How does H&N make pellets?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

How does JSB make pellets?

This report covers:

  • Improvements at the molecular level
  • Pellet shapes and head sizes
  • No lookie!
  • Process management
  • More than just pellets
  • Olympic target pellets
  • Testing
  • Cleaning
  • Quality assurance and packing
  • On to shipping
  • Summary

Back on August 10 we looked at how JSB makes pellets. Today we will look inside the H&N factory and see how they do it.

Improvements at the molecular level

“If we want to improve the making of pellets, we have to do it at the molecular level.” Those words were spoken to Dr. Robert Beeman when he toured the H&N factory in the 1980s. As a major buyer of their product, Dr. Beeman got to look inside the operations of manufacturers like Haendler & Natermann Sport GMBH (H&N). They told him at that time that with all the technical controls on the process of making pellets, any future improvements would have to come at the molecular level.

Of course you never want to say never, because the passage of time can prove you wrong. And what we have learned over the past 25+ years is that, while manufacturing processes may have reached a practical limit, there are still things that can be done to forge ahead with the quality of pellets. Pellet head sizes and body shapes are just two factors that come to mind.

Pellet shapes and head sizes

H&N has been innovating with pellet shapes and head sizes for a long time. Let’s look at one of their products The H&N Rabbit Magnum is a heavyweight hunting pellet that’s suited to powerful precharged rifles. Its weight helps it extract good energy from the more powerful PCPs like the AirForce Condor, the Escape and the Hatsan BT65. These rifles are real thumpers that need heavy pellets to achieve all the power they can, and pellets like the Rabbit Magnum are the way to do it.

And, speaking of head sizes, I found when testing the H&N Baracuda Match in certain air rifles that the difference of 0.01MM in head size made all the difference in the world, as far as accuracy goes. The Baracuda pellet was developed in the 1950s for a ether-injected fuel-air rifle (the Weihrauch HW EL54 Baracuda) that was too powerful for conventional pellets, but in the 21st century it works fine in the magnum guns we have today.

No lookie!

Like Crosman and JSB, the folks at H&N do not permit us to look at the actual pellet-making process. I do know that their 43 employees work 6 days a week 24 hours a day inside the 30,000 square-foot plant.

What I can tell you is they do swage (squeeze together in dies) the pellets they make. They make those precision dies right there in-house in a toolroom that’s located inside the facility. Nobody outside the company gets to look at even a part of the pellet-making process.

First they run the lead wire they plan using through a wire drawing machine that holds the finished dimension to 0.01mm, plus or minus one-hundredth of a millimeter. This wire will become the small blanks or preforms from which the pellets are made.

wire drawing
The lead wire is heated to 430 degrees F before being drawn through a die to 0.01mm tolerance. The finished diameter is measured by laser for accuracy.

Once sized and inspected, the wire is then fed into one of the many swaging machines, where the pellets are made. While H&N won’t allow us to look inside the machines I can tell you each machine produces 2-5 pellets every second. The pellets are checked for tolerances right after they are made. Oversize and undersized pellets are not permitted to pass on.

H&N plant wide view
This wide view of the H&N plant floor shows many of the swaging machines in operation.

H&N plant tight view
This view of the plant from the other direction shows a little more detail of the swaging machines.

 

Process management

They manage sales, accounting, production and inventory with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that reveals inside details of the operation in real time. They use a KANBAN system to visualize workflow and critical paths in the production process. KANBAN is a logistics management tool that modernizes manual tools such as PERT to optimize Lean manufacturing and Just in Time (JIT) inventory control.

I get excited when I see companies actually using management tools like this, because I taught this kind of planning and process control to the Department of Defense for many years. Collectively it is called Japanese Management and was developed by several U.S. visionaries to boost this nation’s efficiencies during WW II. Now it’s used to win economic wars in the business world. It allows a company like H&N to compete on a level playing field with a company many times its size.

More than just pellets

We think of H&N as a pellet maker, but did you know they also manufacture firearm bullets for both handguns and rifles? They also make round balls that we see in the airgun world, though they have a separate product line of balls for muzzle loaders. And they manufacture shot. So those swaging machines are getting a workout!

Their bullets are swaged from lead. Many are copper-plated and some that are for target use are coated with plastic! These latter are meant to be shot at velocities below 1,050 f.p.s., making them perfect for wadcutter bullets used in the finest target pistols. Of course we are more concerned with the making of pellets, so let’s get back to that.

Olympic target pellets

One of the all-time top target pellets is the H&N Finale Match pellet. Made in weights for both rifle and pistol, this pellet is seen on the World Cup circuit as well as at the Olympics. I have had both rifles and pistols that shot this pellet better than any other, but you have to test each gun to find that out.

Testing

Each production lot is tested at 10 meters and 50 meters — depending on the pellet design. H&N Finale Match pellets are tested with several different rifles and pistols. Their name is on the line with these competition pellets and they cannot afford to let quality slip.

H&N test range
Every lot of pellets is tested before the lot is produced. Finale Match pellets are tested with several different airguns.

Cleaning

After the pellets are produced they are sent through a cleaning process that removes oil and flashing. Then they are dried while still inside the machine. After that, it’s on to packaging and shipping.

H&N pellet washer
This machine washes and dries the pellets after production. It also removes any flashing. Be careful — it’s hot!

Quality assurance and packing

After washing the pellets go to packaging. All but the competition pellets are packed automatically. The Finale Match line are inspected and packed by hand. They seem to use a tool that looks very much like the Speedy Pellet Inspector that we will be looking at soon.

H&N inspection 1
Pellets for hand inspection are scooped onto an inspection plate.

H&N inspection 2
Then each pellet is looked at by the inspector. This process is no different than the one we have been talking about with the Pelletgage and Speedy Pellet inspector.

On to shipping

Given those two powerful process management software tools H&N uses, the pellets don’t spend a lot of time at the plant after packaging. This is a prestige manufacturer whose entire production output is barely keeping up with demand. So their warehouse isn’t full of dusty tins waiting to be shipped. Instead, they strive to maintain sufficient stocks of pellets their customers will order.

Pyramyd Air is a distributor for H&N, so they try to keep stocks of every type and caliber of pellet they sell. Sometimes, though, the demand exceeds the supply and customers have to wait for their order to be filled. That’s why I recommend that you buy several tins each of the pellets you use, so you will never run out.

Summary

There are just a few makers of premium pellets and H&N is one of them. You have seen me test with them countless times in this blog and they usually came out on top or very near to it. Now you have peeked inside the plant that makes these iconic pellets and perhaps have a better idea of what is behind them.

67 thoughts on “How does H&N make pellets?

  1. BB
    Absalutly cool. Alot of everything you talked about is very similar to what the work is like at the shop we do. Pretty much the same process. The machine operators use spc on the tooling in the machine and also on critical dimensions of the parts.

    Matter of fact my wife just started working there this week. She washes and inspects the parts comming off the machine. She does visual inspection of each part under a lighted magnifying glass. She will look at about 7,000 parts in 10 hrs. Then another worker places the parts in a machine that laser inspects the holes machined in the parts. It will send the rejects into a bad pan and counts and sends the good parts down a chute into a box to be sealed and placed on a skid for shipping.

    And there is so much more to the process to. But I totally enjoy when you do the blogs on the pellet making process. I would love to work at one of them shops. Great blog today BB.



  2. B.B.

    I just bought a new 34P in .22 caliber so I am going to be testing to see what my gun shoots best. Right now with less then 100 rounds I would say I am in the break in phase. My gun is not liking Crosman Premiers in the cardboard box at least for now. I moved on to a tin of Air Arms Falcons and my groups are tightening up. I got to say I am really liking this gun especially the T06 trigger. Still got a bunch of H&N and JSB pellets to try, left overs from trying to find something that worked in my .22 caliber Benji Trail. The purchase of the 34P marks my finally giving up on the Benji Trail.

    David


    • I’m really happy with the way my .22 Ruger Impact!
      I’ve put about 100 25gr Monsters through it as well as a couple tins of their Impact Superpoints and it does well with both although POI changes substantially it’s got plenty of power to push em out hard! I couldn’t imagine choking it down to.177 but I guess that’s where the platform came from.


    • The pellets they offer in the Impact series are a little over 15gr or 1 gram.
      I avoided light pellets during break-in which is not far from being over.
      Just be sure to keep all the fasteners tight and keep a load on the spring by not using too light pellets



  3. BB
    Very interesting report indeed and it is good to know that their pellets do not sit on shelves for extended periods and are made on a as needed basis to keep the inventory at it freshest and easier to control the quality since they don’t have large inventory to track or store that can be damaged more easily than if they are being packaged and shipped out every day.

    BD


    • Buldawg
      We call it just in time shipping at work and its a pain in the butt.

      What happens is you start adding up down time from changing the setups on the machine and run a certain amount of production then setup the next part.

      In the old days we would leave parts in a machine for a month sometimes and biuld up a good supply. We always made our shipments.

      And why would it be easier to control quality. Quality is supposed to happen no matter when a part is made in its production run. That’s why we do the spc (statistical process control) and plus have a check list of the dimensions of the parts we are making. That check list gets done every hour on multiple parts comming off the machines. Then if their is bad parts found. The operator has to screen his parts and either scrap them or set them aside so they can be reworked on manual machines.

      So just in time shipping is a pain in the butt. And is actually worse for quality when a setup can’t stay for a long period of time. More variables in the process with just in time shipping. More chances for error plain and simple.


      • GF1
        I understand what you are saying as far in time shipping but I would think that in the case of H&N they should by now have dedicated swaging machine for each pellets they make so that there is no changing out of dies or tools to make different pellets but I may be wrong.

        It would seem more efficient to not have to have the down time to change from one pellet style to another on a machine after being in business for so many years you should have dedicated machines for every pellets you make so all that is necessary is to maintain and service the individual swaging units as needed.

        In your environment where you make many different parts for many clients I can see it being a real pain to have to change out tooling and programs for different runs of parts.

        that’s why I say quality would be easier to control if one machine make one style pellet so that it only has to be maintained for consistency and not reset for different types of pellets but there again I may be incorrect in that they do not have dedicated swaging machines for every single pellet.

        If it was my company and I had been making pellets for the years that they have been it would be one machine for every pellet made and therefore much easer to control the quality and consistency of the pellets produced but then I guess that why I fixed parts and not run a business because that way of doing business just makes to much sense to be profitable or consistent.

        BD


        • Buldawg
          When you get a chance add up how many different pellets H&N makes in each caliber then add them all together. Lots of pellets and I bet it would be hard to have a machine for each pellet made.

          I bet they only have a few machines that clean the parts also. Remember they have to keep everything segragated so we don’t get mixed types of pellets in each tin we get. That machine that they wash parts in has to be made sure there is no pellets left in it before the next type of pellet gets washed. We do the same things. We even have machines that have different types of media in them to tumble the burrs off and wash the parts. And again the same thing. Got to get one type of part out before the next goes in.

          Oh and a setup on the Swiss machines we have is not as easy as changinging a computer program. You have to take tooling out. Change the cutting spindles to different locations on the machine. Then that cutting spindle has to be centered to the collet or Chuck that holds the part. The rpm has to be changed according to the tool then the diameters and depths need set.

          That’s just a little bit of how a set up goes. We have some positions that are off center. Those dimensions when we get a part off has to be checked on that cmm measuring machine.

          So now we finally have a good part off and we are going to run production for about 3 days and do it again to a different but similar part. That’s what just in time manufacturing does. That’s why it’s very important to have a lot and heat number. Because things do go wrong when all the setup changing goes on. That’s the only way you have traceability.

          But I’m with you if H&N has dedicated machines for each and every pellet they make then great. Now think about that theory in what happens when they make some new pellets for all the different caliber of pellets. Do they keep getting more dedicated machines. I just got the funny feeling the answer is no they don’t.

          But what do I know. I don’t work for H&N.


          • GF1
            I do see your point but as I said if you are making millions of pellets per day or week whatever that case may be it would be much more efficient to have dedicated machines but yes it would cost more in the initial development of new designs and different calibers.

            That’s most likely why I never made it to the CEO of a company or started my own as I would probably be broke in a short time since my way of thinking is most likely not the best in a business environment. I just think that having dedicated machines to swage and wash all the individual pellets over time and for the long term would be more cost effective than having to stop one type of pellet to start another and the same for cleaning and so forth.

            You are most likely correct though in that they have run on the different types and then switch to another style but to me it just seem not the most efficient and cost effective way to produce the quantities they do everyday. But what do I know since I never had the desire to wear a suit or sit behind a desk for a living.

            BD



            • Buldawg
              Pretty much the way it is in the machine shop world.

              The good thing that H&N and JSB has going for them is they are making their own products. So that allows them to schedule and implement changes they make to a pellet design or a process they use.

              In the production world I’m in which probably kind of relates to Crosman and some other air gun company’s is that the shop I work at makes parts for a customer and Crosman has parts made at other places for their product.

              So when those scenerio’s are in the mix then the customer will want changes made to a part your producing. So then a little change to the part tends to create problems with the setup. Things need looked at and switched around and the parts being produced have to be used and even sometimes the customer don’t want that design anymore.

              So yep the machine shop biusness can be frustrating at times. And on another point of the process just think when they retire or repair a die. That new or repaired die has to be proven so they know its producing the pellets to size. Then on down the line to their shooting test.

              It’s so wonder that we get pellets for the price we pay now.


              • GF1
                yea I think there is a good bit of difference in the pellet manufacturing business and machine shop production work in that you supply others with parts whereas the pellet manufacturing is like you say in house so the company makes the rules of production and has far more control over in house components and quality.

                yea hopefully they have several sets of dies made at the same time so that the tolerances are consistent thru the whole batch and its just a matter of changing to the new die and verifying it is producing to the same specs as the old ones but then things happen and there will always be issues that need to be addressed.

                I remember the days at Harley when we would continue to see the same design over and over that we had proven did not work or the ones that had worked for 50 years and because they had a price increase from a supplier they changed to a different supplier and everything went to crap overnight.

                I am just glad I don’t have to deal with those issues anymore although if Harley was still here in Alabama I would be still working for them since I did love my job.

                Yea I just hope they can keep them as cheap as they are now.

                BD


                • BD,

                  One die makes many pellets in the swaging machines. Yes, they do have several of each and they rotate them in and out of service for minor touchups. A new die probably costs a bundle of machining time, so I’m sure they want to get as much from it as they can, while still maintaining their quality standard.

                  B.B.


                  • BB
                    I thought they would have more then one for backup and to touch up from time to time since they see quite a bit of pressure with every swage of a pellet.

                    Good info to know and I like the look into behind the scenes of what keeps us shooting everyday.

                    BD


  4. It reminds me so much of my Dad…who always would remind me, “You can have the best design, the best marketing, the best quality, the best of everything…but if you can’t make the damn thing for a price people are willing to pay…you ain’t got nothing.”
    Enter the unsung hero, my Dad, the brilliant production engineer who could actually make the McGuffin and ship said McGuffin to your waiting hands.
    Nothing happens in a vacuum.
    Nothing.


  5. Cool report. I’d have liked to see pics of the machines, but I totally understand H&N.

    Do they actually inspect the high end pellets by computer *and* by hand? I would have thought that by now, computers would be better at such things than humans…


  6. “43 employees work 6 days a week 24 hours a day inside the 30,000 square-foot plant”

    That means, only 7 people working for 6 hours with 4 shifts 6 day of the week! (This is computation is based on German work week averaging 35 hours a week). No wonder the place looked so empty in the photographs allowed. If pellet demands run higher they should be able to easily ramp up production.

    Computer vision is still a long ways from the Eyeball Mark 1 with regards to quality control I would think.


    • Siraniko
      We have computer vision systems at work that check our parts. I know I helped biuld and design them. We call them pick and place machines.

      Parts are loaded on a small conveyor and a robot arm picks the part up and places it on a fixture that rotates. There is a camera that is mounted on the side and top of the part that takes multiple pictures of the part.

      Most of the customers that we make parts for require us to have the vision systems. It’s basically equal to like what a receipt is when you go buy something at a store.

      We also have a machine thats called a cmm that has probes that have little round jewels on the end that touches the part in multiple places to check it. Then it gives a computer print out. Every skid of parts that go out the door have multiple reports done on that heat and lot of parts that are made.

      And we even have systems that use lasers to check holes and other things also..

      But the human eye is also a valuable tool along with being able to feel burrs and such on the part. We have a saying that 95% of the time you can visually see or touch and tell you have a bad part before you measure it with hard gages or indicators.

      Alot of things go on behind the scene when things get manufactured that people would probably never believe happens.


  7. I was just thinking of that JSB blog yesterday…I continue to be amazed at how the manufacturers can produce such a precision product for just pennies a piece. Thanks, BB, for a fascinating “inside look”!


    • HiveSeeker
      It’s funny you say that. Back in the old days we use to get upto 5 cents per part. Rember I said up to. Sometimes we would only get a couple of cents a part.

      Now we can set up to $6 per part. And that machine is the slowest production machine we have basically because its a complex part. It has a cyle time of about 23 seconds. So every 23 seconds a part comes off the machine. But there is also alot of tool changing that’s needed to keep the quality of the part up. So the machine will run abut 1400 parts in a 12 hr shift. Multiply that times $6 and see what you get. Then multiply that times 2 because there are 2 shifts that run that part.

      Then we have small parts that are equal to the size of pellets and we can make a part every 2 seconds on that machine. Them parts are probably the fastest production parrs we make. We are getting close to 5 cents per part on that machine.

      All that sounds like alot of money to be made but factor in tooling and labor cost plus fages and calibration and the robot inspection machines and shipping cost them dollars made fade fast.


  8. Their pellets are good. I recently found that my Diana 34 just loves the H&N Field Target Trophy .22 Cal, 14.66 Grains with a head diameter of 5.55. Next I will try them in the Diana 52.

    Mike


  9. B.B.,

    I love reading reports such as this one. I have always found it fascinating to see and read how things — especially things that I use every day — are manufactured.

    I first learned of just-in-time manufacturing 30 years ago. It’s a sound business practice for everyone but those in the warehousing industry! Lean and mean is part of the path to profitability, no doubt about it. Now I know why when I place an order with Pyramyd Air, the pellet I wish to add to my order is often not in stock. I’ve learned that pellets are rarely out of stock for very long, however, so if I wait one or two days and then place my order, I am usually in luck (as long as another type of pellet I want to order hasn’t gone out of stock in the meantime, hah!).

    Thanks for the report,

    Michael


    • Michael
      I have had to wait for upto 3 weeks or more for H&N and JSB pellets throughout time.

      Just in time manufacturing does nothing but save the company money they have to put out at that given time. It keeps money in the companies pocket or allows them to keep going if they are having money issues.

      We are finally within the last 3 years leaving the products in the production machines for a longer time. And now we also can schedule in preventive maintenance on the machines because we have a little cushion if you will with extea parts on the shelf. When we was doing just in time manufacturing we had to basically run till a machine broke. Well guess what happens then when your making just enough parts to ship. You mis your shipment and the customer is not happy.

      That’s living on the edge if you ask me.


      • First, I have no horse in this race. What I’ve written below is simply a reporting of the way most business experts view things.

        “Just in time manufacturing does nothing but save the company money they have to put out at that given time. It keeps money in the companyies pocket or allows them to keep going if they are having money issues.”

        Gunfun1, yes, it does what you say, but all of that is a LOT. “Nothing but”? Saving money, keeping money in the company’s pocket, and maintaining cash flow is probably half of all of the difference between being very successful and being very out-of-business, especially for small manufacturers.

        Your complaint about the perils of Just-in-Time (JIT) is that it leaves a production line vulnerable to production interruptions, which it does — you are correct.. However the dominant belief is these stoppages add up to less profit loss than JIT adds up to cost savings. The cost-benefit analysis is that stoppages hurt less than “lean manufacturing” helps. Besides this, astute management keeps a close eye on maintenance and schedules it before it is too late, even in a JIT environment.

        The approach opposite JIT is JIC, or “Just-in-Case.” All over the world JIC is usually viewed as outmoded and wasteful if it is the dominant model. JIT is the standard at almost all business schools and business textbooks.

        So you might be right, but if you are, then the vast majority of the world’s manufacturers are wrong.

        Also, consider this: you accurately said that the manufacturer might be happy but the customer is not. As an unhappy customer do you stop buying pellets, or do you wait and buy them anyway when they get in stock?

        Michael


        • Michael
          Been doing the machine shop stiff for around 33 years and seen both sides of what inventory does and does not do.

          And the customer I’m talking about can’t wait for the parts being made. It will shut down their production line. If that happens they fine are company. In other words we have to pay for their loss time.

          Believe me that’s not smart. Plus it drops you down the list of the suppliers that have a good reputations. If you have to many flub ups then your out as a supplier. So it is a catch 22 if you ask me.

          There’s a balance for everything.


  10. I recall buying by the sausage mentioned as a means to ensure supply.
    That would be great if it didn’t cost as much as a new gun. $150.Maybe someone could talk them into offering an incentive other than ensuring your supply like a price break on bulk purchases.


  11. Yup, running lean means a company can better control (minimize) their capital investment. After all the hostile takeovers of the 1980s, it made sense for a lot of manufacturing companies to go that route, to reduce the amount of stale cash they had lying around. But, you need a very good QC system to insure you don’t ship a batch of screwed up parts. And you need good suppliers so you don’t run out of raw materials. And good maintenance crews so that your high-duty-cycle machinery doesn’t go down at a bad time. A good shop will figure out ways to minimize setup times, but there is a limit to what can be done there.

    And totally agree that an Eyeball, Grade A, Mark 1, Human, is one of the best QC devices.

    When the wife and I remodeled, we bought our kitchen cabinets from a custom shop, who runs the Toyota Manufacturing system. We toured his shop, and saw some of their innovations. Carts to hold the raw materials, which then get cut and slotted into places on the carts. Drawings/pick sheets right there on the end of the cart, so people can easily find them. Standardized hinges and automated cutting equipment. Smooth workflow pattern and tight scheduling – they confer with the builder to know when the delivery date is, and schedule the job about 5-7 days (depends on the size of the job) prior to that date, and virtually guarantee hitting the delivery date within plus or minus 8 hours (and they did). Very clean shop, and the cabinets turned out perfectly, and have held up well even with #4 son swinging on the pantry doors. Of course, both the wife and I are engineers, and geek out on stuff like JIT and TMS and statistical QC.

    As for H+N, my .177 Mrodr (now that I’ve tossed the 2nd .22 barrel and converted it back) shoots the H+N Barracuda Match in 4.52mm head size into 3/4″ or better 10-shot groups at 50 yards; better than any of about 2 dozen other makes/models tested. Very clean and consistent pellets; I hope to find one of their pellets that will work well in my FX rifle when it gets here…if it ever gets here…waiting sucks.


  12. GF, I put money down on a .22 Wildcat. Looked at and thought about a lot of other rifles, but in the end went with my gut. I have been trying to practice offhand shooting, as a lot of my missed shots when hunting happen when I take such shots. The Mrodr is okay, but gets heavy after awhile, and my shooting suffers. I probably need to work out more, like BB does, so I can shoot better for longer…but lots of other shoulds/musts are competing for time these days. I’m hoping the bullpup will be a bit easier to hold and shoot offhand. We’ll see – I also figure it will be fairly easy to resell it if it doesn’t work out for me.


    • Ben
      I will have to check it out. I had 2 of the semi-auto FX Monsoons. On good one and one not so good one. But that’s another story.

      And yep I was out shooting starlings in the corn feild with my Tx off hand today. Got 3 of them one right after the other. But do you rest your forearm on your rib cage when you shoot off hand if there’s nothing to prop yourself up against? I find that steadys me up pretty good. Just wondering.


      • GF, I recall you telling me about feed/magazine issues on the Monsoon.

        I do try and jab my elbow into my chest/stomach/ribcage, but don’t have enough paunch to really stabilize it ;-). But after a half dozen shots or so, the wobble in my aim steadily worsens. Before the corn came in, we had a good hide set up in the calve’s feed barn, plenty of hay bales to prop the guns on. Like I said, I need more practice and more time working on core strength and upper body. Oh well, this weekend it’s off to eastern Washington state to see if we can get a couple of deer with bow+arrow.


  13. Funny, but I was worried about what the wife would say, this being only the 2nd PCP I’ve purchased, and the most expensive gun I’ve ever bought. Her comment? “Sure, go for it. At least you’re not spending money on stuff you don’t ever use, like (the neighbor’s husband)”. Neighbor bought a $20,000 fishing boat a few years ago, which spends about 51 weeks a year parked in the driveway, and on the one week a year he takes it out, about 1 hour of time actually running. He’s never caught a fish, apparently, and gets seasick on the salt water.


  14. Dad was a printer. Making business forms for, literally, everyone from 1950’s 2’cent ag Kansas/Nebraska gas stations’ proto credit cards, to Colorado DL’s, to the Morman “Record-Everyone-That-Ever-Lived-Project.”
    I know, I still have souvenirs of many of these…historical…items.
    You think that’s a minor thing?
    Really?
    From the change machine at the laundromat to the cash machine in Las Vegas, just try and process a 0ne dollar/Hundred dollar bill with a single line a half-millimeter off. Not happy with the result?
    That’s my Dad.
    I can tell you stories, (but I won’t, ) about…
    but that would be telling, wouldn’t it?
    Look to our friend Bill Shakespere. “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy…”
    From “Hamlet” and my flawed, fading memory.
    There’s a lott’a things out there that we, the great unwashed, have little if any clue, about how things happen.
    Somewhere, along the line, a few people realized we weren’t going to get anywhere until we recognized the meaning of the word “precision.”


  15. I was thinking that H&N had actually made improvements at the molecular level. Even without that, I must concede that my perfect reloaded ammunition cannot keep up with their laser beams. Wow. And I’m a believer in them after seeing how their Terminator pellets improved the performance of my Walther Nighthawk. I had always assumed that JSB was the number one pellet maker. Is it meaningful to compare them and H&N for the top spot? Perhaps not if it comes down to the fit of pellet to gun.

    Desertdweller, interesting about how the 9X18 bullets are bigger than the 90X19 bullets. This gets into territory where bullet measurements are not what they seem. A .303 is described as a 7.7mmm which is bigger than a 7.62 which is .308. And the 7.62X54R often use bullets that are .311. Argh. But it sounds ideal if you have a gunstore that caters to your interests.

    Buldawg, riding a wheelie for miles is actually more amazing to me than sheer speed although perhaps the controllability is a common challenge. There is a very bad and ridiculous but occasionally funny movie called The Sweetest Thing (don’t blame me for watching it) which features some motorcycle acrobatics. A motorcycle gang member pulls up next to a car with two women, and he starts a kind of moving courtship with displays of skill. While keeping his hands on the handlebars, he steps one foot up to the seat, then the other so that he is standing on the seat then steps down and repeats a couple of times. However, in doing so, he takes his eyes off the road and runs into some construction which knocks him over but without injury.

    But perhaps this kind of automotive courtship is more widespread. In the Fast and Furious movie about the Drift King, two guys in a car come up to two women in a car. The guy somehow manages to skid his car in a way that circles the women while keeping the front pointed at them. When he’s done, the girls pull up and hand him a slip of paper with their number. Ha. That’s like the animal kingdom. It certainly cuts through the preliminaries but I would find that harder to do than the traditional way.

    The motorcycle feat is actually less impressive than what I saw right before the Indianapolis 500. Some state police on motorcycles were riding down the straightway as part of the pre-race activities. Perhaps hoping to steal a bit of the limelight, one of them stood up on the seat of his moving motorcycle at high speed with both arms at right angles for the length of the straightaway which is almost a mile. Ever tried that? I’ve seen motorcycle police crash on YouTube doing less and it is ugly.

    As for the origin of muscle cars, I wonder if it doesn’t go further back than Carroll Shelby. I understand that bootleggers souped up their cars to outrun law enforcement during Prohibition and these designs (a.k.a. the Dukes of Hazzard) became the basis of stock car racing. “Stock,” meaning factory production without the specialized engineering of sports cars, sounds like the muscle car idea. Maybe this and Carroll Shelby are convergent traditions. Perhaps this is a little different, but I understand that Prohibition gangsters would armor plate their cars. I suspect that this was more about direct conflict with law enforcement than outrunning them though surely speed was still important. I also believe that the .357 magnum was invented to penetrate the armor of these cars. I thought of that while shooting the .357 at the range, and I certainly felt like an anti-tank round.

    Matt61


    • Matt61
      Riding the wheelie is more of a control challenge than anything since you have to balance the bike on the rear wheel while using the throttle to maintain your speed without over revving the engine or blipping the throttle to much and flipping over backwards. it is actually easier to wheelie at higher speeds than at low speeds since the wheels act as gyros to keep you upright so the faster they spin the more stability you have and you can turn the front wheel while in the air to control your path as in making a corner on the rear tire as well so it all just a balancing act that is a delicate form of testing your skills.

      Do not believe what you see in movies as the stunts you described are just that stunts and I have never had a desire to stand on the seat while riding as that’s how Indian Larry died since he was doing that and went to place one foot on the handlebars and fell head first into the pavement without a helmet on and died instantly. It is easy to drift a car around one front tire when you have a system that allows you to lock that one front wheel from turning so that you use horsepower to keep the rear wheels spinning and pivot on the one front wheel but again those cars are specifically modified to do those stunt by using what is known in drag racing as a line lock which allows you to pull up to the burn out pit and press on the brake pedal then depress a switch on the shifter or steering wheel ( whichever is preferred) that holds the front brakes applied until you release the switch and allow the car to move forward. Stunt cars in the movies like fast and furious use several switches that allow them to lock one or more wheels at will to create the slides and stunts you see.

      The start of the muscle car wars as far as the big three are concerned was in the mid 60s, however the start of the NASCAR racing circuit got it start as you say in the years of prohibition and the bootleggers need to outrun Smokey bear and is why they souped up the cars to go fast and carry lots of shine. The need to armor plate the cars I believe was more to do with the very explosive shine they carried being protected from a stray bullet that would turn them in to a rolling inferno than it was to protect the driver from gun fire and they often had manual dump valves in the tanks of the cars so if they were going to be caught they could dump the evidence while still moving so as to avoid the trip to jail since the shine would evaporate faster than the cop could get the driver stopped. NASCAR was formed after the end of bootlegging was at its prime since the shine runners still wanted to race on the roads so in 1952 the first official NASCAR race was held on the beach in Daytona, Florida and the rest is history.


  16. B.B.,

    Great article! The TX200 did not seem to like ’em. But, I did not try all that is offered either. The JSB’s seem to do the best. Nice look at the insides of the factory. Nice look at the gauge as well.

    As far as the molecular level,…has there been in any advances in that area? And,…what are the pro’s and con’s of antimony? (sp.?) I believe it is said to foul a barrel quicker, but is there any benefits? Or,..is it a matter of a pellet with more of it will stay “pretty” and shinier longer,…= longer shelf life?

    Thanks,…Chris

    Thanks,…Chris



    • Jo,

      Read books about W. Edwards Demming and Joseph Juran. Both of them created what we call Japanese Management. They streamlined the U.S. war effort in WW II and then rebuilt the Japanese industrial system after the war. Both men were declared Japanese National Treasures.

      Also read about Six Sigma, which was the story of Motorola applying their teachings and saving the company.

      B.B.


  17. B.B.

    Heard w. Edwards Demming speak twice. Changed my ideas about “routine maintenance” !
    Do you know if they can have different swagging machines making different pellets simultaneously?
    Still trying to figure out how Pyramid Air can be out of stock of the .22 Magnum Sniper Pellet for 3 months!

    -Yogi


    • Yogi,

      Don’t know about the different pellets, but I don’t see why not.

      As for why the shortages, if someone has been on backorder al, that time, their orders get filled first. The entire shipment may vanish to backorders if the pellet is popular enough.

      B.B.


  18. I have some vintage benjamin HC and crosman pellets from when I was a kid. They carry most of their weight around the perimeter not sure how they were made but the inside head radius is larger than the waist. I don’t see swaggigng marks on the old pellets. The new pellets seem to have the weight loaded in a solid head more like a dart. I would think having the weight towards the outside of the pellet would be more stable in a rifled barrel.


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