View Full Version : City varmits - need an air rifle

June 14, 2006, 07:08 PM
OK folks, I need your help. I have plenty of all the kinds of long and hand guns to take care of the problem but can't use any of them. I'm in a large suburban city in Illinois. The entire area has varmit problems due to the tremendous growth forcing the critters into older residential neighborhoods like mine. At 1st I would use my live trap and caught possums - no problem. But now, for almost 2 years I've be trying to keep skunks out of my yard. It is completely fenced but they can be under it in a matter of minutes. And then it's about 10 feet to the back of my shed and under they go. This year I had a family under my shed for a total of 7 and have trapped 5 so far. Of the two remaining, one of the babies got my lab the other night (again!:mad: ) Unless I patrol a long fence line everyday, most of which has perrenials growing in front of it, I'm fighting a losing battle. I have wasted countless hours getting and baiting and cleaning traps from the animal control people and sometimes you can't even get a trap due to the demand. If I use my own trap they won't come and pick it up. Would someone/anyone who has encountered this kind of problem please recommend an air rifle with appropriate scope (or pistol) that is quiet and will get the job done? I know they are varmits but I want the first shot to take it out humanely if possible. And then there is the occasionaly opposum or raccoon that finds its way in as well :( ...Help...and Thanks

June 14, 2006, 08:38 PM
i use an rws model 34 in 17 caliber with a powerline scope i bought at wal-mart to take some of the varmints in my town ................ that and a s&w model 27 with shot shells..........

June 14, 2006, 08:48 PM
boardwalk, try the old trick of using mothballs under the shed , its funny but they can't stand the smell:eek: . and its humane too . about half a box should do ya , and keep the pooch away from it . and when you look for a air rifle beware Isp has made a rule that anything over 750fps is considered a firearm and carries the same penalties ( look up in the foid file )

June 14, 2006, 10:14 PM
Coons, possums, and skunks are pretty demanding for air gun levels of power. It's going to be expensive, $350 and up. I expect something with about 20-25 FPE is going to be needed with a headshot. Along the lines of a Air Arms Pro-Elite in .22, or RWS 54. A spring piston gun or PCP with a noise moderator.

June 15, 2006, 12:05 AM
Save your money. Get a Crosman (powermaster or 2100 series) or a Daisy equivalent. When I was a kid my Crosman 760 with steel bbs took down any critter I aimed at--but the two I recommended are much better. I've no doubt you'll kill a skunk if you do your part. Recommend an air rifle scope and headshots. If you absolutely feel you must spend over $100 get a benjamin pump. You don't want to propel at 1000 fps for your purposes.

June 15, 2006, 01:00 AM
A couple years ago, there was a varmint problem at my parents place, and I was enlisted. Well, I more volunteered. ;)

Anyhow, I was using a RWS 34, shooting a .22 cal pellet at ~800 FPS. Skunks and rabbits went down pretty easy. I don't remember any that needed a second shot. The one coon I dispatched, well, that was another story. It took around a half a dozen shots to put him down. Looking back, the airgun was not up to the task.

You probably don't need a really expensive gun. Gamo has some models in the right power range for about half the cost of an RWS ($170-250). But they don't have much in the way of .22, if that's what you want. .177 should be up to the job, but I would probably stay at 900 fps minimum, 1000 being preferable.

Crossman also has a few models that could work, for even less than the Gamo ones.

June 15, 2006, 01:41 AM
As said already - RWS model 34. Highly rated, best selling workhorse air rifle from Germany. Get 'em for about $200 at Gander Mountain.



June 15, 2006, 01:49 AM
Visit http://www.network54.com/Forum/79537/
to talk to people with experience. I think it's the main airgun forum on the web.

June 15, 2006, 08:30 AM
If coonan is right, that 750 fps and up is a firearm, with stiff penalties for urban use, then a .22 cal air rifle @ 750 is going to be superior to a .177 cal air rifle - more energy. If you can afford it, I'd recommend the Air Force Talon "SS" - the SS is the suppressed model - very quiet. I know you can get it in .177, and I think you can change out the barrel with a special order, to .22.


I have an RWS model 34, and it's loud, and it would violate the 750 fps rule you apparently have.

Wild Bill Bucks
June 15, 2006, 08:59 AM
If you want to spend some REAL money for an air rifles, check out the "Airrow Stealth" Air rifle. Big performance (Air powered sniper rifle .25 caliber) Big Price.
Totally worthless for me, but I thought it was an intersting looking rifle.

June 15, 2006, 10:30 AM
HAve had a 'possum problem before. Airguns are one good solution, but do be careful in your selection as many are pretty loud. In gneneral, the pre-charged pneumatics are (1) expensive and (2) loud unless supressed.

Same with the old multi-pump pneumatics. Get good power, but they tend to have a louder "crack" than spring-piston airguns. Can say much the same for CO2 guns, the few that have the power level needed.

Spring-air might be the way to go...and in a larger caliber (.22....there are some .25's).

Neighbor had a possum in his attic...refused traps. I wated up for that critter in a home-made blind on an overlooking roof and nailed it to the ground with a bolt from a crossbow. Needed to be quiet and the crossbow from a sharp downward angle (that's why I was on the roof) had limited chance of skipping off into the neighbors bedroom window.

Jack O'Conner
June 15, 2006, 10:55 AM
My folks lived in town for a time. Dad and I built unobstrusive box traps from Ragnor Benson designs. A peice of plywood was leaned against the garage and the trap was placed under it. Sort of like making a tunnel for the critter to walk into. Dad caught many animals. He simply took the trap into the garage. Then he reached in with heavy welding gloves and off'd the critter with a ball peen hammer. Feral cats were the common pests he caught. Silent and deadly.

Skunks were drowned inside the traps as they get fussy and will spray. Dad just lowered the trap into a section of metal ducting and filled it with water.

If the area critters get wise and stay away from the trap, try this old trick. Place an opened can of cheap catfood inside the box trap but don't set the trigger. After awhile, they get used to the free meal. Then you simply set the trigger and start catching again.

Plan to dispose of the corpses with care. Dad dumped 'em alongside the road a mile or so away. Hey, crows gotta eat, too! Its a good idea to be somewhat cautious and elusive.

June 15, 2006, 11:28 AM
I think your asking an airgun to do too much in the case of racoon, possum and possibly skunk. I'd definitely go with a .22 caliber airgun over a .177. If you'll be violating a local ordinance using an airgun over 750fps anyway, use a .22lr from inside the house. If you keep back in the room and just crack the window, the room itself will act as a big expansion chamber. You'll barely hear it from outside. That's with standard 22lr. If you can use cb's, they'll make less noise than an air rifle. I'd be leery using cb's or an air rifle on a possum or racoon, btw. Your neighbors just might not understand when you have to get one you wounded out from under their porch. :D

This might be a good time to take up bowhunting. You can get a good used one from a pawnshop for around $100. The crossbow mentioned from an elevated position is a good idea, but I'd have a hardtime justifying the expense. Get yourself a good backstop (straw bales) and a deer target. Climb up on your roof and "practice". Who's to know if you "accidently" pop a coon.


Stay out of trouble and have fun.

Edited because I can't spell.

June 15, 2006, 01:45 PM
You could get in trouble dispatching them even with an air rifle. Like the others mentioned they can be treated as a firearm depending on the velocity.

Even trapping and killing them could get you in trouble with the PETA folks. Cruelity to animals charges don't look good on a resume.

In my state of NY you can't discharge a firearm/bow/crossbow/ airgun within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling/school/church, even when hunting ( except duck hunting )

You could also get fined for hunting out of season or without a license.

If I were in the same position I would find a lethal quick and quiet trap and don't tell a soul that you are using it. Its still illegal in most localities as you would be trapping without a license....so be careful.

Wild Bill Bucks
June 15, 2006, 02:20 PM
Unless there is some reason you can't use one, I would put a fence charger on my fence. They are non-lethal, and can be turned off when not needed.
Animals quickly learn to stay away from them ( as do people)
If you are in an area where there are people walking around your fence, this is probably not going to be a solution to your problem, as you wouldn't want anyone to get shocked.(Unless they were undercover PETA members):D

June 15, 2006, 04:04 PM
Hey all:

Thanks for a wide range of expertise, the web links, and especially for the words of caution with the FPS rule in Illinois. I should have done my homework but there has been no harm done up until now. At the very least, you all have provided me some sound advise on the right kind of equipment to get these critters. If the air gun is a 'no no' I'll trap the remaining two babies and then get back there and bury a small grid, heavy guage wire mesh and run it down the fence and across to the shed and up the shed about 1' and just monitor it until they give up I guess.

Or, maybe I'll wait for the 4th of July when I can take two full tilt shots with my Model 66-2 snubby ;) (Just kidding...)

June 15, 2006, 04:10 PM
whoa whoa whoa, didn't read all the posts because I feel you need to read this ASAP!!!

I too have felt out the options for neighborhood varmints, and believe I have found the ideal set up. I've had high velocity, expensive air rifles and was not impressed.

so here ya go- Get a bolt action .22LR, I got a Marlin model 60 used for $60 from my local toy store. then buy a brick of aguila colibris, you will be in business!! The colibris will shoot accurate and are less noisy than an air rifle....but, they are also more powerful i.e. more knockdown!!

I have shown this set up to lots of people and they are blown away at how quiet it is. Let alone you still have the option to shoot hot .22 rounds. It puts squirrels down and my buddies and I have even used them effectively on prairie dogs when we find those colonies right next to a road hehe.

June 15, 2006, 04:15 PM
for those unfamiliar, the colibri is a 20gr .22 bullet in a casing with no gun powder, just a primer. Will blow straight through a pop can

June 15, 2006, 04:18 PM
Crazy Larry has the correct idea. You can also use CCI CB long ammo.

June 15, 2006, 04:23 PM
don't fall for that subsonic crap, it still seems to have an almost full report.

My aunt had pigeons throughout her barn in ID last X-Mas. She hated the pigeons yet also dislikes guns around her horses.

well well well, my cousin supplied the beverages and I brought along the bolt gun + colibri's, everyone wound up happy, + no holes in her roof lol.

June 15, 2006, 04:52 PM
Be careful with those colibri. While I've never had it happen, they can supposedly "stick" in the barrel of a rifle. There's a warning on the box "to be used in handguns only". I've fired them with no problems in a ruger 10/22 and a CZ 452. I guess it could happen, though, and if it does and you put another round down the barrel, you've probably got a mess. The CCI cb's are slightly louder, but they're more accurate and use a heavier bullet. Like I said, I'd be real leery about using cb's on a racoon or possum. CrazyLarry mentioned a good, ethical rule for varmint hunting on another thread. "Nothing deserves to suffer". Makes good sense to me.

June 15, 2006, 06:05 PM
Speaking from experience dont shoot a skunk! I got sprayed at close range and its wasnt a pleasant experience. Run.
I was on vacation in Alaska last month and stopped in at Ketchikan for the day. They have hundreds of these funny (varmits) at the dump. Theyre big furry 100-500lbs and can eat you. I'd love to varmit hunt those bad boys but would like something around 30-06.
My grandpa lives in the city and shoots rats from his porch with an air rifle. Air rifle gets my vote for those kind of pests.

June 15, 2006, 06:55 PM
Another vote for the .22 with Super Colibris or CCI CB longs. If there is a legality issue using a firearm, I would opt for poison.

June 15, 2006, 10:26 PM
But fellas, couple things about the super colibris:

1. In the guns I've tried them in, they are not nearly as accurate as my air rifles - and accuracy is essential when you're talking about a head shot on Pepe La Pieu. You want to knock out the control center immediately so they don't spray.

2. EVEN IF it is technically *just as* illegal to shoot an airgun in the city limits in your locale as it is to shoot a rimfire firearm, as a practical matter, I believe it can make a great deal of difference as to whether you are cited, arrested, and/or prosecuted if you are shooting "just a bb gun, officer, what's the big deal?". But a .22 firearm, colibri or otherwise, in most jurisdictions, is gonna be looked on quite a bit more unfavorably by law enforcement, even if on the same technical legal ground.

3. They are excellent bird killers out to about 15 yards. But for 20, 25, 30 yards, or more, a .177 pellet gun is going to have a much better point blank range - we're talking 700-1000 fps instead of 500 for the super colibris, AND a better ballistic coefficient.

So there is definitely a place for a good, suppressed airgun in some circumstances. Another good thing about that is no class 3 paperwork is needed to get a suppressed airgun. I'd get one of those Air Force if I had the cash for it AND all the damned accessories required - hoses, clamps, connectors, tanks, the whole bit.

Crazy Larry is right - CB cap ammo (short & long), such as from CCI is NOT quiet. Sure it's a tad quieter than full power ammo, but still much much louder than a colibri or pellet gun. I have on order right now some RWS/Diana true BB cap ("flobert") ammo, and I'll post to let y'all know if they're more accurate than the colibris - I sure hope so!

June 15, 2006, 11:16 PM
A simple snare would suffice in your situation very, very well. Put it at the entrance they are using to get under your shed, check early a.m. Problem solved.

June 16, 2006, 02:38 AM
i have been there too, and still kind of there now.
we use to manage appartments, and cats and rats were a really big problem.
i had a RWS model 48 .177 cal. back then in the start. it was nice. and a lot quieter than these people are saying. a fried had the .22 cal Model48. i got to see them side by side a lot. i eat his lunch in more hits and kills. the heavy .22 cal pellet just arked too much, you just have to watch the air temp. if it gets cold the pellet will brake the sound barrier, that makes it sound like a .22cal. rifle
so you can buy heaver pellets in .177 cal, that slow it down just enough to not let any body know what your doing.
i soon went to the RWS Model 54, that puppy is the sweet one..
and both can drop them dead easy at a lot more than the 25 yards they talk here.
and the open sights are fine sights as they are.
i still use it out here when the poseums and Coons get by something i can't use a reg. rifle for. the 54 has no problem taking them out.
the barn with tin sides is 80 yards out the kitchen window. and i can't even use a .22 to shoot them there. i have to use the Model 54 and open sights 80 yards not a problem.
so in your back yard it will do every thing you need and as long as it is not too cold no one will hear or know.
i have a nice pellet gun collection and high power rifle too.
bird problem in the tin barn, had to buy one just for that, the Model 54 will go through the tin like butter. had to find one that was just under speed to not hurt the tin, but knock the crap out of the birds.
so i guess i am still into what you need.
they are pricey but well worth it i think.
you might get buy with the Model 48 with no problem, the 54 is re-coilless.
it eats up scopes but is still fine with open sights.
you can kill a pigon on a power line at a 100 yards open sights with a .177 RWS Model 48 or 54 with no problem at all. we joke about the pellet hitting the big bird making more noise than the spring air gun makes.
and do not use any daisy or light pelets in it, you get speed but not killing power, and it shortens the spring life. Crossman Premeir 10.5 gr pellet is the only way to go .177 cal.
i have been using them for about 15 years. i also re-spring & rebuild them. you have to do that from time to time. a dry fire shot, will make you do it sooner.

June 16, 2006, 03:02 PM
I have solved some varmint problems here with my Remington 521T bolt .22 using CCI CB caps. The grass and plants in the far corner of the yard seem to be growing well these days.

June 16, 2006, 03:32 PM
getting rid of the dirty deed..

just digging a reguar hole, will become a hassel.
i was having so many dirty deeds to get rid of, i had to come up with something new.
----BING---- brain storm
i got a post hole digger.
and dig out a nice post hole, about 2 or 2.5 feet deep.
with the post hole diger, you can now bell out the bottom, you can make it quit large, but not too large, you don't want it caving in.
now just keep the dirt close by. and every time a dirty deed goes in the little hole, you drop in some dirt.
keep a board over the hole, and a flower pot on it, and no one knows.

the hole can hold a lot of dirt deeds...
before posting holing out another one
and they take up a lot less room, than digging one with a shovel... :eek:

June 20, 2006, 05:43 AM
Varmit shooting I've done a bit of.
Used to have REALLY big wharf rats swim up a river, and eat garbage from our garbage area, restaurant fed rats.

First we tried a high velocity .22 pellet gun, at 950 fps. Looked like one of those break, pump rifles shown earlier in the thread. I hit mama rat, at about 8 feet, with a shoulder shot. Didn't penetrate, and, she looked at me, angry as hell.
I ran.:D ROFL
My other choice was to shoot her with a Detonics Mark VI, in 45 Super I was carrying, but, I don't think that would have gone over well with the rest of our bunny hugging staff.

Next, we moved up to 22 short. CCI Hollow points that didn't open up. IIRC. They went 6-8 inches in big rats, and, they didn't move much. Humane kill. That out of a 22lr rifle, with 18 inch barrel.

For varmits, etc. I'd suggest a CZ 452. Super accurate, and cheap. It's in 22lr, but will single shot in 22 short, with an excellent scope on it, it will drive tacks at 25 yards, like under a 1/4 inch.

You can also use 22lr in it, with sufficent bullet weight to do in varmits.

That said, I'd figure out a way to spray the skunk, so you don't have to kill em.
I'm sure there is some way to do so. I just had the s... scared out of me by another thread about some worm in racoons, that might spread.

Look for some threads on humane skunk control. Cut little guys, that, in the proper setting, make really fun pets. Smart, cute, and desmelled, only slightly worse at tearing up your house then our half
feral cat...


June 20, 2006, 07:45 AM
i just love pesty varmit hunting. i just wish i could travel around and do some showing off. helping people, by showing them how it can be done quit and easy.
i have done so much of it, in all the places i have lived.
seems like, every place i moved to, had a major problem, left by the past people, living there, and around the areas. i have been knocking them big or little pesty veemans out of the ball park, for some time now. but doing it with out making Green Piece, get their pantys in a bunch, is fun too. i have taken out wild ally-cats off my short-shed roof, using an RWS model 54 pellet rifle, with a .177 Cal. 10.5gr pellet, with a planed shot, to make him fall just where i wanted him to fall, and neighbors having a back yard B-Q, just 20 yards away, never had a clue, what i just did. that would have been all i needed, was a big old ally-cat flopping around up there where they could see it.. ;..; Grrr.
and RATs man we have had a ball with them. we use to have them as big as them big City kind. they were called Field rats back there. the ones that came up to get in things, went Extinct after a few weeks of fun. having so much fun doing that, we went to the local feed store to get a bag of horse & mule feed, and put it out to call in more of them big old rats, fun was on again LoL . after a few more weeks of all that fun, all the fields in range of sight, was Extinct of them fun veemans.
so you just keep putting it out and pay it no attention for a while to let them breed back up and get use to coming in for the free meal, not too long of a wait, your little back yard shooting galley, is back open again.

June 25, 2006, 11:32 PM
getting rid of the dirty deed..

just digging a reguar hole, will become a hassel.
i was having so many dirty deeds to get rid of, i had to come up with something new.
----BING---- brain storm
i got a post hole digger.
and dig out a nice post hole, about 2 or 2.5 feet deep.

Hmmm... Sounds like an awful lot of trouble, but the flower might grow real nice. You know, sometimes the 'dirty deed' goes good with gravy and a side of biscuits :D

June 26, 2006, 11:37 PM

The Rimfire rifles produced by Ceska Zbrojovka Uhersky Brod are among the most sought-after firearms in the world. The ZKM 452 rifles are manufactured from steel billets not tubing or plastic, barrels are hammer forged for accuracy and long life. The trigger is adjustable for weight, and the safety is located above the rear of the bolt and provides a positive firing pin block. The Lux models have a tangent rear sight that is adjustable for windage and elevation, 5 round detachable magazine and Turkish walnut stock.

1/4-1/2 inch, at 25 yards, with long rifle or shorts.


June 27, 2006, 09:13 AM
You ran from a P.O.ed rat, Socrates?

July 9, 2006, 02:45 PM
"bring forth the holy hand grenade!":D alil monty python humor for socrates:D

ever try fruit flavored bubblegum?they eat it but cant digest it.works on groundhogs,chipmonks and rats.

skunks..try the mothballs.feral cats..try spraying ammonia around the entrances to where they are going.i.e. under the porch.some ultrasonic plug in devices drive them out as well.

shooting them with a pellet or low powered 22 round ,would depend ALOT on how close the neighbors are and how easily they can see you and report you.for that Id use a crossbow equipped with a red-dot.there are different tips available for the bolts that should handle it well.

July 10, 2006, 02:43 AM
Wharf rats get up to 16 inches, and with tail, 26-30 inches. That is a REALLY BIG rat. It looked about the same size as a cat.;) I sort of had a vision of getting both clawed and bitten, by a rabid, angry, huge rat.
Running may also be a bit of artistic license. Moving quickly away from the garbage area landing was more like it.:)


July 10, 2006, 08:32 AM
:) I'd probably run too from one that big - reminds me of the kangaroo that tom the cat thought was an overgrown mouse in the cartoons.

July 10, 2006, 09:22 AM
We had a skunk problem, they would get into the trash etc. We learned to use a trash can. We used 55 gallon barrels but any container deep enough will work. Fill it 18 inches to 2 feet with water, float some garbage, make a ramp so they can get into the can. They fall or jump in and drown, and never smell. Worked great for us.
On the pellet gun I use a Sheridan pump, more versatile than some. You can control the FPS with the amount of pumps from weak enough to run the dog off thats craping in your yard without damaging him, to killing small animals. It will do skunks , mine has but man oh man can they stink.

One more thing on the pellet over the quiet 22's. I think the 22's are a little quieter than the pellet gun,, but,,,, if you get caught and find yourself in a court or law enforcment situation it "is only a bb gun" and not a firearm, which just might make a difference.

July 10, 2006, 12:07 PM
I've been looking into air rifles myself. I don't like precharged air, too much hassle, so I looked into the pump and spring guns. I was looking for power and accuracy. The best I've been able to find from my research are these:

In .22 cal (my choice when I have the money to blow on it):
PATRIOT EXPORT by Webley & Scott Ltd.
Pellet Weight 14.4 grain - Muzzle Energy - 27.07 ft/lbs :eek:
0.22 - 920 ft/sec - $465.00

in .177 cal:
0.177 - 1250 ft/sec - $399.95

Both are break-action spring rifles, so no need to charge then up from a scuba tank.