Long Range Hunting Online Magazine


Go Back   Long Range Hunting Online Magazine > Rifles, Reloading, Optics, Equipment > Rimfire and Airguns


Reply

Prairie Dog Hunting with Air Rifles

 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-11-2010, 05:29 PM
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Montana Plains
Posts: 289
Prairie Dog Hunting with Air Rifles

This summer I started hunting prairie dogs with my BSA Lonestar .25 cal PCP air rifle. I've had fairly good luck with it, taking prairie dogs out to 100 yards. 50-yard head shots are fairly easy if the wind isn't blowing too hard.

My CZ 527's in .223 Rem and .204 Ruger can get expensive rather quickly out at dogtown. My CZ 452 .22LR can easily eat $30 worth of Stingers in an afternoon as well. H&N Baracuda or JSB Exact King .25 cal pellets are around 4 cents a pop, plus the fact that I'm fairly conservative with the pellets as every 15 shots means I have to hook up the handpump and deliver about 60 full-weight pumps in the hot sun to get the rifle back up to 3400 PSI (232 BAR).

I could use target grade subsonic ammo in the CZ 452, but Wolf Match Target is 10 cents a pop, and the .25 cal pellets tend to put animals down faster than subsonic .22LR. Going to Stingers generates a ballistic crack that scares the prairie dogs a lot more. While 100 yards isn't long range hunting for centerfire enthusiasts, it certainly is for airgunning. If I were hunting squirrels and rabbits in a hardwood forest or thick cover, I think I could forget about firearms all together. With a ballistic reticle scope and a rangefinder, the airguns of today, the PCP kind, blow the old breakbarrels into the weeds. I get 0.5" groups at 50 yards consistently, and that's 5-shot groups. My .22 cal breakbarrel rifle shot 2" groups at best and had 1/3 the foot pounds of energy. My BSA penetrates 1.5" of pinewood at close range.

The BSA Lonestar can send a pellet completely through the biggest prairie dogs at 100 yards, so the lack of foot pounds of energy compared to .22LR seems inconsequential. Being a bigger caliber, it seems to leave more energy in the target, and that means more damage. The biggest limiting factor to range is the wind. About the longest I will take a shot in wind with Stingers is 125 yards, so the air rifle isn't all that far behind in range.

Shot a jackrabbit in the neck with the Lonestar this summer, and it fell dead in a few feet. A skunk that I shot in the head fell dead in its tracks without spraying as well. I shot a little cottontail in the lung area with the CZ 452 , and it ran behind some sagebrush. Shot it again in the chest and it just stood there looking at me like nothing more had happened. Shot it again in the head and it finally went down. Granted, the CZ 452 is deadlier at short range with Stingers and such, but when .22LR goes subsonic it falls behind .25 cal pellets in knockdown power.

Oh, and with lightweight 20 grain pellets I can get a ballistic crack out of the BSA, but accuracy goes to the dogs. The Baracuda pellet weighs 31 grains and keeps things subsonic, but I haven't turned up the power yet. That comes at the expense of fewer shots per charge and a lot more pumping.

Some people seem amazed that I can take prairie dogs consistently with an air rifle on the Montana prairie, but I grew up with a .22 Benjamin that I killed untold numbers of small animals with and I know how people underrate airguns because they buy junk airguns made for kids to play with. BSA airgun barrels are the equal of Anschutz and Lothar-Walther. Remember that the Girandoni air rifle that Capt. Meriwether Lewis had on the Lewis & Clark Expedition is the rifle he used to scare the indians with. It was a .47 cal repeater and they thought is had some kind of magic. It also killed a lot of the game that they ate on the expedition. It's now in the Army Museum, and the Austrian army once used hundreds of these rifle as infantry weapons, not sniper rifles as is commonly reported.

I will eventually end up with a bigbore air rifle of around .50 cal, but for now I'm having loads of fun with the Lonestar. No smoke, very little noise, very little recoil, very little ammo cost, almost unlimited barrel life, scopes never break from recoil....and small animals drop like swatted flies in front of it.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 03-11-2011, 02:49 AM
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 11
Re: Prairie Dog Hunting with Air Rifles

I love air rifle hunting!!!! I had a .25 cal Theoben Rapid MKII tuned to shoot 31.1 gr .25 cal pellets at 950 FPS. It would anchor rabbits and squirrels out to 150 easier and cleaner than my .22. I have since sold that rifle and switched over to a bitchen' Daystate Airwolf MCT in .22 cal. I get around 120 full power shots ( 950 fps with 18.1 gr .22 cal pellet) and the rifle is accurate enough to make head shots on pigeons at 80 yards. Game over !!!! Rabbit hunting with air rifles is at the top of my list as far as fun things to do!
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-11-2011, 01:16 PM
Bronze Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 55
Re: Prairie Dog Hunting with Air Rifles

Air rifles are awesome. I have shot my .22 Disco to 160 yards and was able to hit cobs of corn. I have been using my new CZ 455 lately due to the better trajectory and better BC. CCI SV only runs about 6.3 Cents a round. It is cheaper than buying spendy pellets and then sorting them. Good shooting.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11-24-2011, 07:46 PM
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Montana Plains
Posts: 289
Re: Prairie Dog Hunting with Air Rifles

JSB .25 cal pellets can be found for about 4 cents each, and there is no need to sort JSB pellets. The lowest cost .22LR rimfire ammo that is consistently accurate is Federal GameShok 810 or CCI Mini Mag at 7 to 8 cents each.

Whether I shoot .25 cal air or .22LR depends on wind conditions. CCI Velocitor is good in the wind, but at 12 cents each.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11-25-2011, 11:29 AM
Bronze Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 55
Re: Prairie Dog Hunting with Air Rifles

I don't use copper in my barrel. I am one of those crazy old "plain lead" guys. I don't see any advantage to using copper. I also don't like having to clean it out of the barrel. I use 22lr now because I can reach out to 300 yards. Can't really do that with an air rifle. Sure I have to dial in 1.02 miles of elevation, but it works and is inexpensive. It sure is FUN!
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads for: Prairie Dog Hunting with Air Rifles
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Rifles for 2011 Yr prairie dogs tuck2 Varmint Hunting 5 05-12-2011 07:36 AM
Where to go Prairie Dog Hunting MTdogs Prairie Dogs and Coyotes 9 01-28-2011 05:39 AM
Any prairie dog hunting in Oct near Casper? Bulseyetom Antelope Hunting 1 08-15-2010 07:31 AM
Prairie dog hunting around Louisiana lisagrantb South 6 04-27-2010 10:48 PM
Colorado to Ban Prairie Dog Hunting bjlooper Long Range Hunting & Shooting 4 12-06-2009 08:03 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:50 AM.


Powered by vBulletin ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Content Management Powered by vBadvanced CMPS
All content ©2010-2014 Long Range Hunting, LLC