Air Rifle for varmints?


April 22, 2007, 03:02 PM
I have a groundhog problem. And I want to do some target shooting at home.

Problem is, I have several leftie neighbors. I do have a field out back, so the line of fire is safe.

I think an air rifle would be quiet enough. Perhaps a spring piston, they're quieter, right?

Any suggestions on what would be strong enough to take out a groundhog at 25 - 50 yards?

I'd like to go as inexpensive as possible, but don't want to get cheap crap.

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April 22, 2007, 03:09 PM
Anything supersonic will make a good crack. Few air rifles are powerful enough for groundhogs and these are not inexpensive. Best bang for the buck would be to get a 22 or 25 caliber in one of the spring piston models that shoot 177's 1000fps or faster. The 25 caliber is devastating at close range. I have a Beeman Kodiac in that cal. Quietest rifles are the PCP's that are shrouded. Inexpensive and PCP do not go together very well.


April 22, 2007, 03:10 PM
If you have a .22 try buying Agulia se extras. I just bought some, and my .22 has taken over for chipmunks in place of my air rifle. It's not much louder than my side lever air rifle, and It's more accurate. Sounds like a cap gun. I doubt a bbgun or air rifle would be reliable at taking out groundhogs at those distances, but I've never tried it. Those agulias really suprised me. I thought .22 hollowpoints were pointless, but the exit wounds on those chipmunks are half dollar size. If you don't beleive me i have pictures. It really suprised me. I just don't see an air rifle doing the job on groundhogs.

Edit: (Post #45 pg2)
pictures of chipmunks shot at around 30 yards with the aguila's. They did much more than I expected.

April 22, 2007, 04:21 PM
Check the legalities of hunting where you are and hunting with an air rifle. Then look into an air rifle that gives a minimum of 1,000fps. Gamo makes a .177 that gives 1600fps. Runs about $500 though.

April 22, 2007, 04:25 PM
My dad tried using an air rifle when they were having skunk problems... big mistake. It just makes the skunks mad (and spray), as its not powerful enough to kill them.

He ended up hiring some company to put out skunk traps, because his neighbors would go nuts if he started shooting his .357 mag in the backyard. I told him to go buy a .22LR rifle and use subsonic loads, but he didnt think that was a good idea. :rolleyes:

April 22, 2007, 04:30 PM
got an old gamo break action air rifle.....pretty quiet and have made many one shot kills on rabbits in the backyard out to 35 yards.

April 22, 2007, 04:44 PM
I had an old Sheridan 5mm that was good on pigeons in the shop and effective on squirrels, but was louder than my Beeman .22.(GS1000)

My son has the Sheridan now.:)

I'd use my Beeman,:cool: it will shoot clear through a tin can at 30m. squirrels are not a problem here anymore... they moved on!:D

April 22, 2007, 04:51 PM
Get you a brech action .177 pellet rifle. I have put a little BSA .22 scope on mine. I bought mine from a tool show, one of the vendors had them for $20.00. It will go slam through 3/8 OSB at 50 feet w/ no problem

Big Daddy K
April 22, 2007, 06:12 PM
22 Aquilla Super Colibri. 22 primer behind a 20 gn bullet. Quiter than a pellet gun and good to say 40 yds.

The box says to not use in a rifle bullet may lodge in the barell but I do and have for several years. Old single shot Stevens.

April 22, 2007, 06:35 PM
My uncle uses an old bolt action .22 with shorts to take out grounhogs that get into the garden. There's a low stone wall, and he waits until they get in front of it before he takes the shot. He's very good, he used to use the same gun to get chipmunks to feed his neighbor's bird. But he saves the air rifle for squirrels.

April 22, 2007, 06:45 PM
My Sheridan silver streak has taken all manner of yard varmints including magpie, crow, bunny, tree rat, and chipmunk. At close range (under 25 yards) I would not hesitate to send a 5mm 14.3 grain pellet into the brain of a groundhog at 650 fps.

I did a bit of ammo testing a few months ago and the Sheridan domed pellet penetrated 20% deeper into my medium with a larger wound channel than my 1000fps springer using 9 grain steel tipped pellets.

April 22, 2007, 07:22 PM
I know the Crossman 2100 "classic" or the Remington "Airmaster 77" (they are essentially the same rifle) puts out pellets at around 750 fps.
( )

I'm convinced that it hits almost as hard as a .22 short though I'm not sure it's enough oomph for a groundhog.

The Gamo "Nitro 17" is supposed to be a good rifle as well though I've never shot one myself. The Gamo "CFX" really puts a pellet out in a hurry, I do believe it's one of the 1,000 fps rifles.

April 22, 2007, 07:37 PM
How about a .17 HMR for vermin? A nice 8 shot revolver! Has to be quieter than a .22LR but then, I haven't fired a .17 HMR so I don't know. Does anyone make a .17 HMR in a rifle?

April 22, 2007, 11:48 PM
A spring piston rifle in .22 would be your best bet. Pyramid Air online offers plenty of models, mostly imports. Combined with a low powered scope you can make head shots out to 30 - 40 yds.

April 23, 2007, 12:24 AM
I had a problem with small pine squirrel type critters that managed to
set up home in my attic. Some problem flickers (fair sized wood pecker
type birds) that loved to work over cedar sided walls in the early morning
hours. Need something that would kill and not over penetrate and go
through roof and walls
The solution was a .17 Gamo that was advertized in the Rifleman as
NRA Commemrative with 4x scope for around $200. Perfect solution.
Two squirrels and three birds with a single shot each. It kind of paralyzes
them at the shot, count to three, they drop down dead. No new comers,
and no bitchin neighbor calling to tell me I disturbed their sleep. A truely
accurate set up.
Used a Sheridan some years ago for pigeon control down south in town,
It only killed dead on the spot with head and neck hits. Probably died,
but a body hit allowed them to fly some before expire. Must be the
faster velocity turns it into a better killer. NO HOLES IN THE ROOF OR
BUILDING !!!!!:D :D :D

April 23, 2007, 12:30 AM
actually a gamo air rifle in the 1000fps range, loaded with their new designed pellets, gets you 1200fps!!!! awesome. or if you have a 22, try some cci cb longs, they are actually quieter and slower than the shorts, or Aguila super colibris, these last two will make less noise than a spring driven air rifle.

April 23, 2007, 12:33 AM
oh and yeah, 17 hmr is as loud as a 22 hornet, so that would be a no go!!!

April 23, 2007, 01:06 AM
I have been using air rifles on various critters for over 20 years and I have taken a few woodchucks. The most effective caliber is 25. 20 caliber (5mm) is generally better than 22. The ballistics just work better. Flat nosed match pellets have worked best for me and I have tried many different shapes.

I use chest shots. It is too easy to cause a nasty but nonfatal wound with an attempted head shot. A good spring powered air rifle in 20 or 25 caliber at 800fps or better is good to about 30yds if you can place your shots.

Gamo brand has a good rep and reasonable prices. Cabelas has several Gamo models to choose from. RWS or Beeman are other models that have been around quite a while. Don't get a precharged pneumatic type for your situation. They make a sharp crack that is almost as loud as a 22lr.

A decent new air rifle will set you back between $150 and $300. Don't try to use a firearm scope on a spring powered air rifle. The forward-back jolt from the spring will quickly destroy it. There are scopes designed for this application that are generally less expensive than firearm scopes.

Another option is a decent used 22lr bolt gun and subsonic ammo. It is not much louder than an air gun. However, ricochets will travel much further and it is not much more effective except at longer ranges. Also, you are "discharging a firearm" when you shoot it. I never heard of regs restricting air rifles.

Hope this helps.

chris in va
April 23, 2007, 02:19 AM
Supressor on a .22 Walther.

April 23, 2007, 02:52 AM
Supressor on a .22 Walther.

+1 .. HA!

Mike U.
April 23, 2007, 03:06 AM
I have several options I use.
I have a Gamo Shadow 1000 .177 pellet rifle that works fairly good on squirrels and cats. There is a Gamo pellet out there called the Raptor that is a Gold(real Gold) coated alloy pellet that screams out of the rifle @1250 FPS. This comes with a price though in the form of a supersonic CRAACK!! when fired and they run about $7.99 per hundred. The action of the rifle makes noise to as it is a springer.
If you have a bolt action or lever action .22LR you have better options.
I've used the Aguila Super Collibri with good kills out to 15-20 yards and is whisper quiet.
My current go-to cartridge is the CCI CB Short. It is a reasonably quiet round that sends it's 29 grain lead solid bullet out at 710 FPS.
I sand down the round nose on these to give the bullet a flat meplat and that hits like a hammer. Just today I took a tree rat right off his branch with a neck shot at 25 yards. He hit the ground twitching and by the time I got there he was DOA. I took one last week with a shoulder shot with similar results except he barely hung on to the branch, regained his footing and ran about 15 feet further up the tree before taking his last dive. Neither of these bullets exited. They do the job admirably well so far and frankly, I am a bit surprised at there being no exit wounds. These CCI CB Shorts are deadly accurate out to 30 yards out of my Winchester Model 150 levergun and may be good for further ranges but I haven't stretched the field that far as it would be getting into my neighbor's yards and I'd prefer NOT to do that. :) This round is quiet enough that it sounds like a regular pellet out of my Shadow. Maybe a little louder, but, still really stealthy for a .22 caliber round.

April 23, 2007, 03:50 AM
yeah, i was shooting cb longs, cb shorts, and super colbiris at 50 yards today, wind moves them easy, and i could not get any decent groups. I would limit them in the future to 30 yards.

Mike U.
April 23, 2007, 04:31 AM
yeah, i was shooting cb longs, cb shorts, and super colbiris at 50 yards today, wind moves them easy, and i could not get any decent groups. I would limit them in the future to 30 yards.

How are those CB Longs? Are they as quiet as the shorts? :confused:

I've been having accuracy problems with the Super Collibris lately. I'm starting to think I just got a crappy brick because they've been good to me in the past.
Wind isn't a big deal here as this neighborhood and my yard is heavily tree'd. But, that is great info. Thanks for sharing it.

April 23, 2007, 04:51 PM
Might look into the Air Force brand air rifles. Mine will put out 14.5 gr .22 pellets at about 700fps with a pretty good quantity of shots and not too loud. Depends on what you mean by expensive though.

You can customize the airforce guns pretty extensively, even getting them with different barrel lengths, while mine would top out around 800 fps with a 12" barrel with the 24" barrel I had it up over 900 fps (26ft/lbs) again with the 14.5 gr pellets. You can run the guns on high pressure air which means you need a pump or a scuba tank and the combination of the gun + that equipment will run you right around $800-$900. Or if you can give up some of the power you can get it with a co2 adapter for about $500, which with the 12" barrel still get's about 650fps (13.6ft/lbs) and uses paintball gun tanks that are easy to get, and get refilled. I haven't chrono'd the 24" barrel with the co2 yet, sorry.

My beeman kodiak in .22 puts the same pellet out at right around 875 fps but is louder than the talon ss with the 12" barrel that is somewhat shrouded.

You don't really want pellet guns going supersonic the twist rates and the pellets aren't meant to keep them stable past supersonic and accuracy will tend to suffer greatly.

I'm not sure what it actually takes to effectively kill ground hogs but hopefully those numbers will give you something more to work with.

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