9mm airguns and ammo
by B.B. Pelletier
Today’s post was requested by Pyramyd Air. They sell three different 9mm big bore airguns, and the ammo they use has been confusing. They asked me to sort it out.
First, I want to comment on the somewhat confusing Drulov Sokol. This is a CO2 carbine that has a nominal .375 bore. That makes it larger than 9mm, which is .356 caliber. But, the recommended ammo for the gun is either 000 buckshot or two 9mm “pellets.” I think you can rule this gun out, as far as real accuracy is concerned. If you own one, I have to wonder why you aren’t using .375 swaged round balls from Speer or Hornady. I’m suspicious of the technical specs for this gun, because .375 and 9mm are not compatible sizes. I only mention it because Pyramyd Air does link two 9mm pellets to it.
There was also a Rada pistol that used to be sold with the carbine. As far as I know, it was the same caliber as the Sokol. If so, my caliber doubts extend to it, as well. If any reader owns either of these airguns, please tell me what you shoot in your gun and what kind of accuracy it gets. I’ve been told by the importer (not Pyramyd Air) that either gun shoots 4″ groups at 25 yards.
I have tested the 9mm Career Ultra lever-action repeater. When I did, the only pellet I could load was a 60-grain Eun Jin made specially for this rifle. The pellet carrier that transfers the pellet from the magazine to the bore is very short and will not accept a pellet over a certain length. There is a place on the right side of the receiver for loading pellets one at a time, but it’s short, too. So the Ultra uses short pellets, only.
Today, Eun Jim provides a 77-grain pellet that will function through the Ultra’s feed mechanism. This pellet goes fast because it is light for its caliber. Because it is a repeater, the Ultra attracts more attention than the single-shot Fire 201 9mm rifle. If you want to hunt with a big bore air rifle, the Ultra is not the gun to choose. Besides being limited to just one light pellet, it is not as versatile or powerful as the single-shot Fire 201.
This is the air rifle that started the whole Korean big bore industry. It started out as a .25-caliber air shotgun that developed as much as 260 foot-pounds! To my knowledge, there has never been another commercial air shotgun as powerful as this one was. Shooters weren’t interested in air shotguns in the 1990s, so an American rebarreled the Fire with a 9mm rifle barrel and the rest is history. When the Koreans saw the increased demand for a big bore air rifle over a shotgun, they quickly retooled to produce the rifle.
This sliding breech (the brass part) is the reason the Fire 201 can accept pellets and bullets of almost any length. There is nothing to get in the way!
Load almost any pellet/bullet!
The Fire’s sliding breech is so accommodating that almost any pellet or bullet that will fit into the bore can be used. The Fire is so flexible, I’ve seen airgunners load and shoot 158-grain lead semiwadcutter pistol bullets meant for a .357 magnum. To be accurate, they should be resized to .356, but .357 is only one thousandth larger and doesn’t seem to make much difference. Almost all 9mm lead pistol bullets will work just fine. Just be sure to use lead bullets and not jacketed bullets, because the barrel isn’t hardened properly to take them.
So, the Sokol is meant to be loaded with 000 buckshot, and Pyramyd Air has linked two 9mm pellets that will also work. The 9mm Career Ultra works only with the 77-grain Eun Jin pellet – nothing else! Lastly, the Fire 201 single-shot will work with just about any 9mm or .357 lead bullet.