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Ammo How to test pellets?

How to test pellets?

This report covers:

  • Power level
  • LGV Challenger
  • Muddy water
  • Pistols too
  • So what?
  • Criteria
  • Some help from manufacturers
  • Summary

Today’s report addresses the best way to test a pellet.

This may sound like a non-issue to some of you because you imagine that BB has dozens of airguns to choose from. Well, you’re right, he does. So — what’s the problem?

The problem is, not all of my airguns are equally accurate. Should I test a pellet with a gun of proven good accuracy or should I test it with a gun whose accuracy is mediocre? And it doesn’t end there.

Power level

Some of my airguns are lower powered and others are of higher power. Heck, I even have a loaner RAW .22 that has 50-60 foot-pounds. I would love to test it for you if I can figure out a way, but because many of its features have been upgraded and are no longer offered by RAW the manufacturer doesn’t want me featuring a gun they don’t make. I understand their concern, but how do I test an airgun without featuring it? I am working on a solution.

On the other end of the spectrum I have a Hy Score 807 that’s really a Diana 27 in .22 caliber. At 10 meters using open sights it’s pretty accurate. But what about 25 yards? The problem with these lower-powered springers is they fall off the accuracy curve pretty fast when the distance increases.

LGV Challenger

Then there is my .22-caliber Walther LGV Challenger. It’s a 12 foot-pound breakbarrel spring-piston rifle that showed great accuracy when I first tested in in 2013.

LGV Challenger
Walther LGV Challenger.

LGV Premier 10 meters
At 10 meters the LGV Challenger put 10 Crosman Premier pellets into this 0.285-inch group.

LGV JSB RS 25 yards
At 25 yards the LGV Challenger put 10 JSB Exact pellets into this 0.35-inch group.

That’s a nice middle ground, but how does it relate to the shooter who wants the best pellet for his .22 caliber AirForce Condor? Do I need to test for the best pellet in a lower-powered air rifle (5 to 10 foot-pounds), a middle-powered air rifle (11 to 18 foot-pounds), a high-powered air rifle (19 to 30 foot-pounds) and a mega-powered air rifle (above 31 foot-pounds)? Before you say yes to that, remember there are 4 smallbore calibers. That’s four power levels times four calibers I have to run and each of them should have at least three pellets, if not more. What do I do?

Muddy water

To muddy the water even further, some pellets come in different head sizes and we have seen enough to know that head size does make a difference where accuracy is concerned.

Pistols too

And that was just about testing pellets in rifles. Don’t forget air pistols. Air Pistols range from low-powered (2-4 foot-pounds), medium-powered (5-8 foot-pounds), high-powered (9-16 foot-pounds) and mega-powered pistols (up to 55 foot-pounds for the .25-caliber TalonP from AirForce. And the same four smallbore calibers come in pistols, too, though .20 caliber is pretty rare.

Stock Up on Shooting Gear

So what?

Why am I asking you about all this? Why don’t I just shut up and write my blogs? Well, there are pellets I want to test for you and I’m looking for a way to do it that makes sense. For example, Pyramyd AIR just announced the new Baracuda 18 .22-caliber pellet from H&N and I have a tin coming to test. I already have several tins of the Norma  pellets that I started to test. Those I have discovered have smaller head sizes because Norma took the advice of 10-meter shooters who told them smaller head sizes are what shoot best these days. That’s probably true for new target airguns, but in my experience it is not the case for other airguns.  How do I deal with something like that without dragging Norma over the coals? It’s easy to poke fun and snipe at manufacturers when their products don’t work out, but I don’t want to do that. This is not a joke or just a fluff piece for me. I really want to know how I should test these things.

Baracuda 18
BB needs to test the new Baracuda 18 from H&N.

Criteria

I really need to establish a test criteria for pellets. Do I shoot them in airguns that are known to be accurate? Do I shoot them in airguns I know to be picky? And what things should I test?

I think I need to test accuracy, but as I’ve explained, there is a lot behind just that — things like distance, the power of the airgun etc.

What about penetration? Expansion (for hollowpoints)? Do I need to find a “standard candle” — a pellet whose performance we can agree is very good? I think that might be easy for things like accuracy, but not so much for penetration and expansion.

Some help from manufacturers

This issue is a real one and some manufacturers are helping resolve it for example, look at the tin of H&N Baracuda 18s shown about. On the lower left side you will see E (for energy) and the symbol for “greater than or equal to” with the number 16J (for joules) next to it. They are telling shooters that this pellet was designed to be best in airguns that produce 16 joules or more muzzle energy (with an 18-grain pellet). Sixteen joules is 11.8 foot-pounds of energy, and an 18-grain pellet has to fly 543 f.p.s., give or take, to produce it. That tells me to test this pellet in the Air Arms S510XS that would produce 31-32 foot-pounds with the Baracuda 18. The LGV Challenger that makes 11.8 foot-pounds could also good or it might be a little light.

That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t ever test that pellet in a rifle or pistol of different power. But it does give me a starting point.

Do you see what I mean? I know writing this blog is my job, but I also know that you readers are a valuable resource for me. I learn as much from all of you as you do from me. Please give this some thought and then write some suggestions for me on how to proceed.

By the way, that LGV Challenger could stand a tuneup, and now that I have done Michael’s rifle it should be easy. I would love to get the trigger on that rifle as nice as the one on Michael’s LGV.

Summary

You may be surprised by this report, but I have been thinking about it for almost a year. It’s easy to test airguns. But how do you test pellets? It’s similar to asking someone what is the best-tasting bottled water.

91 thoughts on “How to test pellets?”

    • I think that Taemyks is a good starting suggestion: do hard measurements of a random sample for size and weight to see if the Mfg claims are likely valid.

      Then, I would take a page out of tire Mfg data: Select a few parameters to measure with a STANDARD. They use a standard tire for wear, temperature and traction. Three data points and then the customer makes choices.

      I would select, say, three air guns in each caliber known to be exceedingly consistent from your arms locker. You would chose based on, say, three energy ranges: below 12 fp; between 12 and 20; and above 20?

      You might need two (2) sets of rifles: one set spring piston/ram and the other PCP? CO2 rifles are somewhat minor in terms of a category, but one could have a standard for that as well.

      Pistols would ordinarily be CO2, a scattering of springers/rams, and a distinct minority of powerhouse PCP. Might only need three pieces?

      From your initial measurements of the pellets, you would know if a particular pellet is undersized or oversized for your standard test rifles/pistols and could extrapolate from there. If a pellet is offered in a range of head sizes, you would opt for the listed/labeled head size most compliant with your standard rifle/pistol and test THAT one.

      Your results would be the ideal pellet to weapon match as per the pellet label recommendations, if any, for power range or weapon type (CO2, Spring/Ram, or PCP).

      I think this would give the potential buyer a good guesstimate of a pellet’s likely performance, just as a tire buyer looks at the three tire criteria and makes a choice event though the Mfg doesn’t test its tires on all makes, models and wheels in existence.

      I think you can only strive for REASONABLE PREDICTIONS of pellet performance based on a standard set of LIMITED variables. You will be paralyzed if you try and incorporate all the variables that you know are extant. For example….

      I own an Hatsan 135 in .25 caliber. In fact two of them, one being returned and the second was sent back for a refit with the gas ram. Nothing worked in the damned thing until I came across a blog post here about JSB Exact King Mark IIs being too hard to chamber because of the “oversized” heads. The writer gave me an inspiration and I bought a tin and, lo and behold, the 135 became an accurate piece. The problem was the oversized bore that the Mark IIs neatly obturated – with the pellet heads no longer “rattling” down the bore and going randomly out of the crown. No pellet ratings would have helped, save the off comment on another subject with a complaint about loading problems with the Mark IIs. Which points us to…

      The specifics of a rifle or pistol review might need some attention to the Mfg’s nominal compliance to the supposed bore measurement. Ergo pellet testing data won’t be useful information if we don’t have the other part, here, whether a particular air arm has a properly complied with bore making.

      If I had known about the Hatsan having an “obese” bore, and knew that the Mark IIs are oversize, I wouldn’t have a supply of “spray and pray” H&N .25 caliber pellets that are of no particular use in my .25 Cal ammo box.

      So….after all this verbiage….I’d recommend a few standard parameters, organize the data in a standard fashion with the caveat that the buyer, in the end, must beware. That is what the tire makers do on their sidewalls; they let the purchaser know three important variables against a standard tire and then the customer makes his/her decision.

    • I’ve been shooting A few of my BB “rifles” recently. I have three Daisy products. A model 25, a Red Ryder, and a very recently acquired d Daisy Buck. Why would a 67 year old dude with some pellet guns take a big step backwards to when he was a kid with a lever action BB gun? Fun!
      After reading Toms review of the Buck, and his use of a scope mount and bipod, I did the same. I’m testing bbs in it, and this activity I find enjoying. I’m shooting at a measured five and a half yards. One must be secure in ones self image to accuracy test A BB gun. There WILL be fliers. Maybe not with a Daisy Avanti 499. But with a RR or Buck you will have them. The trick is to hold your self image of shooting ability, and not be crushed in this endeavor. I first tried one of the open for sights, which worked well. I wanted something I could aim more precisely due to my eyesight. I installed an of n star 4×30 Compact tree global scope. It has always given me a nice crisp view of the crosshairs.
      I had been hoping to get maybe one inch groups at 7 yards. Have not gotten there yet. Have tried regular Daisy bbs, Images, Hornady Black Diamond, Crosman Black Widow, and the Interesting Beeman Marksman bus. These last are oversize, and should not be used in probably any repeating BB pistol, as they could jam. But these are totally safe in RR or Buck. They maybe a good choice in pellet rifle that can shoot bbs, as the bore in them is going to oversize for bb use.
      I have not tried the Daisy premium bbs made for the 499. Or the Swiss Arms or Air Venture bbs. I may order some of these.
      The Buck, as some air guns like to do, will change its mind as to its favorite bbs. It tends to favor the standard Daisys, the Horanadys, and the oversized Marksmans. The last group I shot yesterday with the latter bbs put 4 into 1/2″, and one “flyer” opened the group to 15/16″. These are the most expensive bbs also, of the ones I have.
      Tom, in his review of the Buck, believed that the addition of the bipod made the biggest improvement in accuracy. This is the first time I’ve used a bipod, and I do like it.

  1. H&N tins will sometimes also note that some pellets, like the Piledrivers, are intended only for use with PCPs, which is handy. Wouldn’t want to get a pellet stuck in the barrel and have to hammer it out!

  2. BB and mates.
    Heck and darn I have learned stuff by doing !
    My tasco 32mm 4x power was not doing it for me. At 5m it’s just blurry and it ought to be! I decided, dang it, that I needed to see inside it and find out for myself how it works. So throwing caution to the wind I did. and behold…. information and a result.
    Cut to the chase, Robert. OK so now that the scope is back together and I did not lose any parts I can now see clearly at 5m. You what? That’s crazy talk.
    Let me enlighten some people who are no savy to the way of the scope:
    The far lense on scope is the object lense, the close lense is the eye piece lense. or so I told by the internet. The gap between these lenses determines the distance at which the scope will be in focus. Short gap = long distance, long gap = short distance. WOW ! Cool. I learned this by screwing the object lense tube in and out. The eye piece lense adjustment is to focus the reticule BUT is also changes the focus distance by virtue of it moving in and out. hmm….
    So really to actually have a scope adjusted to your eye you need to first adjust the reticule till it’s sharp then adjust the objective lense till the distance you want is in focus. In my case 5m. This is a FIXED focus lense by the way, not a adjustable objective lense, AO for short . So here is the down side. As the object tube is threaded, by screwing it out to bring the focus distance closer, you are making the scope structurally WEAKER. The threads will not be butted into the housing and so you have a weak scope tube. Live and learn. Also you will have voided what ever pressurised gas was in the scope into the atmosphere. ( I very much doubt mine had any in it. AND you introduce moisture, dust, gremlins etc. I intended to carefully bake my a tiny bit in the oven before reassembling and gluing back together . This is great for drying out things. Just do not melt. No. If it feels hot it is too hot. Just warm is fine. )
    And…. now I can use my scope on the 5m range and it’s all totally in focus. wow. : – )
    What would have been super cool is actually moving the Objective lense but that seems to be glued in solid. PS. If you decided to fiddle with your scope I warn you now you may break it, lose parts, make it dirty inside, crack lenses etc. Fiddle with your own scope at your peril. Normal terms and conditions apply, please see a doctor if symptoms persist. Batteries not included. Colour may vary. Objects in mirror may appear closer than they really are. : – ) Robert.

      • RR,
        Well I am glad I took apart and found out some stuff about it ! I had no idea how the reticle was moved around inside, had no idea the bell end screwed in and that there is a tiny gas purge screw. Do and learn! The machining in a scope is pretty impressive. and…. being able to adjust the Object lense would be really useful if you want to change the set focus of the scope. I have no idea what the focus was set to. and here is the poster ! Mine is the 6632 for $24.95 : – ) Robert.

  3. BB
    The only thing I can think of right now is you need to take a particular pellet you want to test and try them in multiple different guns.

    You just never know until you try.

    It reminds me of a long while back when I was learning what different brand pellets shot like in my gun. I really didn’t know. And I do know that I got some surprises along the way. Some I thought would do good didn’t and some that I thought wouldn’t work did great.

    But really how do you know.

  4. BB,

    Do you think your 30S is as accurate as your LGV? It will be a big disappointment for me if turns out it doesn’t. I still think that your 10 meter test was not fair to the 30S. Air guns have feelings, you know!?

    About pellets… Every pellet has a different purpose. You shouldn’t test them in a standard procedure. When you test an air gun, you know the purpose of that particular air gun and pick a few suitable pellets. Finally, you test them with the gun, and eventually the gun tells you which one she likes the most. You should do the same thing with pellets. When you look at any pellet, you know what they are built for. Then you grab a few air guns that fit the purpose and test them one by one. Eventually, the pellet tells you which air gun she likes the most – meaning it is accurate when used on the right air gun.

    For example, there are pellets that would work wonders in a PCP, but they might suck being shot through the barrel of a gas ram.

    You have lots of experience. You would pick any pellet and right away know which air gun is perfect for it. Put that experience into work.

    This could be a new air gun buying approach. People shouldn’t buy an air gun first and then start testing pellets with it. Air gunners should buy a box of pellets, and then start to buy air guns – until they find the air gun that the pellet likes. 🙂

    Fish.

  5. B.B.

    Please correct me if I am wrong:

    Accurate pellets are the ones that contact the lands and grooves of the rifling effectively. Usually, this are pellets that are neither to loose or too tight in the barrels lede.

    Most readers of your blog will go and try and find which pellets these are. You probably already know which pellets these “might” be. Pick those! If none of them work well, pick some more.

    -Y

    PS Thanks for your heads-up on the Norma pellets. I will cancel my order now.

    Also, if FX can design a barrel for a specific pellet, how do they go about doing that? Maybe we can “reverse engineer” from there?

    • FX uses trial and error to design a barrel for a specific pellet. “Well, that did not work. Let’s change the land depth or vary the twist rate a tad.”

        • Michael,

          Quite the opposite. You are choosing a different tail that you want to wag a certain way. The truth is it depends on which end you are looking at.

          This is why FX has gone to the barrel liner. They impress the rifling on the outside of the tube. Their old barrels were smooth bore except for the last few inches. Here the barrel is machined thinner and a mandrel with the rifling is slid into the end and the barrel is then squeezed to impart the rifling.

          Now they use a thin tube and squeeze the rifling into the outside of the entire tube, producing a polygonal rifling. Utilizing this machine, they can produce tubes with a variety of pitch rates in no time. The testing actually takes more time than the liner production.

    • Yogi,

      If you take two “identical” airguns and shoot “identical” pellets from them, you stand a very good chance of having different results. Experience teaches many of us that certain pellets “tend” to be more accurate than others in various airguns. Some “writers” have a select group that they will test all of the airguns with, while some have “learned” that certain types of airguns tend to prefer these. I myself have seen surprising results on the target range with some of my pellets. You never know until you try.

  6. BB,

    You are not the only “writer” who has struggled with this particular subject. I have seen and read many variations of how this is done. Perhaps the best system I have come across is the one used by Stephen Archer of Hard Air Magazine. You should read a couple of his tests and perhaps you will get some ideas for yourself.

    As far as accuracy testing is concerned, forget it. You have been around long enough to know that no two airguns will shoot the same pellet, the same way. Check out some of Steve’s accuracy tests for AEAC Vlog and AEAC. He will try out twenty or more different pellets in each airgun he features before he does the final range day shooting video.

      • FM,

        As I have never shot “competition”, I have always gone with “deep enough to not crush the skirt”, such as when I am loading by hand. Although I can be anal about accuracy, I at the very least unconsciously sight and shoot as if I am hunting. If I have to use a seater, that is more gear I have to fumble with, more noise I will likely make and more loading time than I care to waste.

      • Hi FawltyManuel, did you ever get a chance to test the .177 Premier pellets? My apologies, if have posted previously and I missed it; I’m just not as sharp as I used to be in days gone by! 🙂

        • Dave, regretfully not yet – combination of too many honeydoos at home, work and weather. Haven’t been able to mount the scope and zero in the .22 Maximus either. 🙁 Believe there will be an opportunity in the next week or so – first priority is to test those pellets.

          • “combination of too many honeydoos”
            FawltyManuel, I can totally understand that; my own list of them grows daily!
            By the way, I just realized that I posted on a report from May 6th of LAST year, not this year as I thought.
            That just goes to show you that the old dave brain is working mighty slowly these days!!! 🙂
            Take care & God bless,
            dave

  7. BB

    One way to narrow the field is price. You may agree that better performing pellets cost more. There are exceptions but not many at least in my experience when accuracy is the objective. You may want to look at price ranges for pellets that have been on the market long enough to either fail or succeed. PA certainly has a sales history for every pellet. Another indicator of performance is pellets out of stock from the above list.

    Deck

    • Deck
      Yep.

      “PA certainly has a sales history for every pellet. Another indicator of performance is pellets out of stock from the above list.”

      But then again nowdays with Covid PA is always out of stock on pellets and other things.

      Not blaming them. But it is annoying. Was hoping the pellet shortage wasn’t going to happen.

      Guess I’ll have to start shooting my wrist rocket again pretty soon if that keeps up.

  8. BB-

    I think like RidgeRunner and others, that testing pellets will be chasing a will-o-the-wisp. Too many variables in propellant platforms available to the consumer to make any sense of choice of projectiles beyond ‘keep trying until you find what it likes’.

    I do think that you could advance the field of measuring projectiles. Currently, in the pursuit of precision, some shooters weigh each pellet and measure diameters in order to acquire groups of pellets that will give the greatest precision possible. Off the top of my head, what about….

    Purchase 5 tins of Brand X, Style B .177 pellets from different sources-
    Randomly pull (5) ten round samples from each tin and visually inspect for overal condition-
    Weigh each sample for mass/weight. If the 25 samples have significant weight variations, notate for further investigation-
    Measure head and skirt sizes via PelletGage or other comparator style device-
    Measure lead hardness and notate how easily deformed the pellet skirt-
    Measure pellet length with particular attention to distance between head ‘band’ and skirt rim-
    How about a fixture with an array of precision bored holes of various sized holes (say, varying by half a thou each) across the range of .177 bore sizes. Plumb compressed air through the fixture to the selected hole. Precision gauging can read both pressure and flow changes as the pellet is inserted into the hole, with particular attention to changes in air flow between head and skirt-
    Addendum to above- perhaps a wind tunnel arrangement with colored air/smoke revealing any out of roundness-
    Now perhaps it would be fun to pull samples from the manufacturer’s product from years past. It has the same name, but…..

    That should keep someone out of mischief for a bit. At the end there would be a sizable stack of measurements, but is there a way to apply the info to gun selection decisions?

    • I’m in agreement with this. The concept of an ‘accurate pellet’ is completely arbitrary. It’s the combination of pellet and barrel which gives the accuracy. A test of consistency in the weight and size of the pellet is more meaningful

  9. BB,

    Still pondering a reply to blog.

    IT related,… after logging in and having the blog up,… I will open (another) tab with the “Comment RSS”. If reviewing comments in the RSS and I select one to reply to,… it will open up a (new) blog tab,… one of which I am (not logged in on).

    As of now, there is no way to click on a comment in the RSS and have it go (directly) to that comment,… in order to reply.

    I have always been able to go to any comment, from any blog (while in RSS) and have it take me directly to that reply. Not so now. It takes you to the top of the blog and the comment is buried somewhere below. And, I am not logged in, even though I already am. (so 3 tabs now open at this point)

    Chris

    Edit: Also, if I close the blog tab, it automatically logs me out. This has never happened before. The only time in the past I get logged out is when I have shut the browser down.

    I expect to have the RSS open all day and expect to be able to go directly to any comment,.. and reply,… as it always has been.

  10. I agree with several of the commenters above. I don’t think you can test the pellets by shooting them. There are too many variables involved. I believe something along the lines of what pacoinohio says. Accurate weights, consistency of the weights, consistency of the pellets (bad pellets, deformed pellets, tin to tin, etc), head sizes, shape, hardness of the lead. This would allow someone to make informed decisions about what works in their particular air rifle/pistol. So if I know that my rifle likes a larger head size I can pick amongst the pellets with larger heard sizes. If it is weight picky I can select from those that are very consistent. It might also be interesting to take some of the pellets that are consistently “good” performers across a large number of air rifles/pistols and see if there is something that makes them that way.

    • I agree and disagree. One could test pellets by shooting them provided that there was a set of standard rifles and pistols to shoot them. The only use of these pieces would be for pellet testing. That would be the pellet equivalent of the standard tire used by tire Mfgrs to obtain test data of traction, temperature range and wear. There is a forth standard, speed range. So, given standard shooting pieces (maybe not even actual rifles or pistols, but barrels and actions in a mount?), one could “shoot” them for data.

      However, shooting them in any rifles or pistols would yield next to nothing, there are too many variables. Your point is taken. Tire makers don’t test their tires on all vehicles that might use them for this very reason.

  11. B.B.,

    I’m thinking since you have a stable of airguns to choose from you would simply designate one of each type to test the pellet, eg the LGV Challenger to represent .22 caliber 12 fpe rifles. With the caveat that you are testing the pellet not the rifle. Yes the rifle has its preferred pellet, so if you shoot another brand of pellet what are the factors that caused the change in group size? Pellet diameter? Pellet weight? Hardness of pellet? Fit of pellet to the breech? Ultimately one would be looking how consistent the pellet in question performs.

    Siraniko

  12. B.B.

    I have been testing pellets (and now slugs) for a while and here are my thoughts, please don’t mind if I restate the obvious.

    I don’t think that it’s possible to “generically” test pellets for accuracy and performance because the airgun itself is the determining factor.

    There are (logical) guidelines in choosing a suitable pellet (caliber, type, weight) for specific applications (target vs hunting) and particular airgun (springer vs PCP). Choosing the actual brand of pellet is the last decision to make.

    Once the shooter has chosen the appropriate caliber, airgun and pellet type (wadcutter, dome, hollow point) they have to go through the (enjoyable) process of finding the golden pellet for their particular gun.

    As we have discovered, due to manufacturing tolerances, we can’t assume that the golden pellet is going to be golden for all the guns coming off the assembly line. Independent testing of the pellets themselves is not going to be of help.

    Finding the pellet that’s suitable for an airgun is a process of eliminating the (grossly) incompatible pellets ones to narrow the search to (potentially) compatible ones. Again, generic pellet testing won’t help with this.

    So, IMHO, generic pellet testing is not practical. At best, pellets could be checked for consistency and how closely they meet the weight and head size they advertised to be so that once we have found a golden pellet we can be confident that the next tin purchased will preform the same.

    Just my ramblings 🙂
    Hank

  13. Testing pellets rather than guns? This is a road to nowhere.

    A newly introduced pellet may have tight manufacturing tolerances and arrive with very few deformed pellets but if it doesn’t shoot well in your gun what does it matter?

    Lost count of the number of times I’ve had two or more airguns of the same model, same caliber, same manufacturer from the same era that preferred different pellets for supreme accuracy. This doesn’t indicate that the best pellet in airgun “A” is better than the best pellet in airgun “B” but it does prove that you should test a variety of pellets.

    As well as paying attention to your target in choosing a preferred pellet a springer will tell you during the firing cycle if you’re shooting a pellet that is either too light or too heavy. Depending on the velocity of a pcp over time you get a sense of what bracket of weights the likely best pellet will be. There’s no substitute for trying a wide variety of pellets in weight, length and head size. After many years some pellets always get tested in my new airgun (like JSB’s) and some pellets are rarely in the rotation (like gamo and all pointed pellets).

    Would humbly suggest that any new pellet introduction be included in the rotation when testing a new gun for the blog. Over a short period of time, it will either justify that airgunners include this new pellet introduction in their testing or not.

    My 2 cents.

    • Kevin
      I agree 100%.

      The pellet has to be tested to the gun you have. If you have multiple guns then that tin of pellets should be tested in all the guns you have.

      That is a prediction I would never make. The gun will let you know what pellet it likes.

  14. Interesting label – “For PCP rifles only” – respectfully disagree; even the CO2 38T .22 revolver is doing fine with Crosman 14.3 gr hollow point pellets.

    FM would call this a “lawyer-driven label.” But I don’t want to put labels on labels.

  15. BB
    I think I need to extend my comment above.

    I was talking specifically to you. You said a manufacturer or PA or whoever sends you a tin of pellets to test. How do you do that fairly?

    You particularly is just like me trying a pellet I have never shot. And let’s say it’s a new pellet and there are no reviews on the web site where you bought them yet and no known articles about them yet.

    You can measure and weigh and sort and all that other stuff. Then try them in one accurate gun or one gun that shoots at a low velocity or or one that shoots at a high velocity or a springer or a magnum springer or a pcp or Co2 gun.

    In your case no. Not just any one of them but all of those types of air guns I just mentioned.

    How else could you judge that pellet. You can measure the pellet all day long and shoot in one gun and that will not tell you very much about that tin of pellets they want you to test.

    I say don’t judge the book by its cover. If you measure a tin of pellet for head size and shoot them in one gun and they do or don’t do good should you judge that pellet by shooting them in just that one gun. I wouldn’t. Me I would save those pellets to try for the next gun I got.

    What I say is pellets are as individual as airguns are too. Labeling the pellets about their characteristics is a good thing like H&N does. I do like that about that brand of pellets. But it’s not the bible of how that pellet will do in a paticular gun. There is just way to many airguns out there. You got to shoot them. Like I always say the paper will tell the true story.

  16. BB
    Most, here, seem to believe that you cannot accurately test pellets. In a sense that is true. But that is not what you asked of us. You need to be able to do just that because the manufacturers and , of course, Pyramid Air want you to.

    So, what is it that you CAN test? Superb accuracy is a function of both weapon and pellet, so that is out. Reasonable accuracy in a variety of weapons,, now that might be possible.

    First would be to determine which of your many guns you should use for the testing. Obviously one isn’t enough. I would think that selecting a limited number,, perhaps three,, that have different power levels and have shown to be accurate with a wide variety of pellets. Your past testing will likely make that selection easier. (if they are also less hold sensitive it would make your work easier)

    Next would be to select the range at which you test. I should think that 10 and 25 yds or meters would be adequate for this purpose. Two many other variables enter if too many distances are used.

    It would be good to remember that you are testing the pellets as they are manufactured and packaged, so weighing and measuring would only be needed if you were also looking at uniformity.

    Since we are looking at the average accuracy of a given pellet, it would seem that shooting a specific number at a single target would give you that. I would suggest a number higher than ten, tho,, perhaps double that but rejecting one or two as “flyers”.

    Now, that would mean shooting 60 shots per pellet and perhaps a few more with each to acclimate the barrels,, so you could easily get into 75 or so shots,,,, at each distance.

    As you can see, this would not be a one day exercise and you already have quite a lot on your plate. If I might suggest, you would be better served doing just as you already are doing. Whenever you test a air rifle you already use an assortment of pellets to find the best in that gun. If you just go back into your tests you will easily see which pellets give the best “reasonable” accuracy with a variety of different guns and distances.

    In the end, it is less about shooting more and more about compiling the results of the tests you are already doing, into a spreadsheet. Then you can select for any value you want.

    I don’t know if this has been helpful, but I thought I’d give it a shot.
    Ed

      • Having pondered this most of the day, I do have a suggestion that makes sense to me.
        BB can dip in to the ‘vault’ and have a group of 3 guns per caliber, each selected for their non-fussy accuracy. For example, in .177, you could have an inexpensive 10 meter rifle (Daisy 853?), followed by a ~12 fpe rifle (HW 50?) and a high-powered PCP (Air Force Condor?). You’ve covered spring-piston, SSP and PCP, low to high power and if the pellet is going to perform accurately, it certainly has been given the chance.
        Include chronograph results for velocity spread and that’s a pretty good snapshot of pellet performance.
        That is my 2 cents worth.
        Thanks for asking.

        Bill

    • Hi Gang-

      New poster here. I’ve been lurking for a year or more, but this topic has convinced me to jump through WP’s hoops and make a login.

      My feeling is edlee is onto something. BB already has a database of pellet information, and many of us also keep some similar data; much of what is being proposed could be crowd-sourced.

      The trick, of course, is standardizing the data from a multitude of guns in varying states of tune, in the hands of a (slightly smaller) multitude of shooters, of varying skill and attention to detail, working on almost as many ranges over an array of ambient conditions. Variability is the name of the game.

      So the model is not one of process control; that’s a game for the manufacturers. Instead, this is a ‘drug discovery’ problem in design-of-experiments, and the only information that’s quantitative is statistical and relative. There’s also important qualitative information, which we don’t capture now. . . things like “the tin was dented” or “this lot looks dirtier than the last one”.

      So, if we as a community want to develop a dataset, MANY people need to step up and contribute. . . . this is a BIG DATA application.

      We’d need a standard format for the data, and it would be more useful if a large number of contributors could produce data for their guns with widely available and historically consistent performers.
      That way we could meaningfully say things like “At 10m, the ZappoMatic 7.8 grain BlasterPills produced a 5 shot average group of 0.407inches in an Mrod that averages 0.371inch 5 shot groups with RWS MeisterKugeln 8.2 grain.” and “in the pool of Mrods, the 7.8 BPs generally produce 7% larger groups than 8.2MKs and 6% smaller groups than 7.9 grain Windsong Wadcutters” (or whatever)

      We could then additionally say things like, “in this particular rifle, the 7.8grain BPs produce 5% larger groups than the running average of all Mrods reported to date” to give some feedback to the shooter?

      If we then added that to a database that would catalog the gun brand/model and add the test group RELATIVE TO THE STANDARD GROUP to the appropriate average for that model of gun, trends would appear pretty rapidly.

      Developing the interface and paying for the server space/time is the challenge here, not the availability of information per se.

      This could be the place for Pyramid to step in; having a quantitative crowdsourced database for pellets could be a traffic driver for them, and would take some of the load off BB. . . . even give him the ability to say “I looked at the database and selected these 5 pellets to try in this rifle because ________ and the performance was _________ which compares with the average of these pellets in other rifles in these ways: _________”

      • M.O.T.
        I don’t think that crowd sourcing information is a bad idea, per se, but,,, if we are asking about individual pellet performance, it seems to me that there is no way to eliminate confirmation bias from entering.
        In order to have legitimate data, it would require each tester to mimic each other faithfully. Not something easily achieved.
        I still think that testing done by one individual, in the same environment, using the same guns would tend to be more reflective of the differences between pellets than unlimited shooters in different places entering data into a shared spaces.
        The old saying about too many cooks is not just about soup.
        I don’t think we need the input of every man,, we need the input of one “everyman”.

        • BB-

          Glad to be here; it’s nice to find a creator who answers his mail, and doubly so when they’re the kind of person who admits their bias and strives for balance and clarity even so.

          edlee-

          Confirmation bias. . . yep, that could be a problem; as would be score inflation by people who measure optimistically, or throw-out uncalled fliers. So you drown such things with data from people with other biases and the individual effects become noise.

          It’s not controversial to say that Vanilla flavor icecream is more popular than, say, Bubblegum flavor in the United States. There are polls and statistics that back that up. Even though individually you might prefer Chocolate (If you even LIKE icecream) and I, Pistachio, it can still be truthfully said on the basis of sales numbers, that Vanilla is preferred over Bubblegum by Joe and Jane Average Consumer..

          By the same token, I believe that shooter ability and bias/favoritism can be abstracted out, by performing statistical analysis on a truly large data set.

          That’s why I was proposing a ‘standard candle’ or two out of the each gun/shooter, on presumably the same range as the test pellet. . . . but in retrospect, with a large enough data set, even that becomes un-necessary.

          What I’m trying to do is de-emphasize the rifle/shooter element . . . I know, without even meeting the man, that BB would get different, and probably better, performance out of my rifle and its preferred pellet than I do.

          And I also know, by actual testing, that I shoot tighter groups with any given rifle than either my father-in-law and/or my best friend from high school. . . . and then said friend’s dad puts me in my place; a fact that’s consistent across all rifle and ammo combinations we’ve tried.

          We can then expect that other groups I shoot with ANY rifle will be RELATIVELY larger or smaller than those of someone else with the same rifle by the same approximate amount. Ditto ammo.

          So substitute the phrase “average contributor to the dataset.” for “someone,” and you see what I’m trying to do. If my average differs from the group average, we can correct for that statistically!

          Stepping back, you can see that enough shooters, with many rifles and many pellets, can produce a dataset that allows us to compare pellets, rifles and pellet/rifle combinations with each other on a production-run scale. . . thereby revealing trends like “Benjamin Marauders shoot tighter groups at 25 yards than Daisy Red Ryders across the board” (which “everybody knows”, but now we could point to statistics and make statements of HOW MUCH better that actually mean something.)

          Similarly and more usefully: the data could show us that “0.177 cal Marauders, as a group, tend to do well on these pellets, but not those.”

          So, yeah, some pellets will have more entries in the dataset; That’s GOOD; it lowers the noise floor for those pellets, and gives a basis for comparison for ALL other pellets.

          The important realization, for me, at least, is: this is not a dataset that could be reasonably compiled or interpreted by a single human. There’s just too many variables, as everyone here has agreed. But with a computer doing the heavy lifting of comparing ALL the data we can gather, there’s potential here to change the way airgun ballistics are studied.

          But we gotta think REALLY big for it to work.

          (sheesh, whatta novel. I’ll try to rein it in in the future . . . )

    • “First would be to determine which of your many guns you should use for the testing. Obviously one isn’t enough. I would think that selecting a limited number,, perhaps three,, …”

      And stick to the same selected test guns–over years of continued testing! edlee, this is your key point, I think.

      If there’s any hope for blog readers to realize value in published live fire pellet tests, it will be only be because readers are able to correlate the performance of their guns against B.B.’s test guns with a variety of pellets. In other words, when B.B. runs a new pellet test, then we readers must test the same pellets with our guns and attempt to find correlation. Only when we have confidence that we’ve established correlation between one or more of B.B.’s test guns and one or more of our guns do we have any hope of usefully predicting the performance (good or bad) of pellets in our guns based on new tests.

      Yes. This process would sell a lot of pellets, but it’s the only way live fire testing might be beneficial.

      -Cal

  17. BB, I dont notice that ammo makers advertise what performance their pellet will or wont produce.
    “Hits harder” or “flys farther” or ” even more accuracy” than the one we made before. I am curious
    about the actual ballistic performance of a projectile over a begining and an ending range. I try to use and understand Chairgun, from Hawke. This tells me how fast my pellet is travelling at the terminal end, which is really more important than the initial reading at the muzzle. Does the pellet slow down more, or less than the app says. This is where I get interested in products like the Badda Bing pellet trap, which could provide allot of data from the pellet strike, back to my phone. Plus, the Barracuda 18’s dont look like a traditionally shaped ‘cuda, it has more of a dome shape, than what I am used to seeing. Also, I think there may be a subjective element when it comes to shooting, and testing.
    Rob

  18. B.B.,

    How to test pellets?
    Simple shoot them at a target of your choice!
    Yes that sounds like a serious case of oversimplification. Your problem starts with just what are your readers shooting at. If I am a hunter what good does it do to have Gold Piece accuracy with 3-4 FPE of muzzle energy when it takes dessert plate accuracy with a minimum of 60 FPE delivered at the target surface. What good does that same 3-4 FPE accuracy do if I shoot Field Target? Just as 20+ FPE will get me banned from shooting at most FT matches that I know of even if my rifle would clean up!
    I for one don’t think you are on to something that uses your airgun skills and limited time to best advantage.
    I think the best approach is to pass on testing a product that changes from lot number to lot number. Worse still it appears to be that what seemed to be a stagnant design area of airguns is suddenly evolving because of the ongoing production airgun barrel performance Reniaisance we all have been witness to over the past decade.

    This is way to BIG of a project…walk away!

    shootski

    PS:
    In. Some help from manufacturers 1st paragraph last sentence:
    “The LGV Challenger that makes 11.8 foot-pounds could also (be) good or it might be a little light.”

    • Shootski,

      I agree: This is way too BIG of a project…walk away!

      Maybe this is a chicken & egg scenario. A lot of this discussion has revolved about finding the right pellet for the rifle. Since getting my Impact and spending some time learning the tuning I have found you can fine tune the gun to shoot any (reasonably compatible and consistent) pellet accurately. The corollary to that is that you can also make a good pellet preform poorly by mis-tuning the gun.

      I spot-check (weigh and head-size) 30-50 pellets from each tin to confirm that the tin was labeled correctly and that the manufacturer has his process in control.

      I think that the only “testing” that can be done on pellets is to insure that they (consistently) meet the weight and size specs.

      Cheers!
      Hank

      • Vana2,

        Hank I’m on board with how you are doing it. I keep rereading B.B. writing and found these two sentences: “Well, there are pellets I want to test for you and I’m looking for a way to do it that makes sense. For example, Pyramyd AIR just announced the new Baracuda 18 .22-caliber pellet from H&N and I have a tin coming to test.” Obviously PA wants to sell pelles and slugs (bullets) they stock. But the nut is he wants the testing to make sense in order for PA to sell pellets and slugs. But who needs the making of sense? Not you, or most all of us that reply. B.B. needs to know what those buyers of their first airgun are puzzling about when they try to select a “good” pellet for that purchase. Maybe he just needs to explain that the buyers reviews are almost without fail useless when compared with any of his reports because the distances, number of pellets per test group, use/nonuse of a Chronograph, group size measuring (honesty) skill, shooting skill and so many more components are just not provided. That the search for a great pellet can only happen after a certain amount of shooter and equipment precision has been attained…i’m right back to my original conclusion.
        They just need to become readers of his blog and ask questions; in time they will come to know what you know: “… I have found you can fine tune the gun to shoot any (reasonably compatible and consistent) pellet accurately. The corollary to that is that you can also make a good pellet preform poorly by mis-tuning the gun.”

        shootski

  19. BB,

    Nothing much else to offer over what has been by others. Keep it simple.

    I think at HAM, the have a variety of reliable rifles. They select the appropriate one for the pellet they are testing.

    For rifles, they have the usual suspects of reliable pellets and that is what they use.

    Sorting? If you have ever visited their site, you know they do VERY extensive data collection of pellets. But!,… they have “peeps”. Heck, their “peeps” have “peeps”. You on the other hand are just one “peep”.

    I think what you already do is fine and you already know how to do it. Take your best shot on pellets and call it good.

    Chris

  20. BB-
    I think you are going to have to stick to a simple set of 3 or 4 available, popular, and common baseline guns. A Marauder, Gauntlet, Avenger (or similar economical workhorse pcp), an economical hunting/plinking springer, and a non-fussy target rifle (maybe the TX200). Simplify. I don’t think you need focus on the high end, long range slug guns because there are so many folks already covering that ground full time and those are guns made to be tuned for a thousand variables- and truly, that way madness lies. Every new blogger is showcasing the new Ferraris and Rolls Royce guns but what we’ve always needed you for is your understanding of the Chevy and Ford guns that everybody actually shoots.

  21. IT must be having a bad day. I typed a longish post this morning and it is gone. When I tried to get back to comment, I had to long on four times. Anyway…

    I earlier suggested using the tire standard idea for pellets. In someways, the problem of giving an evaluation is similar, there are lots of tires in lots of sizes and configurations and even more vehicles upon which they might be installed. If one looks at all the potential variables, it becomes an impossible task to offer reasonable evaluation and comparisons.

    I suggested that all one can do is make a standard test for pellets using a uniform set of criteria knowing that the variables of the rifles are unable to be captured – it is not the task to measure the user’s air arm variables, but the pellets. The tire manufacturers don’t measure the purchasers’ autos but the tires they make.

    Therefore, it would seem to me that a FEW select standard criteria would be all one can reasonably expect of the evaluator after which a customer makes a decision on what to buy through extrapolation from the specifics given to his/her experience with his/her particular air arm.

    The first criteria, I suggest, would involve specific measurements of a random sampling of each pellet type. What is its weight, length, head and skirt diameter, shape, and hardness (?). This would be the tedious but easiest part.

    The second criteria would necessitate a selection of several air guns that would become the “standards” for actual shooting of the above measured lot. This would require, for example, a low power (up to 12 fp), medium (12-20 fp), and magnum springer (>20 fp), a PCP(s) (perhaps in different energies?), and maybe a C02 rifle.

    A similar, but likely smaller set of standard pistols would be selected. Both the pistols and the rifles would be both set aside and maintained for test purposes only to limit their own variabiles.

    Thereafter, the comparison would be by chronograph and target scoring at a set distance or distances.

    Like tire standard data which is determined against a standard tire and test drill (Traction, Temperature, Wear), the pellet performance against the standard would be measured and the results set forth in standard format. The purpose would be comparison and data against a standard with the customer having the duty to ascertain which pellet would likely work for his/her particular air arm and for what end purpose. That is how the tire standard works; the measures obtained are about the tire not how the tire might or might not work on the customer’s vehicle (an impossible undertaking).

    Incidentally, the specifications on the air arms offered by PA could use an additional criteria: bore size, and I don’t mean caliber. The long journey to get my Hatsan 135 in .25 to shoot well would have been foreshortened if I knew that the bore is oversized!

    That’s my take on a difficult problem.

  22. BB.
    I am no pellet tester. I have two pellets H&N FTT and H&N flat point wadcutters. With the cost of pellets being what they are and no major selection available that leaves me with little choice. At $25 NZD a tin it kind of cramps my pellet selection style. Hmmm… I could buy scales and a sizer and go through a tin of pellets just to see what I have been buying. Possibly splash out on a tin of JSB’s as well. Do some QC on both brands. Make small piles of different pellets and test shoot them. : – ) Robert.

  23. BB,
    My personal feeling on this subject is that you can’t test a pellet in any meaningful way that would relate it to many guns, especially as regards accuracy. I do a lot of testing with my guns. I shoot them over a chronograph while simultaneously shooting for groups at 12-13 yards. I usually try 45-50 different pellets in each gun I test. So, with that, I have a record of the short range accuracy and velocities of many pellets in quite a few guns. I generally shoot the guns clamped in a vise because I am interested in how the pellet works out of the barrel, not so much as the shootability of the whole platform. Along the way and after many, many hundreds of hours of testing this way I’ve learned of a few pellets that NEVER give good or consistent results, but I’m guessing you don’t want to end your testing with,”Okay guys, this is a really crappy pellet and I don’t think you should ever waste your money on it” since running down and accentuating the negative just isn’t your style. But other than that, all I really know is which pellet or pellets work well in an INDIVIDUAL gun. I own and have tested multiple copies of the same gun and have not found that the same pellets give the same results in each copy.

    One other thing I’ve learned is that the 12-13 yard accuracy doesn’t necessarily extend to longer ranges. I know that I have pellets that are tackdrivers in some of my guns at that distance and can’t hit a soda can consistently at 30 yards. For that reason I usually move on to 25 then 50 yards, weeding out poorer performers at each stage. It’s good info to have, but it’s just about one gun and doesn’t translate to others.

    There are others in the airgun reporting world that have done and continue to do audits of tins of pellets to grade them for cleanliness, dimensional consistency, weight using highly accurate lab scales, and fire them from a standard power plant that has interchangable caliber barrels to establish velocity consistency (but it’s still just for that one power plant) and ballistic coefficient. They generally only use a random sample of 100 from a tin that could be as many as 500 in .177 and .22. What would happen if all 500 were compared instead? That gets time consuming. Matter of fact, it’s all going to be a very time consuming project and after it’s over I, and this is just my opinion based on all the pellet specific testing I’ve done, think the best I could ever say is “You might try this one or that one because it has been the best in some of my guns or it has never been in the bottom half of those I’ve tested” That’s pretty thin advice and I wonder if the game is worth the candle?

    Half

    • Half,

      I have settled on 40 yards as being the optimum test range – far enough to show problems (with pellets, techniques and tuning) but close enough that I don’t contribute (too badly) to the results 🙂

      Hank

  24. You asked great questions. Most will be tough to answer. However, one is easy to answer: Don’t use a gun with mediocre accuracy to test pellets.
    My thoughts on your challenge:
    – Other blogs rate pellets on their dimensional and weight consistency. You need to check this info as well but then do more to be distinctive. I suggest accuracy, penetration/expansion, and BC variations among guns. (BC’s are generally measured with a particular gun; does BC vary across guns even at similar speeds?)
    – For a given pellet, select 5 guns that are reasonable candidates for it. Best to select guns that tend to be fairly pellet picky; it will be a waste of time to use guns that love lots of different pellets. Also best to select guns that are popular or – if not that – have unique features in their power, twist rate, etc. that will help explain why some pellets are better than others for that and similar guns
    – Lastly, along with learning which few guns are best for a specific pellet, careful assessment of the results could reveal some bigger picture insights, i.e., what are characteristics of pellets that work best in each of the guns and why might this be; for example: is there a sweet spot in the gap between bore and head to achieve high accuracy? However, there might be better ways to get to such insights – develop the list of interesting questions/hypotheses and then set up experiments to address those specific topics. This suggests maybe doing something different than starting a pellet test program.

  25. B.B.,
    I would say a combo of what Gunfun1 and Fish said: take a pellet you want to test, then try it in a variety of guns…that are of the type and power for which those pellets are primarily intended.
    In the end, each airgun is a law unto itself; I just sighted in an XS25S in .22 caliber; it puts out 15 fpe with a variety of pellets; however, with the 13.43 grain JSB RS pellets that my HW30S loves, it only puts out a pinch over 13 fpe…and the group at 10 yards is several inches across. Many other pellets that had consistent velocities also shot 10-yard groups in the “shotgun pattern” range. Then, on my last tin of H&N FTT 14.66 grain pellets (from PA =>), I hit pay dirt. These are consistent at 685 fps, so I figured to sight them in at 13 yards, and they’d not go more than a pellet width above line-of-sight till they hit their second sight-in point at 25 yards…perfect for the pesting distances I have in mind. And at 13 yards, they produced one ragged hole…they were so much better than everything else in this gun that there is nothing to do but to stock up on these bad boys. =>
    Anyway, back to your test criteria, I would say to test flat head wadcutters in guns of the ten-meter target variety, and to test hunting pellets in higher-powered springers suited for that purpose, and to test really heavy-for-caliber pellets in the PCP guns. Just my 2 cents.
    I really like the way you spend time thinking these things through; that’s what makes this blog a great blog!
    Take care & God bless,
    dave

  26. BB
    I have a hard time visualizing you testing a pellet with several pellet guns, none of which I own is going to help me determine if that pellet will work for me.
    Perhaps if I were in the market for one of the pellet guns you used, it would give me a pellet to try with that particular gun.
    Am I missing something here?
    Do you testing pellets in your guns have any thing to do with my guns? Or will the test only appeal to a person that has the same gun that you are testing with?

  27. Wow! I feel like I am in Never Never Land with this blog. Or maybe I fell down a rabbit hole while chasing some girl named Alice.

    Wherever I am, I am not in today.

  28. B.B.,

    The stability of the SOFTware is messing up your BLOG; it is now just GIGO!

    INSUFFERABLE! You are losing readership!
    To a MARKETING PLOY that IS AN ABJECT FAILURE.

    shootski

    • Shooski, My Good Friend,

      Don’t say that; readership is going nowhere. BB, we are all here and waiting patiently.

      Building such an interactive website is one of the most knotty businesses in the world. I got involved with some PHP / MySQL coding back in time. It’s an endless battle, and the whole thing is slowly becoming impossible for even medium size companies. Maybe, it’s time for PA to use other online services for the blog and online store. Outsourcing these tasks to other companies might even be cheaper in the end. I am not talking about hiring other IT companies, that would be another endless money pit; I’m talking about online portals like wix.com, shopify.com and such. That way, PA can even throw a forum page in the mix. Maintaining an IT department or hiring software companies that employ geeks is not a profitable option anymore – it is not realistic. These days, a live sales party can be effortlessly be thrown on Facebook live, why not taking advantage of those kinds of things. The costs of other options had to be on the desk and considered at least. I don’t know the deal between PA and WordPress, but I know there are other options out there for blogs – options that might not demand this amount of coding struggles, just upload the text and photos and there you go kind of deals. Let the coding be someone else’s problem. PA’s mission should be about making the best airguns avaliable online, not getting lost in the eternally changing coding world. At the end of the day, it’s about making profits, is it not?

      Fish.

      • Fish,

        “Don’t say that; readership is going nowhere. BB, we are all here and waiting patiently.”

        I hope you are correct Fish.

        However…

        Have you looked at the number of posts each Blog since the switch? I don’t have access to te HITs (page openings) count but my experience tells me that it is taking a similar drop. Folks are fickle about ease of use and number of clicks required to get somewhere or to get something done.

        My son runs an IT department for a highly technical medical (Infant Life Saving) equipment company that does Business around the World. They understand the need for motivated and top of their game hires who understand IT as well as the product and non IT workers information system(s) requirements…so they compensate them way more than most companies as long as they deliver the IT support.

        I’m beginning to believe that PA is running out of awareness of their core product and core buyer. Folks who never bought are buying in quantities that PA has no experience with and it is showing.

        As I said at the beginning I hope the blog survives in some form or other.

        B.B. deserves BETTER for all his proven efforts for PA over more than a decade…almost two!

        shootski

        • Shootski,

          I wrote you a long reply, but somehow deleted it; it doesn’t show up.

          Websites are completely different breed compared to medical software. There are thousands of different browsing platforms considering the ones that are not updated regularly by the endusers. There are attacks and often random updates on browsers that makes everything look unusual. A little army of coders needed to make everything work right. In the meantime, there are human errors, people retiring, changing jobs, and etc… A constant mess and chaos sometimes. Best is paying a little % to sites like shopify and wix and letting all those coding complexity be someone else’s problem.

          We are only a dozen of people here conversing on a daily basis. I think PA makes tons of money from novice people who would like to see a 22 pellet leave a barrel at 1000 fps, or 177 pellet at 1400 fps. I mean look at what happened with Hatsan. They lowered the 177 to 820 fps on Proxima, which should bring Hatsan vortek to a very reasonable power level, and people complained instead of thanking. The reason Proxima was liked less than the rest of the Hatsans was just because she was weaker; for me, she shoots 177s at a very sweet power level.

          Now, Z generation is out there in the market. I don’t think a weak, but perfectly balanced, 30S means so much to them. I want to be proven wrong.

          Fish.

          • Fish,

            Software is still software.
            His IT department does the work for all aspects from sales, CRM, systems to inhouse and external training.
            Poor roll-outs that are called BETA Testing by some are just s
            examples of really BAD development testing. Data processing/Information Systems DT&E is an area I have a bit of experience with.

            shootski

        • About BB… We all have so much love and respect for him, and I truly believe so does PA. The changes were made to give him a better blog with more functional connection to the main PA website. What’s going on here is the nature of web business. There is no way to test every single thing in advance. You’ve got to publish the web software and then fix the problems as they arise. Consider this as a beta release and enjoy the weekend. Good time to turn off the computer / smart phone and ski, I think. 😉

          • Fish,

            Do you work for PA?

            smh, most all of the ski resorts are closed and their employees have moved on to the river rafting and other warm weather outdoor recreation outfitters.
            I went kayaking and did a quick 20+ mile Down-Winder this morning in my EPIC 18X Expedition.

            shootski

        • Still, software for websites have certain type of annoyance, especially e-commerce ones. Things have to look and work decent on every single browser platform out there, goes to the good luck department often times. Software to be used with-in organizations don’t have to worry about that.

  29. Perhaps a belated, geeky April fools joke? More likely further evidence of how technology has us moving backwards into our future.

    Relax, it will be fixed (the IT mantra said in a hypnotic, monotone voice)

  30. A report idea… Gasrams in the market that can be a substitute to ASP20. I don’t understand the logic behind producing a perfect product and then throwing all those efforts into the garbage.

    • Fish,

      SIG realized that they could make more money by committing the resources, IE production capacity, to other products. Business 101!
      Abetter question is why did they bother with a Spring pellet gun in the first place.

      -Y

      • Yogi,

        It is not Business 101. They kinda failed at IE 304, a third year business class!? Or a fourth year Business course, Marketing 402; they finished the product and then researched the market!?

        Fish

  31. Does anybody know a site that I can find detailed chrony numbers for the late .177 HW95 / R9 models? I would like to know at what pellet weight the FPE starts to drop dramatically.

  32. Maybe invite a few of your readers who do extensive pellet testing to show you their data and you could come up with a series that summarizes their data and findings. After several of these, you could look for insights on good gun-pellet combinations, characteristics of pellets that seem to work well across particular variables like types of guns, distances, etc. Another possibility is for you to tap your huge database of gun-pellet combinations for insights on what combinations of gun characteristics vs pellet characteristics seem to provide the best accuracy.

  33. All of the above make good points, HOWEVER, they ONLY thing that matters is a given pellets performance in a specific gun. Specific gun = the gun you are shooting at the time.
    B.B. often says the RWS Hobby pellets shoot well in Diana rifles. Not in my Diana rifles they don’t!
    That is all that matters….

    -Y

  34. M.O.T.
    I don’t know if you will get this, but the comment box up above got so small I was only seeing one letter per line. Kinda hard to edit that way.

    I understand your idea of using large data sets to judge trends, but I don’t think that would give the results that the manufacturerers or Pyramid air are looking for. In this case, I am afraid that what you would end up with is a rather large set of averages. Individual pellets would become lost in the chaos.
    If one wants to find the RELATIVE merits of the various pellets, a finer brush needs to be used. Keeping it to one “average” person ( No, I don’t believe BB is average by any measure), and maintaining the same location, temperature and temperament would, I think, give us that.

    Using your ice cream analogy, it would help us to see the differences between the many varieties of vanilla, not the differences between vanilla and rocky road (my favorite, by the way).
    The way I see it is that the more people involved the grayer the picture becomes.
    Ed

    • Ed-

      I did see your reply, as evidenced by this one.

      Your point about losing the fine detail by averaging a dataset is a valid one, and Yogi’s comment about his Dianas immediately above yours adds additional weight to it. In my professional life, it’s often said that, “in theory, there’s no difference between theory and reality. . ..”

      Perhaps there’s application for both? The Big-data approach to down select from the pool of “All pellets” to a few that are worth testing FIRST in the rifle you have (or are considering) would still be a major step forward. It looks like the manufacturers are starting to take that road already, but I’m of the opinion that an independent source for the information would be a good thing. . . . particularly if that source was not dependent on the continued health, interest and patience of a few not-exactly-everymen like the one that’s been supplying us all with information and food for thought all these years.

      As you point out, my copy of a given gun might finally turn out to like Pecan Praline and yours might like Rocky Road; but if we know that the model we’re both shooting tends to like a flavor with lumpy things in it much more than, say, a smooth sorbet, we’re still ahead of the game, no?

      (Man, what a tortured metaphor THAT turned into!)

      • M.O.T
        Indeed it did. Perhaps better to move away from frozen desserts.

        My thoughts about testing pellets is less about what they will do in a particular gun, but what they will do generally. In other words, how well they perform given their best opportunity for success. Leaving that to a crowd doesn’t seem to me to be very revealing.
        If I am attempting to choose a pellet for use in any given gun, I would like there to be someone who has tested a great many of them to tell me how well a given pellet worked for him in a similar gun. Similar meaning in the same range of power. Obviously each gun, even of the same brand and make, will have small variances that might make one pellet better than another. But,, I would still like to know how well someone I respect can do with it.
        Because it isn’t likely to be able to find our “every gun”,, at least we have our “every guy” writing a blog for us.
        Ed

  35. BB

    A common thread from most comments and you too is that every barrel is different. Variables and tolerances of firearm and airgun barrels are too daunting for manufacturers to standardize well enough to fit within cost constraints. Even world class custom barrel makers throw out expensive barrels that don’t meet some sub MOA criteria.

    Hoping I don’t have to login everyday.

    Deck

  36. BB and mates.
    Went berserk in the garage and made the new stock ( again ) from an old real Pine 4X2 in the scrap pile. It’s darn hard. The wood furniture is all glued together, there are two screws that go through the bottom of the stock into the alloy plate. and how I do that is another story… So I can take those two 6mm Allen screws out and the wood slides off. This is my plan, it fits in a small case/bag. So it’s a take down of sorts. Um, the grip is higher and back, the scope is back and LoP is the same as previous. ( it was a semi bullpup in it’s last incarnation ). Fore grip might be laid up hard wood. Or a single thickness, maybe 12mm and then a Hamster. The stock is pretty heavy so it balances out quite well. A full length alloy plate would be ace. But the scrap bin… had none. Fabbing up a new trigger is on the cards. It’s a fiddly thing though. Will see. Looking a tad Dragunov. : – ) Robert.
    PS I made the grip a lot fatter and slowly shaped it with a lot of trying it out so it’s not as anaemic as the previous one.

    • Robert,

      Looking good. Thankfully you are keeping us supplied with progress pics. Is the butt staying as is,.. or are you going to shape/carve it to be more traditionally shaped?

      Chris

      • Chris USA,
        Grip and butt are non traditional shape ! It’s “brutalist” style. See here:
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brutalist_architecture
        The butt is removable, will be OK for three position and is really solid. Possibly will slice some off it and add in adjustable butt piece. and I have no idea why I posted this third blog back from the latest blog. Something is wrong.
        Clicking on the link in my email does not take me to your comment like it normally does…
        Range night tonight! Can I break my 90.01 score ? : – ) Robert.

  37. Whew! I just reread Tom’s blog and all the comments. Even the hyper annoying spaghetti strands (not the commenters or the subject matter are annoying, just my ability to read ‘skinny’) which is not easy. Lots of thoughtful grist for the mill. I’m still not convinced that testing by shooting will lead to any widespread enlightenment or method of choosing appropriate pellets will result. Perhaps it is time to throw it back into Pyramyd Air’s court. PA offers several value added products to consumers purchasing their air guns. I’m thinking specifically about the ‘10 for $10’ tryout your gun for you service. I’m also looking at the sample pack of pellets offered by several manufacturers. What is missing is sample packs of multiple manufacturers pellets chosen to be appropriate for your gun’s power. How about a ‘50 for $50’ ? Ten shots each of 5 different ‘preferred’ pellets with chrono results and targets, a sample pack of the same pellets to try yourself and a coupon for 15% off your next pellet order. Just something to think about.

  38. Just an airgun FYI: The Findlay, Ohio Airgun Show is scheduled for Saturday, June 12. The show organizer is telling me that they have already sold over 100 tables. This show has grown significantly over the years into one of the top airgun shows in the country. Virtually anything and everything airgun related will be there.

  39. B.B.,

    I think folks would be looking for the perfect pellet for their guns, or one pellet for all their guns. If you test pellets the ones that come out the best may have a good sales run for a while. Long term though that pellet probably won’t be the best for their gun and they will be complaining. It seems to me testing new pellets would be a terrible waste of your time.

    There are a few pellets that have withstood the test of time and you mention them in your reports. Many of the new pellets won’t survive the test of time. They usually have names like buzz saw.

    Testing pellets could be a major time sink. What you are doing now seems like a good compromise. You are a gun tester first and a pellet tester secondarily.

    I have seen the business models that push for constant change evolve into change for change alone. When that takes over many of the changes are not for the better especially from folks that have little experience. Change is necessary but needs to be well thought out making sure it is for the better.

    Don

  40. Happy Mother’s Day!

    I hope a few moms are reading B.B.’s Blog today and hopefully other days also.
    My mom hated bb guns until i got her shooting a pellet rifle. She still wouldn’t let me shoot the steel ball bbs but Lead ball and pellets were okay because they didn’t seem to bounce back at the shooter like the steel bb did.
    She would have thought highly of the modern frangible ones if she was alive today!

    Treasure your Mother she won’t be around forever.

    shootski

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