BB gun/Air rifle to kill chipmunks

Continuing the discussion from Are there any guns that are actually silent (or nearly so) as the movies would have it?:

I asked about quiet bb guns or air rifles to kill chipmunks.

Rather to my surprise, despite living in a state with rather strict gun control, it seems that air-guns don’t count, and it’s legal for an adult to buy one and shot it on their own property with no license, etc. And the chipmunks are driving me nuts. They have eaten all my blueberries (huge potential crop this year) all my raspberries, all my strawberries, all my tomatoes, and all four of the apples on my baby apple tree.

I’ve tried all manner of caging and netting (the dig under it, chew thru it, and sometimes get snared in it and die horribly, but not in great enough numbers to help) and I’ve tried traps. No success. I’m considering shooting the varmints. And I’m told that an air rifle or even a bb gun is enough to kill one at close range. (Most of these plants are right next to my house.)

Is this is stupid idea?
I don’t have any real experience with guns. I’ve fired a few guns at a range under the supervision of friends who are into firearms. (A hand gun, a pistol, and a semi-automatic rifle) I’ve never fired an air rifle. My concerns are:

  1. I don’t want to hurt anyone. Me, my family, my neighbors, my neighbor’s dog…
  2. I don’t want to get in trouble with the law (but I think I’m good there, I’ve spent some time reading the relevant laws and related blogs. Including hunting season, killing mammalian pests, etc.)
  3. I don’t want to get in trouble with the neighbors. I don’t want them to be worried I’m going to kill their kids, nor to call the police on me, nor to be upset that I’m making a lot of noise.

Also, as a gun novice, if I do this, how to I train myself?


You’ll shoot your eye out.

This is, of course, the right answer.

But, OP -
Do you see them eating your berries? Because, if not, how do you expect to shoot them? Are you going to spend hours each day waiting for one to pop up so you can kill it?

Better off to get some owl or snake mannequins, or let you dog patrol the area.

Buy raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes at a local farmer’s market.

My first gun was a pump-action air gun. I was probably about 10-12. When my grandpa gave it to me, we went out behind the barn and he set up a 1-inch thick pine plank and then showed me how to load the gun and pump it up. Then we stood back 20-30 feet from the target and shot the plank. He then showed me how far the pellet had buried itself in the plank and reminded me that animals and people weren’t has hard skinned as that plank, so I needed to practice every bit of gun safety that I would with a deer rifle.

That included never shooting at something if I couldn’t be absolutely sure what was behind it.

Take a look at where you will be shooting, and if you can’t assure yourself that you will always know what’s behind the varmint to a reasonable distance, you might want to reconsider this approach to animal control.

I am an air gun aficionado. I have a few and have been shooting them since I was a kid. I spent the afternoon today shooting some. I’d recommend the Benjamin 392.
They are plenty powerful enough, the power is variable depending on how many times you pump it up to a maximum of 8. Practice with it until you are confident that you can deliver a humane kill. The number of pumps will determine the point of impact as well as the power. Practice with the number of pumps you intend to use. Make sure you have a safe backstop. The Benj has enough power available to seriously hurt some one so use caution. One year at my old house I suddenly had rats all over my backyard after previously never seeing one. I piled up a couple bags of mulch as a backstop and baited them in front of the backstop with kitchen scraps and cat food. Then I sniped them from an upstairs window.
I’m sure others will be along to recommend much cheaper alternatives but the 392 is accurate and dependable. It is also available in .177 caliber which should be fine for chipmunks as well, but the larger .22 in the 392 transfers a little more energy to the target.

Yes. I see them chewing holes in the nets, eating blueberries, eating apples, and eating tomatoes. I see both chipmunks and squirrels eating raspberries.

I wondered whether it would be safe to fire from indoors. I often watch them from a second story window. (Really only 1.5, since the ground rises behind my house.) That has the advantage that I’d be shooting with “the ground” as a backstop, even if i missed by a large margin.

If the ground is rocky, be advised that projectiles can ricochet off rocks. Otherwise sounds good.

By the time you are ready to plug some chipmunk ass you should be proficient enough to hit them square and send them to chipmunk heaven humanely.

what are the game laws there?

I used to shoot Chipmunks with a Crosman 766. My dad has it now, uses it on chipmunks occasionally. The .177 pellets have plenty of power for chipmunks.

Gray squirrels are game, and there’s a season. But you can kill them out of season if they are damaging your property. I haven’t explicitly checked, but I’m pretty sure that chewing through my netting, eating the raspberries, and breaking the canes (with their weight) counts. You cannot, however, proactively reduce the population. You can only kill them when they are causing problems. (You can also trap them if they are in your attic and drown them.)

Chipmunks (and red squirrels) are not game, they are pests and can be killed whenever.

The ground is rocky, and that’s definitely a concern. How far do they ricochet, and with how much force?

The blueberries, apple, and tomatoes are very close to the house, and there’s a lot of rise behind them. If i shot from above (the bedroom window) even a wild ricochet should be fine. The raspberries are a little farther away, and closer to the neighbor. Probably safest not to shoot there.

what state is that?

I prefer not to say what state I live in. If I decide to do this, I will probably call the local police chief to check that I’ve understood the law properly before actually buying anything. I really don’t want to get in trouble with the law over this.

That’s a question for a physics professor! In my experience it can range from minimal to maximal! It depends on how much energy is transferred from the projectile to the surface it is ricocheting off of . Best to have a backstop that will stop the projectile 100%.

Good idea because the local laws can be much stricter if you are in a city. Even pea shooters are defined in my town’s code as a projectile.

This is resonating with me because currently I am “gun smithing” an air rifle ( Sheridan Blue Streak) that my neighbor obtained from another neighbor. The original owner bought it to kill muskrats. We live on a lake and the muskrats burrow into the lake shore and cause problems. The original owner was not a gun person and long story short, added a scope that was badly mounted and had little chance of ever hitting anything with any kind of accuracy. I’m kind of a softy as far as animals go and while I understand that they sometimes need to go, I’m all about the clean, humane kill. Chipmunks are a varmint and not covered under any game laws, particularly on your own property. Don’t call the police, check your local ordinances online. The police will reflexively tell you no regardless of what the actual laws are.

I’ve checked the local ordinances on-line. This looks legal based both on reading the actual law and on reading various blogs, legal summaries, etc.

I guess if I do this I should make myself a target to practice with until I think I have a good chance at killing a chipmunk cleanly. I agree with River Hippie that killing is unpleasant, and if I do it at all I want to do it cleanly.