.177 Air Rifle AKA BB/Pellet Gun
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I just purchased a Chinese Spring Piston .177 cal Air Rifle for $40 and he threw in a box of 250 pellets. I owned one of these once almost 15 years ago. Currently I want this gun as a hunt near the BOV gun as its a bit heavy for packing. Back then I wanted it for target practice because I had been scoring only marksman on military M16 qualifications around 23 of 40 shots. I practiced my marksmanship fundamentals with this pellet gun in the back yard for a few months just prior to the next qualification. That next time I scored sharp shooter which I think was a score of 35 of 40 shots. That was almost expert which was 36 to 40 of 40 shots.
I wanted this gun in particular because it comes with front adjusting sights and rear adjusting sights for both windage and elevation. On this gun I just purchased it appears that both front and rear sights adjust for windage and elevation though I know for sure the rear sight adjust that way. The rear sight also had 8 quick settings for varying distances which adjust its height.
The ballistics on a .177 varies quit a lot from the high powered .223 at 2500 fps. I believe the .177 exits the mussel at 900 to 1200 fps on most air guns of this caliber. I chronographed this gun and it shoots at 420fps. I’m not totally sure that it may not need servicing which might increase the fps. It doesn’t matter how many fps the gun shoots, marksmanship fundamentals remain the same. For rifle this is Position, Aim, Breathing and Trigger Squeeze. For pistols it is Stance, Grip, Aim and Trigger Squeeze.
The above clickable image is an Excel file that I wanted to share. This chart shows a silhouette size for targets 6′ tall(human size) for varying distances. 25 up to 500 yards. It gives you meters for comparison sake. It shows you in yards, feet and inches how tall and wide the target silhouette must be in order to simulate a sighting view size for targets at various distances. The only value you change on this is the yards to the real target. This example is set to 20 yards. So we see that at 20 yards your silhouette must be 5 12/16 tall by 2 14/16 wide to simulate a human at a distance of 250 yards. In other words in your sight view that silhouette will appear to be the same size as a human at 250 yards.
This is good, it gives us a way to practice for longer distances even though we only have 20 yards of back yard to shoot in. Of course the ballistics are not the same for higher powered rifles at longer distances, but we still get to practice all the fundamentals which include aiming and sighting. As we can see from the chart above we have a 2″dia. kill zone from 3yrds to 25yrds. The pellet will rise to roughly 1/2″ above line of sight at 13 to 14yrds. It also drops to 2″ below line of sight at 28yrds. Keeping this in mind after you have ranged your target(game) would be important.
On the spreadsheet above, you may however set that distance to 10 yards, 20 yard, 25 yards, 30 yards, 50 yards or whatever you like and it will give you appropriate silhouette sizes. How did I come up with the formulas? Ever hear of Angular Size Calculations? Angular Size Calculator And they have a formula (Angular size in degrees = (size * 57.29) / simulated distance). This is in column C on the spreadsheet. I then have to divide that by 2 (in other columns we multiply back by 2 to get full size) to figure 1/2 the tallness of the silhouette because the next math deals with trigonometry of right triangles. The formula is (Opposite side=tangent(angle)*Adjacent Side) which is in column E. Adjacent side in this case is the simulated distance. I believe I also had to covert degrees to radians in the formula as well with a spreadsheet function radians().
I made this for simulating rifle distances(ranges). However there is no reason it could not be made to work for pistol distances as well. So that you could emulate a pistol shot at 10 yards, 15 yards, 20 yards, 25 yards, 35 yards, up to whatever, 50 yards, 100 yards. Also It could be changed from 2 yard tall target to a smaller animal sized target other than a human, such as a rabbit or hog.I did this on page 2 and page 3 in the worksheet download above. Instead of 2 yards change the formulas to use 2/3 yard or 1/3 yard. Though the height to width ratio would be inverted meaning the animal is most likely twice as wide as tall instead of twice as tall as wide. Could also work up a tab for vehicular size objects such as trucks or armor.
I have mounted a good $50 BSA scope on this rifle now. It is 4 power by 32mm lens. 1″ tube. Has parallax adjustments from 7.5 to 100yrds. Has focus adjustments. Comes with metal threaded end caps. Also comes with a duplex reticle as such. Has elevation and windage turret adjustments with 1/4 MOA precision. The inner box is usually 30″x30″ at 100 yrds. So it can be used for ranging targets. You may also want to read my article Range Finding with mil dot, duplex reticle and using parallax and MOA
Have fun and I hope you enjoyed this article and the spreadsheet. I intend to update it when I buy more .177 rifles and pistols.
On my first hunt with the pellet gun I sit down almost at the top of a hill below some bluffs near the property where my camper is at now. I waited about 20 minutes being very still. I was mostly camouflaged except for my blue jeans which probably looked similar to the large rock I was sitting on anyway. My eye glasses were visible but that was about it.
In front of me I heard nothing but caught sight of some movement. It was a Grey Squirrel that moved onto a rock at ground level about 30 to 40 feet from me. As I lifted and moved the gun to get a bead on him He froze and look my direction. I thought “good squirrel hold very still while I shoot you”. I put the 4 power scope on him center mass and fired. He then moved very fast while chattering very loudly to a small tree in front of him. Then up that tree. And then did a frantic leap to a larger tree that was behind him. He went around to the back side opposite of me and dissipated. With a semi-auto 22 I have been able to get in another shot. But with this single shot pellet gun I didn’t have time to reload a pellet before he got behind the big tree.
I went over to the big tree and saw a split at the base large enough for a squirrel to get into. So I guess this was his den tree. I may have hit him or maybe only close. Even if I hit him it might not have hurt him much if any. I now think I’d had better chance of a kill if I aimed at his head instead of his body. With the pellet gun one must snipe the game.
Zeroing the new BSA scope. I began to shoot the gun to zero with the new scope. It was shooting all over the place, something was wrong. Sometimes groups would be together and sometimes not. Adjustments to windage or elevation didn’t seem to take effect or even moved the wrong direction. So I inspected the scope mount to see if it was not secure. I found it was secure but the scope rail was not. There was a rivet in the back of the scope rail that was loose. Gary suggested I have someone take a mig or tig rig and tack it. So I called my brother Mike who has shops with those rigs. In the photo’s below I show where we tacked it. The first tack weld on the rivet did not solve the problem. There was a ring the rivet was attached too that was moving around the housing. We added a tack to the ring and yet there was still a small bit of movement. Last we tacked the rail against the housing and then it was solid.
I began to zero it again and it was quite a ways off in both directions. Like 1.5 feet or so. Gary said we may be able to shim the scope mount rings with cardboard. Its my fault but when we welded it we eyeballed the alignment of the scope rail with the barrel. If we can’t get it zeroed then I may have to take a thin disk wheel and cut the welds and then find a better way to align it, then re-tack weld it.