Round out your hunting gun collection with a quality air rifle

If you don't have a quality air rifle in your arsenal, your hunting gun collection has a big hole in it.

And they aren’t just for shooting squirrels

Do you have enough hunting guns? If you don’t own a quality air rifle, you don’t. Without one, chances are good that you have a gaping hole in your hunting firearm collection, especially if you’re a squirrel hunter. Air rifles are not just for plinking.

Cole Dancer of Spruce Pine, N.C. hunts squirrels almost exclusively with an air rifle, and said while he often gets strange looks and critical comments from folks the first time they hunt with him, they quickly begin asking him questions on which air rifle to get before the hunt is over with.

“I had a friend join me on a squirrel hunting trip and he laughed about my Benjamin Marauder

.177 until we started hunting. The turning point is when we spotted three squirrels on the ground. Two were about 18 inches apart from each other, 25 yards away from us. The third squirrel was 10 feet behind them. I told my buddy to let me shoot all three. He shrugged and smirked as if to say ‘yeah, right.’ I shot the farthest squirrel, aiming in between the first two. The only thing those two squirrels heard was their buddy flopping around behind them. Then I got a head shot on one of those, and finished off the other as my friend stood there with his mouth wide open. It was a good lesson for him on why an air gun is the perfect firearm for squirrel hunting,” Dancer said. “If I’d have shot a .22 or even a .17, I would have gotten one squirrel and the others would have bolted.”

“Air rifles are also very economical and quiet to shoot, and no matter what gun you deer hunt with, practicing year-round with an air rifle will help you stay on top of your accuracy game so that when the biggest buck of your life walks out, the mechanics of mounting your deer rifle, peering down the scope, and pulling the trigger will be second nature,” Dancer said.

And just like airguns aren’t only for plinking, they’re not just for squirrel shooting either. The Benjamin Bulldog .357 packs a serious punch that’s big enough to kill wild hogs and coyotes. And if you’d like to put some serious fun in your predator hunting, you’ll find it in the Pioneer Air Bow, an air-powered weapon that shoots full-length arrows at 450 feet per second, and is as accurate as any rifle. While neither of these are as quiet as the squirrel-shooting variety of airguns, they are plenty deadly and fun to shoot.

About Brian Cope 2784 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

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