.177 vs .22: Air Rifles Compared [speed, accuracy, power etc]

177 vs 22 Air Rifles Compared

Which is better: .177 or .22? That’s a good question and one we get asked very often.

However there isn’t a direct answer to this, because it’s going to depend on what you’re looking to do with the rifle (among other factors)

And so in this article, we’re going to look into answer some of the most commonly asked questions we get when it comes to choosing between .177 or .22

But before we get stuck in, if you’d like to take a look at the .177 and .22 air rifles we currently have available, check out our dedicated pages below:

What’s The Difference Between .177 and .22 Calibre

The simple answer to this is that the difference lies in the size of the pellets:

  • A .177 pellet is 0.177 inches in diameter (4.5mm)
  • A .22 pellet is 0.22 inches in diameter (5.5mm)

And when you hear people speak about “177 air rifles” and “22 air rifles”, they’re just referring to air rifles that shoot pellets of that size.

Another key difference you’ll notice when shooting both sizes is that .22 pellets typically weigh more due to their larger size, which can be both a positive and a negative (more on that later).

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Which Is Better For Beginners?

As a general rule, we usually recommend beginners start off with a .177 air rifle because it’ll allow you to get used to shooting accurately at a target, even if in the long term you’d like to get into hunting or pest control.

As well as that, they’re lighter, faster (around 200 feet per second) and easier to aim due to its flatter trajectory.

Plus if you’re starting out with a springer, they also generate less recoil which is good for beginners as it makes it easier to develop proper techniques.

This in no way means that a .177 air rifle is only for beginners. In fact participants in Olympic air rifle events shoot .177, as well as ISSF air rifle shooters – and they’re some of the best shooters in the world.

Air Arms Diabolo Field 177

Which Is Usually Cheaper?

Although there’s not much in it – .177 pellets are usually a couple of quid cheaper than .22 as they’re cheaper to produce due to the use of less lead.

This is going to depend on the pellet you choose though as some manufactures charge more for their pellets than others.

And in terms of the air rifle itself – there’s no price difference between a .177 air rifle and a .22 air rifle.

You can see this by clicking on any of the air rifles we have for sale here at The AirGun Centre and comparing the price of the .177 to the .22 (where both calibres are available).

Which Is Better For Target Shooting?

The .177 calibre air rifle pellet is better for target shooting as it has a much flatter trajectory due to its lighter weight and higher velocity. This means that the pellet follows a straighter and more predictable path towards the target.

The flatter trajectory allows for easier and more accurate aiming, resulting in consistent shot placement on the target. It reduces the need to compensate for pellet drop or calculate complex ballistic adjustments, making it ideal for precision target shooting.

That’s why many competitive shooting disciplines such as the Olympics use the .177 calibre in their air rifle events.

Which Is Better For Hunting?

You can use both .177 or .22 for hunting, but it was always said that .22 pellets are better due to their heavier weight. However, as the range of pellets available has increased over time, there are heavier .177 pellets that are just as good, if not better for hunting.

Because of this, we’re seeing a lot more customers buy .177 air rifles and use Bisley Magnum pellets when hunting.

These pellets weigh 10.65 gr and give you the advantages of:

  • Less air resistance due to their smaller diameter
  • They fire about 200 feet per second faster due to their lighter weight
  • And gravity doesn’t pull them down as quickly, meaning you don’t have to adjust as much for arcing.

This all means that they’ll fire over a longer distance, which is important as you can’t always determine how far away your target will be when hunting.

In fact, a .177 Bisley Magnum pellet will usually fire around 20m further than a regular .22, while still delivering enough power to provide a humane kill.

Plus, it also doesn’t suffer from the wind drag issues we used to get with .177 pellets over a long distance due to it’s heavier weight.

Which Is More Powerful?

.177 and .22 air rifles are both as powerful as each other, as all air rifles in the UK have a maximum legal limit of 12ftlbs.

However if we’re talking about the amount of stopping power the pellet can do, a weighted .177 pellet like the Bisley Magnum is going to be better at a long distance than a .22.

Due to it’s smaller size, a heavy .177 has less air resistance, meaning it’ll fire faster, flatter and give you longer range kills than a .22

However because a .22 pellet has a bigger surface area, it does give it a bigger killzone than a .177 at a closer range.

Which Is Faster?

When it comes to velocity, the .177 calibre air rifle pellet is generally going to be faster than the .22 calibre.

This is because the .177 pellet is smaller in diameter, giving you less air resistance as it flies through the air. In fact, a .177 pellet will fire around 200 feet per second faster than a .22.

Which Is Quieter?

The amount of noise an air rifle generates when firing is more dependent on the specific rifle you’re using and your silencer.

If you was to stand next to 2 people firing the same model of rifle in different calibres, it’s unlikely you would notice a difference at all between the two.

Bisley Magnum 177

Which Is Better For Long Range?

When it comes to long-range shooting, the .177 calibre air rifle pellet is often better suited for the task due to its higher velocity, whether you’re hunting or target shooting.

However it is important to note that a lightweight .177 pellet isn’t going to be very good for long range hunting, you need to make sure you’re using a heavier pellet such as the Bisley Magnum.

Which Is Better For Short Range?

If you’re hunting and you’re only shooting around 20-30m away, there’s not really any difference if terms of calibre. However if you’re shooting over 40m you’ll benefit from using a heavyweight .177 pellet like the Bisley Magnum.

And if you’re doing target shooting at home, it doesn’t really matter which calibre over a short distance. However if you’re looking at target shooting at a club or over a slightly longer distance it’s advisable to go for a .177.

Need Help Choosing The Right Rifle For You?

If you want some advice when choosing the best calibre air rifle for you, why not pop down to the shop for a cup of tea and a chat? Our friendly staff are always happy to give any free advice you may need.

You can also call our shop on 01268 780 730.

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