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.177 vs .22 simple explanation please?

Discussion in 'Anything Airgun Related' started by sloter, May 22, 2014.

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  1. sloter

    sloter Active Member

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    Hi guys,

    So hoping to go and gut a new air rifle over the next week and I was just wanting some very simple explanation as to the differences between .177 and .22 without getting mega technical please.

    So my understanding and it could be wrong is to be a legal non FAC air rifle it has to be set to 12 foot pounds or below? So what exactly is a foot pound and how does that work?

    My understanding of .177 is a smaller projectile than .22 so therefore the .177 (with less air resistance being smaller) will travel slightly faster? But how much faster? I gather this from people saying it’ll penetrate further than a .22 but surely a .22 will have a slightly better stopping power on impact?

    I understand that a .177 will have less drop over distance than a .22 because of the weight of the pellet.

    Do you guys go hunting with .177? will it kill rabbits and pigeons just as well as a .22?

    I remember when I was younger everyone that had an air rifle that I knew had a .22 and the .177 was just not heard of.

    I’ve been in 5 gun shops now asking for some advice and quite often I’m finding they are keen to sell me whichever they currently have in stock.

    I apologise if I have made some bad assumptions I just don’t really want to buy the wrong calibre and regret it. Then I guess I’d just have to buy another…..

  2. Stevie Darling

    Stevie Darling Sexual tyrannosaurus

    Likes Received:
    St. Andrews, Jockland.
    Both calibers will do the job equally well with a well placed shot.

    .177 is more forgiving over long range shots, but if you know your hold under/over then both calibers are as accurate as each other

    in short:)
  3. Accuspell

    Accuspell Pro Poster

    Likes Received:
    Uttoxeter, Staffordshire.
    You have nailed it with your own understanding of the situation.

    With regard to hunting with the .177 -yes, loads do, but I won't take anyone out on my lands with one due to bad experiences I have had with the calibre, to the extent I got rid of every .177 rifle I had, including a couple of very special ones.

    I am certain other people also suffer these losses but just won't admit it - I cannot believe people are having 100% success rate every time they squeeze the trigger. If they are, all they need to do is turn up with their hunting set up and walk away with the spoils of the HFT winners prize fund! So why aren't they?

    You haven't included .20 in your choices. Do a bit of research on the inbetweenie and confuse yourself even more - my experience is that anyone who has changed to the middle weight in recent years has fallen in love with it. Early adopters did suffer some bad barrel problems, but they are a thing of the last and I have never had a bad experience of that calibre and I have been using it since 1996 - I now have 3 rifles in .20 and 3 rifles in .22 (because I can't bring myself to get rid of them!) It is .20 that gets used 90% of the time. When I pluck up the courage I will reduce my rifles even further...my Daystate Huntsman in .20 might even be up for grabs.....without the scope though.

  4. 177

    177 Donator

    Likes Received:
    Berwick upon Tweed
    I thought you said you wanted to keep it simple ?


    A foot pound is nothing more than a unit of measurement where guns are concerned as ammunition exits the barrel.

    You need to have less than 12 of them to be 'road legal'.

    The 12 foot pound limit is just that; a limit. Too many people view it as a target to reach rather than a limit to work within. Ask your gun shop to chrono test the rifle before you take it home. If they can't or won't, or if they want to charge you, walk away and find another gun shop. Any shop that sells air rifles without the means to test them is not to be trusted. Any shop wanting to charge you on top of spending your pennies on a rifle to chrono it is taking the mick.

    Air resistance is a big subject - the faster something is moving, the more severely it is affected by air resistance, but that's only one small part of the overall debate.

    In brief, .177 pellets fly faster than .22 from a same-power gun but they retain less energy downrange. Although they can be more affected by cross wind, some people argue that their faster flight mitigates this.

    A .177 Air Arms Field pellet travelling at 800 feet per second gives you 11.94 foot pounds.

    A .22 Air Arms Field pellet travelling at 580 feet per second gives you 11.95 foot pounds.

    The .22 is just under double the weight of the .177

    Either will kill vermin if you put the pellet in the right place, which is infinitely more important than the calibre you happen to be using.

    .177 can often over-penetrate, especially at closer range. A lot of farmers and landowners that I do clearance for won't allow a .177 in or around their buildings since it is not uncommon for the pellet to pass through a rat or pigeon and start knocking holes into the structure itself...

    There are more influencing factors than pellet weight but, yes, a .177 flies on a flatter trajectory over a longer distance.

    In fairness though, you have to ask yourself whether this is of benefit to you under real world conditions.

    Out to 35 yards I see no case for either calibre over the other when discussing trajectory on its own. Both are very close out to that range so, to be honest, you need to look at other pros and cons to both calibres. It's once you get past 35 yards that the gap between .177 and .22 opens up far more noticeably, but if you are new to air rifles and hunting then you need a kick in the pants if you plan on pushing that range in your early days anyway since you won't be shooting accurately enough for humane kills regardless of calibre.

    Personally, I'll say yes, and no :rolleyes:

    Being absolutely honest I see more runners shot with a .177 than with a .22. Other people have made similar comments.

    The problem with this whole discussion is very simple in my opinion.

    The .177 flies faster and flatter for longer. That makes it easier to be accurate with, which is very different to saying it is more accurate, whch is isn't.

    The trouble with that is you need to be far more precise in your shot placement.

    So there's your conundrum: door number one is easier to shoot accurately due to flatter trajectory but requires more precise shot placement to capitalise on its features. Door number 2 requires you to learn a little more about holdover and hold under at different ranges due to its greater arc of trajectory, but it retains more energy.

    Some folks will tell you that .177 is the 'thinking man's calibre' which is just a load of bunk.

    Buy what you like an then learn how to get the best out of it. I have both calibres and prefer to hunt with .22 or .20 over .177, but I still hunt with .177 now and then.

    This is because I have put the miles in to understand what my rig is doing and where the pellet will go at different distances.

    Put the work in and any calibre will do the business downrange.

    I would say this though - in my opinion spring air rifle hunting ought to be kept to 35 yards or less for most people due to their limitations on accurate shooting at that range. Given how close both calibres are until they get past 35 yards, you need to evaluate the benefits or negatives of the calibres on other merits.

    Most gun shops just like most people on here will advise you to buy what they have.

    I would suggest you mount as many guns to your shoulder as you can and pick the one that feels the most comfortable. Once you reach that stage you can ask what calibre it is...


    There isn't a right or wrong calibre unless you plan on doing certain target shooting disciplines, in which case a .177 will give you certain advantages.

    Buy what you like, then learn to use it within its (and your) capabilities.

    Good luck !
  5. Tinbum

    Tinbum Delusions of adequacy

    Likes Received:
    In Sparkling Isolation
    If you're after a gun for hunting/plinking only then a .22 will be great, especially if its a springer you're after. For targets .177 is the ultimate as there's greater forgiveness in range estimation. If you're doing both you could use a .177 to hunt, but as many use heavy .177 pellets to do so, I really don't see the point. (Except you can fit more in your handbag)

    .20 is a great hunting calibre, but will still suffer against .177 on the range.

    AGF STAFF Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    In one form or another this topic has probably been covered more times than almost any other.

    Please use the search function - pretty much every variable on calibre differences has been discussed so you'll have plenty to read on the subject.
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