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The .25 airgun calibre performance

How does it perform out rabbiting? Bruce Potts explains.

.25 calibre air rifle

Q: I often go out rabbiting and am considering getting a new .25 air rifle. Does this calibre have enough hitting power for going after long-range rabbits? (Read Bruce Potts on the Harper Classic .25 HW90 in use for rats and pigeons.)

A: The .25 airgun calibre is actually not new. It was a very popular calibre for smooth-bored airguns, such as the Gem and Britannia, produced just before and after the start of the last century. BSA made air rifles in .25 calibre before settling for the .22 as the standard sporting calibre.

However regardless of what air rifle you use, you should spend as much as you can afford on a good telescopic sight, which will give you the best set up for rabbiting. (Read our list of the best airgun scopes.)

rats around pheasant feeder

The .25 calibre is useful for ratting in barns

.25 air rifle heavyweight

The .25 is too heavy to use in air rifles producing muzzle energies within the British legal limit of 12ft/lb.

The trajectory would not be flat enough at normal air rifle ranges, though it is ideal for short-range use such as rat shooting in barns. (Read more on ratting with air rifles.)

If you obtain a firearms certificate for a high-powered air rifle, then either a pre-charged pneumatic rifle firing a heavy 30- or so grain pellet or a spring-powered rifle using a lighter 18- to 20- grain pellet would make a very efficient hunting tool. Most gunshops store .25 pellets weighing between 18 and 31 grains

You might also like to read what are the best air rifles for shooting rabbits.

How can I reduce the noise my air rifle makes?

Q) I have an Air Ranger FAC 40ft/lb with an MTC Viper 6-24 x 56 by its side. It is a winning combination, but noisy. Daystate told me to use a sound moderator and said it could make a new shroud, less the baffles, making it 5in shorter overall. This would allow me to add a sound moderator to maintain the original length. I bought an Air Stream 111, as advised, and this has reduced the noise by a quarter, but the rifle still makes a loud crack. Are there any sound moderators that could reduce the noise even more?

A) As your air rifle is firing a pellet that is producing a muzzle energy of around 40ft/lb, the pellet velocity at the muzzle must be in excess of the speed of sound, ie 1,115fps at sea level. This supersonic pellet is producing the loud “crack” that you are experiencing.

  • The Air Stream 111 sound moderator has eliminated the muzzle report caused by the compressed air, which is propelling the pellet, hitting the air as the pellet exits the muzzle.
  • The supersonic speed of the pellet is producing the loud crack.
  • The only way you can eliminate this crack is to reduce the velocity of the pellet to subsonic.

I would not be concerned about the crack, which, though very audible to you, would be completely inaudible to any live quarry that you hit. The pellet would hit it before the crack was heard. However, if you miss, the quarry will hear the crack as you do.

This article was first published in 2014 and has been updated.