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  1. #101
    We have all sorts of small varmints (red and gray squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, etc) running around our property and getting into our house, garage and barn. My wife is after me to get a BB gun or pellet gun to try to "cull the herd" (although I'm skeptical of my shooting ability and whether I can kill enough of them to make a difference!). Luckily, in Massachusetts where I live, a BB or pellet gun are not considered "guns" and I do not need a license to purchase one. The gun shop owner I spoke to recommended going with the pellet gun, saying they are more powerful and accurate than the BB gun (and he recommended getting a pellet gun with a scope).

    Does anyone on this board have any experience with either one of these (I used to shoot a BB gun when I was a kid but that was decades ago)? Am I going to be able to kill these little critters with a pellet gun? How accurate are they? Is there the potential of shooting myself?

  2. #102
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Winston-Salem
    Quote Originally Posted by duke79 View Post
    We have all sorts of small varmints (red and gray squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, etc) running around our property and getting into our house, garage and barn. My wife is after me to get a BB gun or pellet gun to try to "cull the herd" (although I'm skeptical of my shooting ability and whether I can kill enough of them to make a difference!). Luckily, in Massachusetts where I live, a BB or pellet gun are not considered "guns" and I do not need a license to purchase one. The gun shop owner I spoke to recommended going with the pellet gun, saying they are more powerful and accurate than the BB gun (and he recommended getting a pellet gun with a scope).

    Does anyone on this board have any experience with either one of these (I used to shoot a BB gun when I was a kid but that was decades ago)? Am I going to be able to kill these little critters with a pellet gun? How accurate are they? Is there the potential of shooting myself?
    Had a pellet gun when I was a young chap. Lots of fun for shooting cans. Idk if it will kill a varmint, then again they probably make higher powered pellet guns now then they had in the 90s

    .22 long rifle would be my recommendation for practicality, 5.56/223 if you want to have fun

    I feel like a pellet gun would be making it too hard. You would have to hit the head from close range. Then you also run the risk of giving the animal a slow, painful death.
    Last edited by mattman91; 06-03-2020 at 03:47 PM.

  3. #103
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Norfolk, VA
    Quote Originally Posted by mattman91 View Post

    .22 long rifle would be my recommendation for practicality...
    It depends on Duke79ís property description and location as you cannot safely shoot a .22 rifle in suburbia. If he lives in a rural location, with acreage, I agree.

    You can kill a squirrel with a pellet gun.
    Bob Green
    DBR Survivor Football Champion
    2010 & 2016

  4. #104
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Winston-Salem
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Green View Post
    It depends on Duke79ís property description and location as you cannot safely shoot a .22 rifle in suburbia. If he lives in a rural location, with acreage, I agree.

    You can kill a squirrel with a pellet gun.
    Very true, didn't consider that.

  5. #105
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Green View Post
    It depends on Duke79’s property description and location as you cannot safely shoot a .22 rifle in suburbia. If he lives in a rural location, with acreage, I agree.

    You can kill a squirrel with a pellet gun.
    Yea, we have a lot of acreage. Live out in the sticks and no houses close by (although my neighbors two houses down from us were apparently shooting a high powered rifle at a target in their back yard; they missed the target and the bullet went right through the side of the house next door to them (our next door neighbors); through a closet in their kitchen, hit a copper pot hanging in the kitchen and the bullet then split into two and one fragment lodged in a wall on the opposite side of the house and they never found the other fragment). Luckily, the next door neighbor was not home at the time but his cleaning woman was in the house and she was apparently quite startled!).

    The gun shop owner claims that a pellet gun should kill the small varmints ("no problem" was his exact quote) and my wife is scared to have me shoot a 22 (with probably good reason). So, I may give the pellet gun a try.

  6. #106
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Durham
    Quote Originally Posted by duke79 View Post
    Yea, we have a lot of acreage. Live out in the sticks and no houses close by (although my neighbors two houses down from us were apparently shooting a high powered rifle at a target in their back yard; they missed the target and the bullet went right through the side of the house next door to them (our next door neighbors); through a closet in their kitchen, hit a copper pot hanging in the kitchen and the bullet then split into two and one fragment lodged in a wall on the opposite side of the house and they never found the other fragment). Luckily, the next door neighbor was not home at the time but his cleaning woman was in the house and she was apparently quite startled!).

    The gun shop owner claims that a pellet gun should kill the small varmints ("no problem" was his exact quote) and my wife is scared to have me shoot a 22 (with probably good reason). So, I may give the pellet gun a try.
    I say take care of one or two to send a message and then leave the little guys alone. Itís sad to see wild creatures get killed unless itís absolutely necessary. They have a difficult enough time surviving as it is.

    Iím a daily meat eater, though, so what do I know? I just draw a significant distinction between animals raised exclusively for human consumption versus those living in the wild. Anyway, Iím sure youíll figure it out one way or the other.

    Scary story about that stray bullet, huh? Geez.

  7. #107
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Fayetteville, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by duke79 View Post
    We have all sorts of small varmints (red and gray squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, etc) running around our property and getting into our house, garage and barn. My wife is after me to get a BB gun or pellet gun to try to "cull the herd" (although I'm skeptical of my shooting ability and whether I can kill enough of them to make a difference!). Luckily, in Massachusetts where I live, a BB or pellet gun are not considered "guns" and I do not need a license to purchase one. The gun shop owner I spoke to recommended going with the pellet gun, saying they are more powerful and accurate than the BB gun (and he recommended getting a pellet gun with a scope).

    Does anyone on this board have any experience with either one of these (I used to shoot a BB gun when I was a kid but that was decades ago)? Am I going to be able to kill these little critters with a pellet gun? How accurate are they? Is there the potential of shooting myself?
    Plenty of interesting videos up on You Tube by a gentleman out of the UK who hunts rats with his air rifle. You'd be amazed what a person can watch when they are in lockdown.

  8. #108
    Quote Originally Posted by duke79 View Post
    We have all sorts of small varmints (red and gray squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, etc) running around our property and getting into our house, garage and barn. My wife is after me to get a BB gun or pellet gun to try to "cull the herd" (although I'm skeptical of my shooting ability and whether I can kill enough of them to make a difference!). Luckily, in Massachusetts where I live, a BB or pellet gun are not considered "guns" and I do not need a license to purchase one. The gun shop owner I spoke to recommended going with the pellet gun, saying they are more powerful and accurate than the BB gun (and he recommended getting a pellet gun with a scope).

    Does anyone on this board have any experience with either one of these (I used to shoot a BB gun when I was a kid but that was decades ago)? Am I going to be able to kill these little critters with a pellet gun? How accurate are they? Is there the potential of shooting myself?
    Have not yet shot my eye out. Learn and follow the rules of gun safety and you'll avoid shooting yourself.

    Yes, they can be lethal on critters up to, arguably, raccoon/groundhog size. No larger without either a real firearm or a vastly more expensive air rifle in a larger caliber.

    Your other question: they can be very accurate at modest to moderate distances. Shooting air rifles (in the biathlon) and air pistols are Olympic sports. Most BB guns are less so, and have a shorter effective range.

    ****

    I have had almost exactly the same issue with varmints. A bit of background:

    Several years ago, we had in our backyard a daytime raccoon, apparently rabid. I sought advice and was passed up the chain of command. Three wildlife agencies (local Animal Control, state Wildlife, and USDA Rabies Control) all told me to shoot it with a 22. I didn't have one, but the rabies person came around to capture the raccoon, euthanize it, and test it. It turned out to have distemper, also a virus like rabies but distinct.

    The very next day we had a woodchuck/groundhog. These can be destructive to foundations, and I was told again to take the non-existent 22 to them.

    I live a residential suburb, outside of city limits. It is not illegal to shoot a firearm outside city limits, but highly inadvisable in a residential neighborhood for at least 2 reasons. One, the report of the weapon might cause some neighbors to call the police to investigate - and they just might decide you are being reckless, or disturbing the peace, or whatever. Second, you are responsible for the bullet until it stops. Not all shooting angles give me a broad dirt backstop behind the intended target - maybe 10 degrees higher and it's the base of a neighbor's fence. And a bullet from a firearm isn't nearly as likely to stop at/in a fence like a BB or pellet. [it won't at all]

    Some pellet rifles are (just barely) suitable with good shot placement for these pests, so I went that route. I set up a 10m target range in the enclosed space under our front porch and zeroed in the scope (repeat this every time you change pellet type). If I have a target for the pellet rifle in the backyard, I go to my 2nd floor and shoot at a sharper angle to the ground.

    Long story short, I never saw another raccoon or woodchuck in our yard, so the non-firearms arsenal was never used against them. But recently we've had chipmunk problems, and it's permissible to rid one's yard of them if they're destructive. I have had significant success culling the herd. PM me for the "hunting" details if you like.

    ***

    I concur with the recommendation of pellet rifle with scope. I use a Crosman single-stroke pneumatic (a "nitro piston") in .177 caliber. You can get pellet rifles in .22 caliber, though you'll give up some velocity and power in exchange for the larger caliber. It's a balancing act. My rifle came with a basic 4x32 scope, apparently one not considered very durable/high quality. But mine has been good, and it sure helps my old eyes. I rest the rifle on a windowsill with a foam pad to help keep it steady. Oh, and I did a trigger upgrade too, so it is much lighter [A heavy trigger pull can be hard to keep on target].

    I have 3 other airguns: the famous Daisy Red Ryder (lever action spring piston), a single stroke pneumatic pistol (Weihrauch HW-40), a CO2 BB pistol (Daisy Powerline 815). No multi-pumpers (I had one, its sights were worthless, and it was jarring to pump). Never had a pre-charged pneumatic.

    The BB guns are a lot more fun for "plinking", probably because there's a mix of skill and luck involved in shooting BBs. They are inherently less accurate than lead pellets through a rifled barrel. To me, it's reminiscent of a shooting skill game at a state fair midway. It's pretty quiet, too, and steel isn't lead. If you like target shooting, a pellet pistol with a match-grade trigger is a fine skill-builder for chasing the 10-ring. Just build a trap behind the target and capture the pellets for recycling/disposal.

    Some websites that may be helpful to you are pyramidair and other retailers, and gatewaytoairguns.org.

  9. #109
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Outside Philly
    Quote Originally Posted by cspan37421 View Post

    I live a residential suburb, outside of city limits. It is not illegal to shoot a firearm outside city limits, but highly inadvisable in a residential neighborhood for at least 2 reasons. One, the report of the weapon might cause some neighbors to call the police to investigate - and they just might decide you are being reckless, or disturbing the peace, or whatever. Second, you are responsible for the bullet until it stops. Not all shooting angles give me a broad dirt backstop behind the intended target - maybe 10 degrees higher and it's the base of a neighbor's fence. And a bullet from a firearm isn't nearly as likely to stop at/in a fence like a BB or pellet. [it won't at all]
    Well, the third is that there is likely a safety zone. At least in my state, unless permission is specifically granted by a property's owner, it is unlawful to do any sort of shooting within 150 yards of a habitable human structure (house, barn, outhouse, whatever). In most suburbs, your neighbor's safety zone is likely to overlap with a lot of your own property.

    Where you tend to run into trouble is the interchange of suburbia and more rural areas.

  10. #110
    As cspan detailed, you can take varmints out with a pellet gun, but it's not easy. You will have to practice and be persistent.

    On the legal side, using a pellet gun instead of a firearm keeps you from violating a number of laws as well as common sense safety guidelines.
    However, in many jurisdictions, legally hunting game species can only be done with a weapon that is classified as a firearm.
    You are much more likely to get cited for the firearms laws than the game laws however. Just don't go posting it on the internet.

  11. #111
    Quote Originally Posted by BigWayne View Post
    As cspan detailed, you can take varmints out with a pellet gun, but it's not easy. You will have to practice and be persistent.

    On the legal side, using a pellet gun instead of a firearm keeps you from violating a number of laws as well as common sense safety guidelines.
    It's worth pointing out too, that the conventional wisdom is that steel BBs are at greater risk of ricochet than lead pellets. But I know which I'd rather have in my lawn. Thus I use a pellet trap when (paper) target shooting.

    Quote Originally Posted by BigWayne View Post
    However, in many jurisdictions, legally hunting game species can only be done with a weapon that is classified as a firearm.
    You are much more likely to get cited for the firearms laws than the game laws however. Just don't go posting it on the internet.
    Second this. I was surprised to learn that there's a season for squirrels here, but then again, they don't bother me (yet). I actually like how they come clear my yard of acorns, hickory nuts, and so forth. However, the chipmunks came too and didn't limit their activities to that.

    Our state does have an exception for some animals for which there is a season:

    ... a landowner may trap and/or kill any rodent or furbearer (if not threatened or endangered) or small-game species without a permit if that animal is destroying or depredating the landownerís property.
    Another good solution to chipmunks is an outdoor cat.

  12. #112
    Quote Originally Posted by bundabergdevil View Post
    Well, the third is that there is likely a safety zone. At least in my state, unless permission is specifically granted by a property's owner, it is unlawful to do any sort of shooting within 150 yards of a habitable human structure (house, barn, outhouse, whatever). In most suburbs, your neighbor's safety zone is likely to overlap with a lot of your own property.

    Where you tend to run into trouble is the interchange of suburbia and more rural areas.
    Quote Originally Posted by BigWayne View Post
    As cspan detailed, you can take varmints out with a pellet gun, but it's not easy. You will have to practice and be persistent.

    On the legal side, using a pellet gun instead of a firearm keeps you from violating a number of laws as well as common sense safety guidelines.
    However, in many jurisdictions, legally hunting game species can only be done with a weapon that is classified as a firearm.
    You are much more likely to get cited for the firearms laws than the game laws however. Just don't go posting it on the internet.
    Quote Originally Posted by cspan37421 View Post
    It's worth pointing out too, that the conventional wisdom is that steel BBs are at greater risk of ricochet than lead pellets. But I know which I'd rather have in my lawn. Thus I use a pellet trap when (paper) target shooting.



    Second this. I was surprised to learn that there's a season for squirrels here, but then again, they don't bother me (yet). I actually like how they come clear my yard of acorns, hickory nuts, and so forth. However, the chipmunks came too and didn't limit their activities to that.

    Our state does have an exception for some animals for which there is a season:



    Another good solution to chipmunks is an outdoor cat.
    Thanks for these suggestions! I did some quick research of Massachusetts law today and it turns out that there is actually "squirrel hunting season" in Massachusetts (and the dates during which you can "hunt" squirrels varies depending on which "zone" you live in in the state). It also turns out that you need a hunting license to shoot squirrels on your own property. Ugh. It does seem somewhat ridiculous to me but I don't know how other states handle this. There are also other fairly onerous regulations; i.e., you can't shoot a gun within 500 feet of an inhabited building. I actually found a link to a new story about a guy in Massachusetts who was arrested for illegally hunting squirrels on his own property!

    Given all of the negatives here, I'm re-thinking my "big game" hunting expedition. My wife will be mad but I'm not sure how much success I would have had trying to exterminate the little varmints running around our property. I don't relish the thought of sitting in a lawn chair for hours at a time, hoping I might bag one of the critters. And I'm very skeptical that I could ever kill enough of them to make a difference. We may have to come with Plan B. (And we have had outdoor cats before and they DO seem to help keep the rodent population down but we just have one indoor cat now and she is afraid of mice).

  13. #113
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Outside Philly
    Quote Originally Posted by duke79 View Post
    Thanks for these suggestions! I did some quick research of Massachusetts law today and it turns out that there is actually "squirrel hunting season" in Massachusetts (and the dates during which you can "hunt" squirrels varies depending on which "zone" you live in in the state). It also turns out that you need a hunting license to shoot squirrels on your own property. Ugh. It does seem somewhat ridiculous to me but I don't know how other states handle this. There are also other fairly onerous regulations; i.e., you can't shoot a gun within 500 feet of an inhabited building. I actually found a link to a new story about a guy in Massachusetts who was arrested for illegally hunting squirrels on his own property!

    Given all of the negatives here, I'm re-thinking my "big game" hunting expedition. My wife will be mad but I'm not sure how much success I would have had trying to exterminate the little varmints running around our property. I don't relish the thought of sitting in a lawn chair for hours at a time, hoping I might bag one of the critters. And I'm very skeptical that I could ever kill enough of them to make a difference. We may have to come with Plan B. (And we have had outdoor cats before and they DO seem to help keep the rodent population down but we just have one indoor cat now and she is afraid of mice).
    That's pretty funny. When you mentioned the law, I thought, if you have some space, you'll NEVER get a warden coming by unless someone really had an axe to grind and happened to complain...and if you were using a BB or pellet gun, it's hard to imagine someone complaining. But it appears you did your research!

  14. #114
    Quote Originally Posted by duke79 View Post
    Thanks for these suggestions! I did some quick research of Massachusetts law today and it turns out that there is actually "squirrel hunting season" in Massachusetts (and the dates during which you can "hunt" squirrels varies depending on which "zone" you live in in the state). It also turns out that you need a hunting license to shoot squirrels on your own property. Ugh. It does seem somewhat ridiculous to me but I don't know how other states handle this. There are also other fairly onerous regulations; i.e., you can't shoot a gun within 500 feet of an inhabited building. I actually found a link to a new story about a guy in Massachusetts who was arrested for illegally hunting squirrels on his own property!

    Given all of the negatives here, I'm re-thinking my "big game" hunting expedition. My wife will be mad but I'm not sure how much success I would have had trying to exterminate the little varmints running around our property. I don't relish the thought of sitting in a lawn chair for hours at a time, hoping I might bag one of the critters. And I'm very skeptical that I could ever kill enough of them to make a difference. We may have to come with Plan B. (And we have had outdoor cats before and they DO seem to help keep the rodent population down but we just have one indoor cat now and she is afraid of mice).
    This sounds crazy but the dude at Lowe's recommended to us that we try moth balls to get rid of the squirrels. We bought a box and put them around the retaining wall where they live. Apparently they hate the smell as much as I do. They left pretty quick. The outside of my house smelled weird for a while, but whatever. The squirrels came back about 2 months later, but I just put more moth balls. It's worth noting that Albuquerque is really dry, so the moth balls likely last longer here.

  15. #115
    Quote Originally Posted by nmduke2001 View Post
    This sounds crazy but the dude at Lowe's recommended to us that we try moth balls to get rid of the squirrels. We bought a box and put them around the retaining wall where they live. Apparently they hate the smell as much as I do. They left pretty quick. The outside of my house smelled weird for a while, but whatever. The squirrels came back about 2 months later, but I just put more moth balls. It's worth noting that Albuquerque is really dry, so the moth balls likely last longer here.
    Pest control pros here recommended anti-vole poison pellets for the chippers.

    Hadn't heard of using mothballs! I wonder how far the smell traveled - would neighbors who use their backyards that border yours notice?

  16. #116
    Quote Originally Posted by bundabergdevil View Post
    Well, the third is that there is likely a safety zone. At least in my state, unless permission is specifically granted by a property's owner, it is unlawful to do any sort of shooting within 150 yards of a habitable human structure (house, barn, outhouse, whatever). In most suburbs, your neighbor's safety zone is likely to overlap with a lot of your own property.

    Where you tend to run into trouble is the interchange of suburbia and more rural areas.
    Excellent point; that's my situation, in essence. How did you find the rule for where you live? I've been unable to locate anything similar for where I live. My subdivision is actually on the city/county line. [Most of it, including where my house sits, is in the unincorporated county, i.e., not part of any municipality].

    As best I can tell the issue becomes a judgment call here, about what is safe, not too loud, etc. I know of no safe-harbor objective numbers (distance, decibels, type/thickness of berm, etc) and so forth that apply.

  17. #117
    Quote Originally Posted by nmduke2001 View Post
    This sounds crazy but the dude at Lowe's recommended to us that we try moth balls to get rid of the squirrels. We bought a box and put them around the retaining wall where they live. Apparently they hate the smell as much as I do. They left pretty quick. The outside of my house smelled weird for a while, but whatever. The squirrels came back about 2 months later, but I just put more moth balls. It's worth noting that Albuquerque is really dry, so the moth balls likely last longer here.
    Thanks! I've tried moth balls before with various types of critters - woodchucks, mice, skunks, etc. and NEVER had any luck! But maybe I'll try again with the squirrels and chipmunks that have taken over our property. (you would not believe how much I time I have spent over the years on the internet TRYING to figure out how to get rid of the varmints (small and large) that seem to plague our lives. My annual and futile effort, that begins about now, is to rid our kitchen of the "cabinet moths" that appear each year and infiltrate the cereal, rice, pasta, flour, pancake mix, etc. boxes and destroy half the dry food in our kitchen).
    Last edited by duke79; 06-05-2020 at 01:12 PM.

  18. #118
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Outside Philly
    Quote Originally Posted by cspan37421 View Post
    Excellent point; that's my situation, in essence. How did you find the rule for where you live? I've been unable to locate anything similar for where I live. My subdivision is actually on the city/county line. [Most of it, including where my house sits, is in the unincorporated county, i.e., not part of any municipality].

    As best I can tell the issue becomes a judgment call here, about what is safe, not too loud, etc. I know of no safe-harbor objective numbers (distance, decibels, type/thickness of berm, etc) and so forth that apply.
    In my state, it's all part of the Pennsylvania Game Code so you can find the info a couple of places. It's in the actual legislation but most people are taught about the safety zone rules when they sign up for a Hunter Trapper Educations course to get their hunting license. I don't know much about other states but I would imagine your state fish/game/wildlife agency would make that info readily available.

    If someone felt uncomfortable with their neighbor shooting, let's say, a woodchuck on their property, their first instinct might be to call the police (and I'm sure they could handle it) but it should probably be the Game Wardens called in since their primary responsibility is enforcing hunter/trapping laws.

    From what I understand, the majority of issues the Wardens have to deal with are essentially disagreements between land owners...safety zone violations, trespassing, following blood trails onto someone else's property without permission, etc.

  19. #119
    Quote Originally Posted by duke79 View Post
    Thanks! I've tried moth balls before with various types of critters - woodchucks, mice, skunks, etc. and NEVER had any luck! But maybe I'll try again with the squirrels and chipmunks that have taken over our property. (you would not believe how much I time I have spent over the years on the internet TRYING to figure out how to get rid of the varmints (small and large) that seem to plague our lives. My annual and futile effort, that begins about now, is to rid our kitchen of the "cabinet moths" that appear each year and infiltrate the cereal, rice, pasta, flour, pancake mix, etc. boxes and destroy half the dry food in our kitchen).
    Get Charlie Brown off hall monitor duty and have him patrol your yard.

  20. #120
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Winston-Salem
    I think I'm going to pull the trigger on the S&W 442 purchase this weekend.

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