Can a BB Gun Kill a Rat? What You Need to Know

Once rats figure out a place to scavenge for pet food, garbage containers, barbecue grills, or in the garden looking for fruits and nuts, you won’t rest a little. Air rifles are an excellent method of dispatching rats. But can a BB gun kill a rat as air rifles do?

Generally, a BB gun can kill a rat, but not instantly. BB guns fire small steel balls called BBs that don’t carry much energy on impact. Hence, they can only injure the rat when shot in the kill zone. But the rat will succumb to the injuries later. 

Read on to learn more about the topic. 

Can a BB Gun Kill a Rat? Here Is the Answer 

BB Gun
BB Gun

You cannot get instant kills when killing rats using a BB gun. Unlike other airgun projectiles such as pellets or air balls, BBs are lightweight and don’t have serious energy to kill a rat on the spot. 

It doesn’t matter whether you aim your shot right in the kill zone or not–a BB gun can only cause injuries to the body. Of course, the rat will escape with injuries but in great pain and may die while nursing those injuries in hiding. 

A BB gun cannot offer a clean, humane kill. Most airgun laws restrict inflicting pain on animals by either mishitting or using less powerful airguns to dispatch them. You will likely breach the law and get penalized when you stick to using BB guns. 

A standard BB gun comes in .177 caliber. This gun can shoot velocities in the range of 300-550 feet per second while delivering just about 1.4-foot pounds of muzzle energy

Now, you need an airgun capable of shooting at least 550 fps and 6-foot pounds of muzzle energy at close range. That’s not what you get from a BB gun. 

Even with this much power and FPS, your shot should target the kill zone. This means you must aim your shot at the head, chest, or heart to ensure a humane, one-punch kill. 

Given the lightweight nature of BBs, it’s hard to even work out a kill in steadily blowing wind. There are definitely going to be problems with achieving requisite accuracy. 

Also Read: What Can Hamsters Drink Besides Water? 3 Best Alternatives

BB Gun vs. Pellet Gun: Which Is Better for Killing Rats?

A BB gun is not your best choice for hunting rats. It shoots BBs that are not aerodynamic–hence they are more likely to miss the target. If an airgun is inaccurate, you cannot rely on it for pest control. 

Pellet guns can shoot lead or non-lead projectiles called pellets. Thanks to their aerodynamic shape, pellets are incredibly accurate, especially when shot from close range. 

That said, pellet guns are the best bet for rat control. They shoot with much power and speed, even at long ranges. They are also very accurate, so you will likely drop a rat with proper shot placement. 

The best air rifle for rats should be a .177 caliber that can shoot at 7-grain pellets at 700 fps. It should also deliver up to 12 foot-pounds of muzzle energy on impact. With this power, you should successfully kill a rat humanely from 25 yards.

The table below compares a BB gun vs. a pellet gun for rat control. 

BB GunPellet Gun
Shoots BBsShoots pellets
BBs ricochet a lot.Pellets don’t ricochet as they are soft.
Have less kinetic energyHave more kinetic energy and a significant impact when shot.
Shots to be taken from close rangeYou can take shots from close and long range and still deliver a humane kill
You can hardly get instant killsYou can easily get instant kills with proper shot placement
Table 1: Comparison between a pellet gun and a BB gun

BBs are quite dangerous following their ricocheting action. To avoid getting hurt, make sure you put on safety glasses. 

Also, set up backstops so the BBs won’t injure another person across the neighborhood. You could face legal consequences if you hit someone with a BB or pellet. 

Can You Shoot a Rat With an Air Rifle in Urban Areas? 

Urban areas have their populations distributed densely. Shooting a firearm in such residential areas is impracticable and unlawful. 

However, you can shoot a rat with an air rifle in your backyard or front yard. All you need to do is to consult with the local authorities on what caliber air rifle you should have and how to handle the gun. 

How loud your air rifle is can affect the peace of your neighbors. And it’s easy to find yourself on the wrong side of the law if you persist with the disturbance. So, get an air rifle that’s not very powerful to produce a sonic crack and break the noise barrier. 

Although varying from state to state, the law dictates the caliber size you should have for shooting on your property in urban residences. 

Ensure that your shots do not become a hazard to the neighbors. So, put up backstops for pellets to prevent them from flying to the private property next door. 

Backstops provide a safe barrier to stop pellets in case you miss the target, or the pellet goes through the other end of the target. 

Also Read: A Detailed Pet Rat Dying Process and Pet Loss Support

Is it Legal to Shoot a Rat With a BB Gun? 

Airgun laws vary from country to country, state to state, or depending on the local authority of different jurisdictions. You have to abide by them. 

Most jurisdictions permit using BB guns to shoot and kill rats when controlling a rat menace. However, you won’t achieve a perfect kill because BBs lose accuracy very fast. Also, they don’t have excellent terminal power behind shots. 

You want to position yourself close to the target to get something out of your shots. Then aim into the sensitive areas like the chest and heart. 

Even so, don’t be surprised to see the rat run away wounded. It will obviously suffer and die of the injuries. Most airgun laws and regulations don’t support cruel methods of killing rats. 

If you can’t get clean kills, then your shots are inhumane. The law cannot put up with you but charge you for such offences. 

According to Federal Law, only kids 16 years and above can use air rifles for activities such as pet control and practice. Parents must supervise such kids to prevent self-harm, especially when BBs ricochet. 

Safety Tips When Using a BB Gun to Hunt Rats

When shooting a BB gun, take note of the following safety precautions to help reduce the chances of accidents and harm caused due to ricochets. 

  • Don’t forget to wear protective gear. The frequency of ricochets can be extremely high. Yet, the speed at which the ricochets occur is scary. Remember to put on eyeglasses to help with that.
  • You must stick to the manufacturer’s instructions concerning the safe use of the BB gun you purchased. You must also follow the state or local authority’s airgun laws and regulations. 
  • Remember that BB guns are not toys, as some people may see them. For that reason, extreme care should precede their usage. They can inflict significant damage and even cause death in the wrong hands. 
  • Don’t use a BB gun when under the influence of drugs and other medications. 
  • Supervise children as they practice shooting BB guns. They should only shoot air rifles in your presence. 
  • If you are visiting a new state, find out whether the local airgun regulations permit the possession of airguns and shooting. 

Using BB guns requires discipline because you don’t know when the ricochet will strike back. If you get injured due to a stray BB from your neighbor’s property, seek the help of a personal injury attorney immediately. 

The same applies if you are the culprit that caused injury to someone in the neighborhood. Speak to a defense attorney to help you defend your case. 

Final Thoughts

The question “Can a BB Gun Kill a Rat?” has a simple answer: yes, it can. However, it is important to keep in mind that using a BB gun to kill rats may not always be the most humane or effective method. 

While BB guns can be a useful tool for pest control, they should be used with caution and only as a last resort. In the end, the best way to deal with a rat infestation is to prevent it from happening in the first place by keeping your home and property clean and free of potential nesting sites. 

Ultimately, the well-being of both humans and animals should be a top priority when dealing with pest control issues.

Are you looking for quality website content to get your website to the next level? If so, please visit the Service Page for details on website content writing service.

Leave a Comment