Best air rifles for killing rats and pest control

best air rifles for shooting rats

If you are overrun by rats on your property, then you may want to consider keeping numbers down. One of the best ways to do this is to control them through shooting. Now, I appreciate that this is not a solution for everyone – especially those who are faint hearted – but when executed successfully with an air rifle, it is a highly efficient form of pest control.

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Reasons why you should use an air rifle for shooting rats

Air rifles are, without doubt, the best device for shooting rats. Not only are they safer to use then shotguns (as they use pellets and not bullets) but they are quieter which means that you can creep up on your counterpart relatively discreetly.

Air rifles are also great for those who are not used to handling guns, as they tend to be smaller and lighter to hold and therefore have limited power and range – although I would always recommend practicing your skills in your backyard beforehand.

Another reason that air rifles are so popular is because the requirements for owning one are way more relaxed than if you were to purchase a shotgun. In most regions of America; according to the federal government; you simply have to be 18 years or older to use an air rifle, however it is always worth checking the legalities in your area as some states may regulate differently.

best air rifles for pest control

5 things to consider when purchasing an air rifle for pest control

Depending on your skill level, budget, expectation and usage, you should always consider the following when purchasing an air rifle: –

1. Size of the barrel

A general rule of thumb tends to be that the longer the barrel, the more accurate your shot (although this does not take into consideration your level of experience!). Therefore, if you are a beginner, I would suggest looking at an air rifle with a total length of between 40-50 inches as this will allow you more accuracy without having to lug around a cumbersome gun.

2. Weight for the rifle

Air rifles have become lighter over the years as they have evolved, however, that does not mean they are all lightweight. If you add on extras such as a gun lamp or night vision equipment you could end up with a heavy and bulky rifle to carry around. I would therefore suggest looking for an air rifle that does not exceed 10lbs.

3. Pellet caliber

You are able to buy 4 different pellet sizes for air rifles but the most popular tend to be the .177 and .22. The .177 caliber was thought to have been created shortly after the start of the 20th century. It is the smallest of all the pellets so is lighter in weight making its exit from the rifle quicker and some might say more accurate. The .22 hits harder, transmitting more of its energy to the target. I prefer these pellets as they are bigger, so increase your chances of hitting the target.

4. Firing mechanism

They are numerous air rifles which use different mechanisms in order to fire. Some use spring pistons using compressed air, whilst others such as nitrogen pistons use gas in order to fire.

5. Loading mechanism

Depending on whether you want to be continuously loading your air rifle one pellet at a time or use it for continuous shooting, will be a major factor in selecting your gun. Break action rifles tend to be easier to use but involve constant restocking whilst bolt actions allow multiple fire but are slow to load and difficult to maintain.

Best air rifles for pest control

When it comes to finding an air rifle that is right for you, the more you spend does not always guarantee you a superior product. Below I list a selection of my favorite air rifles and state why they could suit your pest control needs.

1. Gamo 6110017154 Varmint Air Rifle .177 Cal

Gamo air rifle for shooting rats
7,054 Reviews
Gamo 6110017154 Varmint Air Rifle .177 Cal , Black
  • .177 Cal pellet single cocking break barrel
  • The Varmint features a long lasting spring piston able to deliver 1250 fps of muzzle velocity with Gamo PBA Platinum pellets .177 Cal
  • Fluted polymer jacketed rifled steel barrel. Grooved cylinder rail
  • 4 x 32 Shockproof Scope. Gamo trigger with adjustable second stage. It has a synthetic ambidextrous all-weather stock with a rubber recoil pad. Lightweight design
  • Noise dampening: None

Last update on 2023-09-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is without doubt, the best air rifle on the market for targeting rats and pest control. The Gamo 6110017154 Varmint Air Rifle .177 caliber (see on Amazon) has a single cock breaking barrel, so you will need to reload the rifle after each shot. But its powerful spring piston ensures a clean hit nearly every time. I personally find that it is more accurate when targeting rats at close range, as its long range can be limiting.

The trigger can be adjusted, and this air rifle comes equipped with additional features such as fixed magnification and a fog-proof scope. It is made of hard-wearing materials so can be taken out in all weathers and its steel barrel even comes with a 1-year warranty.

This air rifle is great for beginners and robust enough to kill rats. If, however, you are after larger pests then you may need to invest in something more powerful.


2. Crosman M4-177 Pneumatic Pump Air Rifle .177Cal

Crosman air rifle for shooting rats
6,310 Reviews
Crosman M4-177-N Tactical Style Variable Pump .177-Caliber Pellet/BB Air Rifle, FFP
  • DURABLE, WATER RESISTANT SYNTHETIC DESIGN - Tactical style in black with rifled rifled steel barrel
  • VARIABLE CONTROL - From 350 fps to 700 fps
  • COMPATIBLE WITH .177-CALIBER PELLETS OR TRADITIONAL 4.5mm STEEL BBs - (Pellets and BBs not included)
  • CROSSBOLT SAFETY - To ensure proper and safe handling

Last update on 2023-09-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This gun is lightweight, compact and recoilless and when you are holding it whilst its professional design makes you look like you mean business – so rats beware. I like this air rifle because it not only looks good but fires great, making it one of the most sought-after guns on the market.

The Crosman M4-177 (see on Amazon) allows you to build up confidence as it uses a multi-pump pneumatic system. This allows you greater control over the power of the gun. Therefore, the more you pump, the higher the velocity and the greater the power. Alternatively, the less you pump, the lower the less power you’ll produce.

Just like the Gamo above, this air rifle fires single shots and at just over 33 inches it is easy to carry and looks pretty good on the arm too.


3. Crosman Fury NP Piston Pellet Gun

Crosman Fury air rifle for shooting rats
2 Reviews
Crosman Fury Nitro Piston Air Rifle air Rifle
  • caliber: 0.22
  • velocity: 950.00 ft/sec
  • Breakbarrel, Fiber Optic Sighting System

Last update on 2023-09-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you are looking for something that literally gives you more ‘bang’ for your buck, then the Crosman Fury NP Piston Pellet Gun is a great choice (see on Amazon). This gun is powerful and shoots .177 caliber rounds. Using a nitro piston instead of a spring, it is quieter than most other air rifles – allowing you to sneak up on those scampering fiends.

This air rifle is durable so is perfect to take out in all weathers. That said, this gun is tricky to get to grips with and the break barrel does require a certain amount of force. Practice makes perfect for all aspects of this rifle.


4. RWS .177 Cal Pellet Model 34 Combo

RWS air rifle for shooting rats
363 Reviews
Diana RWS Model 34 Break Barrel Hardwood Stock Pellet Gun Air Rifle, .177 Caliber, Gun with 4x32mm...
  • Will keep you shooting accurately and powerfully for decades
  • A well-balanced hardwood stock makes it easy to hold and shoot
  • Includes a 4x32mm air rifle scope and mounting rings; Includes fiber optic sights with a fully adjustable rear sight
  • Cocking is easy with just a 33-pound cocking weight
  • Shoots .177 caliber pellets at up to 1000 fps

Last update on 2023-09-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

After much deliberation, I decided to add this air rifle to the list. It is expensive in comparison to the others, but if you don’t mind splashing the cash on some serious rat catching kit, then this is the gun to purchase – see on Amazon.

Its straight wooden stock is made of hardwood, which makes it look nice, feel lightweight and fire fantastically. For the price, you will be pleased to know that this is an “all signing, all slaying” air rifle and comes with a scope, dust covers and lifetime warranty.


Wrapping up the best air rifles for pest control

In the right circumstances, environment and when using the right equipment (as stated above) I truly believe that shooting rats is one of the most humane ways of dealing with an infestation, although I do not condone it as a sport. That said, using an air rifle should never be considered as a standalone solution for pest control, but when you are overrun with rats on your property this is a great way of decreasing numbers.

When it comes to equipment it really is worth doing your research to find the best air rifle for your pest control requirements. And remember in this scenario, when you buy cheap it is likely to end up costing you dear!

You may be interested in the following air rifles:

best air rifles for pest control infographic

Mike Henderson
Mike Henderson

Mike (AKA 'Pest Control Mike') is a pest control operator from New York with over 15 years experience dealing with a wide range of pests. He shares his knowledge on this blog and provides useful information to help you combat pests on your own.

For severe infestations and professional advice you can also request a free pest control quote here.

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