by B.B. Pelletier
There are hundreds of different pellets on the market, but only a handful deliver accuracy in nearly all air rifles. One of these is the H&N Baracuda, a heavy, domed pellet made of soft lead. It was initially created for the Weihrauch HW EL54 Barakuda ether-injected air rifle because lesser pellets were blown apart or severely deformed when the ether gas exploded. Haendler and Natermann is a German firm with a reputation for making some of the most uniform pellets in the world, and their Baracuda gained great favor when spring guns rose to – and exceeded – the power of the HW EL54. Perhaps that was why Beeman Precision Airguns had it packaged under their label as the Kodiak.
In all calibers, the Kodiak is a heavy pellet, though far from the heaviest. In .20 caliber, it’s 13.3 grains and the lightest in relation to other pellets. In all three other calibers, it is among the heavier pellets. It’s best known in .22 and .177 calibers, where its performance in the hunting field and in field target (.177 only) is legend.
What a Kodiak WILL do
In rifles of higher power, the Kodiak is nearly always one of the three best (most accurate) pellets. In some individual rifles, it is the best. There is no way of knowing this unless you test it in a rifle at long range. Short-range tests (out to 15 yards) do not reveal the full performance of a pellet, but after 30 yards it should start showing what it’s got. In .177 I would use it in a gun that has a muzzle velocity of at least 800 f.p.s. (but not shooting the Kodiak) and in .22 look for at least 700 f.p.s.
What a Kodiak WILL NOT do
Kodiaks are not made for air pistols or rifles with low and medium power. The R7 is medium power – don’t use Kodiaks. The RWS Diana P5 Magnum is an air pistol – again, don’t use Kodiaks. If you wonder if your rifle (or pistol) can handle Kodiaks, shoot some groups at 30 yards or farther and compare them to the best you’ve shot with the gun. That’s the only way to know for sure, but I think you’ll discover I’ve told you the truth.
Kodiaks in CO2 guns
There are a few CO2 rifles powerful enough to handle Kodiaks at mid-range – the Crosman 2260, the Benjamin AS392T and similar guns. The others, from the 1077 on down, are not up to this pellet at anything but close range. In some repeaters, you may have feeding problems because the Kodiak is a longer pellet.
Kodiaks in PCPs
Though they weren’t designed for PCPs, they might as well have been, because PCPs really bring out everything the Kodiak has to offer to the top. Because American PCPs are more powerful than springers or CO2 guns, they are the perfect place for the Kodiak to shine. The heavy weight develops higher power, and the uniformity really helps accuracy.
I’ve never seen any advantage to the Kodiak Match, so I buy whichever pellet is cheaper at the moment. As I write this, straight Beeman Kodiaks are cheaper than any Baracuda, though Baracuda Match are the cheapest in that brand. This changes all the time, so keep an eye out for it.
This is a pellet to try if your gun meets the criteria.