Monday, March 24, 2008



Mike, this little item was on Survival Blog this morning. It's the blog
that Jim Rawles writes He got on about using a .22 rimfire for small game and
such and then brought this up. Thought you might have a comment on this.


I do. The first thing I want to comment on, he doesn't know beans
about air rifles. If you notice... Pyramid Air is one of his sponsors.
What he is doing is throwing them a bone. You well know my affinity
for air guns. And in that respect only, this guy is at least thinking
right. But I will specifically comment below.

> In an absolute worst case scenario, where you don't want to attract any
> attention, pest or small game shooting with a high-power .22 or .25 caliber
> air rifle is both quieter and less expensive than shooting with subsonic .22
> rimfire ammunition.

This is true. But....

>For survival shooting, I prefer manually pimped models,
> rather than CO2-powered. If money is no object, then get something like a
> Beeman R1 .22 Double Gold

This is nearly 600 dollars worth of spring-piston gun. I have gone to
great lengths to explain to you how difficult it is to accurately
shoot a spring-piston gun. If you recall... they recoil, then the
pellet leaves. This requires a very specific method of holding and
shooting the gun, to restrain the recoil along the bore axis. It took
a very long time and lots and lots of practice for me to be able to do
it. The method requires pretty much going against all your instincts.
Further, this is a very powerful gun for 'spring-piston'. It will EAT
scopes. Therefore, you are going to have to shoot iron sights, or
plunk down fairly serious money for a scope good enough to live on it.

>or perhaps even a Weihrauch HW 100S. These are
> available from Pyramid Air (one of our affiliate advertisers), and several
> other Internet vendors.

Give me a break. This is nearly 1300 bucks worth of gun. And, while it
is quieter than a 22lr, it still has a distinctive 'gun' sound, if
left unsuppressed. Although it can be suppressed, cheaply... threads
on the muzzle are 1/2-20, firearms are 1/2-28, and suppressors can be
'legally' purchased, though ATF would certainly disagree with that.
But the fact of the law (which matters not one whit) 'allows' airguns
to be suppressed.

For MUCH, MUCH less money, the Air Arms S400ERB is a
far, far better choice. Firstly, it has a shrouded barrel. No
suppressor needed. It's single-shot, and it has no recoil. It is as
easy to shoot as any gun made. It requires none of the special methods
necessary on any spring-piston gun powerful enough to take game. And
the cheapest scope will live happily on top of it.

It is a 'precharged pneumatic'. If you look at the pic on the link
above, you will see that it has a fat tube under the barrel. This is
the air reservoir. And it must be pumped to 3000 psi, and kept between
maybe 1800 and 3000 psi. It CAN be manually pumped. But it requires a
special pump, looks like a manual tire pump, and will cost a minimum
of 225 bucks.

> Compared to the cost of shooting expensive subsonic
> ammunition like Aguila SSS, even an expensive air rifle will pay for itself
> after shooting just a few thousand rounds. If you are on a budget, then Get
> a Gamo Big Cat, or Gamo Carbine Sport. Both of those use .22 pellets.

Gamos are not well thought of among serious airgun shooters-- they
'twang' and 'buzz' (poor spring tech) and generally are not very
refined, but they are very functional. They are not tack-driving
accurate, but with proper pellets, they are quite usable for small
game at restricted ranges-- say, 30 yards or less. This gun is a
cheap, powerful spring-piston 'plinker' which can be used for small
game. If I were extremely limited on funds, for less than 150 bucks,
this is not bad.
I do not find, on first inspection, any caliber but 177 available.

> For a
> medium budget, a Walther Falcon Hunter (either .22 or .25 caliber, around
> $270) is a good choice.

This is just an upscale Gamo. Another spring-piston, with power, I
trust. I don't find any power range stated.

Here I must comment. Ammo is critical for good airgun accuracy. I
looked at the 'recommended' ammo for the Walther, and I presume the
Gamo will follow suit.

Powerful airguns, over about 12 ft-lbs at the muzzle, are very snaky
for pellet choice. And powerful guns do not like, as a rule, wadcutter
ammo. And pointed ammo is almost always useless beyond just a few
yards. They are not precisely manufactured enough to be 'perfect'
about the 'point', and they have a tendency to go into great looping
spirals at any significant range. The very finest pellets, for almost
any airgun, are 'domes' or 'round nose'.

Two of the best are the Crosman Premier
and the JSB domes. These are called by several names, but what you
look for is the JSB dome (round nose) pellet in 22 cal, which weigh a
nominal 16 grains.

There are other domed pellets, mfg by RWS and others imported under
the Beeman label. Too many to talk about. But don't use Walmart
cheapies unless you absolutely have to, and stay away from pointed

And before you can even evaluate the pellets, you have to learn to
shoot the gun, if it is a spring-piston.

> The other advantage of air rifles is that you can legally conduct target
> practice inside city limits, in most jurisdictions. While no substitute for
> high power rifle shooting, indoor practice with an air rifle can help
> maintain your shooting skills in winter months.

This is very chancy. Most places will NOT allow outdoors shooting in
city limits, and shooting air guns sufficiently powerful for hunting
indoors can get to be a real problem, in safely stopping the pellets.
I repeat, this article seems to be a bone thrown to a sponsor. It does
NOT adequately address the issues involved.

In fact, all things considered, I would be tempted to go with a
Benjamin 392, the old time classic multi-pump, for 'cheap'-- if I had
to go cheap. The 397 is 177, the 392 is 22. It is marginal, just
barely adequately-powered for small game, but they are relatively
accurate (for short range), eat a lot of different ammo without qualm,
and are super easy to shoot. And they cost less than 150 bucks. And do
not stress scopes, but I would not recommend a scope for this gun. It
interferes with the pump-up, and a long eye relief scopes are all that
really works on it. And their triggers suck.

He does not say so, but when using an airgun for hunting, any airgun,
you are using 'just barely enough gun', which means that shot
placement is CRITICAL. You saw that I would not take anything but head
shots on the muskrats. That's because it would take a perfect heart
shot, and would still give them opportunity to get away.

The 177 has a tendency to 'ice pick', go through and through with
little damage to tissue, so with 177 it is even more critical to shoot
accurately. And 25 cal pellets are rare and expensive. It is said
among airgunners that 177 for feathers, 22 for fur. That's not bad
advice. But again... shot placement cannot be stressed too strongly.
I hope this makes sense.


Spring-piston airguns must never, ever be fired 'dry'. The pellet in
the barrel provides an absolutely necessary 'cushion' for the
spring-driven piston when the piston is released. Without the cushion,
the piston slams into the seat and can irretrievably damage itself on
just one occasion of dry fire, and the more powerful the gun, the more
likely damage will occur.

Further, it is strongly advised that spring-piston airgun NOT be left
cocked for ANY time. They are intended to be cocked and fired. Most of
the break-barrels can be loaded without being cocked, when actively
hunting. Then a quick 'barrel cock' prepares the gun for use when game
is spotted.


And finally!

The Benjamin pump ups are loud-ish. Not firearm loud, but they have a
distinctive pop.

The spring piston guns do not sound like a gun. They actually sound
more like a staple gun. 'Mechanical' sound, not a 'gun' sound.


And I heard from my 22 friend Vlad, this morning. Seems like eveybody has a comment about Rawles gun item! The Rawles recommends subsonic ammo,and pellet rifles, for steath hunting after SHTF. Someone should tell him that Aguila SSS 60gr groups best from 1:9 inch twist barrel.
Michael sez,

I hope this helps folks that are looking to supply themselves with small game with 22's or pellet guns. You can suppress a subsonic 22 round with a 2 liter plastic pop bottle. And thanks to Mike Kemp and Vlad for their timely remarks on these issues of survivalism. We small income people can use all the accurate advice we can get. These are the things that help us stay alive!



vlad said...

My grandson put 3 shots Aguila SSS 60gr in 3/8 inch c-to-c 50 yards 1:9 twist barrel 10-22, 4x scope, bipod, bench rest.

Best I did with Marlin 24N 4x scope benchrest Remington subsonic 22LR was 3 shots in 3/4 inch at 50 yards.

Dragon said...

field expedient ammo for the air gun can be made from the proper size wire or brazing rods your ammo will go furthur....
cut em up with a pair of dykes (side cutters) to the proper sizes.
I did it allot as a kid and never went without.
I found a closeout on a combo 177-22 at wally farts the other day... IU hope its still there when I get paid tomorrow...Dragon

vlad said...

Let us assume that you have one scoped 22LR rifle, and wish to use both hivel and subsonic ammo.
At fifty yards there may be as much as three inches difference in the strike of the bullet of high velocity and subsonic ammo.

Sight in with high velocity ammo. Mark elevation and windage
dials with a single dot.

Sight in with subsonic ammo. Mark the elevation and windage dials with two dots.