Wanna enter a debate about stopping power?
Wrong place I’m afraid, because stopping power in the UK is generally associated with vehicle brakes not firearms and especially not air weapons.
Having said that, this post is about air weapons and how in an ambush mode they can be as effective as a firearm only without the BANG!
Yep, one of those “boyz toyz” that no self-respecting prepper, survivalist, or patriot would use in combat mode. There again if anyone has seen the full-bore PCP’s in action (for example the modern Daystate Wolverine in .303) it kinda changes your perception on their usefulness over long distances.
I’m not going there though. No full-bore air guns as in the UK they are hard to source and license BUT IN THE RIGHT HANDS most any air rifle can be a game changer and that is where I’m staying, with what is easily obtainable.
And so I’ll start.
The three things that will quickly incapacitate you are:-
If you can’t see, a fast loss of blood, and an interrupted airway.
Think about it.
All three are achievable at close range i.e. less than 50 yards (aka across a street) with an average degree of shooting accuracy and for the most part a relatively low power. To really rub it in I’m going to be talking about NO MORE THAN 12 foot pounds (ft lb).
Cute aren’t they?
Both .22, 11.9 and 11.7 ft lbs respectively and what I use for pest control.
What is it you are trying to achieve?
With eyesight you are looking at penetrating the globe, the eyeball, or at least destroying the iris and lens. Only what if the target is wearing glasses i.e. reading, sun glasses, or (worse case) shooting / impact resistant variations? Whoops, not so easy now unless you are damn close. Except a full on smack in the lens of a pair of safety glasses is “distracting” to say the least.Assuming you can see the whites of the eyes i.e. no glasses.
Technically it only takes 2 to 3 ft lbs to punch into the eye globe.
On my PCP rifle using a 21 gn pointed pellet, 500 fps @ muzzle,
I’m smacking that eyeball at:-
25 yards 9.7 ft lbs
50 yards 8 ft lbs.
Note:- The Harrier PCP rifle I use for furry pest control easily holds a ½ inch group at 50 yards.
OK, if glasses are worn, it’s time to swap targets and think blood loss.
Note:- I‘m not going to be talking about head shots, drilling the brain, or taking out the heart. With 12 ft lbs you can cause death on those targets BUT seldom at range.
The head has a rich blood supply and it all goes in and out via the neck. Except the jugular veins are (on average) a mere 3/8″ to 3/4″ across and the Cardiod artery is around a 1/2″ across. All about 3/8″ below the skin and all surrounded by muscle and made of pretty robust stuff. (Well sort of).
So what would you use, 4.5 mm (.177) or 5.5 mm (.22)?
Unlike shooting a furry creature or a bird, here penetration (burrowing power) is what counts and not “knockdown” power. Pointy tips, fast-moving. Or, maybe not !?!Some will undoubtedly question my choice here BUT I still prefer a 5.5 mm (.22) despite it not burrowing as deep as the little 4.5 mm (.177) and having a lousy trajectory.
Why? Because even if I can’t get through to the vital bits, a sharp blow to a major blood vessel can shut it down with shock and the .22 does impart a decent THUMP!
The generally accepted rules in medicine are if the heart stops pumping blood into the brain, the victim will lose consciousness in about 4 seconds if standing, 8 if sitting, and 12 if lying down. Only to shut off the blood flow completely, there are two sides to the neck that have to be compressed.
Still, why play “shut off” at distance when you can get it to SPURT with an accurate ‘pointy pellet’ strike?
Thus I’m looking for the shock of massive blood loss to ‘distract’ an aggressor.
This found on the web:-
Severing a jugular vein in the neck causes an air embolism and will make the victim collapse after one or two gasps for air.
Severing a carotid artery in the neck cuts off the blood supply to the brain but the victim may be conscious for up to thirty seconds.
Disrupting the airway.
The science says the speed at which a projectile must travel to penetrate skin is 163 fps and to break bone is 213 fps.
The science also says that only takes 2 to 2½ ft lbs of energy.
OK, putting aside the fantasy scientific lab rat and ballistic jelly “facts”, you need to hit the neck plumb on the center line preferably just below the Adam’s apple (cricoid cartilage), thus the pellet will burrow into the airway which is just beneath the skin of the throat.
What’s going to be the immediate effect?
Ever poked someone in that sweet spot with a finger?
They gag. Simple as that.
Pellet hits the same spot? Instant Tracheotomy (without the tube) and a pretty strong gag reflex.
Bleeding isn’t the real issue here yet some “ex-spurts” also claim the pellet may carry on into the spinal cord.
Um, I may believe that at close ranges but at 50 meters plus, I’ve got doubts. Besides you are looking at hitting a 1/2 inch “sweet spot”, probably under duress, low light, and usually in less than idea conditions.
Hang on, I was talking about out to 50 yards being within range at the start of the article. I still am but like everything, in a well-lit range or controlled environment, ‘good accuracy’ is readily achievable. In less than perfect conditions I’m thinking 30-35 yards tops to ensure accuracy.
Beyond that I don’t care what you’ve read, seen on YouTube, or claim you achieved when hunting. That tiny “high tail drag” and “low spin speed” stabilized air pellet is easily distracted from its path. Years of shooting furries and feathered prey have proved that to me.
Thus to use a 12 ft lb air weapon at range is not recommended by me even if the Range Card reads:-
Even at 100 yards, that’s an awful lot of useful “SMACK” left.
That is provided you can hit the target within an inch group bearing in mind the tremendous fall in trajectory and the very real possibility of tumbling lead.
Is this a purely academic article?
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for us preppers) there is plenty of historical and current medical proof let alone media coverage that shows air weapons kill.
It’s also a well known fact that I love to rub it in that power isn’t everything when you’ve got accuracy!