How Far Can An Air Rifle Shoot?

Air rifles are known to be less powerful versions of gunpowder firearms, which means they cannot shoot as far. But is this true? Find out below.

What is the Range of An Air Rifle?

Air rifles can shoot a varying set of distances, which can be anywhere from 10 yards to over 100 yards. Air rifles are used by competitive shooters and hunters within these distances for sport as well as for taking small game.

What Is The Farthest An Air Rifle Can Shoot?

Generally, an air rifle can shoot up between 85-125 yards before falling to the ground. However, this is not an effective distance for hitting targets. An air rifle’s shooting distance is limited by factors such as caliber size and wind resistance.

Factors Affecting Air Rifle Shooting Distance

Air rifles are designed for specific ranges to allow for hitting targets precisely without losing velocity. There are many factors that can affect the shooting distance of an air rifle, including:

  1. The Rifle’s Power Setting: The power setting of the air rifle can have a significant impact on the shooting distance. A higher power setting will result in a longer shooting distance, while a lower power setting will result in a shorter distance.
  2. Pellet Weight: The weight of the pellet can also impact the shooting distance. Heavier pellets will retain their velocity and energy over a longer distance than lighter pellets. The most common weight for .177 air rifle pellets is around 7.9 grains, while the most common weight for .22 air rifle pellets is around 14.3 grains.
  3. Pellet Shape: The shape of a pellet determines its aerodynamics, which affects how it flies through the air. Round-nosed pellets tend to be less accurate and have a shorter range compared to pointed or dome-shaped pellets, which are more aerodynamic and have a flatter trajectory.
  4. Barrel Length: The length of the barrel can affect the velocity of the pellet and thus the shooting distance. A longer barrel will generally result in a longer shooting distance. The length of an air rifle barrel can vary, but it typically ranges from 10 to 24 inches. The length of the barrel affects the velocity, accuracy, and power of the air rifle, but the optimal length depends on the intended use of the air rifle and personal preferences.
  5. Sight Adjustment: The sight adjustment can also affect the shooting distance. An incorrect sight adjustment can cause the pellet to fly off course, reducing the shooting distance.
  6. Environmental Factors: Environmental factors such as wind, air resistance, temperature, and altitude can affect the shooting distance. These factors can cause the pellet to deviate from its intended path, reducing accuracy and shooting distance.
  7. Shooting Technique: The shooter’s technique, including grip, stance, and trigger control, can also affect the shooting distance. Consistent and proper shooting techniques can improve accuracy and extend the shooting distance.

It is very important to know what range your air rifle is capable of shooting so that you don’t accidentally shoot further than you intended!

Air Gun Ballistics Also Affect Their Range

Some air rifles can shoot pellets or BBs up to a speed of 700 feet per second. For comparison, a high-quality air rifle might have the kinetic energy equivalent of a .22-caliber round from a conventional firearm.

Varying factors contribute to the gun’s ballistic performance. For more information, see our post All About Air Gun Ballistics.

Best Distance For Sighting In An Air Rifle

The best distance to sight in an air rifle varies depending on its type and size. Generally, it is best to sight in an air rifle at a distance of 10 – 25 yards. This will ensure that you are able to accurately hit your target when shooting. If you are using an air rifle for hunting, you will want to sight in your air rifle at a distance that is appropriate for the game you are looking for.

Air Rifle Distance

Tips for sighting in an air rifle include:

  1. Choose a solid and stable shooting bench or rest for your air gun.
  2. Use only the recommended bbs or pellets.
  3. Start with small distances of 10-15 yards and gradually increase.
  4. Shoot at a clear target with a crosshair or bullseye for accurately judging the shots.
  5. Adjust the sights after firing each shot until the pellets are hitting the center of the target.
  6. Continue firing and adjusting the sights until you are satisfied.

Air Rifle Competition Distance

Air rifle competitions shoot at distances of 10, 15, 25, and 50 meters. These distances are established by the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), the governing body for shooting sports. 10 meters is considered to be a challenging distance for air rifle shooting. This distance also helps to maintain safety for indoor shooting and makes judging easier amongst worldwide competitors.

What Is The Range Of A .177 Air Rifle?

.177 is the most common caliber for air rifles. It is also the lightest and smallest, which gives it the longest range. This sized air rifle can reach a distance of 50-90 yards with varying levels of accuracy.

However, the effective range is typically much shorter, around 20-30 yards. Beyond this range, factors such as wind, air resistance, and the ballistic trajectory of the pellet can significantly affect accuracy.

It is important to note that air rifles are typically designed for shooting at closer ranges, and long-range shooting with an air rifle may not be safe or practical.

What Is The Range Of A .22 Air Rifle?

Amongst .177, .20, and .22 caliber air rifles, the .22 caliber air rifle has the shortest range. The .22 pellet is heavier and larger than smaller calibers and has a range of between 40-50 yards with most models. However, with target shooting and small game hunting, getting within this range is not difficult.

A .22 air rifle can shoot much farther than 50 yards, but factors such as wind and air resistance can greatly diminish its accuracy. However, even being inaccurate at these distances, a .22 pellet can still cause physical harm to a person or animal, so this is a safety issue to consider.

.22 Air Rifle Vs. .22 Gunpowder Rifle Shooting Distance

As stated above, a .22 caliber air rifle can fire a round between 40-50 yards with decent accuracy. However, a .22 caliber gunpowder rifle can shoot up to 100 yards and still remain accurate. However, after this distance, it will not be effective at hitting targets or small game. This is where additional factors such as barrel length and wind resistance come into play.

To Close

Air rifles can shoot far enough to be used for target shooting and hunting small game. However, what is most important is firing them safely so as to not cause unnecessary injuries to people, animals, or buildings.

Lawrence the Airgun Ranger