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Thread: Is a pellet gun a firearm?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Central Coast of CA
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    184

    Default Is a pellet gun a firearm?

    Starting with the feds, are pellet guns even defined as firearms? Or does it totally depend on local and/or state regulations, and interpretations of those regs? I'm thinking about one to ward off rural coyote and other predators/pests with minimal risk to adjoining properties (5 acre parcels). Is there a difference between CO2 and pump gun with regards to regulations?
    I know it may come down to who you ask, but I'd like to know any thoughts or experience from all of you. Also any recommendations as to make/model. And it needs to be a rifle, not pistol.
    Thanks very much, lee

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Ames, Iowa
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    I was taught that a firearm uses a burning powder charge as a propellant. A pellet gun uses compressed air of some form and is not under the regulations of a firearm (no FFL needed at least in any state I've lived in). Personally, I like the pump ups for their power and versatility. You can't beat a vintage Sheridan Blue/Silver Streak. They are both accurate and powerful, not to mention good looking. Steve

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Indiana
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    You can search for gun laws pellet guns. I found this summary from a group that I am not familiar with.

    http://www.lcav.org/content/non-powder_guns.pdf

    Look at the major players on the internet and decide what type of air gun you want there are many brands, styles and action types to choose from. Using this information you should be able to choose a pellet gun that meets your needs.

    These brands as well as others have a good reputation Gamo, Benjamin, RWS, Beeman, and Air Force.

    If you are shooting at live animals with the intent to stop them dead, select a high power .22 cal pellet gun.

    For the go big or go home crowd Sam Yang 909S Big Bore (.45 cal 180 gr. 780fps)

    http://www.airgundepot.com/samyang-909-rifle.html

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Houston, Texas
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    A pellet gun isn't a firearm because there is no "fire." I know I can order an airgun of any type through the mail with no problems so the Feds don't consider them firearms. As to states, your mileage may vary, and I'm sure some dates do indeed consiter air guns firearms for the purposes of control.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    Default

    Most Europeon countires define an air rifle as a firearm at a certain velocity limit under it no restriction over it same as any rifle. Some high end pellet rifles are as effective as a standard velocity .22 round but they are slower to reload typically. In the US the feds have no control on air rifle, some state or local limits may apply. Most states would recognize them as a weapon if you shot someone with them regardless of the power of them. So you would be charged with assualt for just pointing one at someone.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Chicago suburbs
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    In the Peoples Republic of Illinois, one must have a valid FOID card (Firearms Owners Identification) to purchase any air/pellet rifle that produces more than 750 fps.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Default

    As Art noted, you can mail order a pellet rifle, which you can't do with a firearm.
    I have had excellent success with a Gamo Whisper in .22 caliber. It is accurate, comes with a scope, and your neighbors never know when you shoot it. I recommended it to a friend that was having a problem with gray squirrels. I sighted it in at 80 feet for him, as that is the distance from his back door to a pear tree the squirrels were raiding. At 80 feet it was shooting .25 to .50 inch groups with Crossman hunting pellets.

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss...x=gamo+whisper

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    329

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    Right you are DRB. In the U.K., limit is 12 foot pounds for an air rifle (I think 6 f.p. for a pistol), above that requires firearms license. Cheers, Don

  9. #9
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    Jun 2010
    Location
    North, GA
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    If you are looking to ward off coyotes and other predators you will need something with more power than an air rifle. Don't get me wrong, I own and shoot several air rifles but when it comes to shooting anything over fifty feet away and or not wanting to get bit, I step up to a 22 rifle. I've gotten to the point of using the 22 in place of the pellet gun since I didn't like to see squirrels run off wounded. You can drop a fox or coyote with a 22 rifle which is more than any air rifle I've seen.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Loveland, Ohio
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    Default

    Under Federal law, a Pellet-gun, like a black powder gun is not considered a firearm.
    "Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas"
    Jeff Cooper

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