Hunting Rabbits with Pellet Guns
Whether you hunt for sport, for food, for both or to keep pests from tearing up your garden or lawn, I don’t care. I’m not here to discuss why hunt rabbits, I’m here to discuss the best pellet guns to hunt rabbits.
Some “experienced” hunters may tell you that it is almost impossible to hunt rabbits with a pellet gun, and they might be right with the wrong pellet gun. BUT… with the right air rifle you can deliver a quick and painless final shot without destroying the pelt or causing the injured animal to run off to die.
What to Look for in Your Air Rifle
There are several different calibers of pneumatic weapons, but the ones designed for rabbits and other small game are normally either .22 or .177. These air rifles are also usually powered by either internal nitro tanks or CO2 canisters, and should be able to fire up to 750 feet per second. The ones we recommend below fire up to an impressive 1000 fps to 1500 fps.
You need the power that either of the above mentioned canisters can provide to make a clean head, heart or lung shot, and the smaller caliber will not destroy the meat or pelt. Other things to consider when you are looking for an air rifle to hunt rabbits is what type of optic sight you want it to have. Almost all pneumatic firearms include both a front and rear sight, and many models also include either a 4 x 32 or 3-9 x 40, so you can quietly hunt at a distance.
A noise dampener is always a bonus if you think you might need a second shot, and some of the newer models can reduce noise considerably more than the ones you may be accustomed to. While a pellet gun will never be as powerful as a standard hunting rifle, with the right one you can humanely bag rabbits during the season or remove them from your property. To help you find the best pellet gun for rabbits, we have put together a review of our favorites. Maybe one of these air rifles is the right one to take hunting with your buddies or to save your vegetable garden.
Top Pellet Rifles for Rabbits
The hardwood stock on the air rifle gives it an elegant look, while the slim, rifled barrel helps to guide your shots directly to the target. Featuring an all-weather design and weighing only 9.5 lbs, this pellet gun is ideal for any type of outdoor shooting. A noise dampener helps to muffle the sound of your shots, so you stand a better chance of catching more than one rabbit.
The nitro powered piston can shoot up to an incredible 1500 feet per second with an amazing 24 feet per pounds of muzzle energy. The 3-9 x 40 mm scope will also help you track your prey from farther distances. This is the same air rifle another writer on this site uses, and he has plenty of successful kills.
This .177 caliber air gun looks as powerful as it is with an all black design and the capability of firing up to 1420 feet per second if you use PBA pellets. A two-step trigger lets you control your shot, and the fixed barrel helps to keep you right on target. The noise dampener is not removable, but the included 3-9 x 40 AO rifle scope is. Use it to track your prey from a distance, or take it off for an unobstructed line of sight. A thumbhole in the stock gives you even more control and stability when firing, and the adjustable cheek pad will protect you from the gun’s impressive back kick. This pellet rifle also uses a breach loading system so you never have to worry about missing a shot when you’re distracted loading the clip. The air rifle also uses an inert gas system to power each of your shots.
Crosman Phantom .177 Caliber Break Barrel Air Rifle
With a two-stage trigger and a sleek all-weather design, this .177 caliber air rifle is perfect for hunting rabbits in any season. The break barrel helps to keep your shots even and on target, while the textured grip and forearm helps to give you even more stability. Capable of firing up to 1200 feet per second and with a front and adjustable rear sight, this powerful air gun can help you protect your yard and enjoy the rabbit hunting season. The included rail is 3/8” dovetail and will accept most any air rifle mounts. At around $100 this is probably the best bang for the buck. There’s also a camo version that is available (see here) for around the same price.
At less than $60 for the whole kit, this is by far the most economical purchase on the list. It doesn’t quite have the power of the guns above, but it can still do the trick at close range and is good beginner purchase if you are still feeling the hobby out. This complete hunting and plinking air rifle kit even includes protective eyewear. The Monte Carlo-styled stock and forearm make this air rifle stand out in a crowd, and the 4x 15 mm rifle scope can help you find rabbits and other small pests even when they are hiding. The multi-pump action air rifle lets you control the velocity of the pellet, which is capable of reaching 750 feet per second. A raised cheek pad helps to protect against kick backs, and the included paper targets let you get in a quick practice session before heading out. The included rifle scope is also easy to mount and remove, and you can choose between using pellets or BBs when you are hunting.
Note: While you probably already know to check with your local game and wildlife department on rabbit hunting laws, you will also want to check your local ordinances. Many states allow year round rabbit hunting and hare hunting, but it’s always better to make sure.