View Full Version : Air rifles for small game?

November 17, 2002, 11:52 PM
Ok, so some of you may laugh, but does anyone use quiet, low f.p.s. air rifles for squirrel or rabbit hunting? I obtained a Chinese air rifle at a gun show a couple of years ago for $30, just as a practice weapon for myself & my kids, but it's surprisingly accurate with the pointed hunting pellets. Not sure of the f.p.s. velocity, so I inquired at The Smithy about possible hop-ups.

I like the idea of quiet hunting. I also like presicion shooting: one shot, one kill mentality, plus growing up having to watch every dollar made me aware that every shot at game meant a meal. I still try to be thrifty, especially with kids, a wife, car payments & a mortgage, so please don't beat me over the head with the "buy an 'X-brand' for $700" commments! Thanks!

November 18, 2002, 09:50 AM
check your local game laws! i use to take squirrel out to apx.25 yrds. with a benjamin (sp) .177 pumped to about 900 fps when i was a kid. it is no longer leagle to do this here in tex.

November 18, 2002, 04:46 PM
Last time I checked airguns are legal for small game in AL, but they are marginal, IMO. Best results with head shots at under 25 yards. Huge lethality and range increase with a 22 lr, and pretty cheap too.

November 18, 2002, 10:37 PM
...here in Alabama. True, air rifles are not as efficient as a .22 rifle, but I enjoy sport as well as the harvest! Too bad air rifles aren't allowed for hunting in Texas...what's the beef?

25 yards is a far piece- sounds like it'd better be a head shot! I may try it and bring along a .22 with "shorts" as a back-up. I was just looking for quiet, as well as a humane, way of harvesting squirrels...no need in startling the whole forest!

How about sub-sonic .22s?

November 18, 2002, 11:20 PM
I watched a few videos of rabbit hunting with air rifles, in fact, if you do a search online, you'll find that there's quite a few air rifle hunting clubs.

Rabbits are easy to kill, they are like balloons. As I found out for myself; squirrels are like soccerballs, the are tough.

November 19, 2002, 12:36 PM
twoblink, yes, rabbits are much easier to kill than squirrels

BudS, sub sonic .22s (CCI CB caps, etc) do a better job killing squirrels than my .177 RWS 48 (~1000 fps) or my .22 BSA sportster (~850 fps), but I will still limit myself to head shots with anything less than .22 LR.

Used to have a real squirrel problem at my house (chewing on everything on the house, in the attic, including wires!). Lots of opportunities to evaluate squirrel killers;

12 ga, 1 1/4 oz #4, full choke = dead squirrel, messy to clean sometimes, probably startled the neighbors

22 mag hollow point, too messy

22 mag solid, not much damage, good range, my preffered weapon for tree rats

22 LR, good enough for body shots (head shots are tough when they are moving)

22 CB (low vel short), very quiet (quieter than my pellet guns), head shots only, less than 25 yards

pellet guns, only if they are close and not moving


November 19, 2002, 03:40 PM
I have been shooting air rifles since I was a young boy, me and my brother & father had so much fun target practicing and squirrel hunting when I was young, good clean fun. I still take squirrels behind my house, I live on the back of a farm and there is a tree line that runs all the way around it, its loaded with squirrels, I keep the squirrel population in check. I have a scoped pump air rifle, shoots 1000fps, I use pointed hunting rounds, one shot one kill, I shoot them in the head, hey you get enough greys you can have a nice meal, they are very tasty;) I have shot rabbits, rats, possum, porcupines, they are nice and quite and cheap to shoot, and good point and aim practice over all. Aim small hit small. RAMbo.

Steve B
November 20, 2002, 09:52 AM
I hunt squirrel with a Daisy/Winchester airgun. It shoots a .177 pellet at 1000 f/s. I use wadcutter pellets and they are excellent for taking small game at close range. Quiet, too!

November 21, 2002, 12:04 AM
...on my "Made By Shanghai Air Rifle Plant of China" air rifle. Like someone mentioned over in "The Smithy", I have the Model B3-1 under-barrel cocking lever type. It's about as loud as a small hand-clap, not NEARLY as loud as even a .22 short! I've seen some 3X-7X air rifle scopes for $20 and some 4X for $10 that I may try on it...I'll most likely go for the former.

If anyone here in "The Hunt" has modified theirs for more velocity, I'd like to know specifics. I've gotten a reply over in "The Smithy" of changing the spring and checking the seals, but where does one get the parts? Are these in any way copies of Beeman or other air rifles? Any info appreciated!

November 21, 2002, 09:38 PM
...I found!!!:D My wife handed me the latest issue of Major Surplus & Survival's catalog after I posted last night and on the next-to-last page was the B3-1 air rifle, and the cleaning & repair kits for 'em!!! The air rifle in their ad is rated at 575 f.p.s. and sells for $39.95. The partsreapir & cleaning kit has been reduced in price to $8.95, so I may snap up a couple!


So, it isn't 800 f.p.s., 575 will have to do.:) Regardless, just above it on the same page is the Beeman FH500 with scope for $89.95; same velocity, raised cheekpiece ambidextrious stock. Good looking rifle, but NO parts kit for it...?:( Maybe Beeman would offer them one themselves, huh?

Art Eatman
November 21, 2002, 10:41 PM
Having noticed that squirrels hand around my bird feeder, happy to knosh on hen-scratch, I'd suggest baiting for squirrels. Determine the outside distance you can hit a dime-sized target--or maybe nickel-sized--and set up the bait at that distance. :) This assumes they're in your yard, and you can merely remove a screen from a window...

In the woods, I think I'd want something a bit more potent that 575 ft/sec.