Update on Tom/B.B.: Woohoo! Things are looking better and better. Now that some infection issues are diminishing, Tom appears to be improving at an accelerated pace.

Today’s blog was written by B.B.

We’re going to get crazy and do some anal experiments that I know you guys will love. This one is a test, so you have to do the shooting and get back to the rest of us in the comments. The first thing we’ll test is sorted pellets vs unsorted.

Pick your best-shooting single-shot airgun. And pick the best pellet for that gun. It can’t be a repeater because I want you to put the pellet directly into the rifling. A breakbarrel would be ideal.

Sorted by weight vs unsorted
Unsorted: Once you’ve selected the best pellet for your gun of choice, randomly pick 10 pellets out of the tin. Set them aside and do nothing more to them.

Sorted: For this part of the test, you need the ability to weigh pellets. From the same tin that you picked the unsorted pellets, pick out 10 pellets. Before weighing them, examine each one very closely and remove any lead flashing you find inside the skirt. Now, weigh the pellets. They must all weigh the same. Pellets that vary by any amount will be put aside and not used for this test. Keep on going until you’ve come up with 10 pellets that have the same weight. Depending on the brand you selected, you may have to go through quite a few pellets before finding 10 that weigh exactly the same.

Do not reverse the order of this process. I don’t want you to do the sorted pellets first and then use the rejects as your unsorted group! The unsorted pellets must be selected totally at random. Also, don’t inspect the unsorted ones for flashing, etc. (otherwise they won’t be unsorted). The reason I want you to select the pellets from one tin is to ensure they all come from the same die lot.

Ready, aim, shoot!
Now, shoot the best two groups you can (one with sorted, the other with unsorted) at a reasonable distance that will show accuracy tendencies. I would say 20-25 yards would be a good distance. Shoot two 10-shot groups rather than four 5-shot groups.

While one or two readers may report anomalous results that do not agree with the hypothesis, in all likelihood most of you will shoot tighter groups with the sorted pellets. The further the distance you shoot, the more obvious this will be.

Report your findings in the comments section of this blog. No need to go formal, but it wouldn’t hurt to tell us the model of rifle, caliber, pellet type and actual distance shot. If you are experiencing a bad weather day in your area, please don’t run this test. That’s another variable we cannot control.

Test No. 2: oriented pellets
As a black powder cartridge shooter, I know that the best accuracy in my rifle comes when I orient the bullet. That means I need to know the position of the bullet in the mold before it comes out. And I need to always position the bullet in the same way relative to the barrel when I insert it in the breech. Most shooters have a means of making a mark on the bullet so they can do this rapidly and easily. What we’re doing with our pellet orientation is as close as we can come without being the actual manufacturer of each pellet.


These Crosman Premier Super Match wadcutters aren’t that clear, but you can see the join mark where two halves of the pellet come together.

What to orient
We have to pick something that’s found on the pellet. For example, Crosman Premier pellets are made by two halves of a die coming together. So, they have fins at the join line that runs perpendicular to the diameter of the pellet. Picking one of these would be ideal, except how do you know which one you’re picking. In other words, is the fin that you put at 12 o’clock for pellet No. 1 the same fin you put at 6 o’clock for pellet No. 2. You’re going to have to be a detective and find an iron clad way of knowing that each pellet is oriented the same. I can’t tell you how to do this; just work carefully, and it should come to you.

Once, again, I’ll ask you to shoot 10 shots of oriented pellets at a reasonable distance. And another 10 shots of pellets you pull out of the tin and pay no special attention to. Do not make any attempt on this random lot to control the degree of randomness. Just pick ’em, load ’em and shoot ’em.

Report your results the same way, and we ought to have a nice little body of data built up by the end of the day. Though, it may take several days because of peoples’ schedules.