by B.B. Pelletier

Today I’d like to take a close look at one of the best airgun pellets around – the Baracuda Match by H&N. This pellet is also sold as the Beeman Kodiak and as the Webley Magnum in other countries. It’s heavy in all but .20 caliber, weighing 10.6 grains in .177, 13.3 grains in .20, 21 grains in .22 and 31 grains in .25.

A domed pellet with a difference!
Although the Baracuda/Kodiak is considered a domed pellet, it is very different from most other domes. To get the extra weight, the dome is both higher and necessarily sharper, making this domed pellet resemble a pointed pellet with a blunted point. An argument could be made for either description. That’s not important here, except that you acknowledge the difference. It makes the weight distribution very forward-biased, which helps keep the pellet on track as it flies.

Crosman Premier (left) is more of a conventional domed pellet. Baracuda/Kodiak has a higher, semi-pointed dome.

A thick skirt!
The skirt is very thick in comparison to other pellets. That makes the Baracuda/Kodiak a tough projectile whose skirt resists being blown out by the forceful air blast from a spring-piston rifle. That, in turn, makes it ideal for powerful magnum spring rifles like the Webley Patriot, which Beeman markets as their Kodiak rifle.

The skirt on the Daisy pointed pellet (left) is much
thinner than the skirt on the Baracuda/Kodiak.

According to an excellent article I read in the Jan-Feb-Mar issue of Airgun Hobby magazine, the Baracuda pellet was originally developed for the ether-injected Barakuda rifle made by Weihrauch. That gun was so powerful that it blew the heads off conventional pellets, and a tougher diabolo had to be developed.

Which guns can shoot Baracudas/Kodiaks?
Because of the length and weight, the Baracuda/Kodiak is meant to be used only in powerful air rifles. Guns that top at least 20 foot-pounds are necessary to provide the velocity to stabilize the big pellet at longer ranges. You can calculate an airgun’s potential power from the interactive formulas in the article What is muzzle energy?

Out to 20 yards, practically any air rifle and most air pistols should be able to shoot it fine, because the diabolo shape provides the stabilization. But, as distance increases, you need an adequate spin to keep the pellet oriented forward, and velocity is the only thing that can produce enough spin, given the standard airgun twist rate of one turn in 16 inches.

Baracudas are pure lead, too!
Pure lead projectiles are the absolute best for airgun velocities. They slip through the bore because of the natural lubricity of lead, and they seal the barrel perfectly because of lead’s inherent malleability. Also, if you keep the terminal velocity below 1,000 f.p.s. and have a premium barrel, lead is the cleanest material you can shoot. It never needs cleaning, even after thousands of shots.

So, the Baracuda/Kodiak pellet has a lot to recommend it. You should lay in a supply in every caliber you shoot.