Reply To: .177 vs. .22 hunting at a fixed energy level: any real difference?
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At a fixed energy level: One of the most accurate springers I own is my Model 36 in .177. I just love that little rifle. Sweet to shoot, accurate, and deadly on squirrels out to about 40 yards if I do my part. Mine shoots H&N FTT at 850 fps for about 14 fpe. If I put my second zero at 37 yards and set my kill zone to the size of a dime my point blanch range is 10 yards to 42 yards. So I don’t have to estimate range so long as I know how far is too far. If I had the same gun in .22 shooting the same pellet in .22 at the same energy level, that pellet would be leaving the muzzle at about 655 fps or basically 200 fps slower. Set up with the same zero constraints in chairgun the point blanch range for that Model 36 in .22 runs from 9 yards to 33 yards with the far zero at 29 yards. If we consider the time of flight for the two pellets we see that the TOF for the .177 to 42 yards is 0.163 seconds and the TOF for the .22 to 33 yards is 0.163. The .22 has 1.41″ wind drift at 42 yards and the .177 has 1.55″ at 42 yards. This is why the conventional wisdom elects the .177 over the .22 for hunting when you are limited to a fixed energy level. Really it is pretty good reasoning.
If we are allowed to relax the “fixed energy level” constraint the world changes rather dramatically. Never-the-less there will always be a place for the light weight, middle power, spring air rifle. There are some niches which can not be filled by that magnum springer or PCP shooting bowling balls at 900 fps.