I was browsing and found this graphic.
It suggests a UK view on what sub caliber round to use on the most basic of vertebrate prey. I saw it, read it, chuckled, and then thought what kind of person draws this conclusion about the efficiency of air weapons compared to firearms?
Then I got it. It’s got to be someone who uses cartridge weapons as the norm and probably shoots at long-range at most things.
So, here’s the thing.
Ratting and mice they listed the little 22 LR.
Putting them in a chicken shed or barn clearing rats would make life ‘interesting’ with respect to the damage that the 100 ft lb powerful .22 LR would inflict on the structure. After all most shoots are conducted at less than 15 yards.
Once again, .17 HMR and .22 WMR. Too much gun?
For ground squirrel and gophers maybe not but those fluffy tree rats I let loose at?
WAY too much power and of course LOUD! (Most regular readers will know I hate loud).
I’m also thinking backdrop and shooting at elevated targets.
Just how far will those two ‘generic’ rounds carry if they miss and the bullet goes ballistic missile sort of thing?
Average .17 HMR, 20gr, 2000 fps, BC 0.125
Initial angle 25 degrees, terminal angle 60.9 degrees, 1830 yards
Flight time 16.6 secs, Terminal energy 2.6 ft.lbs
(There is also the tendency for the tiny .17 to fragment A LOT on impact.)
Average .22 WMR, 30gr, 2000 fps, BC 0.101
Initial angle 25 degrees, terminal angle 66.4 degrees, 1570 yards
Flight time 16.6 secs, Terminal energy 3.3 ft.lbs
That’s a long, long way compared to a little .22 air gun slug, 21 grains, 500 fps, BC .034
Initial angle 25 degrees, terminal angle 57.5 degrees, 406.7 yards
Flight time 7.7 secs, Terminal energy 0.7 ft.lbs
For completeness I’ll list my other love of my life, the humble .22 LR.
The 22 LR 40 grain soft lead, 1040 fps, BC 0.169
Initial angle 25 degrees, terminal angle 66.1 degrees, 1980 yards
Flight time 20.6 secs, Terminal energy 7 ft.lbs
What, my little .22 LR, with it’s lazy lobbing type trajectory keeps it’s terminal energy better than the new boys on the block? Shocking!
(All figures using JBM)
So why list all of this?
The love affair with .17 and .22 WMR for pest control is overrated as far as I’m concerned.
The .22 LR will do in place of both rounds, including fox, IF YOU CAN GET CLOSE ENOUGH, and I’ve got this thing about covert.
That comes from shooting a lot within urban limits, professionally I hasten to add, at prey that trapping cannot resolve for one reason or the other.
It also comes from being able to get up close and personal on your prey NOT relying on 40 power scopes, and the ‘thrill’ that some people get using firearms.
Also sometimes I wonder about the choices people make.
Is it because they lack in field skills, don’t know how to trap, or just love firearms?
Or is it the ‘professional’ has to use firearms above high (or even low) energy air?
The other thing I’ve got to add is a mention about load outs.
Whilst a pocket full of air gun slugs isn’t actually very odorous to carry, the bigger the bang, the heavier and more bulky the carry.
The tiny .22 air slug, 350 to the pound
While .22 LR around 136 rounds per pound weight.
And the .22 WMR around 116 rounds per pound weight.
Not much of weight difference is true but bulk wise, that’s different.
Incidentally, going through a tin of 200 air gun slugs when ratting is not unknown.
So we have bang verses hush.
Distance and backdrop over field skills and covert
The whole trapping as a force multiplier over shooting
And I suppose the firearms over air debate.
What’s best? It depends on who you speak to I suppose.
After all there is nothing quite like lamping with a ‘firearm’ from the back of a Landrover.
Some fools tear-arsing across fields while calling it sport and controlled pest clearance.
Nothing better than sitting in a hide waiting for a target to shoot at as opposed to learning how to trap Birds and Furries using traps and snares.
A few years ago I was talking to a pair of trappers as they worked a few fields “rabbit reduction’ using snares and Fenn traps. What was good for me was the father was working with his son. Old skills passed on as they should be.
What I’m living in the past? Not really, more enlightened people call that bushcraft.