Groundhogs can be cute little furry animals while you watch them play out in a field. But, when they are tearing up your yard, undermining your foundations, and chewing through electrical and irrigation lines, they become pests that pose a serious threat. So, how can you safely dispatch them, specifically in a more urban environment? Before you pull that trigger, make sure it’s legal for you to shoot in your backyard and that it’s permissible to shoot for pest abatement. You don’t want to get into serious legal issues if you can help. Once that is confirmed, then looking at some decent airguns is a good place to start. But what airguns are suitable for humanely dispatching the furry little brats? Let’s find out.
Adequate Power with Simplicity
A perfectly placed shot with even a lower-powered, cheap, big box airgun can get the job done, but that method has a very low success rate if you are expecting a single shot ethical kill. So many great airguns will give you more power, range, and accuracy without draining your wallet. And you don’t need to go PCP either. Let’s look at a couple of seriously powerful breakbarrels to get started.
Hatsan 135 Carnivore .30
The Hatsan 135 Carnivore is a single-shot, .30 cal big bore breakbarrel airgun. Yep, they make a .30 cal breakbarrel. It doesn’t boast high velocity; it just hits like a freight train on small game. The 44.75 grain pellets slam into game with well over 30 foot-pounds and can deliver effective headshots as well as ethical shots to the vitals. Match it with ammo like the JSB Hades or the Predator Polymags for ultimate results.
Gamo Swarm Magnum Pro Gen 3i .22
For those looking for a more standard .22 caliber breakbarrel but also looking for magazine-fed operation, the Gamo Swarm Magnum Pro Gen 3i is the way to go. Producing up to 30 foot-pounds with .22 cal pellets from a 10-shot magazine, the Swarm Magnum Pro delivers ample power and quick follow-up shots when needed. The higher velocity also allows you to stretch your shots out beyond the typical effective range of most break barrels. We’ve witnessed hunters taking iguanas with head shots out to 75 and even 100 yards. Groundhogs wouldn’t stand a chance.
Some PCP options for every budget
PCP airguns deliver the best and easiest shooting experience. They are powerful, easy to shoot, accurate, suppressable, and the list just keeps going. But they do require one very critical component, and that’s high-pressure air. While you can fill them with a hand pump, it’s a lot of work, and most shooters quickly transition to a personal compressor, which can cost even more than the gun. Personal compressors certainly are the way to go if you like to shoot a lot, but maybe there’s another option for those getting their feet wet or just need an airgun to take care of a groundhog or two.
The Seneca Aspen
The .22 caliber Seneca Aspen is a PCP with an onboard hand pump. Once you’ve filled the gun for the first time, it takes only a handful of pumps to keep it topped off between shots. The 8-shot magazine and side lever make taking quick follow-up shots a breeze. There’s a high/low power selector for quick adjustments depending on need. You’ll want to run on high power if you are dispatching groundhogs. Generating up to 40 FPE, you have the power and velocity to reach out to 75 and 100 yards if needed.
Air Venturi Avenge-X .25
Let’s take a step up to another PCP that’s taking the market by storm. The new Avenge-X is marketed as “Your Airgun, Your Way,” and it makes sense. Shooters can easily change between calibers and stocks, and even swap between a standard air cylinder and a larger carbon fiber option. It’s completely tunable via external adjustments as well. The .25 is the ideal caliber for taking groundhogs, and the Avenge-X can drive pellets and slugs, generating over 50 FPE. The right tune and projectile may get you over 60 FPE. It’s an awesome platform that opens up a whole new world of target shooting, pesting, and hunting.
Benjamin Gunnar .25
Our last choice for the day can certainly take down groundhogs out to 50, 75, and even 100 yards. But it’s also a great bench gun for those who like to shoot. So, if you are looking for something that’s both utility and fun, then let me tell you about the Benjamin Gunnar .25. This AR-Style airgun uses an AR-compatible grip and buttstock. The adjustable regulator can be dialed up and down based on what kind of shooting you’ll be doing. For groundhogs, you’ll want to turn the power up, generating well over 45 foot-pounds, and use the transfer port adjuster to dial it down when less power is needed. It’s a beautiful platform for hunting as well as bench shooting.
That’s a wrap
As you can probably imagine, we’ve only just scratched the surface of great airguns for taking down groundhogs. If you’d like more information on these airguns or would like to know about the other options we have on our site, just give us a call. We are always here to help.
Lastly, check out some of of these other hunting resources to learn more: