posted on Oct, 17 2010 @ 04:49 AM
I can see an air rifle as a viable survival tool where availability of ammo was low or non-existent for a fire arm. The stealth side is debatable. To
use an air rifle quiet enough to be "stealthy" it is going to also be "wimpy" The loud crack comes from expanding gas just like a firearm. A quiet
crack comes from less powerful expansion. As far as ammo availability you could stock pile tens of thousands of rounds of .177 pellets, and BBs fairly
easily, and inexpensively. So the Pros to me are extremely small storage space for ammo. Fairly quiet, and can be powerful enough to take small game.
The Cons are that it is not silent, and not a viable self defense weapon. Most powerful air guns are also single shot.
I am holding in my left hand a Ruger 597 with the heavy barrel, scope, and fancy cool laminated thumbhole stock. In my right an old Crossman pump air
rifle. The Crossman is only a little bit lighter than the Ruger anecdotally. Also take into account the Ruger has a magazine with 30 rounds in it, and
the Crossman has only 1 pellet in it.
The Ruger is firing CCI Stingers, and I have chrono'd them at ~1550fps they are 36gr hollow point. No mistaking that the .22 is louder than the air
rifle by a considerable margin with these hot loads, but the air rifle is only producing ~600fps with 12 pumps. It gets mighty hard to pump after
about 8, and I'm not a small guy. I'm not sure what the pellets weigh, but I'm going to guess 10-12gr. I can hardly hear the pellets impact my
backstop, however the .22s make a gratifying thump. The water-in-a-beer-can test results in no water jumping up out of the can when shot with a
pellet(indicative of little energy transfer.) The .22s pop the water up about an inch and a half. For referrence a 9mm pops up about 5", a .45 ACP
about 8", and .44 Mag. the can just explodes. You can guess my preferrence. This is a good indicator of hydrodstatic shock, or energy transfer. The
ability of your projectile to tear stuff up around the area of impact, and not just in the path of travel. The pellet basically only does damage in
its path of travel so shot placement would be tantamount. At least with the .22 you have a little splatter effect, not much but a little. The .22 also
holds 30 rds, and It's a semi-auto action.
I can put 30 little chuncks of lead in a 3" hole at 50 yards in about 10 seconds with the 597 so it would be a viable self defense option at range.
Even if you don't think a .22 round would do enough damage try taking 5 in your chest before you can say "Ow! stop!" So for a little more weight, a
little more pack room(not much more I can fit 200 .22LRs in my cargo pocket.), and more sound you can have a weapon capable of taking small game,
medium game, and even something a little bigger in a pinch. Plus if you miss with the first shot you have 29 more ready to go at the flick of the
I think I will stock up on some more .177 pellets though. The air rifle is not unviable it would just be my back up plan if I ran out of everything
else. I wouldn't go hunting with it by choice if dinner depended on it unless I had no other choice. I think a .22 short, or a long in sub-sonic
would not be much louder than the air rifle, but deliver more energy to the target.