Wind Di­rec­tion

Gary Wain and a se­lec­tion of pel­lets at­tempt to defy the ef­forts of the wind gods

Airgun World - - Contents -

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.


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.

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