Se­lect Few

Gary Wain turns his pel­let-test­ing at­ten­tion to a se­lect group of .177s

Airgun World - - Contents -

Gary Wain chooses four of the most pop­u­lar .177 pel­lets to test

Acou­ple of months ago I looked at a va­ri­ety of .177 pel­lets, which, al­though hav­ing dif­fer­ing head de­signs, all came in at around 8.6gr, give or take. I chose this weight be­cause it rep­re­sents the av­er­age weight of pel­lets in the .177 class. I tested them at about 20m for both their bal­lis­tic char­ac­ter­is­tics as well as their ac­cu­racy, and the wad­cut­ter came out on top in re­gard to bal­lis­tic dam­age at the shorter range; the Bis­leys were not far be­hind, a frac­tion ahead of the Di­abo­los, and the Hor­nets brought up the rear. At this short range, there was lit­tle to split the pel­lets for ac­cu­racy – any one of them is a vi­able choice for a head shot at 20m, or so. How­ever, this test didn’t of­fer any data on how the pel­lets would per­form at in­creased dis­tances, so this month I’ve in­creased the dis­tance to a good 40m. The pel­lets I’m us­ing this month are; the very pop­u­lar 8.4gr Air Arms Di­abolo Field, Bis­ley Su­per­fields, the H&N Hor­net and JSB Premium Ex­acts.

On the face of it, the Su­per­field 8.5gr pel­let looks like a domed pel­let, but peer a lit­tle closer and you’ll see that it has a small in­den­ta­tion in the front of the dome, along with a pro­nounced lip as the dome ta­pers to the skirt. In pre­vi­ous test­ing, this pel­let per­formed rea­son­ably well, and cer­tainly at 20m it came in not far be­hind the wad­cut­ters. The metal, pointy-tipped H&N Hor­net tended to over­pen­e­trate the bal­lis­tic ma­te­rial and leave a fairly in­con­se­quen­tial bal­lis­tic core, and the JSB Premium Ex­act wad­cut­ter pel­lets, that weigh in at an ‘ex­act’ 8.26gr pro­duced the largest cav­i­ties at 20m, but how would they all de­port them­selves at this months in­creased dis­tance?

As usual, I en­tered into this round try­ing not to have too many pre­con­ceived ideas about how the pel­lets would per­form. That said, we’re all hu­man, and I ex­pected the Air Arms Di­ab­los to be ac­cu­rate and pro­duce a rea­son­able cav­ity; the Hor­nets to be quite ac­cu­rate, but pro­duce a nar­row cav­ity; the Bis­leys to be widely in­ac­cu­rate ow­ing to their hol­low point con­fig­u­ra­tion, but if I could get them to hit the clay they’d give me a bet­ter re­sult than the AA or the Hor­nets – and the wad­cut­ter JSB Premium Ex­acts to leave a dev­as­tat­ing cav­ity, but be quite in­ac­cu­rate at the greater dis­tance.


As be­fore, I’m us­ing a 40mm-thick block of ter­ra­cotta wax heated to 20ºC. The wax would be mounted be­tween a set of R2a chrono­graphs, kindly loaned to me by Black­pool Air Ri­fles. The first chrono­graph mea­sures the ve­loc­ity and en­ergy of the pel­let as it ar­rived at the tar­get ma­te­rial, and the sec­ond unit records the ve­loc­ity and en­ergy of the pel­let af­ter it had passed through the clay. By sub­tract­ing the sec­ond set of fig­ures from the first I would be able to cal­cu­late both the amount of ve­loc­ity and en­ergy lost within the tar­get. Strange as it might seem, what we’re ac­tu­ally look­ing for is the pel­let that loses more ve­loc­ity and more en­ergy, be­cause by this vari­ant we can de­ter­mine that these fac­tors have been sur­ren­dered to the clay, or if you’re out hunt­ing, the in­tended quarry.

The sec­ond fac­tor is the ac­cu­racy of the pel­lets at the in­creased range. To as­cer­tain this, I’d be fir­ing five pel­lets from each of the

All about the same weight, but which one is best?

I might only be shoot­ing tar­gets, but it’s best to be warm.

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