Reply To: Help choosing a pest control rifle.

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ironlion269
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The best advice will also be based upon the range you will likely have to your pests.   A .177 rifle can easily fulfill your criteria, even up to pigeons, starlings, rats, rabbits, and squirrels.  For somewhat larger pests/game (e.g. raccoon, opossum, crows) a .22 is usually a better bet unless you have mastery of your shot placement – delivery of ft-lbs of energy is the key in any ethical pesting.  The .22 is a little more forgiving since it typically carries more downrange energy to the target; on the other hand, the higher the caliber the more "loopiness" you get in the shot.  Knowing your shooting terrain by distance, obstacles, sound tolerance, and such can make or break a rifle choice.

Many folks here on the forum are moving towards even higher calibers for hunting (.25 and .30 are becoming more common) but shooting those larger projectiles from a spring gun can be tricky since the fps of the pellet (or slug… yeah, slugs!) is slower.  Some dedicated pesters will not use .25 or higher calibers since the perception is that the pest/prey has more time to hear the shot and duck the impact.  YMMV.

Inside of 30 yards a Diana 34 is a great break-barrel rifle in your price range, and the Weihrauch HW30 is also highly praised (though less potent at longer ranges).  You may get the suggestion to spend more for a high-end gun ("buy once, cry once") but I don't live by that axiom.  I like working with mid-range guns that can be stunningly accurate and easy to shoot with just a little work using common garage tools and good lubricants.  Crosman is my cup of tea for shooting and has many guns in the price range you state.  Be careful not to get an over-powered gun as that will play merry hob with your accuracy, but don't be afraid of American made either.  Oh, and YouTube is your friend!  Find a gun model (or 10!) you find interesting and begin checking YT for reviews and other videos of that/those model(s).