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Discussion Starter #1
I'm exploring the usefullness of air rifles in certain long term survival situations. The better modern versions can provide some impressive muzzle velocities, up to and exceeding supersonic, and would be useful in bagging small game in a nearly silent manner and with the loss of minimal resources (a pellet), also allowing for the quiet defence of garden plots and so on against raccoons and similar critters. Until recently, high power air rifles were typically spring operated, with the cocked spring compressing air via a piston when the trigger was pulled, but the more modern versions use a sealed nitrogen piston system that means the rifle can be kept cocked for long periods of time without damaging the system. Gas piston rifles are even quieter than the spring operated versions because the forward slam of the usual spring has been eliminated. I've been playing with a .22 calibre gas piston rifle made by Benjamin, and you can go noisily supersonic by using allow pellets or subsonic by using heavier and/or hunting design pellets. I favour .22 calibre for the greater knockdown power but the other universal standard is of course .177- and there are rarer .25 calibres and heavier. Acceptable quality ammo for air rifles is typically about half the price of .22LR, another advantage for the long haul, but like .22LR rounds, the pellets are only going to be available when the technology is up and running.

I'd like to hear opinions on the whole concept, and about different makers and models, etc. Since suppressors are illegal in my area, this is the way to go.
 

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I have an RWS I use to plink in the back yard and practice offhand. Plenty good enough for killing small game. I let a friend borrow it to rid some vermon from his property. He tagged about 50 squirrel and 10 racoon with the RWS. I think it is a Dianna model. Rock solid really. Cheaper air rifles are junk.
 

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Same One

+1 on the RWS, I also have the Diana, awesome little air rifles. I want to get the scope for it but for now just using the open sight.
 

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+1 on the RWS, I also have the Diana, awesome little air rifles. I want to get the scope for it but for now just using the open sight.

An air rifle to defend ones garden against small critters/pests is a plus. Also is quiet enough that anybody 100-200 feet away will not be aware of. Taking one "afield" though would not be recommended, as you might encounter "animals" that can't be taken down by a lowly pellet. dozier
 

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Oh yeah

Oh yeah, I would never take it out as a front liner but for plinking, it can't be beat(air rifle style that is)
 

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I have an RWS Dianna and it is a very good air rifle. I found though that a .22 rifle with CB caps is quieter and just a good if not better on varmints.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
I had a British Diana when I was a kid. It was my summer recreational shooter and I shot it to pieces, or at least to the point where it would no longer stay cocked, tens of thousands of pellets went through it I'm sure. I was thinking that in a survival context we might be- would be- reduced to eating chickadees and blackbirds. And as far as big game is concerned, my mom could tell you that deer intensely dislike being shot in the butt with a .177 and will mostly stay out of the garden after that happens. RNGR1 Take even a wide shot at a crow and the crows won't come back.

Anyway, yes to get a good quality air rifle you are going to spend at least the cost of a .22. A rough guide is that anything shooting over about 450 ft/second is considered a firearm in Canada. 1000 ft/second seems to be a rough guideline for what is as fast as is desirable for accuracy because the pellets tumble after reaching that speed. The one I'm probably going to buy is adjustable in that range, as I said.
 

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I have a bit of experience with Air Rifles.



From the Top

Remington Genesis .177 1000fps ( on loan from my buddy for comparison shoot )
Beeman R8 .177 650fps ( mine, paid late 80's retail prices 5yrs ago. didn't realize the deal I had gotten )
Remington 511 Scoremaster .22 ( not an air rifle, my preferred varmint gun "borrowed from my pops 12yrs ago" he sometimes asks about it, I tell him it's safe & in good company )

While the Genesis shoots faster & hits harder it is nearly as loud as the .22 with shorts. The Beeman shoots quiet and has enough to take groundhogs at 40yrds with heavy pointed pellets. With light hollow points we used the Beeman to rid our warehouse of Sparrows and Starlings so our cars wouldn't be shat all over every day. Accuracy on the Beeman R8 is phenomenal & I have personally taken a few sparrows with head shots from 28 yrds ( distance from dock door to dumpsters ) over 2 summers we shot nearly 100 birds at work, now they nest on the other side of the building so for us it worked.

As HH said I rarely see a reason for an air rifle if you have a good .22. However for situations like shooting birds inside the warehouse or my manager shooting groundhogs on the edge of the city 250yrds from the police station, the quieter the better.
Faster is usually louder, exception here may be the Gamo Whisper/Stealth with that built in suppressor.

Hope this helps
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Remington Genesis .177 1000fps ( on loan from my buddy for comparison shoot )
Beeman R8 .177 650fps ( mine, paid late 80's retail prices 5yrs ago. didn't realize the deal I had gotten )
Remington 511 Scoremaster .22 ( not an air rifle, my preferred varmint gun "borrowed from my pops 12yrs ago" he sometimes asks about it, I tell him it's safe & in good company )

While the Genesis shoots faster & hits harder it is nearly as loud as the .22 with shorts. The Beeman shoots quiet and has enough to take groundhogs at 40yrds with heavy pointed pellets. With light hollow points we used the Beeman to rid our warehouse of Sparrows and Starlings so our cars wouldn't be shat all over every day. Accuracy on the Beeman R8 is phenomenal & I have personally taken a few sparrows with head shots from 28 yrds ( distance from dock door to dumpsters ) over 2 summers we shot nearly 100 birds at work, now they nest on the other side of the building so for us it worked.

As HH said I rarely see a reason for an air rifle if you have a good .22. However for situations like shooting birds inside the warehouse or my manager shooting groundhogs on the edge of the city 250yrds from the police station, the quieter the better.
Faster is usually louder, exception here may be the Gamo Whisper/Stealth with that built in suppressor.

Hope this helps
I imagine you find the Genesis in the loudness range of a .22 because the pellet is going supersonic and you're hearing the 'crack' as it breaks the sound barrier. Another reason might be that the rifle was oiled with regular gun oil and the decompression of firing is flash-burning the oil, or on other words the oil is acting just like gun powder.

Looking around the internet, I see that air rifles are now being made in, for instance, .50, .45, and .357 calibres. As interesting as that is, I be sticking with the more usual calibres.
 

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Yea I'm guessing the supersonic crack is what makes the Genesis nearly as loud as the .22 with shorts.

Air gun oil only. I doubt my buddy ever even cleaned it as it's only a few months old and he knows about dieseling with conventional oils.
 

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I have a Webley Hurricane that I take when I'm hunting to shoot Rabbit or Grouse.
Good gun with good power.

Caliber: 0.177" (4.5mm)
Velocity: 500 fps
Overall Length: 11.3
Shot Capacity: 1
Cocking Effort: 25 lbs
Barrel: Rifled
Scopeable: Yes
Safety: Manual
Weight: 2.4 lbs
 
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The other + for a good air rifle is the quality practice it can provide at an affordable price point. I agree that the supersonic models will generate more noise than their sub sonic counterparts.
 

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The other + for a good air rifle is the quality practice it can provide at an affordable price point. I agree that the supersonic models will generate more noise than their sub sonic counterparts.
+1 on this. Subsonic rifles are also more accurate; avoid transonic buffeting effect. Admittedly not the same experience as shooting an M1A but still teaches breathing, trigger control and sight picture. There are good reasons the East Bloc countries and PRC all had youth programs involving air rifle shooting, usually taught by military. You also get useful long range ballistics and Kentucky windage practice, where 'long range' is ~50 meters. At that range, a steady breeze will drift the pellet.

I discovered modern air rifles couple years ago when I bought a .25 cal, 3000-psi PCP (pre-charged pneumatic) Benjamin Marauder (8-rd bolt action) to deal with nuisance raccoons. Turned out to be more useful than I imagined. The integrally suppressed barrel is quiet for night shooting; raccoons bounced when hit (chest shots at ~30m) and were dead when they landed. Minimal damage to the meat.

My .25 Marauder shoots a 1-cm 3-shot group at 25 meters (26 grain hollowpoints at ~900 fps), will punch though a 1/2" pine board, which is plenty for small varmints at ~30-40 meters. Also faster than CCI Quiet .22 at ~750 fps. (In the UK and some other European countries, gun control extends to air riles; high-powered rifles like this can only be sold in a reduced power version. Glimpse of future USA?)

I mounted the same 2x night scope I bought for my M1A, so I get useful practice with that optic. Zero recoil with the PCP guns so you can use normal scopes. You need a parallax adjustable scope for any serious longer range shooting.

Downsides include limited range compared to .22LR and need to pump up the reservoir every 20 shots or so for full power. But this is plenty for small game harvesting or varmints, and casual offhand practice. 3000 psi hand pump was expensive but I can also air up my truck and motorcycle with it. You want a good one with built-in air dryer/ filter. If you have a scuba tank can air up with that but I didn't want to depend on a dive shop for air.

Easy to keep clean; minimal maintenance. Not something to carry for armed defense but sure handy around the ranch.

De oppresso liber.
 

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An old $100 .22 bolt action rifle with subsonic ammo will be as quiet or quieter than an air rifle, lighter, can be used with standard or +power ammo also. Less recoil, simpler, faster followup shots.
 

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Hang out for a couple weeks here (Yellow Forum)

http://www.network54.com/Forum/79537/ (this is by far the most popular airgun forum in the World) and you will be impressed at the stuff they do!

I forget how many different airguns I have owned, likely close to 200 over the years. This includes an Dennis Quakenbush .50 caliber PCP (amazing gun, but got tired of hauling around a 50 pound scuba tank in my Corolla!). A couple of my favorites are my "John in PA" custom-tuned RWS 34 (.22), my Tim McMurray (Mac1 Airguns) "Steroid" modified Streak Sheridan Pump (.20) and a "Steel Storm" full auto BB gun (CO2).

This is some flat amazing city crow sniping (Russia):
[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZRHf7ILc1E[/ame]

Shooting the ED Gun Matador (Russian PCP) which might be the "best" airgun on the planet right now:
[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YiUHFtXPIE[/ame]

This is one of the most interesting "mini-documentaries" I have ever seen (Starlings are bad-*ss birds!--WARNING: Graphic bird death):
[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBg_NroPXSo&feature=related[/ame]
 

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Discussion Starter #19
"here is my "magnum" .22 air-rifle (circa 1930 anyway!) Actually surprising power and very accurate (tap loader)."

A BSA eh? Brings back memories of when the British could actually make things well....
 

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Get a .22 caliber at least, that way you can super glue small rifle primers on flat point pellets, there great for scaring away pests you dont want to kill.
I have a good old Benjamin pump that I can hit a bottle cap with at 25 yards as long as my arm holds up from pumping the thing.

Casey
 
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