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What Calibre is Best .177 or .22

WE get asked this question a lot especially from beginners to air rifle shooting , "what calibre is best .177 , .22 or .25?

Remember bigger isnt always better, the answer will depend on what you are using your air rifle for in most cases. If you are not going to shoot further than your zero then it wont really make a difference . Also worth bearing in mind is - how much power power do you have to propel your pellet.

Like many people that buy an airgun to "plink" or target in the back garden , then having found the love for shooting may want to start shooting more competitively or adding a scope or night vision . How will the calibre you chose fit the extra requirements?

I love having this conversation with shooters across the uk , many will swear by their own preferences which is great but here is a beginners guide to try help you decide.

 The enhanced ballistics of the sub 12 ft lbs .177 simply makes accurate shooting easier over a wider variety of distances.

Great for accuracy and target shooting but also very good at penetration.

The .177 scores well on penetration. If you’re planning to nail the occasional grey squirrel or rat  it’s without doubt the way to go. Squirrels are rather strong  and a .177 is the most effective round for the job with the smaller diameter and higher speed definitely provides superior penetration.

A .177 is also more forgiving , due to the speed and size it is easier to place a round upon round upon the target rather than a .22/

 A .22 travels just under 600fps while a .177 is usually just under 800fps. The .177 therefore gets to the target roughly 25% faster or 33% faster relative to a .22. At standard  ranges  be very surprised if there’ is much difference in it. 


.22 has a bigger knock down effect , for rabbits we recommend a .22  , it has a larger and heavier weight which transfers more energy to the prey/quarry, this will result in a cleaner kill. The last thing we want is to have a wounded animal /bird limping off that we have failed to place out of its misery .

.177 are great for smaller fast moving prey as the velocity is higher but the impact will not be as large. Over large distances though a .177 will produce more distance which is also worth bearing in mind.

A full-power legal . 177 rifle firing an 8.5-gr pellet at around 800fps, or a . 22 air rifle firing a 16-gr pellet at around 580fps would be perfectly capable of killing a rabbit at normal ranges up to 35-40 yards.