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What’s best for pest control – a spring-powered or pre-charged airgun?

What's best for rabbits and grey squirrels?

budget air-rifle

The self-contained power plant on spring powered air rifles is very convenient but cocking can be difficult for smaller shooters

Q: I’d like to buy an air rifle for controlling rabbits and grey squirrels in our garden but I don’t really want a pre-charged model because I can’t be bothered with the hassle and expense of using charging gear. I’ve been told that spring-powered airguns  are less accurate – are they suitable for humane pest control?

A: Spring-powered airguns aren’t necessarily less accurate than pre-charged models; they are just a little harder to shoot accurately.

The recoil caused by the motion of the spring and piston can cause quite a kick, which isn’t as easy to master as the comparatively dead action of a recoil-less pre-charged pneumatic.

That said, you should be able to shoot a decent spring-powered airgun very accurately with a little practice. The important thing is always to use the same hold and don’t squeeze the gun too tightly – allow the recoil to follow the same course every time and your pellet should always follow the same path to its target. Never try to rest a spring-powered gun on a hard surface such as a bench – the kick will make it bounce violently and pellets will stray off aim as a result.

Put in plenty of practice on paper targets and you will soon understand the performance of spring-powered airguns for pest control and get a measure of your own capabilities with it. Shoot within those self-imposed limitations and there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to cleanly despatch rabbits and grey squirrels in the garden.

Benefits of spring-powered airguns

  • They are always ready for action
  • They usually cost a lot less than precharged airguns which can be upwards of £400 for 
a quality model.
  • You can buy one for less than £200
  • Precharged airguns tend 
to cost more than springers 
— upwards of £400 for 
a quality model.
  • They need very little maintenance
  • The average spring in these gun will last for thousands of shots before it needs replacing