View Full Version : Air rifle vs. .22lr

May 25, 2006, 02:46 PM
A friend and I had and argument about this in a hunting for survival situation. I own a lot of .22 rifles and pistols and I was about ready to purchase a AR-7 survival rifle to add to my collection. My Friend hates rimfires and argued that in a survival situation a high powered air rifle will take the same small game as a .22 rifle, and you may be able to salvage the pellet to reuse again. I hunted squirrel with a .22 but nothing bigger, and I admit as a kid I have taken out a squirrel with a CO2 BB gun, so it is possible for the small stuff, but do you guys think they are almost equal?

May 25, 2006, 03:39 PM
No, I think the .22 is far more powerful - longer range & more killing power on slightly larger rodentia/birds. A powerful springer airgun would work on most small game, IF you can get precisely accurate headshots, but not *nearly* as reliable from a body shot. The only conceivable advantage is if you were going to be somehow limited in ammo amount - the pellets would be lighter and more compact to carry than .22s. But still, .22s are so small and light, not to mention plentiful, that's there's no way that you couldn't obtain & stash enough on your person or in a hideout to get you through the survival scenario, with any amount of pre-planning at all.

May 25, 2006, 03:42 PM
For 'survival' a .410 shotgun might beat both the .22 rim and the 22 air rifle... A little combo 22/410 or 22/20 might be the ticket! :cool:

May 25, 2006, 04:01 PM
If I had to chose, I'd opt for the .22. Simply put, more FPS and more projectile mass. Even for survival, the idea of having to either carry around a bunch of CO2 cartidges or giving 15 good pumps on a nice air rifle per shot would get old fast, and outweigh the pro's of ammo reusability. I'd rather carry a stinkload of .22lr rounds and not have to worry about single-loading a high-powered air rifle, because I assume your friend isn't talking about a Daisy repeater.

May 25, 2006, 04:07 PM
Been there, done that, I feel the .223 is lacking compared to the good old 30-06 but I have several .223s and I like the "Boom" and the end result concidering hunting or paper targets! Try it, you'll like it!

May 25, 2006, 04:30 PM
I've killed a few squirrels with slingshots and pebbles, doesn't mean I'm gonna dich my guns in favor of a bag of rocks....

May 25, 2006, 04:37 PM
Just about every animal in North American has been killed with a .22 in the past. I don't think an air rifle can make the same claim. I've taken lots of game animals with a .22 that I would never consider using an air rifle on. If you want to try to live on rats, squirrels, frogs and the occasional rabbit, an airgun might get you by. If you'd like a chance at anything bigger, better make it at least a .22.
Another thing to think about is the relative size of the rifles. I've got 22's that are much smaller than high power air rifles. Compare the AR-7 you were talking about to any of the 1000fps springers. Which would you rather tote around?
In a survival situation you are likely to have to defend yourself. I don't know how much help an air rifle would be for that. You are likely to just upset someone. At least with a .22 you can really piss them off. :D

May 25, 2006, 05:51 PM
Swampdog makes a good point. My Gamo 440 w/ scope weighs 3 times what an AR-7 does. .22 LR wins hands down to me.

May 25, 2006, 07:33 PM
Just about every animal in North American has been killed with a .22 in the past. I don't think an air rifle can make the same claim.

My thoughts exactly. I rather have a .22lr rifle against a pack coyotes or wild dogs instead of an .22 springer air rifle. Against a big bear...both are useless, but at least with a .22lr you can hope it dies of a slow death from infection days after it eat you. I was waiting for a hunter on this forum that my friend was right...I'm glad I check.

A little combo 22/410 or 22/20 might be the ticket!

a springfield M-6 scout is a single shot .410 and .22lr combo that folds down to just a little bigger than the ar-7. I'm sort of getting into foldable or collapseable longguns (I already have a Kel-tec Sub2K), so that is on the list.

May 25, 2006, 09:18 PM
Air rifle vs 22 RF? The other day I had a snapping turtle crawl up along my house to hang out for a while. It didn't leave for a couple days and I decided to shoot it with a pump up 22 air rifle (Sheridan). First shot through the shell, barely had any effect. Next shot in the head and it still didn't die.... decided to just let it lie for a couple hours and see what it did....came back out of the house and it was gone.... maybe a dog got it or it crawled away. Don't know. The 22LR had considerable more power than a typical air rifle. It would have been dead after the first shot with the 22LR. I just didn't want to make all the noise with the 22 LR.

May 25, 2006, 09:50 PM
A very high-powered conventional air rifle in .22 caliber will launch a 15 grain pellet around 700fps providing about 16ft lbs of kinetic energy at the muzzle. Conventional pellets are very poor projectiles and the velocity bleeds off very rapidly. 400-500 yards downrange the pellet is considered to be harmless. Small game can be taken out to about 35-45 yards if the shooter is very proficient and can make head shots. Body shots, even at closer distances can result in lost animals.

A typical 22LR bullet weighs about 40 grains and leaves the muzzle around 1100fps for around 107ft lbs of kinetic energy at the muzzle. The bullet is a pretty decent projectile and will be dangerous out to a mile or more. Small game (such as squirrels) can be taken with body shots at distances primarily limited by the shooter's ability.

There is a world of difference between even a very powerful conventional airgun and a .22LR rifle. The short range of the air rifle is a considerable advantage in crowded areas while the .22LR has a huge advantage in range and power.

Re-using pellets is not really feasible. Even if they are not damaged upon impact, the skirt is typically deformed by the blast of air that sends them on their way.

All that said, I think it makes sense to have an airgun. Pellets are cheap. You can store a LOT of them in a very small space and they never go bad. I suppose you could even cast little lead balls from recovered pellets if things got really bad.

May 25, 2006, 10:56 PM
.22lr all the way. As stated even .25 cal air rifles dont match the power.

Much more killing power IMO.

May 28, 2006, 11:54 AM
what about bigbore airguns?

such as Quackenbush 50 caliber Bandit with Power Modifications, over 500ft lbs!!!:eek:
they use these airguns to hunt elks,deers and wild hogs.;)

May 28, 2006, 12:11 PM
Well OK, yes the custom PCP airguns are far more powerful, but precisely because they are PCP, they are about the worst possible choice for the survival scenario posed, seeing as how you'd have to lug around some scuba tanks with you on your survival mission.

May 28, 2006, 05:17 PM
Yeah, the PCP airguns are why all of my comments were specifically referenced to "conventional" airguns. There are manual pumps available to charge the PCP airguns. They require a lot of determination and perseverance from what I understand and they're not particularly cheap.

The PCP airguns are roughly equivalent to blackpowder rifles in terms of performance. There's a practical limit on velocity so you have to make up for it with large projectiles if you want more power. That means pronounced trajectories. When you start getting into this power range and using more bullet-like projectiles, you lose all of the benefits of airguns. A high-powered PCP is loud like a firearm and has a much longer dangerous range than a conventional airgun.

May 28, 2006, 05:50 PM
Some of the break barrel airguns shoot pretty fast (1000 FPS) but with only a 10 grain pellet. Compare that to the same velocity .22 LR with a 40 grain projectile, and there is a major difference. However, in the very long term (If I were forced to infinitely live in a survival situation kind of thing), it would be nice to have the pellet gun because you can carry hundreds of pellets easily, compared to .22's. That's because with the .22's, most weight and size comes from the casing, which in an airgun is you... you are providing the power to launch the projectile.

But for what you want, a little combo .410/.22 would be great.

May 28, 2006, 06:56 PM
A good single cock .22 cal air rifle can muster about 27 ft/lbs of E ,and though not as quiet as a .22 CB @ 32 ft/lbs the air rifle can offten be more accurate. The energy of a CCI stinger is around 180-190 ft/lbs the .22 LR seems much more versitile to me, with it's ability to take game at a greater distance.

June 1, 2006, 10:19 AM
You can get nearly the same results as the above poster noted, between a .22 air rifle and .22CB... but you can also eschew the .22CB for a .22 short, or a .22 long, or subsonic LR, standard LR, hi-velocity loads... there's an entire world of versatility available, from ~20 grain powderless stuff moving at 500fps to the heavy 60 grain SSS loads at 900 or so to the 37gr HV stuff at... can't say off the top of my head, but fast for rimfire.

I gotta say .22 rimfire trumps the airguns. The argument then goes to what *style* .22 rimfire is best, and i gotta say you can make a break-action pretty darned small and light, and tacking a .410 barrel to the bottom is even more natural :-D

June 15, 2006, 04:21 PM
the air rifle is now useless to me. a .22LR can also shoot Aguila colibri's, which are quieter and have more knockdown than the air rifle. also usually cheaper ha!!

June 17, 2006, 01:46 PM
what about bigbore airguns?

such as Quackenbush 50 caliber Bandit with Power Modifications, over 500ft lbs!!!
they use these airguns to hunt elks,deers and wild hogs.

Jeez, it's legal to hunt elk with just 500 ft lbs? That must be like trying to hunt elk with a .45acp pistol.

June 17, 2006, 04:09 PM
i'd like to see someone try an reuse the pellets i shoot from my rws!! at 50 yrds all i can find is small slivers of lead............

June 17, 2006, 04:19 PM
your air rifle is not useless crazylarry... it's just one more means of launching lead down range:cool: ..........................

June 17, 2006, 06:17 PM
I don't think its necessarily that the 22LR has more actual killing power it just has more range. If I had to make a 50yd shot there is no doubt I would take a 22LR rifle over a .177 caliber off the shelf air rifle. In my experience a .177 at close range will kill just about anything that the 22LR will. Pointed pellets are mandatory for long range penetration.

June 17, 2006, 06:38 PM
Wouldn't a few traps and snares along with a "real" gun be better?

June 17, 2006, 07:05 PM
A good single cock .22 cal air rifle can muster about 27 ft/lbs of E There is one single cock, gas piston gun I know of that can match that figure. It's the Beeman Crow Magnum/Theoben Eliminator and it runs about $1000.

There are several rifles that advertise numbers in that neighborhood, but they rarely live up to it when there's a chronograph about. ;)

The top end metal spring guns in .22 caliber are more likely to have energy numbers around the low twenties ft/lb range.Jeez, it's legal to hunt elk with just 500 ft lbs? That must be like trying to hunt elk with a .45acp pistol.More like hunting one with a traditional black-powder rifle. There can be legality issues--for example it's not legal to hunt ANY game animals (including squirrels and game birds) in Texas with an airgun--regardless of the power level.

June 26, 2006, 02:55 AM
Wharf rat shooting. Big, mama rat, with .22 950 fps high quality air rifle shot.
22 short, 6-8 inches of rat, and, dead rat.