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Education / Training Crosman’s Premier Hollow Point – Part 1A comparative test

Crosman’s Premier Hollow Point – Part 1A comparative test

by B.B. Pelletier

This test is for anyone who wonders how well hollowpoint pellets work. I have written several posts about hollowpoints, and I’ve usually made the statement that hollowpoint pellets are not accurate at long range. I’ve also mentioned more than once that Crosman pellets are made from a hardened lead alloy.

So, today’s question is: Will a hard lead hollowpoint, specifically a Crosman Premier Hollow Point, expand when driven at a reasonable velocity, and will it be accurate at long range? Bad weather will keep me from going to the range for a few days, but I can get the first part of the question answered for you today.

While putting this blog together, I had an interesting comment from pestbgone regarding hollowpoints. Seems he has been doing some testing of his own, using ballistic gelatin, and he used two of the pellets I’ll use for my tests, so now we’ll have a comparison of penetration in ballistic gelatin against penetration in soap.

“Two of the 9 different pellets I tested were the Crosman Premier Hollowpoint 7.9gr and the Beeman Crow Magnum 8.8gr. The results were so odd I had to repeat them on different days with different batches of gel to validate the data. For a baseline I used Crosman Premier Domed 10.5gr, and they penetrated a whopping 11” with a deviation of only about +/-.2” between shots. The CP HP penetrated an average of 5.9”, with a deviation of about +/-.5”. Kind of puny compared to the CP heavy domed, I thought, but it’s a HP.

“But the BeeCM penetrated only 4” on average, with a deviation of only +/-.1” . Obviously, the CM was dumping all its energy very quickly into the gel, but still, 4” of penetration seemed weak, and odd. When I removed the pellets from the gel, though, I was amazed at what I saw. As expected, no shape or size change in the CP Domed. And the CP HP had minimal expansion of about .015”. But the BeeCM, incredible! Consistently, every pellet ended up mushrooming into the shape of a perfect little toadstool. The pellets that started out as .177 dia x .252 long ended up being about .255 dia x .188 long. No wonder they only penetrated 4”. B.B., this may be old news to you, but its all new and exciting to me.”

I’m using my Whiscombe JW75 for this test. Because it’s so powerful, I put in a transfer port limiter to slow the 7.9-grain Crosman Premier Hollowpoint down below the sound barrier. The way the rifle is set up, the pellet averages 913 f.p.s. at the muzzle. That’s 14.63 foot-pounds.

My JW75 with barrels in all 4 calibers – .177, .20, .22 and .25.

These Allen screws are the transfer port limiters. By removing all limiters and leaving the transfer port wide open, you get the maximum power the rifle can deliver.

The other two pellets used in this test are the Beeman Crow Magnum (8.6 grains for the pellets I have) and the JSB Predator (8.0 grains, though my Predators vary a lot). The Crow Magnums averages 874 f.p.s. That works out to a muzzle energy of 14.59 foot-pounds.

The Predator averages 895 f.p.s., so that calculates to 14.23 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. Since the Whiscombe was set the same for all three pellets, you can get a sense of how the same powerplant performs with three different pellets.

Crosman Premier Hollow Point on the left, Beeman Crow Magnum on the right. Notice the entire top of the Premier Hollow Point has broken off and stopped sooner in the soap than the tail. Also, notice that the Premier gave up a lot of energy in the very beginning, where the hollowpoint deformed

JSB Predator lost its black nylon tip halfway through penetration. Notice that the energy given up resembles the Crosman Hollow Point. The Predator wound channel is larger, though the pictures seem to say the opposite. That’s due to different sizes of enlargements.

The Crosman Premier was a surprise to me. I expected little expansion, but it was dramatic. Remember that the speed I shot was above the terminal velocity (velocity on target) that any hunter would probably achieve, because no one will shoot the pellet supersonic and expect to get accuracy. Or will they? When I go to the range, I’ll shoot a group with this pellet moving supersonic, just to see for sure.

The Predator performed very well, too, but the Crow Magnum just plodded through the soap without drama. However, we have pestbgone’s report that in ballistic gelatin the Crow Magnum penetrates only about one-third the distance of the Premier Hollowpoint. Why the big difference?

Perhaps the testing medium is the culprit. Maybe at high velocity in a hard medium, the Crow Magnum performs average, but in a softer medium it shines. Several readers did question my use of Neutrogena facial soap as a test medium. Might that suggest that Crow Magnums would be good on smaller birds, while Premier Hollow Points would do better on squirrels?

48 thoughts on “Crosman’s Premier Hollow Point – Part 1A comparative test”

  1. If I can’t afford the ballistic Gel for shooting into and making tests , what brand and type of soap are you referring to ? Can you see into the soap bar and the penetration / expansion channel ? Is that soap bar / bars re-meltable for reuse ?
    thanks ….Jerry

  2. Perhaps a water-based semi-solid of some sort would better mimic animal flesh, at least when it comes to measuring pellet expansion.

    Trouble is, I don’t know of good one offhand. Jello? Tofu?

  3. Wouldn’t this test be more accurate at the average range that they would be deployed at your quarry? If you shot from a distance would they still mushroom?
    are they really worth the extra money, compared to lead?

  4. BB, could you put this on your ‘article to write’ list? Pyramyd offers several affordable ‘nightvision’ scopes. Perhaps you could write a comparison report, distance and best bang for buck, et cetera?

    thanks again,


  5. I shot this with the muzzle 6 inches from the soap bar. To get the same velocity as terminal velocity just requires lowering the velocity at the muzzle – easy to do with the Whiscombe. I left it at full power to give the Premier every chance.

    Looks like that wasn’t necessary.

    Premiers ARE lead pellets! They are just made from hardened lead alloy. And they don’t cost any extra, unless you compare them to junk pellets.

    Now, if your comment refers to the Predator pellets (also lead, by the way), then the question is valid. However, the scope of this report doesn’t extend to testing the Predator.


  6. B.B., Your suggestion that different HP pellets would be appropriate for different types of game at different ranges certainly makes a lot of sense. But as you have alluded to so many times, if you can’t hit the target at the real life distance, it doesn’t matter how the pellet mushrooms. So I will be very interested see what your distance accuracy tests show for the various HPs, and their comparison to maybe a CPdomed reference.
    What kind of penetration did you get into the Neutrogena bars? Great pics, BTW. Interesting how the CPHP broke apart.

    Thanks for including my comments about the ballistic gel testing I did. The average of 4 shots per type of pellet (using a Gamo Shadow 1000) gave the following: BeeCrowMagnum 8.8gr penetrated 4.0” (mushroomed to .252 dia), CrosmanPremier-HP 7.9gr penetrated 6.0”. The regular heavy Crosman domed 10.5gr penetrated 11.3”. For comparison, I also tried a CCI subsonic .22 rimfire hollowpoint 40gr 1050fps. It penetrated 10” into the gel and mushroomed to .40” dia. These were all shot at 8 feet.

  7. pestbgone,

    The Premier Hollowpoint went deepest, at 1-15/16″. The Predator went shallowest, at 1-11/16″.

    I will also be shooting for accuracy, which will turn out to either be a Premier or a JSB. I have the HOTS (Harmonic Optimized Tuning System) to contend with, as well.

    The weather is lousy this week. Too much wind. So I’m waiting for a calm day.


  8. How much of an expansion would you get if you shot from 35 ft or 75 ft with the same gun. would it be any better than using a heavy domed pellet at the same range?

    Is there really a distint advantage for hunting using the hollow point pellets. I’ve never shot an animal from six inch’s away.

  9. hi again
    i read your review of the beeman r9. i was wondering if the r7 buzzed as much as the r9. it seems like they are basically the same gun but the r7 is smaller. i figured smaller powerplamt, less buzzing…. right?
    Field Targetier

  10. six inches,

    Of course you haven’t shot animals that close! You’d have to work in a slaughterhouse to do that.

    But all you have to do to replicate a 25 yard shot is simply slow the pellet down to the speed it would be going at 25 yards. That way you won’t miss the bar of soap. The Whiscombe allows me to do that, although I didn’t do it this time.

    I didn’t do this test to prove anything except to see the expansion characteristics of the Crosman Premier Hollowpoint pellet compared to two other hollowpoints of known capability. And that I accomplished.

    As for the heavy domed pellet, I’m pretty sure you won’t get better expansion from a dome compared to a hollowpoint.


  11. Field Targetier,

    I find the R7 a lot less buzzy than the R9, although I have shot some R9s that were pretty calm right out of the box. And the BAM B26, which is an R9 copy, is surprisingly calm.

    I have also tuned a couple R7s that were loosey goosey and buzzy. They were a lot looser than I would have though for that power level.


  12. jello is about as close as it gets to the real stuff. same main ingredient. i figure, just use less water than usual for the recipe, chill, and shoot. i’ve tried myself, and your mixtures will vary, so best to do some experimentation with water-to-powder ratios. i made mine as a went along, turned out fine for my weak springer. also fun to shoot. it would be much less dense than animal flesh, but you could probably make an assumption between teh harer facial bar and the softer jello. you could make it the same density and use teh same chilling prodecures like the fbi does, if thats what you want. they use a bb for calibration.

  13. B.B.,
    Ah, now I see, the velocity variable, and why it’s so important to know the characteristics of your own gun at various ranges. And your very nice Whiscombe JW75 makes it possible to play around with the velocities. Makes perfectly good sense now that you put it in B&W.

  14. Yeah, the 7.9 premiers have been my trusted pellets for a while. I always liked them in my cf-x. They tend to be pretty accurate for hollow points, and they definately hit hard. I don’t know how much harder than normal pellets, but it’s good for squirrels. 😀 Their good pellets, Their easy to get from walmart for 5 bucks for 500 pellets. I like them.

    Now of course, with my condor, my pellet of choice is the .25 eun jin. 😀

  15. B.B can you compare the CP hollow points against the CP lights that you get in the cardboard box in your accuracy test? You may also want to throw in some JSB Exacts. I hope that you can test at two different ranges Have you considered using the material that NASA invented to resemble human flesh? What profile mounts will I need to use a Leapers 3-9×50 or 3-12×44 to scope a rws 52?

  16. B.B.
    I tried a few more ballistic gel test shots last night, this time with a piece of .090 thick leather belt in front of the ballistic gel. Total penetration was reduced about 25% compared to my original gel tests, and the expansion characteristics were leaning toward what you got with the Neutrogena, an increase with the CrosP HP and a reduction with the BeeCM. The medium certainly makes a difference.

  17. dm20, pestbgone, SyberSkin and others,

    Apparently this post about hollowpoint performance is of great interest to many readers. I like pestbgone’s solution of adding the leather belt in front of the media. I also promise to shoot CP lites when I get to the range to test the CP Hollowpoint.

    Whenever a blog resonates like this, it means shooters want to know more. I’m including all the comments – including the critical ones that commented on how fast the pellet was going and how close to the target I shot (which is really two sides of the same issue). I can do something about that in the future.

    Perhaps we can come up with a standard medium test for pellets by experimentation and discussion. Be fun to try, anyway.


  18. B.B. and others,
    Thought I’d offer this in case anyone is interested in a fun winter garage project. I apologize for the length.

    BALLISTIC GEL recipe and procedure:
    I got this info from
    I kept the same formulation but modified the procedure to something suitable volume-wise for airguns. It’s not difficult, but it takes a lot of time to do it right.

    Clear (not frosted) plastic storage box approx 12” x 6” x 3” deep
    One 8 oz box of Knox Unflavored Gelatin (has 32 1/4 oz pkts)
    (Don’t use Jello because it has sugar/sweeteners and won’t give consistent results)
    10 cups hot water
    Large stainless steel sauce pan
    Wire whisk for stirring
    Gravy separator like this: http://www.kitchenemporium.com/cgi-bin/kitchen/prod/49np3024.html
    Fine tooth hacksaw

    This makes 10 cups of gel, which will fill the plastic box about 2-1/4” deep. Open all 32 pkts (8 oz) of the Knox gelatin and pour them into a drinking glass. Put exactly 10 cups of hot water into a large stainless pan on the stove. Heat the water just hot enough so you can’t put your fingers in it, about 140F, and TURN OFF THE HEAT. Do not boil! Start stirring with the wire whisk and SLOWLY sprinkle the Knox into the water, a tiny bit at a time. Adding too much at once will make it gum up into balls and you’ll have a useless mess. Keep stirring. Don’t use an electric mixer because it will put too many air bubbles into the solution. Periodically, use a slotted spoon to remove the foam and scum. It will take 10 or 15 minutes hand stirring to add all 8 ozs, but you can take a break if you need too. After it’s all mixed in, let it set for a few minutes so the fine bubbles will rise and then skim of the rest off the foam. Now move the pan to the kitchen sink so you don’t make a big mess. To get the clearest gel, use the gravy separator to transfer the solution to the plastic box like this: use a cup to ladle some of the solution from the pan to the gravy separator. Pour off the scum from the separator back into the pan, and then slowly pour the clear solution into the plastic box. Repeat until it’s all transferred. Let it sit on the counter for a while and skim off any remaining bubbles that rise to the surface. Put it in the fridge overnight; do not freeze. BTW, this stuff will keep in the fridge or a cold garage for a couple of weeks, especially if you keep it covered, but will slowly start to dehydrate.

    Set-up for shooting:
    Here’s the trick. You can leave the gel in the plastic box for all of your shooting by carefully sawing off one end of the box with the hacksaw. You shoot length wise into the open end. Just be careful not to crack the plastic or get a bunch of plastic shavings on the surface of the gel when you are sawing.
    I set up a solid rest for my gun and first shot through pieces of cardboard to simulate the front and back end of the gel box. I shot at 8 feet, but closer might be easier. Don’t kid yourself into thinking you’ll be able to aim with the gun sights. Repeatability of the shot location is vital. After you know exactly where your gun will put the pellet, lay a board down flat to hold the gel box at the right height, azimuth, and elevation. I was able to fit nine shots across the 6” width and make an upper and lower level of shots for a total of about 18 shots. But you have to use reference lines to index the box of gel over a little each time and keep it parallel both vertically and horizontally to the path of the pellet.

    Use your index lines to move the box over and/or up or down with each shot. I was only shooting with .177 cal, and found that wad cutters and HPs tended to move the box, so I weighted it down with a clean board before each shot. Domed pellets moved it less. I imagine .22 would make it hop around more, like the .22 rimfires I’ve done the same way. For reference, a Crosman Premier 10.5gr domed penetrated 11.2” on average.

    The http://www.customcartridge.com/pdfs/BallisticGel.pdf site has good info about taking photos. Lighting is critical and for me, good sunlight was the easiest way to get good lighting.

    Have Fun:
    No instructions needed!

  19. kind and knox is even better than being close to the actual stuff- it is! i think the jello would be reasonably consistent with the quality control and some calibration, but the real stuff has to work much better. it can be found in ordinary stores too- in the u.s. to my knowledge, most canadian stores dont carry the kind and knox brand, so the jello worked fine for me.

    i find these pellet tests, whether comparable to animal flesh or not, fascinating. perhaps enhanced by all the csi i watch =) actually, i find everything i’ve ever read here fascinating. no clue how anyone could possibly aquire such knowledge, but i’ll hang along for teh ride.

  20. dm20,
    yes, I find designing experiments,doing testing,and analyzing the data fascinating and a lot of fun. Looking through the archives reminds me of how rudimentary my knowledge of airgunning is. Lots of opportunity to learn!

  21. Hi BB and all,
    Ive previously done some of my own tests on beeman CM and RWS super h-points. I shot into coke cans filled with sand(i know poor resemblance to flesh)at 10, 20, 40 m ranges with my CF-X. The CM’s expanded dramatically, the CM’s recovered at 10m were almost twice the original width. The expansion was less at longer ranges (as expected). There was still some expansion observed at 40m on the CM’s. Then i tested the accuracy of the CM’s at 40m and was suprised to see it was almost as good as JSB exacts at that distance. The RWS super h-points i recovered looked similar to normal wadcutters. The accuracy of the RWS hps was quite terrible in my gun at that distance too. Because the expansion of the CM’s is minimal(from my gun) at distances of more than 40m i use JSB exacts for anything approaching that distance. Hope that helps

  22. BB:
    Why don’t you install the smallest transfer port limiter to answer questions of “performance at range”.
    IMHO most will be surprise at non-performance (no mushrooming) at 600FPS.

  23. BB,

    I may be wrong, but…
    In the photo comparing the Crossman Premiere HP and the Beeman Crow Magnum, I’m fairly certain that the Beeman is actually on the left hand side and the Crossman is on the right.

    My reason for this is having shot both pellets, I’ve never seen a Crossman Premiere HP expand so drastically in any substance. However the Beeman Crow Magnum almost always expands as such losing the head of the pellet behind. Also the skirt is longer on the Beemans whereas the Crossmans have much shorter skirts.

    I’m also interested in the accuracy of these JSB pellets.
    I’ve shot pellets with inserts before (Gamo Rocket) and wasn’t exactly pleased with the accuracy…the Predator pellets however appear to be very precisely made…so any input you have on them would be greatly appreciated.

    I would like to commend you on your blog it’s an absolute treasure of information…Sorry my first comment is a possible correction.


  24. Hey B.B.

    I did my best to stay on topic for my question, seems I found a suitable posting.

    Several questions;
    Do you recommend using ammunition that is made by the same manufacture of the rifle?

    Example; .22 Crosman Premiers shot from a Crosman Tac 1 Extreme? As opposed to say Beeman Crow Magnums fired from the same gun?

    From your own experience, does crossing brands affect accuracy.

    Or am I just gonna have to guess and check?

    Also, I am considering buying a Crosman Tac 1 Extreme. Looks like a fun package, and if it comes with everything shown – it’s quite the bargain.
    Tac 1 Extreme

    Last question, have you ever fired this rifle before? If so, how did it stack up against other rifles?

    (For reference, I plan on scoping this rifle with a B-square mounted Leapers TS model scope)


  25. Jensen,

    Pellets are usually not made by the same companies that make airguns by the same name. For example, Beeman makes nothing. So they buy pellets from H&N and rifles from Weihrauch. Everything says Beeman, but nothing comes from the same place. Crosman is the exception.

    So forget matching pellets to rifle makers. Test them all, but the few I always recomnmend are the place to begin.

    The Tac 1 Extreme is a dressed-up Phantom. The Phantom is a low-price Chinese gun that probably gives acceptable performance. I haven’t tested one, but I have tested other Chinese-made Crosman guns (the Benjamin Legacy) and they were okay.


  26. hi would crosman premier hollowpoints work well at killing pigeons with a gamo recon? i have hollowpoints but havnt tryed hunting yet. also would a wolverine pellet work well while shooting pigeons with a gamo recon?

  27. I have been doing my own testing in my own ballistics medium. I used The facial bars like you did but I melted them down on the stove (actually 1 pot set in a pot of boiling water to avoid burning) and then adding corn syrup to lower the hardness of it and bring it’s overall density closer to real flesh. My tests were in .22 caliber. I used an old steroided crosman 140 so I could vary the velocity from 700 fps and lower. Of the few pellets I tested, the results were suprising to say the least. RWS Superdomes Expanded very little even hitting at 700 fps. Very little deformation at all except for the rifling marks. Penetrated the most out of all pellets tested. With RWS Super H-points, the hollow point sheered off even at 500 fps and left a cone that penetrated further. Wound channel was very erratic. I would definately recomend this pellet for birds because of it’s explosive impact. Squirrels I have had poor luck with as the point immediately sheers off of and the cone leaves too small of a wound channel for a quick kill. The Final pellet was the JSP Predator. This pellet did the best by far in regards to wound channel and energy transfer. At high velocities the pellet would expand and the point rolled back over the skirt but still gave a substantial increase in diameter. At medium velocities (500-600fps) where a more powerful gun would hit at downrange, the pellet opened up nicely into a perfect mushroom shape with the lip rolling back slightly with no fragmentation and a large increase in diameter. At velocities around 400 fps, the point opened up into a perfect flat point with a diameter nearly double the size of the origional diameter with no fragmentation and the rear of the pellet remained intact. The one squirrel I did shoot with them was literally knocked off the branch with a heavy thop.

  28. All lead deforms on impact. Hollow points hit hard because they tranfer more energy, not because they expand. The dome shape with hollow cavity greatly increases the surface area which translates into quicker dispersion of energy

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