An extreme example

January 10 2018 at 2:05 PM
Ron Robinson  (Login compressive)

Response to Anyone using their HW35E on small game?

In the 1980's I traded for a beautifully custom-stocked HW55 that I assumed was shooting to spec; that being around 600 FPS (similar to an HW35). I shot it enough with the factory target peep-sights to develop a LOT of confidence; enough so to take it squirrel hunting. That was after I'd adopted a "brain shots only" credo when hunting with airguns, based on ample experience to know that is the only way to avoid traumatizing prey in it's last moments (seconds, or sometimes MINUTES with chest shots).

My first opportunity was a perfect brain shot at 20 yards. Next chance came at 30 yards, and was another perfect, lights-out brain shot. The last opportunity came at about 40 yards, and based on an over-inflated sense of confidence I went for it. Thankfully/luckily that was also a perfect brain shot, that also resulted in an instant kill.

A few days later I chronographed the rifle and was SHOCKED to find it was only shooting 450 FPS! Had i known that, I'd have never taken it squirrel hunting at all, much less taken 30 to 40 yard shots. Though proud of my shooting, I'm ASHAMED to admit what a DOLT I was to (unknowingly) use a 450 FPS .177 for squirrel hunting; and only share this embarrassing story for the benefit of others (as a lesson).

I don't recall what pellet I used, but it was probably a 7-8 grain round-nose. That doesn't much matter with brain shots on squirrels anyway.

The main point is that it doesn't take much power for small-game hunting if you take (and MAKE) brain shots. But if you take chest shots on squirrel to rabbit-sized game with a .177 of the meager power level of an HW35, you'll find it sorely lacking in "stopping power".

I truly hope this "true confessions" helps provide some insight. It certainly did for me.

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