Best Air Rifle for Squirrels and Small Game 2020 | Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
Taking care of the nuisance created by squirrels or similar critters is possible using an air rifle. But hunting down such fast animals is one hard task unless you go for the best air rifle for squirrels and small game hunting.
The combination of great velocity, least noise & subtle acquisition of target can make the task easier. Not all air rifles in the market offer the exact combination of these features.
Therefore, you need to make a careful choice to hunt down the squirrels. And getting a budget-friendly one seems quite confusing among all the available options.
We considered the most useful & basic features, regarding efficient hunting & plinking. From hundreds of popular air rifles, we managed to pick the most affordable 10 models. Each model has outstanding functionality to propel the pellet right into the target.
All you need is to go through our best air rifle for squirrels and small game reviews. You can choose the perfect weapon to get rid of pests, making the most of your precious investment.
Top 10 Best Air Rifles for Squirrels and Small Game Reviews
Covering the most useful features, we made our choices. The most important considerations include – quick acquisition of the target, higher pellet velocity & reduced noise, recoiling effect. Let’s explore each of the best air rifle for squirrels and small game to attenuating details.
1. Gamo 6110017154 Varmint Air Rifle
Through lower range shooting, Gamo 6110017154 Varmint holds perfect for target shooting, & varmint hunting. Maximum shooting efficiency prevails with the best air gun for squirrel and small game hunting.
- High-Velocity Alloy Pellet
The spring-powered system can shoot .177 caliber at 1250 fps speed. With 17.8 ft/lbs energy, the single-shot break barrel gives perfect blinking.
- Flute with Adjustable Trigger
The integrated flute imparts less susceptibility to overheating with higher rigidity. Two-stage adjustability of trigger pull gives a better feel to the returned spring.
- Easily Maneuverable Stock
With molded synthetic built, the all-weather stock remains easy-to-maneuver. Having non-slip texture, the forearm & grip enable a comfortable holding.
- Mountable Scope Outfit
The mountable 4 x 32 scope enables further accuracy for distant shooting. It’s fiber optic front is associated with an adjustable rear sight.
✔ Powerful action with 3.53 lbs pull.
✔ Adjustable trigger for lightweight stock.
✔ Decent optical support with scope.
✔Higher accuracy through great cocking.
✔ Manual safety for rubber buttplate.
⨯ Medium to high level of loudness.
⨯ No elevation adjustment for scope.
Superb accuracy is guaranteed here, thanks to the powerful action. The overall performance measures a great value for the price which can be worth of your investment.
2. Gamo Silent Cat Air Rifle
This best pellet gun for squirrels comes with lots of power with a slight generation of noises. With professional performance, Gamo Silent Cat seems perfect for handling pest controlling situation.
- No Upkeeping Framework
The break barrel combines with a spring cylinder to initiate an easy-to-use framework. Almost zero upkeep holds perfect for both beginners & professionals.
- Incredibly Accurate Firepower
With PBA ammunition, the rifle can fire at 1200 fps speed for further accuracy. The .177” caliber can get up to 1000 fps with lead bullets.
- Quite & Comfortable Action
Having 52% more noise dampening, it offers reduced recoil with ventilated rubber pad. The quiet action comes with automated cocking safety & manual trigger.
- Supportive Optical Scope
The mountable 4 x 32 scope aids greater accuracy against moving targets. With fiber optic front, the rear sight supports adjustment for windage & elevation.
✔ Lightweight & comfortable carriage.
✔ Adjustable trigger pull at two stages.
✔ Durable skeleton thumbhole stock.
✔ Standard 11mm dovetail mounting.
✔ Greater velocity induces accuracy.
⨯ Poor placement of safety switch.
⨯ Not free from spring noise.
Amazing firepower results in a perfect blow to hit the target with maximum precision. You can obviously consider this budget-friendly option to enjoy a comfortable shooting.
3. Ruger 2244001 Pellet Air Rifle
With a beautifully sleek construction, the rifle permits the quick acquisition of targets. Holding a perfect balance between features & functionality, Ruger 2244001 promises greater accuracy & higher safety.
- Ambidextrous Hardware
The sleek construction features a durable hardwood stock, enabling easy control. Being perfectly designed, the rifle seems fit for left-handers & right-handers equally.
- Convenient Firing Action
With pellet ammunition, the .177” caliber hits the target at a reasonable 1000 fps velocity. The 3.0 lbs pull eases the triggering action following a 30 lbs cocking.
- Precise, Expedite Shooting
Despite its slightly higher weight, the comfortable grip allows a consistent holding. With an automated safety & rubberized pad, it reduces the recoiling effect.
- Standard Mountable Scope
Using 11mm grooving compatibility, the mountable 4 x 32 scope permits optical support. Both the front & rear sights are of fiber optic with adjustable rear sighting.
✔ Quiet action with 3-medium loudness.
✔ Automatic safety for a 30 lbs cocking.
✔ Standard two-stage trigger adjustment.
✔ Comfortable with ambidextrous stock.
✔ Scope attachment for superb accuracy.
⨯ Considerably heavy to carry.
⨯ Not a suitable option for kids.
The overall construction initiates a faithful representation of great shooting efficiency. Standing up against the common rigors, the enduring rifle is worth your consideration.
4. Hatsan 95 Air Rifle Combo
With beautiful craftsmanship, the rifle is ready to give the perfect first impression. Maximized control & supreme accuracy makes Hatsan 95 Combo a suitable option for beginners.
- Different Choosing Options
Three options are available for shooting .177”, .22” & .25” calibers. Perfect acquisition of the target becomes easy through the provided 1000, 850 & 650 fps.
- Accuracy with Alloy Pellets
The rifle is specifically tested & perfected using heavier lead pellets. With lighter alloy pellets, the accuracy gets further through enhanced firing action.
- Incredibly Easy Maneuvering
Incorporating 11mm dovetails, the mounting 3 – 9 x 32 scope induces precise hitting. Through the Walnut stock & checkered trigger, controlling the rifle remains simple.
- Minimized Recoil & Shock
The integrated rubberized buttpad on the stock reduces the recoiling effect. Having SAS, the design easily conveys the overwhelming force resulting from the shooting.
✔ Comfortable feel with reduced recoil.
✔ Automated safety for anti-beartrap system.
✔ Full adjustability of fiber optic rear sight.
✔Ambidextrous grip eases trigger pulling.
✔ Two-staged matching trigger adjustment.
⨯ Slight stiffness for initial cocking.
⨯ Difficult to hold with high weight.
The enduring built permits easy control for both rookies & pros. This option is definitely worth your investment with its outstanding functionality.
5. Daisy Model 35 Air Rifle
Being a lightweight pneumatic gun, this best quiet air rifle for squirrels is great for starters to get the basics of shooting. All the fundamentals are perfectly combined to deliver superb functionality for Daisy Model 35.
- Pellet & BB Shootout
This multi-pump pneumatic gun is compatible with steel BBs & lead pellets. The .177” caliber can get to a maximum of 625 & 605 fps velocity respectively.
- Smooth, Powerful Action
With 3 – 10 pumps, the speed reaches the maximum limit. Weighing about 2.25 lbs only, the gun features a smooth bore barrel for a convenient firing action.
- Incredibly Quiet Firing
Simple mechanism & lightweight construction lead to lower noise generation. In fact, 2 low to medium sound level holds suitable for hunting down the varmints.
- Good Distance Coverage
The gun covers a reasonable distance up to 274 yards at maximum. Using fixed front & adjustable rear, the mountable scope on the 11mm groove permits superb clarity.
✔ Great functionality with steel bore barrel.
✔ Single-shot pellet and 50 BBs capacity.
✔ Easy holding with textured grip & forearm.
✔ Simple & pneumatic multi-pump action.
✔ Molded stock features ramp and blade.
⨯ Quite cheap looking construction.
⨯ Low velocity for certain shootings.
The gun gives an accurate performance. This affordable gun is worth with its satisfactory service for the beginner level.
6. Ruger Blackhawk Combo Air Rifle
With this rifle, top-notch accuracy is guaranteed for the powerful punch. Ruger Blackhawk Combo is designed to deliver a comfortable grip & superb flinch for the shooting.
- Weather Resisting Design
This spring-powered .177 caliber rifle features durable material with a matte black finish. The construction lasts in any condition, being fog proof & waterproof.
- Highly Accurate Shooting
With alloy pellets, 1200 fps velocity effectively hits the target within range. Supreme accuracy prevails up to 50 yards of shooting distance.
- Dual Fiber Optic Sighting
The included 4 x 32 scope is mountable via 11mm dovetail rings. Through fully adjustable rear, the 12.9” long scope permits 29’ viewing field at 100 yards.
- Great Safety Considerations
Automatic cocking safety prohibits any accidental/unprepared discharge. Rubberized recoiling buttplate on synthetic stock ensures comfortable & steady holding.
✔ Solid material with lightweight framework.
✔ Powerful action induces great accuracy.
✔ Dual sights for enhanced optical support.
✔ Easy control through simple mechanism.
✔ Higher safety comes with steady holding.
⨯ Potential loosening of specific screws.
⨯ Dovetail rail for scope is quite limited.
Whether it’s varmint/pest control issue or shooting practice, the rifle delivers perfection. The high-powered combo offers ease of use which is undeniably an excellent option for shooters.
7. Benjamin Marauder Hunting Air Rifle
Fast action of the best air gun for killing squirrels introduces superb accuracy for hunting. With plenty of features, Benjamin Marauder remains one of the best PCP rifles in the market.
- Balanced, Fitting Design
Considering the field carriage, the synthetic stock comes with a balanced design. Thanks to the built-in adjustable comb, the rifle initiates a custom fit.
- Incredible Tuning Ability
Specified setup to get a variety of executional attributes results in exceptional tuning capability. It makes easy to achieve the perfect combo of pellet speed & fill weights.
- Simple Breeching Platform
Attaching the red dot sight/laser scope using the dovetail provides accuracy. With simplified breech, the scoping platform ensures stability for sight adjustment.
- Decent Use of Extensions
The PCP rifle allows multiple extensions to impart greater shooting efficiency. Despite the additional cost, the overall functionality gets better in every aspect.
✔ Auto-indexing for the 10-shot repeater.
✔ High precision with barrel conveyance.
✔ Easy loading through raised breech.
✔ Gauge integration for pressure control.
✔ Extremely quiet with built-in shrouds.
⨯ Dovetail features no included sight.
⨯ Integrated bolt feels somewhat heavy.
With supreme accuracy & great noise dampening, the rifle functions perfectly. Living up the expectation, the price tag is definitely worth it.
8. Gamo Swarm Maxxim Air Rifle
The perfect shooting platform combines break barrel airgunning with repeating shots. This unique mechanism of Gamo Swarm Maxxim comes with superb functionality without compromising the accuracy.
- Patented Multi-Shot Design
Incorporating the latest technique, the patented break barrel rifle offers a 10X quick shot. Perfectly balanced construction induces flawless repetition of the shots.
- Stable RRR Mounting
Recoil Reducing Rail (RRR) prevents possible slipping over a powerful shot. Unlike the groove mount, the system enables a more secure 5-screw railing for the scope.
- SWA for IGT Technology
The Inert Gas Cylinder (IGT) can propel the .177 caliber to 1300 fps speed. Instead of molded rubber, there is Shock Wave Absorber (SWA) recoiling pad.
- Incredible Trigger Action
The Custom Action Trigger (CAT) permits independent adjustment for both trigger stages. This rifle requires a standard 3.2 lbs pull, easy target acquisition.
✔ Consistent pressure for smooth shots.
✔ Sound Suppression generates low noise.
✔ Ambidextrous stock suits all weather.
✔ Recoil compensation with SWA & RRR.
✔ Less vibration with zero spring torque.
⨯ Limited range with mounted scope.
⨯ Arms sore after prolonged cocking.
Quick reloading & consistent repetition takes airgunning to a whole new level. With an affordable price, the rifle is perfectly designed to meet satisfaction.
9. Gamo Wildcat Whisper Air Rifles
Smooth cocking & consistent shots results in faster target acquisition for the best air gun for shooting squirrels. With better functionality, the long-lasting Gamo Wildcat Whisper perfectly suits any weather conditions.
- Greater Accuracy with Speed
Replacing the spring with IGT (Inert Gas Technology), the rifle ensures further accuracy. This system can propel 1300 fps for .177 caliber & 975 fps for .22 caliber.
- Less Noise for Quiet Operation
The integrated Whisper Noise Reduction suppresses the noise by 52%. With 3 medium loudness level, the firing action remains quite enough.
- Convenient Scope Support
The built-in 4 x 32 scope features fiber optic sights without AO (Adjustable Objective) focusing. However, the rear sight has adjustability to set for windage & elevation.
- Easy Cocking & Trigger Pull
The standard 30 lbs cocking permits easy control & shooting. With 3.53 lbs trigger pull, the rifle permits smooth, simple yet careful firing.
✔ Light framework with polymer jacketing.
✔ Synthetic stock offers enduring support.
✔ Less recoil through ventilated buttpad.
✔ Outstanding noise compressing system.
✔ Terminal velocity for supreme accuracy.
⨯ Initial break-in period may occur.
⨯ Scope performance is average.
The gas-piston output is highly credible in comparison to the spring-powered system. With superb features & great functionality, the rifle is worth its price.
10. Ruger Air Magnum Air Rifle
The enduring construction comes with perfect functionality against its additional price. This large-sized Ruger Air Magnum Combo is created to give pounding firepower.
- Monstrous Framework
With 48.5” length & 9.5 lbs weight, the large-sized rifle induces greater shooting efficiency. It pushes .177 pellets at 1400 fps which gets to 1000 fps with .22 pellets.
- Comfortable Triggering
The textured grip allows a comfortable pull for the 2-stage adjustable trigger. 3.5 lbs trigger pull eases the cocking effort of 42 lbs.
- Fiber Optic Sighting
The integrated 4 x 32 mountable scope features fiber optic sights. Fixed frontal sight permits quick focusing whereas rear sight allows windage & elevation adjustment.
- Unrivaled Stock Durability
The Monte Carlo synthetic stock is built to last in all weather conditions. Through the rubberized buttpad on the stock, the recoiling effect gets incredibly reduced.
✔ Great durability with quality materials.
✔ High punching force for powerful action.
✔ Mounting scope features weaving rail.
✔ Equal performance for right & left-handers.
✔ Superb accuracy through higher speed.
⨯ Not suitable for kids with high weight.
⨯ Certain issues with included scope.
Impressive power & beautiful craftsmanship initiate optimum accuracy with further speed. The satisfying performance obviously remains within a suitable price range.
Buying Guide – Air Rifle for Squirrel and Small Game
The most effective way to achieve the maximum output from any product is to know its main factors. The case is not different, even with the best air rifle for squirrels and small game, whether you’re a first-timer or an intermediate learner. It’s indeed necessary to know about the key considerations to get the best-fitted rifle for certain shooters.
There are a good number of propulsion methods to match your preference, expectations & requirements. In general, 5 particular types are the most popular & widely used.
- Spring Powered – The retractable spring propels air charge into the barrel to fire the shot. It is highly popular with extreme consistency & powerful action. But prolonged cocking affects the mechanism which is troublesome for hunting.
- Pneumatic Pump – Internal air compression through pumping results in each projectile shot. There are both multi-shot & single-shot available. But the single-stroke generally produces greater firing power for a fairly quiet follow-up shot regarding squirrel hunt.
- Pre charged Pneumatic (PCP) – Featuring a compressed air tank, these guns initiate higher power to induce greater accuracy. The PCP rifles permit prolonged cocking for quick followup shots, being suitable for hunting.
- CO2 Powered – Ease of use makes the CO2 rifles quite popular, especially for simulated competitions. The firing power is moderate & CO2 gas can give considerable flaws in cold weather.
Rifle accuracy is of great importance, considering the small, fast-moving targets. It mainly concerns the consistency of shooting with air guns. There are factors influencing the rate of precision like velocity, weather & even sighting. Superb accuracy of the shot is ensured mainly in pneumatic & break barrel rifles.
The power specifically relates to propelling rate & muzzle velocity and the propelling rate concerns with the weight of BB pellets. With heavier BB, the power gets incredibly increased on impact.
The overall weight bears good significance on a hunting trip. For a quick maneuvering & prolonged holding on trees, a lightweight rifle is a must. Heavier air guns rarely provide satisfaction to hunt varmints or squirrels.
When it comes to continuous reload, the ammunition type has great significance. Steel/aluminum ammunition for pellets offers smooth lock & reload mechanism. There is large reservoir-type ammunition as well, for BBs pellets.
One of the most important considerations come with pellet calibers. There are four types of calibers in use for air rifles. Among .177, .20, .22 & .25 calibers, .177 & .22 are mostly preferable to shooters for hunting/plinking.
There is one thumb rule featuring these two – ‘.177 for feathers, .22 for furs’. It implies the suitability of .177 for birds & .22 for rabbits/squirrels. The rule isn’t very accurate, considering the functionality of current air rifles.
Penetration & accuracy are dependent on pellet types as well. Both lead pellets & alloy pellets are widely preferred. Lead ones are quite heavy which results in less distance but greater impact.
Modern rifles are tested for performance & functionality using alloy pellets. Domed pellets offer greater accuracy through its superior spinning. With flat head, Wadcutter pellets provide less penetration in comparison to domed ones.
Shock & Recoiling Effect:
The backward movement of the gun upon firing results in recoil/shock. The rifle stock generally features a rubber buttplate to reduce the recoiling effect. Also, Reduced Recoil Rail (RRR) offers effective minimization.
Some rifles have an SWA (Shock Wave Absorption) system that takes part in dealing with the shocks. Having this feature for the chosen rifle can also reduce the recoiling to a great extent.
With a higher capacity of air tank, for pneumatic guns, it’s possible to get a convenient period of cocking. Faster charging of PCP rifles is also important, regarding the length of your hunting trip.
You definitely don’t want to damage your ear or scare the neighbors while shooting. Regardless of its use, the level of noise created by the firing shot bears great importance. Through the integrated Whisper Noise Reduction technique, the system can initiate considerable suppression of the noise.
The level of generated noise varies depending on models, mainly based on interior mechanism. Most air guns produce 4 high to medium, 3 medium or 2 low to medium noise. For hunting purposes, 2 low to medium or 3 medium seems sufficient without alerting the target.
Mountable scope for air rifles is one confusing consideration, especially for beginners & seasonal hobbyists. With the right scope mounted on the rifle, it becomes rather easy to acquire the target & hunt it down at the first shot.
Almost all the scopes are fixed, either 4 x 32 or some cases, 6 x 32 model. Another term, Objective Size concerns with the lens size, faced away from the shooter. Objective sizes ranging from 30mm – 50mm is highly preferable for most users.
Perhaps, the most confusing part concerns with parallax adjustment or Adjustable Objective (AO). It reveals the change of the target’s location with the line of sight. Using the integrated ring mechanism, the adjustment minimizes the parallax effect.
Crosshairs help to acquire the target with maximized precision. The most common crosshair types are fine, duplex or circle to indicate the center of the viewing field. The majority of air rifles for hunting have ‘Dovetail’ mount whereas many come with ‘Weaver’ mount fitting.
Quality air rifles don’t get as dirty as regular firearms. But a little maintenance & proper care can obviously make the rifle last for a longer time. Following a shot, it’s better to check out for some residual particles on the rifle.
Rusting of the metal parts seems common when you do the shooting all year round. With silicone oil, the system can provide better propulsion. Meanwhile, cleaning brushes are required to remove particles & rusts.
Range of Shooting:
Most air guns are capable of providing an excellent distance of coverage. With greater distance, the force of impact may get decreased. Both power & caliber are equally important to have a good range.
Apart from all these, there are other considerations like cocking effort, trigger-pull weight, muzzle velocity, barrel length & more. In fact, the overall functionality of an air rifle depends on lots of factors. Being honest, the list of considerations can go on with an incredible number of variables.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Question: Which one is more accurate – fixed barrel or break barrel?
Answer: Fixed barrel rifles can give slightly better grouping of the barrel with the scope. Modern break barrels may deliver some insignificant difference.
2. Question: Does higher velocity indicate greater power?
Answer: No, overall power depends on projectile weight, pellet velocity & power setting. A heavy projectile at low velocity creates greater muzzle energy for a specific setting.
3. Question: What is the meaning of muzzle energy?
Answer: The kinetic energy of the expelled pellets/BBs is simply termed as muzzle energy. The power level of an air rifle is measured on the basis of muzzle energy. It is expressed as foot-pounds of energy (FPE) that requires the velocity & pellet weight.
4. Question: What’s the difference between pellets & BBs?
Answer: BBs is the conventional steel round shaped shots, particularly developed for shotgun use. The modern lead/lead-mixed pellets have a diablo shape that offers higher accuracy & penetration.
5. Question: How to focus using scope reticle?
Answer: Using the manual, loose & rotate the eyepiece in the designated direction. You have to look through the scope at a white wall/sky about 10’ away. Keep rotating the eyepiece & lock when the reticle appears sharp & focused.
6. Question: Should I use any additional safety equipment?
Answer: Yes, you can wear eye-protective goggles & ear-protective earphones while firing.
7. Question: Can I take apart the rifle for maintenance?
Answer: Absolutely not. Just clean the stock & brush out the residue before keeping the rifle in storage.
8. Question: What is the advantage of fiber optic sights?
Answer: Contrasted color of fiber keeps the scope functional in any lighting condition. Being fiber optic, both front & rear sights help to make a quick target sighting.
After exhausting a considerable time, we are hopeful about informing you about the best air rifle for squirrels and small game. An affordable investment in the ultimate gear is ready to make your small hunting trip successful. Each one from our aforementioned list is designed to serve you for years to come. Whatever your final choice is, the best pellet gun for killing squirrels from our review can surely meet your expectation.