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Pellet energy retention?

Discussion in 'Anything Airgun Related' started by Fenman1980, Jun 2, 2015.

  1. Fenman1980

    Fenman1980 Well-Known Member

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    Hi all.
    Do I have this right?
    The pellet question. 177 or 22. Isn't it to a certain extent like which is heavier a ton of feathers or a ton of bricks. Both carry the same energy due to being projected at different velocities ergo a rabbits head at say 35 yards faces the same amount of energy being transferred Into the kill zone via either calibre. Leaving the only issue to be considered a penetration one.
    Therefore if faced with the problem of over penetration from a 177 a change in pellet to a heavier/different profile will counter this. If more penetration is needed eg a pigeon chest shot a pellet with better penetration could be selected.
    Considering this I think a 177 is the more versatile calibre offering better characteristics or penetration and trajectory. Power doesn't come into it.
    So my question is this. Is it that simple. Does a 177 hold it's energy like a 22 so it will still have the same energy as a 22 at 35 yards or will it have suffered a greater loss due to poorer energy retention as a result of less mass? Surely wind will affect it more and general air resistance. Does any one know?
    I currently own a Fenman in 22 and was thinking maybe I should try a 177 for a pcp.
    Thanks James
     
  2. C_G

    C_G Junior Member

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    A .177 will have poorer energy retention downrange due to its reduced mass when compared to a .22. Imagine throwing a cricket ball and a ping pong ball as hard as you can, the heavier projectile will carry the energy exerted onto it over a longer range.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015
  3. terry1001

    terry1001 Major Poster

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    The retained energy will depend on a number of things and it's not quite as simple as weight differences. If you want to get some idea for a wide range of pellets you should try Chirgun Pro, available as a free download from the Hawke website. Although you can't expect absolute accuracy from the answers it gives you will be able to get a fair idea of how various pellets/calibres perform and compare.
     
  4. C_G

    C_G Junior Member

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    The energy retention is entirely dependant upon mass when the exerted force is consistent. Other factors like aerodynamics and displacement characteristics will appear to influence energy retention but in reality, the mass of the projectile determines retained energy and the increased aero drag will only degrade the predetermined retained energy.
     
  5. Fenman1980

    Fenman1980 Well-Known Member

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    So to me it seems the advantage of the flatter trajectory and greater velocity of the 177 is offset by the fact the energy in the 177 will leave quicker ergo if I can put a 22 on a 5 pence piece at 50 yards which is my maximum hunting range with a 12ftlb rifle I am probably better sticking to a 22 for hunting and just be prepared to adjust more at different ranges. The upsurge in 177 for hunting had me thinking a heavy pellet in 177 may be a good option as a compromise on both trajectory and energy transfer.
     
  6. Ballisticboy

    Ballisticboy Busy Member

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    The drag of a pellet will reduce the energy of the pellet as it flies down range. If you have two pellets which are identical in design so that the .22 pellet is merely a scaled up version of the .177, the drag on each of the pellets will be proportional to the frontal area at the same speed. A .177 pellet has about two thirds of the frontal area of a .22 pellet so at the same speed for our identical pellets the .22 pellet will have about 50% more drag than the .177 pellet. However, a .22 pellet will weigh around twice as much as the identical design .177 pellet and so with only 50% more drag force will slow down at a lower rate than the .177 and hence will lose less energy over a given distance.
    The effect is further complicated by the fact that the .177 pellet will normally be travelling much quicker than the .22 pellet and hence will be generating relatively more drag giving further losses in energy as it moves down range.
    As for the crosswind effect it again is more complicated than just a weight effect. To a first order for most pellets the higher the product of muzzle velocity multiplied by BC the lower the crosswind effect will be. It is not possible to say that a .22 pellet will be less affected by wind, it all depends on the details of the different designs.
     
  7. Snipertez

    Snipertez Donator

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    I've not really noticed any problems with over-penetration using .177. It is usually travelling 200-300 fps faster than the .22 pellet for the same fpe. It does mean that you need to be a little more precise with the placement of the smaller caliber. The 22 will however have more shock factor being a bigger mass/head size.

    As for how wind effects each caliber ? The 22 being bigger and slower will be effected differently of course, but how much better the 177 is for its smaller size and faster time to the target l don't know. There will be a few factors involved, such as each pellets BC etc.

    Be interesting to know what others think about this :)
     
  8. terry1001

    terry1001 Major Poster

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    The most important thing is actually being able to hit where you're intending to without getting hung up on the ballistic theory. As I said Chairgun will give you some idea of how different pellets compare for performance but it won't tell you what sort of accuracy you can achieve in your rifle and that's the most important part of the equation. If you find a reliable pellet and stick to it you will find it easier to learn how it's going to behave under different conditions and at all ranges, pellets passing through the target are really only of concern if there is something fragile behind it and this is something to be considered for every shot as you need to know that it is safe to take the shot.
    If your shooting is, for example, solely ratting at under 20 yards it may be worth considering some of the more exotic pellet shapes to see if they offer any greater effect on the target, my experience suggests that shot placement is more important than anything else, if you want a bigger hole then start with a bigger pellet. However I certainly don't feel at a disadvantage using either .177 or .22 in any conditions although I do prefer .177 for night shooting as range estimation is slightly less important although when the range is known before shooting starts (say in a building or pen) I'm perfectly happy with .22.
     
  9. Darren Petts

    Darren Petts Temporarily Alive

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    Yes but......
    A good .177 pellet wil retain sufficient energy at any range you should be hunting at to do any job you ought to be asking of it, therefore the actual advantage of the .22's extra energy is nil. At sub 12 ft/lb it is ALL about shot placement. A .177 in the KZ is far superior to a .22 just close to it. You only need to look at HFT scores for .22 shooters to see the real world misses that come with .22 over .177. Shooting a .22 at 50 yds is all but impossible unless you know it is exactly 50 yds and are not simply estimating. Estimating 50 yds in .22 and getting it wrong by 2 yds equals 1.25 " out! 0.7" or so out in .177. Neither of which is acceptable. Going heavy in .177 just looses the advantages the smaller calibre has.
     
  10. Andy-K2

    Andy-K2 Posting Addict

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    I was playing with Chair Gun the other week and found at UK legal powers, both calibers retained the same energy over the same distances... Of course, I'm not looking to get into the sciences of ballistics as I don't give a hoot as long as I can hit and bring down my prey.
     
  11. themadspread

    themadspread Donator

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    this is interesting.just lately on one of my perms ive been shooting a lot of corvids.imo corvids are the easiest of all our quarry to put down (all feathers and skin no substance to them at all).ive been taking 2 guns in 177 and 22 and sometimes ive shot a rook(in 177) and its took off and in the sights youve seen a puff of dust and thought how did i miss that.10 or 20 yds away its fell out the sky and hit the deck dead as a dodo.when you go to inspect the body youve gone straight through it.but in 22 they never do this just bowl straight over
     

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