Will a Pellet Gun Kill a Squirrel?

There is always a small predator seeking a way to steal something from your off-grid farm, no matter where we dwell. It’s mongoose and rats for me in Hawai’i, but it may be squirrels and bunnies for you. Some may wonder, will a pellet gun kill a squirrel? In any case, a good pellet pistol can assist in keeping those numbers in check.

How much FPS does it take to kill a squirrel? Or can a .177 pellet gun kill a squirrel? A good pellet gun with a .177 caliber pellet and a minimum pellet speed of 1000 feet per second (FPS) will kill rabbits, squirrels, mongooses, and other small wildlife. The lethality of a shot is also determined by its precision and distance.

I recall being unsure whether my pellet gun was powerful enough to take down a small creature. But believe me when I say that the correct pellet pistol can carry a punch. That’s also a plus because I live in a neighborhood with a lot of people, so I need something quiet.

Will a Pellet Gun Kill a Squirrel?

Will a Pellet Gun Kill a Squirrel?

Absolutely! A good-quality pellet gun pushing a .177 caliber pellet at a minimum speed of 1000fps (feet-per-second) will kill squirrels. However, the distance and precision of the shot will highly impact the lethargy of the shot.

The two most popular pellet gun calibers for squirrel hunting include .177 and .22. The .177 caliber is smaller, features higher velocity, and is quieter than the .22 caliber which makes it ideal for hunting in residential areas).

The extra weight that comes with a .22 caliber makes it the best shot for more powerful punches and one-shot kills and shooting squirrels in windy conditions.

You should also mind the weight of your pellet gun. Some of these guns can be quite hefty, making it challenging for hunting small game. A lightweight pellet gun, between 5 and 8 pounds, would be ideal for this job.

Will a Pellet Gun Kill a Squirrel

The scope on the gun will also affect your hunting accuracy. Most of the scopes that come with these guns are not the best, so investing in a higher-quality scope would be wiser.

We recommend a fixed zoom scope for close-range hunting the small game. This is because you won’t need to make many tweaks after you sight it in, saving you plenty of time.

Your pellet choice will also influence your chances of killing a squirrel with a pellet gun. Gladly, there are many options, designs, styles, and brands of pellets available, so finding the best one for your needs shouldn’t be a problem.

Here’s what to consider when choosing a pellet for hunting squirrels:

  • Pellet weight: A heavier pellet carries more knock-down power and moves at a slower velocity than a lighter one. Pellets for .22 are heavier (10-20 grains) than those for. l77 (they carry 5-10 grains). The heavier .22 will slow down a bit, but this will help improve its accuracy by steadying it while in flight.
  • Pellet shape: We recommend choosing diablo pellets as they’re highly effective. They feature various nose shapes, including domed, cone, ward cutter, and hollow point options. Most of the weight in these pellets goes to the nose to keep it moving forward while the waist is narrowed down, and the rear end is flared and hollow skirt.
  • Pellet material: Lead and lead alloys have been the top pellet material for years. But nowadays there are even more material options to choose from such as bismuth, tin, steel, and even hard plastic. All of these have excellent performance for squirrel hunting.

Will a .177 pellet kill a squirrel?

Today, pellet guns come in all types of calibers. But the two standard calibers for squirrel hunting are the .177 and .22.

Both options are ideal for squirrel hunting. But the .177 option is a smaller caliber pellet with high velocity and is ideal for hunting smaller game such as squirrels, mongoose, rabbits, etc.

The .177 is also quieter than the .22 caliber, making it a great choice if you live in residential areas. Also, if you live in suburban areas where discharging pellets from bores measuring .22 inches or larger is prohibited, then a .177 would be legal to use.

Whether you’re conducting your hunting indoors, outdoors, or in your backyard, the .177 will prove to be the best choice for ultimate accuracy in most cases.

The .22 has a slightly larger bore than the .177. Since the pellets you feed to a .22 are larger than those in a .177, the former will shoot the pellets at slower velocities compared to the latter.

This isn’t always a bad thing especially if you’re hunting in windy conditions. The .22 is also known to hit hard and is better suited for one-shot kills.

Is it legal to shoot squirrels with a pellet gun?

Whether it’s legal to shoot squirrels with a pellet gun mainly depends on your area of residence. Some states are against squirrel hunting and only allow it during the hunting season.

You’re also required to get a license to participate in squirrel hunting during the open season.

However, in case you need to kill a squirrel for any reason, say because it’s wreaking havoc in your garden, then your state may grant you a special permit.

Some states also don’t allow shooting any type of squirrel. For instance, most states only allow shooting of the red squirrel but not grey ones.

Is it legal to shoot squirrels with a pellet gun

Your state may also prohibit some more powerful pellet guns, so you should also ensure that your pellet rifle meets the specified requirements.

The right pellet gun should just be powerful enough to kill the squirrel once—which is the most ethical way to kill these small creatures.

You should also avoid firing the pellet gen beyond your yard fence or within 50-foot public road.

Overall, take your time to research what your local laws state about shooting squirrels with a pellet gun and other important highlights we’ve mentioned above.

Pellet Gun Calibers for Squirrel Hunting

Pellet guns are available in two standard calibers: .177 and .22. The.177 caliber pellet is a smaller caliber pellet with a higher velocity. A heavier .177 pellet is also quieter than a .22, which is helpful when hunting in a residential area. In fact, in some regions, shooting a .22 pellet is prohibited, leaving the .177 as the sole viable option.

The .22 caliber appears to be the most popular choice among small game hunters. Many people think it has better accuracy and a larger percentage of one-shot kills. Because of the extra weight, the .22 is more accurate in windy situations.

Even though it fires at a lesser velocity, the pellet’s weight allows it to deliver a powerful punch capable of dispatching any small game species.

A Pellet Gun That Isn’t Too Heavy

Some pellet guns are incredibly hefty, making them difficult to use for small game hunting. I like a lightweight, adaptable pellet gun, although that is not always possible depending on the type of hunting you undertake.

A pellet gun’s weight should be between 5 and 8 pounds; anything heavier is simply too hefty.

Quality of Pellet Gun Scope

The optics that come with your air gun have a bad reputation for being poor. If you’re a dedicated hunter, you might wish to invest in a new scope. There is, however, something you should be aware of beforehand.

The scopes have a slim probability of being precise due to the broken barrel pellet gun’s construction. Something changes every time the barrel is reloaded. It may be insignificant, but it exists, and it can lead to scope inaccuracies.

A pellet gun with a fixed barrel, spring pneumatic rather than a break barrel gun would provide more precise shooting, however, this isn’t always what we have on hand.

When it comes to scopes, there are fixed and variable zoom options. The fixed zoom is ideal for close-range hunting of small wildlife. You won’t have to make any more tweaks once it’s sighted in, which will save you a lot of time.

Keeping Your Pellet Gun from Making Too Much Noise

Many of us prefer a pellet gun to a traditional gun since we need to be discreet, especially if we’re shooting it with a neighbor nearby. While most pellet guns are typically rather quiet, some feature special muffler technology that can reduce your gun’s decibel level by up to 25%.

But can you hunt squirrels with Air Rifle? Yes, even some air rifles are quieter if quiet is what you are looking for. The Gamo Silent Cat Air Rifle is the quietest pellet rifle on the market, with a decibel rating of 69. For a pellet gun, that’s pretty quiet. 

I was able to install a suppressor on my Benjamin Trail NP, which normally shoots at 91 decibels, and reduce the noise to 79 DB. The use of a suppressor did not appear to alter accuracy or power.

What is a Good Pellet Gun for Shooting Squirrels?

After trying out a few pellet guns, I’ve settled on two that are ideal for my small game hunting needs. In reality, these two rifles have accomplished more in terms of putting food on my table than any fishing pole or garden. As a result, it’s critical to select one that works.

The .177 Benjamin Trail NP and the .22 Gamo Swarm Fushion 10x Air Rifle are the two pellet guns I use on my farm for hunting small game like squirrels and rabbits, with the .177 Benjamin being the gun I use the most.

Will a bb gun kill a squirrel?

A BB gun is less likely to kill a squirrel but can easily injure it. And given that squirrels can’t take care of their injuries, including minor wounds, they’ll get easily infected, and this will end up killing them more viciously.

With a BB gun, there’s a high possibility of causing lethal damage to your target squirrels such as cracking a bone or two, ear, or jaw, especially if you’re close enough to hit these areas.

Needless to say, this causes the animal a lot of pain and suffering, and will die slowly in days up to a week.

Compared to a pellet gun, a BB gun lacks the velocity, projectile weight, and velocity required to reliably kill a squirrel.

Squirrels are quite tough creatures than rabbits or mongooses and have even evolved to survive tree falls, so a BB gun is too weak to put them down. But it will at least injure it.

Instead of a BB gun, get a .22 or .177 caliber pellet rifle if you want to kill a squirrel ethically.


I have tried to provide enough information to help you understand if a pellet gun can kill a squirrel and more. Hopefully, you have a better idea about pellet guns, FPS, and some other features. 

And I’m sure you’ve heard of folks having dinner with squirrel or rabbit soup. The meat on these little creatures is in perfect condition.

We regard not just the food we purposefully raise to sustain ourselves, but also the wild plants and animals beyond our borders to be food. These wild foods contribute to the diversity of what we can grow on our lands. Taking a problem and turning it into a solution.

Lisa G

Meet Lisa G, the founder and author of RodentsFact.com. With over 3 years of experience studying and observing various species of rodents. Lisa has established herself as a credible expert in the field. Her passion for these often-overlooked animals shines through in her in-depth articles and engaging writing style. Follow her blog to learn fascinating facts and gain a new appreciation for the furry creatures that share our world.

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