How To Choose Between a .177 vs .22 Caliber Air Rifle
.177 vs .22 is an age old question, do you opt for the popular .177 or go for a .22? Choosing an air rifle can be a tricky decision. You may be spending quite a bit of money on your rifle, and you want to make the best choice. Well there actually is no simple answer. It really depends on what you’ll be using your air rifle for. There are some great rifles of both calibers, so whichever you choose, you’ll be able to find a really good quality rifle that will suit you. There are also plenty of rifles to choose from in both calibers, so lack of choice will not be an issue, whichever you decide on.
.177 vs .22 – Accuracy
To make your decision it’s good to know what the differences are between the two different caliber rifles. The number refers to the actual diameter of the barrel in millimeters, so the .22 is a wider barrel than the .177. A .177 shoots at around 1000 feet per second and has a faster spin and a flatter flight path than the .22 making it better for range shooting as you can be more accurate with it.
However the .22, being larger in diameter and heavier than the .177 has more ‘thump’ to it, meaning it hits the target harder than the .177 so you need to give some thought as to what you want or need your air rifle for. If you’re using it for target practice, to shoot at tin cans in your backyard, then the .177 will be a better choice as it’s the best choice for accuracy.
.177 vs .22 -Hunting
The .22 will take a bit of practice to get an accurate hit with as you’ll need to work out how much higher or lower you need to aim to hit a target from a particular distance, as the flight path is rather more arced than that of the .177. If however you’re using your rifle for pest control then the .22 may be the best option as it is more likely to penetrate through flesh and organs knocking an animal down quickly.
The fact is the .22 is going to do a pest control job more effectively and will kill quickly and so be more humane than using a .177 that is more likely to simply wound a creature than kill it outright, though you also need to consider your accuracy. The .177 is easier to make an accurate hit with, so if you aim and hit the head of an animal, then it won’t matter which caliber rifle you are using. The .22 has less velocity though so you will need to be nearer the target to hit it than you would with the .177 which will travel further. The range of the .22 is around 45 to 50 yards depending on the type of pellet you use. The .22 is also less affected by wind.
The .177 is the best selling caliber of air rifle by quite a long way. It’s the only caliber pellet allowed in bullseye target shooting competitions the world over. All official shooting organizations also mandate that .177 caliber guns be used in competition shooting for both pistol and rifle shooting competitions. If you’re interested in competition shooting then a .177 is definitely the rifle to choose as you won’t be permitted to use a .22 in a competition and with each caliber requiring a very different shooting style, it would be best to choose and stick to a .177.
Bottom line? – .177 vs .22
If you love the range of the .177 but would like the extra impact of the .22 you can buy weighted or plastic tipped field pellets for a .177 caliber rifle. It won’t have the same effect as a .22 pellet, but it will be more effective than the standard flat nose pellets you most commonly get for .177 rifles. If you feel torn between a .177 vs .22, feeling that there are advantages of both calibers that you’d like to take advantage of, or feel that you would have varying uses for your air rifle, then there are rifles with interchangeable barrels so you can have the best of both worlds without having to buy two entire rifles.