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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm considering the purchase of an air rifle, preferably a Gamo Shadow Sport w/ the 3x9x40 scope. I like the 1000 f.p.s. speeds Gamo advertises. This rifle will be used for close range hunting of squirrels, groundhogs and rabbits.

However, my main concern is with what to expect from an air rifle for accuracy.
Are dime sized groups common, at 40 yards?
Are air rifles like rimfire rifles, as far as if they don't shoot accurately you just switch ammo/pellets?

Your opinions and experiences are appreciated.
Thank you, Bowhunter57[/color]
 

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For hunting and target shooting, air rifles have very little to recommend them when compared to firearms. There are so many problems associated with them, it's much more practical to get a .22

First of all, if the manufacturer says velocity is 1000fps, actual velocity will be closer to 850 because they test with the lightest pellets available and you will actually be using pellets that are suitable for hunting.

Second, dime size groups at 40 yards are possible, but they should not be expected. Even the tiniest puff of wind will dramatically open up the groups of a .177 When shooting a springer type air rifle, you need to hold it differently than you would a firearm. Just let the foreend rest in your hand. Hold the gun as gently as you can or the groups will be poor.

Air rifles are generally inherently accurate. If you are having accuracy problems, then switching pellets may or may not make a significant difference. Keep in mind that Gamo is the low end of the quality scale, and that the old maxim "you get what you pay for" definitely applies to air rifles.

Third, springer air rifles are heavy. Figure 8+ pounds.

Fourth, for the price of a marginal air rifle you can get a pretty decent .22 with a 4x scope.

I've used mine for hunting, but now I only use it for killing garden pests. The .22 is just much better in every way. With the low cost of bulk 22 ammo these days, 22 ammunition compares favorably in cost to pellets.

My experience is that the .177s are very effective on rabbits and squirrels, and do little more than horribly wound groundhogs. In any case, 40 yards is a very long shot for any air rifle of .177 and even .22. The projectiles are very light and lose capability rapidly.

Some people like air rifles as being good for indoor practice. That makes sense to me. I enjoy using an air pistol in my basement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Questor said:
For hunting and target shooting, air rifles have very little to recommend them when compared to firearms. There are so many problems associated with them, it's much more practical to get a .22
Questor,
Thank you, for the reply! Your first line says it all, but the rest of your information is just as informative. In the back of my mind I have been wondering if I'd be better off with a decent .22 rimfire rifle, instead of fooling around with an air rifle. That's exactly what I'm going to do....and thank you, again, for the info. :)

I'll start shopping for a Marlin and check some others along the way.

Good hunting, Bowhunter57[/color]
 

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Questor nailed it.
I could buy 3 .22's for what I have put into my .25 air rifle. If you are not out to take on any kind of new, expensive hobby the rimfire is the way to go for sure.
 

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I really expected quite a strong counterpoint to my argument. In fact, there is a small but enthusiastic minority of small game hunters who derive a great deal of satisfaction from hunting with air guns. I personally like air guns a lot and have a personal 10meter and 50 foot basement range including excellent lighting and pellet trap, pulley target retrieval system, and some reactive targets. My air rifle is a RWS 46, which is just right for what I do with it. Let it not be said that I lack enthusiasm for airguns.

But like pheasant hunting with a .410 shotgun and deer hunting with a handgun, the air rifle is an expert's tool with plenty of quirks that simply need to be mastered.

If the question were changed to being one of shooting pesky pigeons near barns, or rabbits in the garden, then I'd strongly recommend a good scoped air rifle.

There are quite a few very credible people who use the .22 caliber air rifle for small game hunting. Some claim clean kills out to 50 yards and I believe them. To my thinking, however, this is an enthusiasts activity because the guns and the ammo the same or more than a .22 caliber cartridge rifle.
 

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Yes I have several friends online that hunt with .22 and .25 air rifle all the time with a passion very successfully. I have seen many a video of squirrel and rabbit getting taken out decisively with airguns. I myself enjoy hunting rabbit and also nutria. If I see that Coyote that's been eating up my rabbit spot (he's ducked me twice now) and I have the .45 with the right pellet loaded with me.... his fur should be looking really nice about now.
I am getting my .25 caliber up and running soon putting out a 42 grainer at about 925fps; that will be my small-game specialty rifle. Until then it's head shots with the 155grainers out of the .45 If you hit them anywhere in the body you get a lot less meat out of them. This one was slightly quartering towards me at about 30 yards and the 180grain pellet got put right where I aimed it; a little to far to the right. Whoops.
I think I now have a 155grain small game pellet that will require no holdover to stay within about 1 inch rise/fall out to 50 yards.
 

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Well it seems that you have already made up your mind but air rifles are very good hunting tools and are extensively used here in the UK ;) I use it for Rabbits Pigeons and pheasants in game species and for rats as pest control around the place. I also have several .22 LR chambered rifles and other full bore ones but to say that an air rifle is :-

For hunting and target shooting, air rifles have very little to recommend them when compared to firearms.
totally inaccurate.

I suggest you find out the facts about 10 metre rifle shooting then come back and say they are not good for target work. No I am not involved with any competitive target shooting but belong to an club which has members who are. The other thing I have noticed with US shooters of air rifles is the pursuit of velocities ??? ::) Here Air rifles are restricted to 12 ftlbs muzzle energy otherwise they become legally firearms and need a licence. Mine are of the 12 ftlbs variety and it has not been a problem and my Feinwerkbau model 127 sport does all that I ask it and has done so since 1979 when I broguht it new.
 

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Brithunter:

Having hosted preliminary tryouts for the U.S. Olympic air pistol team, I know a lot more about 10 meter airgun competition than you might initially suspect. That's why I can make such a harsh assessment in the context of a recommendation to someone who proposes to hunt. Outdoors, one absolutely cannot expect 1.5cm groups at 40 yards that the original poster was asking about unless crosswind can be entirely eliminated. A quick and trivial test will prove it to anyone.
 

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I have a gamo shadow 1000, and no, you cannot expect groups like that. If I'm shooting at a squirrel at 40 yards, it almost always takes more than one shot, just because there is so many things affecting a pellet that small. It does shoot pretty fast. With normal pellets it chronoed around 890fps or so. With the lighter raptors the fastest I think I chronoed was around 1175fps. So yeah, pretty fast. They really are for keeping pests out of the house if you have neighbors. That is what I use mine for. It is a pain in the butt when hunting. If you are hunting bigger animals, like tree squirrels, or smaller rabbits, its a great gun, cause it has the power to knock them down, and is accurate enough to hit larger small game at some pretty good distances. But if for hunting, definitely get a rimfire over an airgun.
 

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I would suggest you save up and get a Beeman R9. With the right pellets and scope it will be a squirrel killing machine out to 40 yards and beyond. Accuracy and shot placement are the key and the Beeman will out shoot the gamo hands down. Head shots are a must. Don't believe the velocity figures that most give out as said above it is measured with the lightest pellets and not suitable for hunting. Actually shooting those ultra light pellets will destroy a spring air gun in short time.
 

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Well I suggest that you tell all this to the Field Target folks ;) and I then suggest .................... Practice ;)0 I expect to be able to get head and neck shots on Pigeons at 30-35 yards with my air rifle.
 

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5 shots with my HW97k at 55yards(50m) cal.177. Finding the right pellet for the gun is very important.
The smallest group is 10mm
 

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I own an assortment of shooters, centerfires, rimfires, .22 springer, and a .177 springer. Like has been eluded to above, the .22lr is a far better vermin killer than the air rifles, but, some of my favorite hunting gounds are located close to houses. When a .22lr goes off people start looking around. With my .22 springer, nobody even looks my way. With my RWS M34P I took out over 200 rock chucks along with many more gophers and predatory birds last spring and summer in a semi urban setting that would have been dangerous with a .22lr. I also own a Beeman R-7 that I love to shoot in the basement. I think it all depends on what you are trying to achieve and the environment that you shoot in. As for accuracy both the RWS and Beman will shoot 1 hole groups at 10 yards, into a dime at 20 and about a 50 cent piece at 40. Wind is trouble, but doping it with a pellet gun is loads of fun. For fun, cheap, quiet shooting the pellet guns are lots of fun.
 

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The gun may be capable of more, but quarter-size groups at 40 yd. would be all that I am capable of. I'm shooting a RWS 36 with a 2x7 RWS airgun scope in .22 cal that has been choreographed at 900 fps with Crosman Premier pellets. It has made 1-shot kills on woodchucks at 25 yd.

I have done quite a lot of pigeon shooting in past years, and farmers feel a lot safer about their barns when you have an airgun. The airgun allows squirrel hunting in more populated areas without upsetting the natives who don't even know you are there.
 

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Your rifle is quite a bit more powerful than my M34P - I chronoyed it at a bit over 600 fps with 14.3 gr Crosman Premiers. Not sure if I could keep all my shots in a quarter at 40 yards, but a silver dollar would be no problem. I've hammered chuck out to 60 yards before, but it takes a perfect day with no wind and a cooperative target. Most of my shots are from 25-40yards, a rock chuck within that range is toast.
 

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centershot said:
Your rifle is quite a bit more powerful than my M34P - I chronometer it at a bit over 600 fps with 14.3 gr Crosman Premiers. Not sure if I could keep all my shots in a quarter at 40 yards, but a silver dollar would be no problem. I've hammered chuck out to 60 yards before, but it takes a perfect day with no wind and a cooperative target. Most of my shots are from 25-40yards, a rock chuck within that range is toast.
my crosman 2200 mag could get hole-in-hole to dime size groupings with crosman wad-cuts at 30 yards when i first got it and this was with a 4x15mm daisy scope. all the .22 airguns i have used can easily hit a rock dove at 50 yards. I can still with that same scope hit staring at 50 in the body. Accuracy expectations with airguns are most time alright for hunting(some can keep all shots in a half dollar some get hole in hole) all it comes down to is can you hit it with that first and only shot? if no, shoot more or get a better gun. even the crosman 760 can do the job at 15-20 yards on rats and there like.

Powerline .22X with 3-9CX32 scope. Headshot was at a range of 27yds. this is not my pic's.

 

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Hmmm somewhere I have a Model 766 American classic Crossman which I used to hunt rabbits and Pigeons with but I wore the seals out and two bolts and it now needs a total re-build as the main seal gave out. One day i should get it fixed up. I made an adaptor to take a silencer which I also made and it was very effective and quite accurate too. However for most of my air gunning needs the pumping is a PIA.
 
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