Are a few pesky squirrels giving you trouble? Or are you looking for something to take on a squirrel hunt? The idea of taking a 22LR rifle to a squirrel hunt may be tempting, but there is a better option, an air rifle.
Air rifles are less costly than their conventional counterparts but still lethal. Squirrels are, however, tricky animals to hunt. These little animals are quick on their feet and quite small.
That being said, you will need the air rifle for squirrels and rabbits if you stand a chance. So which is the best air rifle for squirrels? In this article, we have analyzed six of the best squirrel hunting air rifles out there.
We selected these air rifles based on several factors. These are, finish quality, trigger and firing mechanism, and muzzle velocity. From our list, the Gamo Swarm Magnum G2 .22, Multi, 0.22 was our top pick.
This is one of the newest additions and offers several things that other similar airguns do not. The multi-shot magazine was a great addition. Also, this air gun is powerful enough for hunting squirrels.
The Ruger Blackhawk .177 Caliber Pellet Gun Air Rifle with... came a close second, thanks to its impressive muzzle velocity. Nonetheless, all the other models on the list are worth checking out.
Tips On To How To Handle Air Rifle Safely
Air rifles are a fun, inexpensive way to spend time with friends and family. But these guns can also be dangerous if they are not handled responsibly. So how should you handle an air rifle safely?
- First, If you are not above 18, you should not be handling an air rifle. If you are still interested, check what your local law says.
- When you break the barrel to load the pellet, always hold the barrel until you put the pellet for manual safety.
- Always keep your eye on the target and never shoot at any person, animal, or object that is not your target. Air rifles can cause serious injury if not used responsibly.
- If you are shooting in the open field, mark your boundary and make sure it is clear of any person.
- Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction at all times; never point it toward yourself or anyone else.
- Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes and keep them on when you’re shooting.
- Try To choose Air rifle with adjustable two-stage trigger system rather than single-stage trigger.
- Also before purchasing check is the air rifle comes with automatic safety features.
- Do not leave your gun unattended where children or pets could get it.
- Never use alcohol when handling your air rifle.
- The gun should be cleaned after every session to avoid rusting and jamming.
- Always store your air rifle in a safe place where no one can access it. Lock away the ammunition.
- In some states, air rifles need licensing as well as hunting license. Be sure to know what your state laws are before purchasing.
- Air rifles should never be used or modified for use as a projectile weapon.
If you are following these safety tips, you can safely enjoy the fun of target shooting with friends and family!
6 Best Air Rifles For Squirrels and Rabbits Hunting
Best Quiet Air Rifle For Squirrels: Gamo Swarm Magnum G2 .22, Multi, 0.22
- .22 caliber rifle
- 10 round rotary-style magazine
- 33m gas cylinder
- 3-9×40 airgun scope included
- Adjustable second stage trigger
- 6.88 pounds weight
The Gamo Swarm Magnum is one of the recent additions to Gamo’s catalog of air rifles. This air rifle offers the latest in air rifle technology. At its core is the multi-shot capability.
Gamo’s multi-shot break barrel technology made its debut in the Gamo Maxxim air rifle. Its success seemed to have prompted the company to include its newest additions. With this technology, you get a 10 round detachable magazine.
This rifle is a .22 caliber air rifle with plenty of power to kill a squirrel. It uses the company’s IGT Mach 1 gas ram system to propel pellets at speeds of up to 1300 FPS. This ram system replaces the spring powerplant that we got in the Swarm Maxxim.
While it is impressive on its own, this rifle also features some of the best things about Gamo air rifles. For starters, you get the Whisper Fusion noise-dampening technology, which makes it incredibly quiet. And for this reason, we can say this Gamo Swarm is one of the best quietest air rifles for squirrels.
- The air rifle comes with a decent 3-9×40 scope included
- The Trigger is adjustable, two-stage trigger Action featured
- Is a powerful break barrel air rifle
- Has an impressive 975 FPS maximum velocity with .22 caliber pellets
- Produces less vibrations when fired than most break barrel rifles
- Despite its high muzzle velocity, it is a pretty quiet air rifle.
- Reloading mechanism needs improving
- Has a cocking effort of 41 pounds meaning its not for everyone
This is the best squirrel hunting pellet rifle out there. It packs quite a punch and is very accurate. And i9ts 10 round magazine means it is more fun to shoot than traditional break barrel rifles.
Ruger Blackhawk Combo air rifle
- 1000 FPS muzzle velocity
- 30 pounds cocking weight
- 2-stage adjustable trigger
- Built-in forward fiber optic adjustable sight
- 4×32 mounted scope
- Single-Stage Trigger
The second air rifle might not fire real bullets, but it’s no toy. This air rifle packs a punch and some people have used it on slightly larger animals such as opossums. That being said, let’s take a close look at this air rifle.
The first thing you need to know is that this is a .177 caliber pellet rifle. It spits out these pellets at speeds of up to 1000 FPS. It is this velocity that makes it an effective weapon for hunting squirrels, rabbits, starlings, and even opossums.
It is a spring-piston air rifle. Spring-piston air rifles are the easiest to use, and you will have no trouble picking this up as your first air rifle. For accuracy, it comes with two sighting options.
The first is a fiber-optic sight at the front. The second is a 4×32 scope mounted onto it. The rifle has a stock that is checkered on both sides. This makes it comfortable to use for both right and left-handed users.
- It is a powerful airgun enough to kill squirrels, rabbits, and even opossums
- Comes with dual sight options a forward fiber optic sight and a scope
- The rifle has a two-stage adjustable trigger
- It uses .177 pellets which are easy to get
- Weighing about 6.95 pounds, it is easy to handle and carry
- The rifle is quite hard to cock especially for seniors, women, and people with an injury
- The included scope is not of good quality
With its maximum muzzle velocity and cocking weight, this is a serious weapon for hunting small animals. It is the best pellet gun for squirrels in terms of power. It is worth noting that this is suited for adult men due to its cocking weight.
Gamo 6110017154 Varmint Air Rifle
- .177 caliber pellets
- Spring powered
- 14.2-inch trigger length
- 3.35 pounds trigger pull
- 5.47 pounds weight
- 17.8-inch long break barrel
The Gamo 6110017154 Varmint air rifle is another excellent option for taking down those pesky squirrels that invade your home. It is a spring-piston break barrel rifle with enough power to do what it is designed to.
According to Gamo, it can propel .177 PBA platinum pellets at an impressive 1250 FPS muzzle velocity. In our tests, we used H&N wadcutter lead pellets, and it was able to maintain a consistent muzzle velocity of 910 FPS.
The 910 FPS was still good enough for hunting small animals. It comes with a 4×32 scope mounted onto it. While it is a decent enough scope, there is no harm in replacing it with a better one.
The stock has a rubber recoil pad that keeps it firmly placed on the shoulder. The stock also has a non-stick texture on the pistol grip and forearm. This gives it a good grip.
- For its price range, it is a pretty accurate rifle
- With a muzzle velocity of up to 1250 FPS, it is a powerful rifle
- Compared to other break barrel rifles it has a rather moderate cocking effort
- Weighing under 6 pounds, it is a lightweight air rifle
- It comes at an affordable price tag and not an expensive air rifles out there for breaking the bank.
- The 4×32 scope is not the best
- While it requires moderate effort to cock, it is still cumbersome for some
For the price you are getting it at, this one is a no-brainer. It is powerful and accurate and comes with a scope included. Overall, it is a great air rifle for hunting squirrels and other small rodents.
Hatsan 95 Air Rifle Combo, Walnut Stock air Rifle
- 800 FPS muzzle velocity for lead pellets
- 2-stage adjustable trigger
- Walnut wooden stock
- German steel break barrel
- 3-9×32 mounted scope
- Ambidextrous Turkish walnut stock
Combine the beauty of a walnut stock and a golden-colored trigger, and you get one of the best-looking air rifles on the market. But is the Hatsan 95 air rifle combo just a good-looking rifle, or does it have more to offer?
This rifle comes in three caliber variants a .177, .22 and .25 calibers. We tested the .177 variant. While it is said to have a 1000 FPS muzzle velocity, it drops when using lead pellets. With lead pellets, it falls to about 800 FPS.
However, this velocity is still effective against small animals considering lead pellets are heavier. And as with most other similar pellet guns, it has a two-stage adjustable trigger.
The beautiful walnut stock has a rubber pad for shock absorption. Its pistol grip is checkered on both sides. As such, it can be used by both left and right-handed users
- Has a shock absorption system that reduces vibrations
- It is a highly accurate air rifle
- With a muzzle velocity of 800 FPS for lead pellets, it is effective against most small animals
- The overall build quality is excellent with minimal plastic being used
- The German steel barrel combines beautifully with the walnut stock
- Weighing about 8.4 pounds, it is quite a heavy rifle
- It is a bit too loud
This rifle is more than just a beautiful piece of engineering. It is a fantastic air rifle for hunting small animals such as squirrels. And while it is a bit heavy, it has excellent shock absorption qualities. We would advise you to choose an iron sight replacing the stock optics for better sighitng.
Ruger 2244001: squirrel pellet gun
- .177 caliber rifle
- 800 FPS with lead pellets
- Single-shot cocking mechanism
- 2-stage adjustable trigger
- Rifled barrel
- Fiber optic front sight
The Ruger 2244001 pellet rifle is an affordable air rifle that you can use for varmint extermination. It is powerful and has a nice feel and look to it.
According to the manufacturer, it has a muzzle velocity of 1000 FPS. In our tests, we were able to get to a muzzle velocity of 996 FPS with RWS Hobby lead pellets. This was still impressive and is enough for varmint killing.
One surprising thing about this air rifle is the cocking effort. While it is a spring piston break barrel rifle, the cocking effort is at a manageable 21 pounds and 14 ounces.
You get an adjustable 2 stage trigger. The trigger pull on this one is about 2 pounds. This is a bit low for a break barrel rifle but is not such a big deal.
- It is accurate and powerful for varmint killing
- Has a rather manageable cocking compared to other break barrel rifles
- The ambidextrous stock of this rifle means both left and right-handed shooters can use it
- Comes with a 4x32mm air rifle scope and mounting rings included
- Has a rifled barrel that improves accuracy
- This air rifle can be loud
- The trigger pull is a bit light.
This is one of the most readily available best squirrel guns out there. Thus you will have no problems finding one. On top of this, it is one of the best air rifles for squirrel hunting.
DPMS Full Auto SBR CO2-Powered BB Air Rifle
- 430 FPS
- 25-round magazine
- Two 12-gram C02 cartridges
- Adjustable stock with six adjustable positions
- Removable pop-up sight
- Adjustable rear sight
When you pick up the DPMS Full auto SBR BB air rifle, you will love its realistic design. The design of this air gun closely resembles that of an HK 416. But its design isn’t the only good thing about it.
This is a C02 powered air gun fueled by two 12 gram C02 cartridges. These two can propel BB pellets at a velocity of 430 FPS. These are housed inside a 25 round magazine. One thing we loved was the dual selector.
This allows you to choose between full and semi-automatic. Capable of firing 1400 pellets in full auto mode, we had a lot of fun firing this air rifle. So how accurate is it? Surprisingly very accurate.
With the movable foregrip and quad rails, you can mount all kinds of accessories on this from flashlights to a scope.
- Has a realistic gun feel and design to it
- This rifle is very accurate
- You can choose between semi and full automatic mode
- With a 430 FPS muzzle velocity, it is capable of dealing with most small animals squirrels included
- It is well balanced
- For an air rifle, this one was pretty loud
- The loading mechanism is made of plastic and tends to jam
This is a fun air rifle to fire, especially when in full auto mode. It was perhaps the best air rifle for killing squirrels we tested. It is accurate and packs quite a punch to take down a squirrel or even a rabbit.
How To Buy Air Rifle For Squirrel And Rabbit Hunting
When you decide to buy an air rifle for hunting squirrels, there are some factors you should consider. Not all air rifles are designed for hunting squirrels. Some are best suited for plinking and recreational shooting. To identify the best air rifle for squirrels, consider the following factors.
The mechanism with which an air rifle propels pellets out of the barrel varies. There are four main types: spring piston, C02 powered, and pneumatic pumps. C02 powered air rifles and spring piston guns are cheaper and easier to maintain than pneumatic pump guns.
C02 powered are not ideal for hunting small animals such as squirrels, though. Spring piston, on the other hand, packs incredible power to take down squirrels and other such animals. Thus the best type of air rifle for squirrel hunting is a spring-piston gun.
However, some C02 powered rifles such as the DPMS Full Auto SBR CO2-Powered BB gun or Air Rifle are effective at squirrel hunting.
The muzzle velocity of an air rifle determines the amount of damage you can do with it. Light muzzle velocities of between 600 and 700 FPS. These are best suited for target acquisition practice.
Medium muzzle velocities of between 700 and 850 FPS can be effective against small animals. However, if you want the best result go for a muzzle velocity of over 900 FPS. Air rifles with muzzle velocities of over 900 FPS are ideally suited for small game hunting.
Air rifle guns come in a variety of calibers ranging from .177 to .25 for standard air guns. The .177 caliber is the most common and is standard with most air rifles. But for small game hunting, the .22 and .25 calibers are more effective.
The .22 and .25 rounds are heavier compared to .177 cartridges. That being said, .177 cartridges tend to have a higher muzzle velocity. But even with slightly lower muzzle velocities, the .22 and .25 rounds can do more damage.
The best air rifle for squirrels and rabbits should have an adjustable 2-stage trigger. This allows for customization. In this regard, you can set a trigger pull that you are most comfortable with. Also, 2-stage triggers are suitable for hunting, as they are more accurate.
Some air rifles have thumbhole stock as well as some have all-weather synthetic stock. The latter is more balanced and lighter. Most also feature a rubber pad for recoil. A synthetic stock that is checkered on both sides is the best option. Both left and right-handed users can use this one.
In this section, we will answer some of the most common questions people have about killing squirrels.
Can a .22 caliber air rifle kill a squirrel?
The answer is yes. Typically, it takes at least 10 FPE (Foot pounds Energy) to kill a squirrel with an air rifle. Though the FPS and FPE depend on the weight of the pellets.
How many FPS does it take to kill a squirrel?
The answer depends on the caliber of the pellet and the wide range of the target. A typical pellet gun needs between 800 and 1000 FPS in order to be lethal for small games such as grey squirrels. Again it depends, and it can be lower too. For example, a squirrel is within your 15 yards, you can easily kill it at 500 fps.
Can pellet guns kill a squirrel?
Yes. Pellet guns are often used for hunting small game such as black and grey squirrels because they don’t create much noise like a shotgun, making them more suitable for suburban areas. They also have less recoil, making it easier to aim, especially when you’re not using one of those fancy, adjustable ones.
Is a .177 or .22 air rifle more powerful?
The .22 air rifle indeed has awesome punchin power than the .177. But, in terms of accuracy, the .177 has far superior.
Squirrels can be a menace, and they also present a good starting point towards becoming a hunter. Due to them being cheaper, air rifles are the best for hunting squirrels and other small animals such as rodents.
About The Author:
Lake Streeter, A Gun enthusiast, and loves to hunt in the middle of the wood. Always check the latest hunting gears out in the market and try to share his honest opinion with the audience in OUTDOOR EVER.