Air Rifle for Rabbits - Advice sought.

#1
Or perhaps more accurately, can anyone suggest a suitable air rifle for shooting them while ambling through vineyards?

I'd appreciate any help with selecting something, and I suppose I'd better set down what I think the requirements are:

a) Length - frankly, the shorter the better, but not at the expense of accuracy. Do the 'carbine' models fire - for hunting purposes - as accurately as full barrel versions? Depends on the range you may ask, so that leads me on to question 2:

b) At what range could I expect to kill a rabbit (assuming a good clean shot)? 177, or 22? I'm rather assuming that .22 will be better at longer ranges?

c) Is there a general consensus on which caliber is better for shooting rabbits at a range of (?) <40->80m?

d) From a cursory internet search I rather like the specs of: BSA R10 Mk2 (compact, looks well built, and it's British); Weihrauch HW100 S (great reputation, but not as short as I'd like); and, pushing the patience of her indoors, the Daystate Air Wolf MCT (sounds like a state of the art plinker, and looks about the right size to tote a couple of hundred metres to the vineyards).

If it were simply a case of bagging some rabbits for the pot I would go for a small shotgun, but I only get home (to France) rarely, and a shotgun licence could be a challenge - a FAC would probably only be a pipe dream. Additionally, I enjoy target shooting (prefer pistols, but hey-ho) so would like something to plink away with without having firearms squads surrounding my pad.

I'd appreciate any advice any of you may have on what sort of thing to go for. Thanks in anticipation.

Regards.
 
#2
I'm not an expert but I've heard that the .177 is the best to go for as it has the flattest trajectory and you don't lose any considerable amount of range. This is only what I've heard from air rifle-ing mates, and in all honesty I found no difference in accuracy when have shots at targets. Just my 2p worth :)
 
#3
As I like contradicting people, I've heard (from a pretty knowledgeable chap - NRA instructor) that .22 is best for pest control as it's harder hitting (.177 is better for target shooting).

The thing to remember with air rifles (non-FAC ones, anyway) is that it's energy (i.e. the muzzle velocity for a given projectile) that's restricted, so barrel length won't make as much difference as it would on a firearm, because it won't actually have a higher muzzle velocity.

As for range, I've never really shot an air rifle at anything more than 15m, but I'd be quite suprised if you could slot a rabbit at more than 50m.
 
#4
Ah, well there you go :)

I wasn't 100%, just what I'd heard, but with a shot to the head at 40m I wouldn't think there would be any noticeable difference?
 
#5
Only way to make sure of a kill is a head shot - with that in mind the flat trajectory of the .177 compensates for the harder hit of the .22 bearing in mind the legal limit is 12ft lbs .
I always used .22 for rabbits on the farm and still have a BSA Airsporter and a Fienwerkbau 127 sport both in .22 .... the Fienwerkbau was paid for by getting 50p per bunny shot with the BSA from our local butcher back in the late 70's.
About 40m was the max range we would attempt to shoot rabbits at using a 4 x 32 telescopic sight , doubt very much I could do that now but at 14 years old I practicaly lived with my trusty air rifle in my hand .
 
#6
Looking at the choice of air rifles you've listed, I'd go for the HW100 carbine with the thumbhole stock. It'll give you 50 - 60 shots off a full air fill and comes with two 14 shot magazines which ever calibre you choose. It has to be the most reliable indexing system available out there.
Range for rabbits - best advice is about 30 yards maximum, always have to go for the "one shot, one kill" to be kind to the fluffy bunnies - head shot.
.22 or .177 ?
The .177 has a flatter trajectory and the .22 a more loopy trajectory - as long as you know and are confident in your aim points the choice of calibre should not matter as both will do the job.

Advice on the rifle is a bit biased as I've got two in both flavours - good solid German engineering!

HTH,

Al
 
#7
Thanks everyone for the advice - I had the sneaking suspicion that my ranges were on the optimistic side. Much as I am happy to enrage the do-gooder brigade, if I am going to kill an animal I believe it should be as quickly as possible, so thank you for the advice on effective ranges.

I'm not sure on French regulations on air rifles, but if it's like pretty much everything else I've seen since living in France, they probably have a more relaxed attitude to muzzle velocity than the UK. There was another reason for mentioning muzzle length (thanks Mattb for your response) and that is that my wife has worryingly given me her assent for me to follow my hunter-gatherer instinct and she shows a more worrying propensity to follow in my footsteps.

I'd like to say my wife is a tall, willowy creature, but she is not. She is about 5'7" and with that stature a carbine is probable more 'manhandleable' [apologies to GW Bush] than a rifle. If they are broadly similar in accuracy, the the carbine gets my vote.

HW100 is looking good after trawling a few more reviews - if anyone has any other recommendations then they would be welcome.

PS When I said FAC I assumed it meant a certificate for a firearm. Having looked at some UK sites I realise a bit more reading is in order.

Thanks all.
 

TheIronDuke

ADC
Book Reviewer
#8
Depends why you are shooting rabbits. A .22 will drop a rabbit so you can neck it and eat it. A .177 will go through a rabbit and sometimes it will keep running and die later. So if you want to eat rbbits, a .22 will be the answer. If you want to just kill them, a .177.

Personally I like to pour petrol down their holes then listen to White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane on my iPod whilst smoking a fag. Then wrap a stone in cloth, soak in petrol, light and chuck it at the rabbit warren. It is just like being in the Somme. Apart from the iPod, obviously.

Shotgun regulations in rural France you say? Really?
 
#9
Depends why you are shooting rabbits. A .22 will drop a rabbit so you can neck it and eat it. A .177 will go through a rabbit and sometimes it will keep running and die later. So if you want to eat rbbits, a .22 will be the answer. If you want to just kill them, a .177.

Personally I like to pour petrol down their holes then listen to White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane on my iPod whilst smoking a fag. Then wrap a stone in cloth, soak in petrol, light and chuck it at the rabbit warren. It is just like being in the Somme. Apart from the iPod, obviously.

Shotgun regulations in rural France you say? Really?
To eat them - they're not as prolific as the things in Hythe camp - or was it Lydd? (And to kill them.)

So .22 in your opinion?

Hear what you're saying about rural France and adherence to regulations. What can I say? It's great!
 
#11
I used a bolt-action Webley FX-2000 - precharged .22 (hand pump to pressurise the tank) against vermin where I used to live (Kauai). Feral chickens were the game of choice and the scoped Webley took care of business with no problems out to 30/40 yards. Now, when I say chickens, these buggers were the result of the cock-fighters breeding with the domestics having been blown all over the island by hurricanes Ewa and Iniki, interbred, large and noisy as fcuk. But not around my house ... The Webley was (and still is) a nice consistent rifle in .22 with excellent take down power.
 
#12
Informed consensus seems to be .22 (especially for fur rather than feathers). So be it. Thanks.

So I'll be looking at a .22 with a maximum effective range of about 40-50 yards for a furry thing.

Would a 'carbine' be noticeably less effective at that sort of range?

Apologies for all the questions - were it a case of popping down to the second-hand shop and piking up an air rifle things would be easy, but it seems that air rifles have evolved a bit over the past few years (and that is reflected in their price).
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#13
.22 has more thump but is slower then .177 which has better penetration and a flatter tragectory.

you could take bunnies with either but you need to be very accurate to make it count.
 
#14
.22 has more thump but is slower then .177 which has better penetration and a flatter tragectory.

you could take bunnies with either but you need to be very accurate to make it count.
Immature twat...get a life and leave the fcukin rabbits alone. When the lead is coming in your direction remember this post... they don't wanna die either!
 
#16
Are you in France? If you are then I believe that there may be problems with owning an air rifle of sufficient power to kill anything other than mice.
Here's some info on French fire arms law LINK

Most people who use air rifles seem to go down the Pre Charged Pneumatic route. The trouble is, they are generally stupid money
I recently bought two of these £199 air rifles from Richard Mahr at Mallard Barns, Wattisham.

Mr Mahr has recently taken on a new Gunsmith. He is the chap who designed and built a take-down air rifle called the Colchester Game Keeper.
I was going to wait until I'd had a chance to "run them in" before writing them up for people.
My initial impressions are that they are as accurate any other air rifles that I have used. One seems to get between 40 to 55 shots before the power falls off noticeably.
They are as noisy as a .22 rimfire and that has surprised me.
I will try and get some targets done and post the results.

You can have them in .177, .22 or .25. You can also have them set to FAC levels providing you have a license.
They start at £199 for .22 and £250 for .25; all set at 12ft/lbs. They are also available at FAC settings for anyone who has got a ticket.
There are two models built on modified SMK CO2 rifles
The £199 model is

and the other is the £250 one

The pictures are for illustration purposes only. The new air receivers make for a much better balanced gun.

The CO2 cylinders are removed and an air receiver is put in its place. The receivers are tested at 9000psi and have regulating valves to keep them at 12ft/lbs. These can be reset to FAC levels* if you want it done at time of purchase - providing you have an FAC
The triggers are stripped and reset. They seem a little "soft" but are quite acceptable for a very affordable air rifle. I have been told that there is an after market trigger mechanism available.

If anyone wants one you could have them sent to your local Gun Dealer for collection: Best to ask them if they are willing to accept the delivery first
I had a spare slot on the ticket so I'm getting one of the .25s at approx. 30ft/lbs - should be good enough for clearing vermin like squirrel, rabbit and tourists


If you fancy one then the people to contact are Mallard Barn

I will add that I have no connection with Mallard Barns other than having had excellent service from them.

* Don't forget: If you buy an air rifle at FAC power you cannot have it de-powered if you wished to sell it. Once it has been made to conform to FAC standards, that's it
 
#17
.177 or .22, the age old argument. To be honest both will adequately kill a rabbit. It is all about shot placement. Yes the .22 will be harder hitting but the .177 is more forgiving in range estimation due to its flatter trajectory.

You should be able to take a rabbit at 30 - 40 metres providing you have practised at those ranges. Some people will take a rabbit at up to 60 metres but I tend to stick to 35-40m max (though I have taken further shots). It is all about your skill in shooting, range estimation and stalking abilities.

I have both calibres available to me in the form of an Air Arms S510 in .177 and a FX Verminatior in .22. Both very capable rifles although in the main I use the S510 in .177 for rabbit shooting. Putting a .177 pellet into a rabbits brain will ensure a clean kill which is what we are after as even vermin should be afforded a quick death.

As for your choice well that’s down to you. Personally of the two I would go for the Weihrauch every time. BSA rifles do not have a very good reputation for reliability. Alternatively if you want something compact then have a look at the FX Verminator. It is a take down rifle, although I keep mine assembled, and comes in a very small package. And of course is available in .177 and .22.

You may wish to check up on French firearms laws first though. I have no experience myself but I do recall from airgun forums that even a 12ft/lb rifle as we have here in the UK may be subject to licencing. Best to check....

Regards,

Q.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#19
Are you shooting in France, if so a .22 rimfire may be obtained with almost no paperwork. At least that was the case a few years ago, the reason behind french gunshops having black powder pistols, shotguns and rimfires on display was the french attitude to ownership. If its on display you can buy it!
Check out where you can shoot though. A rimfire will give you the option to engage ground mutton at 150 yards with .17hmr.
 
#20
I used to shoot rabbits with an air rifle, in a vineyard (mine was in Hampshire, though). I preferred .22, head shots at about 20 yards. I used to get in position near a hole. Five minutes later one would come out, and get shot. Ten minutes later another would come out to check on Flopsy, and get shot. After that it took up to 30 minutes before Cottontail came out, and I'd lost interest by then and gone for a wander round my snares.
 

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