Most of us don’t have access to major plots of unbroken woods for squirrel hunting. The days are gone when youth and adults could grab the .22 Long Rifle gun and shoot without concern for a farmhouse or residential addition up to two miles away. However, .22 LR is a classic squirrel gun. So how do we get similar performance to LR rimfire without the dangers of a bullet that can go over the hill and through the woods for a long, long way? The .22 caliber air rifle is the best answer!
Most .22 caliber Long Rifle bullets weigh from 26- to the common 40-grains, and produce from 740- to 1,650 feet per second velocities at the muzzle. Foot pounds of energy ranges from around 45 to 190 at the muzzle. Let’s compare that to the Gamo Swarm Magnum air rifle.
The Gamo Swarm Magnum shoots a super-lightweight Platinum PBA pellet at 1,300 feet per second at the muzzle. That pellet weighs in at 9.7 grains and is not considered a hunting pellet. If we look at a prime hunting pellet like the Rocket, which weighs 16.2-grains, the Swarm Magnum still propels the projectile at more than 1,000 feet per second and produces 36 foot pounds of energy.
Another preferred small-game hunting pellet is the Red Fire. This pellet weighs 15.43-grains and the Swarm Magnum is pushing it at close to 1,100 feet per second. With this weight and velocity, it produces about 41 foot pounds of energy.These air rifle numbers are in the middle of the .22 Long Rifle numbers…at the muzzle. Sure, a high-quality 40-grain Long Rifle bullet may still be pushing 67 foot pounds at 200 yards, but when’s the last time you shot a squirrel two football fields away? What most of us need to be concerned with is ballistics out to 40 yards, and the .22 caliber air rifle, especially the Gamo Swarm Magnum or new Fusion Gen2, are well outfitted to do that job.