by B.B. Pelletier

Yesterday, we had a question posted to the September 2 post, A rifle to hunt squirrels and rabbits. Although that post was an answer to a different question from another reader, a lot of readers have posted their views and questions to it. Yesterday’s question went like this:

Very interested in this discussion as I need to eliminate some pest rodents and birds. Can someone recommend an inexpensive rifle for the job? I was looking at the Daisy 22SG. Are there any other rifles I should consider?

None better?
Good question! I searched the Pyramyd website looking for a better gun, or at least one just as good. The Crosman 2260 is a candidate, but the Daisy 22SG is a pneumatic rifle, so I tried to stay in the powerplant family. The 2260 is CO2, of course. If that isn’t a problem, it’s a fine air rifle and great for pest elimination. The published velocity is a little faster than the Daisy, but I think you can consider both rifles to be equal. As far as accuracy goes, I don’t have a Crosman to compare to, and I won’t make any guesses. Maybe, some readers can give us their experiences.

Remington’s AirMaster 77 kit is nice, but it’s a .177 and you know how I feel about .22 as a hunting gun. If we were to go with .177s, then there are a lot of additional choices. I also searched the used guns, but at present there isn’t an equivalent gun for sale. Crosman’s Quest 1000 from the sale page is a nice breakbarrel for little money, but, again, it’s not a pneumatic.

Daisy is alone
Crosman used to go head-to-head with Daisy on nice, inexpensive .22 pneumatics. Their 2200 was a great gun that was made until very recently. You might watch the used gun section to see if any more rebuilds become available. Crosman only makes the 2100B these days, and it’s a .177/BB, which I would not recommend for pest removal unless we’re talking about rats, chipmunks and sparrows.

Avoid the foreign models
Elsewhere on the Internet you’ll find some cheap Chinese pneumatics, but the ones I’ve tested were pretty inaccurate. A few years ago, there was an Indonesian pneumatic (the Arrow) that looked pretty nice. What the maker said about it was good, but the one I tested just didn’t live up to all the claims. And, as long as eight years ago, the Indonesians were making copies of the Japanese Sharp Innova and Ace pneumatic rifles. They were actually pretty good – not as nice as a real Sharp, but hard to ignore. Those rifles are now a thing of the past now.

Straight talk about the 22SG
Even though Daisy has a metal receiver, there’s a lot of plastic in the gun. So much, in fact, that many traditionalists may be inclined to discount it. The biggest plastic part is the pump handle. I am an oldtimer who is used to steel pump mechanisms covered in wooden handles, but I have to admit that this pump handle works! The geometry of the pump mechanism puts very little strain on the handle and the engineering plastic looks stronger than it needs to be. I don’t think there’s any cause for concern there. For the power the rifle delivers (the velocity figures are slightly conservative!), the 22SG is the easiest-pumping pneumatic on the market.

The cocking bolt works stiffly for a shooter used to a Crosman 1400 or similar gun. It’s lighter to cock than a Sheridan Blue Streak, but not by a lot. And, I find the loading port a little on the small size for my medium-sized fingers.

On the plus side, the stock is real wood! There is also a TruGlo front sight for rapid sight acquisition, plus the rifle comes with a 4x scope and nice mounts. So, the only thing you need to buy are pellets.

Accuracy is good for a gun this inexpensive. The late James House thought a lot of this rifle with open sights, and I’m sure he would have loved this scoped version, as well. By the way, House tested his gun with lots of pellets, and his favorites were Daisy Precision Max pointed field pellets and Gamo Match pellets.

So, dear reader, you found the best gun for your endeavor, in my opinion. The rest of you could hardly do better than the Daisy 22SG for an economical pneumatic hunting rifle.