Air rifles are used to eliminate small pests like possums, raccoons, skunks or gophers.
They are effective against woodchucks, groundhogs, armadillos, mice, rats and pesky birds. Air rifles also are used to hunt rabbits and squirrels. The largest number of air guns are sold in .177 calibre, the pellet size for target shooting, plinking and hunting small pests. More powerful weapons, such as the Beeman Super Magnum Kodiak Spring-Piston Air Rifle, the Gamo Hunter Extreme or the Walther Falcon, use .25-calibre pellets.
Choosing a Pellet
The most important factor in choosing a pellet is deciding which one is the most accurate in your air rifle. Testing each type shows which one works best for you. Heavier pellets, like the .25 calibre, usually move through space more slowly before reaching their target. Gravity pulls all pellets down at the same rate, which has nothing to do with pellet mass or weight.
Lighter pellets lose energy faster than heavier ones as they travel through the air, decreasing their penetration power. Medium weight, round-nosed pellets, like the RamJet, offer the best weight and trajectory for medium-powered air rifles. A .25-calibre pellet has an 8cm (3-inch) kill zone at about 45m (50 yards) when the target is a woodchuck. The major advantage to using a more powerful air rifle with a .25-calibre pellet is that it gives a lethal shot when the shooter doesn't have perfect aim. The closer the shooter can get to his prey, the heavier the pellet he should use.
Kodiak .25 calibre
This heavyweight pellet, with 30.7 grains, achieved a trajectory similar to the Crow-Magnum pellet, but it's 15 per cent heavier. Fired from a powerful rifle like the Gamo Hunter Extreme or Kodiak, this pellet can shoot as far as a lighter one and still remain accurate. When penetration of the target was calculated, tests conducted by air rifle expert Tom Holzel showed the Kodiak achieving a penetration range of more than 20cm (eight inches), compared with 10cm (four inches) or the Crow-Magnum. The accuracy of this pellet, as well as its powerful penetration, makes it a favourite of air rifle enthusiasts for shooting woodchucks and other small game animals.
Crow-Magnum .25 calibre
The .25 hollow-head pellet expands, doubling in size and giving a terrific shock when it hits the target. This makes it deadly with rabbits, woodchucks and small game at ranges up to 55m (60 yards) when teamed with the most powerful air rifles. The Crow Magnum 26.3-grain round gives a powerful blast and is very accurate at 45m (50 yards) when shot by the Kodiak air rifle. However, this pellet, does not have the penetration power of the Kodiak .25.
H&N .25 and RamJet .25 calibre
When tested with the Kodiak Super Magnum air rifle, both the H&N and RamJet pellets have the same energy drop and decreased penetration. Both the lighter H&N and RamJet have a weight of 26 grains and a penetration of 9cm (four inches) or less. The accuracy of both was good, but neither pellet packs the powerful punch of the Kodiak .25.
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