Will a .22 Caliber Air Rifle Shoot .177 Caliber Pellets?

.177 caliber pellet

Airguns come in various calibers, with the most common being .177 and .22. These distinct calibers are designed to accommodate pellets of certain sizes. The use of the correct pellet size helps ensure accuracy, safety, and proper function of the airgun.

The question of whether a .22 caliber air rifle can shoot .177 caliber pellets is often debated among airgun enthusiasts.

Based on the caliber size, you might wonder if it is possible to use the smaller .177 pellets in a larger .22 airgun and the answer is no.

The ammo needs to fit perfectly in the barrel of the airgun to ensure it is forcefully propelled when the trigger is pulled. Using a .177 pellet in a .22 air rifle will result in decreased performance and may even cause safety hazards.

In conclusion, it is essential for airgun users to understand the importance of using the correct caliber pellets for their respective air rifles.

Understanding .22 Caliber Air Rifles

.22 caliber air rifles are popular for their increased stopping power and effectiveness in hunting compared to their .177 caliber counterparts. The reason behind this lies in the heavier pellets that .22 caliber air rifles use, resulting in approximately 20-25% more power than .177 caliber air rifles.

The increased weight and size of the .22 caliber pellets make them more suitable for hunting small game such as squirrels, rabbits, and birds, as they deliver a more significant impact on the target. This is because a .22 caliber air rifle can produce a maximum muzzle energy of 22.2 Ft/Lbs, offering better knockdown power than its .177 equivalent.

Despite the higher power, it’s essential to understand that .22 caliber air rifles have a slightly shorter effective range. A typical shooting distance for achieving accuracy with a .22 caliber air rifle is around 45 to 50 yards. Although their pellets might travel further, the accuracy starts decreasing beyond this range.

When it comes to noise, .22 caliber air rifles can emit a more pronounced sound due to the larger pellets and higher energy. However, some models, like the Hatsan air rifles, come equipped with sound suppression systems, making them backyard-friendly and suitable for shooting in more confined environments.

Characteristics of .177 Caliber Pellets

.177 caliber pellets are known for their lightweight and small size. Typically, they weigh about 10 grains and have a diameter of 4.5mm. Due to their lightness, these pellets can travel at higher velocities when compared to their .22 counterparts. This faster speed can lead to a flatter trajectory, which is beneficial for target shooting and competition purposes.

In addition to their smaller size and weight, .177 caliber pellets are generally considered more affordable than .22 caliber pellets. This affordability factor can make them a popular choice for shooters who practice frequently or need to purchase large quantities of pellets.

When it comes to accuracy, .177 caliber pellets can hold their own against the slightly larger .22 pellets. Their high velocity and flatter trajectory make them well-suited for achieving precision in target competitions and small-game hunting. Additionally, the smaller size of .177 pellets allows shooters to easily find a vast selection of air rifle models that can accommodate them.

However, one possible downside to using .177 caliber pellets is that they might lack the penetration power needed for effective pest control or larger game hunting. In such cases, .22 caliber pellets could be a better option due to their increased size and weight, providing better penetration.

Interchangeability of .22 and .177

While both .22 and .177 caliber air rifles are popular choices among airgun enthusiasts, it is essential to understand their differences and limitations. Using the wrong type of pellet in your air rifle might not only lead to inaccurate shots but also damage your airgun.

In general, a .22 caliber air rifle is designed to shoot .22 caliber pellets only. These pellets are larger in size and provide more impact energy, making them an excellent choice for hunting small game. On the other hand, .177 caliber air rifles are designed for .177 caliber pellets, which are smaller, faster, and more suitable for target shooting and plinking.

Though the temptation may arise, it is not advised to use a .177 caliber pellet in a .22 caliber air rifle. Since the pellet is smaller, it might not properly engage the rifling, causing accuracy issues, and even worse, risk damaging the barrel or other components. Furthermore, from a safety perspective, incorrect pellet usage may cause a jam or malfunction, putting the shooter and others at risk.

Conversely, attempting to shoot a .22 caliber pellet in a .177 air rifle is equally discouraged and potentially unsafe. The larger pellet will not fit the barrel, and any attempt to force it inside may result in permanent damage to the airgun and potential harm to the shooter.

To sum it up, always use the appropriate caliber pellets for your air rifle. By doing so, you can ensure optimal performance, accuracy, and safety while enjoying the fun and challenge of airgunning.

Possible Risks and Damages

Using a .22 caliber air rifle to shoot .177 caliber pellets can pose several risks and may result in damage to both the air gun and the operator.

The most apparent risk is the pellet getting lodged inside the barrel due to the significant size difference between .22 and .177 caliber pellets. This blockage could lead to reduced accuracy and possible harm to the rifle’s internal mechanism. In extreme cases, a barrel obstruction may even cause the air gun to malfunction, posing a risk to the shooter’s safety.

Using, using .177 caliber pellets in a .22 caliber air rifle might lead to inconsistent velocities and reduced power. Since the .177 pellets are lighter than their .22 counterparts, they may not produce enough force or resistance when fired, resulting in an inefficient transfer of energy and varying speeds from one shot to another. This inconsistency can translate to unpredictable shot placement and decreased overall performance.

It’s worth noting that air rifles are designed for specific pellet sizes to ensure optimal performance and safety. Using the incorrect pellet size can void warranties and violate the manufacturer’s guidelines. Disregarding these recommendations may lead to a shorter lifespan for the air rifle or even damage to its components.

Using .177 caliber pellets in a .22 caliber air rifle can lead to several risks and damages, jeopardizing both the air gun’s performance and the operator’s safety. It is essential to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and use the recommended pellet size to avoid these issues.

Alternatives to Interchanging Calibers

It’s important to note that a .22 caliber air rifle is not designed to shoot .177 caliber pellets. Attempting to use the wrong caliber of pellets can not only lead to poor performance but also damage the air rifle. However, there are some alternatives for shooters who wish to use different caliber pellets without purchasing a separate air rifle.

One option is to consider a dual-caliber air rifle. These air rifles come with interchangeable barrels, allowing the user to switch between .177 and .22 calibers easily. This not only offers versatility in ammunition choice but also saves space and reduces the need for multiple air rifles. An example of a dual-caliber air rifle is the Beeman Dual-Caliber Air Rifle Combo.

Another alternative is to consider air rifles available in multiple calibers. Some air rifle manufacturers produce the same model in different calibers, making it easier for shooters to find a familiar and comfortable air rifle within their desired caliber range. For example, the Benjamin Marauder is available in .177, .22, and .25 calibers, providing options for those who might already be familiar with the air rifle’s mechanics and enjoy its features.

Investing in an adjustable air rifle is another option. Some air rifles allow adjustment of power levels, providing the opportunity to fine-tune the performance based on the caliber of pellets being used. This can help to increase accuracy and consistency, making the shooting experience more enjoyable and successful.

Finally, evaluating and comparing the pros and cons of different calibers may help to determine which caliber best fits a shooter’s needs. The .177 caliber pellets are generally lighter, faster, and better suited for target shooting, while .22 caliber pellets are heavier, more stable, and ideal for hunting. By understanding the differences between the calibers and recognizing personal preferences and objectives, a shooter can be more confident in their air rifle and pellet choice.

While a .22 caliber air rifle cannot shoot .177 caliber pellets, several alternatives can cater to different shooting preferences without compromising the air rifle’s performance or longevity. Consider dual-caliber air rifles, multiple caliber options from the same manufacturer, adjustable air rifles, and understanding the benefits of each caliber to make an informed decision about the best air rifle and pellet selection.

Factors to Consider Before Using a Different Caliber

When considering using a .22 caliber air rifle to shoot .177 caliber pellets, it’s important to take a few factors into consideration. Understanding the differences between these two calibers and their intended uses will help ensure the best shooting experience and keep your air rifle functioning properly.

Pellet Size and Compatibility

One of the main factors to consider is the size difference between .22 and .177 caliber pellets. These two calibers have distinct dimensions, and using the wrong-sized pellet can lead to jams and other issues in your air rifle. Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations on pellet size for your specific rifle to ensure compatibility.

Power and Velocity

Another aspect to keep in mind is the difference in power and velocity between these two calibers. .22 caliber pellets have greater mass, which means they tend to have more knockdown power, making them suitable for hunting small game. On the other hand, .177 caliber pellets have faster velocities, making them more accurate over varied ranges and popular among target shooters.

Trajectory and Ballistics

The ballistics of .22 and .177 caliber pellets differ due to their size and weight. The trajectory of a .177 pellet is generally flatter, making it easier to hit targets at various distances. On the other hand, .22 pellets have a more pronounced trajectory, which can make shooting accurately at different ranges more challenging. Knowing your intended use and shooting preferences will help determine the best caliber for your needs.

Legal Considerations

It’s also important to be aware of any legal restrictions regarding the use of .22 or .177 caliber air rifles in your area. Some regions may have specific regulations on the use of airguns for hunting or target shooting. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these regulations to avoid any potential legal issues.

In summary, it’s essential to carefully consider the factors discussed above before attempting to use .177 caliber pellets in a .22 caliber air rifle. Always consult your air rifle’s manufacturer specifications and adhere to local regulations to ensure a safe and enjoyable shooting experience.


In the world of air rifles, it’s essential to understand the compatibility and differences between various calibers. When it comes to .22 caliber air rifles and .177 caliber pellets, the answer to whether a .22 air rifle can shoot .177 caliber pellets is simple: no, it cannot. These two calibers have distinct specifications and are not interchangeable.

Using the correct caliber of pellets is crucial for accuracy, performance, and safety. A .177 pellet is lighter and tends to have a faster velocity, which might be affected more by wind in outdoor shooting conditions. On the other hand, a .22 caliber pellet is heavier and often delivers greater power due to its increased mass.

Different calibers are designed to cater to unique shooting applications and preferences. For instance, someone interested in target shooting might choose a .177 caliber air rifle, while someone looking to control pests or small game hunting might opt for a .22 caliber air rifle. It’s essential to select the appropriate caliber based on one’s shooting needs and preferences.

Using .177 caliber pellets in a .22 caliber air rifle may result in jamming or other performance issues, potentially causing damage to the airgun and posing a safety risk. It’s essential to stick to the manufacturer’s recommendations for caliber compatibility and to always use the appropriate caliber pellets in your airgun.

In summary, a .22 caliber air rifle is not designed to shoot .177 caliber pellets, and attempting to do so may have consequences for both the airgun and the shooter. Be mindful of the distinct characteristics and benefits of various calibers, and always use the proper ammunition for your air rifle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can .22 air rifles shoot .177 pellets?

No, .22 air rifles are specifically designed for .22 caliber pellets and cannot accommodate .177 pellets. Similarly, .177 air rifles should only be used with .177 caliber pellets. Mixing the calibers can lead to poor performance, accuracy issues, and potential damage to the air rifle.

What’s the difference between .177 and .22 calibers?

The main difference between the .177 and .22 calibers is the size and weight of the pellets. .177 caliber pellets are smaller and lighter, making them suitable for faster velocities and target shooting. In contrast, .22 caliber pellets are larger and heavier, which generally makes them more suitable for hunting small game. The two calibers also have different energy outputs and trajectories, which can affect their performance in various shooting applications.

Which caliber is better for hunting?

The .22 caliber is generally considered to be better for hunting small game because it has more mass, resulting in better energy transfer and often more stopping power. However, the .177 caliber can still be effective for hunting smaller pests if shot placement is precise. Ultimately, the choice between .177 and .22 depends on the specific hunting situation, the type of game being hunted, and personal preference.

Which caliber is ideal for target shooting?

The .177 caliber is the ideal choice for target shooting, particularly in 10-meter competitions. This is because international 10-meter shooting organizations only accept the .177 caliber. The smaller and lighter pellets allow for flatter trajectories and higher velocities, which can lead to better accuracy at shorter distances.

What type of ammunition do .22 air rifles use?

.22 air rifles use .22 caliber pellets, which come in various shapes and configurations, such as domed, pointed, hollow point, and wadcutter. The choice of pellet type depends on the intended use of the air rifle, such as hunting, target shooting, or plinking. Certain air rifles might also perform better with specific pellet types, so it’s essential to experiment and find the most suitable pellets for your .22 air rifle.

How far can a .22 caliber pellet travel?

The maximum distance a .22 caliber pellet can travel varies depending on factors like the air rifle’s power, pellet weight, and environmental conditions. However, most .22 caliber air rifles have an effective range of around 50 to 60 yards for hunting and target shooting. Beyond this range, the pellet’s energy and accuracy decrease, making it less effective for both hunting and target shooting. Keep in mind that safety should always be a priority when shooting, and never shoot in a direction where there’s a risk of injuring someone or damaging property.


Colby has been involved in the outdoors for over 30 years. Part of his problem is that instead of focusing on one specific outdoor hobby he spreads his time over a multitude of outdoor adventures. This has provided him the opportunity to have varied experiences across a broad spectrum of outdoor activities. Jack Outdoors has provided him an outlet to share the things he has learned as well as his successes and failures.

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