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Do you need to get rid of a few pesky squirrels and maybe do a little small game hunting? Does the cost of ammo for getting rid of pests or the extended range of higher powered firearms concern you? An air rifle for squirrels and small game might be the perfect answer for meeting your concerns.
You will find a hard time doing better than the Bear River TPR 1200 when it comes to hunting squirrels and small game.
OUR BEST CHOICE
BEAR RIVER TPR 1200
This gun has the necessary speed and force to make a clean kill, but is a lower caliber so it extends range as well. It has a single magnification scope, which is all that is necessary for close range hunting.
Take a closer look at this and four other air guns for squirrels and small game in our review below, but before you do that consider some tips on how to choose the perfect air rifle for squirrels and small game.
How to Choose the Right Model
Pin-point accuracy and kill force on an air rifle make it a good choice for tending to squirrels, other pests and even small game. What it avoids is the attention attracting sounds that a more highly powered gun has as well as the problems that extended range can cause. Below are the factors involved in choosing the top air gun for squirrels and small game.
What are the Range Limits?
Range and killing force varies from one model of air gun to the next, but there are some general range guidelines for the four classifications of air guns:
• Light. Used for plinking and pest control.
• Medium. A little more kill force and a range of 30 to 50 yards are typical for this class.
• Magnum (high). A greater range of 50 to 70 yards is typical with this class of air rifle.
• Super magnum. Specialty air guns in this class reach the maximum ranges of 75 to 85 yards.
If you are serious about hunting small game and might need a little extra distance in order to reach the cleverest squirrels, anything less than a medium class air gun will be pretty limited. An even better choice is going to be in the magnum class, especially if you intend to extend your use of the air gun beyond getting rid of squirrels. Continue reading for additional elements involved in choosing the right air rifle for squirrels and small game.
- SIghts and scopes
Projectile size and weight influence both the kill force of the projectile as well as speed and range. Heavier or larger caliber projectiles provide more killing force, but speed is slower and effective range will be less. However, lighter calibers have greater speed and their range is greater, but there is a reduction of kill force. Projectile sizes or calibers are typically 0.177, 0.22 and 0.25 inches in diameter and all three are effective at tending to those pesky squirrels.
Open Sights and Scopes
Given the fact that air rifles are not effective beyond the range of 85 yards and most are lose a great deal of accuracy beyond 70 yards, open sights work fine and can reduce the cost of purchasing a quality air gun. If you insist on a scope, then it is better to choose an air gun with a scope that has a fixed magnification of 4x32 or less. Higher powered magnification and variable magnification scopes will not only raise the amount of cash you will have to invest into your air gun but tend to blur the target, make you less accurate, and require constant adjustment.
Another characteristic to look for in a quality air gun is trigger sensitivity. If a trigger requires a heavier pull, the shooter tends to pull off of the target slightly when firing, but a trigger which is too sensitive might cause the shooter to fire before he is ready. The capacity to adjust trigger sensitivity is available on air guns of higher quality and an important factor to keep in mind.
The majority of modern air guns have a molded synthetic stock. These types of stocks tend to be lighter, more durable, and provide better balance for an air rifle. Though finish is more subjective and only effects performance slightly, the quality of the finishes of an air gun can shed light on the quality and craftsmanship built into the weapon.
Your budget and personal preferences will guide you toward your ultimate decision to purchase one model over another. By making use of the factors listed above, you can take a closer look at the reviews below in order to help you choose the model perfectly suited for your needs and preferences.
5 Best Air Rifles for Hunting Small Game
Bear River TPR 1200
The quality design and impressive features of this multi-purpose air gun is enough to draw your full attention.
The pistol grip on the synthetic stock of the Bear River TPR Hunting makes it more ergonomic.
It features a high grade rifled steel barrel and a single magnification scope which is mounted on a 6” picatinny rail rounds out its top features.
• Caliber: 0.177
• Speed: 1300 fps
• Site: 4×32 scope
Because the Bear River TPR 1200 shoots a 0.177 caliber projectile, it gets a little better range than some of the higher caliber air guns on this list.
Though larger game might need a higher caliber, it has plenty of power to take care of a squirrel and most small game as well.
It does not have the highest velocity of the group we are reviewing, but it is still the most viable choice for multi-purpose use in the field.
Ruger Magnum Combo
A trusted name in firearms manufacturing is behind the high quality design of this air rifle. The Ruger Magnum Combo also features a lightweight, synthetic stock, has a 2-stage adjustable trigger. It has breaking barrel single shot cocking and a mounted fixed magnification scope.
• Caliber: 0.22
• Speed: 1200 fps
• Site: 4×32 scope
Pest control and small game are both possibilities with this air gun. Because it has a higher caliber, you get a little bit more kill force from the Ruger. It is a well-balanced gun which is not overpriced because of the fixed magnification mounted scope. The 0.22 caliber projectile is more than adequate for squirrels and it doesn’t give away too much when it comes to speed and range.
The IGT Mach 1 gas piston used to fire projectiles from this rifle makes the Gammo Magnum another well designed firearm to keep in mind. It features two different caliber options and 2-stage trigger adjustment.
The all-weather synthetic stock also features a pistol grip for greater control and accuracy. Finishing out its list of features are a rifled steel barrel, a variable magnification scope and a 5 year warranty.
• Caliber: option of 0.177 or 0.22
• Speed: 1650 feet per second (fps) (.177) or 1300 fps (.22)
• Site: 3-9×40 variable scope
There are so many things to like about this gun. It is covered by a great warranty. It has a durable synthetic stock with a pistol grip, you can choose which caliber you prefer as well.
What keep this from being the top pick on this list is the variable scope, which is not only a pain to keep adjusted properly and is unnecessary for the limited range of an air gun, but also drives up the price of this model.
You can buy both of the two guns above for the same price as you pay for this one.
Benjamin Titan GP Nitro Piston
The Benjamin Titan GP Nitro Piston allows you to have some of those extra features you are looking for in an air rifle and a more traditional, hardwood and ambidextrous stock with a pistol grip to boot.
It is quieter than most models, has a durable, smooth cocking and firing action and features a 2-stage adjustable trigger as well as a fixed magnification scope.
• Caliber: 0.177 or 0.22
• Speed: 1200 fps (0.177) or 950 fps (0.22)
• Site: 4×32 scope
The quiet and smooth nitro piston might come in handy when it comes to tending to squirrels and other pests, but the velocity of the 0.22 caliber option raises some range concerns. Sticking to the 0.177 caliber might be the better option.
It is difficult to pass up the impressive looking hardwood design of this firearm, which gives you a little more traditional look, but you will have to pay for that design extra, which might also add unnecessary weight to the unit.
Crosman CPNP22SX Phantom
The Nitro Piston Crosman Hunting is a solid choice with the basic design features you want in an air gun and its quality is backed by a manufacturer with a solid reputation in firearms.
The features of this durable, synthetic stock air gun include 2-stage, adjustable trigger, high grade, rifled steel barrel, a 70% quieter firing action and a fixed magnification scope.
• Caliber: 0.22
• Speed: 950 fps
• Site: 4×32 scope
Crosman knows a thing or two about air guns and this one is no exception. It is not as flashy as the other air rifles reviewed on this list, but it covers the basics without making it overpriced.
It fires the heavier 0.22 caliber projectile which makes it a little better for larger small game, but it is going to have limited range because its velocity is pretty low.
OUR TOP CHOICE
Bear River TPR 1200
When it comes to being able to deal with pests like squirrels and other small game, you need something which has accuracy, kill force and is effective up to a decent range. Based on our guidelines for selecting the top air rifle for squirrels and small game, the Bear River TPR 1200 is our top choice.
The Bear River TPR 1200 has plenty of power and range to tend to pests. Though it might not be as good for larger small game, it is still going to do what you need it to. The pistol grip feature on the durable synthetic stock adds to its accuracy and feel. Its fixed magnification scope is adequate for its range and does not through off the balance of the firearm. Most of all, it is moderately priced given its list of valuable features.
If you are concerned about noise and safety from higher powered firearms and just need something to tend to those pesky squirrels and other pests around the house, then an air gun is probably the right choice. Purchase the model we suggested or select another which has the features you prefer.