TIPS ON USING A PELLET RIFLE TO CONTROL NON NATIVE BIRDS

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saltair
Posts: 58
Joined: Tue Mar 31, 2015 1:56 pm
Location: Delaware

I have been shooting pellet rifles for many years. I do not claim to be an expert but I will share what I have learned over the years through experience and reading pellet rifle manufacturing forums.

All manufactures make decent rifles and I have no affiliation with any manufacturer nor do I promote any manufacturer over another.

Get a good decent, preferably a nitro (gas) piston rifle. I have a .177 caliber single pump rifle. Airgun nation is a decent forum.
Get a decent scope. some rifles can be bought with scopes.
You need to fire at least 200 pellets through the rifle. The rifle needs to be broke in before you can sight in the scope.
Use the heavier 10.0 gr. (grain) or heavier pellet. The heavier the pellet the more accurate and the heavier pellet is slower which does not break the sound barrier that causes the loud CRACK which is heard like when you shoot a .22 rifle. Neighbors will thank you.
I have found when i clean the inside of the barrel I have to sight in the scope again so I do not clean the inside of the barrel.
The pellets I use are the 10.5 grain round nose, heavy duty premier pellets. They can come in tins of 500 pellets.
I do NOT use the flat nose or hollow point pellets because they are not as accurate.
I sight in the scope from 20 yards away which will be just as accurate firing at 37 yds. away where my gourds are located.
The MOST IMPORTANT PART..use the Artillery Hold when holding the rifle. Or you can rest the fore grip, (the grip under the barrel), on a fence post, window sill or another sturdy structure and DO NOT tightly grip the rifle while holding. Look up the artillery hold for pellet guns. The rifle HAS to move while firing, slight jump.
For targets I use paper plates and use a red magic marker to make a large dot in the middle of the plate for a bulls eye.
Practice, Practice and the Most Important, BE SAFE and KNOW YOUR TARGET.

Hope this helps to get you started.

SAFETY FIRST!
taxidermy lady
Posts: 2989
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:21 am
Location: IL/Ellis Grove
Martin Colony History: Started trying to attract purple martins in 2012! It's finally happened in 2017! 5 years!!! ASY male and SY female came May 1st, fledged 5 babies!

Thanks great information. Anytime you try to shoot something so small like those darn sparrows. Your gun has to be accurate. Thanks! :)
Sharon from southern Illinois
Craig Dyer
Posts: 500
Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 2:24 pm
Location: Nevada, TX
Martin Colony History: Area is rural. Offer 28 compartments...metal housing (Lonestar Goliad) & Supergourds all w/crescent entrance holes. Purple martins are abundant here and eager for quality, well maintained, safe housing. Expect near 100% occupancy this season.

Great information Saltair. Another tip...slowly squeeze the trigger. Avoid the quick trigger pull. A slow deliberate squeeze will result in much improved accuracy.
Craig Dyer
tlragsdale
Posts: 218
Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:22 pm
Location: Wisconsin/New Richmond

Just to tag onto an excellent post….another author years ago had suggested trying different types/design of pellets, to discover which your rifle "likes" best. It was a great tip, as I found my RWS Diana .177 sparrow/starling slayer shot a significantly smaller pattern using Meisterkugeln 8.2 grain professional-line pellets.

I thank you (and others) for the tips. The sparrows/starlings….well, they don't appreciate you guys passing on your knowledge quite-as-much :shock: .
Terry & Michelle
New Richmond, WI

2005 - 2014 Hard luck stories
2015 - 2 pair, 12 eggs/12 fledglings
2016 - 6 pair, 35 eggs/35 fledged
2017 - 18 pair, 88 eggs / 85 fledged.
2018 - 23 pair, 119 eggs/115 fledged.
2019 - 31 pair, 137 eggs/133 fledged
Henry Limpet
Posts: 122
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:48 pm
Location: IN./Howe, via the s/w side of Chicago
Martin Colony History: Trendsetter-8. Set up in 2014 at my summer cottage, a beautiful natural inland lake in N.E. Indiana's Amish Country. T-8 is on cleared land behind my pole barn and adjacent to a farmer's field

2015: Had several flyovers in early June with 1 dedicated SYM visitor who visited each day for well over a month. He brought by a few PM "parades", with 8-12 PM's who would visit all at once, but soon leave. (Added 2 gourds to bottom of the T-8). We discovered a large (Amish) colony apx. 3/4 mile South of our T-8, while on a bike ride through the country. We think this will eventually be our "feeder" colony.

2016: Put up a Trio G'Pa lakeside. Overall, not as much interest as 2015, likely because of our vacation to Gulf Shores, AL. in early June.

2017: Finally switched over to wheat straw. Success!! One nesting pair. Fledged 4!

2018: Zilch.

2019: Slow start, nothing observed by mid June. Wet, cold Spring a factor??

Great post. Thank you. We are still breaking in our Crosman Vantage NP .177 air rifle. Getting better with target practice and with sighting it in.

While we have SREH, we recently had a threesome of EUST land in the dead branches of a nearby Sycamore tree, a favorite perching spot of our visiting PM. Two EUST immediately boogied when they spotted us. The 3rd scoffed at us and held his branch. A single shot towards the EUST missed, but the noise of the pellet slap on the dead tree trunk won't soon be forgotten by that recalcitrant. Game on :!:
Be careful how you wish . . for wishes can come true . . be sure that every wish you make is one that's right for you!
mike2656
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2016 10:07 am
Location: West Grove, PA
Martin Colony History: 2013 1 Breeding pair, eggs pinned by HS. And the war began!
2014 Nothing
2015 1 Breeding pair. 4 hatchlings
2016 Cold wiped out Martins
2017 Nothing

I use and recommend the Hatsan 95 vortex.

http://smile.amazon.com/Hatsan-Rifle-Co ... vortex+.22

And just imagine! If you are amazon prime and have the PMCA as your smile charity (like I do) the cost of the rifle and supplies will benefit our purple friends twice. I am not involved with Hatsan or amazon financially.

It is available in 177, 22 and 25 caliber. It is one of the best-kept secrets in air rifles. Heavy duty and solid, I shot an obscured HS with it right out of the box. I have the 25 caliber and use hollow points and it is powerful enough to take down small game. I calculated 50 joules of energy which will drop a starling instantly and obliterate a HS. I operate under the philosophy that these vermin can never be "too" dead.

It comes with a serviceable scope and the shooter can opt for different ammo for accuracy or power. I use suet to lure them close to my house where the are easily sniped from windows.
Mitch Booth
Posts: 480
Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:23 am
Location: Akron, OH
Martin Colony History: 2012 - 0
2013 - 1 pair, 4 eggs, 2 fledged
2014 - 0
2015 - 1 pair, 5 died during week of rain
2016 - 0
2017 - 1 pair, 4 eggs, 4 fledged
2018 - 4 pair, 19 eggs, 19 fledged
2019 - 7 pair
2020 - 17 pair

Sharon,

If you call my office Monday I can give you some great advice. I have struggled for years with pellet guns until I finally bought a pre charged pneumatic (pcp). I consistently hit sparrows at 50 yards. I'm an ALLSTATE agent in zip 44319. I'd put my office number down but not sure if I'm allowed.

With spring and piston rifles your shooting technique significantly impacts accuracy. I didn't have the time and/or patience to have the gun tuned. I had NO consistency with any of my spring piston rifles not to mention the constant jarring of my rifle scope due to the guns recoil. I bought an inexpensive ($500) set up and I can consistently shoot dime sized groups bench rested at 30 yards. The down side to PCP rifles is that the initial investment is much more expensive. To me though, it was the best move I ever made as my sparrows never have the opportunity to get gun shy.

Mitch
2020 - 17 pair 77 eggs 69 fledged
2019 - 7 pair
2018 - 4 pair 19 eggs, 19 fledged
2017 - 1 pair 4 eggs, 4 fledged
2016 - 0 only visits
2015 - 1 pair 5 eggs, 5 hatched, 5 dead on days 6-7
2014 - 0 only visits
2013 - 1 pair 3 eggs, 2 hatched, 2 fledged
2012 - 0
taxidermy lady
Posts: 2989
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:21 am
Location: IL/Ellis Grove
Martin Colony History: Started trying to attract purple martins in 2012! It's finally happened in 2017! 5 years!!! ASY male and SY female came May 1st, fledged 5 babies!

Hi Mitch, I appreciate it! I use a shotgun and only miss if they fly the opposite direction. I have tried with a 22 and missed all the time. But I'm sure it needed some adjustment. I don't mess with them. I shoot them in mid-air. As soon as they take off lead a little and they fall. I have to say I've improved my skills. I live in rural area and no one but neighbor up the lane. My back yard is at least 3-31/2 miles from a house. I like it that way. :) thanks again. Have you seen any Martin visitors????
Sharon from southern Illinois
Mitch Booth
Posts: 480
Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:23 am
Location: Akron, OH
Martin Colony History: 2012 - 0
2013 - 1 pair, 4 eggs, 2 fledged
2014 - 0
2015 - 1 pair, 5 died during week of rain
2016 - 0
2017 - 1 pair, 4 eggs, 4 fledged
2018 - 4 pair, 19 eggs, 19 fledged
2019 - 7 pair
2020 - 17 pair

Sharon,

I had an ASY male stop around April 18 for a few days and one morning A few days later I had 7 birds on one gourd rack all adults. None stuck around and I haven't seen a bird yet.

You have any spending the night yet? You keep busy doing taxidermy? 30 years ago when I was in high school I thought I wanted to be a taxidermist. I mounted a squirrel and a couple of birds.

Mitch
2020 - 17 pair 77 eggs 69 fledged
2019 - 7 pair
2018 - 4 pair 19 eggs, 19 fledged
2017 - 1 pair 4 eggs, 4 fledged
2016 - 0 only visits
2015 - 1 pair 5 eggs, 5 hatched, 5 dead on days 6-7
2014 - 0 only visits
2013 - 1 pair 3 eggs, 2 hatched, 2 fledged
2012 - 0
taxidermy lady
Posts: 2989
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:21 am
Location: IL/Ellis Grove
Martin Colony History: Started trying to attract purple martins in 2012! It's finally happened in 2017! 5 years!!! ASY male and SY female came May 1st, fledged 5 babies!

Yes Mitch I seen them yesterday. But they sure don't stay long. But they keep coming back. Not sure if they are spending the night. Maybe sneaking in after dark. IDK!!!!! I am prayer for you Mitch. Having had them before and then nothing has to be tough. But your site is perfect and they have to do it. I haven't had a cd on over a week now and they keep returning! :)
I've been doing this business for 26 years starting Oct.1. It keeps me busy! I like it because I work at home and my own boss! :)
Sharon from southern Illinois
Henry Limpet
Posts: 122
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:48 pm
Location: IN./Howe, via the s/w side of Chicago
Martin Colony History: Trendsetter-8. Set up in 2014 at my summer cottage, a beautiful natural inland lake in N.E. Indiana's Amish Country. T-8 is on cleared land behind my pole barn and adjacent to a farmer's field

2015: Had several flyovers in early June with 1 dedicated SYM visitor who visited each day for well over a month. He brought by a few PM "parades", with 8-12 PM's who would visit all at once, but soon leave. (Added 2 gourds to bottom of the T-8). We discovered a large (Amish) colony apx. 3/4 mile South of our T-8, while on a bike ride through the country. We think this will eventually be our "feeder" colony.

2016: Put up a Trio G'Pa lakeside. Overall, not as much interest as 2015, likely because of our vacation to Gulf Shores, AL. in early June.

2017: Finally switched over to wheat straw. Success!! One nesting pair. Fledged 4!

2018: Zilch.

2019: Slow start, nothing observed by mid June. Wet, cold Spring a factor??

Taxidermy Lady: Where is the photo of that new roof?
Be careful how you wish . . for wishes can come true . . be sure that every wish you make is one that's right for you!
taxidermy lady
Posts: 2989
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:21 am
Location: IL/Ellis Grove
Martin Colony History: Started trying to attract purple martins in 2012! It's finally happened in 2017! 5 years!!! ASY male and SY female came May 1st, fledged 5 babies!

Not done yet! Just started Friday! Suppose to rain Monday and Tuesday. Maybe not all day though I hope. It's under cover so it won't get wet. No birds or roof ugh! :)
Sharon from southern Illinois
mike2656
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2016 10:07 am
Location: West Grove, PA
Martin Colony History: 2013 1 Breeding pair, eggs pinned by HS. And the war began!
2014 Nothing
2015 1 Breeding pair. 4 hatchlings
2016 Cold wiped out Martins
2017 Nothing

"I bought an inexpensive ($500) set up and I can consistently shoot dime sized groups bench rested at 30 yards. The down side to PCP rifles is that the initial investment is much more expensive. To me though, it was the best move I ever made as my sparrows never have the opportunity to get gun shy."

Would you mind sharing details about your set-up?

A pcp might be in my future.
Mitch Booth
Posts: 480
Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2008 6:23 am
Location: Akron, OH
Martin Colony History: 2012 - 0
2013 - 1 pair, 4 eggs, 2 fledged
2014 - 0
2015 - 1 pair, 5 died during week of rain
2016 - 0
2017 - 1 pair, 4 eggs, 4 fledged
2018 - 4 pair, 19 eggs, 19 fledged
2019 - 7 pair
2020 - 17 pair

Mike,

I bought a Benjamin Marauder .22 caliber and shoot Crossman Premieres 14.3 grain pellets. This was about 4 years ago and they now have the Discovery which is less expensive. These are entry level pcp' as some sell for 2-3,000.

The Marauder has a shrouded barrel which makes it extremely quiet if you are close to neighbors. For years I was extremely inconsistent shooting break barrel rifles. I now put the crosshairs on my target and consistently shoot dime sized groups at 30 yards. No tuning, just squeeze the trigger.

I can pick off sparrows at 40 yards without worrying about putting holes in my gourds or aluminum houses. It also takes a 10 round clip so I'm able to quickly pull the bolt back to reload and usually get the sparrows mate seconds later.

I've since upgraded to a carbon finer take which holds 4500 lbs/in of compressed air to recharge the gun instead of manually pumping in air with a hand pump. I can get approximately 30 shots before I refill.

Mitch
2020 - 17 pair 77 eggs 69 fledged
2019 - 7 pair
2018 - 4 pair 19 eggs, 19 fledged
2017 - 1 pair 4 eggs, 4 fledged
2016 - 0 only visits
2015 - 1 pair 5 eggs, 5 hatched, 5 dead on days 6-7
2014 - 0 only visits
2013 - 1 pair 3 eggs, 2 hatched, 2 fledged
2012 - 0
BobbyG
Posts: 83
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:13 am
Location: LA/Laplace
Martin Colony History: 10 years

I have a Benjamin Marauder .22 caliber and I shoot Ruger pointed 16.4 grain pellets. Had it about 3 or 4 months it is extremely quiet I zapped a sparrow with a dove a foot away and the dove stared for about 3 minutes then went back to eating. The martins don't even fly it is exspensvie gun but 3/8 " group at 35 yards makes it worth while put a $70 tactical scope and sparrows and starlings are not a problem . I have a 3000 psi. Plenty of martins hatching I am seeing egg shells on the ground.
BobbyG
Posts: 83
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 11:13 am
Location: LA/Laplace
Martin Colony History: 10 years

PCP is the way to go springers have terrible accuracy in my experiences. I lost count at 150 sparrow and starlings in 4 months.
tbone8705
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2016 6:34 am
Location: Deer Park, Tx

PCP is the only way to go, I have the Kalibr Bull Pup Cricket in 22 cal shooting the JSB Exact 15.89 gr pellet. I used the springer 177 cal for many years until I was introduced to the world of PCP air rifles and they are like night and day difference. It is topped with a Vortex 6x24x50 scope and will shoot hole in a hole in a hole as long as you want to keep pulling the trigger. 14 shot rotary clip and so quiet it is scary. It came shooting 940 fps and I turned it down to 820fps and will still kill 2 sparrows or starlings with one shot if I line them up. I guess this is why I have no sparrow or starling problems. 35 yd shots are no problem and even out to 75yds if wind is not blowing. The gun is a hoot to shoot with scope having mil dots for windage and elevation.
mike2656
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2016 10:07 am
Location: West Grove, PA
Martin Colony History: 2013 1 Breeding pair, eggs pinned by HS. And the war began!
2014 Nothing
2015 1 Breeding pair. 4 hatchlings
2016 Cold wiped out Martins
2017 Nothing

Thanks for the input.
mike2656
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2016 10:07 am
Location: West Grove, PA
Martin Colony History: 2013 1 Breeding pair, eggs pinned by HS. And the war began!
2014 Nothing
2015 1 Breeding pair. 4 hatchlings
2016 Cold wiped out Martins
2017 Nothing

Thanks to Bobby and Mitch, I now own the Benjamin Marauder 22 in addition to my Hatsan!

Found an "overkill" scope for it, as well.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01CQ ... UTF8&psc=1

Pest species will not stand a chance!
Dave Duit
Posts: 1794
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: Iowa / Nevada
Martin Colony History: In 2020, 60 pair with 285 fledged youngsters. 83 total cavities available, 58 Troyer Horizontal gourds and 4 modified deep trio metal house units, 1 fallout shelter, owl cages around all units. Martin educator and speaker. President and founder of the Iowa Purple Martin Organization. Please visit www.iamartin.org and join.

One area that may have been overlooked is to be sure you are shooting the house sparrows and not the harmless song/ chipping sparrow or mistaken identity of a house finch. Also do not take a shot if a martin is close to the sparrow, a bad shot could end up killing one of your martins. As a reminder, a pellet will go clean through a metal house if close enough and if a martin is inside it will also go clean through your martin. Just sayin.
Happy hunting on the nasty sparrows.
Mite control, heat venting, predator protection and additional feeding during bad weather add up to success.
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