5 Best Pellet Gun for Squirrels + Buyers Guide

by Dave Chesson

May 2, 2024

0 comments

4.6
(5)

Pellet guns, also known as “air rifles” are perfect for squirrel hunting. They make very little noise, so you and your buddies don’t have to worry about scaring off every other squirrel in the area. Plus, it has small enough rounds that they won’t cause too much damage beytond the takedown. In my experience, squirrel hunting can’t be done with just any old air rifle. In fact, most pellet guns sold off the rack don’t pack the required 10 foot-pounds of energy needed for a clean kill. That’s why I’ve put together a list of the 5 best pellet gun for squirrel hunting to save you the effort of trial and error. But before we get into it let me tell you how I made this list and give you a bit more context on the types of pellet guns.

Best Pellet Gun for Squirrel

How I Chose the Best Pellet Guns

As a former Navy officer and a seasoned hunter with over a decade of hunting experience, I’ve tried numerous pellet guns to find the best ones. I considered my own favorites and asked my hunting buddies for suggestions on different models. After evaluating factors like accuracy, ergonomics, durability, and value, I compiled the list of top-performing pellet guns. I also sorted them into categories, so everyone can find something they like.

Based on my experience and recommendations from friends, I’m confident these pellet guns will enhance your squirrel shooting experience. However, remember that preferences vary. My rankings reflect my experiences, but the choice of picking the right pellet gun ultimately rests with you.

Now, I know you’re eager to get to the list of guns, but let’s quickly check out the types of pellet guns available and figure out which one might be the best fit for you.

Types of Pellet Guns 

Pellet gun technology has come pretty far over the past few years, and there are a ton of models with different operating mechanisms. Here’s a rundown of the most popular mechanisms you’d find in today’s pellet guns: 

  • Spring piston – Rifles with a spring piston mechanism have a spring coiled inside the chamber that gets compressed when they’re cocked. When you release the trigger, the spring decompresses and moves the piston to shoot the pellet. These are great if you’re looking for something that’s affordable and easy to use.
  • Gas piston – Gas piston pellet guns technically work the same as a spring piston gun, except that it uses a gas filled cylinder instead of a spring. I use a gas piston pellet gun whenever I’m plinking with my kids (that’s when I set up a few cans for shot practice). I do this because these guns are much more consistent than the ones with the spring piston mechanism. 
  • Pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) – PCP air rifles are my top choice because they are high power and have virtually no recoil. They use a high pressure reservoir that’s pumped with compressed air, and the air is then forced through the barrel to shoot the pellets. Good PCP rifles give you multiple high-accuracy shots before the reservoir runs out. The downside is that they need to be charged or “pumped” often with compressed air.
  • CO2-powered – CO2-powered pellet guns work the same way as PCP guns, but they use carbon dioxide cartridges instead of pressurized air. While they are recoilless, you can’t count on consistent power and accuracy each time. This is due to environmental factors. The performance of the CO2 in the cartridges depends on the weather you’re shooting in. 

Having a good idea of the different types of guns can help you pick the right one based on your preferences. My recommendations feature a mix of the different types of pellet guns I’ve mentioned above, so there’s something for everyone. Let’s get to it.

Gun University’s Choices of the Best Pellet Guns for Squirrels

Best Pellet Guns for Squirrels

Benjamin Marauder (PCP) Synthetic or Wood
  • Internal shroud for extra quietness
  • Vertically adjustable comb
  • Two-stage adjustable trigger
  • Adjustable for different velocities
Buy on Amazon
Best Beginner

Umarex Origin (PCP)

Umarex Origin (PCP)
  • Great accuracy
  • Hand pump for easy filling
  • High shot count
Buy on Amazon
Hatsan FlashPup QE, Wood
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Quiet
  • Powerful and accurate
  • Attractive wood stock design
Buy on Amazon
Gamo Swarm Magnum
  • Budget-friendly
  • Super powerful and consistent
  • 40mm objective lens
  • Auto-loading technology
Buy on Amazon
Brocock Commander XR
  • Powerful and accurate
  • Improved ergonomics
  • Lightweight
  • Quiet
Check Price

Pellet Gun Spec Comparison

Below is a table of the specifications for each of the pellet guns.

Pellet GunSpeed (FPS)CaliberWeight (lbs)Mechanism
Benjamin Marauder (Wood Stock)1100, 1000, 900.177, .22, .258Pre-charged pneumatic (PCP)
Benjamin Marauder (Synthetic Stock)1100, 1000, 900.177, .22, .257Pre-charged pneumatic (PCP)
Umarex Origin (PCP)1075, 950 .22, .256.8Pre-charged pneumatic (PCP)
Hatsan FlashPup QE, Wood1150, 1000, 900.177, .22, .256.1Pre-charged pneumatic (PCP)
Gamo Swarm Magnum1600, 1300.177, .226.9Gas-piston (Springer)
Brocock Commander XR900+.177, .22, .256.8Pre-charged pneumatic (PCP)

Best Pellet Guns for Squirrels

Here is our list for the best pellet guns for hunting squirrels:

  1. Benjamin Marauder
  2. Umarex Origin
  3. Hatsan FlashPup QE
  4. Gamo Swarm Magnum
  5. Brocock Commander XR

Best Pellet Guns for Squirrels – Reviews

1 Benjamin Marauder (PCP) Synthetic or Wood : Best Overall

Benjamin Marauder Featured Image

Check Latest Price

  • Accuracy A+
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Durability A+
  • Value A

Our Grade

A+

Reader’s Grade

A+

Based on 1 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

Benjamin Marauder (PCP) Specs

  • Speed (FPS) 1100, 1000, 900
  • Caliber 177, .22, .25
  • Weight (lbs) Wood stock 8 lbs, Synthetic 7 lbs
  • Mechanism Pre-charged pneumatic (PCP)

Benjamin Marauder (PCP) Review

The Benjamin Marauder PCP Synthetic Stock Multi-Shot Bolt Action air rifle is hands down my top choice for squirrel hunting, and here’s why it’s the best overall pellet gun for the job.

First off, it comes in three calibers, but I usually stick to the .177 and .22 for squirrels. They pack enough punch without overdoing it. Plus, the synthetic stock version is my favorite for its durability, which is crucial out in the field.

When I took it out for some target practice, both calibers proved to be powerful and accurate, hitting speeds of up to 1100 FPS for the .177 and 1000 FPS for the .22. That’s more than enough to get the job done cleanly as long as you’ve got your aim down.

The adjustable trigger is a nice touch. It gives me better control over my shots, so I know exactly when it’s going to fire. And let me tell you, this thing is quiet. The internal shroud keeps the noise down, so you won’t spook every critter in the area when you take your shot.

On top of that, it’s got some practical features that make it easier to handle, like the adjustable comb and broad forend. They help balance out the weight a bit, which is good because this rifle can get a little hefty after a while.

While the Marauder is a great squirrel gun, there are some issues to be aware of. The first is the weight; it is pretty heavy and that can make it uncomfortable to use if you’re a beginner or if you end up having to walk a lot. Second, these rifles can be pretty pricey ($600), but I do think they’re worth the cost since they come with a 5 year warranty in addition to all the features.

Benjamin Marauder (PCP) Pros and Cons

  • Internal shroud for extra quietness
  • Vertically adjustable comb
  • Two-stage adjustable trigger
  • Adjustable for different velocities
  • Expensive
  • Heavy

2 Umarex Origin (PCP) : Best Beginner

Umarex Origin Featured Image

Check Latest Price

  • Accuracy A
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Durability A
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A+

Reader’s Grade

A+

Based on 1 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

Umarex Origin (PCP) Specs

  • Speed (FPS) 1075, 950
  • Caliber .22, .25
  • Weight 6.8 lbs
  • Mechanism Pre-charge pneumatic (PCP)

Umarex Origin (PCP) Review

The Umarex Origin (PCP) is my top pick for beginners because it’s incredibly easy to use and comes with a few handy features a beginner would appreciate. 

This air rifle comes with two calibers available and a velocity reaching up to 1075 FPS, it offers just the right amount of power for starting out. The two-stage adjustable trigger is a real plus, helping beginners time their shots and improve accuracy, much like the Benjamin Marauder.

What makes the Umarex Origin stand out is its pumping mechanism. It’s easy to charge, needing just 13 pumps for a full-power shot or 100 pumps for a complete fill, giving you plenty of shots to practice with.

Some models even come with a 4,500 PSI HPA Hand Pump and Fill Probe included, saving you the hassle of buying them separately. However, it’s worth noting that there have been reports of defective hand pumps, which is something to keep in mind.

Now, onto its downside: noise. It’s louder than some other options, which could potentially scare off nearby game. For hunting, attaching a silencer is a good idea to minimize any disturbance.

At around $360, it’s a reasonable price, especially considering its capabilities compared to pricier alternatives averaging around $700. Despite the noise issue, the Umarex Origin remains a solid choice for beginners starting their journey into pellet gun hunting.

Umarex Origin (PCP) Pros and Cons

  • Great accuracy
  • Hand pump for easy filling
  • High shot count
  • Tends to be loud
  • Hand pump can be defective

3 Hatsan FlashPup QE, Wood : Best compact

Hatsan FlashPup Featured Image

Check Latest Price

  • Accuracy A
  • Ergonomics B+
  • Durability A-
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

TBD

Based on 0 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

Hatsan FlashPup QE Specs

  • Speed (FPS) 1150, 1000, 900
  • Caliber .177, .22, .25
  • Weight 6.1 lbs
  • Mechanism Pre-charged pneumatic (PCP)

Hatsan FlashPup QE Review

If you’re looking for a compact pellet gun, then I recommend going with the Hatsan FlashPup QE’s wood stock model. Weighing at just over 6 lbs, it’s the lightest of the bunch and its design makes it pretty easy to carry as well.

While I don’t own one myself, I’ve used my buddy’s .22 caliber and let me tell you—even though it’s super compact, the FlashPup QE definitely packs a punch. With 1150 FPS, it is more than enough to take down squirrels. The two-stage trigger helps control the shot better as well, which is always a good thing in my books.

The main selling point to me after its compactness is how soundless it is; the only thing you could really hear with each shot was the sound of the pellet hitting the squirrel. 

However, there are a couple of drawbacks that gave me pause. Firstly, the cocking bolt positioned too far back required me to lower the gun to cock it, slowing down follow-up shots. Second issue was that the side lever’s placement beneath the cheek rest felt awkward to reach.

That said, while it’s not the best fit for my needs personally, I would still say that the wood stock Hatsan FlashPup QE is a great pickup for anyone looking for a compact pellet gun. 

Hatsan FlashPup QE Pros and Cons

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Quiet
  • Powerful and accurate
  • Attractive wood stock design
  • Bolt action could be stiff
  • Sidelever positioned right below the cheek piece

4 Gamo Swarm Magnum : Best budget

Gamo Swarm Magnum Featured Image

Check Latest Price

  • Accuracy A
  • Ergonomics A
  • Durability A-
  • Value A

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

A+

Based on 2 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

Gamo Swarm Magnum Specs

  • Speed (FPS) 1600, 1300
  • Caliber .177, .22
  • Weight 6.9 lbs
  • Mechanism Gas-piston (Springer)

Gamo Swarm Magnum Review

The Gamo Swarm Magnum became my best budget pick because it’s consistently powerful, silent, and has good sights—a great all-rounder for just $300. 

It comes in two calibers, .177 and .22. The .177 gives you a shot at a speed of about 1600 FPS (which is super impressive for an air rifle). The .22 caliber that I use shoots at around 1300 FPS, which is more than enough for a clean shot when hunting squirrels. 

I wasn’t expecting much out of an air rifle that costs less than half the market average, but I was pretty surprised by all the accessories that came with the Gamo Swarm Magnum.

The built-in scope is shockproof, fog-proof, and waterproof, gave me decent accuracy without messing up my sights. Plus, the silencer with Whisper Fusion Noise Dampening Technology makes it the quietest in the Gamo series, perfect for stealthy shots, especially when hunting squirrels.

Attachments like the Recoil Reducing Rail and ShockWave Absorber Recoil Pad on this gun reduce discomfort by absorbing recoil at the barrel and buttstock, respectively. They’re handy for managing the noticeable recoil of this gas piston air rifle with high velocity.

One big issue I have with the Gamo Swarm Magnum is its stiff cocking mechanism, potentially posing a challenge for younger or less physically strong shooters. Additionally, it’s not compatible with all pellet types; I found that short skirt-type pellets fell out during cocking. However, despite these drawbacks, the Magnum offers impressive speed and accuracy, making it a strong contender for the best budget-friendly air rifle.

Gamo Swarm Magnum Pros and Cons

  • Budget friendly
  • Super powerful and consistent
  • 40mm objective lens
  • Auto-loading technology
  • Magazines are not compatible with all pellet types
  • Cocking mechanism can be stiff

5 Brocock Commander XR : Best premium

Brocock Commander XR Featured Image

Check Latest Price

  • Accuracy A+
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Durability A
  • Value A-

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

TBD

Based on 0 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

Brocock Commander XR Specs

  • Speed (FPS) 900+
  • Caliber .177, .22, .25
  • Weight 6.8 lbs
  • Mechanism Pre-charge pneumatic (PCP)

Brocock Commander XR Review

If you want a reliable rifle to hunt squirrels and have extra money, go for the Brocock Commander XR. It’s my top pick for the best premium pellet gun. These pellet guns come in three calibers, but I stuck to a .22 since it’s my go-to for hunting squirrels and other small game. 

While this gun not may have the highest velocity at 900 FPS, its versatility is unmatched. With an adjustable stock and a power dial offering high, medium, and low settings, the Swarm Magnum adapts effortlessly to various hunting environments, whether it’s tight spaces or open fields.

Initially I was skeptical about its Huma-Air Regulator, but it proved its effectiveness. It significantly improved my accuracy and consistency, ensuring powerful shots with each fill. Plus, the built-in silencer keeps things quiet, allowing for multiple shots without spooking game.

Cleaning the shroud can be a chore, especially after a long hunt, and the side lever for cocking can cause some imbalance. However, these minor drawbacks pale in comparison to the Magnum’s performance and adjustability.

While its premium price tag may deter beginners and casual hunters, for those seeking top-tier features and performance, the Gamo Swarm Magnum is well worth the investment.

Brocock Commander XR Pros and Cons

  • Powerful and accurate
  • Improved ergonomics
  • Lightweight
  • Quiet
  • Expensive
  • Shroud requires cleaning after heavy use
  • Unbalanced

Best Pellet Gun for Squirrels – Buyer’s Guide

While the reviews can help you narrow down your choices, finding the right pellet gun to hunt squirrels depends mostly on your personal preferences and hunting requirements. There are a ton of factors to keep in mind, so I’ve compiled a list of things you should consider when choosing a pellet gun. 

What to look for in a pellet gun 

With pellet guns, not all specs are made equal. Here’s what to look for when you’re looking to buy an air rifle for squirrel shooting: 

  • Caliber – Your rifle’s caliber size affects the distance and the style of your hunt. For squirrels, the most commonly used caliber sizes are .22 and .177, because they’re fast, powerful, and work well on small animals for clean and ethical kills. .22 calibers give a more powerful hit and can be a good choice for large squirrels, while .177 calibers are faster and have a flatter trajectory, perfect for small squirrels.
  • Shooting mechanism – The shooting mechanism of your gun can determine its accuracy, noise, recoil and ease of use. I prefer PCP guns for hunting squirrels because they’re very accurate, but they can be expensive. Spring piston guns are more affordable and they’re easy to use, which is good if you want a more budget-friendly alternative. Gas piston guns also work well, especially if you’re looking for something that’s quiet and has less recoil. 
  • Noise – Squirrels are small animals that can be easily spooked by loud noises. I recommend choosing quiet rifles that come with built-in silencers, especially when hunting in areas where there isn’t much environmental noise. 
  • Comfort – Since you’ll have to hold your gun for long hours during the hunt, getting a comfortable air rifle can be the difference between a missed shot and a bullseye. Pay attention to the stock design, cocking mechanism, recoil, and overall feel of the gun in your hands or against your body and try to find one that suits you and your hunting style. 
  • Weight – Squirrels are fast moving targets and you want to move your gun easily, so make sure your gun is lightweight and has a balanced weight distribution. This’ll help give you a strong grip and a steady aim. 
  • Accuracy – Small, fast-moving targets like squirrels require extremely accurate pellet guns for quick and ethical kills. PCP guns are known to be highly accurate and you can also focus on features like optics. If you prefer not to use PCP, you can always add a good optics scope in about 3-9x40mm configuration which can really improve your aim. 
  • Speed – The speed of your pellet gun is crucial for small game hunting. The recommended FPS (feet per second) for squirrel hunting is at least 800 FPS, but I usually prefer 1000 FPS as it helps me make a quick, clean kill. 

Having the right air rifle is just one part of becoming a good squirrel hunter. Here are some tips to follow when you are out hunting squirrels. 

Tips for Hunting Squirrels with Air Guns

Squirrel hunting tips and best practices can vary based on your location, hunting style, and personal preference. That said, there are some general air gun tips you can follow to make your experience better, and here are some of mine.

  • Check your local legal regulations – The first thing you should do when exploring new hunting grounds is to check the local regulation. Laws on hunting squirrels can vary state to state, so always make sure you are up to date with your state’s laws before you go shooting. The rules will usually tell you about hunting seasons, techniques, bag limits and some regions may even require you to have a valid hunting license to hunt small game. 
  • Pick the correct gun and caliber size – When shooting squirrels, pick a .22 or .177caliber gun because these are designed to hunt fast and small game. I usually default to a .22 caliber gas piston or PCP air rifle, but any rifle made for small game hunting can work. 
  • Practice shot placement – Practicing your shots and angles before you take your air rifle out hunting can help you become familiar with your equipment and increase the chance of success at huntsMy recommendation for practice is target shooting. Set up targets in a tree at varying heights with some hitboxes that are about 1″ in diameter instead of using a standard range target for squirrel hunting practice. When you can hit those targets at least 80% of the time, you’re ready to hunt some squirrels.
  • Select the right scope – A good scope can drastically improve your accuracy and when hunting small game like squirrels, you need all the accuracy you can get. Look for scopes with a minimum of 4x magnification and adjustable parallax settings, as they can help you adjust the distance according to your needs.
  • Study your hunting location – Spend time scouting your hunting area to identify the best locations where squirrels are likely to be found. Look for areas that have easy access to squirrel foods like nut or berry bearing trees, since these are hotspots for squirrels. 

Squirrel hunting can seem tough to get into as a newbie hunter, but as long as you follow these tips, you’ll have a fantastic hunting experience and before long, several clean kills to your name.

Conclusion

Having the right rifle when you are out squirrel hunting can make it a lot easier and more enjoyable. The reviews are a good point to start your search, but it’s important that you try out a few rifles to find one that feels good to use. Spend some time shooting different rounds with the pellet guns that catch your eye and you’ll be able to find the right fit for you in no time. If you are not sold on using a pellet gun and want to use a rimfire, check out our best 22 LR rifles. Happy hunting.

Best Pellet Gun for Squirrels – FAQs

What is the best pellet caliber for squirrel hunting?

I consider .22 pellets the best option for squirrel hunting since they are larger and heavier than other pellets and can land on the target with more force to make quick and ethical kills. The design also supports long-range shots and withstands windy weather conditions. 

What weapon is best for squirrels?

Air rifles or pellet guns are the most commonly used guns for small and fast moving game like squirrels. They are consistent, accurate in long-ranges, and most importantly, very quiet when fired. 

Is .177 good for squirrels? 

Yes, .177 is a great choice for squirrels as its pellets have a small and light build. This makes the pellets gain high speed and reach targets with great accuracy. The shots also travel in a straight path, making them ideal for long-distance targets as well.

What’s better .22 or .177 caliber? 

Both .22 and .177 are good options for squirrels. Which is better for you depends on your specific requirements as both these sizes come with their own uses. .22 is larger and heavier than a .177 and works well for large squirrels in long-range hunting. .177, on the other hand, is smaller and lighter than .22, which makes them faster and highly accurate, perfect for small squirrels. 

What is the best 177 pellet gun for squirrels?

The Brocock Commander XR has to be the best pellet gun option that’s out there for squirrel hunting. This PCP rifle is quiet, accurate, and can deliver around 55 foot-pounds of power on the target. It also comes with smooth side lever action and efficient trigger operation for simple and easy use.

Rate

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.6 / 5. Vote count: 5

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

About Dave Chesson

Dave Chesson is prior Navy with a specialty in international arms dealing for the US government across multiple countries. Having traveled the world and abided by ATF and ITAR, Roy has a unique background in legal as well as practical capabilities of weapons deployment and use.

Recent Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *