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Thread: air rifles; .177 or .22?

  1. #1
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    Default air rifles; .177 or .22?

    please can someone enlighten me on the pro's and con's and any other matters when considering which calibre, any thoughts would be much appreciated.

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    .177 has a flatter trajectory which makes long(er) shots easier.

    Both are capable of dropping bunnies at legal power limits.

    Scout's (for some reason unknown to me!) restrict shotting to .177

    Simon
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimonM View Post
    .177 has a flatter trajectory which makes long(er) shots easier.

    Both are capable of dropping bunnies at legal power limits.

    Scout's (for some reason unknown to me!) restrict shotting to .177

    Simon
    Not just the Scouts Simon, the Cadet forces have the same restriction for their air rifles, I think it goes back a long way to the days of competition air rifle shooting, when the range was about 5 yards and the bell had to be rung through the tiny hole in the steel plate.

    Wings

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    For sub 12 ft/lbs air rifles personally I see no use for an argument of the two pellets, there is only .025 between them and although there will be a difference it wont be all that great. They will both only take down the same sort of size quarry e.g. rabbits, squirrels, pidgeon etc. etc.

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    In the air cadets too many years ago it was .177 (with an old hanging blanket as backstop - mind you they were only kicking out about 6 or 7ft lbs).

    Most paper punchers use .177, flatter trajectory and a lot more forgiving.

    When I shot .22 with an HW80, I spent a lot of time zeroing my scope at 5 yard increments as .22 has quite a trajectory (like that of a brick).

    In FT I used the .22 but eventually went over to the .177 side.

    Hope this helps.

    Liam
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    .22 creates more trauma when hitting a live target also. .177 dumps more energy into it's penetration.
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    as said both will easily drop bunnies.

    .177 flies flatter and faster and some say is less affected by wind as it is smaller.


    .20 - the half way calibre is supposed to be a mix of the two but I am told that it is not great and the brands which make that calibre are limited.

    .22 bigger fatter and heavier. the parabola of the pellet is more pronounced.


    i use .177 myself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Davey569 View Post
    For sub 12 ft/lbs air rifles personally I see no use for an argument of the two pellets, there is only .025 between them and although there will be a difference it wont be all that great. They will both only take down the same sort of size quarry e.g. rabbits, squirrels, pidgeon etc. etc.
    There is actually quite a lot of difference between the 2 calibres. How it flies, how it hits, how its affected by wind, how easy it is to be accurate, price of pellets, ease of loading, Pretty much every aspect is different.

    As said already though both will do the job.

    Personally i would say .22 makes the better hunting round as it never suffers from over penetration like .177 does a lot under 25 yards, Over penetration is bad, both for safety and for knock downs. Many rabbits have run off after having a .177 pass clean through their brains. That wont happen with .22

    There's an old adage that seems to have been forgotten a lot of late.

    .177 for feather, .22 for fur.
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    all the 4 air rifle cals will be fine for hunting (thou you dont mention this as a reson etc )

    the .177" is the best to use due entierly to its flatter trajectory if your hunting or any other sport ie FT HFT etc where you need to shoot targets at unknown ranges as it gives you more room to judge the range at

    if your shooting a set or exactly known range then this advantage is not needed etc

    for accuracy .177 always used to have the edge but that was lost 10yrs ago with .22 pellets capable of 1/4" at 50yrds etc

    i also palyed with eh .20 cal compromise for years and even had a custom job made etc which is very nice
    if i did it again i would just stick with .177"

    most important is to get the most accurate pellet for the rifle this will almost certainly be a round or domed head

    learn its trajectory

    practice rangfinding

    know your limits and understand that these change depending on conditions ie Wind etc

    ATB

    Duncan
    Last edited by FGYT; 09-03-2010 at 20:13.

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    pellets make a hell of a difference. in my AA S400 if you put cheap pellets in they corkscrew towards the target and never hit, so try a few different pellets. even some of the more expensive pellets dont do well. one tin of pellets cost me only £2 less than the ones that work (AA field) and are only 0.01g lighter but wouldn't hit consistently. with the right pellets you should be able to stack pellets with a little practice at 20yds
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    FYGT has nailed it there mate, follow that advice and you won't go far wrong, the .177 flies flatter for longer making it a bit easier to use, lighter pellets can get blown around more though, so try out different weights.
    I have been shooting for 40 years and settled on .177 many years ago.

    Prefer rimfire to all of it mind you.
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    i've used both calibres but i reckon for bunnies with a .177 you need hollowpoints.
    'judge a man not by his answers, but by his questions' voltaire

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    The "girlie calibre" may be easier to shoot at longer ranges, but through my own experience it makes the poorer round for hunting. I'd rather miss than have a rabbit get into a burrow due to over penetration or for want of knock down power.

    All sound advice about pellet selection though, if you had 2 of the same rifle they would probably shoot differently with the same pellets. Each barrel is different, not sure exactly why though. But they are.
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    I have killed far more rabbits with the Girlie pellet than I ever did with with the .22, and never ever had one run off that had been shot through the brains, large smack and a kick out and thats it.

    Killed thousands in that manner, and more rats than I care to think about.

    A rabbit shot through the brain does not run off, spin around on the floor yes. But how can a rabbit with no sensory perception run off?
    Sounds to me like your .22 is not making its way through the skull HillBill, that would be a very plausible explanation for your problem, lack of penetration.
    There are 10 types of people, those that understand binary and those that don't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by poddle View Post
    I have killed far more rabbits with the Girlie pellet than I ever did with with the .22, and never ever had one run off that had been shot through the brains, large smack and a kick out and thats it.

    Killed thousands in that manner, and more rats than I care to think about.

    A rabbit shot through the brain does not run off, spin around on the floor yes. But how can a rabbit with no sensory perception run off?
    Sounds to me like your .22 is not making its way through the skull HillBill, that would be a very plausible explanation for your problem, lack of penetration.
    Ive had about a dozen rifles in the last 6 years, from a TX to a daystate mk3, theo S type, mfr various others inbetween, only had .177 and .22 though.

    In .177 i had a Logun mk 2, an MFR, a Skan R32 and a BSA hornet. Its not one gun i have had mate, same results with all. Over penetration happens mainly below 25 yards, i have shot rabbits in the head and watched them run 50 yards before dropping, clean head shots. Its a common problem with .177, take a look on the airgun forums, do a search there is plenty discussion about it. Folk started buying .177 more when HFT took off as .22 was harder to do well with because of the loopier trajectory. The overall standard of shooting drops when folk take up the easy option, give a .177 user a .22 and they will struggle, That does not work both ways as a good .22 shooter will be a great .177 shooter.

    Its like cars. Automatic or manual? easy not much work option, or more difficult but more rewarding option.

    I've shot for many years V both as sport and profession i'm not exactly inexperienced mate.
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    I see what you say HillBill, but it's not a problem I have ever encountered. I have never once had to trace a rabbit that has been shot between the eye and the ear.
    Last edited by poddle; 09-03-2010 at 23:31.
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    Quote Originally Posted by poddle View Post
    I see what you say HillBill, but it's not a problem I have ever encountered. I have never once had to trace a rabbit that has been shot between the eye and the ear.
    Fair enough mate
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  18. #18

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    I'm with Hillbill on this one... I've always used a .22 for live quarry, but then I've always used springers. I've done more rat shooting than rabbit and more rabbit shooting than squirell, a fair bit of that at some very close ranges.

    The only rats which got up and ran away were those which the pellet passed straight through. It was an almost non-existent occurance with a .22 BSA Airsporter (circa 11ftlbs) and almost frequent enough to be commonplace with an Air Arms Carmargue .177 (making almost bang on 12ftlbs) Both were using H&N Baracudas, equivalent to Bisley Mags. In .22 they're approx 22grains - in .177 they're approx 11grains. Half the mass but nothing like half the calibre - for a given value of power, the speed of the .177 (and therefore the penetration at closer ranges) just goes off the chart compared with the .22.

    The .22 will also carry more energy further down range than the .177 for the same given power at the muzzle. Half the mass, but the radius is only 1mm different and the frontal area is 2/3rds that of the bigger pellet => much higher drag on the smaller pellet - higher drag means it's losing speed faster and therefore power faster than the bigger pellet.

    With FAC or legal limit PCP air, on a bipod, where you can get the extreme accuracy at range to put a .177 pellet in the 1p piece sized slot between a rabbit's eye and his ear at 40 yards - it's definitely the calibre of choice, always assuming you're as good as your gun at those ranges.

    For the vast majority of springers where accuracy at range suffers for a variety of reasons there's usually not enough difference between them to choose, provided the ranges are sensible. .22 will cause more tissue damage and delivers more kinetic energy on the way through if it does over penetrate. I've not seen a rabbit hit in the sinuses, or through the ear canal, get up and run off when hit with a .22. Can't say the same for .177 I'm afraid.
    Adam.

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    I read a book last year about hunting with air rifles (can't remember which one but if you look it up on Amazon it is the most well known one) and the author was a big .177 fan (apart from when ratting at close range). Reason being greater accuracy, which is the key consideration for humane hunting and this outweighed the greater energy (trauma) delivered by the .22.

    I didn't get a rifle in the end as I couldn't find a shoot and am in any case about to move but I did a lot of research and from my spreadsheet (you can't beat a good spreadsheet...) I concluded that a good combo could be a .177 with a heavy grain pellet (though not the very heavy ones designed for FAC air rifles) as this would deliver as much energy/momentum (at least, mass x velocity) as a medium weight .22 at 12 ftlb.

    Either way it is important to do plenty of target practice, practice, practice. If you are 'struggling' with either a .22 or a .177 you shouldn't be hunting.
    Last edited by Dozza; 10-03-2010 at 08:15.

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    I'm with Adze (in his last post) on this one.

    I shot springers in .22 for years so am convinced of it's pros and cons regarding hunting.

    When I went over to .177 for FT shooting, it was for the flat trajectory etc.

    As has been said, accuracy partly comes down to your own ability to use the kit you've chosen/can afford etc.

    The biggest downside regarding .177 for me is, quite simply, it's such a fiddly pellet to use with cold fingers.

    Liam
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dozza View Post
    I read a book last year about hunting with air rifles (can't remember which one but if you look it up on Amazon it is the most well known one) and the author was a big .177 fan (apart from when ratting at close range). Reason being greater accuracy, which is the key consideration for humane hunting and this outweighed the greater energy (trauma) delivered by the .22.

    .
    A .177 isnt more accurate than a .22, its just takes the range estimation out of the equation out to about 40 yards, hence its easier to shoot. I can one hole group both calibres at the same ranges. All modern guns are as accurate as each other. If the bloke in the book really believes its more accurate then he shouldnt be writing a book.

    More forgiving to shoot..... yes
    More accurate......definately not.

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    Well it's what you say really - flatter trajectory so less room for error. Made sense to me though and I would go along with what he said.

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    only over penatration problems i have had with 177 is small rats at very close range


    the only time i have rabbits move a distance after a clean head shot is on small baby rabbits (yes i do shoot them but only on a pure pest control job) they have massive nervouse reactions and can flip and twitch many yards one examined to check was totally dead as the pellet had removed the entire brain out the exit hole range was 20yrds

    this movement reduces the bigger the rabbit is normal for pot size and bigger usally jump up once hit the ground and a few leg kicks End EX

    i always head shot and make sure they are suitable distance from the burrow if shooting little ones (as i said for a pest control job every thing gets shot)


    177 isnt the automatic of the pellet world its the F1 car

    i use 8.4grain pellets AA 4.52 but i also hunt mostly in the ranges longer than most (we wont get into teh at argumnet)

    on 22 a 22grain pellet is way to heavy and unnessicery at 12ft lbs these where developed for the FAC guns which destroyed normal pellets but sold to hunters of non FAC on the basis that heavy is good

    eley wasp the std of 22 pellets for decades etc is 14grains which is about right for a 12ft lb rifle

    .177" 8.4grain fired at 12ft lbs 810fps will still be carrying enough energy at 100yrds to be considered leathal to a rabbit so there is no argument on power at normal airgun ranges

    either cal is fine just Learn it and use it well

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    Duncan

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by FGYT View Post
    on 22 a 22grain pellet is way to heavy and unnessicery at 12ft lbs these where developed for the FAC guns which destroyed normal pellets but sold to hunters of non FAC on the basis that heavy is good
    That's an oversimplification and makes the assumption that only heavy pellets were used for all shooting. This was not the case. The very heavy pellets were used at ranges of up to 15 yards for rat shooting only. At these ranges the trajectory isn't noticeably different to lighter, faster pellets. The effective impact energy is dramatically improved though, provided no residual energy is left in the pellet by it exiting the other side.

    Killing ability is a function of the amount of kinetic energy delivered to the target - residual energy in the pellet after exit is not delivered to the target.

    Penetration is a comlex function of velocity, momentum and the behaviour of the protectile on impact. Since a 12ftlb airgun barely has enough energy to mushroom a waisted diabolo pellet, at range, when fired into a hard target, it's a shoe in that the effects of impact on the projectile are less when the target is a non-resilient object.

    Quote Originally Posted by FGYT View Post
    .177" 8.4grain fired at 12ft lbs 810fps will still be carrying enough energy at 100yrds to be considered leathal to a rabbit so there is no argument on power at normal airgun ranges
    I disagree.

    http://www.velocitypress.com/air_rifle_ballistics.shtml



    Granted it's in .20, but an 8.65 grain pellet with an initial muzzle velocity of nearly 1000fps (compared with only 810) has decelerated to zero (EDIT: No it hasn't - its 300fps - or approx 1.7ftlbs - thanks jonnie drake) by 74 yards. A .177 with the same mass still being lethal at 100 yards? Can you prove that?

    Quote Originally Posted by FGYT View Post
    either cal is fine just Learn it and use it well
    Absolutely! It's not for nothing that the clichť is "a miss is as good as a mile"
    Last edited by Adze; 10-03-2010 at 11:50.
    Adam.

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    great stuff guys, keep all the comments coming I am learning more with every post. I have only had a go with a friends .22, I am considering getting one myself hence the questions. thanks all

    adze don't mean to be argumentative, but on your graph the 8.65grns had dropped to 300ft/sec at 74yds not 0ft/sec

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    Quote Originally Posted by HillBill View Post
    Ive had about a dozen rifles in the last 6 years, from a TX to a daystate mk3, theo S type, mfr various others inbetween, only had .177 and .22 though.

    In .177 i had a Logun mk 2, an MFR, a Skan R32 and a BSA hornet. Its not one gun i have had mate, same results with all. Over penetration happens mainly below 25 yards, i have shot rabbits in the head and watched them run 50 yards before dropping, clean head shots. Its a common problem with .177, take a look on the airgun forums, do a search there is plenty discussion about it. Folk started buying .177 more when HFT took off as .22 was harder to do well with because of the loopier trajectory. The overall standard of shooting drops when folk take up the easy option, give a .177 user a .22 and they will struggle, That does not work both ways as a good .22 shooter will be a great .177 shooter.

    Its like cars. Automatic or manual? easy not much work option, or more difficult but more rewarding option.

    I've shot for many years V both as sport and profession i'm not exactly inexperienced mate.
    i believe you and I had this argument some months ago. we settled on the fact that you hunt at generally shorter ranges than me - IIRC. ie sub 25yrds where as I take shots from 30 - 45 yards.

    I believe we agreed that over penetration at sub 25yrds was a given when using .177

    .177 is just as effective as a .22 - as has been said many times - a .177 will kill bunnies. end of.

    if over penetration is a problem then do not take sub 25yrd shots. go for 30yrds or more.

    andy
    FEATHER FORGE - Traditional Blacksmithing

    He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever. Chinese Proverb

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonnie drake View Post
    adze don't mean to be argumentative, but on your graph the 8.65grns had dropped to 300ft/sec at 74yds not 0ft/sec
    Oops... that'll teach me to be a smarty pants. Thanks for pointing that out, I'll correct it. It still equates to 1.7ftlbs... or about the same as the muzzle energy of a GAT pistol. Harsh language would be almost as effective
    Adam.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Everything Mac View Post
    i believe you and I had this argument some months ago. we settled on the fact that you hunt at generally shorter ranges than me - IIRC. ie sub 25yrds where as I take shots from 30 - 45 yards.

    I believe we agreed that over penetration at sub 25yrds was a given when using .177

    .177 is just as effective as a .22 - as has been said many times - a .177 will kill bunnies. end of.

    if over penetration is a problem then do not take sub 25yrd shots. go for 30yrds or more.

    andy
    The fun for me is the stalk, many of my shots were taken within 25 yards, closer more often than not.

    I can sit back at 40 with a .22 with just the same success rate as with .177. The way i see it, if you can range find well then a .22 is easy to shoot, All things being equal other than the pellet the .22 will be more effective at all ranges. Its heavier and maintains more down range energy due to mass/momentum

    Nothing wrong with .177 at all though. It does the job ok.
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    great stuff guys. Any body know why I can't register on airgunbbs?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonnie drake View Post
    great stuff guys. Any body know why I can't register on airgunbbs?
    What email addy you got? They dont accept things like yahoo/hotmail etc, they dont like disposable ones unfortunately.
    Effort = Reward.
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