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What the Caliber And Air Source Mean In Selection Of An Air Rifle

If you have a passion for shooting and want to pursue it professionally, or even on a regular recreational basis, it is very important that you have the necessary knowledge for it. From the handling of the gun to the actual use of it, from the buying of the gun to the storing of the same, there are many peculiar and specific aspects involved when dealing with guns. The first and the most important thing that one needs to know about is the various types of guns which are present in the market, and which gun, among all the available models, is best suited for their purpose. Therefore, if you only want a gun for the shooting of BBs, then you may want to go in for a simple BB gun, while if you are buying the gun for hunting purposes, then you cannot compromise with anything less powerful than a hunting rifle.


Once this decision has been made, the next step involves the buying of that gun. While picking out an air gun, there are two very important factors which one needs to keep in mind and they are:


  • Caliber of the gun
  • Air Source

Let us try to understand both these features of an air rifle in detail.



caliber and air source

In the case of air rifles, there are basically three different types of calibers which are present.

  • Small caliber – These rifles or pistols basically have a caliber of .177 and are supposed to extremely light and fast. The velocity of these rifles can touch the highest point of 1250 fps. These small caliber air rifles are best suited for those shooters who are looking for rifles for the purposes of target practicing, competitions or small hunting games.


  • Medium Caliber – The .20 caliber guns are considered to be medium caliber rifles and the velocity of medium caliber guns are in the range of 850 fps and 1000 fps. These medium caliber guns are amongst the least popular air rifles. The biggest problem associated with the use of these guns is that it is very difficult to find the pellets and other shooting equipments for this gun.


  • Large Caliber – .22 caliber guns are the largest caliber gun in the air rifle segments. They have the capability to shoot the heaviest pellets present in the markets. The velocities of these guns fall within the range if 650 fps and 1250 fps. Hunters and shooter looking for practice guns, usually opt for these guns.



Air Source


This is a very important consideration which one needs to bear in mind when buying an air gun or rifle. The answer to this problem may seem simple, which is to buy a gun with the largest canister and that too, that canister which has been pre-filled. These canisters or air source can be effective in the initial usage of the gun and can even manage to produce some really high velocities in the first few shots, but as the level of air in the canister decrease, the velocity of the gun will also decrease, thus reducing the power of the gun. You may argue here that when the air level reduces, one should get it refilled and restore the velocity and power of the gun. But the fact is that refilling of these large canisters is not easy. In many cases, one would need compressors and pumps in order to refill the canister.


Another common air source which is used in many air rifles is that of springs. However, the problem with this air source is that it is not able to produce velocities as high as those produced by a canister of compressed air. The pump system is, therefore, considered to be the best source of sir for these guns. It does not involve the hassles associated with canisters and yet it is able to produce velocity levels which are petty higher. No matter which air source you opt for in your gun, it is always a good idea to first test the rifle at varying temperatures and sees the effects of these temperature variations on the pellet velocity and the capacity of the gun to fire multiple rounds. Therefore, in order to truly understand the effectiveness of a gun, one needs to closely observe the rifle cooling and air temperatures and their subsequent effect of velocity if the pellets and the capacity of the gun to fire multiple rounds.


There is no hard and fast rule which states that an air rifle with a particular caliber and a specific air source will be the best gun for all shooters. At the end of the day, both these factors affect the power and velocity of the gun, and therefore, based on your personal requirements for power and velocity, you can pick a gun with the corresponding caliber and air source.

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