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RWS Hobby: an all-time classic pellet

by B.B. Pelletier

For many years, the RWS Hobby was the lightest pellet you could buy in .177 caliber. At that time, it weighed just 6.9 grains, but today’s .177 pellet weighs 7 grains even. That light weight made it the defacto test standard for all airguns, because it invariably gave the highest velocity. Today, we have a host of synthetic pellets and, of course, Gamo’s slight-of-hand Raptor that are all lighter and faster than the Hobby. But, while the Raptor has a poor reputation for accuracy, the Hobby has a good one.

In .22 caliber, Hobbys weigh about 11.9 grains, which is also one of the lightest lead pellets. However, to an even greater extent than the .177, the .22 Hobbys are very useful in vintage airguns.

Good for powerful airguns
As light as they are, you might think Hobbys are only for lower-powered guns, but that isn’t the case. They’re light, it’s true, but they also have larger dimensions than many other pellets to better fill the bores of guns, such as older Webley spring pistols and BSA rifles.

Inexpensive but not cheap
The Hobby is also a very uniform pellet. At one time a decade ago, they were the least expensive of the RWS pellet line, but that spot has now been taken by the .177 Diabolo Basic. Hobbys have moved up in the world. Still, they aren’t that expensive and are a definite bargain when compared to the premium brands.

Good for targets
Because it’s a wadcutter, the Hobby is perfect for informal target practice in either caliber. It won’t group as well as special target pellets in a 10-meter gun, but in an informal airgun, such as the Smith & Wesson 586 or the RWS P5 Magnum, you won’t notice the difference. In fact, Hobbys have been known to be the best pellet for some guns.

Perfect for pests
Another good job Hobbys can do is small pest elimination at close range. As long as the range is under about 25 yards and it’s shot from a good airgun, the Hobby has the power and retained velocity to take care of business. As a wadcutter, it’s devastating to flesh, and its high velocity makes it especially deadly. The close-range constraint is because wadcutters shed velocity faster than any other pellet shape.

Uniform weight
Hobbys are fairly uniform in weight, though not among the absolute best. They often come with lots of lead flakes packed in the tin, so it’s best to do a little sorting before you use them for anything special. Sort by weight and inspect the skirts for flakes at the same time.

Hobbys are made from pure lead, so there’s no need to lubricate unless you plan on shooting really fast. At 900 f.p.s. and less, they should be fine in a dry bore.

Fountain of youth
And, here is a final truth. RWS pellets are often the best performers in RWS/Diana airguns. That’s true of the vintage models from 50 years ago, as well as the guns sold today. The Hobby, because it is so lightweight in both .177 and .22, gives a new lease on life to those marginal spring guns, such as the Diana model 23 and 25 rifles or the Webley Junior and Senior pistols.

The Hobby is a classic pellet that belongs in your cabinet in both calibers.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

40 thoughts on “RWS Hobby: an all-time classic pellet”

  1. Hi B.B.
    Can you elaborate on BSA rifles that may have large bore dimensions?

    My 177 Lightning XL barrel is slightly choked at the *breech*, perhaps due to a swaging effect of manufacturing the seal seating groove.

    If I seat a pellet deep enough to get past the constriciton (pellet skirt about 3/16″ past flush with breech face), the pellet will fall out the muzzle if the rifle is pointed downward!

    Do you have any advice on how to get the best performance from this rifle? Are there other pellets in addition to the RWS hobby that might best fill the bore?

    Is there any way (theoretically only!) to introduce a choke at the muzzle?


  2. I think you are right about the breech seal groove causing the slight constriction at the breech.

    BSA bore were oversized for many years after WWII and possibly before, thoug I can’t prove that. They do best with 5.6mm pellets like Eley Wasps that were made for them.

    A muzzle choke can be rolled in with a three-roller press.


  3. Hello BB,

    My B-40 could use a tune and general smoothing of the internals (things are a bit rough on cocking the rifle), and the trigger could stand some improvement since everything in there seems loose as a goose. I have a couple of older air rifles that could benefit from a tune also. Now, I have tried emailing several of the so-called “air gun tune specialists”(these guys, judging from their business “professionalism”, seem like they are working out of their garages with a few hacksaws and a Bench-top Walmart drill press). They, to a man, do NOT answer emails. To me, it defies logic and common sense that a person would put his email address boldly at the top of his e-store page, and then make a practice of not answering questions about whether he works on thus and such a gun or not. So,… I am going to ask you; do you know of any printed or online literature that walks a person step-by-step through the process of tuning a spring air rifle (trigger work would be a bonus). To anticipate one or two objections you might raise, 1) I am aware of the need for a spring compressor. I am a hobby machinist and making one will not be a problem.;2) I can follow directions and I am mechanically inclined; 3) believe it or not, I would RATHER do the work myself! I am inclined to be suspicious of shade-tree mechanics who may disassemble the gun, smear “black tar” on the spring, put it back together and tell me that all parts have been deburred and polished, a new spring guide, “more powerful” spring has been installed, the “top-hat’s” weight has been optimized for the gun, the barrel’s breech has been smoothed to allow better and easier insertion of a pellet, etc., etc.and then proceed to charge me top dollar for work that has not been done (kinda like taking your car to the local garage for repairs). If it sounds like I am overly suspicious, well, maybe I am! After all, it is a different world out there now than the one I was born into in 1953 and grew up in. “Ethics”is, for a lot of people, only an elective course in college that one has to “put up with”.Thanks for your time and consideration.



  4. Curtis,

    Regarding the airgunsmiths with the pretty websites, here’s the deal. They go into “business” and then discover that people expect them to be “in business” just like a store. They get discouraged and drop out. Some can’t bring themselves to sever the ties, so they leave the site up but only do business by referral.

    Tough world, eh!

    Good news for you. The TX 200 is one of the few spring rifles that does not need a mainspring compressor to disassemble. Just hold the end cap against a board on the floor as you remove the big bolt on the bottom of the action. I have to believe that the BAM B40 will be pretty much the same.

    I think your approach makes sense and your background will serve you well.

    Now, as to instructions online – CURTIS! You cut me to the quick! I did a 13-part series on tuning spring guns. It was my largest series ever!

    Here is part 13, which has links to the other 12.


    You’re welcome.


  5. Hello again BB;

    I just visited the site that you linked me to giving your instructions for spring air gun tuning (I din’t know of its existence). You have my gratitude and admiration, Sir! What fine instructions and that spring compressor design is NICE!!! You can’t see it, of course, but even now I am bowing to you (arms fully extended overhead) at the waist (and my pot-bellied girth ain’t makin’ it easy!) in humble thanks and obeisance. You are the airgun god! You are the very axis around which all other things airgun related revolve! In other words, I am very pleased and thankful.I have linked to the site, and if you don’t mind, I am going to copy the entire contents onto my hard drive. And no, not to worry, I won’t make and sell copies of the information. But YOU SHOULD!



  6. BB-
    I think Curtis now has the motivation to go back through your entire blog. That’s what I did when I first discovered it. Some might say that’s too much to read. Not true. If you don’t like Airsoft, skip those entries. Not a collector? Skip those too. Read what pertains to your interests. The September 2005 (9/30) is a helpful post as it summarizes all your posts to that date. I always start there if I’m trying to refresh my memory about an old post. Some of your continuing posts like “Tuning a springer” or “Sighting in a scope” could easily be chapters in a book. I admire your patience when you answer people that haven’t taken the time to go through your blog from the beginning. To all that haven’t taken that approach-give it a try! It is a lot of fun and you can skip things that you don’t like! Sorry, BB but I had to get that off my chest. I only discovered your blog about a month ago and it just didn’t take THAT long to read it from the beginning. The only thing better is to be out Shooting!

  7. Anonymous,

    Okay, I stand guilty as accused, and BB is to be commended for his patience. When I wrote my original post (about 5 entries back), I was mainly complaining that the people who advertise themselves as being “in the business” of tuning air rifles didn’t seem eager to do business. I had originally wanted someone with expertise to tune my guns. BB made it plain to me though, that these guys are primarily part timers who don’t want to give up their day jobs. You are right though, Anonymous , rather than ask about such instruction I could have (and should have) scoured this website looking for same. Now that I have been properly chastised, I have another question: does anyone have any idea where I can get a new piston seal and breech seal for a Weihrauch HW-97K springer? By the way, I Googled till I was blue in the face on this one, and couldn’t find a source, at least not in the US (and no, Maccari doesn’t have one!). Thanks to all.



  8. Curtis-
    Everyone on this website will kid you but we all love airguns and the more the merrier. (Read BB’s post about starting your own Field Target club.) Everyone is here to help but everyone has to take a little kidding along the way! It really is all in good fun. Enjoy!

  9. BB, the “Basic” ones come in a differently labelled tin, but the pellet does look identical.

    I wasn’t sure what a “Basic” was when I bought a tin at a local gun shop, but the receipt said “Geco” – same UPC, I guess.

  10. Anonymous,

    I really am enjoying myself; this is a very informative and friendly forum, and, I can take a ribbing (I didn’t “pick up my marbles and leave in a huff”, after all!). On the 97K seals, I will call Boris, though that seal was not listed in the parts directory on the Pyramid website. Thanks guys.


  11. hb again,
    So would you go with the gamo compact? How is the trigger on the 777, 747, or Compact? Are they all 2 stage. Which would be the best for 10 meter without going into pcp’s. Or should i just save up for a izh 46


  12. hb,

    The RWS Diana 460 Magnum is probably a reskinned Diana 46. I doubt it will have any more power than the current 46, because the Germans think that the UK limit of 12 foot-pounds is a magnum!

    I may test it if it seems to offer something new, but if it’s just a cosmetic change I won’t.


  13. The trigger on the Gamo Compact is much better than the triggers on either the 747 or the 777. They are all two-stage, as all target triggers should be.

    The Compact is great for 10-meter, but it is very light. I’ve shot good scores with one, but I have to concentrate more because it floats around so much.

    The IZH 46M is by far better than the Compact because of its balance and weight. It’s trigger is better, but not by as much as the Compact if ahead of the Daisys.


  14. B.B.

    I liked the report you did on the utg airsoft sniper thing. I was wondering if you could do a review of one of the more powerful gas snipers. Such as:


    Or something like that. The biggest thing I hate about airsoft is the accuracy. Like the one you tested, where it shoots at 2″ at some 10 yards. I want a decently accurate gun. I thought maybe the high powered ones would be shooting fast enough to help out the accuracy.



  15. BB.
    Hello again this is Rick in South Carolina. I’m done with the break in period of my beeman gh950 and I have to say that I love the performance of the .22 over my Gamo Hunter 440 .17. Anyway I’m looking for the right pellet. I’m able to keep decent groups at 25 yards and can, with a minor scope adjustment hit a milk jug every time at 75 yards. I’m considering getting a new scope to be more accurate at 75 yards, but I’m really looking to be as accurate as possible within 50 yards. So I have 3 questions.

    1. the paperwork on this gun shows 750 feet per second. Is it reasonable for me to expect accuracy at 50 yards?

    2. I need to reorder pellets, what variety would you recommend for me to have the best possible accuracy at 50 yards?

    3. I’m willing to get a new scope to help with the long range accuracy. Something with 3x?? and AO. Do you have any favorites?

    Thanks again for all your time!

    Rick Eutsler
    Cottageville, SC.

  16. Hb once again,
    Should would you recomend my buying the gamo compact in the near future, or waiting to get the izh 46. Would it be worth the extra $80 for the izh. I’m not concerned with weight, just accuracy, trigger pull, and easy of operation. I could go with the 747 because I’m just getting this for fun / club competition (for now). By the way, I just shot a 79/100 with a walther cp sport. Heavy trigger= dropping 21 points. not too shabby though.

  17. Thanks B.B for your recommendation on the Leapers 3x9x50 for my rws 52. I called Pyramyd the other day, and a nice lady sales person told me that I would need high mounts for anything above a 40mm objective lens. A few other scopes that look attractive to me are the Leapers 3x12x44 compact and the 3x12x44 full size(both 30mm tubes). B-square doesn’t make a 30mm aa compact mount that I am aware of and if they did it might cause me problems (scope/eye placement)if I have to hang the stop pin over the front of the scope rail. Are there any advantages of going to a 30mm tube other than having more poi adjustment? I would like keeping everything on medium mounts. My thinking is that with higher mounts the farther away the cheek piece would be, and the closer you are to the axis of the barrel the better.The reason I chose a rws 52 over the 48 is because it looked like the 52’s cheek piece was higher and more suitable for scoping. I’m 5’4″ right handed and shoot lefty. The 52 fits me nicely and is a natural pointer if a person holds the gun properly(lose at the shoulder).It shoots like firing off a 22 short, very smooth in 22 caliber. My Gamo 1000 1.77 is very buzzy but if I concentrate on the trigger its very accurate. I removed the Gamo’s stock recoil stop ,there was too much of a reach for my neck. I dug up my B-square removable stop pin the other day and did some comparing. The stop pin was rounded too lose for a rws and newer gamo 1000 with a stop pin hole. I didn’t like the idea of hanging the stop pin over the front of the rws’s scope rail thinking that it would push the mounts too far forward , but at that position it would be back about as far as you could get. Any news on the mounts that Pyramyd is experimenting on. I think that the B-square one piece mounts will work though. I wish they would make mounts for just one size instead of being able to fit 9.5-13 mm rails, especially there over the side bubble level. There very good people to have to deal with though , and keep on improving things. Thanks B.B for mentioning Boris. I have nothing against women, but I feel more confident in talking to a guy about guns. Any help would be appreciated.

  18. dm20,

    The .177 was available from the beginning, but the power differential between it and the .22 is pretty large. .177 sales in the U.S. have been small, but in some countries like South Africa, a .22 pellet gun is a firearm. That’s where a .177 Condor will sell.


  19. Rick,

    Try the JSB Exact in both weight and the Crosman Premier in the cardboard box. Also try the Logun Penetrator in both weights.

    Yes you can get accuracy at 50 yards, though a breakbarrel springer is the hardest airgun of all to shoot. It takes a lot of technique.

    Be sure to clean your barrel with JB Bore Paste as I recommend in the blogs on cleaning the barrel.

    I like all the Leapers scopes because of their optical clarity. They compare favorably to the most expensive scopes on the market in that respect. A 3-12 might be ideal for you, though a 3-9 is a good one, too.


  20. HB,

    The ease of operation is where the two pistols diverge. The IZH 46M is relatively easy to pump, while the Compact is significantly harder. Other than that, if the light weight isn’t an issue, the Compact shoots just as accurately as the 46M.


  21. CyberSkin.

    The advantage of a 30mm scope tube isn’t more reticle adjustment. It’s greater light transmission. That said, what you say is interesting and I will have ti look into it.

    The reason B-Square mounts are made with such a broad adjustment range is because of all the guns they have to fit. Try scoping a CZ 631 or a Diana 27. They are at two extremes of the range.

  22. Teflon Moly,

    Okay, I tried this about eight years ago with Ms.Moly spray. It’s just hype, as far as I can determine. Maybe I didn’t shoot enough of them, but this “myth” has the ring of The Emperor’s New Clothes, in that only those who sell the product and those who have bought it seem to get the results. Regular testing doesn’t seem to get the same results.

    Of course, I could be wrong – but I don’t think so.


  23. As I surmised. It seems like teflon is included in products more for advertising purposes than anything beneficial. I swear someone would try to sell me some to put on my (ahem) if they thought I’d buy it.

    As usual BB, you rock!


  24. Max,

    The lube I recommend is two parts Hoppes Gun Oil and one part STP Engine Treatment. I call it Whiscombe honey, because John Whiscombe concocted it for his powerful springers. It is a little thinner than honey.


  25. BB,

    I meant: Do I need to lube them?, I personally prefer not to, Is there another pellet which does not need lubing?
    Im sure you have tested an RWS 48 or similar, could you tell me what the best pellets on the cheap side are. What do you think of Gamos pro match, pro magnums or Mendoza magnums?


  26. Max,

    No pellet that goes over 900 f.p.s. is accurate anyway. I wondered why you wanted to shoot Hobbys in a 48.

    Shoot Crosman Premiers. If your rifle is .177, shoot the 7.9-grain pellet. It goes a littl too fast, but it’s accurate.


  27. Howdy all,
    Just registered and I am having some difficulty navigating this site. I was hoping to look at a comparison review/chart – what ever of various .117 pellet rifles. I know only a few models and manufacturers and was looking to expand my pitiful knowledge base before I spend my dollars. If this is the wrong site could someone direct me to a more appropriate site?

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