What Calibre Air Rifle Should A Beginner Choose?

What Calibre Air Rifle Should A Beginner Choose

Choosing the right calibre air rifle as a beginner can seem like a daunting task – you don’t want to spend a significant amount of money on a rifle only to find you chose the wrong one.

So in this guide, we’ll simplify the decision-making process by focusing on the two most common calibres: .177 and .22.

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

Before you decide which is better for you as a beginner, it’s worth understanding what the differences actually are.

The primary difference between the two calibres lies in the size of the pellets they fire:

  • .177 Calibre Pellets
    These have a diameter of 0.177 inches (4.5mm).
  • .22 Calibre Pellets
    These are slightly larger, with a diameter of 0.22 inches (5.5mm).

.177 pellets are lighter and faster, offering speeds around 200 feet per second more than .22 pellets. This results in a flatter trajectory, making it easier to aim and shoot accurately, especially for beginners.

Which Calibre Is Best For Beginners?

For those new to air rifle shooting, the .177 calibre is often what we recommend. Its lighter, faster pellets have a flatter trajectory, simplifying aiming and improving accuracy.

This calibre is also favorable due to its reduced recoil, particularly in spring-powered air rifles, making it easier for beginners to develop proper shooting techniques. Although to be fair, the recoil difference isn’t massive.

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Which Is Better For Target Shooting And Hunting?

If you’re looking to get into target shooting, the .177 calibre is going to be your best bet, due to its flat trajectory and higher velocity, allowing for precise shot placement without the need for complex ballistic calculations.

That’s why the .177 calibre is preferred in competitive shooting, including Olympic events.

For hunting, while traditionally the .22 calibre was preferred because of its heavier pellet weight, advancements in pellet design have made .177 pellets, such as the Bisley Magnum, equally effective.

These heavier .177 pellets can achieve longer distances and maintain enough power for a humane kill, without the wind drag issues experienced at long ranges with lighter .177 pellets.

Bisley Magnum 177

Which Is Cheaper?

There’s little difference in the cost of air rifles between the two calibres. However, .177 pellets are usually slightly cheaper due to the lesser amount of lead required for their production.

This could be a minor factor in your decision, especially if budget constraints are considered or you look at it from a long term perspective.

Is 177 Calibre Best For Beginners?

While there’s no proper answer to this (and this is just our opinion) we generally say start off on a .177 because it’s more accurate and flat trajectory – so for beginners, you can hone your skills a bit better and you haven’t got to allow for the drop as much.

And if you move on to target shooting, then you’re going to have flat trajectory and it will be very similar to what you’re learning

It’s a lot easier to learn on, and if you’ve got a springer there is a slight difference in recoil (not massive) but 177 has slightly less recoil.

Want To Learn More?

If you’d like to learn more, either pop into The AirGun Centre or check out our guides on beginner air rifles here: https://www.theairguncentre.com/beginners-guide/

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