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Thread: Air Rifle for Christmas Gift...which one?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    Uncle Grinch's Avatar
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    Air Rifle for Christmas Gift...which one?

    Iím looking to get my son (age 42) an air rifle to use around his property to cull squirrels, possums, coons, stray cats, and other assorted vermin they frequent his chickens and turkeys. Was thinking 22 caliber pump or piston style. I donít know much about them as my last air rifle was a Benjamin pump 22 and that was in the late sixties. Reckon thing have changed some since then, so I thought Iíd ask the more knowledgeable people. Your thoughts?
    Shoot Safe,
    Mike

    Retired Telephone Man
    NRA Endowment Member
    Marion Road Gun Club
    ( www.marionroad.com )

  2. #2
    Boolit Man MusicMan's Avatar
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    Mike; also retired telephone here, I would suggest a gas piston rifle so that he can leave it cocked for a long time with out harming it while waiting for the right shot.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    Outside of squirrels the rest of the animals shouldn't be taken with your average pump or spring air gun unless it's at very close range. If they are employed make it a head shot. Take the animal humanely if you do shoot.
    Proud member in the basket of deplorables.

    I've got the itch, but don't got the scratch.




  4. #4
    Boolit Master
    Uncle Grinch's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, good info to have. Now assuming we are talking about 22 caliber, what velocity should I be looking for? I see fps ranging fron 400+ to 900+.
    Shoot Safe,
    Mike

    Retired Telephone Man
    NRA Endowment Member
    Marion Road Gun Club
    ( www.marionroad.com )

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    There are so many to choose from that it can be mind-numbing if you are thinking about a break barrel of the Gas-Spring type. If your budget allows, you might consider a top of the line model that comes with a good trigger right out of the box; otherwise an otherwise less expensive but decent solid model or name brand may not be able to live up to it's full potential. On the other hand, with enough practice even a decent air rifle with a bad trigger can be gotten used to. Once you get used to how it feels and shoots, then you can look forward to better accuracy.

    I'm bias so anything I suggest will lean toward what I own and shoot now. Others have had very good luck with brands of their own preferences. I own what can be called a mid-priced budget air rifle. It's the Umarex Octane. (first-generation model) I also own the upgraded model of this same air rifle. It's the Umarex Octane Elite. What makes it Upgraded? It has a built in shock absorbing technology that is said to enhance accuracy and prolong the life of the scope that generally comes as a packaged deal. On mine, I've gone through three scopes with both rifles so in the end I did away with the scopes and installed peep sites. That seems to work best for me.

    I mostly shoot the 14.3 grain Crossman Premier Hollow points. Out of my first-gen Octane they clock in between 850-860fps depending on the fit of the pellet in the chamber. The Octane Elite is a little faster at around 865-870; also depending on the fit of the pellet. Since I shoot cheaper pellets their size isn't as consistent as the more expensive pellets. Such is the life of a budget minded air gunner.

    I think the first generation Octane is far better due to its simplicity. The Octane Elite is accurate enough and it actually shoots a little faster than the first-gen Octane but it just feels rickety compared to the more solid feel of the original model. Both the Older model and the newer model required some work in order to get them to shoot to my liking. Now I'd put my first-gen Octane up against some of the more expensive break barrel air rifles on the market in terms of 22 caliber air gun power and accuracy at distances up to 60 yards.

    The easiest way is to just buy one that already shoots consistently good and hard right out of the box. My budget wouldn't allow for that so I bought what I bought knowing that I could probably wring a little better performance out of it. It paid off for me.

    Tim M.
    Last edited by HollowPoint; 12-03-2017 at 10:08 PM.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Well I have an old Sheridan 5mm pump up, made mid 70's. We have killed a lot of critters.
    Lots of birds, squirrels, rabbits. Anything you can make a good head shot on at reasonable range chances are 4 pumps will do it.

    Coon, I'd go 8 for coon. Max power at 8 pumps your talking 6?? fps. Depends on the gun, the seals, and the ammo. 650 would be a good average.

    I also have a Hatsan 135 QE Vortex (gas piston) in .22 caliber.

    That is scoped with a good scope, both will put 5 in one ragged hole.

    The Hatsan will cost more, 2-300$ depending on which model, how much speed you need.
    My 135 is around 950 fps with 14.3 Crossman Premier Hollow Points. Break action, takes some muscle but not that much. Comes with good sights but I would recomend a good airgun rated scope rated for magnum springer if you want the scope to last. Kicks harder than a .22 long rifle believe it or not, and it recoils in 2 directions, the double slam can be hard on scopes.

    One other thing, the Hatsan comes with Turkish Walnut, best, nicest finish, sweetest looking rifle I have. That stuff is AWESOME. You want a rifle you could shoot for a lifetime, that would do it.

    Depends on what you want. Sheridan blue streaks and silver streaks still show regularly on gun broker. I bought a newer spare there 3 years ago for 150 and shipping. Worth every penny in my book.

    Very very little to go wrong with a Sheridan. Minor maintenance, drop of oil every 5 years or so and it should last you a lifetime. But harder to scope accurately.

    Talk to your son, IMO do not go precharged pneumatic. If he gets the bug and wants to go that way, thats fine. But I think shots should be earned. Like shooting a ruger 10/22 with a 50 round clip. Its too easy, you don't earn it, so you don't value it.

    If you work for it, it means more. Both the Hatsan and the Sheridan will make you earn those shots. Then reward you by putting it right where you want it.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    Some may differ with me, but i'd take on anything mentioned in the op's 1st post with head shots from my Benji 392. I'd keep shots about 30 yds. or less on the bigger stuff and head shots only, but i'm taking squirrels with both body and head shots about as far as i can get a shot on them with no problems and that's with just iron sights.

    I love being able to vary the number of pumps for just plinking indoors or full power for hunting.
    The out of the box accuracy of this little pumper makes up for a lot of the difference in it's limited power(about 650 to 680 fps. with 14.3 gr. pellets)to me.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    HW 97
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    TX200
    All are excellent spring powered air rifles with .177 vel. to 950 fps....and should last a lifetime.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    I recommend a Benjamin 392. The soft recoil lets a shooter see the impact.
    To lazy to chase arrows.
    Clodhopper

  10. #10
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    392 would be a great place to start IMO.

    I prefer the Sheridan but that is largely history and emotional attachment.

    .177 for feathers, .22 for fur, 5mm for best of both.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
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    My vote is for the Sheridan, I have a silver streak that I regularly out shoot high dollar target rifles. The silver streak is gone, but .177 and .22 are still available and current models are drilled and tapped for a nice Williams peep sight.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
    Bent Ramrod's Avatar
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    “He’ll shoot his eye out!”

    (Sorry; I had to say it. It’s Christmas season, after all.)

    I also use my rebuilt Sheridan Silver Streak on the nuisance pests around here, pack rats and ground squirrels. The .20 caliber pellets that look like bullets seem to have more knockdown power than the .22 skirted pellets or even the Colibris and Super Colibris, all of which I’ve tried. Eight pumps is good to 40 yards or so, if the shooting platform is cooperating.

    Of course, this rifle is out of print, so you might not find one in time for Christmas. But anything else in .20 caliber that can run accurately at 650 ft/sec or so is worth investigating.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by GhostHawk View Post
    Worth every penny, and I agree, a better choice than a Benjamin 392.
    To lazy to chase arrows.
    Clodhopper

  15. #15
    Boolit Master GhostHawk's Avatar
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    Here IMO is the other alternative.

    https://www.fieldsupply.com/uc-20171...l+Hatsan+guns!

    Hatsan 95 .22 cal Break Barrel Air Rifle Combo (Walnut)
    At 130$ this is a steal.

    Here is the writeup for the same gun at PyramidAir.
    Also a decent price, but not as good as the Field Supply. But if you ever had problems with it, maybe worth the few extra dollars for the better service?

    https://www.pyramydair.com/s/m/Hatsa...tock/2678/5381

    This should do 750 to 800 fps with 14.3 grain .22 pellets. Which is significantly more power than you will find in a pump up. The 135 will go close to 1k fps, but it is a beast, and takes significant amounts of muscle.

    The Hatsan does come with a scope, although I suspect it won't last a real long time.
    Some like Leapers/UTG magnum airgun scopes, I've had good luck with Hammers 3x9 AO scopes.
    I have 2 on my Hatsan's, and they have held up well.

    Just stuff to think about. Everyone likes to push the brand they like. I'm no exception.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    Any one of the airguns listed in this thread so far would make a fine Christmas present imho.
    If Santa's listening, i wouldn't mind one of the fine springer's that were mentioned(especially the tx200) to go with my 392.

    Santa's probably not listening very hard at my age though lol! He knows my truck needs repairs first!

    There's always next year though !

  17. #17
    Boolit Bub
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    I just ordered a Gamo Bone Collector Bull Whisper.177 from Midway USA for 49.95 everything I read and watched on you tube looked and sounded like it ought to be a good shooter.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uncle Grinch View Post
    Thanks guys, good info to have. Now assuming we are talking about 22 caliber, what velocity should I be looking for? I see fps ranging fron 400+ to 900+.
    Been a long time since I shot any living things with an air gun but as I remember it a S&W78g pushing a 14+gr pellet at just under 400 FPS would only kill a large rat instantly with a body hit if a field pont pellet were used. the wadcutters would not penetrate the tough hides of the local rat population. These were some very tough rats think Stephen King's "Graveyard Shift". The Wadcutters crushed the chest and blood geysered from mouth and snout but the rats while immobilized did not die a quick clean death and a couple got away to crawl under stuff to die and had to be dug out later when they began to stink.

    The field points walked right through the biggest rat and they dropped without a quiver.

    At a bit over 400 just about any .22 pellet will get the job done.

    I've recently upgraded my 78g to give 467 FPS with a 14.3 gr pellet and well over 440 FPS with a 17.3 gr Superpoint. I believe it will kill most any small game and small bodied vermin at 50 ft to 20 yards or so.
    Raccoon are fairly tough critters and around here they get big enough to kill a medium sized hunting dog, so I'd want as much velocity and as heavy a pellet as I could get.
    The comparatively small city bred raccoons shouldn't be any harder to kill than those big rats were.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    if your looking for a garden gun for critter control a pumper is going to suck unless you can pump and wait. Although I keep my crosman 1400 by the rear slider for the pest that enter the kill zone.


    If a pumper for active critter control just get a new 392 and the Williams rear sight made for it. dial it in for your PBR needed, A good placed shot will take out a small rabbit out to 25 yards. Never had a cat problem so I would not know.

    For a bit more power and reaching out I have a Discover PCP its a decent entry level PCP and capable of some decent accuracy. Right now im just at MOA with this set up as long as the wind is mild. Its running just shy of 900fps with the jsb 14.3gn diablo's... this has a custom stock and a power regulator as for best targeting shooting accuracy I can tune down the power/ Stock its fine for critter control


    If discharging a firearm is not a issue in the location you will be better served by a 22lr rifle

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    The TX200 has been mentioned a couple times. I would tackle any of the animals mentioned on the extermination list with my TX200. Mine is a 22 cal and while it is not the fastest out there the TX200 is clearly one of the most accurate spring powered air rifles ever made. Head shots are easy with those rifles.









    This target was shot at 30 yards

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check