Whether you have rats inside your barn, shed, garage, garden or home, you’re probably asking yourself, “will a BB gun kill a rat?” Sure traps work well enough, but sometimes you just want to get rid of the problem as quickly as possible.
Rats are pests that can spread disease, contaminate food and cause structural damage to buildings. If you have rats on your property, it’s important to get rid of them as soon as possible. But how do you know if a BB gun will kill a rat? The answer is yes, but it depends on how close you are to the rat and what type of BB gun you’re using.
Will a BB Gun Kill a Rat?
Most BB guns and airsoft guns will not kill rats, they will only damage and injure them unless you get a clean neck or headshot. That means you’re going to need some pretty good aim. Instead of using a BB gun, which shoots small plastic BBs, use a pellet gun.
Another thing to note is the FPS which stands for feet-per-second. This is the velocity of the BB or pellet. You do not want to settle for anything lower than 600 FPS and even then you’ll need to be quite close to the rat and have a good shot. The best pellet and BB guns for killing small rodents generally shoot between 800 and 1500 FPS.
If you need to kill a rat, we recommend using a .22 or .177 caliber pellet gun. These will both kill rats instantly. Be sure to check your local laws and regulations before purchasing either of these firearms.
How Much Damage Will an Airsoft Gun Do to a Rat?
If your airsoft gun shoots 800 FPS or more you can successfully kill rats and small rodents with a clean shot. However, anything less is most likely just going to injure them.
You can kill a rat with an airsoft gun that shoots 500 to 600 FPS if you’re close and have a good shot. However, any shot to the body will likely result in the rat scurrying away and bleeding out. If you’re going to kill rats on your property it’s best to do it humanely.
Where to Shoot a Rat to Kill It Humanely
If you’re going to shoot rats on your property you should be doing it as humanely as possible. Aim at the head, neck, or just behind one of the front legs. A shot anywhere else will likely only wound and injure the rat, resulting in a slow and agonizing death.
A clean headshot from a rifle might result in instantaneous death, but it does need the skill of someone experienced and with a steady hand to perform it properly. Before using air guns, you should always verify whether or not they are legal in your state since these vary from state to state.
Some states do not allow the use of air guns for any kind of hunting, while others have specific regulations on how they can be used. For example, in California, it is legal to use an air gun to take non-game animals such as rats, but the gun must be designed and used for that purpose. It is also important that you discharge the gun in a safe area where there is no danger of hitting a person or pet.
How to Use an Airsoft Gun for Rat Control
As stated above, aim for the neck, head, or heart. If you don’t already have great aim, start practicing shooting at tin cans from a distance. Once you start getting better, put them on a string and get them swinging to practice your aim on a moving target,
The size of pellets that you use should be determined by your skill level and the distance that you’re shooting at. Pellets that are .22 are best because they are larger, pack more power, and give you slightly better aim. However, if you have a good shot you can opt for .177 for lighter pellets and a faster shot.
If you are outside when your sight is limited, I highly recommend investing in a telescopic sight that will magnify and aid with light transmission as well as a gun lamp. Just be careful about when to turn it on; or, better yet, get one that has adjustable power since you don’t want the rat detecting you before you see it! Nowadays, night vision equipment is becoming more and more affordable, giving you an edge in the dark.
How to Lure Rats to Shoot Them
You should put the food source near where you will be hiding so that when the rat comes for the food, it will be in your line of fire. The best way to lure rats is with fresh fruits and vegetables as well as peanut butter. You can also use meats, but these will attract other predators as well which you will then have to deal with.
You should also create a shooting platform so that you’re not shooting from the ground. This will give you a better line of sight and more stability when taking your shot. You can use a small table, stool, or even a makeshift stand.
Once you have your food source and platform ready, all you need to do is wait for the rats to come to you. Be patient and take your time so that you can get a clean shot.
What to Look for When Purchasing a Gun for Pest Control
When you’re looking for a gun to kill rats, the most important thing is that it’s powerful enough to do the job. The velocity, or how fast the pellet travels, will be determined by the size of the pellet as well as the weight of the gun.
- Pellet caliber
- Weight of the rifle
- Size of the barrel
- Firing mechanism
- Loading mechanism
The most popular pellet calibers for pest control are .177 and .22. The .177 caliber is the smallest of all the pellets so is lighter in weight making its exit from the rifle quicker and some might say more accurate. The .22 hits harder, transmitting more of its energy to the target. I prefer these pellets as they are bigger, so increase your chances of hitting the target.
Weight of the Rifle
The weight of the rifle is important for two reasons; firstly, a heavier rifle will be more stable when taking your shot, resulting in improved accuracy. Secondly, a heavier rifle will have less recoil, meaning that you can shoot for longer periods without getting tired.
Size of the Barrel
The size of the barrel is important for two reasons; firstly, a longer barrel will be more accurate than a shorter one. Secondly, a longer barrel will give the pellet more time to spin, resulting in improved accuracy.
There are two types of firing mechanisms, gas and spring. Gas is prefilled in the chamber and when the trigger is pulled, it is released compressed air which propels the pellet out of the barrel.
Spring-powered rifles have a piston inside the chamber which is tensioned when the cocking lever is pulled back. When the trigger is pulled, the piston is released, and compressed air propels the pellet out of the barrel. In my opinion, spring-powered rifles are more accurate as there is less vibration when the piston is released.
There are three types of loading mechanisms; break barrel, side lever, and bolt action. A break barrel is the most common type where the barrel is hinged on a pivot point and can be broken open to load the pellet. Side lever rifles have a lever on the side of the receiver which when operated opens the breech for loading.
Bolt action rifles have a bolt handle on the right side of the receiver which is operated to open the breech for loading. In my opinion, bolt action rifles are the most accurate as there is less vibration when the bolt is operated.
Best Guns for Hunting Rats
As stated above, the best guns for hunting rats should have a high velocity, be accurate, and have a large caliber pellet.
Get yourself a .22 caliber if you’re new to hunting and shooting or a .177 if you already have a decent shot. Remember, the higher the FPS the better. Do not settle for any type of airsoft or BB gun that does not shoot at least 800 FPS.
The following guns meet these criteria and are some of the best on the market:
Best .22 for Hunting Rats
The Gamo Whisper Fusion Mach 1 Air Rifle is one of the best .22 air rifles for hunting small rodents and vermin. It’s powered by a gas piston which delivers higher muzzle velocity, less vibration, and smoother cocking. It also features Gamo’s Whisper Fusion technology which makes it one of the quietest air rifles on the market.
The Gamo Whisper Fusion Mach 1 is perfect for small game such as rabbits, squirrels, raccoons and crows because it delivers accuracy with higher energy downrange.
This break barrel pellet gun holds one pellet at a time. However, it shoots 1020 FPS and comes with a 5-year warranty and only weighs 8 lbs. For more information or to make a purchase, check it out on Amazon.
Best .177 for Hunting Rats
The Gamo Varmint Air Rifle is possibly the best .177 air rifle for the price. It’s a single cocking break barrel gas piston air rifle which gives you velocity without all the vibration. The Varmint sports a sturdy spring piston that can shoot Gamo PBA Platinum pellets at 1250 feet per second.
This pellet gun is lightweight at only 5.47 lbs and comes with a one-year warranty. Not only does the Varmint come with performance features, but an all-weather molded synthetic stock with non-slip texturing on the pistol grip and forearm as well. With a Monte Carlo cheek pad included, your eye will be aligned perfectly with scope sight. Lastly, a rubber recoil pad is placed on the buttstock to keep it firmly planted against your shoulder.
Take a closer look at the Gamo Varmint Air Rifle at Amazon now.
Safety Tips for Hunting Rats
You should always be prepared and remain as safe as possible when shooting. I recommend wearing gloves, a mask, and goggles to protect yourself from any bacteria that might be on the rat. You should also consider wearing long sleeves and pants to keep your skin covered.
Be sure to clean up any blood or gore immediately after shooting the rat so that you don’t attract other animals to the area. Dispose of the carcass in a plastic bag and put it in the trash.
- Wear safety glasses
- Wear a mask
- Wear gloves when touching or disposing dead rats
- Wash yourself and your clothes thoroughly afterwards
Not all airsoft, pellet, and BB guns are created equal. To kill rats you need to get yourself a gun that shoots faster than 600 FPS and preferably has a .22 or .177 caliber. I’ve listed some of the best guns for hunting rats, but ultimately it’s up to you to decide which one is right for you. Always be safe when handling any firearm and make sure to follow all safety precautions.
Remember to kill all pests as humanely as possible, use the proper safety equipment, and know your limitations.