Gary Wain

Back on pel­let-test­ing duty, Gary’s mission this month is the hol­low point

Airgun World - - Contents -

Last month we looked at the bal­lis­tic ef­fi­ciency of spire point pel­lets. The con­sen­sus was that they might all look and be priced sim­i­larly, but by ‘eck there were mas­sive, and we mean mas­sive, dif­fer­ences in the way they per­formed. This vari­ance was felt not only in their bal­lis­tic de­for­ma­tion char­ac­ter­is­tics, but also in their ac­cu­racy. We did achieve some worth­while data, though, and men­tioned in clos­ing that we were keen to see how spire points would com­pare with hol­low points. Well, fel­low shoot­ers, I’m not the sort to make idle prom­ises (un­less it re­lates to how much of the house­work I’m will­ing to do), so true to form, and much to Mrs. Wain’s an­noy­ance, I am fol­low­ing through on this par­tic­u­lar prom­ise.


Hav­ing es­tab­lished that not all spire point pel­lets are cre­ated equal, what will we make of hol­low points? The first thing I had to come to terms with was the sheer num­ber of hol­low point va­ri­eties that are avail­able. I thought this would be a rel­a­tively sim­ple task, I mean, how many types of hol­low point pel­let can there be? I’ll tell you how many, thou­sands of them! Maybe I’m ex­ag­ger­at­ing a lit­tle, but on this oc­ca­sion I had to take a lit­tle guid­ance from the team at Pel­let Per­fect to en­able me to hone my short­list.


If you’re a reg­u­lar reader of th­ese ar­ti­cles, by now you’ll know the for­mat. What you don’t per­haps ap­pre­ci­ate is the amount of work that goes into the prepa­ra­tion nec­es­sary to shoot the bal­lis­tic ma­te­rial and then take plas­ter casts of it. Now don’t go get­ting your vi­olins out; at the end of the day, it’s great fun. That said, up to now I’ve usu­ally shot four, or, six pel­lets per test. For this test though I would need to be shoot­ing nine pel­lets. The other thing you don’t per­haps re­alise is that when you heat the ter­ra­cotta wax ma­te­rial in the oven, you in­vari­ably get a cer­tain amount of wastage. As it hap­pens, the wastage looks some­thing akin to a bak­ing-tray-re­lated fae­cal ac­ci­dent. Re­gard­less of that, I had to face facts and or­der some more ter­ra­cotta wax. Now, this stuff isn’t cheap. If you want to make two blocks, you’re look­ing at about £30. At the end of the day though, it’s worth it be­cause when heated to 20 de­grees, it be­comes the per­fect rep­re­sen­ta­tion of tis­sue.

So armed with a double dose of ter­ra­cotta wax I set about test­ing.


For this month’s ar­ti­cle, we’d be shoot­ing eight, .177 cal­i­bre hol­low points, and as you’ll see, a ninth, but more of that later. Hav­ing ea­gerly awaited my par­cel from Pel­let Per­fect I fi­nally took de­liv­ery of this month’s test batch.

As usual, mov­ing from the light­est to the heav­i­est we have: The RWS Su­per H-Point. This 6.9 grain pel­let looks like it started life as a domed pel­let, which has then had a hol­low put into it. The hol­low is quite small so it will be in­ter­est­ing to see if it de­forms. Next up, it’s the turn of the Nor­ica Killer. This sub­tly-named, 7.3 grain, bar­rel-shaped pel­let has a cross head with a hol­low point re­lieved into it. The third pel­let in the test is the 7.87 grain BSA In­ter­cep­tor. This pel­let is quite sim­i­lar to the Su­per H-Ppoint, save that its hol­low is a bit big­ger; in the­ory at least, this should cre­ate bet­ter de­for­ma­tion and cav­i­ta­tion. The SMK Vic­tory Im­plode tips the scales at 8.2 grains, and rep­re­sents the clas­sic hol­low-point shape, with an even big­ger hol­low than the oth­ers. The Bis­ley Su­per­field comes in at 8.5 grains and re­ally does re­sem­ble a domed pel­let, with the small­est of hol­lows. Mov­ing up to the heavy hit­ters we then tested the 8.8 grain Bee­man Crow Mag. This pel­let has a deep hol­low with a very thin lip, which should de­form well and cause a great deal of dam­age.

If we were the sus­pi­cious type, we’d say that the 8.8 grain Bis­ley Pest Con­trol came from the same fac­tory as the Bee­man. The two pel­lets weigh ex­actly the same, and look iden­ti­cal. Last of the hol­low points is the 9.26 grain H&N Hunter Ex­treme. This pel­let has a hol­low point that, for want of bet­ter words, looks ex­actly like the top of a Phillips screw.


If you’ve been pay­ing at­ten­tion, you’ll have no­ticed that we men­tioned a ninth pel­let, but have been a bit elu­sive as to its iden­tity. To put you out of your col­lec­tive mis­ery, and to negate any le­gal claims for stress com­pen­sa­tion, it’s best I in­form you that it is, in fact, an Air Arms Di­a­bolo Field, with the ex­cep­tion that on this oc­ca­sion I’ve loaded it back­wards into the breech of my Daystate Pul­sar. We’ve done this, be­cause a few of my shoot­ing bud­dies and I have long won­dered what the ef­fect would be of fir­ing a pel­let back­wards. Would the ul­ti­mate hol­low point ‘tail first’ con­fig­u­ra­tion leave a big cav­ity? Would the pel­let turn around in flight? Would it even hit the tar­get? Well, you’re about to find out; but first, best we look at the rest of the re­sults to see if we have a win­ner.


It has to be said that on the whole we were im­pressed with the re­sults. At the bot­tom end of the scale, though, we have the 7.9 grain Nor­ica Killer, and the Bis­ley Su­per­field. If you re­mem­ber, I was a lit­tle con­cerned that the Su­per­field didn’t have enough of a hol­low point to per­mit ex­pan­sion, and in­deed I was proved cor­rect. The Su­per­field was the only pel­let in the test group to pass all the way through the test ma­te­rial and only man­aged a max­i­mum ex­pan­sion cav­ity of 24mm. The Nor­ica Killer didn’t pass through the ma­te­rial, but did pen­e­trate 83mm, and gave a sim­i­lar cav­ity of just 23mm.


We then come to the iden­ti­cally shaped and weighted Bis­ley Pest Con­trol, and Bee­man Crow Mag. Th­ese pel­lets left cav­i­ties of 26mm and 26.5mm re­spec­tively, with both pel­lets also ex­hibit­ing a

near-iden­ti­cal curve to their bal­lis­tic trace in­side the ter­ra­cotta wax. Now this might seem ob­vi­ous to you, but it’s also quite re­as­sur­ing to me as the chap test­ing th­ese pel­lets be­cause they were each fired into dif­fer­ent batches of wax from the oven, and in fact, on two dif­fer­ent days. Let’s just say I was con­fi­dent that my test­ing was as sci­en­tific as it could be, but hav­ing th­ese two pel­lets con­firm the uni­for­mity of the test me­dia made me feel some­what as­sured of the data’s va­lid­ity.


Mov­ing on up the scale we come to RWS Su­per H-Point. As the light­est pel­let in the test you’d maybe ex­pect it to make the big­gest cav­ity. It does though ap­pear that what we have learned so far with re­gard to domed pel­lets doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily hold true when it comes to hol­low points be­cause this 6.9 grain pel­let only came 4th in the test, with a cav­ity of 28mm. So, to the top three: In third place we have the 7.87 grain BSA In­ter­cep­tor, with a max­i­mum cav­ity of 31mm. In sec­ond place there’s the heav­i­est pel­let in the test, the 9.26 grain H&N Hunter Ex­treme with a cav­ity of 32mm, and in first place we have the SMK Vic­tory Im­plode which at 8.2 grains man­aged a max­i­mum cav­ity of 36mm.

Fi­nally though, we come to the Di­abo­los fired back­wards. Ac­cept­ing that this is a ques­tion­able thing to do to your beloved ri­fle, let alone a £1500 Daystate Pul­sar, we thought we’d an­swer the ques­tion once and for all, and the ver­dict is ba­si­cally, don’t bother. If you’re think­ing that load­ing your pel­lets back­wards as the ‘ul­ti­mate hol­low point’ is a good idea then you can for­get it. Not only are they wildly in­ac­cu­rate, but the re­sults are also unim­pres­sive, with a max­i­mum cav­ity of just 21mm. The only in­ter­est­ing bit of data we gar­nered is that the pel­lets seem to re­tain their re­verse flight and nei­ther tum­ble nor twist around to the cor­rect ori­en­ta­tion dur­ing down­range travel. We’d put their poor per­for­mance down to the lack of a good seal min­imis­ing their muz­zle ve­loc­ity and re­sul­tant ki­netic en­ergy on im­pact.


So what do we make of th­ese re­sults? Well, first of all, we have a clear win­ner in the form of the SMK Vic­tory Im­plode. Un­der­pin­ning this re­sult we have to say that none of the hol­low points were par­tic­u­larly im­pres­sive with re­gard to ac­cu­racy, the Nor­ica Killers be­ing par­tic­u­larly dis­as­trous be­cause it took me a good three goes to get a pel­let to im­pact cor­rectly on the wax. All be­ing well, next month I hope to look at some of the more un­usual and ‘lead-free’ al­ter­na­tives on the mar­ket, as well as per­haps a few blasts from the past. As al­ways. If you’d like me to look at a par­tic­u­lar as­pect of test­ing, do please write in and let us know.

Above: Yep, you read that right.

Above: More wax means I can shoot four sam­ples at a time.

Above: Lov­ing the Daystate. The least pel­let-picky ri­fle I’ve ever had.

Above: All hol­low points, but which will come out on top?

Above: Cream-filled choco­late fudge any­one….

Above: You have no idea how hard it was to nar­row down the selection.

Above: Be pre­pared for a lit­tle wastage.

Above: Hav­ing lost a fair bit of wax, it was time to re­plen­ish the stocks.

Above: Did they all de­form?

Above: Crack­ing open the last four test sam­ples.

Above: Ev­ery block tells a story.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.