This report covers:

  • The point
  • Open sights
  • Pesting
  • Pest birds
  • Big game
  • What airgun?
  • Summary

My first blog was published on March 2, 2005. The title was Hunt with the Sheridan Blue Streak air rifle. That was over 17 years ago and the Blue Streak has since passed into history. But we still have multi-pumps that are capable of the same energy and accuracy and even more. My question is — is anyone hunting with their airgun?

Sheridan Blue Streak
Sheridan Blue Streak.

I remember a shot I took with a Blue Streak back in 1979. A rabbit had invaded my garden and I shot him from about 35 yards away. From an offhand hold I got a perfect heart shot. The rabbit jumped straight up and collapsed where he had stood. If it hadn’t been the height of summer I would have eaten him, but the concern over parasites caused me not to. I have since learned that this fear may be unfounded, but back then I didn’t have the internet to check things.

The point

My point is, back in 1979 I owned two air rifles — an FWB 124 and a Sheridan Blue Streak. I considered the Blue Streak my hunting airgun.

Two new multi-pumps

Today, although the Blue Streak is history, we have the Crosman 362 and Seneca Dragonfly Mark 2. The 362 is presently only available in .22 caliber, but the Dragonfly Mark 2 comes in both .177 and .22. Both rifles are powerful enough to hold their own with the Blue Streak. If easy pumping is what you’re after, go with the Dragonfly Mark 2. If cost is an issue, the 362 is your rifle. The point is, you have a choice and both rifles are very worthy.

Crosman 362
Crosman 362.

Dragonfly Mk2
Dragonfly Mark 2.

Open sights

Multi-pumps and scopes do not get along. Yes there are ways to mount them and the Dragonfly Mark 2 is especially easy to pump with its scissors linkage, even when, because of the scope, you cannot hold it correctly. But come on, guys — just pump and shoot!

Pesting

Hunting implies taking game to be eaten. If you shoot other troublesome animals or insects just to get rid of them it’s called pesting. Anyone who keeps chickens also has rats. The rats will avoid interaction with humans until they reach a tipping point, after which they act like they really don’t care. I have seen a large rat rear up, hiss and back up a cat. Yes, rats hiss.

Shooting rats with airguns is economical and reasonably safe, though you do have to be concerned where the pellets go when they miss the rats and also when they penetrate them completely. My wife used to feed birds on our front porch in Maryland until one day she noticed that a bird had vanished with just a few feathers left behind. Then she began to watch and indeed a nest of rats had taken up residence under our porch and were killing the birds. So my wife started killing them. She stalked them from outside the house on our front lawn where she could see the porch clearly. She told me she killed over a dozen rats and learned that you never leave them where they lie because they eat their own. You reach up from the outside bottom of a plastic grocery bag and grab the tail to pull the dead rat into the bag. Then the bag is disposed of with the rat inside and you wash your hands thoroughly.

Two things I remember about this are the day she nailed one with a head shot from 25 feet and the day she killed five babies that were sunning themselves on our front steps. All of this was done with the old Sheridan Cylindrical pellet that came in the yellow plastic box.

Blue Streak Sheridan Pellet
The Sheridan Cylindrical pellet wasn’t the most accurate in its day and it still isn’t, but it did/does its job if you did/do yours.

Shop SIG Sauer Airguns

Pest birds

If you grow crops or feed animals and you keep grain for them — especially corn — you have pigeons. They roost above your corncribs and eat the kernels, then poop on the corn. Not good! But there is a roof above where they roost and you don’t want to put a hole in it. This is a job for a pellet rifle like the Diana 27. Smack ’em, drop ’em into the crib and then throw the carcass out. Keep that corn as clean as possible.

Big game

Airguns have not traditionally been thought of for hunting large game, though history tells us they were doing it as long ago as the 17th century. But starting in the 1990s with Dennis Quackenbush, we got modern big bore air rifles and even some big bore pistols that can take out the largest game on the North American continent — save for grizzly/Kodiak and polar bears. Them I would not try. But North American deer and even elk (wapiti) and moose (elk) are fair game.

Slow death

I have “hunted” on a high-fence exotic game ranch here in Texas and witnessed a mountain sheep being taken by Paul Capello with a Korean big bore. The animal stood still for several minutes as it bled out, similar to an animal harvested with an arrow. You have to get this image right in your mind before you go or it will break your heart.

I have also had to finish a small deer that a local Bubba in Maryland wounded with a shotgun shooting birdshot. He was “hunting” in a small wooded patch across the street from my house. I shot the deer in the brain with a .22 rimfire to finish it.

Bubba had no idea what he was doing, so I took out my 2-1/2-inch pocketknife and talked him through cleaning the animal. He wanted to cut its throat to “bleed it out” but I told him that removing its entrails would accomplish the same thing in a fraction of the time. When he reached into the chest cavity and cut the diaphragm to reach up into the neck and cut the esophagus and then slid down the intestines to cut the anal canal I thought he was going to puke. Then we dumped the innards and blood out and he had a much lighter animal to carry home. Oh, I also cut out the heart and liver and told him they were delicacies. I think Bubba went to MacDonalds for his next meat meal. And my point is — if you kill it you have to know what to do next.

What airgun?

If you do hunt, what do you hunt with? If you hunt and pest with more than one airgun please tell us what you use for what and why.

Summary

After reading about all the plinking you readers do I felt certain that a few of you also hunted with airguns. I want to know about it.