That .25 caliber "pellet" towards the right looks awfully similar to a standard .22LR projectile...
Rimfire rifles chambered in the ubiquitous .22LR caliber have roamed the earth nearly as long as dinosaurs and my Toyota Sequoia.
There are good reasons for that. Rounds are cheap. They have enough power to satisfy most plinking desires and to make mincemeat of tins of SPAM. They’re accurate. Their noise level is a fraction of that of a Megadeth reunion concert.
You know what? It seems to me that those attributes apply to airguns as well.
So, are today’s modern airguns the new .22LR? Perhaps they are. New air gunners stuck on comparing air rifles to Daisy Red Ryders now have a plethora of powerful choices in all sorts of action types. Centerfire aficionados who want the ability to crank off five, ten, or even more shots now can choose from powerful and accurate PCP rifles.
So how do modern air rifles really compare to the indomitable rimfire? To answer that question accurately we can’t just look at velocity or foot-pounds, we have to consider the whole picture. Hang on to your shorts, it's math time.
Looking at velocity, energy, and momentum metrics, this AirForce Condor SS
.25 caliber came very close to matching the performance of a .22 rifle.
Comparing velocity is easy. Let’s look at .22 rimfire first. Using Federal Target grade 40-grain .22LR ammo, I measured velocity 15 feet from the muzzle at an average of 1,177 feet per second when fired from a Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 rifle.
As for airguns, velocity depends on the caliber, pellet weight and the specific airgun in use. Here are a few examples I’ve tested recently.
At a glance, some of the air rifle and pellet combinations offer velocities in the same zip code as the venerable .22 rimfire. Of course, that doesn’t tell the whole story because .177 and .22 caliber pellets weigh far less than their rimfire counterparts. Most .22LR projectiles weigh either 38 or 40 grains while a handful of specialty loads may be lighter or heavier.
I started my informal gel testing with a small airgun block. That was dumb as the .25 caliber pellets sailed right through and out the back.
What happens if we consider the unit of measure language spoken by air power aficionados everywhere, foot-pounds of energy? Using some of the same pellet and rifle combinations, we can calculate the following.