Testing H&N Baracuda FT pellets: Part 3

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2
AirForce Edge 10-meter rifle: Part 1

This report covers:

  • Scoped the Edge
  • The test
  • 4.50mm heads
  • Discussion of the 4.50mm heads
  • 4.51mm heads
  • Discussion of the 4.51mm heads
  • General discussion
  • Summary

Today’s report combines two reports, as you can see by the links, above. I’m testing the H&N Baracuda FT pellets that I was given last year, and today I’m testing them in the AirForce Edge target rifle that I got from reader RidgeRunner. That’s why I baselined the Edge in Part 1 that’s linked above. We know from that report that this pellet moves out at 685 f.p.s. in the modified Edge, which is 10 foot-pounds on the nose.

Scoped the Edge

I scoped the Edge for today’s test with the vintage UTG 8-32X56 SWAT scope I got from Leapers years ago. I last used this scope on the Benjamin Fortitude I tested last year. This scope adjusts for parallax down to 25 yards, but since today’s test was at that distance, there was no problem. I ran it at the full 32 power and the target image was crystal clear.

After mounting the scope I shot it at 12 feet once. Then 10 meters one time more, then 25 yards three more times to get it zeroed. Since I didn’t want to waste the test pellets I sighted-in with RWS Superdomes. Then I confirmed the zero and adjusted slightly with 2 of the test pellets.

The test

I shot off a sandbag from 25 yards. I filled the rifle to 3,000 psi and knew I had 25 good shots before needing to refill. For best results I kept the number of shots under 25 per fill.

I will say that the small reservoir on the Edge fills really fast! I had to watch it very closely to not overrun the fill pressure. Some people might think that because there is a regulator it’s okay to overfill the gun, but that is one of the things that cause regs to fail early.

I also had to get used to the extremely light trigger again. It’s only a pound and that’s a little too light for me. I fired five rounds at each bull, keeping track of which lot number they were.

I will show all the targets from the pellets with 4.50mm heads first. After that I will discuss them.

4.50mm heads

First up was Lot 38. Five of them made a group measuring 0.494-inches between centers.

 BaracudaFT 38

Next came lot 78. This group was much better. Five went into 0.274-inches between centers at 25 yards.

BaracudaFT 78
The Edge put 5 from lot 78 into a group measuring 0.274-inches between centers at 25 yards.

Lot 79 was next. Five of them went into 0.298-inches at 25 yards. This group also shot a half-inch lower than the first two lots.

BaracudaFT 779
Five from lot 79 went into 0.298-inches at 25 yards.

Lot 80 went into 0.189-inches at 25 yards.

BaracudaFT 80
Lot 80 put 5 into 0.189-inches at 25 yards.

Lot 83 is the last lot of BaracudaFT pellets with 4.50mm heads. Five went into 0.233-inches at 25 yards.

BaracudaFT 83
Five from lot 83 went into 0.233-inches at 25 yards.

Discussion of the 4.50mm heads

As we have seen in past tests of this pellet, there was wide disparity between lots. Lot 80 was the most accurate in this test and, in fact, it was the most accurate of both lots shot today. It was also the smallest group of 4.50mm pellets shot by the Beeman R8 in the first test. But in the test shot with the TX200 Mark III it was only average.

Notice that lot 79 was the only pellet to drop down by half an inch. The other 4 lots remained centered on the bullseye for elevation. Curious.

Also note that lot 80’s group is the smallest of all the groups in the first three tests. That’s a precharged rifle surging ahead of spring-piston guns.

I will also say that there were no shots that were called as pulls in these first 5 targets. The Edge, with its light trigger, is easy to shoot well.

4.51mm heads

Now we’ll look at the lots that have 4.51mm heads. Lot 17 is first.

The Edge put five pellets from lot 17 into 0.233-inches at 25 yards. In contrast to lot 79 that dropped by half an inch, lot 17 raised up higher than the rest of the pellets by just over a quarter-inch.

BaracudaFT 17
Lot 17 put five pellets in 0.233-inches at 25 yards.

Five lot 29 pellets landed in 0.342-inches at 25 yards

BaracudaFT 29
Five from lot 29 went into 0.342-inches at 25 yards.

Five lot 31 pellets went into 0.381-inches at 25 yards.

BaracudaFT 31
The Edge put five lot 31 pellets into 0.381-inches at 25 yards.

Lot 69 pellets were next Five of them went into 0.271-inches at 25 yards. Like lot 17 they impacted the target about a quarter-inch high.

BaracudaFT 69
Five pellets from lot 69 made a 0.271-inch group at 25 yards.

The last lot to be tested was lot 71, and they also impacted the target slightly higher than the others. Five went into 0.354-inches at 25 yards.

BaracudaFT-71
Five BaracudaFT pellets from lot 71 went into 0.354-inches at 25 yards.

Discussion of the 4.51mm heads

In the Edge the 4.51mm head is a little less accurate than the 4.50mm head. The average group size for 4.50mm heads was 0.2976-inches between centers. The average group size for 4.51mm heads was 0.3162-inches between centers.

This lot had more pellets whose impact moved than did the 4.50mm pellets. I don’t know what that means, but it’s the case.

General discussion

The modified Edge rifle is a wonderful testbed. I need to test it for accuracy with some other pellets. It would be nice to know just how accurate it is.

I will also now compare the results of the three tests I’ve done, to see if anything is becoming apparent. If so maybe it will suggest additional things to test.

Summary

There is one more test to be conducted. I will mount a scope on my FWB 124 and test these pellets in that. After that I will go over all the data and try to make sense of some of it. You can be doing the same thing.

26 thoughts on “Testing H&N Baracuda FT pellets: Part 3

  1. Yea, thats what an Edge shoots like….

    Can you name another air rifle you have ever tested that cost less than $700 where (so far) with 10 different pellets, that every group you shot at 25 yards was under 3/8 of an inch?

    Yes, I know, one group was 0.381, but its so close to .375, that at 25 yards, .006 of an inch is a microscopic difference.

    And that is not even trying to find “the pellet” that the Edge likes to shoot at that distance.

    Ian



    • Ian

      FWB300S and some other vintage 10 meter match rifles could do it. They are no longer made but are available under $700. I am talking about 25 yards, not 50 yards in case anyone is wondering.

      Have a good day.

      Deck


    • I have shot .25 inch groups at almost 40 yds with an FWB 300 you can get them for 5-6 hundred. amazing part is they are a spring gun as all would know. also no pump or compressor needed. the edge is a fine rifle I was just answering your question


      • I had a FWB 150 (the predecessor to the 300) great guns, and yes very accurate.
        I should have specified, what they retail for, and at the time the 300 was new, i am sure it was probably significantly more.

        Are the FWB’s allowed in the same competitions the edges are?



  2. B.B.,

    Nice shooting.

    Perhaps one of our resident graphing experts will offer their services and compile the data into some charts to aid you in your trying “make sense of some of it”.

    Good Day to you and to all,………. Chris



  3. B.B.,

    Were these targets shot in the order you have presented them in your article?

    I ask because while all of the groups are tight, Lot 38 was more open than those below it / with bigger lot numbers. By the time you got to Lot 80, you were really cooking! Might that also reflect how much reacquainting oneself with a trigger will improve his or her shooting.

    Michael



      • B.B.,

        I still think your results are sound, just that perhaps the first group or two should be assessed as slightly bigger than they would have been were they shot later in your testing.

        Testing things is very difficult.

        On countless occasions I have realized the questions on some exam I wrote and administered to my students had one or more (often more) questions that were flawed. Usually it is a student who points it out. It always seems easier for someone who has a bit more perspective to see any issue.

        Michael


  4. How to test pellets seems to be a perplexing question but maybe I am overthinking it. We know that some pellets shoot well in some guns and not well in others. We generally say the gun is the variable, not the pellet.

    Is a pellet that shoots great in a few airguns but not very well in most a good pellet? Is a pellet that shoots well, but not best in any airguns a good pellet? Some pellets seem to be at top of the list for most airguns. JSB Exacts, the Crosman Boxed Premiers, and maybe the FTS pellets. Maybe this H&N Barracuda FT will fit into this group. I guess the group of “general contenders” is as good as a pellet manufacturer can hope for.

    David Enoch


    • David,

      In my experience, I agree with you and believe the gun is the variable.

      My definition of a great pellet is the one that shoots best in a particular gun not all guns. I liken this to reloading. Just because I’ve worked up a load for a particular powder burner that performs very well doesn’t mean it’s a bad load because it won’t work in a different gun in the same caliber.

      Nonetheless, every airgunner is different. I’ve read about airgunners that get rid of airguns because they wouldn’t group well with any of the 3 pellets they buy and refuse to buy any other pellets other than those 3. Their rationale is that their 3 types of pellets group well in all of their other guns and they don’t want to stock any other pellets.


      • Kevin
        The key word is exsperiance.

        The more you do something the more you learn what works and what don’t.

        It all takes time. The question is how much time do you have to get to the point of what you want to accomplish. And what you want to accomplish also is a big factor.

        How’s that saying go. “I want it and I want it now”

        From I what I have seen throughout time that usually don’t happen. Nothing simple about finding good pellets for air guns is the best I can say. But eventually you do find what works and what don’t.


        • gunfun,

          All shooters are different.

          For me, pellet testing is a good exercise to learn how accurate your gun can be and also a great opportunity to get to know your equipment better no matter how long the process takes. Let’s call it a good excuse with a decent goal at the end to shoot a gun that’s been sitting for awhile.

          Others are happy with any and every pellet that can hit a can at 20 feet consistently. Different strokes for different folks.


          • Kevin
            Exactly what I mean. Different strokes for different folks.

            Like I said. “It all takes time. The question is how much time do you have to get to the point of what you want to accomplish. And what you want to accomplish also is a big factor.”

            It’s all about what your using your gun for and what you want out of your gun. That’s putting it pretty plain and simple to me.

            Heck I’m using $5 tins of 500 Winchester dome pellets in my $900 semi-auto Bullmaster. And guess what. They are very accurate for how I use those pellets in it. And just to say. I also was shooting the Bullmaster with some JSB 10.34 pellets pesting starlings the same day at 70 yards. How’s that for different strokes. How about let’s say it this way. How’s that for different strokes for the same gun but different pellets. I think you know what I mean.


  5. And BB I keep thinking to myself.

    Why the heck did H&N decide to try that many different pellet design changes at one time? Then the next question is wasn’t they confident they was making a good pellet already?

    I think they are mess’n with ya. And I would hope they already know the answers to the outcome of this test.

    I mentioned this already on the reports for these pellets your testing for Haendler & Natermann. Let’s see thier results and what guns they tested them in. Well that is if they or you get to use each other’s guns also.

    You know what this test is boiling down too. And can’t wait to see what you make of all this when you do that final blog on these pellets.


    • GF1,

      I thought that the only thing that changed between the lots was head size. To me,.. if that is the case,… then it only matters that they can hold that head size to (very) exact standards. That way, a sampler pack could be ordered, the different sizes tested,… and then order that head size. Sounds simple,.. eh? Maybe not,… but that would be the approach I would take. If head size would be 100% controlled,… that would take a press through die. Weight?,… I am not sure.

      Weight? Weight and head size are both not something I have seen consistently held. Sure, the better, more expensive pellets do better,… but I have seen none that are extremely good. What is “extremely good” anyways?

      Then,… (maybe) above all?,… is that though very slight differences may be noted,… can the average shooter, shoot well enough to ever realize them? Repeat them? The human error factor will quickly wipe out any ability to ascertain any (concrete) conclusions when (very) finely “splitting hairs”.

      Chris


      • Chris
        I thought I remember BB saying that dimensions were changed in the different test pellets. Not just the head size.

        Maybe I’m wrong but I remember something being said along those lines.


        • GF1,

          I would have to go back and read the prior reports and comments to be sure.

          If we do not know, then a quick check with digital calipers for length, OD at waist, OD at skirt, skirt thickness and skirt depth among the lots would be my first investigative step.

          Chris


  6. B.B. and Readership,

    Great discussion lots of talk about what we airgunners want from the testing…but what does H&N actually want from this testing is apparently still a SECRET!

    Could they just want this to be a slick Social Media campaign?
    How much FREE press and Name Recognition for the Baracuda FT Pellet did their distribution to a number of writers generate?
    Do they really care or is this all just to make you itch to buy some and run your own testing…especially if you shoot FT (Field Target) or at least practice for some future try at FT.

    I’m going to guess that they want to select a pellet (LOT) that will work well in many guns well enough to get some serious Buzz’s going among large numbers of buyers!

    Remember! Good Enough beats Best!

    Time will tell!

    shootski


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