I know many people are capable of hunting. Most of us have factored firearms into our plans but in a post-SHTF scenario, stealth may be the difference between life and death. I don’t want the report of a rifle tipping off anyone, where I am, or where my family is. That’s where air rifles come into my plan.
Air rifles for SHTF food procurement
A few months ago, I found a sale on the Crosman Pumpmaster 760s for $19.99.
I have fond memories of this rifle. It was my constant companion through my boy hood. While there have been many air rifles in my life, the Pumpmaster 760 will always have a special place in my heart.
This is all it took to start me down the path of incorporating air rifles into my post-SHTF hunting plan.
Silence is Golden
Air rifles can range from almost silent to louder than a .22 rifle. If a pellet is pushed faster than the speed of sound, it produces a very loud “Crack” when it breaks the sound barrier.
To avoid breaking the sound barrier, you need to use a lower powered air rifle, or use a heavier pellet (lead, instead of light weight metals).
I am confident that the Pumpmaster 760 will not break the sound barrier, even with 10 pumps, and Gamo makes the Gamo Whisper and Gamo Silent Cat , which are supposed to be quiet also, but I’ve seen reports that vary. You’ll want to do your own research before trusting manufacturers claims.
Dual Caliber Air Rifles
Dual caliber rifles, like the Beeman RS-1 or the Beeman Silver Kodiak, come with 2 barrels, a .177 cal and a .22 caliber, allowing you to utilize ammunition for either caliber. A single air rifle that can shoot 2 calibers of pellets, gives you some real advantages!
.22 caliber pellets are heavier, and even if they travel slower, than .177 caliber pellets, they will do more damage. Don’t fall for arguments or comparisons based soley on FPS (Feet per Second).
If you compare two identical airguns, with the only difference being caliber, there shouldn’t be a substantial difference in power. This is because the air rifle’s power-plant and not the ammunition, produces the energy. The same amount of energy is applied to the pellet regardless of caliber. The lighter the pellet, the faster the muzzle velocity. The heavier the pellet, the slower the muzzle velocity. A .177 caliber air rifle that gets “1000 fps” and a .22 caliber rifle that gets “800 fps” should produce roughly the same amount of energy, about 15 ft-lbs of muzzle energy once you factor in the inevitable exaggeration companies make in their velocity claims.
.177 Caliber Pellets
A .177 caliber air rifle shoots a lighter, smaller pellet, so they produce a higher muzzle velocity. This gives them a flatter trajectory, which makes it easier to accurately place a pellet under normal conditions. However, because it is a smaller diameter round moving faster, .177 pellets may over-penetrate on small animals and produce a narrower wound channel.
I remember taking down squirrels, rabbits and birds as a youngster, I also remember not taking down an equal number. I will be first to admit that sometimes the .177 Cal pellets leave something to be desired. This led me down a tangled road of .22 cal vs .177 cal and all the investigations in between. I’ve realized that if I ever have to rely on the .177 cal air rifle, then I would need to switch to a pellet with a superior ballistic design.
This research led to the discovery of the Crossman Destoyer Pellets! They are 7.9 Grains of .177 caliber power (also available in .22 caliber)! This revolutionary pellet combines the best attributes of a pointed pellet with a hollow point, resulting in complete expansion and energy transfer. Compared to traditional pellets, these will sometimes expand to twice their size.
In my independent, soda can tests, they cause considerably more damage than traditional flat tipped pellets, pointed tip pellets and even the hollow point pellets.
If I’d have had these pellets as a youth hunter, I firmly believe we’d have eaten a lot more rabbit and squirrel.
.22 Caliber Pellets
.22 caliber air rifles shoot a larger, heavier pellet, so they are less likely to over-penetrate and will produce a larger wound channel, which makes them more effective with a body shot. They also have a lower muzzle velocity, which produces a more pronounced trajectory. This means that its harder to accurately place pellets, since range estimation is more critical.
Getting Pellets Post-SHTF
You can make a Pellet mold out of a pair of cheap pliers, and with some molten lead, you can produce your own ammunition.
Both .177 and .22 caliber airguns can take small game, which is better depends on you and your preferences. If you need a silent or quiet solution, some of the rifles mentioned in this post might be right up your alley.