by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1

Before we start, here is an update on Edith. Sunday was the last application of the medicine for Guillain Barre Syndrome. She was still in pain and only able to move her legs a very little, plus she had not eaten much in the past 5 days, so she’s weak. I got her to eat some fruit, which she enjoyed.  I hope they have diagnosed her condition correctly and that she responds to the cure. I guess we now have to wait and see.

Apparently you readers let me miss a day of the blog last week. It was written, but just not published, because I am so new to doing the admin stuff. Therefore, I have an extra blog for this week, which I really needed.

I have not commented on my social websites about this because frankly I am too busy with other things. This blog is about all I can keep up with at this time. That will hold until there is progress in Edith’s condition. Now, on to today’s report.

Today’s report is the completion of the JSB FT Premium pellet guest blog from 4 authors: Ray Apelles, Hector Medina, Paul Plauche and Greg Sauve. They are all members of Field Target Team USA.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me.

Over to you, gentlemen.

This report covers:

  • Introduction
  • Accuracy Tests
  • Ray Apelles
  • Paul Plauche
  • Greg Suave
  • Hector Medina
  • Conclusions
  • Future work
  • Acknowledgements

Accuracy Tests

It is worthwhile to note from the outset that all the rigs tested performed better with the pellet they had been tuned for. While this may sound obvious, we would say it was not a foregone conclusion. The tests provided useful information.

Ray Apelles

Ray Apelles sent these groups, on top are the JSB Exact Premiums. Below them, his usual, weight-sorted, Air Arms 8.44-grain domes.

Apelles target
JSB Exact Premium dome on top and Air Arms 8.44-grain domes below.

Ray took 15 shots without correcting for wind or elevation at 47 yards from the field target position, sitting on a bumbag. No jacket, sling, nor any other steadying devices were used. The wind was blowing right to left, and he was aiming at the right-hand bullseye. He called the lower flyer (arrow) of the AA group.

Ray then superimposed a 40mm circle (to simulate a field target kill zone) and simply counted how many hits he would have registered at this distance with both types of pellets. You can see that there are 12 hits on the JSB Premium pellet group, while you can count 13/14 (with the one pulled flyer discounted) hits in the weight-sorted Air Arms pellet group.

One thing that is notable is that the JSB Premium group is noticeably lower than the Air Arms group. This would seem to validate the other findings of a lower BC. Ray also pointed out that the feel of the JSB pellet was slightly loose on insertion, which agrees with the smaller-than-normal head size we found by air-gauging.

Paul Plauche

Paul Plauche sent these 5 shots groups he shot at 25 yards. All this shooting was from a bench rest.

Plauche target
Top row of bulls are seasoning shots with Air Arms 8.44-grain domes. Middle row were shot with lubed JSB Premium pellets, except for the last bull on the right. The last bull on the right in the middle row and the bull on the bottom were shot with JSB Premium pellets that were not lubed.

And now the usual for Paul’s Steyr LG110 Field Target rifle — the lubed Air Arms 8.44-grain domes.

Plauche target 2
In this photo, Paul Plauche averaged 0.66 inches for Air Arms 8.44-grain domes at 25 yards.

Of course, being Paul, he used software to analyze the groups’ size and distribution! It is notable that, for him, the JSB Exact Premiums (top photo) shot an average of 0.095 inches between centers, while the vs. the Air Arms 8.44-grain domes averaged 0.066 inches (Bottom photo). And the max spread for the JSB Exact Premiums is 0.292 inches versus the Air Arms 0.196 inches.

Greg Suave

Greg Sauve sent these groups from his Steyr LG100, tuned by Alan Zasadny. He shot the JSB Premiums and his regular pellet — the JSB Exact Express.

Suave target
Greg’s first 50-yard target. Ten JSB Exact Premiums on top and 10 JSB Exact Express pellets below.

Suave target 2
Greg’s second 50-yard target. Ten JSB Premiums on top and 10 JSB Express pellets below.

It is clear that the Premiums shoot low for Greg. Even assuming a re-tune, the difference in trajectory is quite dramatic.

The groups are larger for the JSB Premium pellets than for Greg’s usual JSB Express pellets. Here we need to note that the factory specified ballistic coefficient for the Express pellet is 0.021. The small red Xs in the pictures mark the aimpoints for each group.

For the next 2 pictures that show the targets shot on the second day of outdoor tests, the Premiums are still landing low, even with an additional of 12 clicks of elevation. The wind was stronger on this day.

Suave target 3
JSB Premiums on top and Express below. The scope was elevated by 12 clicks for these targets.

Suave target 4
JSB Premiums on top and Express below.

Third day produced similar results. Again, “X” marks the aimpoint.

Suave target 5
On day 3 the results were similar, with JSB Preimums above and Express below.

Under strong winds, it can clearly be seen that the Express pellet drifts less than the Premiums. The total addition of 16 clicks makes rangefinding even more critical.

Hector Medina

Hector Medina tested the Premium pellets in two different guns, both Diana 54s having same basic architecture, but with different barrel rifling style. All his groups were shot from the classic seated field target position at 35 yards. He shot both the JSB Premium pellets and Air Arms 8.44-grain domes.

Medina target
Hector Medina shoots his Diana 54 at 35 yards from the classic seated field target position. JSB Premium pellets on the left and Air Arms 8.44-grain domes on the right.

Medina target 2
A second 35-yard target by Hector Medina, using his Diana 54. JSB Premium pellets on the left and Air Arms 8.44-grain domes on the right.

Average group size for the JSB Premium pellets is 0.660 inches between centers, where the average group size for the Air Arms 8.44’s is 0.755 inches. Incidentally, the Air Arms 8.44’s are not the pellets Hector’s rifle is tuned for.

Using Veronika’s gun, another Diana 54 with a different barrel, these are the groups Hector got.

Medina target 3
Using a different Diana 54, here are 4 more groups Hector shot at 35 yards. Premiums on the left and Air Arms on the right.

The average for JSB Premiums shot in this rifle is 0.918 inches. The average for Air Arms 8.44’s is 0.859 inches. Hector mentioned that it is not easy for him to shoot with Veronika’s gun because the release is set for a loose hold, which is the contrary of his usual hold. FT Premiums still shot consistently low.

Conclusions

  1. In general, none of the testers would substitute the JSB Premium pellet for the pellet their rifle was tuned for.
  2. Hector’s tests show that the Premium pellets are good starting point in the search for the perfect pellet for a rifle. Hector’s Diana 54 is tuned to use the JSB Exact 8.44-grain pellet and gets a really good ballistic coefficient out of them. The Air Arms 8.44-graqin domes are his second choice in that rifle, and yet the new JSB Premiums surpassed that pellet just a little.
  3. Ray concluded that if he didn’t have time to sort his pellets, then he would change to the Premiums, but because he has the time, he prefers to buy large lots of pellets and sort them into plinking, practice and match grade lots.
  4. Greg would not change because his barrel is particularly suitable for shooting the JSB Express. The fact that his ballistic coefficient is higher than the factory ballistic coefficient for the same pellet tells you a lot.
  5. Paul would not change because his gun does not digest well the Express shape. He tried deep-seating the Premiums, but to no great advantage.
  6. Given the normal rate of culling that some shooters do by weighing, head-sizing, then rolling the pellets, according to our calculations it would take a bit more than 750 pellets to yield the same number of usable pellets that 200 Premiums give you. The economics may be there, depending on how finicky you and your barrel are.

Future work

When checking the physical characteristics of the Premium pellets, we also checked recent production batches of other JSB products. For the Exact 8.44 and the Express’s 7.9 we found that recent production lots have a much narrower range of head sizes and weights than the previous ones.

It is clear that in embarking on this project, the whole JSB line has benefitted from closer quality control and closer tolerances. As an illustration, this is a chart of the head sizes of current production pellets.

head size distribution

Doing all these numbers yields one incontestable conclusion: the concept of sectional density does not apply to pellets. Here we have a pellet that has a higher sectional density for exactly the same shape factor — yet it does not deliver a higher ballistic coefficient. On the other hand it would seem to imply that longer pellets, even if lighter, could deliver higher ballistic coefficients. A lot of work should go into the research of pellet shapes because the form factor is much more relevant than the weight or sectional density.

Acknowledgements

We want to express our sincere gratitude to JSB for their unflinching support of the sport of field target.