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Today’s high caliber air rifles are more powerful and accurate than ever before. In fact, some air guns are powerful enough to take hunt larger animals. While these rifles do have their advantages, there are some drawbacks that you need to consider too.

Before we discuss the pros and cons, let’s first define what a high caliber rifle is. The following are considered high caliber:

  • .58
  • .50
  • .45
  • .357


There are many advantages to investing in a high caliber air rifle.

More Powerful

Air rifles with a higher caliber are more powerful than low caliber rifles. It takes more energy to power a high caliber bullet, so the impact is much greater. Large caliber air rifles have more muzzle energy (or Ft. Lbs. of Energy), but lower FPS. Generally speaking, the higher the Ft. Lbs. of Energy, the more knock down power the pellet will have when it hits the target.

Hunt Larger Game

All of that extra power that comes along with high caliber rifles allows you to hunt larger game. Can you hunt bears with this type of rifle? We wouldn’t recommend it. But you can hunt boar, coyote and in some cases, small deer. If you’re a hunter, this may make air rifles more appealing. They’re quieter too, which is a major advantage over a traditional firearm.

Easier to Hit the Target

With a larger caliber pellet, you’ll find it much easier to hit your target – providing you’re within an appropriate range. If you’re hunting, say, a squirrel with a .22 caliber air rifle, you really need to get a head shot to be successful. Because the pellet is so much smaller, it’s easy to miss pests and small game. But a larger caliber at a closer range will hit your target with ease and kill it faster.


Just as there are advantages to high caliber rifles, there are some disadvantages to consider too.

Move Slower

The higher the caliber, the slower the rifle will be. If you’re doing target shooting or shooting in a competition, high caliber rifles are not a suitable option. Because the pellets are larger, they’re slower moving.

More Expensive

High caliber pellets aren’t always easy to find, and they’re typically more expensive than common caliber pellets. You may need to special order your pellets online or travel far distances to find a shop that carries the caliber you’re looking for. This can be inconvenient if you plan a spur of the moment hunt and run out of pellets.

Limited Types Available

Not every type of air rifle is suitable for high caliber pellets. Larger calibers are generally found with PCP guns. If you’re not a fan of PCP rifles, this may be a deal breaker for you.

High caliber rifles have their advantages and disadvantages, and their time and place. They’re slower, but more powerful; have a greater impact, but are more expensive. They’re not suitable for every occasion, but if you’re hunting larger game, a high caliber rifle is the only option.