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Airgun Pellets – There’s A Huge Choice!

Airgunners in the US are very lucky because we have a huge range of airgun pellets to choose from!

There’s actually 388 – yes three hundred and eighty eight – different airgun pellet SKUs * available at the time of this HAM survey – and more are being added every month.

As you would expect, the number of airgun pellet SKUs per caliber tells us a lot about what’s being shot by US air gunners.

Airgun Pellet Choice
.177 caliber is most popular.

No surprises here!

More than half the airgun pellet SKUs – actually 54% – are in .177 caliber. That’s 208 different pellet choices for use in .177 caliber airguns, as we can see from the chart above.

It’s likely that the proportion of individual pellets actually sold in .177 cal is actually much higher than 54%. This is because .177 caliber is the usual choice for plinking, target practice and other high volume airgun shooting disciplines.

Also, .177 caliber airgun pellets are the easiest to find. Most big box sporting goods stores will carry the vast majority of their pellet SKUs in .177 caliber, with few – or even none – in .22 cal.

This could mean that two, three or even five times more .177 caliber airgun pellets are fired every year in the US than .22 cal – the next most popular caliber.

.22 caliber comes second.

135 airgun pellet SKUs are available in .22 caliber. That’s about 35%. Actually, this is a surprisingly high proportion, in HAM’s opinion.

The majority of .22 cal airgun pellet SKUs are for domed, pointed or hollow point shapes. These, of course, are most generally chosen for airgun hunting. By comparison, there are many more wadcutter – flat fronted – pellet SKUs available in .177 cal as these are generally selected for plinking and target practice.

As less pellets in an airgun hunt are fired than plinker and target shooters use in the same time, .22 cal pellet sales will be lower. And then, there are some States, cities and other localities that impose legal restrictions on the use of airguns above .177 caliber.

Given these factors limiting .22 cal pellet sales, we have to conclude that the airgun industry is making a great effort to support .22 airgun pellet shooters.

.25 caliber. For hunting only.

Of course, .25 cal is a hunting only caliber for airguns. Proof is given in the 34 pellet SKUs that are available. All are pointed, domed or hollow point. There are no wadcutter pellets available in .25 caliber as no-one is going to shoot targets or go plinking with the powerful, heavy air rifles in this caliber.

.20 caliber. A specialist choice.

Just 11 SKUs of airgun pellets are found in .20 cal. With use of this caliber being largely confined to “true believers” and those shooting Sheridan multi-pump air rifles, this also is not a surprise. Very few airguns are currently manufactured in .20 caliber.

But where to find these pellets? You can try these three major online dealers, they all carry large, and different stocks:

Airguns of Arizona
Airgun Depot
Pyramyd Air Airgun Pellets

Next time, HAM’s airgun pellet survey will report on prices. How much do airgun pellets cost, on average?


* Note that a SKU is the abbreviation for a Stock Keeping Unit. That means one type or pack size of a product. The same type of pellets in the same caliber packed in two different quantities – say 250 pellets and 500 pellets – counts as two different SKUs.