This post was submitted by North Country Gal in a topic. It is a succinct explanation of the two basic air powered calibers. Thank you NCG.
The vast majority of our air guns are 177. This caliber is the standard around the world for ALL competition and target work, even in competition where distances go out as far as 50 yards, because the 177 has the flattest trajectory of any pellet caliber. Calculating pellet drop (and there is a lot of drop out there at 50 yards) is much easier when shooting 177. ALL high grade competition match air guns are 177.
Pellet selection and availability greatly favor the 177. It's the caliber that gets the most research and development because it's so universally used for target work. Any place that sells pellets will have them in 177. Not always the case with 22. For instance, if I want to buy 22 cal pellets, I sometimes have to buy online because I can't always find them, locally. Pellets cost also favors the 177. You will pay more per pellet for the same pellet in 22 cal.
There is a lot of online nonsense about the 177 not being suitable for hunting or being a poor choice for hunting. In Europe, a great deal of hunting is done with the 177 and even more revealing, a lot of that hunting is done with what we would consider pretty weak air guns in 177. In England, for instance, to own an airgun that is rated higher than shooting a pellet at only 12 fpe requires an FAC (firearms certificate). To avoid having an FAC, a lot of shooters use low power airguns, even for hunting and they do very well. Again, the most popular caliber in these low power airguns is the 177 by virtue of it better velocity. Even in this country where there are no such restrictions, some hunters prefer the 177 for its better trajectory. Out in the field, where distances will vary and will not be marked, this is a big deal. Remember, when using air guns for hunting, shot placement is critical for a humane kill.
There are some advantages. In a piston gun that develops a lot of recoil, shooting the heavier 22 helps to smooth some of that out. 22 cal pellets are also easier to manipulate by virtue of their larger size. This may not sound like a big deal, but try loading small 177 pellets when your hands are cold.
22 cal is great for hunting IF you can get velocity up for the sake of trajectory. If you really want to use 22 cal for hunting, a PCP gun handles this caliber the best. For instance, our Benjamin Discovery in 22 cal shoots 22 cal pellets right up there at 900 fps. Our most powerful spring piston guns can only get this velocity with lighter 177 pellets. I did my air gun hunting back in the days prior to PCP, but if I was serious about using an airgun for hunting, today, I'd go PCP and never look back. Even better, when properly shrouded and fitted with a moderator, these are by far the quietest shooting air guns. Our Discovery has an aftermarket moderator attached and is significantly quieter than any of our spring piston guns or even our pump ups. Maybe best of all, the Discovery with scope still weighs under 6 pounds. Any piston gun that comes close to this power level will be a monster and will have the recoil to match.
Yes, there is a 25 cal for those that want to develop even more energy in their air guns, but because these pellets are so heavy, the only practical platform for shooting them is PCP.
30 cal and up. Yes, there are such guns, but, again, this is strictly PCP country.
Hope this helps.
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