Hunting & Pest Control
One of the most common drivers for an air gun purchase is pest control. At BB-Guns.org we receive numerous calls regarding air gun pest control recommendations. There are a number of factors that weigh into a decision on the purchase of an air gun for pest control. Some of the main ones include cost, size of the pest, ease of use, accuracy and shooting range. Other factors include gun size, aesthetics and alternative uses such as target shooting or perhaps hunting. All of these factors should be taken into consideration. We'll address some of them here.
Air guns can range in price from below $100 up to the thousands. Most pest control air gun buyers do not want to spend a whole lot of money. They are not looking for a new hobby but rather an effective means to get rid of the dreaded pest(s) at a reasonable cost. There are moderately priced options out there in the $100 to $200 range.
TYPE OF PEST
First, make sure that the pest in question is not a protected species. You don't want to make the local headlines because you didn't do your due diligence first. When selecting an air gun for pest control, the objective is for a quick and humane kill. The gun chosen must be capable of exterminating the pest quickly and humanely. BB guns are not recommended because they lack power and penetration capability and may wind up injuring the pest rather than exterminating. CO2 air guns are also discouraged because they lack consistency of power. Higher powered pellet guns are the recommended option. The caliber of pellet gun should match the size of the pest in question. For smaller pests, the size of mice, rats and small birds, a .177 caliber air gun should get the job done. For slightly larger pests the size of raccoons or ground hogs, a .22 caliber air gun is recommended. Most critters considered “pests” fall into that size category or smaller. Another consideration is pellet velocity, which is a factor in power or muzzle energy. Without going into too much detail, look for something generally in the range of 850 fps and above for .177 cal or 650 and above for .22 cal.
EASE OF USE
There are a variety of air guns types available; multi-pump pneumatic, single-stroke pneumatic, pre-charged pneumatics, break barrel spring-piston, break barrel gas-piston, CO2 and more. The downside of multi-pumps is having to pump the rifle multiple times before each shot. However, multi-pumps do have the advantage of having the ability to adjust velocity and power based on the number of pumps. Single-strokes typically lack power. PCPs, aside from being a bit more expensive, have the hassle of a hand pump or scuba tank. As mentioned earlier, CO2s, generally lack consistent power and also have the added cost of the CO2. That leaves break barrels, either spring-piston or gas-piston. While there is the hassle of having to “break” the barrel for each shot, it is considerably less effort than a multi-pump and provides more than adequate power. There is no air filling or CO2 cartridges to hassle with. As far as spring vs. gas, both are nearly equal as far as ease of use. The newer gas-piston technology claims to have some advantages such as less noise and smoother action. However, for pest control, both are equally effective. Either spring-piston or gas-piston break barrels would be the recommended option over other types of air guns in terms of ease of use.
Another important factor to consider in pest control is shot placement. Typically head shots work best. Shots to other vital areas such as the heart/lungs will also work for smaller pests. Shots should be accurate enough to be fairly centered on the pest's vital areas. It is important to do some target practice before hand to ensure accuracy within the recommended target area for effective kill shots. Select an air gun and pellets that allow for good accuracy.
While some air guns have ranges out to 150 yards, it is best to keep pest control shots within a range of about 50 yards. The problem is not necessarily lack of power, it is the level of accuracy that becomes more difficult to maintain. Without accuracy, shot placement is jeopardized and without shot placement, the ability for a quick kill is lost. The objective again is a quick and humane kill. Most pest control shots can be handled with a 50 yard range anyway.
Some customers have expressed concerns about the weight of an air gun. Lighter rifles are in the 5 lb to 6 lb range. There are very few pistol options available. Most pistols lack the necessary power for pest control. The Benjamin Marauder, is a nice package at 2.9 lbs with a shoulder stock. The Marauder packs enough power to get the job done although it is a PCP airgun and is a bit more expensive, near the $400 range.
Your pest control air gun does not have to be limited to pest control use. If you've spent the time and money to purchase one, take advantage of its recreational benefits. Most pest control air guns can see dual use as a target shooter. The .22 caliber variety can also be used for small game hunting.
There are a number of choices available that will effectively get the job done. Here are some tried and true options to consider:
- Gamo Big Cat: Break Barrel, Spring-Piston, 6.1 lbs, $100-150
- .177 cal, 1250 fps
- .22 cal, 950 fps
- Benjamin Titan GP Nitro Piston: Break Barrel, Gas-Piston, 6.9 lbs, $100-150
- .177 cal, 1200 fps
- .22 cal, 950 fps
- Diana RWS 34P: Break Barrel, Spring-Piston, 7.75 lbs, $250-300
- .177 cal, 1000 fps
- .22 cal, 800 fps
- Benjamin 392 & 397: Multi-Pump, 5.5 lbs, $250-300 (w/scope)
- .177 cal, 800 fps
- .22 cal, 685 fps
We have the best selection of pest control air guns at the lowest prices!