The Best Gun…

A discussion of “what is the best gun” has broken out. This happens often pretty much anywhere people can buy guns. Gun magazines make a living off of just that kind of A vs B comparison and gun makers regularly extol why their new A’ is vastly better than last years A or the prior version of -A…

I’m going to present my biases on the issue, some structural context, and a few observations (in no particular order)…

Hopefully this will help folks trying to make a decision on what to buy, and help them avoid buying 50 guns looking for The Next Best One (not that I’ve done that… much ;-) I also hope it will help non-gun folks realize some of the mythology about “Gun Control” (that is always about banning some kind of gun as a path to banning them all; and can never work. Why? Because banning drugs didn’t work either, now did it? It just makes a new black market.)

My Bias

I don’t like really loud guns. I have damaged hearing (too close to an explosion once) and really loud things make my ears ring. I use plugs AND muffs at the range and still can’t do more than a box of loud stuff. In an Aw Shit In The Night, one shot from a 4 inch .357 Magnum and I’m deaf, potentially forever. So I tend to look for the quieter choices.

I’m very fond of “Minimalist Approaches” in everything. I love to know “this is just enough and any less fails”. I’m not fond of “this is 20 times what’s needed so I’m feeling good!”. That said, I am prone to overdoing it on “collections” of stuff. Cars. Food. Guns. ;-) So I have 5 or 6 “minimal guns” ;-) and as we all know “Quantity has a quality all it’s own”. When California banned magazines bigger than 10 rounds, I bought a 2nd ambidextrous 9mm for a brace of ’em. Who needs a 20 round magazine when you can have dual left and right 10 round guns?

I have a fondness for “Old Things That Just Work”. I know, strange for a Computer Guy. I suspect it is an artifact of the family history of Grandad being a working Smith for the local Amish. There’s just my Dad between me and “working iron over fire to make what you need” that Grampa did. Dad taught me how to make tools over fire…

I’m sure I’ve got some other biases, but they ought to surface along the way. I don’t hide them, and I don’t mind them at all. In many cases they are a direct result of thinking clearly about things. I embrace my biases as my store of understanding.

Fundamentals Of Choice

There is NO “Best Gun”.

It’s pretty simple,really. The parts of the “equation” are: What are you going to shoot? What’s the “context” of the shoot? (Place, laws, surroundings…) What kind of shooter are YOU? (Size, skills, vision, nerve, legal issues).

So depending on where that maps out, the “perfect solution” is something different. Many “Gun People” end up with a closet full of guns as the “what” and the “context” shift. Changes of law (to more “gun control” nee banning) in California had me buy upwards of a dozen different guns as the “context” shifted. Over time, many folks shift from precise aimed weapons to shotguns as their eyes age and focus / night vision become harder.

So right out the gate, the search for The Best Gun is doomed. You can only find the “good enough gun for what I want”. Because a few years from now the “you” in the equation will be a different “you”, the laws will have shifted, etc.

But you can find widely useful guns that have persistence over time and broad application in many contexts. I’ll be presenting some of those as my biased choices. (Hint: Cowboys didn’t have a problem fighting Indian wars, shooting deer & hogs, or each other, with just 2 guns – one long, one in the hand).

One basic question is: “Castle Or Cowboy?”

IF you are doing “fixed site defense” in your “Castle”, you don’t care about weight, bulk of ammunition, can I carry “only one gun”. You DO care about “can I shoot them far enough away that they can’t shoot me?” and “Do I have enough ammo that I can have a siege war for {very long time} until help arrives? OTOH, if you are “going mobile” in a “bug out” or just “on the road” or just going shooting for “game” a long drive away, then things like bulk and weight matter.

Another is: “What is the target?”

Shooting “clays” (flying round disks of clay – skeet or similar) is an entirely different goal than “home defense from a bump in the night” which is different from “home invasion and I’m asleep” which is different from “post apocalypse food gathering in the woods” which is different from … The euphemism for self defense is “good for ‘deer sized thin skinned animals'” because people and deer are both “deer sized thin skinned animals”. One is just vertical…

Very Important is “What Are The Laws?”

Gun laws are generally insane. This is because they are a “sounds good does little” compromise between two antagonistic forces. The result is usually worse than useless. Yet you MUST navigate them when choosing. (Or to keep your gun in the future, plan for coming changes). I didn’t buy any AR-15 like weapons simply because I knew where California was going. Instead, I bought “Politically Correct” guns that were more lethal… So “high capacity magazines” banned (anything over 10 rounds) put a brace of guns on the hip. (One each side). I also chose a .40 S&W / .357 Sig (interchangeable barrels) over a 9mm I really wanted. The 9mm was 12 or 13 rounds. The Sig was “only” 10, but those 10 were about 50% more energy. The .357 Sig is almost the same power as the .357 Magnum. Enough for any animal (and some Buicks…) in the USA. So by going “up caliber” it takes fewer shots to stop an attack. Total lethality goes up.

Similarly, bans on “Saturday Night Specials” are very stupid. When I was a kid, they were common and sold “over the counter” at the moment you put cash down. The result was that folks fairly clueless about guns would buy one and shoot each other with generally useless under powered and ineffective rounds. Typically they held 6 or less. Few deaths and not that many drastic injuries. Now, guns in .25 ACP and .32 ACP are a vanishing breed. Ammo is expensive and scarce. Folks looking to buy a small handgun for “self defense” inevitably get channeled into a 10 round (California) or larger capacity of 9 MM (or more powerful California) round. These are vastly more “effective”, so when used the probability of death or disability skyrockets. Banning the Saturday Night Special didn’t cure the desire of one person to kill the other, it just moved them to plot their attack better and use more effective means…

So depending on your local laws, you will be moved from smaller less effective guns into ever more lethal “choices”. The Politically Correct 12 gauge pump shotgun was thought of as the most devastating “trench broom” of World War I. Pretty much anywhere that bans guns, leaves the use of shotguns for “hunting” and for pest control…

Who are you?

I’m about 100 kg and have big hands. I have zero problem shooting something like a 12 Gauge Magnum or a .44 Magnum handgun. The spouse has small hands and is much smaller. She does well with a 9mm but at about .357 Magnum it’s getting hard to hold and painful to shoot. The 12 Gauge shotgun is like trying to swing a lawnmower for her.

Similarly, I’d have zero emotional qualms about “plugging someone”. I’ve already gotten past the introspection and know the laws well enough to know when it’s a “valid shoot”. My decision lag time is very low. Someone who’s not gotten through all that will be Much Slower to reach the decision to shoot, OR will be more traumatized by doing it, OR will simply freeze and be disarmed having their gun turned against them.

So for me, a relatively big gun and one that stands up in court, filled with very good rounds, is a decent choice. For someone smaller, a smaller gun perhaps with less lethal rounds (both to avoid the trauma of “OMG I killed someone” and in case it gets turned on you in a ‘takeaway’) can be a better choice.


If you live on a farm, 100 miles from a major city with gangs that like to raise hell in the country (cough, South Africa) your context is very different from someone who lives in a cinder block walled home in the suburbs which is very different from someone living in an apartment block with 1/2 inch sheetrock between rooms.

“Overpenetration” is the tendency for a shot round to go through the perpetrator / target (or past them), through the wall behind them, across the room, through that wall, across the hall, through the next wall, into that bedroom, maybe kill someone, or go out that exterior wall and hit someone on the street. In dense urban apartments, you want a lot less penetration than if you are defending against a mob of thugs showing up at your ranch in 2 ton Buicks with hard glass windshields at 100 yards and nobody else for a mile behind them.

This relates to “what is the target” but extends the issue to “what is surrounding the target” and “what is down range where the bullets will go?”.

I use a woefully under powered and widely disparaged round for my “bump in the night” bedside “little helper”. It is a .32 ACP short barreled pistol. Most “gun guys” would laugh at me for such a “dumb choice”. Yet for decades it was the “go to round” for European Police. Why? Because it simply does not go through as many walls. In European apartments, they didn’t want a shooting to take out kids 2 rooms away. It was the Officers Handgun caliber for many in W.W.II as it allows for very small, yet still effective at “belly to belly ranges”, guns. The gun simply “disappears” in my hand and / or pocket. I don’t need to worry about opening the front door, finding a Cop on the lawn looking for some burglar from 3 houses over, and him seeing a gun shout “GUN!” as he kills me. (Police have become way too “Fallujah Trigger Happy” in the last couple of decades. Gone are the days when they remembered that a good guy with a gun is likely in front of them. Now it is “Shout gun and shoot first, get asked questions later”.)

So in my context, for that job, a “Saturday Night Special” is in fact ideal. I can slide it in my pants or robe pocket and it just isn’t visible. It doesn’t run the risk of taking out someone in the next house over. IF I stumble into the hallway and into a couple of Bad Guys with the “drop on me”, I can just “hands up” and wait for a better moment. Yet it is “just enough gun” to stop an attacker if needed and while it can be lethal, it is likely that with fast medical response, everyone lives. Even if the “burglar” is the teenage delinquent of that nice guy 3 houses down the street…

Yet if your context is a remote farm, miles from any help, and with “rowdies” prone to home invasions in the area: For that, I’d likely want a rifle with long range, decent power, and all the penetration I could get. Citadel protection with lots of ammo in the cans and ability to drop them at 100 yards with a night sight. I’d add a brace of high capacity 9mm or .40 S&W semi-auto handguns as backup or for when they managed to outflank and engulf.

Then, yet again, if the context were “Bug out bag after urban Aw Shit of major proportions” and a live off the land context: I’d much rather have light weight ammunition and slow highly accurate rate of fire. A nice quiet .22 LR bolt action would get far more “food in the pot” with way less weight than anything else. Coupled with a shotgun that can do birdshot and buckshot (or slugs) and you can get food from the “tweety bird” range up to black bear sized. BUT, if you are not in a forested area, but somewhere like West Texas, where ranges can be 200+ yards and game is skittish so close shots are near zero, I’d swap one of those for a “varmint rifle” with scope and rest.

So YOU must know YOUR context. Who are you? Where are you? What’s the local terrain and who / what lives in it? This strongly overlaps with many of the prior specifics, but just is a more general statement.

My Conclusions

OK, here’s my general conclusions that may or may not be of any use for anyone else. The only real advantage I bring to this, here, is that I’ve owned and shot most of these at one time or another. So I know what tends to work, what tends to be a “Hangar Queen”, and what I just look at and think “That’s the one I grab going out the door…”

“Enough Gun”… The whole world has pretty much standardized their armies on the 9mm Parabellum for handguns. There’s a reason for this. It is “For War” and against many tough targets. A lot of ammunition fits in a small space, doesn’t weight much, and is very cheap due to massive global production. It works very well against “Deer sized targets”. With the historically recent advent of effective body armor, the utility is being degraded, but frankly, if you are up against a swarm of folks in body armor, you are screwed anyway.

In the USA, due to a particularly dumb FBI shootout with 9mm against tough sloped car “windshield” glass, the FBI moved to a much heavier round. The 10 mm is not just 1 mm more diameter, but a lot more power behind it. For many people, it is painful enough to shoot that they start to flinch and lose accuracy. Going bigger is not always better. The USA Police have in many places moved to a cut down lower power 10 mm called the .40 S&W that is somewhat better than the 9mm, while not being too much. IMHO it’s about an ideal self defense caliber (especially in places that limit magazine capacity … I’ll take 15 9mm rounds over 10 .40 S&W rounds, but I’ll take 10 .40 S&W over 10 9mm… and did so.) BUT unless your context is “taking on attack Buicks”, a 9mm is just fine. It is in some ways “more than enough gun”.

Going the other direction, what’s the minimum? Hinkley shot Reagan and Brady with a .22 LR. Reagan was hospitalized a long time, and was at risk of dying. Brady was “brain messed up” forever. It is NOT a “one shot stop” gun and many folks hit with one will keep on coming (especially if drugged up), but for 90%+ of anyone you are likely to shoot at, they would rather run away with a hole in their shoulder than keep coming into more. Were I “in the woods” with a .22 LR on my hip for snakes and skunks, I’d not feel particularly vulnerable if a couple of rowdies showed up… Were it in .22 Magnum, I’d be quite comfortable.

There is NOTHING that lets you carry as many rounds of “just effective enough barely” ammunition as the .22 LR / .22 Magnum. The 9mm comes close, but is still about twice the weight / volume (or more). If “pack weight” is your limiting factor, I’d take a .22 LR or .22 WMR rifle and a 9mm sidearm.

HOWEVER, were I in the woods with a .22 LR and a hog showed up looking at me like lunch, or a bear, the lowest I’d want is a .357 Magnum. Hogs have a “gristle plate” around their neck and shoulders. Evolution provided it as they like to gore each other with their tusks when fighting. Similarly, their skull is very thick and sloped steeply backwards just like tank armor. Shoot a hog with a .22 and you just piss it off. So for “Big Animal In The Woods”, it’s .357 or better. (Note that the .357 also shoots the .38 Special lower power rounds for smaller game / anti-personnel without the kick).

Similarly, if faced with an “Angry Buick” (or “Angry BMW” for you EU folks ;-) a .22 LR is not your friend so much and a 9mm is “OK” but more is better.

So there’s a “sweet spot” around that 9mm / .357 / 38 special range. (They are all .355 to .356 actual barrel diameter so the same bullet tends to work fine in all of them.) It’s “enough gun” for almost everything while not being “too much gun” for almost everyone.

My solution? I have some .22 LR guns and some 9mm/.357/38 Special guns as my general Go To set. For “bug out” Cowboy time, it’s a Ruger Single Action in .22 LR / .22 Magnum paired with a .22 LR bolt action AND a Ruger Single Action in 9mm / .357 (that does dandy on just about any rimmed 38) paired with a scoped Marlin .357 lever action. A very light set that covers almost all the ‘critters’ from tweety birds up to Black Bear & Hogs (and in between the “deer sized thin skinned” too).

Note that this is rather like the set used by USA Cowboys for a generation. A “Lever Gun” has the advantage that your magazine capacity is semi-irrelevant. You can stuff more “up the chute” between firings. Your effective “magazine capacity” is the size of the pouch you can sling on your shoulder. No, you can’t use pointy “high performance ammo”, so not good for deer at 200 yards. Use your stalking skills (or your escape / evasion skills if the ‘deer sized animals’ are looking for you…)

It is highly Politically Correct while also being remarkably effective.

Folks wanting “more gun” can just upsize to the .44 Magnum equivalent set.

Now, IF you live under a “Flyway” and expect to forage for lots of birds, OR if your vision and sighting isn’t so good, OR if not Going Cowboy but doing Castle Defense: A nice shotgun covers almost all the same range of things with the same or better effectiveness. The only real downside is it has very heavy bulky ammunition. So “Castle or Car” is fine, but “On foot or bike” not so much.

Again the world is standardizing on the 12 Gauge. IMHO, that’s a mistake. The 16 gauge was a much more appropriate and sweet to shoot size, while the 10 gauge is better in the world of Steel Shot with bulky loads needed. It would be much better had the world ended up at the set of “10 gauge, 16 gauge, 20 gauge, 28 Gauge” but it didn’t. We went to “12 gauge, 20 gauge, .410”. Instead we’ve got 3 inch (and 3.5 inch) magnum 12 gauge that kicks hard, has a shot column that’s too long so dispersal is worse, and most folks shoot 2 3/4 or shorter shells in it anyway…

Personally, I like the 20 gauge much better. The 3 inch magnums are more than enough (and I do just dandy on clays with 7/8 ounce birdshot light loads) while the kick is less, the gun is lighter, and the effectiveness is about the same. FWIW, I’ve never been able to do anything on clays with a .410 shotgun. Skeet shooters generally like the 28 Gauge as the lower effective bound…

But the world is what it is. So IF you are able to handle the kick and gun size, it’s 12 gauge. If not, it’s 20 gauge (or even if you CAN handle it, but just don’t like it ;-) The 20 gauge 3 inch magnum can be loaded up to the same as (or better than) the 12 gauge 2 3/4 inch that was the standard of my youth.

That said: The .410 is at the lower bound of effective. It WILL work, but it is a lot harder to hit things “on the wing” and shot patterns are sparse. At close up ranges, it is better. So quail at 20 feet? Fine. Buckshot at a “Deer Sized Animal” at 10 yards? Fine. Just don’t think you will bring down pheasant with it or ducks at 100 yards up…


My tendency is to plan on a “bug out” and “cowboy” food getting scenario with only minimal “self defense” as an added feature. Other folks prefer the quasi-military scenarios. Post apocalypse or gang invading the rural farm.

In that context, you really do want a large ammunition capacity, a large effective rifle round, long range, and penetrating rounds.

IMHO there’s really only 2 choices. Soviet Block or NATO.

THE gun most widely used in the world in that context is the Kalashnikov. The AK-47 and derivatives. It uses a 30 caliber round (with steel shell in the military versions) and just Always Works. They recently went to a .22 like round as a “wounds more kills less” so ties up more resources version after experiencing the USA .223 Remington / NATO round.

As I’m more interested in actual deer and hogs than in “deer sized animals” in the hospital, my bias is to the .308 NATO or the 7.62 AK rounds. For a few dozen decades the Armies of the world were settled on .30 caliber going fast as the best solution. I don’t see much reason to change from that.

Yet the .223 Remington / NATO is a dandy round for everything from “varmints” up to small deer. I’d not be at all unhappy with an AR-15.

For a while I had the “hots” for a Lee Enfield from India in .308 NATO. The “Mad Minute” gun. AIMED fire at a rate similar to the “spray and pray” of US forces with their semi-autos… It is no longer made, as India also moved to more “modern” guns and calibers. But a 10 round magazine of a more effective very much higher power round than the .223 Remington would in fact be my “go to gun” in any PC Culture context.

The fallacy of “Gun Control” (cough, banning) advocates is that moving folks away from semi-auto guns to “hunting rifles” is somehow “safer”. They forget that the world was mostly using Bolt Action “hunting rifle” like guns in W.W.II and did just fine at slaughtering each other in bulk. (World War I was even worse). Moving people to bolt action larger calibers in “hunting rifles” does nothing to reduce the death rates. It just changes the training pattern.

FWIW, the cheap Chinese and Russian SKS Carbines are also PC Acceptable with 10 round fixed magazines. I’m very happy with mine. Oh, and using “stripper clips” it can be reloaded in about 2 seconds, so has an effective capacity limited by your ammo pouch. This was THE gun for the entire Soviet Empire and Communist China Sphere until very recently (they unloaded a lot of their old stock here in about the 1980s & 90s way cheap) and they still work GREAT. And yes, I bought mine to be “PC” and acceptable knowing that the AR-15 ban would eventually hit (and it did). I don’t feel at all “deprived” with this gun.

Though in reality, were I faced with a Citadel Context, I’d not be unhappy at all using my Marlin or my 12 gauge if folks got closer. Lever guns and pump action shotguns that load through a ramp can have rounds stuffed in when not actually firing and NOBODY fires continuously or they are rapidly out of ammunition.

Essentially, the choice is not about the goal of the function, it is about the era in history that solved that functional goal.

First came lever action and bolt action guns. With tubular magazines and loading through side ports, the lever action WAS the rapid fire military gun of the 1800s. It still does just fine. Similarly, the British Empire was enforced with the Enfield box magazine bolt action rifle right up through W.W.II (and then even later in some in places like India). It still does just fine.

The USA used the semi-automatic M1 Garand in W.W.II and it is a great gun, even if “only” 8 rounds and clip fed. But the Germans were largely equipped with Mauser bolt action rifles. They did rather a lot of damage with just those…

And that’s the big fallacy about “Assault Rifles” and “Military Style” guns. ALL guns are “Military Style” guns, depending on your moment in history. Even single shot muskets. (BTW, I’d be quite happy with a black powder musket loading “buck and ball” or “birdshot” as a bug out gun… though I’d rather have the rifle with Minie balls) They all solve the same basic problem.

So from my POV, for “Military Like” scenarios, it is more about choosing your era and then the gun. IF you can, the modern AR-15 / .223 does just great. Similarly, the AK class of guns. If you can’t, well, all the others do fine too. I’m personally most fond of the Marlin Lever Action as it lets me have compatibility with my handgun while also being very light and fast WHILE being just dandy for actual deer hunting in brushy areas like the hills around me.

That said, I’d not be at all bothered by taking my SKS carbine out deer or hog hunting. It would likely work better on hogs and it already has a sling on it.

So in my POV, there’s a large overlap between “Cowboy” and “Military” choices. They both are trying to solve the problem of “Mobile with Deer Sized Targets” and potentially a lot of them.

In Conclusion

So there you have it.

My conclusion is basically “There isn’t one” and “It doesn’t matter much”. Individual situations and desires matter most.

There is a ‘sweet spot’ at about 9mm for hand guns and about .30 caliber for rifles; though the .223 at very high speed is workable.

There is a lower bound / lightest weight at the .22 LR / Magnum with honorable mention of the 9mm. There are some 9mm rifles so if .22 LR doesn’t do it for you, a matched set of 9mm handgun and rifle can work. Folks wanting “more gun” can get the same type of “set” in .357 Magnum, .45 ACP or .44 Magnum. That’s more or less an upper bound of what’s “needed” for anything in North America.

Shotguns are their own special category, and I’d be happy with having only a 12 gauge or 20 gauge pump as my only allowed PC Gun; simply because it is just as lethal (or in some cases more so) compared with an AR-15 at any range under 100 yards. A bit heavy for “bug out” use, but if your car trunk is big enough…

Going “retro” with a cowboy set of a lever gun and handgun in the same caliber is very satisfying (and every bit as effective too). You can still get limited inter-operability with military 9mm with appropriate gun choice and interchangeable cylinders.

When in doubt, buy the caliber / gauge used by the local military & / or police. Strange ammo sizes are often prone to lack of supply when the fad wears off. Yet things like the 30-’06 used as military .30 caliber in 1906 (thus the name) is STILL one of the most popular hunting rifle rounds. If in doubt, get a {9mm / .223 Remington = 5.56 NATO set}, or a {9mm / .308 Win. = 7.62×51 NATO set}, or a {9mm / 7.62×39 AK round} set.

And if you just want a lot of fun while having “something” then a .22 LR handgun / rifle is a great place to start. Cheap to shoot. Anyone can use them. And in reality for almost everything you are really likely to face, just enough. (Unless you really spend a lot of time in Hog & Bear country or intend to actually go hunting deer).

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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76 Responses to The Best Gun…

  1. KL says:

    We always work backward from the cartridge (cartridge sets the true envelope) to a gun we can live with, and cost of reloading components is always a serious concern.

    I also agree that loud, supersonic loads are not ideal for inside defense use. The ability to hear an intruder is vastly underappreciated. Also believe that for most uses, lead or plated lead is a more practical projectile.

    So quite a few of our guns don’t make the cut. Just too exotic with limited utility…

    Accordingly our top picks are .45ACP, .308, and 20 ga. First two can be loaded for very strange use. Wide variety of powders, projectiles, and inserts. We only purchase the .45 Super cases….just to leave options open. And I keep a Canadian adapter onhand which allows use of lead muzzleloader balls fired with cheap Hilti cartridges :) Can also shoot accurate hardened lead .22 projectiles via Sabots in that .308 (the soft lead projectiles vaporize from the spin). Very close to a 22-250 in performance – but without the cost.

    Have lots of other .45ACP pistols, But the one I like most is a revolver which can handle .45 Super by design, and it’s also the one I usually hand to women with reduced loads. Can take women who have never fired a pistol before and have them punching bulls eyes first trip…. they are always astounded.

    20ga is simple and works well in a double barrel.

    Now rethinking all these fancy smancy carry pistols. Looking at replacing them all with .45ACP derringers.

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    I like their comments…. “Lizzy ” :-)

  3. E.M.Smith says:


    I love the .45 ACP as a relatively quiet very effective round. Not much beats the 1911a IMHO. But for most folks, 9mm is more common.

    I loved low velocity .45s in my Marlin rifle, but it had more failures to feed than is acceptable. The Ruger .45 Long Colt / .45 ACP was a lust object for me for years, but I never bought one. Then they discontinued it. Oh Well.

    Punching paper with wad cutters is just glorious with big holes :-)

    Good point on the use of sabot rounds. I always wanted a .308 but never got around to it.

  4. H.R. says:

    Ha! I got back from the weekly shopping trip, which was delayed three days due to a mild cold, and I find this thread. Very good discussion, E.M.

    Anyhow,I returned from the store with a Remington Tyrant XGP .177 cal, break barrel air rifle, that only shoots pellets at velocities up to 1200 fps, depending on pellet choice. It also comes with a 4X scope. It was on clearance for $75.00.

    Small game did come up in the post and on the W.O.O.D thread. I just bought the air rifle because I intend to be the proximate cause of the demise of a few squirrels and chipmunks and couldn’t pass up the Remington at that price.

    I can recall threads on prepper blogs that were very pro-airgun in a SHTF situation for hunting small game. I believe the argument was that you could carry thousands of pellets without much concern for weight, you can keep them operating for years with a handful of spare seals, springs, and screws, and they are quiet so there’s no rifle report to announce your presence to others who might be about.

    So a good air rifle deserves some consideration depending on the circumstances you anticipate.

    Meanwhile, everyone keep this quiet so the squirrels don’t find out I am armed and coming for them… during squirrel season, of course. I have to assume they have an iPhone squirrelled away in their nest and are monitoring my posts ;o)

  5. E.M.Smith says:


    Do you HAVE a squirrel season? In most places (even in California – GASP!) they are considered a pest and subject to removal as desired…

    Yeah, modern pellet guns are great for itty bitty thing shooting. Don’t forget that Lewis & Clark fed their team crossing the entire west using a larger bore air rifle. I’ve had the desire to get a pellet rifle from time to time but something else always was ahead in the money queue…

    I do have an old Daisy BB gun and a pellet pistol. Great fun for practice and generally terrorizing the local rodents.

    I really do wish someone made something like that original Lewis & Clark gun. It was supposedly good up to fairly large critters…

    FWIW, I have bullet casting gear and loading gear for .38 Special / .357 Magnum. As they have “black powder sized” cases I could if really needed make black powder and cast bullets from the dregs of an industrial society for decades to come. Then there is the “put anything in a shotgun shell and go”… So for EOTWAWKI, there’s that ;-)

    I’ve even read up on how to use things like matches to recondition shotgun primers…

    But if things ever get that bad, I’m more likely to find a better way …

    FWIW, IF I ever buy another gun, it is most likely going to be some kind of air powered pellet / BB gun. So far I’ve resisted the urge ;-) So far… A sale, you say? ;-)

  6. H.R. says:

    Squirrel season? Hmmm… I know we used to have one, but come to think of it, that may have changed. I’ll have to look into it when I get a chance.

    E.M., I got that air rifle at a ‘Grocery Store Plus’ called Meijer which was doing the superstore/groceries thing long before Walmart did. I always scavenge their clearance shelves, particularly sporting goods for fishing stuff. It was being clearanced for some reason or other.

    They had one Remington Tyrant XGP and one Daisy .177 BB/Pellet 800 fps break barrel gun, NIB not returns, for 50% off. The Daisy was $22.50 but I didn’t consider it even for a minute. Now this store isn’t the lowest cost place for sporting goods. Their regular price on the Remington was $150.00. They run 20% off sale a lot so most of them probably went out the door for $120.

    I looked online when I got home to see how good a deal I got. The very best I found, and I’m leery of the source that it might be a remanufactured job, was $89.xx. Most online sources were $100 to $130. I got a heck of a deal!

    I have been interested in a high velocity pellet gun for a while. I can shoot it in my back yard or basement. I had read enough to know that any air rifle worth having needed to zip along at better than 1,000 fps with higher being better of course. I read that the Tyrant punches through 3/8″ plywood at 25′. I was expecting to spend between $150 – $200 for an air rifle worth having, but I was reluctant to spend that for a “gee I wish I had..” item. So I absolutely jumped on this at $75.

    Online reviews were good. The big complaint seemed to be the scope rather than the gun, but what were they expecting; a Leupold? Seems OK to me. Also, I ran across a review that said it was picky on ammo, but they tended to fault the ammo makers for sloppy QA more than the gun. That reviewer just wished you could shove in any ammo, but then I think performance would suffer if the ammo was flawed, so I’d rather pay a buck or two more for a tin of top notch pellets and get everything out of the air rifle that it offers.

    Good luck! If you have put that on your ‘I’ll buy for the right price’ wish list, you might want to swing by clearance shelves or keep an eye out for a really good sale price. Eventually, you’ll hit on one.

  7. Larry Ledwick says:

    The price of BB guns and pellet guns is going down (or more a case of staying down), you can get basic low end pellet guns and BB guns starting at $49 range with pretty good guns going for $60-$75 and high end guns mostly top out in the low mid $100 – $130 range.

    .177 caliber has the advantage of also shooting steel BB’s which make them dirt cheap for pest critter control a 15 -25 ft or a bit longer. Easy and cheap to build a pellet trap so the steel BB’s can be recycled dozens of times (or until you lose them)

    .22 caliber tends to hit harder so are a more game worthy hunting gun for small critters and the pellets can also be fired in a .22 rifle using power load cartridges to propel them to absolutely stupid velocities. (not recommended but it works)

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    You can also get .22 round lead balls:

    I’d be more inclined to by a .22 pellet gun and get the lead round balls too. I don’t shoot enough for the cost to matter… and if I ever DID want to use it for any actual critter shooting, I’d rather have the added mass down range.

    Besides, I STILL have a 500? round tub of BBs in .177 bought about 30 years ago… It will be inherited by my son some day… along with the Daisy that just won’t die… Can you say “Jaded”? I knew you could ;-)

    BBs shot into a box trap and a big magnet means never buying any new BBs… EVER…

  9. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting item on pellet guns and pellet seating since we are on the subject.

    I learned to shoot by popping grass hoppers off weeds with a daisy air rifle, very good practice and laid the ground work for basic shooting skills on “real guns”.

    Pellet guns can be lethal for even larger game but it is not reliable and certainly does not ensure a quick humane kill but they are not given the credit they are due by many shooters.
    For training the slow lock time of an airgun (delay between when the trigger releases and the pellet leaves the barrel ) exaggerates many bad habits and forces good follow through and basic technique.

  10. Another Ian says:

    Then there is the drop of ether

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, golly! There ARE large caliber air guns being made!

    Most are over $1000 but some are just a few $ hundred…

  12. E.M.Smith says:


    The Seneca Dragon Claw air gun has two large air reservoirs, you have the luxury of getting more shots from a fill and do more hunting. It throws a .50-caliber projectile and gets 230 ft-lbs. of muzzle energy, giving you the power to compete with firearms when hunting. This rifle can humanely and quickly take out feral hogs, javelinas, coyotes, foxes, nutria, possums, woodchucks, raccoons and similar-sized animals.

    At 230 ft-lbs I’d be reluctant to take on feral hogs with it, but the rest? Sure…

  13. Ed Forbes says:

    My choices were .45acp 1911 w/ 10 rd mag ( 9 loaded ), 20g auto shotgun w 10rd tube mag, Ruger .223 auto that is NOT an assault rifle in Ca by law due to have a full, solid stock. Better to hit someone over the head with anyway than a AR15 plastic stock. Have others, but I really like these.

    I load my own 45acp rounds using red dot shotgun power. Loaded on the light side, it gives a low recoil that feels like high power 9mm with a lower blast sound than as given off by a 9mm.
    I went this direction for shooting comps that sometimes had 3 gun events. I did not go all in on comp modifications to the weapons as I wanted more of a “real world” use and carry.

  14. Larry Ledwick says:

    Or you can load your .45 with a heavy load of Unique and have a flame thrower too!

  15. H.R. says:

    @Larry – The video was great. You’re right, those were stupid velocities! And he didn’t even have a #5 blank to test!

    BTW, that Premier hollow point pellet ammo you see at the beginning of the video is exactly what I picked up today for the new air rifle. I opened the tin and I didn’t see burrs, parting lines, chips, or out-of-round skirts, so I think it turned out to be a decent choice. It was $6.47 for 400 pellets.
    @E.M. – My gob is well and truly smacked by those large caliber air guns. I had no idea people were making those. The furniture on some of those is gorgeous. That right there would account for some of the higher prices.

    It goes back to one of your points in the main post; what situation do you anticipate? Offhand, I can see having one if you expect you’ll need to keep quiet about your presence. Also, if you somehow foresee a shortage of gunpowder for reloading after a long societal breakdown, these might be the ticket, but you wouldn’t want to lug one around for a couple of years just for that eventuality. Yes, I know, home-made black powder and all that, but some people won’t do that and even high grade black powder, let alone home brew, does have a tendency to really foul and corrode guns.

    I’m really starting to like my $75 bargain. I’ll have to see what a round of spare parts for it would run. I’ll have to set up a 50′ range in the basement tomorrow. I have a bullet trap rated up to .45 cal and a bench rest + sandbag for sighting it in.

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    OMG, a shotgun version (that also shoots .50 cal slugs)

  17. Another Ian says:

    On pellet performance

    From experience with a BSA Airsporter .22 lever air rifle you need to factor in pellet drop They were probably about the legal limit under UK rules which are mentioned at the end of the link above.

  18. H.R. says:

    I checked and our state has a squirrel season. Fortunately for me it begins on September 1st, so I can go after any remaining squirrels about the time I get my air rifle sighted in.

    I think I’m going to zero it at 30′. That’s the distance from my kitchen table to the area around the bird feeder. Open the back door, sit at the table with my laptop and a cup of coffee, and wait for the little blighters to show up.

  19. H.R. says:

    @Another Ian – Thanks for that pellet test link. The Premier .177 pellets I bought were in that test but I’ll have to check the specs on the BSA rifle he used vs that Remington I bought.

    Regardless, it looks like I should try out a few different types of pellets and run my own tests. It’s cheap enough at $6 – $7 – per tin. I might chase down one or two of the high-priced specialty pellets at a whopping $10 per tin ;o) For under $50 bucks, I’ll have a good selection of pellets and a few thousand of them at that. Cheap fun.

    I am serious about a clean, quick kill. I think it is wrong to be a poor hunter and only wound animals so that their death is prolonged. A good shot with the right ammo and it’s lights out for the quarry; they never know what him them and they are instantly gone. That’s the right thing to do.

    In spite of my banter here, I actually won’t be taking any shots at squirrels until I’m sure they will be quickly dispatched.

  20. Steve Crook says:

    My favourite gun was the one I never had. A WW1 officers Luger that my maternal grandfather brought back from France when he was invalided out in 1918. He kept it until the early 70’s when he got nervous about having an unlicensed firearm and chucked it into the mud of the creek at Faversham (UK). He’d kept it oiled, and fired some rounds from it during the 60’s. I still have a few that he’d removed the cordite and drilled through the bullet part to make them unusable.

    As a 10-12 year old kid I really wanted to get my hands on that pistol. I was utterly dismayed when I found out what he’d done with it. Same as the Rolls Razor he used to shave with. That got thrown out when he died.

  21. Ossqss says:

    Nice subject.

    I was just reading this tidbit from email today. Interesting.

    Yep, I left the link intact EM :-)

    I do find the PMR30 attractive as a bug out bagger. 30 .22 mag rounds per clip is kinda neat. I still debate whether to pack the Glock 30s or the 9 or the 357 or the judge combo in conjunction with the 10-22 tactical takedown. Not sure where the .223 would fit into things in the road either, albeit it should for long range social work and the amount of ammo on hand……

    Back to hurricane analysis down here. Uggg

  22. Larry Ledwick says:

    Meanwhile Siri (Apple) says Ooops my bad didn’t mean to listen to your drug deals, doctor visits or sex play.

  23. H.R. says:

    @Ossqss – You have a highly defensible position for societal breakdown not due to a hurricane. The alligators have your back, and since you are beer ‘fridge buds with all the neighbors, your section of the street would be a killing field for any frontal assault.

    What is highly likely is you bugging out for a hurricane. I would imagine the problem you’d encounter is the human and hurricane debris upon returning. Have you discussed with your best neighbors a plan for who does what on a return to the properties after a hurricane?

    I’d imagine an evening of a few beers while everyone is in the lawn chairs kicking a “what if ?” around would yield a simple plan that everyone could remember. It probably just needs to be put out there, if you and the neighbors haven’t already done so. Maybe just a simple ‘agree to meet and set up a watch’ routine with signals for ‘all hands on deck’. Probably want to agree to an identifier so you don’t plonk a neighbor when you turn the corner and see someone checking out your house… and it’s just a neighbor making sure nothing is going to blow.

    As I said, you may have already done this since your neighborhood is well established.

    Your BoB sounds pretty good for a return to where a bunch of looters are about. You’d be in a car upon return, so a good supply of ammo and a choice of guns would be easy to haul along. You’d stand a good chance of losing anything you left behind or at least wouldn’t be able to dig it out for days or weeks.

    For me, tornado damage is the most likely natural disaster scenario. But tornadoes are so localized that the county and village LEOs rather quickly usually have the damaged area cordoned off to all but residents after a tornado.

  24. u.k.(us) says:

    Oldie but a goodie, here’s that 13 year old girl again.

  25. Larry Ledwick says:

    Something for your hurricane evacuation plans (or even a leave behind stash if you have to evacuate) hidden in some unlikely to be plundered place.

  26. E.M.Smith says:

    @Steve Cook:

    Just so your misery has company:

    Spouses Dad had a W.W.II Luger he had “collected” (in person…) but “gave it away” as the spouse was unhappy with it in the house… What would a very good quality Luger WITH story of 101st Sargent Bastogne “participant” original importer be worth? What would his grandson feel having it? All gone…


    Nice article. The more important bit, IMHO, is in a comment:

    .32 ACP 65 grain: 63%
    .380 ACP 90 grain: 70%
    9mm 124 grain: 83%
    .40 S&W 155 grain: 93%
    .45 ACP 230 grain: 95%

    This is “one shot stop” statistics from a study with a significant issue in that it didn’t ask what 2 shots will do. ONLY “when hit in the torso with one shot how many stopped right then?”.

    Well, I’m very happy with almost 2/3 of the time “it’s over” with THE wimpiest round in their list. One stops most of them right now, and shocks the rest enough for a 2nd…

    Then, when you get up to 9mm vs .40 vs .45 is there really any significant difference? You have a 12 point spread in a statistic with far higher potential for variation / error band. WHAT bullet construction was in each shoot? How skilled the shooters? What ranges? So many loose ends that could easily make a 12 % change. The HOPE is that ON AVERAGE things will, well, average out. They don’t…

    For example, IIRC, the Winchester Silver Tip in .380 has almost identical “One Shot Stop” as the Military Ball .45 ACP (that was required to drop a charging horse in acceptance tests… it WAS before 1911 after all…) FWIW, most of the ammunition sold for .32 and .38 guns tends to be simple FMJ ball. It’s cheaper and often the only thing on the shelf. I had to hunt around to get “the good stuff” for mine. So how much of those stats is just “what is on the shelf that the average not so clueful .380 user buys” and that the “experienced gun fan with a .40 S&W chooses to pay up for”?

    It was going through that exercise (and looking at stop statistics by bullet type…) that had the realization dawn on me that for all practical purposes “any gun is good enough” most of the time.

    It is far far better to buy really good ammunition for your non-target use, and to practice a lot; than to worry about 1 to 4 mm of diameter. Use what you have, place shots well, and double tap. Then don’t worry about the rest.

    The other point the article made, that the 9 holds more and more folks shoot it well is also very important. While I really like my .357 Sig, it is not something I want to shoot a lot, even in practice. I’d rather shoot my 9s. And that means I’m going to be more practiced with them and do a better job with them. Also, a nice 16 round Cz is worth a whole lot more to me than a 10 rd .40 S&W ( I just can’t buy one in California… so go for the larger caliber.)

    BTW, I do like the 147 grain 9mm subsonics…. I’ve also loaded up some 158 grain semi-wadcutters (molded myself ;-) and like what they do too ;-)

    @Larry L:

    Like the storage tube… Wonder if it comes in 20 gauge ;-)

  27. Ossqss says:

    @EM, I have a friend that standardized on 9 mm. Multiple different pistols, but then the most impressive piece was the Kel-Tec SUB-2000 he had which use the same ammo. Nothing like having rounds that can travel through different equipment :-).

    In a 40 too…for those that are already invested in such….

  28. Larry Ledwick says:

    Well this works for a 12 Gauge (helps if you make a very small trim to the bottom corner of the butt plate.

    As designed it is not completely water proof but a little TLC could go a long way.
    It would be highly rain resistant if a little RTV rubber sealant was used on the telescoping joint after you found the right length for your use. Then probably a bit of electricians tape over that.

    If you put a mailing label on it, no one would think twice about seeing you carrying it to your car, just a mailing tube for some maps or posters.

  29. E.M.Smith says:


    There’s a bunch of pistol / rifle same caliber combinations. Some of them even share the same magazine! I’ve gone with the “cowboy” set in .38/.357 Magnum as I’m more “Food in the woods” oriented and like the “can use black powder IF a real Zombie Apocalypse happens” case size. I tried the .45 ACP set of 1911a and Marlin, but the Marlin wasn’t as quiet as I’d hopped (learned that bigger diameter holes make more noise at the same velocity / case volumes of expansion…) and had more failures to feed than I liked. So moved on.

    I wanted a 9mm rifle to match my nines for a good long while, but then got over it… (and ran out of money for toys…)

    Note that in California the “Pistol Grip” and looking industrial are strikes against the gun as “evil assault features”, so I’ve generally gone with nice wood stock traditional looking guns (that have more effective ballistics and rapid reload features…) What I want doesn’t matter as much as what California bans… (That will change when I’m in Florida…)

    There’s a video on that (with crappy noise in the sound track but neat visuals, especially the last giant hand cannon matched set ;-)

  30. Another Ian says:

    “Everyone on here should have one of theseEveryone on here should have one of these”

    “An American made lever action smooth bore .22 designed specifically for .22 shot shells.”

  31. E.M.Smith says:

    @Another Ian:

    Worlds Smallest Shotgun? For when a .410 is just “Too Much Gun”??? Now that’s a specialist niche… Mice at 10 feet? Sparrows at 20? Wing shooting grasshoppers? ;-)

    I guess it would be useful to farmers. The point about use inside the barn is a valid one. While you can clear out pigeons with a .22 slug, misses tend to ventilate the building. Even an air rifle can cause problems on thin roofs.

    In my experience, rats & mice come out at night when you can’t really see them well enough to shoot, and hide as soon as a person shows up. OTOH, there are good videos of folks “potting” dozens of rats on a farm with a pellet gun. Maybe farm rats are not so aware…

    But really, over $400 for a gun so specialized that a possum is way too big for it?… Somehow I think just putting a subcaliber adapter in the double bbl would work too and be cheaper (even if not so cool…)

  32. H.R. says:

    I’m about done sighting in that Remington Tyrant XGP air rifle. I settled on zeroing in at 30′ after measuring the distance from inside the kitchen out to the bird feeder.

    Here’s my review of it.

    Fit and finish is very good. It does not come off as “cheap”. It has a composite stock of some sort, but it seems to be of the same quality and materials as the synthetic all-weather stocks on regular firearms and doesn’t seem like it’s going to loosen or slop around. Had I paid the usual $120-ish dollars for it, I would still have been satisfied, but at $75, I’m thrilled with the quality/$ spent that I got.

    It sure is a high velocity beastie. I have a metal bullet trap and from trigger pull to the ‘clink’ sound it is nearly instantaneous. Nothing remotely like Red Ryder gun. Of course that is at only 30′. I wish I had a chronograph to see how much I’m getting of the “up to 1200 fps” that’s on the box, but I think I’m getting most of it.

    I see that I’m going to be building my biceps. I was very surprised at the amount of effort it takes to cock the gun. But this isn’t the same as that old Crossman .22 multi-pump pellet gun my brothers and I had in the ’60s. Of course it makes sense that it’s hard, given the pressure that has to be built to get the higher velocities and all of that has to come from one pump. These new air guns are a shocker compared to those old barely-more-than-a-toy Daisy, Benjamin, and Crossman air guns we had as kids.

    The trigger pull is a little stiffer than I’m used to, but it has a nice crisp pull-through when you hit the point of release. I find it is satisfactory.

    I can see now why some would complain about the scope that came with it. I’m on a break from dialing it in. It’s OK for the money, though. If you want a $300 scope, don’t expect to get one packed in with an air rifle that is $150 at full retail.

    This gun is a tack hammer! I have a bench rest but my bench at the moment is some sort of wobbly wire framed storage cube. I haven’t moved over a solid bench to use yet. My set-up is barely better than offhand. Still, I’m getting about a 1″ group, wobbles and all, and that should go down to about 3/4″ or better when I get something solid set up to see how accurate it truly is.

    Now, on one of the follow-on videos to one of the air-rifle videos posted above or on W.O.O.D. was about a “pellet seating” tool. In the video, the guy tested one he made and a store-bought model. I found a seating tool would be very, very handy and after my second shot, I got a drill bit with an appropriately radiused end and used that to seat pellets. I’ll make something better and easier to use in a day or two. So put a pellet seating tool on your list.

    All in all, I’m highly impressed with the zing and accuracy of the Remington Tyrant XGP. It’s safe to assume that this represents a very nice mid-grade model. I don’t know how it stacks up against other mid-grade models. I’d be curious to see what improvements there would be on the next level up of air rifles, but I’m satisfied enough with this model that I won’t be spending any more money to find out.

    Next step: drop $40 on some different pellets and see which type is good for what and if there are any that are a ‘do not buy ever again’.

  33. Ossqss says:

    @HR, you will know when it breaks the sound barrier ;-)
    I have a Benjamin .22 pellet rifle and it is tuned in nicely. Even has some kick, as my neighbor found out after being warned not to place his eyebrow on the scope. I would tell you the high speed ratings they put on them are all about using the alloy pellets (not lead) and they shoot way different. I abandoned them for lead hollow points in short order.

    I have been taking a hard look at a Crosman 1077 CO2 rifle since I bought a few CO2 pistols for the kids to tinker with. Something about having a 12 round semiauto pellet clip for squirrel eradication that is appealing. The break barrel just goes right through and down the road and there is no speed loader for those things……

    Sounds like you got a great deal on that nice piece of hardware too!

  34. E.M.Smith says:


    Some “motivational videos” for you. Sound not that important… Just should you be looking for inspiration about what to do ;-)

    Greys, using a feeder as set-up and from a blind! First squirrel shot about 6:10:

    At about 5:45, reds in snow:

    Then they cook it…

    Then should birds become an issue:

    At about 1:30 we start the Daytime Ratting (w/ Head Shots!) with first shot about 4:20 then later the Night Vision Rat Removal Show at 13:30…

    Maybe I DO need a pellet gun after all ;-) In an EOTWAWKI scenario it would be quieter than harvesting the local squirrels with a .22 rifle… But I do still have a few hundred BC caps and CB caps (CB is Conical Bullet)

  35. PaulID says:

    EM check out Demolition Ranch on youtube he has tested a couple of the big bore air guns including one with a suppressor no NFA tax needed since it is not on a firearm. One thing to note with the .223/5.56 if you go that route be sure to get the gun chambered in 5.56 since the 5.56 rounds have a higher chamber pressure they are not safe to fire in the .223 chambered gun but the .223 will work just fine in the 5.56.

  36. H.R. says:

    OK, watched all of those, E.M.

    Those are some serious air guns and scopes. Beautiful rifles and they seem to have a lot of power out to 100 yards. And then there’s that whole night vision set-up in the last video. Now there is some $$$$$.

    It seems air guns are really getting taken seriously in the UK, most likely because there is minimal or no hassle to owning and using one.

    And for ratting and squirrel control, they seem to be a really good choice, maybe even preferred over a .22 LR, due to their low sound levels. It doesn’t spook the parade of victims.

  37. E.M.Smith says:

    OK, don’t think of them as inspirational then. Think of them as aspirational ;-)

    Common… they take head shots on squirrel at 100 yards, you can do it at 30 feet! ;-)

  38. H.R. says:

    E.M., I can do it at 30′ now and I’ve not finished dialing it in.

    I do want to dispatch them quickly and humanely with head shots, so these videos gave me some assurance that my lower end outfit will easily do that a 30′.

  39. Ossqss says:

    That ” One goes down” video is gonna cost me some money @EM, dangit….. so much for my Crosman 1077 oh, and the scope!

  40. H.R. says:

    Ossqss, that scope looks like it cost 3 or 4 times what my little Remington retails for.

    I noticed in all of the videos that it appeared the guns had a magazine arrangement, which is what had you interested in the Crosman. I believe it was in the day/night rat video that there was a shot of him loading up a round, yellow plastic magazine.
    A few years ago, I bought Mrs. H.R. a decent CO2 pistol with a 10-round magazine. It wouldn’t surprise me if it was the same as one of those you bought for the kids.

    The chipmunks were tearing up her plantings around the pond and she was mad and wanted to plug them. The sights weren’t set all that well and she never was motivated to take time out to figure them out. She is a decent shot. So she scared the heck out of them a few times, but no hits, and then she gave up on the pistol.

    I was thinking of using that CO2 pistol on the squirrels, but I figured that I’d most likely just wound them and I didn’t want that, so I was half-looking for an air rifle when that deal fell into my lap.

    In the last video, when they were hunting rabbits at night, the guy mentioned that his buddies used .22 cal pellets, but he preferred the .177 cal pellets for their ballistics. I was wondering if .177 was enough for a clean kill on the squirrels, but when I saw he was putting down the rabbits quickly with the .177, I knew they’d be fine on squirrels at half the mass of a rabbit.

    If by chance your inner-guy gets the better of you and you buy one of those higher end air rifles and scopes, I want to see it when we’re down this year. I just can’t recall seeing them around here in the stores to have a look. If you go all in and buy one that will take out an alligator, I really want to see one of those :o)

  41. p.g.sharrow says:

    @HR; my experience is that .177 BB is more lethal then the pellet in the same gun. And .22 airguns are better quality then the .177s are, so they shoot hotter and have better range. Squirrels are just rats in fancy fur coats so a good .177 should be enough.
    A small aside, at longer ranges a flat headed .22 pellet delivers a hell of a sting without penetration where a .177 or BB will break the skin…pg

  42. Ossqss says:

    @HR, I was reminded I have college tuition due, so that plan is out the door until further notice……

    I have the Daisy 426 model pistol, 15 shot built in mag, sub $20 one and is works pretty good. I get about 120 shots out of it till it diminishes in power. Neat thing about that one is it has a reach through grip so you can keep a cylinder in it and just tighten to activate when needed and shoot.

    I also have the Daisy 415 with a longer barrel, more fps, nice fiberoptic sights, 21 shot built in mag. I get about 80 shots out of that before it’s time for a new cylinder. It is more accurate than the smaller pistol (considering BB use), and a bit more powerful.

    That crosman rifle uses a 12 shot rotary clip, so it is not prone to jamming much as I understand it. We shall see. For $64 and add a $20 cheap Tasco scope, 3 more clips for $5 and it will be in operation next week. I plan on eliminating that of which chews through my solar heating panels pronto.

  43. jim2 says:

    Checked Amazon for powerful air rifles. There are a good number of them that will take down a deer and are pretty quiet. Powers up with 2000-3000 psi scuba tank or bicycle-type pump. At a variety of prices, too.

  44. H.R. says:

    p.g. writes: “A small aside, at longer ranges a flat headed .22 pellet delivers a hell of a sting without penetration where a .177 or BB will break the skin…pg”

    Yeah, some of us found out about those BBs breaking the skin the hard way. Then we’d go find the other guy and beat him up ;o)
    @Ossqss – Ha! Funny that. After I wrote about you perhaps getting a higher end gun, I was thinking, “Wait… one in college and the other is a Junior or Senior in HS, if I remember right. College tuition… there goes the mad money.”

    So you’re having pest problems too? Added any new words to your vocabulary lately? I sure have!

  45. Ossqss says:

    @PG, gonna take your info and try a combo pellet I found to start. Gotta like the name!

    Order is in and on its way for the package. Ended up getting a Centerpoint scope for a little bit more. Gotta have a 3/8 dovetail mount for it. Data collection to start at delivery ;-)

  46. p.g.sharrow says:

    @HR, IIRC I pissed off my sister about 80 feet away and she grabbed my .22 pump Bingmen, shot me in the neck! really stung! Seems I may have hit her in the leg with my old spring load daisy I must have been 11 and she 9. We wern’t the best of friends 8-)..

    @ossqss them things look dangerous

  47. Larry Ledwick says:

    When I was about 10 my brother discovered that those little silver ball candies that they use for birthday cake decorations worked as BB’s if you pick out the right size ones.

    He then proceeded to shoot me in the butt at about 10′ with one, left a nasty star burst welt as it shattered when it hit me.

    One useful item on cheap BB guns they will fire anything that will fit down the muzzle including strike anywhere match sticks with the right size match head.

    (note don’t try this at home the matches light on impact with hard surfaces which may be useful for burning wasp nests – or setting your garage on fire by accident [voice of experience from a friend’s efforts to get rid of wasps – luckily the garden hose was close at hand]. )

  48. E.M.Smith says:


    Yeah, that 2000 to 3000 PSI bit is really something. Not sure where you go to get the air. (A SCUBA tank is going to cost a bundle, and then most scuba shops require a dive certificate to fill it…). Did see some compressors for sale (about $500 right there…) for filling them.

    Using a bike pump is nice and all, but only gets you to about 150 PSI… so not going to be all that much power in the shots I think. (Unless you fill the gun tank to 2000 and it regulates it down to a hundred or so for each shot and the high pressure is just for more shots / fill…)

    There’s clearly a technological level of understanding needed before buying one of those things. I’d hate to get my $800 fancy 3000 PSI air rifle and then find out I had to buy a $500 compressor and wait 2 weeks for it to arrive before my first shots at power…

    There’s some bits missing in the whole start to end of buy scenario…

  49. l says:

    Might try filling it with bottled nitrogen, I think std pressure on the large bottles is 2000 psi

  50. Larry Ledwick says:

    That’s me above with the fingers faster than brain user handle.

    FYI for folks who need high pressure air like SCBA tanks they usually fill them with a cascade system of several high pressure bottles, and you fill the tank starting with the lowest pressure bottle in the cascade, then when it reaches equalization, you top it off with the next higher pressure bottle, then the next so the highest pressure bottle have very little pressure loss over several fills.

    Not that you are going to use that volume of air but you could cascade some of the smaller compressed gas cylinders in the same manner.

  51. E.M.Smith says:

    @Larry L:

    Hmmm…. Welding gasses often come in 2000 to 3000 psi tanks. They rent to anyone. You can get a variety of “shield gasses” from nitrogen to argon to helium to… Might be interesting to see if helium gives more velocity (less pressure spent moving the gas molecules from zero to speed more left for the pellet) or argon (more mass in the gas column pushing the pellet).

    Also which makes the most noise…

    About 30 years ago I had a tank of oxygen on rental for an oxy-propane torch. Never managed to use the whole thing and ended up returning it about 3/4 full as the $7 / mo to sit in the garage got tiresome…

    FWIW when I was doing scuba in the ’70s the standard was about 2200 psi. Now 3000 is common. Friend had a small high pressure compressor and we filled our own. It had three stages and was about the size of a carny-on bag. Filled a tank in about 12 hours…

    Oh, and I used a converted CO2 bottle that was a real sinker and rated at 1800 psi. At that pressure CO2 is a liquid. Might be worth trying a soda supplier…

  52. Larry Ledwick says:

    Super high velocity gas guns use hydrogen because of the higher velocities it allows. (throat choke flow in nozzles is limited by the speed of sound in the gas in question) Light gasses have higher speed of sound.

    I would go with high pressure helium which you can buy at your local party store to inflate balloons although I am not sure what the pressure is in those consumer bottles probably a few hundred psi at least.

    Hmmm looks like 260 psi for these party balloon tanks and if you heat it – – – –

  53. H.R. says:

    I made a pellet seating tool this afternoon. I had a clevis pin with just about the right end to start and I turned it down on the ‘vertical lathe’ (drill press).

    It does make a difference in making sure that all pellets are uniformly seated and it prevents a sliver of the skirt from being sheared off when closing the barrel and you didn’t get the pellet in the barrel all the way with your thumb or thumbnail.

    I found the video where I saw this. It was a ‘suggested’ queued up video after one of the air gun videos someone posted earlier.

    I made one out of one piece similar to the guy’s DIY seater. I also had an acorn nut on a short-threaded machine screw, which is what I believe his is, but the radius I had seemed too large. Next time in in a hardware aisle, I might look for a smaller acorn nut.

    It seems to be a good idea to have one if you have a single-shot break barrel. I’m hoping someone makes a combo seater/feeder for pellets similar to a percussion cap loader. If not I’ll have to make one and patent it.

    If they don’t exist, I’m claiming the idea here: a spring in a slide channel where the pellets are loaded in the channel much like a semi-auto cartridge magazine or existing pellet magazines. At the top exit where there is a .177 radius end stop, a seater is centered above the end of the pellet on a plunger with a compression spring return. The pellet at the open end of the magazine is placed over the barrel and the seater is depressed with the thumb to seat the pellet in the barrel. The whole mechanism. is then removed from the barrel, the thumb removed from the seating plunger. the plunger retracts and the next pellet advances in the magazine under spring pressure until it is under the seater/plunger.

    Having written all that, now I’ll go look and find out you can have one delivered from Amazon tomorrow. :o) :o)

  54. Terry Jay says: Has a lot of info and welcomes calls.

  55. E.M. Smith says:

    @Terry Jay:

    At that link, the .50 cal Dragon also shoots “air bolts”. Looks like an arrow with roll up fletching.
    “Air Venturi Air Bolt, 6 pack 0.50″ Caliber bolt
    Velocity up to 500 fps (when used in Seneca Dragon Claw)
    Power up to 238 FPE (when used in Seneca Dragon Claw)
    430 grains including 100 grain field tip
    Overall length 23″
    300 SpineConstructed from 100% Hi-Modulus Carbon Fiber
    6 Air Bolts per package”

    At about $17 each, not cheep. But still… a 238 ft-lb bolt? Ouch!

    A 4500 psi 3 stage hand pump? Yeah, things are different now…..

    Well, now you have told the world, so in 3 months you can order the knock off from China…

  56. H.R. says:

    Thanks for that link, Terry Jay!

    Looks like they are selling that Remington Tyrant XGP for $100 and it’s got a “Save $40” flag off to the side. I think that Tyrant model is on it’s way out. That’s probably why I got mine clearance and pyramydair has them at $100. That’s the way it goes… always a new model coming out, but who cares if it isn’t the latest? It’s a fine little gun for the money.

    Oh, in the Tyrant add in Terry’s link, I got the velocity question answered. It’s 1200 fps for the light pellets and 1000 fps for lead. That was good to know. I was afraid it was going to be 87 fps with lead ;o)
    They have a pellet loader/seater on that site, but it’s not like the one I described above as something I’d design.

    This looks pretty good, though.

    In the reviews for that loader/seater, there were lots of mentions of how the seater improved the accuracy of the user’s air rifle. I’m finding it helps too.

    I have a machine shop that would make my loader/seater design for about $100 – $150, but I’m not sure if I want to fuss with it. OTOH, the owner is a serious gun collector** and would probably get a kick out of making one, so maybe I will at least have a talk with him. Or maybe I could go the p.g. sharrow way and 3-D print one, if I had a 3-D printer :o(

    **True story – The machine shop owner employs about 15 machinists on 2 shifts. He has contracts to supply several different manufacturers with parts, so he is not boom/bust dependent on one or two customers. He is doing [ahem] very well, financially.

    He took a part time job for about a year at an Outdoors sporting goods store – Guns, Bows, Fishing – just so he’d be there for a first crack at any interesting trades that came in or so he could be sure to get any hot new hard-to-get gun. Now that is someone really into shooting. I sometimes wonder if he even remembered to cash his checks from that job? Nah… probably just said, “Pay me in ammo, please.”

  57. H.R. says:

    @E.M. – Yeah, the Chinese can steal my IP, but with President Trump’s tariffs, I can undersell the Chinese :o) Not so sure about India or Vietnam, though… bummer.
    I think the 100 Years War might have been shortened considerably if they had had those bolts and air guns. Might have been closer to the Seven Days War. ;o)

  58. Another Ian says:


    Be a bit wary of keeping powder in your “in case” store.

    I’ve run into a problem with Winchester 748 ball powder. 308W rounds loaded in the 1980’s to accuracy so not full power. By about 2015, in the same rifle, these were way overloaded to the extent of primers falling out. Storage was somewhat indifferent with no special cool storage.

    OTOH 1950’s 303 British cordite gives no trouble.

    I have moved to ADI powders as I don’t trust Winchester after that experience.

  59. E.M.Smith says:

    @Another Ian:

    Good to know about.

    FWIW, I only really load 3 things.

    Standard pressure 9mm, or a bit on the light side, that get’s shot in +P rated guns.
    .38 Special that gets shot in some .357 Magnum guns, and some almost full power .357s.
    12 Gauge dove loads (i.e. very light loads).

    Any of them could go over pressure from my goal and not be a problem. Even the actual .357s as I rarely load any and then do it “less than factory” and stuff them in a Ruger that wildcatters use to make crazy high pressure rounds. Were I ever going to actually hunt anything, it’s the factory .357s that would go into the Marlin rifle. Not my cast lead reloads, but JHP…

    In a SHTF situation, any powder on hand would be dear, so I’d load lighter to “stretch” it and since my most likely target would be in the squirrels size… Even then I’d have a brick of .22 LR to get through first, and not that many squirrels ;-)

    One of the “issues” with storing powder long term is mechanical grain size reduction. Physically moving stuff / vibrating can wear off some “dust” of smaller sizes, or just wear off a graphite coating that slows burn rate. Then burn rates and pressures go up. So all my stuff is stored at “normal room temp or below” and immobile.

    FWIW, IIRC, my “usual” 9mm load was about 1150 fps (so yeah, way low. Just above the “did not cycle gun loading…). I like to make things as quiet as possible.

    The .38 Specials were about 800 fps. Trying for a very soft subsonic “pop”. Even the .357s were on the lower end of the scale. 158 gr semi-wadcutters at about 1200 fps IIRC. Trying for maximum brass life.

    Powder was H110 or Unique, generally. Haven’t loaded anything up in about a decade since I’ve not gone shooting that much in that time ( half of it “on the road” or in Florida away from all my gear…) and I started with a pretty good inventory (that I’ve now run down…). I think I may have about 1/2 pound left in the can? (Tended to buy the 1 pound cans… might have used it all up)

    Probably ought to dust off all the equipment and restock my “goods”. OTOH, I don’t really need to. If it’s an EOTWAWKI* I’ve got cases and bullets and such and can assemble as needed. If it isn’t an EOTWAWKI It’s easier to move a bag of empty brass than a crate of loaded ammunition. (Yes, Officer Obie, that IS 1000 rounds of 9mm in the trunk…) and I can buy a new jug of powder at the other end of the move… Well, whatever…

    FWIW I started loading with a Lee Loader and can not recommend them enough for small shells. With a small plastic mallet to seat the cases in the die, and a small chunk of 2×4 as surface; I could knock out a box of 50 rounds of 9mm during a single TV show. I’d not try it with really big brass like .308 but with small stuff like 9mm and .38 Special it’s easy to size the brass and easy to load it. My press is about the same work and I’ve got to be at the bench…(but does bigger brass a LOT easier…) For 12 gauge it is all I use (don’t reload enough to justify a special press) and it works nicely. (Not a lot of brass to resize on a shotgun shell ;-)

    One of my reasons for standardizing on the 9mm / .38 / .357 Magnum set is just that. With a Lee Loader in the kit I can make ammunition “cowboy style” complete with casting bullets from car wheel weights, and don’t need a working shop to do it.- Then the .38 / .357 cases are big enough to work “OK” with black powder if needed. (Part of why I ran low power in my reloads, to see what they might be like with poor powder made by hand – and yes, I have made black powder. Not very good though. I didn’t mix it enough and the grain size was “variable”. So technique would need some attention.)

    I was about ready to buy a Black Powder cap/ball pistol / rifle when the whole “on the road” thing hit and my shooting play time dropped to near zero. Now I don’t really have the urge anymore. Easier to just lay in a case of .357 and call it done ;-) Maybe when I’m out of California and back in the land of sanity…

    Though really, with an analog of the Lewis & Clark big bore air rifle and a hand pump, that’s in some ways even more interesting. Add a mold for the right caliber bullets or ball and a half dozen “bolts” and then for what, exactly, would one need powder? For my “hunt critters for food” scenario it would be ideal. A 9mm on the hip and a box or two of factory 9mm loads for it would cover any mix of “deer sized thin skinned animals” and “Gator Surprise!” that I’d likely ever see in a lifetime. It also makes no loud BOOM! and doesn’t make a cloud of smoke the size of a small car to tell everyone where you are… So tit is my current object of avarice ;-)

    * I hate it when acronyms are used and not defined, so while I think everyone here already knows it, EOTWAWKI is End Of The World As We Know It. Like a SHTF (brown stuff meets whirling macerator) only a lot worse. And yes, while I use them as “thought devices” in reality I don’t expect the Zombie Apocalypse or even a drastic Aw Shit in my lifetime. But it’s fun to pretend to prepare for it… Not many folks are really prepared for it. “Nobody Expects The Spanish Inquisition!” and whatever reality happens will not be as expected either. But By GOD I’ll be ready to terrorize the local squirrels when I get hungry enough ;-)

  60. H.R. says:

    I just got back from my Sunday grocery run and I added a stop at Field & Stream and Cabelas to the normal run. I was looking for some different pellets to try and a pellet loader.

    Neither store had a pellet loader, but Cabelas did have that Destroyer pellet that Ossqss said he had ordered (above), so I bought a tin of 250 of those. The price difference on those pellets was considerable; $7.99 at Field & Stream and $6.49 at Cabela’s.

    Walmart was first stop for a few things. They haven’t gone full-on security at my Walmart, so I still buy certain things there. Of Course!!! I stopped in sporting goods and – sunnuvagun! – they had that plastic tube pellet loader for $7.99. I snagged one to try out.

    Oh, the Premier 10.4 gr hollowpoint pellets I bought at Walmart the day I got the gun were $6.49 for 400. At the other two stores they were $11.99. Walmart also had some ammo the other stores didn’t carry; solid copper pellets, made by Daisy. They are very heavy nearly dead soft copper pellets. I’ll pick some up to try after I finish testing the 4-5 types of pellets I have now.

    I also bought a Crosman metal squirrel shaped/sized resetting target that can be staked in the ground. For practice, I’m going to set it where the squirrels gather. It will also get them used to having the thing around.

    Other than online, I haven’t seen much of the brands and types of pellets that were in the squirrel and rat videos above. I’m thinking that they are probably common enough in Britain/Europe and are made on the Eastern side of the pond.

    Cabelas also had two different models of fully auto BB guns. Maybe I should skip the finesse approach and just run out there and mow the squirrels down on full auto….. rat-a-tat-tat-tat-tat… “Die, you little bastards! DIE!” rat-a-tat-tat-tat-tat…

    Nahhhh… the neighbors might look askance at me ;o)

  61. Ossqss says:

    Dang HR, I paid $3.24 for those pellets at Wallyworld (250 count). Let me know how they do as I may experience a delay in getting anything due to this frigging ‘cane.

  62. Larry Ledwick says:

    Well HR this wasn’t supposed to be a competition but I think I got you beat.

    I went down to Walmart to pick up a couple tins of pellets since you all have been chatting so much about air guns (I already have 2 cheap Crossman rifles)

    And low and behold on the clearance shelf I find one of these for $25 (that is not a typo) New in the box.

    I think I got a good deal!
    Your airgun might be a bit higher quality but dollar for dollar ability to pot a critter at 30′ – the critter won’t know the difference.

    And being dual caliber I can use which ever barrel shoots best.

    Apparently back to school days are clean out the pellet gun rack days.

  63. H.R. says:

    Larry L: I do believe you win the “Clearance Bin Find of the Year” award. Nice!

    Quality? I think we essentially have the same gun. The imports seem to all be the same pig with different shades of lipstick. From all the reviews on the Tyrant and what I read in the link you gave, they are perfectly fine little guns. I’m very happy with mine so far and I’m sure you will like yours.

    Did you buy one of those pen-type pellet loaders, too? If you are going to take it out and shoot offhand, I can see where they would be very handy. If you’re at a bench or some place stationary, grabbing from the tin is OK. There is a learning curve to using those loaders.

    Also, you will find that a pellet seater is [Martha Stewart voice] a gooood thing. I mentioned that the first seater I used was the end of a drill bit. The end of a 1/4″ bit ought to do it for either .177 or .22. I didn’t pay attention to the size I grabbed from the ‘loose bits’ tray, but it was about 1/4″. They do improve consistency. You can fuss with making or buying a better seater later.

    I’d take odds that the cylinder is the same as the one on mine. These lower end air guns seem to only be made by a couple of manufacturers. In which case, you can expect 1,000 fps with lead .177 pellets and 800 – 900 fps with .22 pellets. Did the box or instructions give an “up to XXXXX fps” number?

    You’re in for a bit of fun. Be sure to start looking into a pellet seating tool of some sort.
    Public Service Announcement

    Larry L is on the loose, armed, and considered dangerous to your ‘Elf n’ Safety. If you see him, do not approach. Immediately take cover and pray he doesn’t spot your sorry @$$.

    This has been a Public Service Announcement

  64. Larry Ledwick says:

    No pellet seater yet, but as you mention easy to make from found materials in the junk box.

    Yes velocities expected are similar near 1000 fps for light alloy pellets and around 800 fps for the lead pellets in .22.

    Will have to play with it when I get the chance but being in an apartment complex I can’t just go potting bunnies in the common area, but have used a pellet trap indoors in the past so might fiddle with it in the hallway to see how it groups.

  65. Ossqss says:

    Oh the Wallyworld clearance rack trap! I get caught in that every time I go. Of course I have a specific beaten path that takes me right by there on the way to the beer cooler. Electronics clearance rack too….

    In fact the clearance trap is what got me into the CO2 Pistol. They had a box of 15 cylinders for 2 bucks, so I bought them to use as my neighbor had an old pistol, but the seals were shot and then I had a box of cylinders with nothing to use them in. Boom, $20 pistol was born. Next trip a box of 25 cylinders sitting there for 4 bucks and Boom the other pistol was born on the way out of the Sporting Goods aisle. They do have some great deals if you can get there at the right time. Bagged a number of crossbow bolts once for a dollar each (regularly $8).

    Ok, that’s it. I am heading there now to see if I get lucky ;-)


  66. Ossqss says:

    @Larry, be careful with the .22 and a pellet trap. They don’t recommend that as they can be damaged with the bigger pellet per their warning.

  67. Larry Ledwick says:

    be careful with the .22 and a pellet trap

    Depends on what you make the trap out of ; )
    Yes the Guard issued us the el-cheapo tin pellet traps for .177 pellets
    For the bigger pellets a home built is better, made out of a big bundle of news papers and a couple of deflector boards (or if you happen to have a couple AR500 silhouette plates) so the pellets are sure to impact the news papers.

    I will probably only set one up to do some quick checks on zero at close range, I do most of my indoor practice with air soft and even that will over time chew through back stop materials.

  68. E.M.Smith says:

    Interesting… These folks break out their selection of rifles and pistols for air gun hunting by size of critter being hunted. While I can see where it could work, I still think this description is a bit optimistic:

    With our selection of small game rifles, get just enough speed and power for handling smaller pests or vermin without carrying a larger airgun than necessary. Our medium game rifles offer all the same features as the small game options but with more power or features to build on. When looking to take down large game, our selection of large game rifles has you covered. Whether looking to take down a deer from an impressive distance or bag a wild boar, these larger air rifles for hunting are the right solution to give you the power, speed, and precision needed to achieve success.

    In the powder driven world, a .357 Magnum is considered the lowest (and sometimes marginal) power round for deer and “wild boar”… while the muzzle energy of a sub-sonic lead slug (loaded to about .38 Spcl speed) is about the same as the top end air guns (at 225 ft-lbs)
    most folks when hunting use the full speed JHP or similar at 400 to 700 ft/sec faster and up to 625 ft-lbs muzzle. Or about 2.5 x as much wallop.

    So I’m still thinking this is a shaky proposition… IIRC, some States don’t even like folks to hunt deer with a .223 Remington. (About 1500 ft-lbs ) so color me skeptical…

    OTOH, a rifle with ballistics that match the .38 Special is quite enough for a lot of stuff… And given my “issue” with unprotected high sound pressures, a silencer on one would actually let me go hunting without asking the critter to hold that perfect shot moment while I put in my earplugs and got the muffs on… (and you can put a silencer on an air gun in most jurisdictions without the license / fee / hassle…)

    The other odd bit, is that in their “recommended pellets” section, they are not showing .50 cal or even .45 cal.

    JSB Diabolo Exact Jumbo Beast .22 Cal, 33.96 gr – 150 ct
    Only $11.99

    H&N Baracuda Hunter .22 Cal, 18.21 gr – 200 ct
    Only $9.99

    JSB Diabolo Exact King Heavy MKII .25 Cal, 33.95 gr – 300 ct
    Only $17.99

    Air Venturi Shotshells, #6 Shot – 50 ct
    Only $24.99

    JSB Diabolo Exact .30 Cal, 44.75 gr – 150 ct
    Only $17.99

    That’s right… the largest they list is .30 Cal.

    So is that because once in the super high power regular rifle calibers folks shoot regular bullets and not pellets? Or what? Or is a .30 Cal 45 gr slug better than a .50 Cal round ball / bolt?

    I have trouble thinking anything would be more effective than a .50 Cal shooting a bolt at 400+ grains and about 250 ft-lbs…

    Or maybe they just know that the half dozen guys with the .50 Cal are buying small volumes and that the .22 – .30 folks are where the most sales will happen…

  69. E.M.Smith says:

    Ah, they show a 2.5 inch “kill zone”, use of a .45 or larger and over 200 Ft-lbs and only a few States (that may not have the larger sized deer of California) allow it:

    Florida is one of them… and IIRC the deer there were on the smaller size of things.

    While still leaning more toward my scoped .357 Magnum rifle as the lowest I’d use, it could be of benefit to have a .50 Cal OMG Air Gun for the EOTWAWKI! :-O

  70. E.M.Smith says:


    In California it is illegal to use any lead bullets for any hunting. (I’d worry about my inventory except that I only expect to use it in the collapse of government and then, by definition, F&G regs don’t matter). But it looks like pellet guns get a pass:

    Nonlead Ammunition in California
    Effective July 1, 2019, nonlead ammunition is required when taking any wildlife with a firearm anywhere in California.
    Are pellet rifles included in the lead ammunition ban?
    Since pellet rifles are not firearms, the use of lead projectiles in pellet rifles is not prohibited.

    Nice to know….

    BTW, this is also why I was looking at bismuth suppliers… while I could cast tin solder for .357 rifle use, in a .357 handgun it is prohibited as “armor piercing” composition… hopfully bismuth is allowed.

    Oh, and just to further show how nutty California has gotten: IF you get a deer tag, you MUST report your hunting results, even if zero, even if you do not go hunting at all…or you get a fine. Yeah, say “nothing happened I was in another State and missed the hunt” or be fined….

  71. H.R. says:

    E.M. wrote:

    Oh, and just to further show how nutty California has gotten: IF you get a deer tag, you MUST report your hunting results, even if zero, even if you do not go hunting at all…or you get a fine. Yeah, say “nothing happened I was in another State and missed the hunt” or be fined….

    That rule is just a tax on those not paying attention. Sneaky and brilliant in a bureaucratic way.

    I’d assume it’s the same in California as my State; Deer tags and must be turned in at one of the innumerable check-in stations when you get a deer. The tags sold vs. the tags turned in are and matched up at the end of the season. Our Division of Wildlife can then play with those results to get all the statics they need to generate hundreds of different pie charts that will be sent to higher-ups who need something on their desk so they look like they are doing something.

  72. H.R. says:

    I made a run to Home Depot yesterday for a few things. That gave me the chance to stop in the hardware aisle and look for an acorn nut to make a pellet seater.

    In the drawers of specialty hardware, the first picture of an acorn nut I saw (they are called cap nuts on the drawer) happened to be metric stainless steel hardware. SS suited me just fine.

    I bought 2-packs of M3 and M4 cap nuts and the longest M3 and M4 screws they had.

    Either one of those nuts make a dandy pellet seater. That gives me 3 different seating depths to try out, including my homemade seater.

    Using a seater does improve accuracy. The groups are noticeably smaller. When I get a chance I’ll see which depth gives the best results for my gun.

    Supposedly, seating depth can also affect velocity for the better at some ‘best depth,’ but I have no way of measuring that. Anyhow, it doesn’t matter how fast the pellet is going as it whizzes by a missed target. A slower pellet that hits beats a faster pellet that misses, every time ;o)

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