Gary Wain and a selection of pellets attempt to defy the efforts of the wind gods
Gary Wain suffers from wind and finds another way to pellet test
Last month, we looked at a selection of .177 pellets and ended with the idea that we would be testing the previously selected pellets at increased distances and examining them in regard to their accuracy, as well as determining the difference of ballistic coefficient and deposited energy.
All my testing is done in real-world situations, and here in rural Lincolnshire, it’s been biblically windy and I can’t help but feel that I’ve somehow provoked the ‘god of wind’. In simple terms, I just wish the wind would drop so I could shoot properly and gather some accurate data, but the wind seems to have other ideas and follows me wherever I go.
This wind velocity makes a huge difference because it was my intention to look at the effects of distance and accuracy on last month’s .177 pellets, but with a wind that could whip up even the heaviest of skirts, I was forced to find another course of action for this month’s testing.
I reflected on my previous sets of gathered data, and then realised that these windy conditions are ideal for examining its effects on the heavier pellets available on the market – after all, the increased mass should be less influenced by the prevailing conditions. To do this, I needed to move from the lighter and flightier .177, over to the larger, heavier and more robust .22, and to facilitate this I’m lucky enough to have a .22 Pulsar on loan from the great team at Daystate.
So, what do I have in store for you pellet heads this month? First up is the Air Arms Field Diabolo. At 16 grains this .22 pellet represents the benchmark example in this group, and it is against this that all others will be measured. Following on, we have the heavier 18gr Field
“if the increased mass, or the hollow point makes for of an impact”
Heavy and this weighs in at 2gr heavier than the standard 16gr, but is the same fairly standard .22 domed pellet.
Next up is the Ultrashock HP – at 16.66gr, this pellet weighs essentially the same as the standard AA Field Diabolo, but has a massively pronounced hollow point cavity. It’ll be interesting to see if the increased mass, or the hollow point makes more of an impact.
The next pellet in the group test is the Dynamic pneumatic Air bullet pellet. This elongated domed pellet weighs in at 20.6gr and is designed primarily for high power, FAC-rated airguns.
The last pellet on test this month is the H&N Pile Driver. I’ve looked at this pellet before, and despite its weighty 30gr presence, we’ve been disappointed with its ability to transfer its energy to the target material. Would all this change with the presence of the chronographs? Or would history repeat itself? I should also point out that I’m aware this pellet is aimed at the FAC end of the air rifle market, but its increased mass is useful for my test purposes.
The test set-up is the same as before, and because of the high wind, I chose to test at 15 metres (ish) because it represents the minimum distance for a shooter likely to encounter quarry, most likely rats, but it’s also the distance at which external influences such as wind won’t play a significant part, and potentially skew the results.
Before I get to the results, it’s worth pointing out that the variance of weights within the test group led to some fairly amusing – and potentially disabling – chronographic results had it not been for the steel baffles made for me by my good friend, Jim Brown. Lloyd at Blackpool Airguns: don’t worry, they have survived to fight another day.
THE LIGHTER SIDE
At the lighter end of the scale, we have the AA Field. At 16gr this pellet represents the norm in regard to .22 domed pellets. In testing, I saw a reduction from 522fps to 351fps, giving an overall result of 171fps. Energy-wise the chronographs recorded a reduction from 9.69 ft.lbs. to 4.37 ft.lbs., a total of 5.02 ft.lbs. lost. This stood as my benchmark for the other pellets.
Having tested the standard AA Field, I thought I’d have a look at the heavier 18gr
“perceptible delay in the noise of the pellet discharging and the impact”
Heavy pellet from Air Arms. As you might imagine, this pellet arrived slower, with an entry velocity of 493fps over the 16gr’s 522fps. This slightly heavier pellet also lost slightly less speed on penetration, with a degradation of 150fps as opposed to the 16gr versions 171fps loss – not a massive amount, but worthy of consideration. When we look at the energy deposited, though, we see that that with a reduction of 5.01 ft.lbs., the Heavy pellet is within 1/100ths of the 16gr pellet, with an energy loss of just 5.01 ft.lbs.
The next pellet in the test was the UltraShock HP. Weighing just 0.66 of a grain more than the AA Field, we were interested to see how well this hollow point made use of its differential form when it impacted the test material and passed through the chronographs. The results we gained showed that the HP surrendered 168fps of speed, and 5.44 ft.lbs. of energy, which does little to separate it from the AA Field pellets that preceded it. Certainly, when we look at the actual clay cavities there is little to separate them, but owing to its shape, it’s unlikely that it will be as accurate over greater ranges as the AA Field
Last up are the H&N Pile Drivers. When compared to the 16gr AA Fields, these 30gr pellets required a hold-over in the region of some 20cm. There was also a perceptible delay in the noise of the rifle discharging and the impact on the clay, and that’s when I could get them to hit the clay. It took quite a few shots to calculate the holdover required, and this is where the steel baffles really earned their keep. As robust as the R2As are, from the significant dint the Pile Driver left in the baffle, I doubt the chronograph would have survived without it. Interestingly, I was able to retrieve the pellet and appreciating that it had impacted steel, there was little deformation to it, other than a slight ‘mushrooming’ of the head. The pellet that eventually made it into the clay recorded a very low entry speed of just 329 fps, with an exit speed of 233fps, giving an overall loss of just 96fps. The energy figures reflected much the same, with an arrival energy of 7.2 ft.lbs., and an exit energy of 3.6 ft.lbs., giving an overall loss of just 3.6 ft.lbs.
Putting the figures to one side for a moment, and examining the clay cavities, we can also see that the lighter pellets left larger cavities, and the heavier pellets slimmer cavities, confirming that less energy has been given up to the surrounding tissue.
Looking forward, I’m hoping that there will be some relatively still air so I can test the accuracy of pellets at longer ranges, as well as examining further the effects that increased distance to target has on energy dissipation.I
Entry wounds, but which pellet caused which?
With the 16gr AA Field, the cavity is greatly expanded.
The Daystate Pulsar in .22 gets the job done nicely.
From 16gr to 30gr, we’ll testing the lot this month.
The spatter is significant, but doesn’t affect the readings.
The Pile Driver put quite a dint in the steel baffle.
This month’s samples.
I’ve got this month’s testing in hand – ‘in hand’ ... get it?
Pile Driver before and after hitting the steel baffle.