by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Before we start today’s blog, I wanted to remind you that we changed how to post a comment or reply to a comment on the blog. This was done mid-morning yesterday. If you’re having issues logging in or don’t know how to create an account, please email Edith ([email protected]) for assistance.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Pelletgage
The .177-caliber Pelletgage. The holes are in a steel plate. A plastic plate above the gage plate helps guide the pellet head to the gage hole.

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Pellet 1
  • Pellet 2
  • Pellet 3
  • Conclusions
  • Last comment

Today I’m taking the suggestion of blog reader Alan in Mich., who wondered if an air rifle with less of a pedigree than my TX200 Mark III would also benefit from the Pelletgage. I wondered the same thing, so I tested the Pelletgage using a Chinese B3-1 underlever rifle. Of all the air rifles around, this is the one without a pedigree.

I’ve tested this rifle in the past, so I have a baseline on at lest 3 pellets. Of them, 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lite pellets did the best. The full report is here.

Premier lite target
This is the best target (about 1.50″) obtained in the test of the B3-1 in 2010. This target is the same size as the targets below, but the image was smaller.

The test

I sorted 7.9-grain Crosman Premier lite into groups with head sizes 4.53mm, 4.54mm and 4.55mm. I gave them to Edith in batches, and she remarked the bags so I wouldn’t know which pellet was which.

I shot from a rest at 10 meters. I used a 10-meter pistol target, the same as was used in the report about the rifle. The B3-1’s open sights are very clear, so aiming wasn’t a problem. And the artillery hold was used throughout the test because the rifle does kick and vibrate.

Pellet 1

The first pellet I used went into the bull on the first shot, so the rifle was still sighted-in. Ten shots went into 1.19 inches at 10 meters. The group is very open. All shots released perfectly, so this group is what the rifle does with this pellet.

Crosman Premier lite target B
The first pellets, labeled “B” went into 1.19 inches at 10 meters. The head size is 4.53mm.

Pellet 2

The second pellet I tested put 10 into a group measuring 1.273 inches between centers. Again, every release (break of the trigger) was perfect.

Crosman Premier lite target 5
The second pellets, labeled “5” went into 1.273 inches at 10 meters. The head size of these pellets is is 4.54mm.

Pellet 3

Ten of the third and final pellets I tested went into a group measuring 1.431 inches between centers. This is the largest group of the test. As with all the other shots, every release was perfect.

Crosman Premier lite target X
The third pellets, labeled “X” went into 1.431 inches at 10 meters. The head size of these pellets is is 4.55mm.

Conclusions

These groups are pretty much what I got back in 2010, give or take a little. I have to conclude that there are cheap pellet guns for which the Pelletgage will not make a significant improvement. Of course, this is just one test, and more testing might reveal things not seen here.

I guess the bottom line is that if you’re shooting a gun that’s not so good, don’t waste money and time trying to make it shoot better. Shoot the cheapest pellets you can find and be satisfied with the results. But that doesn’t mean the Pelletgage can’t help you with low-priced airguns, too. There are plenty of budget airguns around that can probably benefit from its use, and I plan on testing some of them next.

Last comment

Before I finish, perhaps some of you are wondering if today’s large groups are partly my fault. I know I did! After shooting the three 10-shot targets you see above, I shot another 10 shots from a different .177 breakbarrel air rifle that isn’t on the market yet. This one is also a budget airgun, though not quite the $20-$30 that the B3-1 was. It has open sights similar to those on the B3-1.

The details of this rifle are secret for now, and this was the first time I’ve ever shot it, so I had absolutely no idea which pellet to use. I just grabbed a tin of Air Arms Falcon pellets and started shooting.

I also shot this rifle from the same rest at 10 meters using the artillery hold. The group I got measures 0.508 inches between centers — so apparently old B.B. can still shoot. I hope this rifle comes to fruition. If it does, it’ll be a best buy that I’ll strongly recommend.

mystery rifle target
Ten pellets in 0.508 inches at 10 meters proves that B.B. can still shoot an airgun! Had the B3-1 done something like this, I would have been dancing in the street!