Air rifle pellets of varying calibres air rifle shop Surplus Store Crawley

Here at Surplus Store, we have a number of air pistols online, which will use different calibres of ammunition, as well as different varieties of these calibres. Below, we have taken a look at the different calibres and variations of these to try and help you to make a decision of which ammo you would want to use in your air pistol or air rifle:

.177 Calibre

.177 is the more popular calibre out of the two, and is also slightly smaller. Because of this, it is fired at a higher velocity, which results in a flatter trajectory. If the trajectory of the pellet is flatter, it will result in higher accuracy shooting at longer distances.

Current air rifles can reach velocities of between 1000 – 1250 FPS for those that require a FAC, with most non certificated rifles topping out at about 800 FPS. If you are looking to take part in target shooting, or small pest control, the .177 is probably going to be the best choice. With a wide range of .177’s, you will also be spoilt for choice!

.22 Calibre

The .22 calibre pellets have a large increase in both weight and size over the .177, which means it has the highest knockdown power of the two. However, this means that the .22 does not have the range capabilities of the .177, and is most effective at a distance of around 45-50 yards, depending on which brand of pellet you use. The .22 is better for larger pest control, due to the increased stopping power.

.20 Calibre

The .20 is more common in America, but Europe has started to produce more of them recently. Currently, there is a smaller choice of .20 rifles available on the market, although there are many shooters who consider the .20 calibre to be a good compromise between the .177 and the .22, and hold their own in distance shooting against the .22. They are ideal for general shooting, or for small pest control.

.25 Calibre

Many shooters state that “bigger is better”, with the .25 being the largest calibre of the four. When it was first created, the .25 was being fired from low powered air rifles, where velocities were between 300 to 400 FPS. It wasn’t until the creation of higher powered rifles where the .25 started to show its worth as a calibre, if you were after heavier ammo. The weight of the ammo does make it more difficult at longer distances, but it is formidable at short distances, as long as the rifle can handle it!

The next choice you have is to decide what type of pellet you will use with your air rifle. Again, we have taken a look at the different types below:

Pointed Head

Pointed pellets are designed for maximum penetration within lower and medium powered airguns, but not so well in the higher powered airguns. The lower velocities of the .22 rifle tend to suit pointed pellets better if you are looking for closer groupings with your shots.

Rounded Head

These are great for all-round shooting, due to their aerodynamic properties. They travel through the wind more effectively, and they offer a higher knockdown power than their pointed counterparts. This aerodynamic shape also means they are the best choice for the higher powered rifles, as they are harder hitting in delivery, and will group better at longer distances as well.

Hollow Point

Hollow point pellets allow for maximum impact from all airguns, as it allows for expansion when it hits the target, as long as sufficient velocity is reached. This tends to happen more often in medium and high powered airguns. The downside to hollow point is the fact that due to their hollow nose, they do not group well at longer distances. This is because they tend to get carried more easily by the wind, moving them off course. These pellets are best used at a distance of 20 feet or under.


The Wadcutter, or flat head pellet has long been thought of as being the most accurate pellet design available, and was used for many years exclusively in target shooting competition. However, recent pointed designs have since challenged this notion. The pellets are lightweight, gain maximum velocities, and are usually the pellet of choice for test-firings at factories. The wadcutter is formidable at distances of around 30 feet, and are as effective and efficient as hollowpoints at this range. The flat face cuts a sharp hole in targets, therefore are much more accurate to score in competition. These are ideal for small game, but can lose their accuracy at longer distances, so are suggested for targets under 30 feet.


Photo courtesy of Liftarn, under Creative Commons