Defending the Garden – Part III

Monday, April 2, 2012

My first job was to check out the guns for 10-meter accuracy. While all of them come equipped with iron sights, I decided to test them with optional scope or peep sight mounted. As you might expect from telescopic sights that cost less than $30, neither the Crosman nor the Daisy scope would make any of your shooting friends insanely envious, but at the same time, if what you are looking for is a sighting device that is adequate to the task of removing vermin from the garden at relatively short range, these scopes are up to the job.

When it got down to the actual evaluation, I decided to test the air rifles at two pumping strokes less than the maximum the factory allows. Experience has shown that the extra two strokes add only a little to the velocity. Incidentally, despite what you might have heard from other sources, pump up airguns are extremely consistent in their velocity. You can even pump one up, let it sit for half an hour or more, and still get very consistent results.

At eight pumps, the Daisy 22X happily shot 1-inch (edge-to-edge) groups at 10 meters with most pellets, including Daisy MaxSpeed .22 wadcutters and Crosman .22 Premiers. Group size dropped to 3/4 inch with RW Meisterkugeln flat-nosed .22 pellets.

At 8 pumps, the Crosman 2200B was extremely finicky about pellets. It shot huge groups – some over three inches — with every pellet but the RWS Meisterkuglns. With these pellets, groups settled down to 1 1/16th inch, not a great showing, but sufficient to the job. (Crosman tells me that its quality standard for the 2200B is 1 1/2 inch groups at 10 yards, with 1 inch being typical.)

The Benjamin 392, at 6 pumps, was the least pellet-sensitive gun tested, shooting half-inch groups with almost any pellet I fed it.

Then it was time for the can test. Shooting from a sitting position at 20 meters, I shot at steel soup cans with each gun, using Meisterkugln pellets and the same number of pumps as I had used at 10 meters. All three guns easily hit the can in the center mass and punched through one side. The 392 dimpled the backside of the can trying to make an exit hole.

At 15 meters, the Benjamin 392 went in one side and out the other. The Crosman 2200B went in one side and made a large dimple on the back side. The Daisy 22X pierced on side and made a smaller dimple on the back side.

At 10 meters, both the 392 and the 2200B blew through both sides of the can like a hot knife through butter. The Daisy 22X pellet lodged in the exit hole on the backside. Note well: these shots were made with wadcutter pellets. They generally do not penetrate well, but when they do, the typically leave large wound tunnels. Dome-headed pellets certainly would penetrate more efficiently.

It is also important to note that two air rifles of the same model, but two serial numbers apart, can perform better with radically different pellets. So, just because my Crosman 2200B achieved a certain level of performance with Meisterkugln pellets, that doesn’t mean your 2200B will perform similarly with the same pellets. Testing with different pellets is the only way to find out what works in your gun.

The bottom line: The Daisy 22X pumps the easiest, offers moderate accuracy, but penetrated the least on the can test. The Crosman 2200B offers moderate pumping effort, good penetration in the can test, but the lowest accuracy. The Benjamin 392 pumps hardest, hits the hardest, and offers the most accuracy, but costs nearly twice as much as the others. As the man said: “Ya pays yer money, and ya takes yer choice.” Any of these guns could be used for defending garden at 60 feet or less, but my first choice would be the Benjamin 392 if my wallet could stand it.

Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.

–          Jock Elliott


  1. dean says:

    when do you plan on posting Defending the Garden – Part IV? please reply.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Anonymous Says;

    “Defending The Garden – Parts I , II & III” has been a delightful blog, as well as informative reading.

    It has been ten years since the publication of the book referenced in Part II of “Defending The Garden”. I enjoyed reading the book during this past week.

    RE: ‘American Air Rifles’, by J. E. House (Krause Publications (February 2002)).

    However, the outcomes for the American air rifles discussed in both this blog and the book, could be summarized as:

    .1) Adequacy for the task . . .

    .2) Durability and consistency . . .

    .3) Economical to obtain, use and maintain . . .

  3. miguel jose says:


    I enjoyed your post, Defending the Garden. I suggest that you do a follow-up post, Defending my Birdfeeder, as well.

    I thought I was the only airgunner who performed the soup can test! Here’s my standard for pest control: Unless an airgun can penetrate through both sides of a soup can at 10 yards, it’s unsuitable for pest control.

    In short, I recently discovered your blog and look forward to reading more posts from you.

    Miguel Jose

    1. Jock Elliott says:


      Thanks for the kind words. I have a friend who says, “all you have proved is that you can kill a soup can,” but I’m with you — if it can punch through both sides of a soup can, it probably has enough oomph for pest control.

      As to the rest of the blog, use the search function to find “the noise in the attic.” I think you might enjoy it.

  4. Patrick Miller says:

    I realize this post is a little late since it is in response to your blog article entitle “Defending the Garden” but it reminded me of parts of your masterpiece book entitled “Elliott on Airguns” that I purchased a year or so ago that I used as an extremely helpful guide in acquiring various airguns of varying prices and utility. This is a book that I have used as an ongoing reference and it is not only extremely interesting but it probably saved me a lot of money in the long run. At any rate, I am one of many I’m sure, that has thoroughly enjoyed your writings in this particular publication. Thank you for your wonderful contribution to the world of airguns.

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