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The old debate, .177 vs .22

Discussion in 'Air Guns' started by ZVP, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. ZVP

    ZVP Well-Known Member

    Which has been your favorite and why?
    I have a lot of time behind the .177 and hunting with it. For decades the caliber had the best choice of pellet designs and styles and thry preformed well giving deep penetration and pinpoint accuracy.
    About 3 years ago I took a sidetrip into .22 land and was suprised to find that the caliber has caught up to the .177 in pellet styles! Now the preformance once limited tothe smaller caliber was available in the larger more potent .22! Along with the pellets, thr Magnum rifles were now being chambered in .22 and this opened new relums of preformance to play with.
    Now I have 2 batteries of magnum rifles but no longer hunt. I really don't have the information on hunting with these modern guns to comment on their advantages over the .177 caliber guns.
    I do know that benchrested, the modern Magnums print on paper at ranges where the .177 was king. That being 50 yards, +. The high powered Springers like my RWS Model 52. .22 act like .177's do! Trajectorys are near identical to the .177's anf ft/lb reads are much higher!
    For instance, my Beeman R-11 and Diana 52 shoot alike! Their trajectories and long range impacts are similar! Groups can be run around the target with very similar amounts of clicks on their scopes! You can literally drive the groups all over the paper with Finger adjustments! Now I don't have referance to preformance data for hunting but accuracy for targeting and plinking are the same. I am sure that the .22 would kill more efficentlly due to it's heavier weight pellet. It just might be a better hunting caliber?
    I know that for old eyes, the pellet holes on paper show up better! Impacts on inatament objects are heavier and a empty 12 ga hull will fly farther off with a louder "wack" than one hit with a high speed .177/
    So how bout it? Anyone have the hunting experiences with both calibers to compare them? It'd be really intresting to have more info.
    Frankilly, I like both calibers and have several of each. Choosing is near impossible 'cause I chose each rifle for other factors also.
    my only duplicate rifles are in the RWS 34 Family and comments above pretty well sum up the differences between the two. The .22 has a little more drop but it;s easilly compensated for.
    The old British saying, ".177 for Feathers and .22 for Fur" might be some good advice?
  2. osteodoc08

    osteodoc08 Well-Known Member

    My Beeman has interchangeable barrels from 177 to 22. It's not near the same league as your RWS but its fun in the back yard.

    I haven't shot game, but in wet GA clay, the 22 pellet visually does more "damage". I find I prefer the 22 as the pellets are easier to grasp and manipulate to load. That's reason enough for me to leave the 22 barrel on. You can find all kinda of pellets online now.
  3. PapaG

    PapaG Well-Known Member

    For sheer power (knock down) I will take the Steroid Sheridan. My Diana 34 panther with pellets I just got is a close second.
  4. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Well-Known Member

    My favorite airgun caliber is .20 (5mm), but I do most of my shooting with .177 for a variety of reasons.

    I have a couple of .22 airguns, but they don't get shot as much as either of the other two calibers.
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    I like the .22 for hunting but for plinking the .177 is nice. Frankly I took the detour this year to a .25 cal FX. I choked at the price but after shooting it I'd say it's worth every dime. If I had to decide between .177 and .22 I'd have to go .22.
  6. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    What will each do against a milk jug full of water? I can look for the formula, but IIRC, penetration in ballistic gel- simulating flesh- is about 40% of penetration in water. So a
    pellet that can penetrate that jug of water has enough penetration to take small game.
  7. tallpaul

    tallpaul Well-Known Member

    .177 for target and plinking hands down for cost and consistency with better pelletts...

    I did 25 years witth a 700 fps 177 and a sheriden blue streak... did all the plinkin and target I wanted and also defended my yard admirably.

    I got a .22 a few years back and do see a difference on game. Like any other Gun use there is no one "perfect" airgun for one use - you always give something up.

    You need to decide what you want to do most then decide

    I have many .177 guns a few .20 and a couple .22 , a .25 and a .50 and they all serve different roles... If I can still have fire arms a simple .177 would be fine for me yet again.
  8. rodinal220

    rodinal220 Well-Known Member

    A quality .177 with good pellets can certainly take "fur". My first air rifle was a Beeman Feinwerkbau 124D. Took MANY ground squirrels,rats and squirrels,rabbits,birds with it.
    The .177 on small game is quite effective. At the time,33 years ago,not many pellets were available. I found the H&N match wad cutter pellet very effective at close range(under 20 yards) on squirrels for both head(preferred) and body(heart) shots.
    The Beeman Silver Jet(pointed) and Jet(a flat nosed version) were effective for head shots,but never as accurate as the H&N Match.The Silver Jets would often pass clean through on body shots and not have much effect.

    When Beeman released the the Silver Bear(hollow point wad cutter) the tins came marked "Blemished".They were awful in accuracy and had much less penetration than the H&N Match.The earlier Ram Jet pellets also suffered from terrible accuracy.

    .177 is effective on small game,with good pellets,correct shot placement,keep ranges short. My FWB 124D gave an honest 800 fps unlike many air guns which over state velocity. Lesser air guns that give low velocities should be used for target shooting,plinking. The FWB 124 was "THE" game changer at the time in hunting with a spring piston air rifle.

    .22. Yes,the hunters caliber. The effect on small game is noticeable. Larger diameter,heavier pellet. With a quality .22 air gun that can launch pellets at least 800 fps you can take raccoons and bigger with head shots.
    My RWS Diana 52 in .22 has been very accurate and deadly on small game. It can launch pellets between 800-900,averaging about 850;not the 1000 fps on th box,they use really light non-lead pellets for that.

    .177 can bes used for hunting small game,although I just saw a S&W hunting show where they took pigs with a .177 Gamo at really close range 10 yards or less.

    .22 shows a more pronounced effect on game. The .22 is the hunters caliber but can double as an informal plinker.
  9. mdauben

    mdauben Well-Known Member

    Most of my air gun shooting is at targets, so the .177 is the choice for me. Lots of fine target guns available in that caliber.

    For small small game hunting, the .177 will certainly do the job with propper shot placement within its effective range. For me, in large part, it depends on the rifle. Once a rifle reaches supersonic velocities (figure around 1100 FPS) I would step up (.177 -> .20 -> .22 cal). You can lose accuracy in the trasition from super- to subsonic so I tend to stick below that speed. I also tend to think that .25 cal and larger really belong in specialized, high powered PCP rifles.
  10. UpTheHill

    UpTheHill Well-Known Member

    thats easy. a .25
    consistently knocks down porcupine and racoon size critters with one shot at 35 - 50 yards
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Heck the .25 with over 40 fpe will clean the clock of a coyote if hit in the head, heart or lungs at reasonable range.
  12. ARW

    ARW Member

    I have had my FX 30 caliber Boss for about two months now and I'am really happy with it. I have taken several groundhogs with it so far and it does a real good job on them.

    It is actually pretty quiet too and very accurate.

  13. Deltaboy

    Deltaboy Well-Known Member

    My 177 done me just fine for decades and if I need anything better I go 22 short or on up.
  14. ZVP

    ZVP Well-Known Member

    Good hunting stories!

    Yea I too followed DR.Beemans philosophy of the do-all .177 but through the years picked up some .22's and got impressed by the Magnum Models.
    I also went back to my old Sheridan and realised that it wasn't that bad at all! I took a BIG rangy Arizona Jack @ 65 yards, broadside heart shot, and herd the 5mm pellet go howling off into the desert! Talk bout good preformance? The Jack just fell over dead right there!

    I gave up hunting but when I did I decided to make my last shot a memorable one. I chose a potent Crosman 180, shooting the old fashoned "flying Garbagrcan "pellets. The shot was a Calif Ground Squirrel @ about 30 yards, With a good heart shot Broadside, that squirrel dropped right there anchored by that old fashoned 15 + gr pellet! Big hole too!
    In this Magnum age, we can expecr all sort of miracle kills with these new powerfull rifles! The infusion of modern .25's ought to get intresting! A long ways from the old BSA's of the 30's!
    YEars back the test medium was empty aluminium soda cans, today it's waater filled plastic bottles, I wonder if they will ever come up with a more precise meduim? Wet Phonebooks used to work for rimfires, I wonder if they;d transilate well to airguns?
    Thanks for the replies!
  15. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I wrote an article for Beeman's newsletter years ago on pellet performance.

    I used Duxseal putty for expansion / penetration tests.

    You can even make plaster casts of the temporary wound cavity, because it isn't temporary in Duxseal.

    Molding clay would probably work as well.

    Before that, bars of Ivory soap were the repeatable test standard everyone used.

  16. plateshooter

    plateshooter Well-Known Member

    I have several rifles in .177 and .22 cal. They are all scoped and tuned with aftermarket triggers. Aside from target shooting, I use them mostly for pest control. Every couple of years, we seem to get infested with racoons and ground hogs around here and they get to be a serious pain in the butt. My most efficient method is lung shooting them with a pointed .177 pellet. They don't get knocked over and sometimes they act like they have only been slightly irritated, but a shot through both lungs takes them out in a short period of time. I just be very quiet after the shot and it seems to leave them wondering "what was that?"

    No natural enemies to control the population, and fire arms where I live are not an option. The .177 Gamo pointed pellets penetrate very well and do the job for me.

    Your experiences may vary.
  17. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Well-Known Member

    Or Neutrogena. You could see the penetration without having to cut up the bars.
  18. craftsman

    craftsman Well-Known Member

  19. Pete D.

    Pete D. Well-Known Member


    My choice for small game/pest control is the .22. I have Benjamin Marauder pistol that is marvelously accurate and throws pellets that are double the weight of my .177s.
    Fourteen grains at 700 fps......up to 28 grains at 600fps.

    PS - and then there are the big PCPs in 9mm, .45, .50......different class altogether.
  20. Jaymo

    Jaymo Well-Known Member

    The .22s hit a lot harder than the .177s.
    I use .177, .20, .22, and .45 caliber air guns.
    I like them all.
    I've hunted small game with both .177 and .22.
    Both do the job very well with proper pellet selection, shot placement, distance to target, power, accuracy, etc.
    The .22 does better for hunting, but I've killed a helluva lot of squirrels with .177s.
    I killed my first squirrel with a Crosman 2200 Classic, multi-pump.
    This was back in 1985.
    Plain old Crosman Copperhead Diabolo pellet. Short range.
    I've had more squirrels run off (and had to chase them) and/or get stuck in the trees with a .22 LR than with air rifles. In fact, I've NEVER had one stuck in a tree when shot with an air rifle.
    My current favorite is my Benjamin Marauder .22. It's quiet and powerful. They never hear the one that gets them. They don't have time to duck or move at the sound of the shot. I've had them do that with both .177 and .22 magnum springers. I've had perfect shots turned into less than perfect shots as a result.
    With the Mrod, they never know what hit them.
    Another benefit of it is that it doesn't scare off other squirrels.
    Can't say the same for .22 rimfires and shotguns.
    I use heart/lung shots and head shots on squirrels with airguns.
    I've had both .177 and .22 pellets pass through on squirrels. It seems to be the norm, given the particular air rifles I use on squirrels.
    Those would be:
    Beeman R9 .177 (Actually an HW85-R9 with an R1 barrel imported under the EAA name)
    Diana 48 .177
    Benji Marauder .22
    BAM B30-1 (Chinese copy of Diana 48, not cheap junk, nice airgun) .22
    BAM B40 .22 (Chinese copy of Air Arms TX200 copy, also nice)
    BAM B50 .22 (Chinese copy of Daystate Huntsman, also nice)
    Benjamin 392 .22 cal.
    Daisy 22SG .22 cal. Less than 20 yards. Not enough power for longer shots, IMO.

    The Daisy is the only one I don't have pass through with.

    Haven't hunted yet, with my Sheridan Blue Streak. Got a few issues I want to take care of first.

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