by B.B. Pelletier

Today I’m going out on a limb and telling you what I think is the best pellet in the world. Actually, there are several pellets, because every caliber needs something different. So I’ll do a David Letterman countdown.

pellet calibers

Starting with .25 caliber
Not as many shooters shoot .25 caliber, so the pellet selection is not as great. But, I know two that deliver the goods for me all the time. Sometimes one outshoots the other and sometimes they both work well in the same gun, but I have never seen another pellet that could compare to either in this caliber.

The H&N Field Target weighs about 20 and a fraction grains, which makes it medium weight in .25 caliber. They are not too uniform in weight, but on target they shine! I have a Whiscombe JW 75 that likes this pellet better than any other, and, because it is so light, it really sails! Buy these for all your medium-powered .25s, such as the RWS Diana 48/52 and others in that power range.

The H&N Baracuda is the other .25 caliber star. In a Webley Patriot or a Beeman Crow Magnum (no longer imported), these are the best. They are 31 grains and can really tame those big springers! They also work well in the lower-powered guns, but the velocity will be in the 600s.

For .20 caliber
In .20 caliber, the Crosman Premier has long been my favorite. At 14.3 grains, it’s on the heavy side of medium weight, and it really delivers the accuracy and power at long range. Another pellet that SHOULD be excellent, though I have no real experience with it beyond shooting them in my Sheridans, is the Beeman Kodiak. At 13.3 grains, they’re lighter than the Premiers and are pure lead, so they won’t lead your barrel like the Premiers.

For .22 caliber
The absolute BEST PELLET IN THE WORLD at this time (in my opinion) is the 15.9-grain JSB Exact domed pellet in .22. At least, this holds true for hunting and general shooting. (I’m not talking about match pellets today.) The reason Exacts are so good is that they’re hand-sorted by the manufacturer. I buy them by the 10-tin sleeve – and I’m usually a cheap guy. This is almost the ONLY pellet I shoot in .22.

The other great .22 pellet is the Beeman Kodiak or H&N Baracuda. This is the same pellet, but sometimes one brand is less expensive than the other, so I shop for the bargains. At 21 grains, this is a heavy pellet, though the extra-heavy Eun Jin has it out-classed at 28 grains. Kodiaks fly true for a very long range.

As a final word on .22 caliber…if you have a REALLY powerful rifle, like a Condor, the Eun Jin pellet is superb. Just don’t try to shoot it long range in a Beeman R1.

Finally – .177
I suspect that JSB Exact pellets are also the best in .177, but I have no experience with them. Therefore, my top choice is Beeman Kodiak or H&N Baracuda. Several years ago, I would have selected Crosman Premier in 10.5 grains for PCPs or 7.9 grains for springers, but I found that the pure lead Kodiaks shade them just a little beyond 35 yards – in some guns. In other guns, the Premiers are clearly the best.

There – that’s what I think about pellets. I’m sorry if your favorite was not mentioned, but this is my opinion. I’d like to hear yours in the comments.

17 years later

This was published in 2005. What would I say 17 years later, in 2022? Well, for starters, the .25 caliber has become very popular, and JSB makes excellent pellets in that caliber. So does H&N, which I said in the text above.

What I said about the .22-caliber JSB Exact still holds true, but the 18.13-grain JSB Exact Jumbo Heavy has joined it. It depends on which airgun you have as to which pellet is better. H&N Baracuda pellets are still quite wonderful and in some airguns they are the best.

The .20 caliber is still with us but not very many pellets are being made for it today. There are more choices in .25-caliber than .20. The .20-caliber Crosman Premier has gone away, and that was a leader in this caliber. Today H&N and JSB are making the best pellets, so if .20 is what you shoot, the best is still available.

You have to remember, I said this report was just my opinion. It still is. That doesn’t make it fact.