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Discussion on muzzle energy: This is the term with which to determine the relative power of one rifle over another.
Most folks think you need to go faster and faster to gain energy. Actually, you can push more weight, shed alittle velocity, and gain a whole lot of impact energy. The trade off is unequal. You get more power than you loose in velocity, when you push a heavier projectile.
The short version of the formula most popularly used to determine muzzle energy is as follows :
Velocity squared, times projectile weight (in grains) divided by 450240 = muzzle energy (in foot pounds).
Let me give you a visual example. I take a fourteen pound bowling ball and toss it to you. If you catch it at all, it will likely knock you off your feet. The velocity was minimal. The weight of the projectile at that velocity produced enough foot pounds of energy to knock you flat.
The same applies to air gun projectiles. Here's a couple of examples and a quick public perception test. Which of these two examples is the more powerful gun?
1. The 14.3 grain pellet shoots at 1000 fps.
2. The 29.6 grain pellet shoots at 750 fps.
Answer and review on velocity page
25 caliber ... up to 125 ft. lbs. (Tundra XXV Mach I)
32 caliber ... up to 250 ft. lbs. (Tundra and/or Prairie Class 32)
45 caliber ... up to 550 ft. lbs (Tundra Magnum, Nitro Express Magnum)
The discussion regards Magnum Class PCP Rifles. Therefore, we begin with 22 caliber. This is a very "air efficient" caliber. If you feel you want a rifle of approx. 25-50 ft. lbs. of muzzle energy, this might be a fine choice for you. You can reach out about 50-60 yards with good power for small game. Your pellet choices top out at about 26 grains and this limits your upper energy potential.
Next step up would be the 25 caliber. You'll have pellets available up to about 35 grains. You can project somewhat more energy (up to about 80 ft lbs). You can reach out alittle farther - say 75 yards for your small game. With custom Slugs (Pelletman makes many different weights), you can project more energy. My Tundra Class platform models will go to 125 ft. lbs. in 25 caliber with heavy rounds.
Moving to 32 caliber opens up an entire new world. You've given up nothing as far as accuracy. You've moved to longer targets, larger game, and are capable of projecting significant energy. The 32 Savannah shoots it's 100 grain bullet @ 900 fps for 180 ft. lbs. You can easily, and accurately target shoot at 100 yards. There are boxes of .314 lead pistol bullets available and you can cast inexpensive commercial molds as well as custom molds. Yes, you use more air. But then - it's "air" - right? "Paying the fiddler" with "air" is a pretty fine trade off I think. The Tundra and Prairie Class models can boost power to 250 ft. lbs. in 32 caliber and yet still offer "detuning" for lower power output. Pelletman casts Barnes custom slugs for my 32 rifles starting from 62 grains.
More? We'll move to 45 caliber. From 200 ft. lbs. = (145 grain lead ball @ 800 fps) up to 500 ft. lbs. = (350 grain slug @ 800+ fps), this is the place to be. You can very accurately place significant lead on target. Your "light weight" round will be 150 grains. Your "heavy weight" round can be over 400 grains. You may shoot cheap production bullets or dial in even better potential with a Barnes custom mold which has produced results such as you see throughout this site. Pelletman will supply Barnes customers with custom Barnes 45 caliber designed slugs. I shoot MOA @ 100 yards with my heavy 45 caliber rifles before shipping each one. Tundra Class 45's are tunable from approx. 120 ft. lbs. to over 500 ft. lbs.
More? Now you are getting silly . . . 56 caliber pcp rifles are available for some long range target work. These are all one-of-a-kind units.
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