A rifle to hunt squirrels and rabbits
by B.B. Pelletier
I got a good question to the August 19 post, Best pellet of all?
OK, great scoop on the pellets. What I need is some advice on the best rifle for hunting. I am looking for a rifle to hunt squirrels, rabbits etc and am having a hard time deciding between a .177 or .22 350 or GAMO 1250. I am also looking at the RWS Mendoza RM 2003 combo (interchangeable barrels .22 and .177) , but can’t find any info on this rifle. Any recommendations?
Picking the right caliber
I recommend only .22 caliber for hunting. I have found, along with many other hunters, that .177 pellets often pass through small game without immediate effects. Then, you have an animal seriously injured and possibly dying a painful, protracted death. I wouldn’t do that to a rat. A .22 pellet tends to stay inside the animal, plus the punch it delivers really moves the critter when it hits.
I’m not saying you can’t hunt with a .177. Many people do very well with that caliber, but their shot placement has to be near-perfect. I’m just saying that if you don’t already own the gun, go for the .22.
And the right pellet(s)
Since we’re considering only spring rifles, pellet selection is easy. If you can limit your shots to 30 yards or less, try the Beeman Crow Magnum and see if it is accurate enough in the gun you buy. If you can hand-hold five shots inside a one-inch circle at that range, I’d say the pellet is okay. If the Crow Magnum isn’t the one, try the RWS Super-H-Point.
Now, before I get messages asking why I didn’t include the JSB Predator in the list, I have tested these pellets and found them not to be accurate enough at distance. Remember, I’m talking 30 yards, here! If you have a different experience, go ahead and use them. I know they work really well when they hit! I think most JSB pellets are tops, but not this one.
For longer ranges – actually, for ALL ranges – domed pellets are my preferred choice. My number one choice is the JSB Exact domed pellet. It tends to be the most accurate pellet in many air rifles. A second choice is the Beeman Kodiak (H&N Baracuda). Sometimes this will be the most accurate, and both of these powerful rifles can handle this pellet’s extra weight. Finally, don’t overlook Crosman Premiers. Sometimes they will outshoot everything in a particular airgun.
Lastly, picking the right rifle!
The Gamo 1250 is Gamo’s finest air rifle in my opinion. It has the best finish, a very smooth firing behavior and is reasonably easy to cock for the power. You would be very happy with this rifle, I’m sure. I’ve also tested the Diana RWS 350 Magnum and it to be more accurate. Maybe it was just me, and maybe it was the particular rifles I tested, but the results were very clearly in favor of the 350.
Before I close…have you given any thought to the Diana RWS 48 or the fancier model 52? These guns are easier to cock than the 350 and have almost as much power. I find them easier to shoot accurately, and either one would be my top choice of all the rifles we have mentioned.
Keep in mind that this posting has a lot of my opinion in it. Nothing I’ve said is absolute; it’s just what I think. I’d like to hear what you readers think, and how you would advise the person who posted today’s question.