Recommendations for pellet rifle for pigeons


April 25, 2009, 03:00 PM
I'm not sure if I'm just looking for a reason to buy another gun, but I'd like to shoot some pigeons for dog training. I can shoot them on my neighbors' farms, but they don't want me to spook their calves and cattle with a regular rifle or shotgun. I'd prefer not to have them shot up as much as well, which would tend to make me think an air gun or pellet gun would be best.
My question is, .177 or .22, and how much power should I be looking for? I usually tend to buy decent quality stuff, and would prefer to get an accurate shooting, decent quality, durable pellet gun.
Does anyone have any ideas on what I should be looking for? Also, I'm a decent size guy, and so I don't think cocking force is going to be a big deal. Thanks, Neil

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April 25, 2009, 03:17 PM
Any proper pellet gun that can do 650 FPS or better will be more than adequate. A .177 is fine. You can get a Daisy or any of several other brands. Daisy's are cheaper, but are accurate and hold up well enough. Plus the fact that you can buy 3 or 4 Daisy Powerlines for the price of some other pellet guns.

April 25, 2009, 03:41 PM
When I was a kid I used to take them down in our hog barn with a Crossman 66. I think it was somewhere in the 600 FPS range, but I took them with a head or neck shot. I doubt if a body shot would have done it.

I should really buy one of those again...I grew up and gave it to my brother who promptly destroyed it. That was a nice, accurate gun for a kid. I won a couple of county-wide airgun matches with it.

April 25, 2009, 03:58 PM

good source for used air rifles.

Best bargain in a quality air rifle -- Mike Melick tuned BAM B-26 in .22 cal, hands down. These will have been tuned, re-lubricated, and had the trigger sears polished so that you can actually shoot and hit something.

Any air rifle you buy off the shelf from WalMart, Cabela's etc, is usually junk. Expect to spend around $200-250 before scope and mounts for a quality air rifle and go with a .20 or .22 cal gun for small game hunting.

April 25, 2009, 04:47 PM
Gamo's "Whisper" is suppsed to be about 52% quieter than regular pellet guns, it uses .177 pellets I think, I have a Bigcat from Gamo and I'm happy with it, the scope isn't that great however, might buy a cheap scope or red-dot later.

Hope this helps:)

April 25, 2009, 05:14 PM
Gamo "Whisper" is largely a marketing ploy. The noise made by a springer air rifle shooting subsonic pellets does not come from the muzzle. It comes from the spring and piston slap of the power plant of the springer air rifle. The Gamo Whispers have a rather cheap plastic stock (IMO), that, being hollow, sounds like a drum every time the air rifle is fired. If you are going to shoot pigeons at anything more than about 20 to 25 yards, go with a .22 cal air rifle, not a .177. Go with a relatively powerful air rifle of good quality or you will immediately find yourself wanting something better. The Gamo's can be quite good, but they all require trigger work and at least a low level tune to be reliable for popping small game at 30+ yards.

I would look at

BAM-B26 .22 (breakbarrel springer)
Mike Melick's tuned B26 is the best quality air rifle for the money, period.

Diana 34 Panther .22 (breakbarrel springer), T05 trigger

Beeman R9 .22 (breakbarrel springer) with Rekord trigger

Beeman HW97 MKIII .20 (underlever springer)
(this rifle is a perennial winner in all field trial competitions in the springer class)

What is your $ budget?

look here, also

April 25, 2009, 05:33 PM
TEC - Great info - Thanks!

Both the Bemans that you listed showed up as .20 cal. I was leaning towards the .22 cal for the added pellet weight, as you suggested.
The Diana looks real good, and I'm a little worried about the BAM, as iit's a Chinese made gun. Maybe I shouldn't be.

As far as a budget, I was hoping to stay under $300. It'd be hard to justify more than that to shoot some pigeons.

I can't believe I just said that shooting some pigeons justifies a $300 pellet gun. My dad would kill me.

April 25, 2009, 05:47 PM
You don't say where you are, or where the pigeon shooting will take place, but you'd better make sure you can LEGALLY pop the winged rats before you do it. Seems that nearly everywhere now, vermin like that are "protected" by some inane law, and even discharging a pellet gun is illegal within in most city limits.

If you're outside of town, pop a few for me! Just CYA first.

April 25, 2009, 05:58 PM
Rondog, I live in Iowa, and some of the people here still have a brain in their head. Others don't, which is why we now have legal same sex marriage.:banghead:
I should be OK for shooting pigeons in my neck of the woods, though.

April 25, 2009, 06:00 PM
a daisy powerline 880 should kill pigeons easily.

April 25, 2009, 06:04 PM
Rondog, I live in Iowa, and some of the people here still have a brain in their head. Others don't, which is why we now have legal same sex marriage.
I should be OK for shooting pigeons in my neck of the woods, though.

Cool! Then bust a few for those of us who can't! And I also second the Daisy Powerline 880. It's a cheapo, but I can shoot nickle-sized groups with it. It'll damn sure take the squirrels off my bird feeder.

Eric F
April 25, 2009, 06:32 PM
fresh squab any one?

I say go for one of the new supressed models.

April 25, 2009, 07:17 PM
If you want quiet, get one of the new Crosman Marauders. The Beeman R9 is a solid pick, too.

April 25, 2009, 07:52 PM
If you want quiet, go for the Air Arms S410 XTRA FAC with full barrel shroud. Pfffft! 28 ft-pounds of varmint popping fun. Lefty thumbhole walnut stock. Hawke 4X16X 50 mm R/G lighted mill dot scope. One of my favorite air rifles, along with my Walther LGR-U and Walther LGR

Ed Ames
April 25, 2009, 08:03 PM
When I was 10ish a friend had a .20 or .22 pump-up (a nice and accurate Benjamin/Sheridan pellet gun - it was really his dad's but nobody minded - I really enjoyed shooting it and could make some shots I'd be proud of now) while I had a .177. One day he was bragging up how powerful it was decided to shoot at a pigeon. AT a pigeon since he was a lousy shot. Unfortunately he hit it. He then freaked out because it was flopping around cooing distress and not dying. After several minutes I finally went over and killed it. Not something I liked doing.

I don't know if I ever spoke to the kid again...not often if so.

Don't know if that represents negative bias or real world experience, but I'd be leery of pellet rifles with the pigeons I've seen, unless you can guarantee head brain shots every time...

Just something for you to consider.

April 25, 2009, 08:50 PM
I'd be leery of pellet rifles with the pigeons I've seen, unless you can guarantee head brain shots every time... From the experience I'v had with the daisy 880 a pretty good shot could get the eye about every shot.

April 25, 2009, 09:00 PM
I've killed hundreds of pests, from point blank to past 50 yards, using an RWS .177 Model 36.

.22 drops too much in a pellet gun, they also didn't seem to penetrate as well for me.

My .177 made one shot kills on crows, wood chucks, and many ground squirrels. It's all dependant on where you hit them, and .177 will give you the accuracy and penetration that you need.

I broke my spring once, through my own error, and RWS fixed it free of charge. I will be buying another air rifle from them as soon as I move later this year and have a yard again.

April 25, 2009, 09:19 PM
The Benji pumpers are fine shooting rifles. Plenty of punch, accurate, and no recoil.

The .22's do drop, but most air rifles in .22 are more efficient than .177 and a mil dot scope will put a .22 on target just as easily as .177. Either will do nicely out to 30-35 yards. The .22 will of course carry more energy down range than a .177. And beyond about 50 yards, either becomes "Iffy" as far as a clean kill unless you are shooting PCPs or a supermag springer. The Supermag springers are hard to shoot accurately in my experience. If you want to shoot varmints at ranges more than 50 yards, look seriously at the PCPs, particularly the Air Arms S400, S410s, and the Air Force Talon and Condor models. Or just get yourself a Ruger 1022 and save a bunch of money. I will say that my AA S410 is quiet enough to take out a squirrel at 50 yards without startling other potential nearby targets. PffffT!!

The best varmint pellet is the JSB or Polymag Predator pellet, but at longer ranges, the ballistics of the diabolo or domed pellets seem better, at least in my air rifles. And I am too lazy to zero and range my scopes for multiple pellets. In general, the JSB's are the best down range pellets I have found.

April 25, 2009, 09:26 PM
You know, I've heard that a .22 Short fired out of a rifle-length barrel is actually quieter than most pellet guns. You could try it. If it really is that quiet, just load it in a .22 bolt gun and wreck their day. Savage .22's are in the same price range as a lot of pellet guns, and old Stevens 73's are also available.

Ed Ames
April 25, 2009, 09:30 PM
Super Colibri from a bolt rifle are quiet enough to use in an apartment ;) ...quieter than a spring pellet gun. They are accurate too. Not super high velocity though... energy wise a spring will probably beat 'em.

Outside... depends on local laws.

April 25, 2009, 09:35 PM
My .177 Crosman Phantom with a one-piece scope mount and cheapie Walmart Tasco scope is as accurate as I'll ever need it, cheap, and quite powerful. It's only $89.95 and I love it. It will go through 1/2 inch plywood at 5 yards, that means lights out for any pigeon within 100 feet (or more if you trust your aim). I've taken squirrels galore up to 50 yards, with run of the mill Walmart-grade hollowpoint ammo.

Stay away from PBA alloy ammunition. It's too light to be accurate and will create a sonic crack when fired which will make it just as loud as a .22LR. Also, be careful during general cleaning, because if any oil gets into the compression chamber, it will diesel upon firing, and it'll sound like a bomb went off.

Have fun, airguns are my first love! I just couldn't think to spend more than $150 on one that I only needed for plinking.

April 25, 2009, 10:08 PM
my daisy .22 cal from rogers, ar is accurate, and powerful enough to drop squirrels with one shot at 25 to 30 yards.

April 25, 2009, 10:18 PM
You can go pretty cheap w/ any of the walmart recomendations listed in this thread & be GTG for pigeons & squirrels. If you are wanting to really get into airguns, Beeman, Ruger & Gammo all make great spring piston break barrels. Get a scope combo w/ a proper airgun optic; traditional scopes WILL NOT work on a spring piston airgun. (negative recoil breaks them every time) My Beeman cost me a small fortune before finally calling a hobbiest for advice & investing in the proper rig.

April 25, 2009, 10:18 PM
Here is what my AA S410 PCP will do at 100 yards - under 4 inches

April 25, 2009, 11:39 PM
Just a tad outside my price range :what:

I sent a note to Mike Melick and am waiting for a response.

Thanks for all the help!

April 26, 2009, 12:36 AM
I just dropped a pidgeon at about 20 yds, straight up in a oak tree, with a power line 880. the best choice here, is to use your bolt action 22, and try super colibri rounds; they are quieter than a springer rifle.
but if a pellet gun is a must have, then the new beeman or benjamin PcP rifles, are the best. travel by air, no sound or recoil, and can use with co2 carts, a foot pump, or an airtank like the paintball guys use. and they are 300 bucks, which for a PcP rifle, is just amazing, normally you would never pay less than 500 bucks for a PcP.

April 26, 2009, 01:14 AM
if you want sub $200 price point, gamo cfx and gamo shadow have been given some good reviews for accuracy vs price pt.

They're both spring piston, which I believe spring piston pellet rifles are the quietest... tho pcp gives most accuracy. I'm not sure about the PCPs that the other guys were talkin about, but the Talon one that my roomate had made a lot more noise even on low-medium settings.

After a few hundred shots, the springs will break in and settle down in the 700+ fps I believe... and the noise will go away for even the light pellets. Until then I'd use crow magnums or something of medium weight

be aware that gamo triggers are disgusting.

either caliber will serve you well for pigeons. .22 is easier to load for ppl with big fingers... I have small fingers and like smaller holes in the paper so that I can gauge my accuracy more at shorter distances...

I recommend crow magnums or crosman premiers/premium? depending on if you want maximum punch or cheap'n effective.

I'm still experimenting with silver arrows, as they seem to really pack a wallop... and have heard stories of killin two birds in one. I'll definitely tell you that silver arrows do the most damage to soda cans.. but I haven't had time to compare accuracy w/ the crow magnums (my current favorite)

Jefferson Herb
April 26, 2009, 03:59 AM
If you want to stay US made,Benji Discovery in 177 or 22.Air gun nuts say .177 for feathers and .22 for fir.The benji in duel fuel,ie pcp oe co2 and is accurate.CO2 gives you 600+ in.22 and 800+ on air at 2,000 psi,good for up to 20 lb varments,so you can't use it inside a tin roof.Also use flat nose pellet for better energy transfer on the rats.

April 26, 2009, 04:10 AM
When living in a 400 year old farm house in Belgium I had a real Pigeon problem. Bought a Sheridan Blue Streak and had a Pigeon Safari;
I must have killed 50 Pigeons with that air rifle over 3 years.

April 26, 2009, 03:36 PM
A bit off topic...but my choice of a "air" rifle would be a 10/22 with Aguila Colibri rounds. Okay, so its not technically an air rifle, but quieter than most. The loudest part of mine is the hammer falling. They offer very good penetration (about 10" of water) and have a decent trajectory (like a pellet gun). If you have a .22lr (if not get one :D) and are willing to pull the bolt back after each shot (in a semi) then I would at least give em' a try. Note: The rounds are less-than silent in a pistol.

April 26, 2009, 05:48 PM
Having shot my fair share of 22 short ammo 40+ years ago as a kid, I can vouch for the fact that they are MUCH louder than an air rifle.

However, a CCI "CB Cap" is certainly a possibility if you want to keep things on the quiet using a rimfire cartridge. I assume they still offer them but haven't looked to see if they do.

April 26, 2009, 05:58 PM
Having shot my fair share of 22 short ammo 40+ years ago as a kid, I can vouch for the fact that they are MUCH louder than an air rifle.
Things have changed quite a bit since then...:D The Aguila Colibri rounds are primer actuated (no powder), and are extremely quiet, more so than many air rifles. Try em'...b4 you rag on em', they are much quieter than CCI CBs, although much less powerful as well.

April 27, 2009, 01:02 AM
If you want quiet, go for the Air Arms S410 XTRA FAC with full barrel shroud. Pfffft! 28 ft-pounds of varmint popping fun. Lefty thumbhole walnut stock. Hawke 4X16X 50 mm R/G lighted mill dot scope. One of my favorite air rifles, along with my Walther LGR-U and Walther LGR

I've had an S410E for about 8 years now and it is an absolute small game killing machine. I've popped starlings at over 100 yards and last December I made a headshot on a peahen at 80.

It's just like you say; very quiet, powerful, very accurate and you've got a 10 shot magazine.

April 27, 2009, 01:23 AM
I've done a lot of experimenting with rimfires in hopes of finding something that was both quiet and accurate and so far I've had zero luck. .22 shorts aren't quiet. If you were to start shooting these in a suburban neighborhood you'd have the police at your door in short order. .22 CB caps are quiet and reasonably powerful. Unfortunately their accuracy is quite poor. Same for Colibris only they're even quieter.

To be fair though, either CB's or Colibris could be effectively used to kill small pests within 10 yards or so without alarming the neighbors and if you've already got a .22 it's a cost effective method.

One cartridge that I think shows a little potential is the Aguila SSS. These have 60 grain bullets and about half the powder of a conventional .22. Because they're so heavy they still pack nearly the same punch as a standard .22 rimfire, but they make much less noise. They also are reasonably accurate within about 20 yards.

There are two problems with them though. Although they're much quieter than a .22 LR, they're still too noisy for shooting in a populated area and that long bullet needs a faster twist rate to stabilize it than most .22's have. As a result past about 30 yards the bullets start to keyhole and the accuracy suffers. With an extra long barrel with a 1-9 twist though they might really shine.

tasco 74
April 27, 2009, 01:47 AM
you get washed away yet??????? i'm in iowa too and i've been watch the weather from diffrent sources all day... imo the best air rifle for the money in the rws model 34 in 17 cal. i shoot my air rifle in my backyard all summer here in this small town....... the rws will put a pidgeon down in a hurry...... get a powerline scope for her if you are on a budget like mine..........


April 27, 2009, 11:38 AM
You know, when i was a kid, living on a small farm in Southern California, I shot hundreds of pigeons with my .177 caliber Crossman 166. It held BBs or you could load 1 at a time pellets. I shot most of my pigeons with BBs. It was a pump air rifle, but with practice and patience I was able to pump it 10 times and the bird would never know I was there. Pigeons are stupid creatures and are quite accustomed to having humans around. They have no fear of us, so even if you scare them they usually come right back and land where you shot at them. Just wait 30 seconds. Gives you time to pump the old BB gun again while you wait. Then shoot again. You're not hunting pheasant or some other "wild" animal. These creatures keep coming back for more. I would not wast my money on a more expensive .22 cal pellet gun that you can't shoot BB through. You don't need the extra impact to kill a pigeon, a crow maybe, but not a pigeon. I recently have seen at Wally World a package that gives you 2 barrels, a .177 and a .22. That may be something to think about. That would be a fun gun to play with. I think the muzzle velocity from one of those was rated at 1100fps, which would definately do the job quite nicely IMHO!


Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
April 27, 2009, 11:48 AM
Budget budget budget.

You said (finally) that you'd like to say under $300, but don't seem to be committed to this budget.

What's the REAL budget that you're really willing to spend, realistically, really? Because it's all about budget - you get what you pay for, generally.

Keep in mind that, unlike squirrels, pigeons & doves are extremely fragile and thin skinned (as are most birds) - you only need something shooting a .177 pellet in the 400-600 fps range, but if you want a little more versatility, get something that shoots them in the 600-900 fps range, but then you tradeoff some quietness to get this power.

I have killed both pigeons & doves with a Beeman P3 / Weirauch HW 40 PCA pistol at around 400 fps. Get within about 8 yards, and it's money in the bank.

But is $300 the real budget or not? If you can swing it, you can get a much better gun than on a lower budget, which will last longer, shoot more accurately, be more quiet, and look nicer.

Accuracy is THE most important consideration (but most all modern pellet rifles will be pretty accurate). Quietness *may* be a close 2nd, depending on how close your neighbors are, and how easily perturbed they are. Without knowing more, someone mentioned the Beeman R7 (R seven) is an excellent choice for your purpose, but you'd probably have to buy used to get under $300.

Elmerfudd, I'm with you - I've been saying for years that if Aguila would just make their super colibris accurate / consistent, they'd sell the crap out of them. They're only gonna hold a 1.5" minute of bird group out to about 12 yards, and that's out of a very accurate rifle! (CZ 452). I'd be in hog heaven if the super colibris were made more accurate (say, capable of 0.5" out to 15 yards). Usually I'll get 4 out of 5 within 1" at 10 yards, but then an ammo-induced flier (yes, I'm sure it's not user - induced) will be an inch from the main group - disgusting.

April 27, 2009, 01:25 PM
The Beeman R7 is pretty much the same rifle as the HW30 and HW30S. The HW30 has a plain beech stock and a Perfekt trigger. The HW30s has a bit nicer "select" but still beech stock, I believe but comes instead with the Rekord trigger, which is an excellent trigger. The R7 is much nicer wood, with checkering and a Rekord trigger. All are built at the same factory in Germany.

The HW30S is on sale at Pyramid Air for $300 now. That's a very good price. The HW30 and R7 both benefit greatly from a pro tune, though. Google Paul Watts and R7 and I think there is some good info about the pros and cons of the R7/HW30 out there.

I stick to my original recommendation. In the under $300 range, there is no better bargain than a Mike Melick tuned BAM B-26 in either .22 or .177. Forget the "Whisper" -- its all marketing ploy, the noise from springers doesn't come primarily from the muzzle, it comes from the spring and piston slap. The more powerful the springer, the louder the gun and in general, the harder it is to shoot the springer accurately. And generally the synthetic stock air rifles are louder than those with wood stocks.

April 27, 2009, 03:52 PM
I owned one spring rifle and I hated it. This was a 1100 fps ,177 rifle and the user opinions were fantastic for the gun but... if you have a habit of shooting a real rifle holding it tight than you might want to change this when using a spring gun. they have to be held very lightly or you loose accuracy. The solution would be getting a pump or PCP or even a CO2 rifle. Those use compressed air and shoot where you aim no matter how you hold them. My first air rifle was Crosman 1077 (CO2), semi auto , very accurate but heavy trigger. Right now I got rid of the springer and got a single pump/single shot Daisy 953. Constant power and great accuracy but not the greatest velocity unless you use light fast pellets.I shoot rats and iguanas up to 15 yards with it using heavy pellets.

April 27, 2009, 04:26 PM
User opinions tend to be very optimistic. Generally people don't want to admit they got ripped off or can't shoot their new rifle worth beans. You have to be VERY selective about which users you actually listen to as not all of them have an adequate knowledge base in order to accurately judge the rifle.

And you're right. Spring guns do require a lot of technique in order to shoot well. I've got a TX200 that's a very accurate rifle. When I haven't had any caffeine and I'm shooting well, I can shoot 3/4" groups with it at 50 yards. Sometimes however I just can't shoot that thing worth a damn. Yesterday I fired about 100 pellets shooting about 2.5" groups at 35 yards from a sitting position before I was finally able to get my technique down and start nailing 1" spinners at that range. It can be very frustrating because you know that with a PCP or a firearm 90% of your misses would be hits.

April 28, 2009, 02:29 AM
I got this one to .25 spring gun ( to plink with.

I would go with the 22 version, would have a bit more range, but the 25 has a thump when it hits. 177 might be too small for pidgeons.

April 29, 2009, 10:40 AM
............Air gun nuts say .177 for feathers and .22 for fur. I still have an Airforce Talon SS which is my pest gun, but not in the budget you stated. My nieces husband has a Benjamin Sheridan in .20, it's a happy medium. Flatter trajectory but still enough umph for bunnies and squirrels. Well within your price range with decent quality. Headshots are key to airgunning.

April 29, 2009, 10:56 PM
A .177 is great for shooting. There are many decent entry level spring piston rifles for around $100 or so. I got a Gamo Big Cat 1200 with a 4x scope for under $120. With Gamo Match pellets, this thing is really accurate.

Here's a few links for you:

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