by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

A couple announcements first.

Pyramyd Air has a new contest. Valentine’s Day is coming up, and they’d like your story about the airgun you love the most. Click here to read the rules and submit your story. Submissions will be accepted through Sunday, February 14, 2010. The winner will receive a $200 Pyramyd Air gift ecard. The second and third place winners will receive $100 and $50 gift ecards, respectively.

Several regular blog readers have said they’d like to receive all the blog comments and help me answer them. If you want to do the same, please email me. Many people find this blog through search engines, but the search results often take them to a past blog…and that’s where they post their questions. Only those who are signed up to get all the comments will see them and have a chance to answer them. There’s no obligation to answer all the posts. We don’t want our volunteers to feel like they’re obligated or that this is a homework assignment. No one will check up on you or say you aren’t answering enough. How much you do is up to you. You can pull out at any time. Just let us know if it’s too much. No pressure.

Okay I did tease you with this report on Friday. I knew what I’m about to tell you was important, but I wanted you to see the results for yourself. I didn’t just want to put them into a comment that was unsubstantiated.

This all started at the SHOT Show, when I was in the AirForce booth. A coach from a youth rifle team was praising the AirForce Edge to the skies to John McCaslin, and I happened to be standing there listening to what he said. He told us his top shooter had a new Edge and had been going though various target pellets until he happened upon some Gamo Match 7.5-grain wadcutters. All of a sudden he was getting phenomenal groups, and they didn’t seem to vary.

It took me a full ten minutes to listen to the praise this coach was heaping on the Edge, but I’m shortening it to a couple sentences for you. Then and there I resolved to test the Gamo Match pellet in my test rifle. If there’s a “magic pellet” out there, I want everyone to know about it. And, yes, I used the same vice as before so the test conditions were the same.

Sad to say, I did not get the same results as the coach. Not even close! The Edge I am testing actually shot RWS Basic pellets better than these Gamo Match pellets. So, why am I telling you this? Certainly not for the Gamo Match results, but because as I was heading out to the test range I happened to find a tin of target pellets that I hadn’t tested in the Edge yet, so I took them along. And not just that–they were the head diameter that I always find to be the most accurate in my personal target rifles and pistols.

And that is where today’s story begins–with a JSB S100 Match Diabolo pellet in the head size 4.52mm. I’m sorry but not only is Pyramyd Air out of this pellet, I called all the 10-meter supply houses in the United States and nobody carries them! Scott Pilkington who makes Vogel target pellets even told me that he wouldn’t make a 4.52mm head size because he doesn’t think there’s enough demand for it. So, you may have difficulty finding these pellets.

These are the pellets I used.

The head size is on this label on the back of the tin. With other pellets, the head size is embedded in the UPC label.

The rifle was already chucked in the vise, so all that remained was to load and fire the pellets. As before, the target was a piece of target paper–no bullseye. What’s this? The group didn’t seem to grow as the shots increased. And that was the result I had been looking for all along–a pellet that did exactly what we all expected.

This little screamer was the first group I shot. Doesn’t get much better than this.

Group after group hovered around the same size. So I had a thought. What would a different rifle do? I had access to several, so I chucked up two more and continued the test. The results were pretty much the same, as you can see.

A different Edge shot this group with the same pellet. Another screamer!

A third Edge shot this group with the same pellet. More of the same.

After a handful of groups from the three rifles it was obvious the Edge really likes this pellet. What I do not know is whether it is the S100 pellet design or the 4.52mm head diameter that matters the most. My experience suggests that the head size is more important here, because it’s the same thing I’ve seen repeatedly with other target airguns and different brands of pellets.

And that’s my surprise for you today. I’m sorry it was so easy, but sometimes that’s the way it goes. My experience shooting black powder arms tells me that when lead bullets are at least one-thousandth of an inch larger than bore size (that’s across the grooves) from which they’re fired, the best accuracy results. Pellets seem to perform the same.

In fairness to Crosman, I feel I must revisit the Challenger PCP, because it never had the same chance that I just gave the Edge. So, you can expect another report on that in the near future.