Pel­let So­lu­tion

Tim Fin­ley rec­om­mends wash­ing pel­lets to elim­i­nate one as­pect of zero shift

Airgun World - - Contents -

When you find that you still have prob­lems ze­ro­ing af­ter look­ing at the ri­fle and the scope and are sure that there is not a fault with ei­ther, then the last op­tion is to look more deeply at the pel­lets you are us­ing. You will never be able to zero a gun with poor pel­lets, so check the skirts and heads for dam­age, and I don’t mean to sound pa­tro­n­is­ing, but al­ways use the same tin of pel­lets. Don’t chop and change tins, or even types of pel­lets, when you are at­tempt­ing to set up a gun. If in doubt, weigh some pel­lets be­fore­hand and sort into batches to en­sure that they are out of the equa­tion, and not a fac­tor if you do have any prob­lems get­ting the gun to shoot in the same place. Pel­let dam­age will cause a loss of zero, some­thing that we tend to over­look in this day and age of mag­a­zine-fed ri­fles.

WEIGH A SE­LEC­TION

Load­ing pel­lets singly al­lows the shooter to in­spect the heads and skirts of the pel­lets be­fore they are any­where near the gun, but mag­a­zines tend to be filled back at home, and as quickly as pos­si­ble, so you can get out shoot­ing. Slow down this process to en­sure that each pel­let is okay be­fore you put it in the mag­a­zine – and when you are fit­ting the mag­a­zine to the gun watch that there isn’t any mis­align­ment which can dam­age the pel­lets.

If you are hav­ing prob­lem with groups open­ing up, or you’re not be­ing able to zero, it may be a bad batch of pel­lets, so weigh a good se­lec­tion of them – I al­ways do a min­i­mum of 50 – to see if there are any ma­jor changes in the weight. Man­u­fac­tur­ers do some­times have pro­duc­tion prob­lems, and we have seen pel­lets in the same tin vary­ing by as much as 3 grains. They of­ten also change the spec­i­fi­ca­tion of a pel­let with­out telling the cus­tomer, al­ter­ing the skirt thick­ness or head pro­file in the same make of pel­let. I keep a ref­er­ence batch of pel­lets so that I can see if there have been any changes to the lat­est ones.

WASH YOUR PEL­LETS

Do you shoot your pel­lets straight from the tin or box? Top FT and HFT shoot­ers don’t do this; they wash pel­lets, as a bare min­i­mum, and then re-lu­bri­cate. Pel­lets come with a coat­ing be­cause the man­u­fac­tur­ing process re­quires some form of lu­bri­ca­tion, but they come with tiny flecks of lead or al­loy on them

as well, and this all needs to be re­moved. Think about it – if you weigh the pel­lets with­out wash­ing them, you won’t get their true weight be­cause of all the sur­plus ma­te­rial and lu­bri­cant.

You need a seal­able plas­tic food con­tainer with a lid and prefer­ably a rounded bot­tom. The pel­lets go in the bot­tom with a dash of wash­ing-up de­ter­gent to re­move the fac­tory-ap­plied lu­bri­ca­tion. This is not de­signed to make the pel­let more ac­cu­rate when fired through a bar­rel; pri­mar­ily, it has been de­signed to fa­cil­i­tate the ac­tual man­u­fac­tur­ing process of the pel­lets. Cover the pel­lets with some hot wa­ter from the tap – not boil­ing – then put the lid on, and swirl the con­tainer around gen­tly for a few min­utes. Pour the con­tents into a sieve, and run clean, cold wa­ter over the pel­lets as they are swirled around in­side the sieve.

SIEVE TIPS

I have found that a metal mesh sieve is bet­ter at re­mov­ing the loose par­ti­cles so you don’t want too fine a sieve mesh. Do not to go through this process over the kitchen sink; lead is a toxic sub­stance and it should never be al­lowed to con­tam­i­nate food prepa­ra­tion sur­faces. Once washed, it’s time to dry them, so I tip the pel­lets out onto a pile of dis­pos­able kitchen towel, en­velop it in my cupped hands, and give it a shake to re­move ex­cess wa­ter. I then tip the pel­lets out onto a fresh pile of kitchen roll placed on a tray, and then spread them out. The tray is placed next to a ra­di­a­tor to air-dry the pel­lets, and then, once dry, the next part of the process is sort­ing and grad­ing.

How­ever, if the pel­lets are not the is­sue, then it must be the gun/ scope. Please do not for­get to blame your­self; some­times you just can’t hit a barn door from in­side the barn! If you feel off it, then stop, pack up, clean the gun, lock it up and try again to­mor­row.

Fi­nally, there are also en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors through­out the year that can af­fect your zero shift­ing; the colder, denser air in win­ter will cause your pel­lets to drop lower than in sum­mer. There is al­ways a so­lu­tion to zero prob­lems. It’s just a case of work­ing through all as­pects of the gun/scope/pel­lets sce­nario ¬– and in­deed your­self – un­til you find it.

The kit you need for wash­ing.

This pel­let weighs 7.9 grains.

Pel­lets go in the tub.

You need to re-lu­bri­cate af­ter wash­ing.

Rinse off the de­ter­gent in a metal sieve.

Add a lit­tle oil.

Back into the box.

Tip into a pile of kitchen tow­els.

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