Depending on who you listen to, as little as 2.2 foot pounds of energy no matter the caliber as long as it is in the head. Most subscribe to the 4 foot pounds theory and it is probably best to err on the side of caution. In articles back in 1983, Ian Hathcock a Scottish farmer used a variety of weapons including one that only turned produced 5.7 foot pounds at the muzzle with 4.5mm lead balls and hunted rabbits on his farm at a variety of ranges. At 30 yards that combo delivers only about 2 footpounds of energy. In fact one Gem air rifle delivering only 1.6 foot pounds of energy took one rabbit at 10 yards with a brain shot. Gerald Cardew broke it down to this, the Gem took one rabbit at 10 yards, a BSA ligth model delivering 5.7 ft/lbs took rabbits out to 25 yards, and a BSA Airsporter delivering 10 footpounds took them out to 40 yards. Pellet type was unimportant, velocity wasn't all that important, but accuracy at which you can hit was. It comes down to accuracy. How far can you make accurate hits on a rabbits brain.
Most of the literature I've seen puts the required energy...
November 12 2003, 1:48 PM
delivered on target to cleanly kill a cottontail at 5 fpe. So it depends how heavy the pellet is, the velocity at which it travels, and the ballistic coefficient to determine the energy at 25 yards. But any .20 cal with a muzzel velocity around 700 fps should do the trick at this limited range.
One thing to point out is that you want to consistently kill the rabbit, I'm sure you could hit it just right with much lower energy and kill, but not every time and not cleanly.
I have a feel for squirrel hunting but have never hunted rabbits. Can they be effectively harvested with 4-5 fpe with a heart/lung shot or is that for head shots only? Are they easier to put down than squirrels?
Heart lung shots at 4 footpounds of energy will put a rabbit down. At 4 footpounds you will probably have complete penetration of the rabbit as long as no heavy bones are struck on the way out. Squirrels are harder to kill than rabbits in general, though I have taken squirrel with a 1377(4 to 5 footpounds) and a head shot at about 10 yards, it just fell off of the branch it was sitting on. The shot was angling upwards and impacted at the base of the head. I've watched rabbits go into spasm at light impacts(rubber ball) and no penetration, and look like they were dying. Suspect but cannot prove that the reaction was a neurological reflex, and that any penetration would have killed it, or at least allow another shot. Slingshots reliably kill rabbits AND squirrels as well without penetration and about 4 to 5 footpounds of energy with brain shots prefered.
I have a .20 cal 13in. barreled Crosman carbine converted to PCP putting out 9.2-10.7FPE with 14.3 premiers on a 1700 psi fill. I can't wait to unleash the rabbit chasing beagles this winter along with unleashing some lead. LoL
a 3 FPE pellet whizes by their ear, they drop and die LOL
Seriously it takes a lot less in my experience to drop a rabbit than drop a squirrel. 3 FPE for cottontails is plenty. It doesn't matter how many yards, 25 or 3025 ,the energy should be at the target.
Weird physiology ! I think they die from fright. I've noticed on critters that are arboreal, that they tend to go into a spring wound survival mode the minute their feet leave the Bark ! Like a flies wings buzzing when its feet breaks contact. I had a breeding pair of Marguay once, I doubt I'd cuddle with those cute little cats, but when they came out of their tree, they were like Charles Manson on Crack ! Same thing with birds, arboreal primates, and Lemur, I suspect the Rabbits Shock reaction is a similar device that allows them to sit motionless in open areas, or perhaps ease their suffering.
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