Buying my first firearm and Air Rifle for squirrel hunting?

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Gathering' started by Buffalo Woodsman, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. Buffalo Woodsman

    Buffalo Woodsman Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2017
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    155
    Location:
    Western NY
    Hey Guys,
    Looking to get into hunting because well, I am in to just about every other outdoor activity. I also want to put meat in the freezer and continue building self reliance skills. I hear squirrel hunting is a great way to get into it.

    Anyone have particular fondness for a certain air rifle? .22 or .177?

    Also, and I know this may be a can of worms, but what are your guys thought on a good first firearm. My initial thoughts are a .12 Gauge, possibly a Remington 870.
     
  2. boomchakabowwow

    boomchakabowwow Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2015
    Messages:
    3,180
    Likes Received:
    3,152
    Location:
    Bay Area, California
    Do you have a .22lr yet? I got my 22cal pellet rifle first. Doing overs: I think I would have gotten the rimfire first. It’s way cheaper.

    That air rifle is a slippery slop.
     
    wingnuts, Oni, Guttersnipe and 2 others like this.
  3. Buffalo Woodsman

    Buffalo Woodsman Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2017
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    155
    Location:
    Western NY
    I don't have Jack yet.
     
    central joe and alukban like this.
  4. Birdman

    Birdman Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Messages:
    1,995
    Likes Received:
    5,731
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    A .22 underlever Springer is a great squirrel getter. Reliable, and no worries of air, or pumping, etc
     
  5. that_guy

    that_guy Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2018
    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    374
    Hard to beat a scattergun as a great all-arounder. If you find a break open shotgun you can use the adapters to shoot 22lr or other calibers. You’ll find lots of info about those here.
     
  6. slysir

    slysir Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2013
    Messages:
    1,554
    Likes Received:
    6,855
    Location:
    Florida
    First gun? Definitely a rimfire. A single shot .22 will shoot every .22 there is accept a magnum. You could choose as light a load as a Flobert cap to high velocity Stingers or Velocitors with dozens of options in between.

    Ammo is readily available again and inexpensive to stock up. :dblthumb:

    -John
     
  7. central joe

    central joe Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2012
    Messages:
    7,619
    Likes Received:
    46,156
    Location:
    upstate south carolina
    I am a fan of the RWS model 34 in .177. it is a real squirrel killer with the proper pellet. They are finicky about what pellet they like, so you need to experiment. I also have a RWS mod.350 in .177. It likes a heavier 10.2 grain pellet. Also there is a learning curve to shoot a springer accurately. Also they are nice and quiet for in town shooting. joe
     
  8. victoratsea

    victoratsea Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2017
    Messages:
    319
    Likes Received:
    1,365
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    @central joe is spot on with this. RWS 34 is a great springer air rifle. Another great choice would be the Beeman R9 or HW 95, basicly the same air rifle. My own favorite, the BSA Super Sport, I can't recommend to a novice as they are difficult to work on and parts are hard to come by. Springer air rifles, as Joe mentioned have "quirks"; they are picky about what pellet they like. Scopes not rated for springer air rifles will get wrecked by the back and forth recoil. The learning curve to accurate shooting is fairly easy. learn the "artillery hold" , this is holding the rifle lightly and allowing it to recoil freely. Lastly, unless you have deep pockets, stay away from PCP air rifles. While they are wonderful, costs add up really fast. Myself, I prefer .22 for squirrel hunting, but shot accurately .177 does the job.
    Victor
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
    Buffalo Woodsman, Oni and central joe like this.
  9. hughewil

    hughewil Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,138
    Likes Received:
    100
    Location:
    Akron Ohio
    I would skip the air rifle and just get a 22lr.

    People all talk about the nesmuck trio, I think everyone should have a firearm trio. A shotgun, rifle, pistol.

    Ruger 10/22 is a great little .22 rifle so is the marlin 60. For a shotgun go with 12 gauge, it's the most common and you can shoot heavier of lighter loads (buck or bird shot) or slugs if you want something that makes a big hole.

    For a pistol I prefer semi-auto but if you want simplicity get a revolver, caliber all depends if you want it to plink or if you want it for protection.
     
  10. yooper71

    yooper71 Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2016
    Messages:
    301
    Likes Received:
    1,202
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    ^^^^^this^^^^^

    If you want an air rifle, I’m not saying not to get one, but the above is some solid advice.
     
  11. Gruxxx

    Gruxxx Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    Messages:
    1,439
    Likes Received:
    3,541
    A Remington 870 Combo with the shot and slug barrels will cover all your bases from small game and birds to big game inside of 75 yards or so. Obviously you can shoot trap and sporting clays, too, but it's not a gun to enjoy at the rifle range.
     
  12. Guttersnipe

    Guttersnipe Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2017
    Messages:
    328
    Likes Received:
    1,713
    Location:
    Purgatory
    I'm not quite sure which I've taken more squirrels with, my Ruger 10/22, or my Gamo .177.
    I've had both for over 20 years, and never disappointed.
    Also, as others have stated above, both of mine can be picky with ammo used. My Gamo more so than the Ruger.
    A good scope, for me anyway, makes a world of a difference.
    But I also like to head shot as not to ruin meat or hides.
    As for shotguns, I prefer the Mossberg 500 over the Remington 870. But that's a personal preference. They're both good, reliable tools.
     
  13. Paulyseggs

    Paulyseggs Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2018
    Messages:
    1,778
    Likes Received:
    7,108
    Location:
    CT.
    22 rifles are just plain fun . ALOT of used ones out there . 200 and under . Probably most 100-150.

    Shotguns work well too. 12 or 20. Cant go wrong with either.

    I dont do much with airguns so ill stay outta that .
     
  14. wingnuts

    wingnuts Hunter/Gatherer Provider/Protector Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2012
    Messages:
    2,983
    Likes Received:
    2,717
    Location:
    NJ
    If you can use a 22 for squirrels where you hunt that would be a good choice over the air rifle.
    That said you CANNOT GO WRONG with a good 12 ga. The 870 has a good record as does the mossy 500.
    I like doubles but pumps are cheaper. As mentioned a barrel with screw in chokes and a slug barrel will cover damn near ANYTHING in North America! It would be the gun if limited to just one but like knives one just don’t cut it. If going for a 22 can’t beat a ruger 10/22, a single bolt gun will take all the 22 ammo available but finding shorts and B.B or cb caps as well as longs around me is like looking for hen’s teeth. So it’s long rifles and the ruger loves ‘em. Good luck with your choice.
     
  15. ezra45

    ezra45 Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Messages:
    4,380
    Likes Received:
    5,607
    Location:
    Idaho/South OR coast
    My choices, and I put my money where my mouth is:
    Bare bones...

    RWS .22 pellet (break barrel)
    CZ 455 .22
    Remington 870 (older) Wingmaster ( I use a 20 ga but 12 is probably more versatile when starting out) I prefer a shorter barrel with screw chokes...

    But lots of good info above.


    Regards,

    ezra
     
    Birdman and Guttersnipe like this.
  16. Dubhelix

    Dubhelix Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2016
    Messages:
    850
    Likes Received:
    4,864
    Location:
    Shenandoah, Earth.
    A decent .22lr bolt action rifle makes an excellent first firearm, and is ideal for squirrel hunting.

    I like the CZ 452 with a not-too-expensive-but-good-enough scope like a Redfield Revolution 2-7x.

    Stay safe out there.
     
    Birdman and Guttersnipe like this.
  17. boomchakabowwow

    boomchakabowwow Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2015
    Messages:
    3,180
    Likes Received:
    3,152
    Location:
    Bay Area, California
    .22lr for sure first then.

    I have a savage bolt action I got for about $220. New! I added a pretty decent scope.

    It is so much fun. I’m good out to 100 easy, minute of squirrel. I spent hald$ compared to my airgun.
     
    Guttersnipe likes this.
  18. Guttersnipe

    Guttersnipe Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2017
    Messages:
    328
    Likes Received:
    1,713
    Location:
    Purgatory
    Now that I think of it, for about $50, you can get a Crosman 1322.
    Take a look into it.
    It's cheap, effective, and tons of mods you can make to it.
    I had one when I was a kid, but it grew legs somewhere down the line.
    Now it's on my shopping list again.
     
    Birdman likes this.
  19. ezra45

    ezra45 Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Messages:
    4,380
    Likes Received:
    5,607
    Location:
    Idaho/South OR coast
    image.jpg Crossman...yes
     
  20. Birdman

    Birdman Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2014
    Messages:
    1,995
    Likes Received:
    5,731
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    A 1322 with the optional shoulder stock is a fun gun, and squirrel worthy. For around $75, including the stock and pellets, you can be out hunting. Doesn't get much cheaper than that.
     
    Oni, Guttersnipe and piinnh like this.
  21. xrayit

    xrayit Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2015
    Messages:
    1,257
    Likes Received:
    3,849
    Location:
    LITH Illinois
    Ruger 10/22 is a good first rimfire. I bought my Beeman R1 back in the early eighties and have killed a bunch of squirrels and rabbits with the R1 in .177 over the years. Really went in deep with the air rifles at one time (it is a slippery slope) and own a few but the R1 has always been my favorite.
     
    Not Sure and Guttersnipe like this.
  22. piinnh

    piinnh Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    116
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    You can easily spend as much or more on a pellet rifle as you would for a 22lr. Do not buy a pellet rifle at Walmart and expect it to last. Stay away from CO2 guns if you want to be economical, could eventually spend more than 22lr ammo. Pellets gun are quieter (stay with a sub sound barrier velocity pellet,more stable pellet flight) for the most part but you are going to need to spend at least $200 and this is without a scope to get a decent pellet rifle. I do have a Crosman 1322 with a 14.6 inch barrel and shoulder stock that will do the job out to 30 yards but it does not have the range or accuracy past 30 yards that a rifle, pellet or 22lr would. I used my pellet guns in my back yard and shoot consistent groups out to 60 yards and my neighbors don't get excited about the noise. Pellet / airguns are fun and used almost exclusively in Europe for small game and pest critters. Look for a used 22lr or better used pellet to start. Oh yea, have fun.
     
  23. Badger5

    Badger5 Tracker

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 14, 2015
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    150
    I think a 12 gauge shotgun is a perfect first gun. I would go with a pump action shotgun with removable chokes (you can hunt birds, turkeys, deer.....even squirrels with the right kid and an open choke). I would look at Remington 870, Benelli nova, Winchester sxp, mossberg 500, or any used guns. I have a Benelli supernova and LOVE it. IMO in recent years with Remington being bought and sold their guns were made cheaper and with cheaper parts, so I would opt for an older 870. For .22lr I like bold action: more accurate and easier to clean and less To go wrong with. Any number of used bolt action .22s are awesome, I suggest going to a used gun store if you want a wood stock. If you want to buy new and want a synthetic stock...I would look at Savage Arms Mark II. Great guns and are inexpensive. Definately get a .22 with a scope.

    Hope this helps! I would start with a shotgun because it is more versitole, and then get a .22.
     
    Guttersnipe likes this.
  24. werewolf won

    werewolf won TANSTAAFL Supporter Bushcraft Friend

    Blog Posts:
    17
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    Messages:
    14,347
    Likes Received:
    22,568
    The English have a saying about calibers of air guns: “.17 for feathers .22 for fur”. That said I’ve killed more squirrels than I can count with a .177 and can only think of one that took two pellets to kill. I am an overly cautious hunter and let plenty go unfired at if I am not 100% comfortable with a sure kill and safe shot.

    I have owned a lot of spring rifles. Under levers are my preference, the English Air Arms is my favorite but the German HW’s are very nice too. I’ve moved on to the PCP’s pretty much exclusively in recent years, the American Benjamin Marauder for short money is a fine one—but initial entry into a PCP involves an air tank and fill valve set up which adds a lot to the proposition. I doubt you’ll look back however PCP’s are amazing machines.

    I love shotguns some of my favorites came off used racks. I’m a 16 gauge fan, but lots of people really like the 28 gauge, a used one in that gauge would make a fine squirrel and upland game getter.
     
  25. southron

    southron Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2015
    Messages:
    1,045
    Likes Received:
    2,659
    Location:
    N.E Alabama
    a 12 gauge is a find weapon for taking lots of different game.

    There isn't one perfect choice, and each is in the eyes of the beholder.

    I live in Alabama and grew up with firearms and hunting as a way of life so I may miss some of the basic info, but I"ll try to throw out some basic thinking to get ya started.

    4 firearm battery:
    1. A handgun for self defense in a serious caliber (preferably starting with a .4 or larger) The one weapon you can have near to hand at all times.

    2. a .22 LR rifle. Training, small game hunting, just general practice and fun.

    3. A shotgun in 12 gauge. I prefer a semi auto like a 11 -87 remington for general purpose from self defense through all manner of hunting, and even stopping dangerous game. Something like a hatfield single shot can be picked up at wally world for about $100 and for woods loafing ya can do most anything needs doing. I don't care so much for pumps these days because if you can not manage the slide due to some injury etc, it is hard to reload. Personal thinking, lots of folks do love pumps and they are very dependable and common so low cost.

    4 a centerfire rifel in a caliber capable of hitting and killing anything you may need to manage at the furtherest range you may need to shoot it. Action is your choice and again take into account what ya want to do and get the tool for the job. a savage scout or better (IMHO) a ruger GSR bolt gun in .308 winchester caliber can cover most bases in CONUS.

    ***

    Remember hunting starts with finding then humainly killing your game. Then processing that game and getting it home and put up and cooked and eaten. The actual shooting part is the smallest part (once you are a competant shot from practice) of the whole experience of hunting.

    I hope you can find an experienced mentor to help you learn all the other parts of hunting. It is a life style, and a life time to master, but nothing most people cannot master.

    All the little things about going to the woods carry over to hunting.

    And of course it is natural for humans to hunt, we were built as predators (binocular vision for example) and it runs deep in our soul.

    Something spiritual in it also.

    Have fun out there, and keep learning and asking questions and make local friends. Talking with the local game warden is often a way to meet and get to know someone local as a mentor. Make good impressions on them. Old guys at the gun shop may pull you leg, but if you earn their respect and admit you're looking to learn, they will often end up teaching you more in a conversation than all the youtubes on earth can teach ya.

    Welcome to the hunter culture, one of the best sub sets of the gun culture which are the best folk in the world. JMHO, but i'm pretty certain about that one.
     
    Guttersnipe and ezra45 like this.
  26. Back Off

    Back Off Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2017
    Messages:
    973
    Likes Received:
    3,899
    Location:
    Blaine, MN
    I had a RWS pellet rifle and loved it. It was exceptionally accurate. No paperwork to worry about and ammo is cheap. .22 is also a great option. Both the pellet rifle and .22 will do little damage to the meat if you are good at shot placement which is another reason they both make for a good option. I would say the pellet rifle as you can easily practice indoors with a good bullet trap. The 12 gauge will put more squirrel in your kettle but you will also eat more shot. With the other two you will need to practice marksmanship skills more as well as hunting skills so I would go that route.
     
    Not Sure and Guttersnipe like this.
  27. Donald Devall

    Donald Devall Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2017
    Messages:
    584
    Likes Received:
    3,085
    Location:
    Southeast Louisiana
    I’m going to go against an oft repeated and theoretically sound suggestion here....

    DO NOT do a 12 gauge. Especially not a single. They kick like hell and usually have poorly designed stocks and combs so a day of shooting leaves you with a bruised shoulder and cheek.

    And as someone who looooves squirrel hunting, touching off that blunderbuss jist kind of ruins that first crisp fall morning. A subsonic .22 doesn’t shake the forest nearly as badly.

    I strongly suggest a .22 rifle. Marlin model 60 is always a good starting point and they’re less than $200 new!

    A 10-22 for a bit more $$ lends itself much better to upgrades and personalization down the road.

    Good luck with whatever you choose!!!
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2018
    ezra45, Paulyseggs and Guttersnipe like this.
  28. CharClothed

    CharClothed Supporter Supporter

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2016
    Messages:
    2,137
    Likes Received:
    5,044
    Location:
    Michigan
    So PCP air rifles are where you want to go. But in all honesty, anything a firearm can do for hunting, a air rifle can do too. Ammo is easier to carry (if you have .22 you can carry 500 rounds in your pocket). They can even take large came like buffalo. Just depends on how much you want to spend. A good starting air rifle for all around hunting I think would be the Crosman Marauder. It's a PCP and allows for .22 or .177 versions. I've heard of people taking deer with it but I wouldn't try it. If I was going to buy another firearm, I think it'd be the new Savage Arms Model 42 Take-Down Over Under. Which is actually similar price to the Crosman. I'll post some more air rifles I've seen good reviews on for small game in a little bit.
    https://www.savagearms.com/firearms/model/Model42TakedownCompact

    https://www.crosman.com/airguns/air-rifles/marauder-rifle-wood-stock
     
  29. Grouse870

    Grouse870 Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    Messages:
    617
    Likes Received:
    673
    I’d check to make sure airguns are legal for hunting in your area first. That said I would go .22lr first something along the lines of a 10/22 (my preference) marlin 60 for semi auto, ruger American or savage bolt gun. Easy to add either optics or different iron sights later on as your experience grows.
     
    Guttersnipe and Donald Devall like this.
  30. Donald Devall

    Donald Devall Scout

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2017
    Messages:
    584
    Likes Received:
    3,085
    Location:
    Southeast Louisiana
    @CharClothed

    PCP guns are rediculously awesome. And modern high end versions are really impressive.

    But I think they are more suited to an enthusiast. It’s a whole lot easier to grab a .22 and a box of ammo than it is to buy, maintain and learn the limitations of a PCP and the fill equipment methinkins. That’s what’s kept me from getting into it. Same investment as a quality firearm but with capability’s more in line with muzzle loaders.

    Actually I think that’s kind of a neat way to look at it. The modern black powder. :D
     
    CharClothed and Guttersnipe like this.
  31. Seahunter

    Seahunter Scout Bushclass I Bushclass II

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2017
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    4,805
    Location:
    Northern California
    If you live somewhere where you can shoot an air rife on your property (backyard, garage, indoors) then I would recommend a good air rifle. You can get a lot more time behind the trigger and good ammo is very cheap. If you have to go to the range to shoot or if you can shoot a 22 lr at your property then I would go with a 22 lr.

    I have an RWS 34. It is a great air rifle I would highly recommend it. I have shot quail, eurasian doves, squirrels, and a turkey with it. I also have a Benjamin discovery. It is a little more accurate, but is much louder. A cheep spring powered air rifle will cause a lot of frustration they are not worth the money imo. Some of the old .22 lr guns are very accurate and dirt cheep.

    A 12 ga 870 is a well built and very versatile gun. It is heavy enough that the recoil is manageable.


    @Donald Devall is right about the 12 ga single shot. I had a 12 ga H&R single shot I put together for turkey hunting. The recoil was ridiculous. I put a 20 ga barrel on it and it is much better on the shoulder.

    This is good advice. I couldn't imagine breaking into hunting without all the stuff my dad taught me.
     
    Guttersnipe and Donald Devall like this.
  32. drobs

    drobs Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    Messages:
    1,027
    Likes Received:
    1,735
    Location:
    Africa & South Central Missouri
    Seems NY requires all new hunters to take Hunter Safety in order to buy a hunting license.
    That might be something you want to start looking into.

    https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/92267.html

    I took a similar course for Missouri last year.
     
  33. tree-ratsniper

    tree-ratsniper Guide

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Messages:
    1,846
    Likes Received:
    284
    Location:
    somewhere in time
    As many have stated look into a .22 LR as a 1st gun, otherwise a scattergun will always make a fine 1st firearm. Don't overlook the lowly 20 ga. either! With the correct ammo it will do almost everything a 12 can do. Air rifles can be dangerous to your wallet! You start out with a budget air rifle & the next thing you know you've dropped a couple of grand into them. ;)
     
    Guttersnipe likes this.

Share This Page