Friday, January 27, 2012

Air Guns

Air Guns for Survival

Air guns for hunting small game?  Absolutely. To my simple way of thinking it's a very efficient and practical weapon to consider. Can you kill a wild boar or a deer.  No, not with the rifles I'm discussing although there are high powered rifles very capable of taking even the largest of game. I'm talking about the ones they sell in WalMart for under 200 bucks.

Here's  a couple of reasons to consider these as a survival type weapon. First - they are quiet. You can shoot these in your backyard and never raise an eyebrow. That alone is a feature that greatly appeals to me. Secondly, there are very potent on small game. A well placed shot, i.e.,  in the kill zone, will dispatch a squirrel, rabbit, armadillo ( great eating by the way) doves, quail etc. as effectively at short ranges as a 22. What are short ranges?  I'm saying  under  50 yards.  Under  25 is even better if your stalking skills are up to par.

I have a Gamo Whisper .177 caliber.  It's a Break Barrel, single cocking system, spring piston type - which BTW, is the most common type available. Velocity is 1200 feet per second with PBA and  1000 feet per second with lead pellets.  I had a 3-9 x 40 scope mounted on it for a while and you can  drive a tack at 20 yds with that combo. I've just switched to a red dot scope and initial sighting in looks very accurate. BTW - I'm doing that sighting in by shooting  at a target with suitable back stop- in my garage. Try that with a standard rifle. You'd have a SWAT team beating down your door.

I'm not going into a long technical discussion here. I don't know all that stuff and it's readily available online for those that are interested. But I do want to mention one other very attractive feature about air guns. You can buy a box of 500 pellets for about 6 bucks. That's a lot of shots folks. At those prices you can afford to practice a little, maybe even bust a few beer bottles and cans.  Empties of course.

For you technical types  Dr. Robert Beeman has a handy little graph that gives one an idea of what level of power is needed for dispatching the game you are hunting. According to Dr. Beeman, 3 fpe is all that is needed to dispatch a squirrel, provided you have placed the pellet in the kill zone. With a pellet weighing roughly 8 grains, that translates to about 415 feet per second at the point of impact. In a .22 caliber airgun, an average weight pellet only has to be going about 300 fps to achieve the same level of energy needed to accomplish the deed. Here's the link to that graph.

Because  the kill zone on small game is rather tiny, I do recommend the use of a scope. Not only does it increase accuracy, but it is also a great aid in locating game hiding in brush or, in the case of squirrels, up in the top of trees. I find a 3-9x variable scope with an adjustable objective (AO) to be adequate for most hunting situations. One  thing about scopes. Don't mount that old 3-9x you picked up at a garage sale. The vibrations from a spring-piston type will shake that scope to pieces post haste. Get a scope designed for use with a air gun.

I have yet to field test the difference in pointed and hollow point pellets on small game but from my research and hunting experience with that old standby - the 22 caliber bullet, I'm quite sure hollow points will be my choice.

Think about it. Do a little research on those babies and I think you'll agree with me.