Air Gun Hunting 101
Many people associate air guns with childhood toys, but more recent models have become incredibly powerful and can be a great choice for hunting. A 22-caliber air rifle can take down small game including rabbits and small birds. If you are ready to start air gun hunting, Armory offers a variety of high-quality rifles from the best brands.
More information about hunting with air rifles:
Benefits of Air Gun Hunting
Those who are used to hunting with firearms may wonder what the benefits of an air rifle could be. It is fairly similar to bow hunting in that the game needs to be closer than with firearms and skill and accuracy are important. In fact, many bowhunters take an interest in air gun hunting for these reasons.
Some of the benefits of hunting with an air gun include:
Quieter than a Firearm
Air guns do produce some noise when firing. This varies depending on the caliber and the model being used. However, this is generally a pop or hissing sound instead of a bang or crack like a traditional rifle. This makes them a good choice for hunting in fairly populated areas and can also make it easier to practice target shooting on your property without annoying your neighbors. Make sure to check local regulations before practicing on your property, as this may not be allowed in your area.
Easier to Clean
Firearms use powder to shoot and the barrel of the gun will generally need to be cleaned after every hunt. Air guns stay cleaner for longer, which results in less work for you. There's also no chemical build-up from air gun shooting.
Test Your Skills
This is a benefit for some hunters, although it can also be a downside of air gun hunting if you are just starting out. Hunting with an air rifle requires accuracy, which means it is an opportunity to test your marksmanship skills. Many individuals do consider this a benefit as they enjoy the challenge of using an air gun for hunting.
What to Be Aware of Before Air Gun Hunting
Before you purchase an air gun and start hunting, there are many factors to consider to make sure you are doing so safely and effectively.
Some aspects to be aware of include:
The Legality of Air Rifle Hunting
It's important to be aware of local laws before you start hunting with an air rifle. Some areas do not allow air gun hunting and most have some restrictions. For example, you may need to use a specific caliber depending on the type of game you are hunting, your gun may need to meet certain requirements, et cetera. A license may also be required for hunting in general. It is your responsibility to know what the laws are in your area. In the United States, the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) sets these regulations. Contacting your local office could be a good place to start to familiarize yourself with applicable laws.
Air Gun Safety
Although some individuals grew up with BB guns, air guns are not toys and should be handled with care. If you use firearms as well, you should follow all of the same rules you would for a standard gun when you are handling an air rifle. One reason for this is that gun safety should be second nature and using an air rifle differently than a firearm can weaken the habits you form while using your other weapons. Air guns can also result in serious injury or death if used improperly.
Some air gun safety rules to be aware of include:
- Never point your air rifle at anyone or anything you do not wish to shoot. This also means you should never look down the barrel of the gun.
- Be aware of your target and what is beyond it. Pellets, like bullets, can penetrate a target and move through it, so you need to know what else you could hit if that happens.
- Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot.
- Never use an air gun while intoxicated.
- Follow all the instructions for your specific model.
Air Gun Hunting Ethics
Ensuring a humane kill is important for any type of hunting and this is essential to consider before you hunt with an air rifle. One factor that plays a part in this is the caliber of pellets you use. 22-caliber air rifles are best used for hunting small game. You can also use .177 air guns and pellets for smaller animals, if you prefer this caliber. Large game should only be hunted with big-bore pellet guns. It's also important to consider range. Compared to firearms, air guns require you to shoot while closer to your target so that the velocity is fast enough for a kill.
Additionally, shot placement is essential. You need to be able to hit the animal in the brain, heart, or lungs to kill them quickly. Headshots are the most effective. If you hit the animal elsewhere, they may be able to escape and their death will be slower and more painful. For small game, the area you are trying to hit is usually smaller than a quarter. To hunt ethically, you need to shoot from a close range where you can be confident that you will make this shot. Do not take any shot that you are not sure about.
Getting the Right Gear
To start air gun hunting, you will need a high-quality rifle in your desired caliber. In many cases, pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air guns are preferred by serious hunters, although which gun you choose comes down to your personal preferences. For the most part, you should not use an air pistol since it is unlikely that it will have the power necessary to take down your target. You will also need a scope, which may or may not come with the air gun you purchase. You should test out your scope before hunting and make sure you like it and are able to use it properly. Having enough pellets is also important for training and hunting.
Hunting Air Guns at Armory
At Armory, we carry a wide variety of high-quality air rifles. Our air guns come from the top brands in the industry including Beeman, SIG SAUER, Ceonic, Aselkon, and Marksman.