Reply To: First Air Gun !

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Any good quality ten or twelve FPE gun will be fine for pesting birds and small mammals as long as you keep your ranges short (shoot from blinds/cover), you take very precisely delivered shots (I'd only recommend headshots on birds).  The gun which comes immediately to mind is the Diana Model 34, if you can find one used.  It will likely be twice your budget though.  I don't know what lower end guns people are recommending but stay away from magnum rifles for this purpose.  You DO NOT need an 18 FPE spring air rifle for this job and IT WILL be a liability rather than an asset because they are so darned hard to shoot well.  Find a nice medium or low power spring rifle and practice, practice, practice.

You asked about pump rifles.  The will most certainly do the job you are describing.  They are by their mechanical nature easier to shoot well than a spring rifle.  Given the right pellet choice and fit they will shoot as tight as most PCP rifles.  You can't say that about spring rifles.