Rats, squirrels, rabbits, corvids …. Obviously pests need controlling to keep the balance right but which guns for pest control are most effective? What should you be using?  Of course, it depends on your skill and the quarry you’re after. We’ve pieces on controlling rabbits with FAC air rifles and the right rifles for crow control to mention just two.

Whether you’re looking for a shotgun, an air rifle or a .17 HMR – we’ve reviewed your key choices, listing the pros and cons of each.

Both new and second-hand guns are covered and there is some useful advice on ammunition to suit guns for pest control too.

Remember to keep up to date with the latest rules on pest control and general licences so that you stay within the law.

Daystate Red Wolf

Daystate Red Wolf

Three air rifles for pest control

Daystate Red Wolf. Mat Manning says: “This British gun is far from cheap but it’s one of the finest pre-charged airguns in the world.”

Weihrauch HW100 KT. A tough tough, solidly constructed pre-charged airgun with a reputation for exceptional accuracy.

Hatsan Breaker 900X. Extremely inexpensive, the Turkish-made Hatsan Breaker is well made and powerful and accurate enough to tackle small pests out to around 25m

crow control with rifles

The Thompson Center Contender carbine in .17HMR cartridge is great for hooded crows, and is a good all-round vermin tool

Three rifles for pest control

.20 BR Sako rifle. Bruce Potts describes it as: ” a serious tool for crow shooting.”

Thompson Center Contender carbine: “A good all-round vermin tool” says Bruce Potts.

Anschutz .17HMR. Perfect for everyday vermin control

Hatsan Escort 
.22LR rifle

The Hatsan Escort .22 rimfire is a cheap, accurate and lightweight vermin gun, which is ideally suited for pest control

Pump-action shotguns for pest control 

A three-shot pump-action is a good and reliable alternative to a semi-auto and you could use it for general pest control.

Hatsan Escort Pump.

Remington Fieldmaster Pump .22LR. Bruce Potts describes it as: “A classic vermin control tool.”

Remington Fieldmaster Pump .22R

Remington Fieldmaster Pump .22R

A word about calibres and ammunition

It’s crucial that you choose the right calibre and ammunition for the type of pest control you are undertaking. This useful diagram will help you.

calibres for pest control

Chiappa Little Badger

Chiappa Little Badger

This month’s rifle was not quite what I was expecting and at first glance it might be construed as an odd choice for a review. However, the Chiappa Little Badger is quite appealing. Falling into the category of ‘survival rifle’, the Little Badger, like its namesake, is adept at handling…

Rifle shooting

Ruger 10/22 Target Lite

The Ruger 10/22 .22LR has to be the most widely used semi-automatic rimfire on the planet. It was the brainchild of Bill Ruger back in 1964 and its simple inertia type or blowback bolt operating system has proved reliable and long-lasting, spawning many variants over the years. This Ruger 10/22…

Mossberg Maverick 88 pump-action

The Mossberg Maverick 88 pump-action. It’s versatile and tough

There are sound reasons for owning a Mossberg Maverick 88 shotgun, especially if you’re involved in gamekeeping and pest control. It will never replace your game or clay gun, but if you need a reliable tool to keep with you on your rounds as a keeper, or for pigeon shooting…

grey squirrel

The best kit for grey squirrel control – my go-to list

Grey squirrel control The grey squirrel is a highly successful introduced species that has wreaked havoc since its introduction to the UK more than 100 years ago. Their contribution to the decline of our native red squirrel is well documented, but these tenacious rodents also cause extensive and costly tree…

Mauer M03 rifle

Mauser M03 rifle review – a blast from the past

Mauser M03 rifle review: With great design features and an attention to detail that puts other rifles to shame, we find the Mauser M03 stalking rifle a refreshing break from the norm.

best air rifles under £500

Best air rifles under £500: what made the list?

One of the greatest appeals of airgun shooting is its affordability. For a few hundred pounds you can pick up an air rifle that should give years of reliable service and will meet your needs. Many Guns start their shooting career with an air rifle and garden airgunning has been…

Winchester Wildcat .22 LR semiautomatic

Winchester Wildcat .22 LR semi-automatic

The Winchester Wildcat It’s nice to have another .22 semi-automatic rifle appear among the usual contingent of Rugers and Remingtons. This Winchester, though labelled as such, is made in Turkey. Named after Winchester’s renowned Wildcat .22 LR ammunition, it evokes cherished memories for me of running the Bridgend Stores, on…

air rifle pest control

How to use an air rifle for pest control

What do you do when grey squirrels, rats and corvids are robbing nests of eggs? You get out the airgun - and you lay in wait, as Mat Manning explains

budget air-rifle

Will a budget air-rifle really do the job?

I like to invest in the best shooting kit that I can afford but that doesn’t necessarily mean dismissing a budget air-rifle. You should always use the right tool for the job but sometimes an inexpensive airgun will do just fine. After all, not everyone can justify forking out several…

Browning A5

Browning A5 semi-auto shotgun

Gun reviews: Browning A5 semi-auto shotgun: Browning’s original A5 was the world’s first mass-produced semi-auto shotgun.

shooting an air rifle

Airgun laws and security requirements you need to know

Are you up to speed on airgun laws? Can a parent, friend or relative buy a youngster an airgun? Here’s a query we recently received from a concerned parent. Q: Can my ex-husband buy an air rifle for our nine-year-old? Is it legal? My son seems a bit young for…

Tikka M55

Tikka M55

The Tikkakoski manufacturing company has had a long and chequered history since it was formed in the late-19th century in central Finland. World War II saw it pass into German ownership before it was handed over to the Soviet Union in 1947. Ten years later, it was purchased by Finnish…

shotgun moderators

Shotgun moderators: a few discreet options to be considering

Sound moderators are now part of the British shooting fabric and an almost must-have item for rifle shooters. For shotgunners, however, shotgun moderators are still a specialised item. You have a choice of fully suppressed shotguns with in-built silencing – the original Hushpower moderated shotguns from the Saddlery and Gunroom…

Mossberg 500

Mossberg 500 pump-action shotgun: an American classic

I have been a fan of pump actions all my life. There is something rugged about a pump, and that certainly applies to the Mossberg 500. The Mossberg 500 is an American favourite that has been in production for over 50 years – that’s more than 10 million shotguns and…

Elliot Roberts

Browning 525 Game Laminate

Back in 2019, Browning released a new gun to the market, which caused a great stir in the shooting community. The Browning 525SL (Sporter Laminate) was a fresh take on the firm’s much-loved sporting shotguns. It had stylish looks and a distinctive grey laminate stock. It was innovative, bold and…

Quiet air rifle for pest control

The benefits of using a quiet air rifle for pest control

While I’m the first to admit that a shotgun is usually the best option for controlling corvids over open ground, there are plenty of times when using an airgun for pest control is a more appropriate choice. The former will usually help you to make the necessary big bags when…

Tikka T1x UPR .22LR

Tikka T1x UPR .22 LR

Since its introduction three years ago, the rimfire version of Tikka’s centrefire T3x, the T1x, has been a huge success. This is partly due to the price point but more importantly due to its consistent accuracy and dependability. Now the T1x has undergone a makeover with the Tikka T1x UPR…

grey squirrel

Airguns and summer squirrel shooting

Come the summer months when the trees are in leaf you’re likely to find squirrel shooting with an air rifle rather trickier than in winter on bare branches. The dense foliage covering the tree canopy can make greys almost invisible. So what’s to be done about it? How can you…

Haenel Jaeger 10 Synthetic Sporter

Haenel Jaeger 10 synthetic Sporter

Bruce Potts tested the Haenel Jaeger 10 synthetic Sporter back in 2017. In April 2021 Charles Smith Jones revisited the gun for Sporting Gun magazine. He described it as: “a rifle of high quality that remains sensibly priced even when new. Haenel rifles are robust, well made, a pleasure to…

how to call a fox

Useful foxing equipment

When it comes to useful foxing equipment , there’s so much conflicting advice around that I thought it would make sense to look at what’s actually used out in the field. In this enterprise I have chosen to focus on four experienced fox shooters, including me, Paul, my usual shooting…