Not the tiniest of ammunition, but the all time favorite for small game, the rim fire .22 Long Rifle (LR) has been round for ever. (Well since 1887).
Compared to what I use for hunting which is a simple cheap little air gun pellet weighing in at only 21 grains and through my UK legal Air Rifle it develops just 11.7 Ft.lbs
Ballistic coefficients (BC)?
For beginners BC is its shape, it’s aerodynamics, and how it slows down from air drag. With a high BC, it cuts though the air like a hot knife through butter, low BC and the air acts like molasses slowing the projectile REALLY FAST.
The 22 LR 40 grain soft lead, 1040 fps, BC is 0.169 (Internet figures, not great, not bad)
The 21 grain air pellet at 500 fps, BC is 0.034 Chrono’d, (Absolutely DIRE)
Trajectory of both over 50 yards (zeroed at 50 yards)?
Green is the little air gun pellet
So what’s the appeal of the obviously underpowered air gun pellet over the .22 LR? It can’t be trajectory, it can’t be “smack”, could it be accuracy?
As I used to shoot 97-99/100 prone at 25 yards with a .22 Martini-Henry Target Rifle, I can’t really fault the 22 LR in any way.
Having said that, 93-97/100 prone on the same range with the air gun pellet in my PCP (Pre-Charged Pneumatic) it is pretty even.
In inches terms that 0.12″. Not really worrying about is it?
Accuracy is about the same just low on the “smack down power”.
Although do you really need the power?
I regularly go out rabbiting and pot the occasional hare should one be stupid enough to come into range. That’s my main prey with grey squirrel, wood-pigeon, collared dove, and if I’m really lucky, a duck.
My maximum effective kill range is only 35 to 40 yards.
At that range 8.75 ft lb of smack which is tiny when compared to the 22 LR (86 ft lb).
Yet I often come home with a net full of eatables. Can’t be power.
The advantage for me (UK-based), is I don’t need a license for a firearm, I can use my air gun in an urban environment safely when pest controlling, and with the moderator on the front, it’s virtually silent.
Does the US hunting world bother to moderate (silence) their 22’s? I’ve got it in my mind that moderators are banned in some US states, is that still right? Certainly in the UK a moderator (silencer) is a listed accessory on a firearms license.
Not on an air gun though.
My absolute maximum range is pathetic too.
|Initial Angle:||25.0 deg||Terminal Angle:||57.5 deg|
|Terminal Range:||406.7 yd||Terminal Velocity:||119.1 ft/s|
|Terminal Time:||7.7 s||Terminal Energy:||0.7 ft lbs|
I’m thinking you’ve got to be a lot more careful as the little 22 LR slug can carry way over a mile.
|Initial Angle:||35.0 deg||Terminal Angle:||66.1 deg|
|Terminal Range:||1980.0 yd||Terminal Velocity:||281.3 ft/s|
|Terminal Time:||20.6 s||Terminal Energy:||7.0 ft•lbs|
(Both data worked out using JBM Ballistics)
Why is that important?
Because we all miss occasionally and when shooting upwards into trees, the bullet or pellet just keeps on going till it does its ICBM bit and falls to Earth. It only takes 163 fps (2.3ft lb) to penetrate skin and 213 fps (4 ft lb) to break bone (Belkin, 1978)
OUCH! Your little 22 LR slug is WAY over that. Mine? Perhaps a bruise.
Boy, have you .22 LR users got to be careful about back drop when shooting.
Whilst talking about shooting into trees.
Most anyone who shoots tree game must have had a ricochet or two because even if you penetrate the prey, green wood has a nasty knack of returning the bullet or pellet to the sender with little reduction of power.
I’ve had a few pellets come back at me one taking out my safety glasses frame (never go out without wearing a pair) and putting a nice “dent” into my eyebrow.
I know a 22 LR coming back will do serious damage as I’ve seen what one did to a fellow pest controller when it came back off two trees and dug into his knee. He’s still limping on cold days, that’s 6 years ago.
Ummm. So I can’t shoot fox (which I trap) or deer with my little air rifle and its pathetic power and range. Not looking good for me is it?
Yet, for safety, covert operation, cheapness of ammunition, licensing, and putting the listed food on my table, I’m quite happy with my little 22 Air Pellet.
Now I sit back and wait for all you US shooters to (figuratively I hope) shoot me down. (Probably noisily, expensively, and with tales of rabbit shoots with whole pick up trucks full of bunnies).
There again I can only eat one bunny at a sitting and my freezer has plenty of jointed rabbit waiting time in the stew pot.