What is a Pellet Gun? Is it Possible to Hunt a Deer with a Pellet Gun?

Are you trying to develop a new hobby of deer hunting? Or just trying to learn more about this sport?

If that is the case, you must learn what a pellet gun is. Deer hunting can be one of the most lucrative sports and also very rewarding.

But what is deer hunting without the proper gun? This is where we introduce you to the pellet gun, the perfect tool for hunting.

What is a Pellet Gun?

What is a Pellet Gun

Pellet guns are air guns that shoot lead-made pellets. They have a very limited range and are mostly used in short ranges.

Pellet guns can be rifles or pistols, any air gun with a rifled barrel. And they come in different calibers, starting from .177 to .63 caliber. Pellet guns can most often be compared to BB guns, but their caliber, pellet shape, and rifled barrel make them distinctive from the latter.

There are different types of pellet guns for different types of activities and for shooters of each level. Before we get to know about their types, let us first see what makes their pellets distinctive.

What Makes Pellet Distinctive?

Pellets of air guns are very different from typical bullets. They have an oval-shaped head and a narrow body that ends up in an arched shape at the bottom. Air gun pellets also come in different weights.

The weight of the pellet combined with the power of the air gun determines the trajectory of the pellet. You should know that low-powered air guns should use lighter pellets while high-powered ones should use heavier pellets.

The .177 caliber and .22 caliber are the most preferred pellets for hunting. The .177 caliber offers a larger range compared to the .22 caliber due to its higher velocity.

Types of Pellet Guns

types of pellet gun

So, you know what a pellet gun is. And you can be sure that there are different types of pellet guns out there. Starting from hunting to competitive shooting, each has its own purpose.

Now we are going to talk about 5 types of pellet guns today.

  • CO2 Powered Pellet Gun
  • Spring Powered Pellet Gun
  • Gas Powered Pellet Gun
  • Pre-charged Pneumatic Pellet Gun
  • Variable Pump Pellet Gun

Each type is very distinctive from the other because of its shooting mechanism, accuracy, and range covered. Now let us talk about the different types in more detail.

CO2 Powered Pellet Gun

CO2 Powered Pellet Gun

These guns provide high accuracy and almost no recoil while shooting. As it says in the name, CO2-powered guns use carbon dioxide cartridges to shoot the pellets.

This makes it very easy to stack and favorable for repeated shooting.

Spring Powered Pellet Guns

Spring Powered Pellet Guns

Instead of carbon dioxide cartridges, these guns have a coiled spring and piston that are used to shoot the pellets. When the trigger is released, the pellet shoots out due to the coiled spring compressions.

Spring-powered pellet guns are the cheapest among all types. They provide good accuracy but can give more recoil than other gun types.

However, if you are a beginner, you can start off with a spring-powered gun to practice and learn.

Gas Powered Pellet Gun

Gas Powered Pellet Gun

These guns use gas cylinders where the compression of the gas is used to propel the pellet. Gas-powered pellet guns are lighter and give less recoil than spring-powered ones.

Gas-powered guns can be found in both automatic and semi-automatic models, but it can be harder to modify them.

Pre-charged Pneumatic Pellet Guns

Pre-charged Pneumatic Pellet Guns

Pre-charged Pneumatic Pellet Guns (PCP) are recoilless guns that use high-pressurized air to shoot the pellets. Hand pumps or specialized PCP compressors are used to compress the air for these guns.

They have high accuracy and need very little energy to stack them up again. That is why they are preferred for repeated shooting. But the only drawback is that they can be very expensive.

Variable Pump Pellet Guns

Variable Pump Pellet Guns

Variable Pump pellet guns use pressured cylinders and pump to propel the pellets. When the trigger is pulled, compressed air between the cylinder and piston forces the pellet to be propelled.

With variable pump guns, the more you pump, the more power you have for each shot. They can be almost recoilless and requires no additional pumping equipment.

Is it Possible to Hunt a Deer with a Pellet Gun?

Hunt a Deer with a Pellet Gun

Yes, it is possible to hunt a deer with a pellet gun. But for that, you have to follow the state laws. Most state laws say that you have to use specific air rifles with a specific caliber range for hunting.

While you can hunt birds and rabbits with pellet guns of .177 caliber and .22 caliber, it is not quite the same for deer hunting.

You have to take the caliber and foot-pound energy of the pellet into consideration when you go deer hunting. Because the aim here is not to miss a shot or wound the deer.

Your aim should be to shoot to kill. And for that, you need to have a muzzle energy of 100 FPE or above. With that being said, you need to match the muzzle energy with a specific caliber.

So, you need to have a minimum of .357 caliber for small deer, .40 caliber for medium-sized deer, and .45 caliber for large-sized deer.

Now keep in mind that this is the minimum acceptable caliber for deer hunting. So, you can go above the range but definitely not below. .177 caliber or .22 caliber does not have the required muzzle energy.

Can You Use a .22 Magnum for Deer Hunting?

There has been a lot of debate regarding this particular issue. And most states have laws against the usage of a .177 caliber and .22 caliber gun. But some states allow the use of .22 magnum for deer hunting.

We recommend not using a .22 Magnum for deer hunting if you do not have prior experience. You may end up wounding the deer several times, which is very inhumane.

This is exactly why the use of .22 Magnum for deer hunting is frowned upon by many.

In case you are curious to know how to get a kill with a .22 magnum, here are some things you should know:

  • Aim for the brain if you want a clean kill. If you can shoot accurately, it will kill the deer on the spot.
  • If you want to immobilize the deer, shoot the neck.
  • If you shoot the high shoulder, you will be able to shake the nervous system.

Recommended Pellet Guns for Deer Hunting

Whether you are looking for a rifle or a shotgun, the best guns for deer hunting are the ones with big bore models with .50 caliber. You may have seen their names if you have searched to see the most powerful and recommended air guns for deer hunting.

  • Seneca Double Barrel PCP Air Shotgun
  • Seneca Yang Dragon Claw Dual Tank Air Rifle
  • Airforce Texan LSS Big Bore PCP Air Rifle
  • Benjamin Bulldog Shrouded .357 Bullpup
  • Hatsan Pile Driver PCP Air Rifle

Things To Remember

Hunting can be a safe sport if you maintain all safety guidelines. Make sure you are familiar with your gun and your hunting zone so that you can be prepared.

  • Please maintain your state laws regarding deer hunting.
  • Avoid doing anything that would be inhumane to the animal you are hunting.
  • Keep the rifles out of your children’s reach.
  • Practice and get a hold of your gun before you go into the wild.
  • Know your needs for the gun and the purpose of using it before you purchase it.
  • Use your gun for its effective range.
  • Make legal purchases only.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few frequently asked questions.

#1. Is muzzle velocity important to determine the ability to kill?

No, we do not need to consider the muzzle velocity to determine this. The muzzle energy is what determines the ability to kill. Muzzle energy analyzes both the speed and size/weight of the pellet.

#2. Can you hunt a deer with a .177 caliber rifle?

The answer is no. The minimum required muzzle energy for deer hunting is 100 FPE, and .177 caliber rifles have muzzle energy of around 26 FPE. So, you cannot hunt a deer with a .177 caliber rifle.

Final Words

Now that you know what a pellet gun and its hunting purposes, you can take a step towards learning something new.

Learn which rifle suits your needs best and go out into the wild. Get your first kill and enjoy the experience. Maintain hunting laws and stay safe. Happy Hunting!

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