Are you looking to add an air gun to your arsenal of hunting tools? Many people don’t think of air guns when it comes to hunting, but they make some of the best guns for hunting small game animals like rabbits and squirrels, as well as pests in the yard.
These days, there are air guns powerful enough to take down larger animals, too. Many people use them when hunting wild hogs and even deer. If you’re new to hunting and you want to learn more, ILearnToHunt.com has online interactive hunter safety courses to receive a hunting license.
If you are looking to pick an air rifle up, there are a few things to consider when making your selection. Which gun you choose will determine what you can hunt, and what hunting style you prefer.
Keep reading to learn the most important hunting tips when it comes to air guns, and how to buy hunting tools like air guns to make your hunting season a bit more interesting.
Why Air Guns Make Great Hunting Tools
Did you know that air guns have been used for centuries? They aren’t a new phenomenon. In fact, Lewis and Clark, the famed western explorers of the 1800s, took an air rifle with them to the Pacific coast so that they wouldn’t have to deal with a gun that used explosive powder.
Air guns usage is still growing in the US. But over in Europe, air guns are used extensively as a result of much stricter firearms laws.
When it comes to hunting, air rifles are one of the best hunting tools, as they can produce plenty of power. Especially when chasing small game, like rabbits and squirrels, most air rifles intended for hunting can take them down with no problem.
The benefit? Ammo is much cheaper, letting you practice and hunt more, without breaking the bank. Plus, there’s less recoil than a traditional hunting rifle, making it easier for kids to learn how to use them.
And the guns are lightweight. So if you want to go on a small game expedition, hiking many miles in search of your prey, an air rifle will be much less of a burden.
Ready to start searching for air rifle hunting tools for sale? Here’s what to consider when picking one up.
Choose Your Propulsion Method
One of the most important considerations when choosing an air rifle is the propulsion type. Standard firearms all use the same method; gun powder packed into individual rounds of ammunition.
The firing pin strikes the round, causing the powder to erupt, sending the bullet down the barrel. The empty cartridge is then ejected. The explosion leaves residue inside the barrel of the gun, requiring regular cleaning.
But air rifles have five different propulsion methods to choose from, none of which require the use of gun powder.
With a pump-action air rifle, you’ll load a road into the chamber, then manually pump the gun to add air into a cylinder. The more times you pump, the faster a round will shoot out.
There’s a limit on how much air will fit into the cylinder. While these make for the perfect introductory air rifle, they aren’t the most powerful hunting tools.
CO2-powered air rifles use gas cartridges to power the gun. You’ll need to connect a small CO2 cartridge in order to shoot. Each cartridge has the potential to fire a few dozen rounds, or a few hundred rounds, depending on the temperature and how much gas your gun uses to shoot a single round.
While you can shoot much faster than with a pump-action air gun, these still don’t generate quite enough power for effective hunting.
These feel similar to normal firearms. Powered by springs, all you need to do to take a shot is pull the lever back, which is usually on the barrel of the air gun. Basically, you just need to cook the gun.
Smaller, cheaper guns won’t produce much power but are great for kids to learn and practice with. Guns with larger springs can produce lots of power, capable of hunting small prey. Just make sure to buy extra springs, as they can wear out over time.
Gas piston air rifles are the upgraded version of spring rifles. They are smoother, quieter, produce less recoil, and are just as easy to use.
They are self-contained, just like a spring gun, not needing any additional supplies to fire rounds. They produce enough power to be an entry-level hunting rifle, but you’ll be limited to smaller animals at close range.
If you want a dedicated hunting air rifle that gives you the flexibility to hunt what you want and how you want, then a precharged pneumatic gun is really the only option.
These air rifles use compressed air to launch rounds far faster than any of the types of air rifles listed above. In fact, they produce as much power as most regular hunting rifles.
With these powerful air rifles, you can just as easily harvest a deer as you would a squirrel. The only issue is that they are more expensive and require you to invest in a way of recharging the rifle, such as with a scuba tank system.
When shopping around for air rifles, you’ll notice two different projectile types. Some air rifles shoot small, round, metal BBs. Others use pellets, more akin to a traditional bullet shape, but smaller.
BBs are cheap and are great for practicing. But because they are completely round, they aren’t that accurate. For hunting, you’ll definitely want a gun that shoots pellets of the caliber capable of taking down your desired prey.
Air Rifle Scopes
As with any hunting rifle, you’ll need one with a scope if you want to take down prey from more than five yards out. It’s pretty easy to buy and install any scope of your choosing.
Just make sure it’s capable of handling the type of hunting you plan to do. Some of the best air rifles will let you shoot accurately from long distances, so choose a scope with enough magnification. Some rifles may come with a scope, but most require you to purchase them separately.
Perfect for New or Experienced Hunters
For the backyard hunter, or the experienced hunter who wants to take on a new challenge, adding an air rifle to your cabinet of hunting tools is worth doing. They are extremely fun to use and are easy to teach kids, or even other adults how to use.
If you want to get others to fall in love with hunting, having an easy-to-use air rifle is a great method.
Looking for other tips like this? Check out the rest of our blog today to keep reading.