The 4 Best Air Rifles for Squirrel Hunting in 2018 [Reviewed]

Whether you are a beginner or are just trying to save on ammunition purchase, you will find Air rifles an economical choice. In place of ammunition, these rifles use pellets or BBs; which are cheaper. The fact that these products are powered by compressed air does not necessarily mean that they are weak; some of them are very powerful.

The problem, though, is choosing one that is ideal for the intended application. More power is not always the way to go. Instead, you should factor in several considerations, including the type, kill power, range, caliber size and ease of use. To make the choice easier for you, here are reviews of four of the best air rifles today.

Best Air Rifles for Squirrel Hunting 2018

Product Image
Weight
Caliber
Speed
Price
Gamo Silent Cat air rifle
7.3 pounds
0.177 cal
1200 fps with PBA
Crosman Recruit Stock .177 Air Rifle with Scope
2.93 pounds
0.177 cal
680 fps
Gamo 6110017154 Varmint Air Rifle
5.47 pounds
0.177 cal
1250 fps
Ruger Air Magnum Combo air rifle
11.5 pounds
0.22 cal
1400 fps

1. Gamo Silent Cat air rifle – Best Overall

Not only is the Gamo Silent Car Air Rifle an aesthetically appealing model; it is packed with an array of functional and versatility features. Starting from the outside, the product features a sturdy and durable construction. This makes it weather resistant for enhanced durability. While it is a powerful and fast alternative, The Silent cat is just that; kills annoying rodents silently.

Thanks to the noise dampening system used in this model, the gun proudly offers a 25 percent noise reduction. As such, it will not be possible for your targets to notice that you have made a shot until it actually hits them. The speed delivered by this product is a bit variable; while using PBA ammunition on this rifle, you can get speeds of up to 1200 feet per second (FPS).

However, this figure will drop slightly while using 0.177 lead bullets. In this regard, you will only get a speed of 1,000 fps while using these lead bullets. This also suggests that the product is comparatively versatile; capable of using both PBA ammo as well as 0.177 lead bullets. While scopes are not a necessity for air rifles, this one comes with a 4X32 scope.

Great, is it not? It sure is; this powerful gun sight makes target acquisition with this air gun faster and more accurate. You will find this scope particularly beneficial when shooting at moving targets. For enhanced safety, the product is fitted with a ventilated rubber pad. This helps minimize recoil force whenever you are shooting.

Pros

  • Has a caliber of 0.177 and can reach speeds of 1200 fps
  • Features a skeleton stock
  • The gun is relatively powerful
  • Features a noise dampening system
  • Offers quick and fast shots
  • Comes with a 4X32 single piece mount scope
  • Comparatively easier to handle
  • Backed by a 1-year manufacturer warranty

Cons

  • The trigger on this riffle is somewhat hard to pull

2. Crosman Recruit Stock .177 Air Rifle with Scope – The Best Lightweight Air Rifle

The Gunman Recruit Stock 0.177 Rifle is basically a variable pump air rifle. As such, it is fitted with a pressure cylinder and a piston in the chamber. Once you cock the gun, air will be compressed in between the cylinder and the piston, ready to power your shot. The manufacturer uses a synthetic stock on this rifle, which makes it relatively lightweight.

You will also find this synthetic stock more resistant to damage by weather elements. As compared to other stock materials, synthetic material does not contract and expand with changes in temperature. As such, you will be able to take accurate shots whether it is cold or hot. With regards to ammunition, you will find the Crosman recruit rifle rather versatile.

This rifle is designed to use both the 0.177 pellets and BBs. As compared to other ammunition types for air rifles, BBs are the cheapest. Similarly, the .177 pellets are cheaper than .22 and .25 pellets. As such, you will find this rifle relatively affordable to use in the long run. The velocity you get with this firearm will mainly depend on the type of ammo you are using.

With .177 pellets, you will be able to get a velocity of up to 645 fps. If you would like the gun to be a little faster, you should consider using BBs. In this case, you will be able to achieve speeds of up to 680 fps. All in all, you will find this rifle gun rather fast, powerful and reliable in almost all hunting conditions.

Pros

  • Relatively affordable
  • Features a smoothbore barrel
  • Has a .177 caliber and can reach speeds of 680 fps
  • Can use both BBs and pellets
  • Comes with a 4X15 scope
  • The scope is adjustable for elevation and windage
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Comes with a safety manual

Cons

  • You may find the pumping action tedious

3. Gamo 6110017154 Varmint Air Rifle – The Best Air Rifle Below $100

Are you looking for a fast and powerful air rifle for hunting? Then you should consider buying the Gamo 6110017154 Varmint Air Rifle. As you have learnt in this guide, Gamo is one of the renowned air rifle manufacturers in the industry today. Just like the silent cat riffle reviewed above, the 6110017154 Varmint is equally an impressive piece.

Most of the users of this rifle find it ideal for target practice, hunting small game and pest control. While this is an affordable rifle, you will love its power and speed. While using the .177 PBA Platinum alloy pellets, you will be able to get speeds of up to 1250 fps with this rifle.

The product comes with 4 x 32 mm scope for quick and more accurate target acquisition. This scope comes in handy whenever you are hunting moving targets. You will also love the synthetic stock as well as the non-slip textured grip used on this model. The Monte Carlo cheek pad used on the gun makes it easier for you to align your eye with the scope.

Pros

  • Relatively fast, up to 1250 fps
  • Features a rubber recoil pad
  • Equipped with a textured non-slip grip
  • Features a Monte Carlo cheek pad
  • Comes with a powerful 4X32 scope
  • Features an automatic manual safety
  • Equipped with a synthetic barrel
  • Has a two-stage adjustable trigger
  • Backed by a 1-year manufacturer warranty

Cons

  • Replacement parts for this gun are not readily affordable

4. Ruger Air Magnum Combo Air Rifle – The Best 0.22 Caliber Air Rifle

Are you looking for a powerful magnum air rifle? You will find the Ruger Air Magnum Combo Air Rifle worth every penny. As a matter of fact, this is the most powerful air rifle in this gun, capable of achieving speeds of 1400 fps. This speed is only possible while you are using alloy pellets on your rifle.

Not only is this rifle fast and powerful, it is relatively accurate. In this regard, it is possible to make accurate shots using this rifle at a range of up to 150 feet. The product also features a sturdy construction and is fitted with a synthetic stock. Such features make the product tough and durable even when used in harsh outdoor environments.

This rifle is packed with some of the best safety features in the industry today. Therefore, it is considered to be safe for use by older teens and adult beginners.

Pros

  • Backed by a 1-year manufacturer warranty
  • Equipped with auto safety features
  • Features a spring piston break barrel
  • Uses a synthetic stock
  • Comes with a 4X32 scope
  • Can achieve speeds of up to 1400 fps
  • The rear sight features an adjustable fiber optic

Cons

  • The elevation adjustment on the scope is not very effective

Things You Need to Know Before Buying Air Rifles

The rising price of ammunition has made it necessary for hunters to make a shift from conventional firearms to air rifles and guns. Just as is the case with traditional guns, you still need to choose the right air rifle for the task. As you may have noticed, there are numerous makes and models of these products in the market today. This alone can make it hard for beginners to choose the right one.

Basically, the right air gun for you is the one that has the right features to meet your requirements. Therefore, you first need to ascertain what you will be using the rifle for. With the intended use in mind, you can proceed to choose the product that has the features and specifications you need. In this regard, here are some of the considerations you should make while shopping for the best air riffle:

1. Type of Air Rifle

If you are a gun enthusiast, you must have realized that there are several types of air rifles and guns in the market. If you are shopping for the best one, you first need to ascertain which type will meet your requirements. Air rifles may be categorized into 3 main classes, as discussed below:

  • Pneumatic/Pump Air Rifles

This type of air guns and rifles has a pumping lever. To shoot using this gun, you first need to pump air into the chamber using this lever. Under normal circumstances, you need to pump the lever about 5 to 10 times before firing a shot.  Some of the leading pump air guns available today may be used to shoot both BBs and pellets.

Such rifles are great for training beginners how to use a gun. They may also be used for plinking and target shooting. Although pneumatic rifles are comparatively affordable, they require you to pump the lever before each shot.

  • CO2-Powered Air Rifles

CO2 air guns use gas cartridges or compressed gas to power the shots. In this regard, you only need to attach a CO2 cartridge to your rifle and you are ready to go. Under normal circumstances, a 12 gm CO2 cartridge may be used to make about 50 shots. Once depleted, you will have to get another cartridge or have that one refilled. These may be easier to use, but are not as powerful as spring and pneumatic rifles are.

  • Spring-Powered Air Rifles

These are the air guns that apply a spring-operated mechanism to compress air into a chamber. The compressed air is then used to power the shots. Currently, there are 3 main types of spring-powered air guns based on their design; the under lever, break barrel and side lever guns.

You will find all these spring rifles powerful and relatively easy to use. The downside to these units is that they are comparatively hard to cock, especially for kids.

2. Fire Power

How powerful do you need your air rifle to be? This will mainly depend on the intended use of the gun and the distance you will be shooting your targets from. Again, the type of game you will be hunting will also determine the right power. Basically, the high-powered/magnum-powered air rifles are the most powerful of these products.

If you will be shooting your targets forma distance that is less than 35 yards, you should go for the light powered air rifles. The medium powered air guns available today are suited for targets between 35 and 50 yards. With a high powered air rifle, you can easily take an accurate shot at a range of 60 yards, while the super high powered rifles are suited for long range shots, up to 80 yards away.

3. Caliber Size

Calibers are the projectile sizes in these rifles. The projectile of any air rifle, along with its weight, will determine its range and projectile speed. This will, in turn, determine the kill force delivered by the projectile. Most of the leading air guns today have a caliber size of between 0.177 and 0.25 inches in diameter.

The heavier the caliber projectile offered by the gun, the more kill power the gun will have. However, a gun with a heavier caliber will have a slower projectile speed. Guns with lighter calibers, on the other hand, will have a greater range and speed; hence deliver less kill force.

4. Pellet Options

As compared to ammunition, Pellets and BBs used in air rifles are cheaper. However, these are available in several types. While some of the leading models are specifically designed to use either pellets or BBs, others are capable of using both BBs and pellets. Pellets are available in different types; with each type being suited for a particular application.

Wad cutter pellets, for instance, are suited for target shooting, while Crossman Powershot pellets are friendlier to the environment. If you will be using the gun for hunting, you should go for an air gun that can use polymer tip hollow-head or pointed pellets as these are the right pellets for hunting.

Final Verdict

Air rifles may be cheaper and relatively easier to use than conventional rifles, but are definitely not easy to choose. Not only are there numerous makes and models of these products in the market, there are several factors to consider while shopping for the right one.

In this regard, you need to get a rifle of the right power, caliber size and powering mechanism for the intended application. Even with such considerations, you will still have a horde of units to choose from. Regardless of the intended application, this guide will help you choose the best air rifle today.

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