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

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

This is the kit you’ll need for going out foxing

When it comes to equipment for foxing, 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 partner,…

Bergara B-14R .22 rimfire

Bergara B-14R .22 rimfire

I really appreciate an accurate .22 rimfire. A popular rifle for vermin control, it deserves to have a bit of thought and money spent on it. Bergara makes superb barrels as well as complete rifles, and has recently branched out into the rimfire market. The Spanish firm is usually known…

Anschütz Model 1761 .22 rimfire

Anschütz Model 1761 .22 rimfire

Our verdict on the Anschütz Model 1761 .22 rimfire The 1761 is designed for 
work. Its Sporter styling 
and compact credentials suggest its work is primarily vermin, but its match target rifle pedigree also shines through. Styling-wise, Anschütz has opted 
for function over aesthetics for the Anschütz Model 1761 .22…

Wiehrauch HW66 rimfire

Wiehrauch HW66 rimfire rifle

Any airgunner will recognise the name of Wiehrauch, a German company with a deserved reputation for producing a wide range of well-made and accurate air rifles and pistols. Catering for disciplines ranging from serious competition to fun plinking, it has been dominating the market for years. The company’s fortunes have…

Hatsan Escort 
.22LR rifle

Should I get an air rifle or a rimfire?

Air rifle or a rimfire Q: I am thinking of buying an FAC-rated air rifle for pest control. Would this be better than a .22 rimfire? A: I like FAC-rated air rifles for certain pest control duties. They offer a significantly higher energy rating over the legal standard 12ft/lb energy.…

shooting rabbits

Are pump-action rifles really a valid vermin tool?

Q: I see quite a lot of classic .22 rimfire pump-action rifles at auctions. Are they really a valid vermin tool? A: They certainly are! Your first choice would be a newer bolt-action or semi-automatic rimfire for rabbits, but some older model rimfires are tremendous value for money and have…

Summer squirrel shooting with air rifle

Airguns and summer squirrel shooting

Squirrel shooting with an air rifle can be very tricky over the summer months. The trees are covered with dense foliage which makes your quarry almost invisible in the treetops. Lure of the pheasant feeder The colder months are an easier time for squirrel shooting with an air rifle. Hungry…

Shooting crows with rifles

Shooting crows with rifles

Crow shooting isn't just for those who possess a shotgun. Bruce Potts investigates the relative merits of centrefires and rimfires for a safe and humane despatch

pest cartridge

Cartridges and calibres for pest control

Wondering what is the best calibre for foxes? Rabbits? There are so many different species of pests – you can’t band together a rabbit and a fox – that you can’t have a single calibre for them all. So instead I am going to take a look at the various…

FAC Airwolf

Here’s why you should consider getting an FAC air rifle

A firearms certificate air rifle – known as an FAC air rifle – is over 12 ftlb in power meaning that the owner needs to have a Firearms Certificate to own one. If you’re already a conventional air rifle user and considering upgrading to something bigger you might be wondering…

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

Spring-powered airgun or a PCP?

10 PCP air rifles from £430 to under £1000

We’ve looked around for some cheap PCP air rifles that still do the job, for budgets of up to £500 and under £1000. Once you’ve bought the airgun you’ll be able to enjoy relatively cheap and accurate shooting, whether you’re a target shooter or need to do some pest control.…

best airguns

We pick out some of the best airguns around

On the hunt for something new. Looking at air rifles? We’ve rounded up some of the best airguns around . Weihrauch HW100 K, HW100 TK Length: 96cm Weight: 3.3kg with moderator What it offers: A beautifully finished pre-charged air rifle that is rugged in build but with a refined performance.…

firearms certificated air rifle

Controlling rabbits with firearms certificated air rifles (FAC)

So you need to carry out some rabbit control. But what’s the best way to do it? That will depend on: Local habitat Use of land Neighbouring land So there’s unlikely to be just one way to control rabbits – there should be a variety of methods at play. In…

410 Mossberg pump action

Is it time to change our mind about pump-action shotguns?

We British are a traditional bunch. Only in recent years have we finally accepted the presence of over-and-under shotguns on driven shoots. If you turned up at a shoot with a semi-auto or pump-action you would probably be asked to leave because it is considered somewhat unsporting to use three…