Pellet Guns, Not Just For Kids Anymore

The survivalists’ old standby for hunting small game has always been a small .22 rifle or pistol. While definitely no replacement for a good rifle, the pellet gun offers several advantages in a survival situation, here are a few to think about.

Why a Pellet Gun?

1. Open Carry. Open carrying or storing of firearms in a vehicle or in public is prohibited in most Air Gun for Survivalareas, but there is no such restriction regarding pellet guns in most areas (Check with your local law enforcement agency).

2. NoisePellet guns are much quieter than a traditional rifle.  With almost no report outside the immediate firing area, with a pellet gun you are able to hunt small game without giving away your location or your activity.  Some new pellet guns come with a legal suppressor (No stamp required).

3. Economics.  The pellet gun is more friendly to your wallet to purchase and maintain than a rifle.   The ammo is also much cheaper and lighter to carry around.  A pellet gun can easily take down small game from the size of a turkey on down to a squirrel.

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Is a Pellet Gun a Deterrent?

While I do not condone using a pellet gun for self defense, a pellet gun is a powerful deterrent for 2 reasons:

A. It is very hard to tell a pellet gun from a regular rifle, especially looking down the barrel.  Note: This applies to Law Enforcement Officers as well so take care not to appear threatening – getting hit with a 9mm round because you had an air rifle could ruin your day.

B. Getting shot with a pellet gun hurts like hell and no one wants to get shot with one.

Configurations

Pellet guns come in two different styles, those that are powered by bottled Co2, and those that are air gun huntingpowered by the air around us that is compressed by pumping a lever on the gun. The single pump air rifles actually compress a spring that drives a piston to compress the air for firing.  Still an air rifle but as the gun is used, the spring may weaken so check the history of the gun before buying. The type that is powered by muscle power is the more viable option in a survival situation because it does not rely on a non renewable fuel to make it shoot.  They are also available in pistol and rifle configurations. Some pellet guns can fire in excess of 1200 fps.  Be sure to get a gun with a minimum velocity of 550 fps, to be most effective against small game.

Ammunition Diversity

Pellet guns come in two different sizes of ammunition, the more popular being .177 cal. A box of Air Gun Target Shooting550 rounds of .22 Lr. ammo is about 20 dollars, which works out to around 4 cents a round, not much but lets consider the cost of pellets.  A tin of 300 .177 pellets is about 2 dollars, which works out to about $.6 cents a round (less than a penny a shot).  Also in some pellet guns 4.5 mm BBs can be fired for target shooting, the price for 2400 4.5 mm BBs is about 4 dollars, which works out to about $.4 cents.  The difference in ammunition prices is obvious, even if you just use a pellet gun for cheap practice, you will save a bundle on ammunition prices.  The fundamentals of shooting are the same with a pellet gun as they are with a real rifle.

A Little History

Historically, air rifles date back to the late 1700s.  In fact, at the time they were at least as capable as the gun powder fire arms of the time.  The Girandoni Air Rifle air rifle carried by Lewis and Clark could fire up to 40 balls of around .40 caliber at velocities similar to black powder guns of the day.  A replica put a steel ball through pine boards at 100 yards – definitely a lethal weapon.  Its drawback was that it took 1500 pumps to have that ability.  That plus the expense to build made them a rare weapon.  Still with a 22 round magazine, it was impressive to the Native Americans they met on their travels.  Since the explorers were very careful not to let the Native Americans know how many guns they possessed, the supposition was that EVERY member of the expedition had one of these fine, multi-shot weapons.  No one wanted to start a fight with these super weapons in the hands of their enemies.

Notable Air Gun Brands:

Weihraunch

Benjamin

Walther (8 shot repeater)

Beeman

Gamo (I own one of these, never had an issue with it)

Diana

Conclusion

Even the big bore air rifles would not be my first choice for a survival weapon, they definitely have a place in a survival battery or a possible hunting tool stored in a below ground Survival Cache.

When you need a cheap means for taking down small game, or perhaps a gun that you are going to need to stash some where for long periods of time without worrying about it affecting its reliability or your ammo going bad, consider the pellet gun.  The pellet gun is also the perfect way to introduce young shooters to the concepts of gun safety.  While the pellet gun may not be the ultimate tool for survival hunting, it has its advantages for sure.

Please tell us about your experiences with pellet guns in the comments below.

Photos by:
Evan Ross Murphy
Somnambulant
Estevan Wildlife Federation



Josh
Written by Josh

Josh is a Boy Scout and an avid outdoorsman. He specializes in knives (and other such tools), various knots & lashings, traditional skills such as blacksmithing & woodworking, bushcraft and fire starting. Read his full interview here. Read more of Josh's articles.

104 thoughts on “Pellet Guns, Not Just For Kids Anymore”

  1. Well written. I own a little Daisy that uses air or CO2. It is dead on at 30 feet and will fill the pot with quail if the grocery store somehow goes away. This is not an endorsement of breaking game laws or poaching. You will be surprised what pellet gun practice can do to improve your rifle shooting.

    Reply
    • Tim,
      I just discovered that there are high pressure air pumps out there that will work with the CO2 rifles. Benjamin has some; expensive ($177) but available. It still would take a lot of pumps to get the pressure up, but you'd have the same repeating advantage as the Girandoni of Lewis and Clark.

      You are quite right, I can eat with my pellet gun and it is very quiet, even at relatively high velocities.

      Reply
    • Considering the trouble with being able to purchase .22 ammo; I have decided on a .22 break-barrel that is tested with only lead pellets at 800 f.p.s. !!! Alloy pellets brag at 1,200 to 1,350 f.p.s. So what is the difference; especially when you are using a rifled barrel over a smooth bored barrel ? I think I will go with my educated decision. Thanks to everyone for the advice; have a great night !!!

      Reply
    • I do not want to be stuck in a position to have to by gas or anything. I just think that spring loaded is the best. no stores' no nitro gas pistons or nothing. because if everything falls apart; where will you mail your requests to? where will your parts come from ? I would rather take my chances on a spring; that I can throw back into my campfire and harden on my own. what will you do with a nitro pump with broken seals ?

      Reply
    • JC11,
      I'm prying so tell me to go away if you wish – I'm curious about how long you've had the gun and how the spring and such are holding up. I've read that some guns begin to loose velocity after a few hundred rounds – apparently the spring begins to compress. I would be very interested in your experience if you'd care to share.
      Thank you.

      Reply
      • CaptBart, I have a "Gamo Big Cat" 22 cal. Got if for Christmas in '12' the scope that came with is was a piece of crap. The rifle is a different story. I have not had any problems with it and have shot over 2200 pellets though it. I usually use hollow points with it but enjoy using wad cutters for plinking. Let say the squirrels are fewer and I have two fewer raccoons also. I had to get a rail adapter from Pyramid Air so I could mount a red dot scope to it and since things have gotten even better. Answer to your main question. NO PROBLEMS WITH THE SPRING AND NO SIGNS OF PROBLEMS. Wish I had another to leave at the cabin so I would not have to haul the rifle back & forth. Hope this helps. 8/31/14

        Reply
  2. A pellet gun is great for game b/c it does not destroy the meat of the animal.

    A .22 on a small animal does not leave much to eat unless you hit them in the head and 12 guage can be over kill will lots of pellets in your meal (you dont want to eat too much lead!!!)

    Reply
    • Can anyone comment on the CO2 .22 pistols? Just purchased for target practice mostly, hard to get away to the shooting range with my other guns. Husband says the Co2 will leak if not used in a long period of time? Is this true? Actually thinking about using it as daily concealed personal protection weapon and storing the 380 Ruger.
      Any comments? Heard that responsible citizens that shoot to protect themselves often end up on the defensive end of the issue… again any comments welcomed! Thanks

      Reply
  3. My very first 'real' gun was a Benjamin pump air rifle. I took my share of Bob Whites and various rodents. Pump 5 times it was really quite effective against rabbit and rat. Pump up only once, it could 'escort' a nosy dog away from the house when the family pet was in heat without doing permanent harm. Went to 6 only once (gets hard to pump up that high but fear is a wonderful power boost) because there was this big Cottonmouth and I didn't have access to the .410 at that time. Still have it and still like it. I've managed to acquire 2 more that need some work to the seals but I like the .22 pellet gun. I always was a 'BIG' caliber bigot.

    Reply
    • I have one also. close to 50 years old and its killed its share of cottontails. Mines in .22 cal too. Think I'm getting a single pump .177 at 1200 fps. Should take care of a squirrel or two and rabbit on the side.

      Reply
      • Being a "big caliber" bigot I'm sticking with my .22 air rifles. I've got 3 under restoration. I keep threatening to get one of the 'single pump' models but I'm old enough to be nostalgic for the things of my youth.

        Reply
    • Sooooo many youths have taken soooo many small game daily using the Benjamin pump over the decades that I can't see how anyone could argue against its effectiveness as a reliable hunter in a pinch. No, it's not going to do any good in a gunfight, but then a .22 LR isn't very effective against a .223 or hunting caliber, either… But hunting small game might be a better bet than hunting big game in the long run considering how plentiful they are, how quickly small game breed and replenish their numbers (multiple times per year with large litters), how easy it is to get within airgun range, and the fact that there are no concerns about storage of extra meat if you're not hunting for a large party. For long term use, I also purchased a shotgun round ball mold in .22 caliber size that would allow me to cast 20 balls at a time from lead recovered from lead acid batteries and such, and I imagine a solid .22 round ball would make a very effective hunting projectile out of an air rifle like the Benjamin 392…

      Reply
  4. I looked into large caliber air rifles a while back, as a back-up to the standard firearms I currently own. My thinking was to find an easy to use, low maintenance air rifle which could deliver enough devastation to drop anything up to a bear or cougar, which aside from humans and some poisonous snakes are the most dangerous predators here in VA. I found this website http://www.quackenbushairguns.com/
    They have a .50cal air rifle, just check out some of the game animals they have taken down with these monster pellet guns on the main page… It's crazy!
    I used to do some small game hunting with a .22 air rifle when I would go to my grandparents house, it used a bicycle pump to fill the reservoir which would give you about 40 high power shots from a full tank. I have owned several .177 air rifles, they work pretty well for rabbit, squirrel and I even shot a couple geese with it (it was legal because it was on a farm with a damage stamp for them, which was owned by my uncle), they can be effective hunting tools in the right hands.

    Reply
    • From what I have seen/read, they can be filled from a S.C.U.B.A. tank, air compressor, or even a bicycle pump. One of the .45cal air-rifles said that it's reservoir holds 4500psi, which gives you up to 6 shots that will splinter a 2×4 at 150yds. The .50cal rifle supposedly has the same energy at 150yds as a .45ACP FMJ at 25yds

      Reply
    • The Crosman/Benjamin "Pumpmaster Classic" (same gun with different labels) is a large multi-pump bolt action (single shot) air pistol that has helped me eliminate some garden shed rats, possums ans (illegal) squirrels for about 15 years.

      Reply
    • The crosman 1377 or 1322. Dead-on accurate, both, and lots of aftermarket options available to upgrade, customize, add a stock and scope, etc. I had a 1377 (currently about $55 at walmart) with the stock that crosman makes. Accurate, cheap and effective, but the 1322 is .22 caliber and therefore more knockdown power. My mom uses one (with the stock) to kill rodents that eat her flowers. Just as good as the 1377, same price. Perfect for a BOB, with or without the stock, which installs easily.

      Reply
  5. "B. Getting shot with a pellet gun hurts like hell and no one wants to get shot with one."
    Very true and that cracked me up.

    I've got a couple of cheap .177 cal. pellet guns floating around the place. Nice to see air guns getting some air time.

    Reply
  6. Excellent article Josh! I have a Beeman break-open single shot .177 rifle that has about 800 fps as I recall. It is very effective on nuisance squirrels up to about 45 feet any further away things get dicey IMHO. One thing that should be mentioned is DO NOT mount a scope meant for a .22 or conventional rifle on an air rifle. It WILL damage the scope. Get one meant specifically for air rifles! I personally feel that at the ranges typical for air rifles a scope is not neccessary. Mine has very nice target type sights. I may have to pick up the Crossman 1377 pump pistol, it is compact, accurate, and would fit in a BOB nicely.

    Reply
    • Please note that this article was a collaberation between myself and Capt. Bart, who added a great deal to this article. Thank you very much for commenting, your input is appreciated.

      Reply
  7. I have been contemplating getting an air rifle for a while now and think I will finally go out and get the one I have been looking at. It is a .22 caliber rifle with a silencer on it from Cabela's. Seems like a good choice for getting small game and a bit of deturance. Great post.

    Reply
    • Before you get one from Cabela's check out Pyramid Air they have a good selection, ammo, and accessories. I have bought 22 pellets, buy three and get one free. Also I had to have a rail adapter and they were the only one that had it. Now this is my 2 cents worth. O_G 8/31/14

      Reply
  8. Yeah, I can attest to how well a pellet gun can deter people. I had my first exposure to being a 'medical professional' when I was 12 yrs old. My brother managed to get himself shot in the thigh with one, by his best friend ( no, I don't think they were using the guns in any kind of appropriate manner) Next, cue the scene of me with a bottle of rubbing alcohol, a sharp pocket knife, and tweezers. The pellet had gotten a good centimeter of penetration, through his jeans at about 30 yds.

    Yes, my parents did teach us about safely handling firearms. However, I think he underestimated the pellet gun's power, and he tends to be the kind of person that only learns things the hard way. He was alot more responsible after that incident. He's just lucky it hit him in the thigh, and not somewhere more 'vital'.

    Reply
    • "…he tends to be the kind of person that only learns things the hard way." A prime example of what a wise man (well, me actually) once said. "Experience is NOT the best teacher; it is only the most EXPENSIVE!" I tried to teach that to all my children more or less successfully. If you can learn from someone else's experience, then you don't have to pay the price for the knowledge. That is why when you see a bunch of pilots 'hanger flying' the odds are pretty good they are talking about some crash or the other. Not morbid, if they can figure out what the other guy did wrong, they can avoid his mistake.

      Reply
  9. Thanks for the timely article (and great comments / suggestions / experiences). I'm looking at buying a .22 rifle and had only half-heartedly considered a pellet gun. I'm gonna go back and re-evaluate and look at some of the pellet guns available. Since I have a .22LR pistol, I'd sold myself on the .22 long gun so I wouldn't have another type of ammunition to buy. But, as cheap as the pellets appear to be, how can you wrong? If I do go with the pellet gun, it'll certainly be the pump type. I don't want it to be useless without a gas, and I hate relying on externals. Thanks again guys…keep up the great work. Thank goodness for Survival Cache!

    Reply
    • Wicker, it is something to be considered. I think an air rifle has a role to play in the survival battery. Be careful if you are buying an 'only' gun. A .22 LR slug weights in the neighborhood of 30 to 35 grains. A .22 caliber pellet weights in the 14 to 15 grain range. Even at equivalent velocity, the .22LR has more hitting power than the .22 pellet gun. The pellet gun also has the disadvantage of a slow second shot. The .22LR will run you $200 to $300 while the pellet gun will run $150 to $200. Since you already have a .22LR pistol the second shot may not be that big an issue. The bullet weight does limit the game you can take. While I might use a .22LR on a medium to small feral hog, coyote, or feral dog I don't think a .177 or .22 air rifle is a reliable weapon for the larger class of animal. Great for rabbit on down, marginal on bob cat and small dog size and unsuitable for medium size animals on up. If I had $350 I'd try for both. If I could only have one, it would be the .22LR but the air gun would be a quick second purchase. Just my not so humble opinion.

      Reply
      • Thanks CaptBart, I truly appreciate your advice and obvious experience. My thought was for small game such as rabbits and squirrel. Also, those are the price ranges I see as well. I'll be heading to the store in a week or so, and will at least touch the pellet gun and get a feel for it, this time with some actual consideration.

        Reply
        • Wicker,
          If you decide to go with the 22LR you might investigate the 'subsonic' rounds. Since they never go supersonic, their is no 'crack' as the round leaves the barrel and they don't do as much damage on smaller animals. They need to sighted in separately as the ballistics are different but they can be effective. If you get both or the air rifle it doesn't matter so much.
          If you care to share, I'd like to know which you chose and why. Help build my 'knowledge base'. Thank you.

          Reply
          • CaptBart,

            I finally got around to buying the Ruger 10/22. I know this thread has been out there a while, but since then I had bought two other guns (a 12 ga shotgun and the new Ruger LC9) and put the low powered rifle on the back burner. No more in my immediate future though.

            Just got it before the holiday weekend and will hit the range tomorrow to shot it. I will get some "subsonic" ammunition as well. I went with the 10/22 for a couple of different reason. I did a lot of research on line and through a few friends that have a 10/22, and most people really had great things to say about the 10/22. How it is easy and inexpensive to customize with many different option. Also, and probably most important, is that I really like the fact of how many there are out there and that replacement / backup parts are easily accessed.

            Like I said, I'm gonna shoot tomorrow and hopefully put a couple hundred + rounds through it.

            Thanks for everyone's help and advice.

          • Wicker,
            thanks for the update. I would like your thoughts on the 10/22. My grandson came to see us and brought along his Ruger 10/22 BSA carbine. I LIKE that little .22. Once again I am impressed by a Ruger firearm. A truly nice shooting little rifle, right out of the box. There are after market magazines that are available to add additional rounds to the rifle's capacity but other than that (and a scope if you like those) I'd say it is just about a perfect 22. Since I already have others, I'm not shopping for one but it was tempting. Enjoy your shooting.

    • Wicker, You should check out Pyramyd Air ( pellet gun supplier ) and look at "Air Force" air guns. I have one that has been modified to .25 cal and they come with interchangeable caliber sizes and lengths, and you can adjust the power level also. They can be modified to be very quiet and stealthy as well as very powerfull.They must be pumped up with a seperate air pump with a detachable tank but I use several tanks and can shoot all day. Good Luck!

      Reply
  10. I recently purchased a Benjamin .22 caliber Nitro piston pellet rifle, this is a new technology which is much better than a spring in a break action single shot pellet rifle. I bought it at Canadian Tire for just over $300 on sale, it came with a sling(quality one) a Center Point high quality scope with variable power of 3-9 X 40 mil spec reticle. Once I got the scope dialled in I've put a couple of hundred pellets through it so far, it is amazingly accurate and good out to 50 yards so far, not bad for being 495 fps model (legal to buy in Canada with no licence).

    Reply
  11. Nitro is a new technology with completely replaces the spring with a nitrogen chamber which is compressed when you cock the weapon by breaking open the barrel loading a pellet and your ready to shoot. It is super quiet( like a muffled cough) there's no maintenance required except cleaning the barrel, easy with a .22 bore snake- 1 pull through and your done. It has an ambidextorous synthetic stock and a heavy barrel- looks like a centrefire sniper rifle, also has a picatinny rail which the scope is mounted too, could put a red-dot or other on it if you wish. Whisper quiet, no maintenance, cheap ammo, small game capably, has an intimidation factor, ambidextorous, what's not to love !

    Reply
    • That sounds like the recoil damper on my old 105 mm howitzer. That should be a great system as long as the nitrogen charge stays up. The dampers were an air/oil system on the old M101A1 that required some maintenance. Is there any maintenance recommended for the Nitro or does it appear to be a completely closed system? I really liked my Benjamin back in the late 50's – I was the BIG GUN among all the little BB shooters. I guess my love of LARGE calibers goes way back. 🙂

      Reply
  12. I know that this model also comes in higher velocities (FPS) in .177 & .22. No requirement for Co2 bottles or multiple pumping either.

    Reply
    • Hi Cancun prepper I have a nitro trail np .22 it has 950 fps with high quality pellets.
      I have the normal version not the all weather. You guys have no freedom over there
      Do you? Gun license? Only for ccw in the us move to the us. get what you want.

      Reply
  13. Cheers to this article, I for one have been an avid fan of nice airguns and small game hunting with them since childhood. I'm quite confident that my Benjamin 392 will long outlast most conventional ammo caches in a TEOTWAWKI scenario. 3000 pellets in a stack the size of a large water bottle, the potential to cast my own, and a couple extra pump heads kept in a oiled baby food jar. Show me a rifle that could provide that sort of safety of mind. This article brings about a good point about the open carry, I think I'll add my hunting pistol to my trunk.

    Reply
  14. I agree with all the above. My Crossman 660/880 air rifles have taken many a squirrel,rabbit and birds growing up. very inexpensive and reliable. it has been rumored the if you trim the cone down on a blowgun dart and feed it into a breakaction pellet gun there are some great velocities for game taking..

    Reply
    • JNay,
      I have actually used mine to run leader line through tubes and over trees. a properly sized nail and head with the line secured to it and placed in the muzzle (don't let it drop down into the barrel, this is a muzzle action event) and one pump will launch the line quite a ways. Remember it is as much a projectile as the pellet so be careful but it did work for me.

      Reply
  15. "It is very hard to tell a pellet gun from a regular rifle, especially looking down the barrel. Note: This applies to Law Enforcement Officers as well so take care not to appear threatening – getting hit with a 9mm round because you had an air rifle could ruin your day."

    Yes, but this would apply to any person armed with a sidearm, not just cops. It's a bluff either way and if the opponent is in fact armed and you pull out your pellet gun, who's gonna win?

    Reply
    • Excellent point and it applies to any gun "looking" item. Some kids playing air soft games in the neighborhood came running around a corner after dark, just as I pulled into the driveway. They got to examine a .45 ACP up close. Since they never pointed at me, they never were under the muzzle but I did have my hand on the weapon. Once they realized what had happened they figured that blacking out that orange tip so they wouldn't be so visible in the game was a bad idea. I cleared the .45 and let them see what a real gun looked and felt like. Good kids having fun but it pays to be careful. Since I'm no longer a kid, I have to be especially careful not to appear threatening to anyone. In case anyone is interested, I wasn't unarmed after clearing the .45. I still had two more firearms ready to go if needed.

      Reply
  16. My Gamo Pellet rifle is break barrel, and shoots at 1000fps. With a good deal of practice I'm accurate at around 30+ feet. I've only taken birds with it, but squirrels, chipmunks etc… should be easy enough too.
    I bought 'gold plated' pellets that claimed to increase the speed to 1200fps, don't buy into that. another thing to avoid is a scope, I got mine dialed in, and found it more cumbersome to pull up quickly than just using the iron sights.

    Great article!

    Reply
    • Good comment about the scope. At ranges of 10 yards, a scope could well be more trouble than it is worth. I keep iron sights on all my 100 yard and under gunpowder weapons. I wonder … does anyone know about 'red dot' sights for an air gun. I don't recall seeing them but they might be useful. Of course that is a battery thing but … anyone have any experience with one?

      Reply
      • I had a 1000fps Gamo single-motion break-barrel which came stock with a scope, laser, and flashlight. It looked really mean, but only the flashlight was actually useful. The laser and scope would not stay in place for more than a couple of shots. After a month on the shelf, turned off, both the laser and flashlight batteries were dead… they were the button/pill style batteries, not the kind of thing you are likely to be able to "forage" in a SHTF/TEOTWAWKI situation. I imagine the same could apply to red-dot electronics.

        I sold the Gamo after about a year (accessories and all) because I felt like it wasn't as powerful as it had been when purchased. Seems like an aging spring could have been the culprit.
        Also, I have to bring up how small pellets are. Great for carrying a large amount of ammo (as mentioned earlier) but in the winter, when it is below zero, it can become hard to pull just one from the tin, hard to fit it into the chamber, hard to find if dropped in some grass.

        As for being "legal" to carry, I strongly suggest checking local regulations. I went to university in Boulder, CO., where it was legal for me to open-carry a firearm, but not to discharge it in city limits… and they consider air rifles to be firearms. Ridiculous, I know, but not ridiculous to my neighbor at the time, who now has "illegal discharge of a firearm" on his otherwise blank criminal record… from nothing more than shooting rotten apples with a Daisy in the back yard.

        Reply
        • thank you for sharing. I second your comment about checking on being 'legal'. Each jurisdiction, even within a state can have its own laws and we have to be very careful to say inside the boundaries. Way too often the gun laws are 'Zero Tolerance' stupidities so if you get cross wise with them, you are burned. You can't prep from jail or with money spent in fines and lawyer's fees.

          Reply
          • Also remember that there is legal and what the PD actually does. I live in San Francisco and am an armed security guard and not only do I have to safe my weapon when off duty the local PD w ts me to secure my weapon but they “encourage” me to separate my ammo and trigger lock and lock box it as well. Basically they “require” more effort then state law requires. Just for the record I’m required to qualify more often by state law then they are by department regulation.

          • Ben,
            There used to be a saying around Houston that you might beat the rap but you couldn't beat the ride downtown. There is a lot of truth in that. In Phoenix we referred to 'Felony Mopery" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mopery) when an officer hauled someone in without solid probable cause. The problem is even if you win the court case, the expense in time and money is huge. Just another reason to not live in a state like California in my not so humble opinion.

        • Fortunately for me, Houston doesn't spend much time 'below zero' – below water, maybe, but below zero not an issue. Still the small size is something to be aware of. The .22 pellets are quite small, even compared to a 22LR. I developed a habit as a kid of loading a pellet, putting the safety on and pulling the trigger. Then I'd pump the gun up to desired level and go hunting. If I found a target, it was cycle the bolt, safety off and fire. I started doing it that way after I found that the gun had usually fired while I was walking and it was in that condition. By firing it deliberately into the safety before adding pressure I thought it was safer. Of course, pumping a loaded rifle seems less advantageous now that I'm not young and invincible (spelled S-T-U-P-I-D) any more.

          Reply
  17. i love air guns/pistols so very much but here over in India we don't get much of a choice and furthermore they tend to be very expensive in the conversion rate!how would i love to own one even a secondhand one !!

    Reply
    • Check out the link below for reconditioned air rifles. http://www.bryanandac.com
      The prices are a little better than brand new. I don't know about customs charges. There is also the possibility of home made air rifles. Same web site has some examples. Since you're not dealing with 50,000 PSI chamber pressures it is not such a delicate thing to build as a firearm.

      Reply
  18. My brother shoots a Walther LG300XT that we bought 'used' on his HS team. I say 'used' because it was only shot once or twice if at all – they used it as a display. However they still couldn't sell it new. He loves, hes good with it and if SHTF all those turkeys that hang out in our yard every year could be dinner, maybe even the squirrels and rabbits too.

    Reply
  19. I've found a site that provides parts for Benjamin air rifle and some others. http://www.bryanandac.com
    Bryan and Associates
    Seem like nice folks. I've placed an order today and we'll see how it turns out.
    They also have some used and refurbished air rifles for sale. A Benjamin 312 like mine in .22 caliber is there for $120. A decent price for a solid air rifle.

    Reply
    • The repair parts I ordered arrived yesterday. Complete with instructions and a copy of the manual that came with the rifle. A very good site based on my experience. You can call and talk to them as well. Nice folks.

      Reply
  20. A pellet and BB gun should be a part of every survival pkg.. Just don't forget about other almost silent hunting tools. Such as the 22cal cb. caps, a sub sonic round. Blow guns are just as good. And never underestamate the power of a sling shot. Happy hunting. Stay safe & secure. Your friend Ty.

    Reply
  21. my favorite air rifle is the benjamin sheridan blue streak. i learned to shoot on one of these and at 25 yards i can have the holes from 5 shots all touching in a sort of clover leaf the size of a penny. it is very very accurate. also, extremely powerful for a .22 air rifle. at 100 yards it will put a flat nose pellet through a peice of 58ths inch plywood no problem. and thats at 34 strength. best thing about them is they sell them at sportsmans warehouse and they arent real expensive. i paid $120 for mine. fantastic firearm.

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  22. i have a crosman 177 bb/pellet rifle that is very effective and i keep a steady supply of pellets and bb s on hand and i practice every few days to keep my edge. mine came with a 4 x sight that was pretty much werthless and i have a scoped marlin 66 for longer shots with a little more kick. sighted in for 1 inch at three hundred yards out..wasklies are always on my menu whenever its icy out…

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  23. i cast my own 50 cal bullets..where can i get a 177 pellet mould? i could cast thousands of pellets if i had a good reliable mould.. do the companies sell molds?

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    • Bob,
      If you are thinking of casting your own pellets, you might consider just casting BB's instead. May cost you some range but you'll probably find it easier to mold and the effect should be good at relatively short ranges. I don't know of any .177 pellet mold on the market but they may exist.

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  24. Great read !
    I have a pellet gun for pesky birds that wake me up at 2am . Some of these are not for kids anymore . A lot of the pump action models are actually very hard hitting , equal to a .22 LR .

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  25. Fix your decimal place in the cost section.

    $.6 = 60 cents. But you mention that ammo would cost less than a penny per round.

    You should write .6 cents or $.006

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    • Picky, picky, picky … you're probably the kind of guy who would object to paying $3/liter for gasoline instead of $3/gal. As W.C.Fields used to say, "Go away, kid, you bother me!" 🙂

      Thank you for pointing that out. Trouble with proof reading your own stuff is you read what you meant to say, not what you actually put on paper. It is nice to know others are paying attention to what we write; it helps keep us on our toes.

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  26. I love this site! You guy are great at making me think outside the box. Which will most likely let me survie the SHTF Event I hope never happens.

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  27. Well if your paying $3 per liter vs. $3 per gallon , your paying more for less . Metric sucks @$$ for product value on the consumer end .

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  28. another thing to keep in mind in a SHTF situation, is that if you shoot BB's from a good airgun at small game, you can clean 'em up and reuse them

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  29. I invested in a Gamo .22 pellet gun a year or so ago. Great gun but the scope leaves a lot to be desired. My plan when SHTF is to immediately begin hunting and eating the squirrels around my house while all the neighbors are eating the last of their food. Figure I can hunt in a low profile way and will clean out half the squirrels around here before the rest of my neighbors figure out that squirrel is to be on their menu too.

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  30. so i have plenty of lead and would like to make a few pellets for my 760 ..who makes the molds for p-ellets and do they sell them on the market. i like the pointed hunting pellets <0C,…the ones that practically insure a kill when they hit instead of the round nose or flat tops , but they are hard to find

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    • Bob,
      I honestly have never seen a mold for the pellets on the market. They are so cheap I suspect there isn't much of a market for the mold. You might check to see if someone can make a mold for you. I just don't know of a vender for them.

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  31. I couldnt agree more, I have a old crossman air rifle that I got to replace a old lever action Daisy my first gun ever when I was about 7. I have had the crossman since I was 11, I do believe it was 950fps for a BB and about 800 for a pellet. What I do know is 8 to 10 pumps on it and I knocked squirrels out of the tops of trees, crows, doves, took out a few mean stray cats that mess with chickens, a nasty mean a$$ rooster once, that wouldnt let you in the chicken house, and a few rabbits. Not to mention old junk car windows, many cans, and the occasional black snake and frog just because I was a kid and you shot just about anything that moved. I wouldnt hesitate to carry a air rifle especially the new ones now that are much more powerful and still for a good 100-150 bucks. TO feed my self, or scare off someone, if its all you have use what you got

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  32. Good Luck getting Dennis Quackenbush to build you a gun, he is in more retired mode than semi retired. He makes fewer than 30 guns per year.

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  33. Good Luck getting Dennis Quackenbush to build a gun for you, he is more in retired mode than semi retired. He is making fewer than 30 guns per year. I am a big fan of his work but have yet to win his lottery.

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  34. I have 6 air guns and plan on getting many more. The PCP genre has taken air gunning into new arenas once thought to be the sole domain on firearms. Take for example the 9mm fully automatic model offered by Evanix. This may be a little more cumbersome considering the pump needed to charge the weapon but a full auto 9mm that shoots 1000fps is a nice and capable weapon. I for one am partial to break barrel, underlever, and sidelever air rifles. All you need is the gun and a tin of pellets and you are good to go. Many of the more powerful air guns can penetrate 450 plus pages in a phone book so they posses more then enough power for many types of game. Many of the magnum springers are available for less than $200.00.
    Air Rifles that I own and love are:
    Stoeger X20 .22 1000fps
    Crosman Optimus .177 1200fps

    A note to the buyer: Almost all pellet guns use light weight ammo made of alloys to reach the advertised FPS rating. Take the advertised numbers with a grain of salt and realize that when using a standard lead pellet the numbers will be less but since the weight of the pellet is more the energy carried by the pellet will most times be greater thus resulting in greater muzzle energy or foot pounds.

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  35. got a Gamo Delta cadet for free, sent it to Gamo, now like new. Nice and compact size, definitely would take squirrels, birds. rabbits, etc.

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  36. I recently got a Beeman "Grizzly" from walmart for $114. Heavy, but powerful and comes with interchangeable barrels in .22 and .177. Throw the scope away, though. Won't last. It likes the crosman premier hollow points (.22, I haven't bothered with the .177 barrel) or beeman kodiak pellets. What I like about this gun is that it doesn't seem to require the "artillery hold" that other airguns require for accurate shooting, so I can practice like it's my deer rifle. 11 marmots (woodchucks, whistle pigs, whatever) down so far. Garden safe… for now. Also consider a GOOD scope and mounts from leepers, with mil-dot illuminated reticle, for low light shooting.

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  37. 1. pellet guns come in more then just .177/.22 theres .20, .25, .357/9mm, .45, .50, .303 and some more
    2. shooting a spring piston pellet guns is diferent then a firearm, you need to lern the artilery hold
    3. steal BBs will wear out the rifling on a pellet gun, and lead BBs are less accurate then pellets

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  38. i wouldnt give my 177 pellet rifle up for a pound of gold coins.. its fast, accurate and has take more game than any other of my weapons.. its a lot like me, quiet, and deadly . and i have added a scope, and a insert to carry spare pellets in the buttstock for less than 5 bucks.. american engenuity

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  39. the crossman m4 177 cal pellet gun is a perfect survival pellet gun it is not very loud and it is all black very tactical. shoots up to 625 feet per second only about 79 dollars

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  40. This is a well written article and directed for adults, but I need to plead with readers to teach their children not to shoot pets. My first exposure to pellet guns was my best friend's cat, Tommy, getting shot on Christmas Day. It bled internally so it was hard to figure how how bad it was hit. They had trouble getting ahold of a vet because of the holiday and I sat with my friend and the cat and listened to it cry– it sounded just like a baby. We felt so helpless. Her father finally got ahold of a vet just as Tommy died. I know that most gun owners are responsible and it is the few that causes problems. This story just brought back the sad memories of that horrible Christmas Day. They never found out who shot the cat, but it was probably a kid trying out his Christmas present without supervision– at least I hope it was unsupervised!

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  41. Wow!
    Where do you buy your 22 ammo?
    A 550 round brick for $20
    I'm pushing 70 years old and have never seen it that cheap in my lifetime.
    In this market, $20 might get you two 50 round boxes if you shop real hard and your
    really lucky.
    I like the 22cal over the 17cal because the slower moving pellet does less damage to
    the meat on small critters.

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  42. I have both a pellet rifle and pistol, both break-barrel style; CO2 cylinders often leak after the seal is broken by the pellet gun, and gas seals dry out. BUT, I consider these to be toys, because you can only carry so much gear SHTF and they don't have the velocity to be a self-defense weapon, a thrown stick might be better. They may "hurt" if the target isn't wearing much clothing (like in winter-time) and isn't in 'fight-or-flight' mode, but they don't even compare to a rifle or high-powered pistol being fired at you in anger! They (mine, at least) are NOT quiet to shoot, the spring when fired is quite loud and most are single-shot; not ideal in a fire fight! If you need a quieter shot than a standard 22LR, there are several different sub-sonic rounds available; I personally prefer Aquila .22 SSS Sniper Subsonic ammo which uses a 60 gr. projectile (instead of 36-40 gr.) to reduce bullet speed instead of less powder so the velocity is around 950 fps (the speed of sound is 1100 fps) but the impact is similar if not better than a standard 22LR. They even make a 22LR subsonic with no powder, just a more powerful primer and a 20gr. bullet, (safer in a pistol) giving a velocity of 375 fps; very quiet! Even more quiet (and smaller, though probably less range) than a pellet gun is a wrist-rocket-style sling-shot, for which you can find almost an endless supply of ammo for at your feet, and can handle multiple small rocks/pellets/ball bearings for small targets like birds or mice!

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  43. I have a Crosman co2 .177 cal 357 shoots up to 345 fps pistol it has a 10 shot Rotary Magazine and i have 3 of them all together. At 20 feet away this pistol is going to do more than just hurt.
    My son has a Gamo Ruger Explorer Riffle with a break down barrel and it takes .177 cal i don't think i would stand in front of this even at 30 or 40 feet away.
    We also have slingshots they will shoot arrows or regular ammo it was not hard to make them shoot arrows.

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  44. I WISH a carton of .22LR cost $20. The economics of air rifles are much more pronounced now than when this was written. As I write this, Walmart (when they have any) sells a 100 round box for about $7. They will sell you a 250 round tin of Crosman Destroyer EX .177 pellets for about $3. I have found the EX to be the most accurate of the readily available pellets in all my air rifles, and the least expensive US made pellet. (Save your money, don't buy Chinese pellets. They are terrible.)

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  45. If I am going to be shot it will be for being a bull not a cow I draw the line at non lethal.
    in 22 lr caliber I can use BB CB shorts no powder sub sonic longs long rifle and stingers and other high velocity ammo.

    so I really see no point in having a rifle that does not give me all the options it is a bit of a chore to load a semi auto
    but I do have a single shot and with 22LR 40 grain HV I can reach out 200 yards with ease.
    If your toting a bb/pellet gun most people as was stated will not see it as a non lethal weapon and unless your packing other means to defend yourself I give you lousy odds.

    I have a mag pouch so when I carry my rifle I have 100 shorts 100 primer powered Agulia and 300 40 grain High velocity.
    hunting is a matter of opportunity we are specific now as we have seasons when TSHTF all that will not be an issue so wandering around and getting attacked by a rabid fox or coyote or having a shot on a hog etc.
    and your toting a BB gun your going to kick your self
    And we get back to cost a good pellet rifle 200 bucks a scope ammo and you need to clean them so a 17 cal kit
    and some will use CO2 so let us just say for grins 250 bucks total and I figure that is low ball.
    For 250.00 I can buy a whole lot of different 22 ammo that is as quiet or more powerful to a point of hunting medium game 25 to 50 yards as an option with a pellet gun your limited in self defense you still look armed
    and the weight is not far off maybe a couple of pounds. so unless it is for a child forget it.

    I did look at large bore air rifles and the price is ridiculous as well as it takes another wad of money for a pump.
    I can down load a 308 and you cannot hear it any more than a pellet gun turn right around and load a full power load and take down a moose so why would I handcuff my self .

    there are shell conversions to fire 32 acp in a 30 caliber rifle and you do not loose the brass can reload in the field
    I do not know why but you could and with lead bullets so why a pellet gun I still don't get it.

    Open carry is a misnomer any cop will stop you and if they do not like that they will harass you if a neighbor hates your guts they will set you up and say your pellet shot out their window or damaged their property.
    people are conniving cruel and liars not a day goes by that people use the police to get at or back at others they deem unacceptable or inferior and if they say you threatened them with is that is a felony just like robbing a store with a toy it does not change that a person though their lives were in danger.

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  46. I have to take a different view so here go'se spend a little money on a good pcp air rife I have a benjamin marauder .22 it can hit great out to 130 yds 1 inch gropes small game easy these guns can save your life ain't it worth a little more than 200.00 I also have his big brother the 357 bulldog both these guns are amazing tools,an investment in life as for thier leathality well pellets deform so much more than bullets getting hit with one will change anyones mind once the bleeding starts alot of bravado go'se out the window,Once you are hurt badly in a any survival time your are not going to recover well unless you get away from that danger and digging .22 or 357 deformed lead out of any wound will not be a good day

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