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The rule of hunting is getting to understand your prey. Expert hunters know this, and sometimes they get particular when choosing their weapons depending on what you are hunting. If you are a novice hunter, it is easy to make the mistakes I did when starting. I used heavy-caliber rounds for all my hunting experiences. Though suitable for taking down big game it literally destroyed small game.
When you are hunting small game like squirrels, it is unnecessary to use heavy gunfire. You will need to have the best air rifles for squirrel hunting. Hunting any game is not easy, especially small games like raccoons and squirrels.
In this article, all my focus is on exploring the best air rifles in the market and the different features they all have that make them ideal for squirrel hunting.
Reasons for Using an Air Rifle
Using an air gun will improve any hunter’s marksmanship and shooting skills while using any rifle. It is the first form of practice you need before challenging yourself with big game hunting. Spring-powered air guns have adverse recoil as well, and this will let you handle the full recoil of a rimfire or bore rifles as well.
When going out for target practice, it is cheaper to do it with an air rifle than with a full bore rifle. The logic is that the costs of an air gun are more affordable, yet it offers a similar hunting experience. When you get better aim using the air gun rifles, the same will reflect when hunting big game using a rimfire or center rifle.
When hunting for small pesky rodents like vermin rats and squirrels on your farmyard, air guns are safer and will not destroy farm machinery when you miss your target. Besides using it for pest control, air guns can be for entertainment as well. Not many states have dire ramifications for possessing and owning an air rifle gun. Therefore you can use it to shoot at targets with your friends when they come over.
Why I Like Them?
Air rifles are a silent killer when you fix it with a moderator that takes away the noise when you fire. Because of this, you can hunt as many squirrels and vermin rats on the go before realizing they are being picked out one by one.
Unlike using a rifle or shotguns, air guns will not need regular cleaning each time you fire. It is because they never use chemicals as fuels; therefore, they are not complicated to handle.
Also, because air rifles have little recoil compared to rimfire and center rifles, they will not stress your body each time you fire. It makes them the preferred choice for people with disabilities and the aged who require little resistance and complications.
Headshots are very effective for taking down even big game animals. The advantage is it preserves the meat if you plan to eat it. Because air rifles have limited power and chemicals, the meat stays free from peppered pellets you would have if you used a shotgun instead.
Review of the Ten Best Air Rifles You Can Find in the Market Today
I will start with the first air rifle that I tried during my squirrel-hunting quest—the Gamo Magnum Air Rifle .22 Cal. The first thing I noticed when I handled it for the first time is how sturdy it is. It also feels lightweight, which is a bonus if you want to use it for longer hours. There is also so much control when locking into targets, especially fast-moving targets.
The good thing about the Gamo Magnum air rifle is that it gives a clean but lethal shot. I realized that the squirrel I hunted was not battered to a pulp, and the meat was preserved. Another advantage is how much power it has yet subtle and causes only slight vibrations you can handle after you fire it. Few vibrations mean a firm hand and can easily get the second shot accurately if you need more than one shot to kill a squirrel.
The Gamo Magnum air rifle comes fitted with a rear sight and front scope for improved accuracy. The front scope is fixed, but you can make adjustments on the rear sight. One thing that favored my quest when using the Gamo Magnum air rifle is the excellent optics. The field of view is clear and reliable, which makes you hit targets accurately.
I had the advantage of speed, as the .22 Cal used on the Gamo Magnum air rifles has a fast velocity. They move at 1300 feet per second. It is safe to use as it has a recoil pad that reduces the recoil to a paltry 74%. It is also waterproof since I used it in the rain, without any hiccups.
- It has minimal vibration
- The Gamo Magnum air rifle has a high velocity .22 Cal
- Adjustable trigger
- Reduces the felt recoil by up to 74%
- It offers the hunter powerful shots
- It comes inclusive with useful accessories
- I found it to be more loud compared to other air rifles under review here.
It is one of the best air rifles for squirrels as it has two features that other models do not have. The first thing I loved about this rifle is that it has a high-quality and two-stage trigger that makes it easy to engage. The second aspect is that the trigger pressure is ideal, and it let me take shots at the precise moment I wanted.
The Hatsan 95 Air Rifle Combo is a gun that is also aesthetically appealing. The steel barrel looks nice, yet it manages to fire accurately with minimal effort.
With this particular air rifle, you can have three versions: .22, .25, and .177 — and each will give you exceptional performances. The .22 has a maximum velocity of only 1 000 FPS, which is decent as it builds on accuracy. On the other hand, the .177 caliber is the best for all long-range shooting as it offers a velocity of up to 1,300 FPS. The .25 is the least in terms of velocity as it only has a maximum velocity of 650 FPS.
The Hatsan 95 Air Rifle Combo comes with open sights that I found the best for taking clear shots. Because it is the best for both mid and short-range shooting, I rank it as one of the best air rifles for squirrel hunting.
The Hatsan 95 Air rifle has a beautiful design of walnut wood. It will give you superior accuracy and is a rifle with superior features than most.
- Anti-beartrap mechanism
- Sturdy gun
- Clean shots
- Some people may find it difficult gun to cock
- The grouping is sometimes spread in a few of the rifles made.
Hunting pesky tree rats and squirrels can be a fun sport if you have the Gamo Varmint air rifle. Sometimes after having a bad day, all I need is to feel better, and hunting squirrels offers more resolve than the rigorous process of hunting deer, hogs, or ducks.
The Gamo Varmint air rifle is a .177 Cal designed to remove the stress pests bring to your life. It is a simple air rifle that fires a caliber up to 1250 feet per second. With such firepower, it is enough to fall a squirrel from a tree minimizing the rare chance of missing your target.
The Gamo Varmint Air Rifle is also an all-weather gun with excellent stability, which combines well with quality to give you maximum performance. It is lightweight and synthetic stock that is also easy to carry everywhere you go.
It uses match-grade polymer steel, and the jacketed barrel is somewhat fluted, which adds speed and spin to your ammunition. The Gamo Varmint air rifle uses a two-stage and adjustable trigger that gives the feeling of a comfortable and customized fit. The thick butt-pad will absorb most of the recoil, and this ensures a smooth shooting experience for all hunters.
- Sturdy gun
- Clean shots
- Is somewhat louder than other air rifles
Another best air rifle that I tested is the Gamo Whisper Silent Cat Air rifle because it has decent speed and accuracy. It has a maximum velocity of 1200 FPS, which is fast enough for hunting squirrels from mid to short-range distances.
The Gamo Whisper Silent Cat Air Rifle operates using a single cocking system, which is ideal for smooth shooting. It also uses automatic cocking to make it faster to shoot and easy to operate. The most crucial feature I loved about this air rifle is that it has a first and second stage of trigger adjustments that make it precise and comfortable.
The barrel is of the Gamo Whisper Silent Cat Air Rifle is fluted and has a polymer jacketed steel. The air rifle is also dead silent as it has a noise dampener that makes it undetectable to the squirrel population. It means that you cannot disrupt the squirrels because the gun makes no noise when your fire. The dampener has the potential to reduce the noise from air rifles by almost half.
You would not disrupt the squirrels since this air rifle comes with a noise dampener that is not detachable. The noise dampener can minimize the noise produced by air rifles by almost half, which allows you to attract more squirrels.
The design comes with a rubber pad for the butt of your air rifle. It takes away the recoil and makes for comfortable shooting as well. It comes with the best optics, which makes you shoot accurately at your targets. The sights are both waterproof and fog proof, which makes it a durable all-season air rifle.
- Powerful shots
- Reliable optic sight
- Quiet operation
- The scope is sometimes wobbly
The Benjamin Trail NP XL Magnum is among the best air guns for novice hunters. It has a total length of 4.25 inches and is considered among the full rifles available under this review. The aesthetic wood stock design makes it a lightweight air rifle at only 9.7 pounds.
It has a thumbhole stock that feels comfortable for all hands and coupled-up with a good grip that adds to your pinpoint accuracy shots.
The Benjamin Trail NP XL Magnum uses Benjamin’s Nitro Piston Technology and is also a single hot air gun. The manufacturer replaced the steel spring as the source of power with this new technology as its main aim is to reduce the feel of recoil when you fire.
Through the use of Nitro Piston technology, you can have improved accuracy as you have a faster locker time. It can fire pellets at 1100 feet per second, making it a lethal rifle for hunting small game like squirrels and rabbits.
It has a quiet but simple break barrel as its action. Because it reduces noise, you can take a second shot if you happen to miss your first one. The trigger is also smooth and is only a brisk 3.5 pounds. The weight of the trigger is not adjustable, which is a downside, but if you are a straight shooter, you will have no qualms with this design.
Most novice hunters will enjoy using this air rifle for target practice as the skills can easily be transferred to the full gun when hunting for a big game. Every shot you fire will carry a 30-foot-pound of downrange muzzle energy. The Benjamin Trail NP XL Magnum, therefore, is among the most hard-hitting air rifles that take down small game with a single shot. The hard punch is a welcome feature as I like to consider the humane side of killing prey; it should be a quick and painless death.
- Powerful shots
- Reliable optic sight
- Quiet operation
- The weight of the trigger is not adjustable
Under this review, this is the most potent air gun rifle in the market. The Seneca Dragon Claw is for situations where you need one shot, and it must be the killer shot. When I was using the Seneca Dragon Claw air rifle, I preferred the .50 Cal.
One thing I admire most about this rifle is the pre-charged pneumatic design. It makes this beast gun able to fire .50 Cal up to 679 feet per second and a 230 ft.-lbs muzzle energy. With this kind of firepower, it is no surprise that you can hunt and successfully kill both small and medium-sized game like small hogs, foxes, coyotes, and possums.
The outstanding feature of the Seneca Dragon Claw air rifle is that it uses dual tanks of 500cc air capacity. The dual tanks are under your air rifles barrels that give it balance when handling it. It also comes with the best adjustable sights accompanied by a dovetail rail to mount the optics on your rifle’s barrel. It has an appealing aesthetics as the wooden stock finish on the fore-end is quite attractive.
- Sturdy gun
- Clean shots
- Accurate and powerful
- The dual tank feels cumbersome and makes the rifle heavy
The Crosman Benjamin Rogue SBD is an improved version of the original Benjamin SBD. The acronym SBD stands for Silencing Barrel Device. As a result, this reduces the noise when you fire the rifle and is up to three times more silent than other air rifles in the market.
It is also a powerful rifle as it fires the .177 caliber design pellet up to 1,400 feet per second. If you are looking for a silent killer’s true definition, then you must try the Benjamin Vaporizer SBD. When hunting for small prey like rabbits and pesky pests like squirrels, it is a brutal rifle that kills on impact. It, therefore, offers the prey a humane, quick, and painless death.
The Silencing barrel device is odd-looking, but I love how it functions well and is also out of the way, so it doesn’t block the adjustable scopes. Another essential feature worth mentioning is the two-stage trigger that gives a smooth squeeze.
- Sturdy gun
- Clean shots
- The most silent air rifle because of the SBD
- Appears complicated and not for the novice hunter
The Beeman R7 is one of the smallest and compact air rifles in the market today. Yet, despite the size, it is still powerful enough to fall small pre like squirrels. It is also not lacking in the accuracy department as it has excellent balance and control. When I was using it, I discovered that it is remarkable at hitting fast-moving objects as it also has high speed and velocity. It can fire a .177 pellet up to 700 feet per second.
It is a model that takes after the popular Beeman R1 air rifle. The idea behind the same design was to create a shorter, lighter, and comfortable to shoot weapon. An excellent feature that complements the design is the use of a double joint cocking lever, which reduces the effort when cocking.
The barrel design is a spring-piston that can propel a .177 Cal accurately and at faster speeds. The trigger is also adjustable and breaks at 1.25 lbs.
The Beeman’s reduced effort cocking device makes it unique and an overall excellent break barrel design. The fact that it is 5 inches shorter and 2.5 pounds lighter than the Beeman R1 makes it the clear winner.
The Beeman R7 is among my favored air rifles because it comes with adjustable scopes and mounts for all your optical needs.
- Adjustable trigger
- Some people feel like it lacks enough killer power
When you want a simple design, then the Benjamin Fortitude is among the top air rifles. It is also easy to use and affordable. The Benjamin Fortitude has all the features you need to hunt and kill small game like rabbits and squirrels. The pellets come in two sizes you can choose from, either the .117 or—22 caliber pellet rifles. For the .117Cal, you will have a 950 FPS, and the .22 offers up to 800 FPS.
It is a bolt action and a single-shot air rifle that has a 10-round rotary magazine. The Benjamin Fortitude weighs a paltry 5.3 pounds and is an all-weather type of design. It is lethal at distances under 100 yards, and this is why I love it for all my hunting experience. The single-stage trigger design allows a constant pull that makes it accurate.
- Easy to use
- Lethal at distances under 100 yards
- None worth mentioning
It is an elegant and refined air rifle design. It has a sleek appearance, and it does back it up with more firepower. The Air Arms TX200 Hunter Carbine is a compact and lightweight .177 rifle known to be the best for target shooting and hunting of small game. This gun has excellent accuracy and can send a pellet downrange up to 930 FPS. It comes with an underlying under lever of 34 pounds cocking effort.
The Air Arms TX200 Hunter carbine is the best for hunting small game as it is lethal for prey like rabbits and squirrels. It is exceptionally lightweight and has a beautiful wooden stock finish that makes it aesthetically appealing. It has decent handling, and it is easy to use and the best for the novice hunter.
The most impressive feature is the two-stage adjustable trigger that is coupled-up with a barrel from Lothar Walther to give it precision and accuracy.
- Easy to use
- Sleek design and a two-stage adjustable trigger
- Expensive is not a con as you cannot drive a Ferrari that you cannot afford.
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36 years old, been hunting and fishing my entire life – love the outdoors, family, and all kinds of hunting and fishing! I have spent thousands of hours hunting hogs and training hunting dogs, but I’m always learning new stuff and really happy to be sharing them with you! hit me up with an email in the contact form if you have any questions.