gun 7 or 8 times before each of the 3 shots. After this incident I took the pellet gun into my garage and fired 3 shots into a 3/4" thick pine board. Two of the shots completely embedded the pellet into the wood - the rear of the pellet was flush with the face of the board. The other shot managed to embed itself an additional 1/4" or so. I don't know if thats typical for a .177 caliber pellet and I know that wood is not a good indicator. The pellets I have are 7.9 gr pointed.
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Old April 28, 2014, 11:06 AM   #11
JD0x0
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7.9 grains is on the light side IMO. The Eun Jin .177 cal heavy pellets weigh over twice that at 16.1 grains, which would be great medicine, in a rifle rated at 1000-1200fps, the heavier pellet would likely bring it down to 800-900fps, but it'd have great penetration for a pellet gun. Most common heavy pellets are around 10 grains, the Eun Jin pellets are extra heavy because they're made for dispatching small critters.
.177 cal 7.9 grains -SD .036
.177 cal 10 grains - SD .046
.177 cal 16.1 grains - SD .073
Just for reference
#4 buckshot .24 cal 20.7 gr -SD .051
9x19 124 grain - .141
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Old April 28, 2014, 11:13 AM   #12
alex0535
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Are you sure you were hitting it, I know that seems like a stupid question when your 2 inches away but if your nervous and fumbling like it seems like you were at least doing a bit of its possible? At that range I would expect the pellet to exit the rabbit on the other side. Even if the hide stopped it, I would expect the trauma from that alone enough to kill it.

Rabbits are such fragile animals, it doesn't take much to kill an adult rabbit. Far less to kill a baby rabbit. They have even thinner skin than an adult, with how torn up you described this one it couldn't have half as much blood as it started with in it. I would think any damage to the brain or vital organs would have killed it quicker than it would a normal baby rabbit.

7-8 grains is a light pellet, a heavier pellet would have probably been more adequate.
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Old April 28, 2014, 11:23 AM   #13
Sierra280
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I could understand how a pellet, if not well placed may not kill a rabbit. A pellet definitely will not kill an adult cat. Way back when I was in school we dissected cats in A&P, they were supplied by a scientific supply company but all the cats had come from pounds. Every cat the class dissected had pellets or BBs stuck in its muscle tissue, lol.
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Old April 28, 2014, 03:00 PM   #14
alg460
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Are you sure you were hitting it, I know that seems like a stupid question when your 2 inches away but if your nervous and fumbling like it seems like you were at least doing a bit of its possible? At that range I would expect the pellet to exit the rabbit on the other side. Even if the hide stopped it, I would expect the trauma from that alone enough to kill it.

Rabbits are such fragile animals, it doesn't take much to kill an adult rabbit. Far less to kill a baby rabbit. They have even thinner skin than an adult, with how torn up you described this one it couldn't have half as much blood as it started with in it. I would think any damage to the brain or vital organs would have killed it quicker than it would a normal baby rabbit.

I did some investigating and recovered 2 of the pellets and studied the indentations left by the pellets on my deck. Here is a closeup picture of the deck where I fired at the rabbit and the two recovered pellets. Its not clearly visible in the pics but you can see all three indentations have gray fur embedded in them. It has rained here since then but the two lower indents have no blood in them. The top indent has a tiny speck. My guess is these pellets did not penetrate the body but only compressed it violently. I'm almost positive I hit it with all three shots as I observed this compression and the jerking of the body. As you say the trauma of that should have been enough.

Don't ask me how its possible but even with half the rabbits skin and fur chewed off there was very little bleeding before I shot it.
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Old April 28, 2014, 06:12 PM   #15
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Why didn't you just step on the rabbit's head?
Definitely my first thought as well.
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Old April 28, 2014, 06:18 PM   #16
alg460
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I could understand how a pellet, if not well placed may not kill a rabbit. A pellet definitely will not kill an adult cat. Way back when I was in school we dissected cats in A&P, they were supplied by a scientific supply company but all the cats had come from pounds. Every cat the class dissected had pellets or BBs stuck in its muscle tissue, lol.
I just have to say something here. My post got moved to a hunting forum and that's probably a good thing because its the hunters who should know how to make a clean, fast and efficient kill which I failed to do with the rabbit. I myself, until this incident, have never pointed a gun at a living thing, four-legged, winged or otherwise but I have nothing against people who hunt.

But some of the replies her make me cringe. Comments like I should be killing the feral cats and you ending your comment, about the dissected cats with pellets in them , with a "LOL". I just don't find that amusing. Think about it guys. Is that how you want to portray yourselves - as a group who feels that any creature that crosses your path is fair game and should be fired at simply for amusement?
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Old April 28, 2014, 06:40 PM   #17
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I was referring to an Anatomy and Physiology course I took, that's cat were supplied by a scientific supply company that got them from local pounds after they were euthanized (humanely). My point was to say that pellets are largely ineffective.

And dispatching feral cats IS A GOOD THING. They rapidly reproduce, carry diseases, and can be absolutely devastating to song bird populations. They are pests. We also shoot coyotes, I have goats and they are a threat, plus my mother lost 2 beagles to the coyotes.

As long as something doesn't suffer, that is, a nice clean shot that causes nearly instant death, I don't see any issue. I will always be the first one to say that there is nothing more unethical and immoral than wounding an animal.

Some people just can't stomach killing something or watching something die. It has been happening since time immemorial. Animals do it to each other (without regard to suffering). Both my wife and I both eat meat, last time I processed some chickens she left the house before I did so. She will not come hunting, but loves eating Elk (who doesn't!!), the actually death of an animal is just something she can't stand to see. I suppose it's personal, or maybe depends on how hungry you are, or if you know about the commercial meat industry at all.

That being said, cows don't kill themselves.

Last edited by Sierra280; April 28, 2014 at 06:48 PM.
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Old April 28, 2014, 06:52 PM   #18
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I share your reverence for every living thing though I did kill a scorpion in my home the other day after failing a few times to capture and toss it outside.

I support folks who hunt for food or to prevent property damage or to mitigate predation of their livestock, etc. provided they dispatch those animals as humanely as possible. If done skillfully, hunting is far more humane than slaughter houses. As horrible as it may sound, the head squashing idea is actually very humane if done quickly. Too many feral cats are a community health hazard so I don't blame folks for shooting them either. It's a darned shame folks aren't more responsible and have their pets neutered and spayed... or keep them within the confines of their own property.

Not everyone believes non-human living things have feelings or can even feel pain as humans do. I personally consider that self-imposed closed-mindedness, to word it nicely, and I find what many folks do to be incredibly cruel.
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Old April 28, 2014, 06:59 PM   #19
alg460
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As long as something doesn't suffer, that is, a nice clean shot that causes nearly instant death, I don't see any issue. I will always be the first one to say that there is nothing more unethical and immoral than wounding an animal.
I have eaten deer and I happen to like it. I just thought the LOL was out of line regarding the cats. There's nothing funny about killing an animal for any reason.
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Old April 28, 2014, 07:10 PM   #20
alg460
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I share your reverence for every living thing though I did kill a scorpion in my home the other day after failing a few times to capture and toss it outside.

I support folks who hunt for food or to prevent property damage or to mitigate predation of their livestock, etc. provided they dispatch those animals as humanely as possible. If done skillfully, hunting is far more humane than slaughter houses. As horrible as it may sound, the head squashing idea is actually very humane if done quickly. Too many feral cats are a community health hazard so I don't blame folks for shooting them either. It's a darned shame folks aren't more responsible and have their pets neutered and spayed... or keep them within the confines of their own property.

Not everyone believes non-human living things have feelings or can even feel pain as humans do. I personally consider that self-imposed closed-mindedness, to word it nicely, and I find what many folks do to be incredibly cruel.
I'm with you on the scorpion and all living things. I have a hard time killing spiders in the house as I feel they are beneficial - they get rid of worse pests but my wife don't agree.

I own two indoor cats. Its appalling what I observe with homeless cats that probably were discarded as worthless objects.

Your last sentence says a mouthful. Again I have no problem with hunters but if you look on YouTube and the senseless killing that goes on with lots of laughter it makes you sick. I especially cringe at the vids of people blowing up animals with tannerite and the howls of laughter that follow. Its degrading to the human race and the respectable hunters.
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Old April 28, 2014, 07:24 PM   #21
Brian Pfleuger
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This is no longer about pellet guns and rabbits...
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