Monday, 30 August 2010

Crosmans, cross men & cross purposes...

I was reading an air guns for sale forum today, idly looking for a pistol that I don't really need. I came across a post by someone who'd just advertised the sale of a Crosman:

Poster A: for sale crosman 2240 .22cal in perfect condition has only had 6 c02 Powerlets in it. i will also put in 6 powerlets and the case £60 posted

The first response was this:

Poster B: What sort of power is this will this kill pigeons or rabbits ?

The advertiser replied:

Poster A: I have no idea only used it on targets, it is quite powerful though they are advertised as legal limit air pistols.

At this point, a moderator intervened in the thread:

Poster C: No, you don't hunt with a pistol, you have been a member long enough to know.

The second poster replied to this:

Poster B: Why don't you shush, you rude git, I didn't ask for your advice!

I paraphrase this last post because when I went back to check on what he'd actually written I found that it'd been deleted and a further post left by a second moderator:

Poster D: The poster concerned has received a 6 month ban for being abusive to an Admin/Moderator. The charge of crass stupidity is left on file. As you were.

OK then: a small online drama - no big deal.

But it's still interesting I think because the question that the second poster actually asked was this, 'will this gun kill pigeons or rabbits?' and not 'should this gun be used to hunt pigeons or rabbits?'.

If, after walking up to and sitting down beside a wild rabbit, you carefully rested the muzzle of a loaded and cocked Crosman 2250 pistol to its temple and then pulled the trigger the result would be a dead rabbit. I'd go so far as to swear that every single time you managed to successfully accomplish this utterly miraculous feat you'd get a dead rabbit as the end product. So the answer to the question 'can you kill a rabbit with a Crosman 2250?' is, I'd say, 'yes; yes you certainly could'.

'Should you try to kill rabbits with this gun?' or 'Is it likely that you could hunt rabbits successfully with this gun?' or even 'Is it right to hunt rabbits with this gun?' all of those are all perfectly good questions - but they're different questions.


  1. Yes I think they both jumped the gun there. Both of them are guilty of not giving a correct and polite reply.

  2. "Jumped the gun" - just the right phrase!


  3. Interesting post...

    As a rank novice with any sort of air powered hunting implement...why not hunt rabbits with an air pistol? Is it some kind of regulation or just generally ill-advised? I've shot a couple of grouse with a CO2 pellet pistol and it worked pretty well, although I was able to get extremely close to the spruce hens before shooting.

    I've done some rather successful small game hunting with a .22 handgun, and although I don't prefer it all to a rifle I can't say its terribly impossible. I'm aware the .22LR is likely more powerful than an air pistol but wondering if there were another reason.

  4. Hiya Hodgeman,

    It's a funny one. There's certainly no kind of written law against this in the UK; you're not allowed to hunt with spears, arrows or crossbows over here but, as for airguns, if you have permission to hunt with one then that's as much as the law is interested in. Certainly people over here do - some of them, anyway - hunt with air pistols: it does happen.

    However the general consensus within the online air gun community seems to be that given air pistols are limited by law to a sub-6ftlb restriction over here and given that it takes a pellet impact of at least 4ftlb to penetrate a rabbit's skull then firing with a standard power UK air pistol at ordinary stalking distances - 20 to 30 yards, say - will never produce an impact of a sufficient force to guarantee a humane kill. Given that this is so - on the forums over here at least - there's a widely held view that hunting with pistols is therefore a complete no-no.

    There's a great sensitivity on the part of forum moderators here around allowing the discussion of matters which might be judged to be inhumane because it runs the risk, I suppose, of bringing the field of air gun hunting into disrepute (into further disrepute, I should say, since it's already pretty widely frowned upon).

    But it's still odd. I was standing by an open window yesterday watching fat wood pigeons walk about on the lawn about ten feet away from me. The law in England actually prohibits me from doing such an apparently reckless thing as firing out of my window with an air gun but that aside there's no reason to think that a well-aimed 6ftlb pistol wouldn't have dispatched one of those pigeons even within the rather tight boundaries of what's publicly understood over here to be humane air gun hunting practice.


  5. Interesting again... UK has a power "ceiling" on air pistols. I didn't have a good frame of reference for 6ft/lbs so I looked up the lowly .22LR- just under 100 ft/lbs in a pistol to upwards of 200 ft/lbs in a rifle- depending on configuration.

    I'm quite sure the air pistol I was using was well over the 6 ft/lb mark... I'm more impressed with you UK air gun hunters all the time as anything other than a perfect hit would be a wounded animal.

  6. Do your air rifles have a similar power ceiling? The air rifles I have experience with are nearly the equal of the .22 LR in a rifle.

  7. Hi Hodgeman,

    Over here there's no ceiling as such on the power of air rifles - what there is, however, is a difference in the legal and free availability of different powered guns to Joe Public.

    We can have, for instance, HW80's (or Beeman R1's) at factory strength here - at 18ftlb or thereabouts - but we can *only* have them if we have gone through all the rather complicated hoops of acquiring what's called a Firearms Certificate (FAC). If you look at air rifle ad's over here you'll see, for example, 'Webley Patriot (FAC) for sale'. This means that it's an air rifle which exceeds the 12ftlb power ceiling and can therefore only be legally possessed by someone who both has a firearms certificate and who has room on the certificate for such a gun - since it's not the case that once you have a certificate you can then acquire guns willy-nilly.

    For a rifle under 12ftlb you don't have to go through the complex and very strict registration process with the police that would allow you - if you were judged suitable - a Firearms Certificate. That's why all my shooting is done with a sub-12ftlb air rifle - I'm not FAC registered (and I think it's very unlikely that I ever will be).

    Pistols, I think, work the same way: up to 6ftlb you don't need to 'have them on FAC', over 6ftlb you do. But the law for single-handed operation firearms is hugely restrictive over here: essentially you can 'have' a FAC pistol pretty much only if it's kept in steel vault at your local gun club. So if you are walking around with a pistol on your person in the UK you are *either* a policeman or a criminal - and there's virtually no middle ground.


  8. I was unaware there was a law prohibiting people from firing an air rifle out the window of their house. I live in the wilds of Scotland, know my sightlines, and, ahem, have shot rabbits a couple of times from my bath. I've also run outside in my wellies and soap suds to collect them, but you probably didn't want to know that...

  9. Oh you're wrong, hearing about that makes me very happy indeed!

    Many thanks,

  10. hi just bumped into this thread while looking for parts for my air pistol as prev stated the law for non fac power is 12fpe for a rifle and 6 for a pistol (including carbine conversions) and shooting out your window on to your land is perfectly legal to my knoledge just frowned apon by neighbors if you have any. as for hunting with a pistol many a rat has bit the dust from my crossman 2240 .177 conversion tuned to 5.8fpe (only 5.8fpe to allow for temp changes affecting pressure)at ranges of up to 10m in the barns