Beeman Pell Seat - does it work?
by B.B. Pelletier
Beeman's Pell Seat is a simple tool, but sometimes very useful.
This question came from Phil last week. He asked if the Beeman Pell Seat was really useful for straightening the skirts of pellets. Since I have personal experience using one, I told him I'd blog the answer.
Yes, to answer the question outright. The Beeman Pell Seat does open the skirts of damaged pellets, providing they haven't been damaged too much. But how does it know when to stop? Better yet, how do YOU know?
You don't HAVE to know!
The beauty of this device is that you don't really have to know how far to go when opening and reforming a pellet skirt. You have a wonderful pellet sizer called the barrel of your airgun. It will swage the skirt down to size if you've been a little too aggressive in using the pell seat.
Okay - exactly what are you doing?
You're using the ball end of the pell seat to round out or flare the skirts of lead pellets. The ball is rolled around the inside of the pellet skirt, where it presses the skirt out equally in all directions. It's harder to envision than it is to do.
Pellet on the right has a deformed skirt. It can be reshaped with the pell seat.
Why should you care?
If a pellet with a deformed skirt is loaded into a barrel, there's no telling what will happen. The skirt may flare out perfectly just from being squeezed down by the bore. But, it can also collapse on one side, making an opening in the skirt where air can blow past when the gun shoots. If you want the best accuracy from a gun, don't use pellets that have damaged skirts or reform them with a ball tool. The pell seat is the most convenient tool available to do this.
Some pellets won't reform
Hard pellets, such as those made by Crosman, will not flare as easily as pure lead pellets. They also tend to have very shallow skirts that prevent deformation in the first place. If you shoot Crosman Premiers, for example, it's probably better to just throw the bad ones away than to try to flare their skirts. That comes from years of experience shooting Premiers.
What about seating pellets?
This IS a pellet seater, after all. The other end of tool is used for that. Seating means pushing a pellet into the barrel by a uniform amount every time. Is that important? It can be for some guns. Some spring guns like to have their pellets seated deeply, while others seem indifferent. The AirForce Condor (a PCP) will get a small gain in velocity and will have a tighter velocity spread if you seat the pellets deep. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of room to align the pellet seating tool at the Condor's breech, so sometimes I just use an Allen wrench with a very short end.
Modern target guns, on the other hand, don't seem to require seating. When I say modern, I'm saying PCPs, only. The older springer target guns may need their pellets to be seated.
So, Phil and everyone, this simple aluminum tool actually does work. For some guns, it's an essential tool; but for nearly all pellets, it can be a lifesaver!