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Education / Training The importance of bullet-to-barrel alignment and fit: Part 1

The importance of bullet-to-barrel alignment and fit: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • Why go to the effort?
  • Ten shots in 0.2-inches at 200 yards
  • So what?
  • Other airgun breeches
  • Always liked single shots
  • Summary

I am writing this report for a number of reasons. The main one is because all you readers are interested in accuracy, and today’s topic is an important component of that. Yesterday reader Vana2, who goes by the name Hank, asked me if the Daisy 499 could be converted to a magazine. Here are both his comment and my answer.

Question about feed mechanisms and accuracy on the BB guns…
The 499 billed as the most accurate BB gun and it is a single shot muzzle loader.
Considering that steel BBs are not likely to be deformed in the magazine and they are held in position with a magnet, would there be any technical reason that the 499 could [not] be magazine fed?
Just seems that muzzle loading is a little inconvenient.
Welcome to July… Happy Monday!! 🙂
That tight barrel is the reason for muzzle loading. Did you know that Harry Pope built his breechloaders to have their bullets muzzle loaded? It was for a different reason, but they were called muzzle loading breechloaders.
That said, I suppose a magazine would be possible. But target arms are typically single shot so I guess Daisy never saw the need.
If I hadn’t argued with them in the 1990s, they wouldn’t have ever sold the 499 to the public. They didn’t think people would pay the price, and were shocked by the response.
When I told him that, I figured it would raise some questions, so today I want to discuss bullet-to-barrel alignment and fit, which in our world is pellet-to-barrel, most of the time.

First — what I said about Harry Pope (considered the world’s most accurate barrel maker for more than a century) is true. He made breechloading rifles whose bullets were loaded from the muzzle and rammed down the barrel to the front of the loaded cartridge that was already in the chamber. This process took longer than simply loading a cartridge, but Pope demonstrated that 100 rounds could be loaded and fired for record in 130 minutes. That seems slow today, but bear in mind that the pace of these contests was not rushed.

Poppe toggle joint bullet starter
If you ordered a Pope muzzle-loading breech loader you got this bullet starter with it — along with a false muzzle, a bullet mold, a bullet lubrication pump and a powder flask. From the book, The Story of Pope’s Barrels, by Ray M. Smith copyright Stackpole, 1960.

Why go to the effort?

Why go to all the effort of doing this when breech loaded cartridges were available? The answer? Accuracy. We still do things like this today. When a field target competitor loads a pellet and then discovers some damage to the skirt, he doesn’t shoot it for record; he blows it off by firing it into the ground, after announcing his intentions. That is the same level of fanaticism that’s found in any target shooting competition.

Ten shots in 0.2-inches at 200 yards

Sometime around the turn of the 20th century Harry Pope shot ten shots with his personal muzzle-loading breech loading .33 caliber rifle at 200 yards that measures 0.20-inches between centers. It stands as the best group ever shot at that distance, but the actual target was blown into a river and never recovered, so it never made it into the record books. Harry Pope measured it when he retrieved the target, before it blew away. He was so respected for his honesty that the group was accepted by shooters, nevertheless.

200 yard group
Yes, that is the trime next to what I believe is the smallest 200-yard 10-shot group ever shot from a conventional rifle. From, The Story of Pope’s Barrels.

There has been no record 10-shot group shot at 200 yards since that time that exceeds this one. The current record was set on July 26, 1999 by Ed Watson, with 10 shots going into 0.245-inches. That was with a heavy barrel rifle. I don’t know if there is an unlimited benchrest group that is smaller, but Pope’s rifle weighed less than 14 pounds, so this record is from a rifle of equivalent construction.

So what?

The title of this report is The importance of bullet-to-barrel alignment and fit, so what does muzzle loading the bullet have to do with that? A lot, as it turns out. Pope knew that the base of the bullet was the most critical area because of the gunpowder’s acting on it as the bullet left the muzzle. A breech-loaded bullet has small lead “fins” put there by the rifling as the bullet passes down the bore. Muzzle-loaded bullets have the same fins at the front of the bullet, where they don’t cause inaccuracy problems.

bullet base
When the bullet starts at the breech, it develops fins of lead at its base from the rifling.

How does this relate to airguns?

It relates in several important ways. First, we know that a pellet that is deliberately (and correctly) loaded into the breech before the shot will almost always be more accurate than one that is blown into the breech from a magazine at firing.

Take 10-meter target pistols for instance. I competed in 10-meter air pistol at the national level a long time with a Chameleon from Aeron. It has two strikes against it. It was CO2 and it blew the pellet into the breech upon firing. It was a single shot, but it was loaded via a swing-out chamber that aligned with the breech like a magazine. I believe my choice of pistol probably cost me 5 points per 600-point match.

My FWB P44, in sharp contrast, is a PCP and has a hollow bolt probe that seats the pellet directly in the breech when the bolt is closed. It may not look like such a big deal, but for ultimate accuracy (and confidence) it makes a big difference.

FWB breech
The FWB P44 bolt probe is positioned to perfectly insert the pellet straight into the breech.

Other airgun breeches

The FWB target pistol breech is not the only airgun breech and bolt probe that’s special. The RAW rifle action has a special bolt that aligns the pellet with the barrel as it inserts it into the rifling. It does a couple other major things, as well, and it’s my personal belief that this bolt one reason why RAW air rifles are at the top of the PCP heap. I will give more detail when I review the RAW rifle.

Always liked single shots

I think most readers know that I prefer single shots over repeaters, and today’s subject explains a big reason why. Is a rifle accurate just because it’s a single shot? Not at all! If you only shoot commercial ammo, a single shot doesn’t give you any advantage over a repeater. But if you reload, a single shot allows you to tailor your ammo so that — wait for it — your bullets are precisely aligned with the barrel! I am one of the few people on earth who shoots an AR-15 single shot, and my AR is quite accurate. Today we have explored half of the reason why.


There is more to this discussion. We have yet to discuss the fit of the bullet to the bore. That comes next.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

119 thoughts on “The importance of bullet-to-barrel alignment and fit: Part 1”

  1. B.B.,

    What are your thoughts with regards to the pellet loading of the Mac USFT? It has a swing out breech but the pellet is manually inserted into the leade? Would that be as good as how the RAW rifle loads a pellet? Is the RAW rifle with you already? If not, when do you think you are going to be able to review it?


  2. BB
    I think that muzzle loading holds true for a bullet shaped projectile.

    But a Diablo shaped pellet is a bit different. The blast of air tends to blow out the skirt of the pellet on a air gun. Now I can seen there being a problem and loading not straight and possibly shear off some of the pellets head outer diameter.

    So the question is. If a person did a 10 shot group with a single shot tray at say 25 yards with a Diablo pellet and record the group size. Then take and do 10 shots with the Diablo pellets but this time push each pellet down the barrel and stop when you feel the pellet hit the probe. Then cock the gun and shoot.

    That would tell us a bit about if it makes any difference on the way a Diablo pellet is loaded. To me I believe it’s harder to get a bullet to have good accuracy out of a air gun anyway. And of course yes the fit of the pellet or the bullet will still make a differencealso. So yes there’s more to it than pushing a pellet or bullet down the muzzle or loading as normal from the breech.

      • BB
        I think your reply would fit better to the comment I made below to Chris about my single shot tray and magazines in the Gauntlet. And mind you. My Gauntlet shoots as well with the single shot tray as the magazines. So it will be interesting to see what you come up with at 50 yards.

        But I think you didn’t get what I mean with this comment.

        “So the question is. If a person did a 10 shot group with a single shot tray at say 25 yards with a Diablo pellet and record the group size. Then take and do 10 shots with the Diablo pellets but this time push each pellet down the barrel and stop when you feel the pellet hit the probe. Then cock the gun and shoot.”

        What I mean is we are testing accuracy loading a pellet from the single shot tray for a 10 shot group. Then testing accuracy muzzle loading a pellet for a 10 shot group. No magazine involved.

        Do you see what I mean now. Pretty much like what your report is about. “Muzzle loading verses probe loading” Then confirm with groups.

  3. BB,

    Man! I thought I could be anal at times. That is what it takes though. Likely that is why I have always preferred a bolt action over a semi. All but one of my air rifles are single shot and if I could get a single shot tray for it that is how I would shoot it most of the time.

  4. B.B.,

    If using a shot tray and the skirt is of a larger OD than the head OD,…. this would mean that the pellet is heading into the breech on a bit of a cant right out of the gate.

    Is this an issue with perfectionist?

    Chris,…. out’a here.

    • Chris
      But your missing something.

      The head of the pellet is usually bigger than the rifling of the barrel. So the head should contact evenly around the outside diameter of the head of the pellet.

      Then when the skirt makes it to the rifling the head is already supported all the way around the rifling.

      I would say it’s all about how true the bolt pushes the pellet into the rifle bore.

      And just a reminder you know how I like single shot trays over a magazine or clip. Remember how I said I use two .177 Marauder magazines and the one Gauntlet magazine in my Gauntlet. I don’t use the single shot tray that came with the Gauntlet because the loading port is so far forward. Well that gun is very accurate using the magazines.

      And on another note. I do have to pay attention to cocking the pellet to one side or the other with my Condor SS. I push the pellet in the bore with my thumb on the opening of the skirt. And I load the pellet in the bore with my pointing finger and my thumb. If I don’t load straight I can feel like a scraping feel when I push with my thumb. If I load the pellet straight with my finger and thumb then push with my thumb the pellet feels smooth loading. And pretty much every time I load the pellet crooked and feel that scraping that pellet doesn’t go to the group as well as the other pellets shot.

      So all and all. Yes I believe the way a pellet is loaded could have a effect on accuracy.

    • Chris
      Read my other comments before you reply.

      But I do see what you mean.

      Probably the truest probe to load a “pellet” would be a probe that contacts the outer diameter of the face of the skirt.

      Like what BB said.

      And it has to pick up on that spot on the skirt and get the pellet square before it reaches the rifling.

      And if we don’t have a probe to do that. Then what. Load the pellet gently when putting the next pellet in the breech. Feel how it’s loading when you push it with that probe?

      • Makes me think of people like me, that emboss the skirts on the top of a pellet can before shooting. Thinking if the crown is so import as the last point a pellet sees, then equally, the skirt would be important also. Not setup to get data yet.

        • Gerald
          Some probes go inside the hole in the back of a pellet.

          And what’s funny is I have had guns with those type of probes and they were accurate.

          I still think it’s about how the pellet is pushed in the barrel. And by that I mean the force used. The feel.

          • Gf1, quite alright. Seems to me, accuracy is a sum of many parts, and hard to determine absolutely without control of all the variables, which might require BB to shoot blindfolded, lol.
            I’m leaning towards indexing the probe to the bottom of the
            skirt, with the tip supporting the pellet. Wondering what effect a probe shelf would be for skirt insertion.

            • PD
              Man I have to think about that more.

              But I know where your going.

              Use the bottom of the the skirt and position the probe low also.

              One thing that comes to mind is the speed you push the pellet in. Fast and abrubt might cock the head of the pellet to high.

              I still believe that soft easy push of a bolt is best. Time between the next shot fired has to slow down. That makes me think semi-auto’s too. Which I also love.

              But you have to have a good engineered semi to feed a pellet correct for every shot.

              I have to say again slow down on the bolt push no matter what to help on accuracy.

              And again my thoughts. So who knows unless you try.

              • Ok, now my mind is on this and if there might be design enhancement. Tinker/thinker-

                So I go out with the 1377.
                Lapping skirts on my tin.
                Amazing the fit before and after.
                Provoking each thought.
                Still agreeing slow is good.

                • PD
                  Then do some sorting. Measure head diameters, skirt diameter, waist diameter and overall length of the pellet. Oh and weigh them also.

                  Then take each bunch of pellets you sorted and see which is best. And if the gun will repeat.

                  Then throw in human error. Definitely alot of things that add up and can make getting good groups hard.

                  But hey it’s still shooting time. That’s the name of the game ya know.

            • Agree with GF1 regarding bolt action. I have a Gamo Urban PCP which is a 10-shot repeater. I have learned that the best way to load the pellet is to be slow on pushing the bolt forward. I even find that pushing on the end of the bolt with my thumb instead of the handle helps the pellet load smoothly…thus not deforming the pellet.

              • Geo
                That is probably true. I didn’t think about that.

                If the bolt isn’t a precision fit it could cock the bolt to one side or another by using the handle.

                Pushing from behind would have to be the better way I think also.

  5. Thanks B.B. – this is going to be an awesome series!

    I have always felt that pellet alignment (misalignment) was critical to the size of the groups and that fliers were most likely caused by a poorly loaded pellet.

    Guessing that pellet to bore fit is a major factor in finding the “golden” pellet for a particular rifle. Theories are so entertaining eh? 🙂

    Interesting that my most accurate rifles, FWB 603, FWB 300 and TX 200 are all single shots with the same design of the breech.


    • Hank
      But whats more interesting is with the guns you listed your thumb is the probe. Just started like my Condor SS and my FWB 300 and break barrels for that fact.

      I think the natural feel of pushing the pellet with your thumb gives more “felt” control loading than a probe. A probe will only load straight depending on how it picks up on the back opening of the skirt. Or if the probe is a small diameter and pushes on the center of the inside of the skirt. Both can have alignment problems with the pellet loading.

      So to me alot to do with loading a pellet no matter what you use. Be it a probe of different designs or your thumb. It’s about the feel of when your pushing it into the lead in chamfer of the barrel. And of course that feel also makes a difference but with a single shot tray or a magazine. Again a bullet in a air gun is another ball game if you know what I mean.

  6. B.B.,

    Single shot rifles lend themselves to more deliberate and focused individual shots. Also, the shooter’s respiratory and heart rates have more time to slow down a bit.

    As the wise Hank Hill might say, “Do you want it done fast, or do you want it done right? Bobby! Ahhhh!” ;^)


    • Michael,

      I think you are on to something with the deliberate and focused concept Michael! B.B. also let it slip with his, “…but for ultimate accuracy (and confidence) it makes a big difference.” Since all shooting for record or hunting is a mental game by at least 89% Process of the shot builds the confidence in the shooter; without high confidence we are PLINKERS! Make no mistake, there is a place and time for plinking but it is a more or less mindless form of shooting…and that is what we enjoy about. I think all the technical search for REPEATABILITY is all well and good, but accurate shooting comes only from a confident shooter!
      How can I say that? What proof do I have? Think of the statement: “Beware of the shooter with just one gun!”
      Or “Practice, Practice and more Practice!”. What are we practicing? Simple, PROCESS. Without a process we are merely expending ammo and hoping for the best!

      Know your weapon.


            • BB

              If done know how something works. Why do I need to read it?

              Everything don’t evolve around reading.

              Reading will confirm what you know in certian cases.

                • BB
                  How could a person know everything.

                  The more knowledge we gather no matter how we get it will help. Well in certain cases.

                  And I think we are getting off track here.

                  The whole thing was started with confidence.

                  How do you get confidence?

                  Doing it.

                  • GF1,

                    You are not understanding what I am saying.

                    Okay — Harvey Donaldson was a wildcatter who invented several cartridges in the 1920s through the 1940s. He was also a premier long range shooter. He learned over many years of trial and error how to reduce the size of his groups. He sorted his cartridge cases, after seeing where they shot. He kept the ones that grouped the same together. That way, he knew he had cases that were perfect for that rifle.

                    I came along 60 years later and READ about what he did. I knew his reputation and I had been looking for a better way to load accurate bullets, so I tried his way. It didn’t take me 20 years of fumbling along. I knew after the first test that Donaldson was right. That gave me the CONFIDENCE that my cartridges would be accurate from that time on.

                    Yes, doing will build confidence, but only if you are doing it right. Reading will tell you how to do it right.

                    You are reading this blog. Maybe you don’t see the effect of that because it comes in very small amounts, but the effect is — you are doing things better and you have more confidence that you can. I remember a GunFun1 who hadn’t shot a PCP. Not no more, though.,


                    • BB
                      But he did it.

                      He exsperianced it.

                      Then you read about it.

                      Someone had to get involved and then doing it and research the process with the results they seen.

                      That’s what I’m trying to get across.

                      You have to start some where. And when you do it yourself is when you truly see what happens.

                      Literature is good. But living the result is what gives confidence.

                    • B.B.,

                      “Once you stop learning, you start dying”
                      — Albert Einstein

                      Years ago I walked across campus with two science dept. colleagues. A 1st responder vehicle screamed down the highway at the campus’ edge with its siren wailing. After it went by, I commented, “Ah, the Doppler Effect.” My Chemistry-teaching colleague asked me how an English teacher would know about the Doppler Effect. My biology-teaching colleague turned to him and said, “Oh I’m not surprised. English teachers read a lot.”


        • Shootski and B.B.,

          The legendary acting teacher Uta Hagen once said, “Our hard work sets us free.”

          What she meant was that the labor of an actor, the acting exercises, the running of lines, the memorization, the endless rehearsals, all served to make the performance spontaneous and legitimate. The line and emotion could be genuine because through work and repetition it had become second nature. If you have done all the work, all the laborious preparation, when another actor says your cue, then your reaction is real, not groped for in your conscious mind, which would make it come off as stilted and false to the auduence’s ear.

          The unbridled and carefree joy of the performance is made possible by the hard work done in preparation.


      • Ok Shootski
        And got to say it. How many times has that phrase been brought up. ” Beware of the man with one gun”.

        And say what you will. But there is more to it than that. “A confident shooter”

        How do you get there is what we are talking about today.

        There’s a lot of things that need to happen to get confidence in a gun.

        And please. If you ain’t learned about how I think yet. Please do. Here I do it this way. I like to make people think. Then a response that helps comes next. By exsperiances. Not by links that you search.

        And I’m not trying to put you down. I’m trying to get a exsperianced response from you.

        And I probably should of said this sooner. Her goes the comment button.

        • Gunfun1,
          I agree that the guy with one gun comesup often… doesn’t always make it TRUE..but if you follow my next out will see how that individual might just be a content shooter.
          In the study of the World Class Athlete in any sport to include shooting a sport specific dedication of training time is about 800 hours or more every year and all year long other than during the rest periods (even rest is normally an active rest just not pot specific) that includes: mental strength training, general physical strength training, specific sport “dry training” and let but not least sport specific live training (which can be training sets or lower level competition) all this in any sport! The goal is to make performance seem automatic (and to a degree AUTOMATICITY is a cornerstone of CONFIDENCE) and it looks to the casual observer like it i easy to do in competition. Shooting is no different! Once you have the process from Alpha to Omega down cold then you will virtually stop thinking and just do.
          And in your heart you will KNOW you put in the work during the days, weeks and months before this competition and will now perform your best. One caveat! Unless you are one of those competitors who looks to other competitors and tries to measure themselves against the competition. In a post farther down you talk about a shooter who seemed to take forever to get his shots off… obviously an untimed event. My first thought was intentional Mind Game to knock competition off their stride…which the rest of your statement even eems to indicate happened…that’s Mental Strength to shoot to your own plan to get your PB (Personal Best) which will get you eventualy in the winners circle.
          All sports require this level dedication to be World Class…your results will depend on your personal goals, coaching, sport specific knowledge and practiced application.

          No links, just the facts of personal first and second hand observation.


          • Gunfun1,

            I just noticed your last comment.
            i don’t believe in confidence In A Gun.
            I believe in confidence in a shooters process; which includes what you do when a weapon fails you.


          • Shootski
            I was going to say this in the past but our conversations didn’t allow it.

            Your comments tend to resemble how I think. In other words I hear myself talking when I read your comments. The things you just said is pretty much the way I feel.

            You probably have not read the blog back when I started reading. Maybe you have and you didn’t comment yet. But I grew up not only shooting but drag racing and flying rc planes and motocross racing. Yep competition. I was big into going out on race day and making it look like it was a piece of cake to win. But little did they know behind the scenes I worked my but off trying different things and practicing. And yep the more you do it the easier it becomes to repeat.

            And I use to bring this up on the blog too. What I always got a kick out of when I was racing is people would ask what I did to the car to make it run so good. Well I would tell them. They would try to copy. But guess what they still could never duplicate the runs I made. Why? Because you don’t go out on your first time trying and beat someone that’s been doing something for years. That’s how you get confidence. You know what your doing because you seen the results already many times over. In other words you know what works and you know what doesn’t.

            Reading and listening to people is definitely important. But so is doing.

      • Shootski,

        Agree whole heartedly!!!! Zen in shooting 🙂

        Learned to shoot/hunt with slingshots and bows and arrows where accuracy is consistency and confidence – both of those are attained through lots of practice. Instinctive shooting (without sights) needs a consistent process to be repeatable.

        Rifles are easy by comparison, still takes hundreds/thousands of shot cycles to learn to breath properly, train the muscle memory and focus the mind. But that is the fun part eh?


    • Michael
      And the heart beat comment makes me think of a song. “And the beat goes on and on and on.”

      But I know what you mean about slowing down. And th n I hear this again. Why is your heart beat transfering to your shot?

      • Gunfun1,

        Sonny and Cher classic!

        I think the heart beat is felt throughout the body because of one’s blood pressure. The circulatory system is a pneumatic, pressured system. When the pump pumps, the pressure increases, everywhere.

        Never take your pulse with your thumb, because it has its own pulse, slightly delayed from the hreat’s. The forefinger also has a stronger pulse than do the middle and ring fingers. Maybe we should shoot with the middle finger? (No jokes — remember this is a family-friendly forum.)


          • Gunfun1,

            I have no clue why you don’t notice the heartbeat/pulse when you shoot. The shooter’s glove in competition is built to isolate bthe forearm of the rifle for the pulse in the fingers and even the shooter’s palm. When you use sling that wraps your upper arm you place it (tighten it only enough to hold high on arm) to avoid the strong pulse point in that part of the arm. There is even some more movement when shooting prone because you don’t have as much bone on bone hold and lots of soft tissue support from thighs (femoral artery) and abdomen (Aorta) that can move POA (Point Of Aim) by enough that you lose points. All I can say Gunfun1 is get a good shooting glove and give it a try; see for yourself if it improves your results if haven’t ever tried one.


            • Shootski
              Good info for someone that has that felt heart beat issue.

              Maybe you missed what I said.

              I don’t have a problem with feeling the heartbeat when I shoot. My hold is steady as can be.

              But note. I’m a low magnification shooter. So I I’m not seeing the scope wiggle or bump that high magnification shooters see.

              So maybe that might be the problem with people seeing the heart beat bump in their scope view.

              How do I know. I use to shoot high magnification in the past. And at long distance. Now I shoot low magnification at long distance. Remember the conversation about peep and red dot sights at long distance?

              And again another example of doing and not only reading. You have to exsperiance something to see differences you read or talk about.

              There could be all kinds of info documented. But you really never know till do it.

    • Decksniper,

      I wasn’t planning to but I guess I will now! I have a hard enough time getting shooters to believe/understand that a difference of a thousandth of an inch in bullet diameter can make all the different in the world downrange.


      • BB
        What shooters are you talking about?

        Most shooters know that.

        Why you think that is what I want to know.

        I think the people here on the blog anyway I have evolved beyond that.

        • GF1,

          I know you have. But there are a quarter-million (estimated) readers around the world that I have to think about when I write. I will never hear from most of them, but sometimes when I am on trips people stop and tell me how important the blog is to them.

          And, we are getting new readers all the time. Many are firearms shooters who find this all new and confusing. I have to think about them.


          • BB
            You would think even if they are firearm shooters they would know that.

            What I mean is it seems odd that you have to try to convince them the .001″ makes a difference.

            I guess that means they haven’t explored shooting enough to actually do and see the difference.

            Or maybe they just don’t think that way?

            • GF1,

              Invariably those that have the problem shoot factory ammo and buy whatever they can afford. Then know nothing of reloading or how blackpowder arms work.

              After a person reloads for a year or shoots a real muzzleloader (that is, not one that uses “pellets” of powder) for the same length of time they are qualified to give lectures on bullet fit and accuracy.


              • BB
                Yep and I have seen that in other things. It seems that some people don’t get involved with something like others.

                I guess it depends on the type of person you are.

  7. To all

    Seems we used to discuss pellet seating depth pros and cons but not anymore. Was this just a fad? Does it have much to do with pellet fit to bore? I have tried it without getting accuracy help. Perhaps some velocity gain. Anybody out there see any benefits?


    • Decksniper
      I still say it’s how you feel the pellet load. I can usually tell if the shot will be abnormal from the other shots I have taken by the loading feel being different.

      Pellet depth in the bore probably makes a difference in power of the gun. The power that pushes the pellet.

      Maybe the cocking of the pellet in the bore is what makes a difference in deep seating. Not really how deep the pellet goes. But how true the pellet is pushed in the barrel.

      So maybe that’s why some people get better results than others.

      Here I go again. Asking a question for some that reads to learn. When someone done exsperianced it.

  8. And I keep forgetting to reference what BB said.

    What do field target shooters do If the pellet didn’t load right. They call the shot and shoot in the ground.

    How many people do that? Is that what is called aborting that shot? Another would be if it took to long to take that shot.

    I remember watching a TV show that had shooters shoot different guns and such. But I distinctly remember one guy shooting a pistol that seemed to take eternity for him to take the shot. The other competitors where watching. They was having fits waiting for him to take only one shot of the group of shots he was suppose to take. You could see the tension building on both sides. The shooter was having problems. The people waiting to take their shots was getting agitated.

    First thing is why did that guy compete? Did he think he had knowledge or did he actually have knowledge but didn’t put it to practice. Or enough practice yet?

    At what point do you know what you know. Or when do you show what you know. Practice makes confidence. Reading about it helps. And did I say practice helps.

    Maybe a new book needs to be written to go beyond what the old book says.

    There’s a lot of people here on the blog throughout the years that have had some very interesting conversations with me. I think the blog has helped. But all our own exsperiances have helped too.

    Well how about this BB. Another question from old Gunfun1. How about a blog on how the “Blog” has helped people here.

    • GF1,

      I would love to write about how the blog has helped people. Wacky Wayne learned about field target from the blog, started competing and then built a course on his property.

      The thing is, I don’t know how the blog has helped people. But maybe I could write something to get things started and then readers could comment with how the blow has helped them.


      • B. B.

        I thought you had done a blog on this idea before and looking around I found a Part 1 blog but could not find a Part 2.


        Might be worth a re-read and the start of Part 2, or just take it from the top again.


      • B.B.,

        That idea has some merit. I was about as new as new comes when I first came here. A few short years later I can sling the lingo with near the best and I even understand it,…. for the most part! 😉 Always learning. Like many things in life,… once you really delve into them,… you begin to realize how much you DON’T know.

        This blog has been a blessing and all of the fine people here as well.


        GF1,…. I am pretty sure READING has played a rather huge part in my development. Just sayin’.

        • Chris,

          Amen brother….I’m with ya 100%. Without this blog I would still be in the dark about the idiosyncrasies of airgunning. I’m not one to read books much. I like to read magazine articles, just not books. This blog has help me immeasurably. Thanks to B.B., and all the commenters like you as well.


          • Geo,

            I am the magazine type reader as well. Quick and to the point most often. If more is wanted,.. then more is offered. I will say that this blog and the 100+ sites I have saved, definitely cut into my hard copy reading.

            I admire those that can sit down a decipher a book for sought knowledge. I can do,… but barely find the time to read the on-line stuff,… let alone the periodical magazines,… let alone a hard copy of anything! 😉 I need to be retired already! 🙂

            Soft copy consist of various cooking mags., Consumer Reports and AARP. Yup,… AARP,…. I ain’t gettin’ no younger if you know what I mean. Tons of good and timely stuff in AARP. Ain’t seen no air gunning stuff in there yet though,….. I may have to write the Editor about that! 😉


            • I hear ya. I have never liked to read anything fictional, like story books or romance novels and such. I hated reading that stuff. I always wanted, and still do, read technical types of thinks. I like woodworking magazines and car magazines, like Popular Mechanics and Motor Trend.

              I am a long time member of AARP also. They are our biggest advocate and lobby for seniors and Social Security and Medicare. The Republicans would like to dismantle the whole system. They never wanted it in the first place. The only thing about AARP that bugs me is the magazine. Most of it is advertisement with a few good articles mixed in. They should only recommend products and services that are most beneficial to seniors. That’s not always the case though. They allow insurance companies, such as United Health Care, to advertise in the AARP magazine and then endorse their products. They are NOT the best insurance option for seniors. So you have to verify everything they endorse in the magazine and don’t take for granted just because they endorse it, that ‘s really best for seniors.

          • GF1,

            Got a shooting rest, the Athlon 8-34×56 and the Sportsmatch fully adjustable rings today. All look top notch. Only unboxed,… so it will be later until I can give a full review.

            Yup,.. there is many aspects to the art of shooting and we are lucky enough today to live in a world that we can read about how to do something ,… while at the same time avoiding the trials and errors of those that have struggled and discovered the triumphs long before.

            • Chris
              Couldn’t answer earlier.

              Sounds good on your scope and stuff showing up today.

              What bag did you get? And once you get the scope mounted text me a picture of your gun and the bag. I’ll post it on the blog if you want. I’m off after tonight all the way till Monday. So text me whenever you want.

              • GF1,

                No hurry to get it all set up. I will make sure the front bell clears the shroud. No fixed mounting at this point.

                I still want to do more research on FFP scopes and also the Sportsmatch rings to get the best of both, in set up and use. I have some links saved that I have yet to read and also want to see what I can turn up on YouTube. It is too hot to do any (serious) shooting and sight in outsides anyways.

                As for a rest, I looked real seriosly at both hard and soft types. The M-rod has the bi-pod and if I want a solid rear, I shim under the pistol grip. The Red Wolf has no sling mount or rail under the forearm. No bottle mount/clamp bi-pod exist. On the Maximus, I have a hard rest and just shoulder the rear. I went with this as a good, basic entry level for a hard rest,…


                It does adjust and will provide a (solid) rest both front and rear and will be ideal for precision sight in and assessment. I put it together most of the way last night and I think it will do (quite well). After all,… you want the initial set up and sight in to be shooter influence free as much as possible so as to collect solid data, thus allowing precision adjustments. (remember the adjustable rings)

                I want to take a few days off, combined with the weekend, but things are getting real busy at work now. I could not take off Thurs. because of that. It is going to be getting worse too.

                That is about it for now. It will all come together eventually. I am content just to have all of the components together in one place. New gun, new FFP scope and fancy adj. rings,.. so no rush.

                Plus, I discovered that while the Red Wolf does have a simple Foster male in the forearm, it is deeply recessed. The good news is that it came with an extended F fitting that has the knurled sleeve at triple length. Works great. The bad news is that I need a female to male adapter so that I can snap it right in to my existing hose. Nothing in my current hose set up allows the fitting to be put on now.

                That is about it for any kind of an update.

                • Chris
                  Looks like a nice rest. And not bad of a price.

                  And that’s kind of different on the fill fitting extension. I guess they recessed it in to keep the lines of the gun clean. Looks is what I mean. And maybe to protect it.

                  And no way to fill the gun directly from your Shoebox line set up?

                  • GF1,

                    I have 1 hose. What I have is what I have. It is an extra long one. 36″ I do believe. Once I get the fitting, it will be a snap on set up to my existing hose. I can snap it on and off anytime. Yes, I imagine the looks was the factor on recessing it.

                    • Seems like I when I watched the video on your Red Wolf that it had a magnetic cap that covered the foster fitting? Great looking airgun too.

                • Chris,

                  Sorry you don’t have some time off work to get this rig setup. They are forecasting beautiful weather here in southwest MI for the weekend though, so maybe you will get some decent weather down there as well.

                  Very nice bench rest. Looks really solid. I have a pair of Caldwell shooting bags and they work very well too. But your rest looks great. Hope you get time to get her setup soon.

                  Happy 4th to you friend!


                  • Geo,

                    It does have magnets in the cap (3-3mm OD).The shot tray (2-6mm each) plus 2 locating pins,.. and the magazine (1-6mm) is also held in with magnets. All very precise. All the very strong, tiny ones.

                    The gun rest should do ok. I wanted something precisely adjustable and bags would be clumsy for that. The front one I looked at weighed 22#. You can spend 200+ easy on a hard rest set up. Just starting, this looked as if it should do quite well.

                    It will all come together soon enough. Being in a rush or hurry to do something often has ill side effects. Plus all 3 components are something that I am unfamiliar with. Patience is in order. 😉


                    • Nice…and that bench rest looks amazing for the price. The computer tech I follow on his YouTube channel always says to “enjoy the build”. Meaning take your time and enjoy assembling everything. Don’t just rush through it to get it finished. I would say the same applies here your case as well. Patience is a virtue. 😉

                    • Chris
                      Not wishing any bad luck. But you that hat saying. You never know what could happen tomorrow.

                      When I got something I want to do or see how it does. I like getting it done. I live like today is my last day.

                      And yes it’s important to do something right. But like the saying goes. Let’s get’r done is how I think.

        • Chris
          And about the reading.of course we have learned by reading.

          But I have to say. No matter how much I read I’m still a doer.

          I don’t care if it’s been done before. That’s all good. But once I do it then it relates to me and I see it. Plus I like the idea of improving on what some one has done. Then they get to know about it after I done it.

          As I say it. Everything new is old again. At some point in time in the future they will read our old stuff that we try and talk about. But it will be new to them.

          Then maybe they will get to try the things we did and add to the knowledge they have.

          Then I wonder. Will they just be readers or will they be doer’s.

          • GF1,

            Sometimes reading can shorten the learning curve by not waisting time trying things that have been proven not to work. But I do agree, learning is best done by doing. That’s why when I show people how to do something on a computer, I tell them I want them to actually do it themselves while I observe. That kind of learning stays with one longer than just being shown, or reading how.

            Happy 4th to you!


            • Geo
              Yes sir buddy. Very good explanation. That’s the way I see it too. Hands on.

              The last 34 or so years of me being a a machinist/machine tech/maintenance person and lead man has been hands on. I went to maybe a handful of classes throughout time. But actually digging in and getting my hands dirty has taught me the most.

              Matter of fact I have made procedures at work easier with things I implimented from what I learned by doing. Not reading.

              And in the machine shop world. Down time is not good. The machines need to run. And the faster you can do that and right the better.

              So to look at it another way. I like to set rules. Following usually puts you behind. And as I said before. I think out of the box.

              And sorry but you got the ole brain going. Almost forgot to say. A happy 4th and a safe one to you too. And all.

              • GF1,

                Thank you. We have similar backgrounds, though I have now been retired for six years.
                I worked for a Parker Hannifin hydraulic division for 43 years. I went to trade school and was certified as a machine technician. I was the first guy in our shop to setup and run a CNC machine. But I only worked as a machinist for a few years before going into the QC department. I programmed and ran a Sheffield Cordax for several years and then a Zeiss CMM was purchased and I programmed and ran that for over 25 years. I too went to a few classes in Detroit but most of my learning came from experience. I developed my own unique procedures for programming the CMMs. A Zeiss support tech even called me once for help on a project. When the Zeiss technicians came in to check and certify the machine they always remarked about the condition of the machine. Even after 25 years it looked like new. I maintained it like it was my very own. I could make that baby do everything but talk. That was a great job that always kept me challenged with new things, so it was never routine or boring. My problem was that I did not see eye to eye with the management and was pretty much labeled a rebel. I had strong opinions about things and didn’t mind voicing them. For the most part they just stayed away from me. I had no tolerance for incompetence, and most of the supervisors and managers were idiots.

                Well, getting off my soapbox now…still irritates me when I think back about how they treated some of the employees. I loved the work, and hated the management. Had to go on antidepressant / antianxiety meds the last few years to keep from going off on some of them. RETIREMENT IS GREAT!


                • Geo
                  We have Zeiss cmm’s also.

                  Great machines when you get someone that knows how to run and program them.

                  We had two real good guys throughout the time span I have been in machining.

                  Both of them started out running and setting up production machines. They basically had hands on from both sides of the world of machining and checking parts. They were good. The others that came and gone just knew how to push buttons. And believe me some tryed. They even read about how to do what they wanted to happen.

                  They never got it. Well one guy did. But I still think that was because he was lucky enough to have that one guy that was real good that started on production machines show him. Plus he had some sense to expand what he learned from that guy.

                  I’m sure you know what I mean. And yes also about management and the cmm person. The cmm guy always catches the flack. And then the operators and lead people got things to say.

                  Trust me I know. They want the cmm report on that part to confirm how it’s running.”for the customer receipt so to speak” but nobody wants to accept what it says . Really a catch 22 if you know what I mean.

                  And I do know what you mean about the going off. Man the story’s I could tell from over the years. And what’s bad is I use to never hold back when I was younger when I had something to say to management and so on. Why I never got fired I don’t know. But then again I do know. Because when I did make my statement I was right. Some people liked what I said. Some didn’t. And as I always said. So what. Life goes on. I’m still doing my machine shop job. Of course for a few more years before I retire! 🙂

                  • Thanks for sharing your experience. I think we would have been great friends had we worked together. We share a lot of the same thinking. Hope your last few working years go well for you, and better than mine.

                    • Geo
                      I’m sure we would of got along good.

                      And I hope I can get these last few years done. I’ll definitely be glad to retire. I got a hundred things I want to do everyday. But can’t cause of going to work. All in time I suppose.

  9. So ….

    A perfect barrel would allow the pellet to completely enter the bore and be perfectly aligned ‘before’ it engaged the rifling ‘and’ have the rifling tapered so the pellet smoothly engages it with the least amount of scraping or damage.

    Any irregularities in machining a rifle barrel, using a process that essentially was designed to shoot a bullet from a firearm, are likely to have an exaggerated detrimental effect on a small soft pellet that only engages it partially.

    The rifling would have to be ‘Shot in’ or ‘Polished’ to clean up and smooth out any machining irregularities and have a perfect crown shape.
    Then you have to test every pellet made to see which one works the best in your barrel and once you find it you have to make sure each pellet is inspected for damage any irregularities in size..

    On top of that the probe and shot tray must be designed to work perfectly with both the pellet and breach to avoid any possible problems and the airgun must be pressure regulated for shot consistency and, the weather conditions must be perfect.

    I wonder if FX Airguns has taken this all into account when they came up with their ‘Smooth Twist’ barrel design?
    I certainly believe that if I miss a shot using a tray it was not the rifles fault. Now that is confidence.

    In the absence of the above desirable items it seems like some sort of tool or adapter that ensures a pellet is perfectly aligned when it enters the breach would be a big help. Sure is a challenge to achieve super accuracy.

    Hard to believe it’s even possible when you have to wedge a pellet into a mag then push it through into a receiver opening before it reaches the barrel behind it on some guns.
    Bob M

    • Bob
      Plus I’m betting a air gun that shoots a bullet will probably have a different lead in angle at the breech end of a barrel then a pellet air gun.

      Look at the shape of the front of a pellet then the front of a bullet.

  10. Gunfun1

    Yes on feel when pushing pellet into chamber. Very noticeable when head diameter varies a lot. I usually shoot it out to be rid of it. Then there is another feel with pellet skirt variation. A thinner than normal skirt seems more apt to cause a flier than fat skirts. Some popular priced pellets will on occasion fall through a Pelletgage because the skirt is thinner than the head. Using enough thumb pressure to fully seat a snug pellet may help align the pellet in addition to avoiding shearing the skirt. Not certain about this, may hinder alignment. What say you?

    I single load all rifles including firearms if I handloaded the rounds. Typically they are too long to feed plus they are only neck sized.


    • Decksniper
      I’m thinking when you say a thinner skirt you mean. The outside diameter of the skirt.

      And I have shot some pellets that have had pretty damaged skirts.

      But I’ll say this first. The power plant of the air gun made the difference. Some springers did not shoot those bent skirt pellets as accurately as higher power pcp’s did. The abrubt blast of the pcp always seems to seal the pellet skirt to the rifling. I’m starting to think that what helps a PCP out is head engagement and skirt blow out engagement to the rifling. Maybe a two for one is why a pcp guns seems to be easier to be more accurate than a springer among shot cycle and other things.

      And yes my dad always said that single loading his firearms was better. And what did I know back then. 🙂

      • Gunfun1

        Someone did a very convincing test on the effect that damaged skirts had on accuracy a couple of years ago. It was negligible or minor. I don’t remember what airgun was used. What you say about higher powered airguns forcing pellets into lands and grooves makes sense.


  11. BB,

    I have two questions.

    1) Are you aware of any pre-charged guns that will allow loading exactly as a side or underlever springer is loaded, with a finger ( or thumb)?

    2) When you load a pellet into the breech of a springer does the head engage the rifling at that point or does it have to be fired into the rifling?

    Thanks in advance, Half

    • Half,

      Sure. All the AirForce smallbores load that way. Your finger inserts the pellet directly into the breech.

      As for your second question there is no single answer. Even AirForce has cut in a long leade in the breech of some barrels, to make loading heavy pellets and bullets easier. But they also allow the rifling to go all the way to the breech on other barrels. A leade (tapered rifling) is the norm.


  12. BB,

    Thanks. I was not aware that the leade was actually rifled. I thought that part of the barrel was smooth. I assume the same is true with firearms?


  13. Ok trying to get back on topic for a minute. First of all I see the longitudinal lines running through the grease grooves I would have thought there would be a little spiral to them if they were made by the rifling? I also see what looks like flashing coming off the base is that excess lead being pushed off the bullet body then just hanging out there behind the base ? Finally when you muzzleload a bullet is the increased accuracy because any excess lead is squeezed off into the nose of the bullet instead of the base?

    • Carl,

      The twist rate of 1:20 (in the gun I slugged) is too slow to see a twist in 3/8-inch. If that bullet was 10 inches long the rifling would go halfway around it.

      Yes, a muzzleloaded bullet will have the fins of lead going forward, which does not disturb the bullet’s flight.


      • B.B.
        That’s so counterintuitive with the backend of the bullet being more critical than the nose. I mean everyone knows that certain head styles are more accurate, and decksniper was talking about a test where someone found negligible accuracy differences with deformed skirts? Not that I’m doubting what you are saying I’m just trying to make sense of it.
        Definitely resizing happens when muzzleloading a bullet, since it takes a compound leverage press to shove them in. I can’t help but think that’s where some of the secret lies.

        • Carl,

          That why I read! It’s all documented in the 38-year experiment that fostered the book “The Bullet’s Flight From Powder to Target.” Read about it here:


          and here


          and here



          • B.B.
            Homework, thank you sir may I have another? I was going to study Facebook but this is funner. I’ll probably still try to fit in some Facebook study’s as that’s my new focus learning social media.
            Thank you!

            • Carl,

              Study Facebook? That is interesting. Just a suggestion,… but get a can of mixed nuts,.. shake them up,.. toss them out on the counter,… and you still have a bunch of mixed nuts! 😉 Study complete! 😉

              On the other hand, Facebook seems (quite) effective when promoting one’s self or their product(s),… so the idea has DEFINITE merit. I do not do Facebook, so all is lost on me.


              • Chris
                I’m no Facebooker either (yet) I’m just trying to conquer another scary reality, otherwise known as personal growth. This is the stuff that’s difficult for me, so that means it must be worthwhile.

                • Carl,

                  Are you doing this as a networking effort for your nacent buisnes venture?
                  If so, Linked In may actually be a better social/work/networking platform.
                  You might also try person to person networking. That really hard because you need to telephone everyone you have a number for and take about our venture to find out if that person can make an introduction to someone they think can help you forward in your venture. Don’t neglect folks who don’t know what an airgun target is used for…they might just meet someone the next day looking for just that! Networking is much more than Facebook.

                  Best wishes!


                • Coduece,

                  If you are going to use Facebook to market this target you made I would suggest using the route blog member JerryC used. He made a page specifically for his product Pelletgage. This distances his personal life from the business side. Do you have a specific name for your spinners yet?


            • Carl,

              Unless you have family living far away, or in another country, Facebook is pretty much useless in my eyes. I do part time computer repair and I will say that going on Facebook is like navigating a mine field. You have to be very careful using social media and do NOT post any personal information or vacation plans or things of that nature. I have a Facebook account for the sole reason to access one computer tech sight. I have a total of four friends on Facebook. I learned that if you accept someone’s request to friend you, the next thing you know friends of friends of friends are all sending requests to be friended. It’s ridiculous. Also, be careful what you click on when on the Facebook site. Some links are booby traps that will download malware onto you computer. Then you will get popups with all kinds of ads and junk. I don’t use Facebook much because it’s too time consuming to sort the junk out from relevant things.
              That’s my two cents worth…good luck.

    • Carl,

      If you look at the bullet that BB slugged the Meplat (French word for the front of the bullet) is untouched by the Lands (high parts of the barrel bore rifleling) which most think is crucial to long range accuracy. There are tools to trim the Melpat by .005″ or so to make round to round Melpat consistent. In handloading center-fire rounds you can go way overboard if the return in repeatability doesn’t exeed your ability to make use of it.
      I believe most of our time hours be sent on fundamentals if we are shooters. IF instead we are tinkerers who shoot…then knock yourself out! Just realize that unless it is the basic, make rifle/pistol shoot straight gunsmithing your technical results probably won’t improve your scores, hits or harvested animals.


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