Baracuda pellets then and now: Part 3
From the left we have the original Baracuda pellet upright and lying down, then there is the Baracuda 18, with the Baracuda 15 on the right. Looking inside the skirts you can see where the weight is and isn’t.
This report covers:
- Some history
- The test
- H&N Baracuda Match with 5.53mm head
- Baracuda 18s
- Baracuda 15s
I am testing the traditional 21.14-grain Baracuda pellets alongside the new Baracuda 18s and Baracuda 15s, to see whether there is any significant difference. Today there was a huge difference, plus I have something astounding to tell you.
I tested these three pellets in the Air Arms S510XS back in December. Each group was 10 shots. Read about it in Part 2.
In that test the Baracuda 15s were the most accurate, followed by the 18s with the traditional heavy Baracudas bringing up the rear. But all three pellets were accurate.
At the end of that report I said I wanted to test the three pellets in a spring-piston rifle next, and so I selected my most accurate, most reliable springer. Today I tested these same pellets in the Sig ASP20. It’s too bad Sig abandoned this air rifle, because when they developed this one they hit it out of the park.
Their sidearms have great success with law enforcement and with the US military, so things are going well for the company, but I don’t think they appreciate what a rare thing their ASP20 was. It was the Glock of the airgun world! That remark may sound like a finger in Sig’s eye but I meant it as a compliment. Glock changed the world for modern sidearms, and whether you like them or hate them you can’t deny their success. I am a 1911 man, and yet even I have to acknowledge that the Glock design is far more rugged than the all-steel pistols I favor.
My ASP20 is a .22-caliber model with a wood stock. It has Sig’s Whiskey3 ASP 4-12X44 scope mounted on it.
The ASP20 is the finest spring-piston air rifle since the TX200 was created. It has an American-designed trigger unlike anything else on the market and it has a Keystone breech that ensures perfect lockup every time. I have more to say about the rifle but let’s get on with today’s test.
I shot a 10-shot group with each of the pellets. I shot from 25 yards with the rifle resting directly on a sandbag. The ASP20 is so smooth you can do this. Since I hadn’t shot the rifle in over a year I first fired five test shots to warm up the gas piston and the rest of the rifle. Also I wanted to confirm the rifle was still zeroed. It was.
H&N Baracuda Match with 5.53mm head
First up were ten H&N Baracuda Match pellets with 5.53mm heads. This is the same pellet I shot in the S510 in Part 2, but I noted that they loaded into the Sig breech very hard. Ten pellets went into 1.565-inches at 25 yards. That is a poor group for this rifle or for any rifle at 25 yards. Strangely, five of the 10 pellets made a 0.355-inch group, which was more like what I expected. Clearly either something is wrong or this rifle does not like this pellet.
What an odd group! It measures 1.565-inches for the entire group, with five of the 10 pellets grouping in 0.355-inches. Either something is wrong or these 21.14-grain Baracuda Match pellets with their 5.53mm heads are not right for this rifle.
I’ll show you the Baracuda 18s next. Ten of them went into 0.536-inches at 25 yards. No funny business. That’s a lot more like what I was expecting! So the rifle is shooting okay. More of that to come.
I will also note that the Baracuda 18s loaded easier than the heavier pellets. According to their tin they have 5.52mm heads. These days we are just fortunate to get pellets when we order them, but if this shortage business ever ends I suppose we will be able to buy the head sizes we want.
This is the latest Baracuda pellet. You can see in the top photo that they are shorter and have thinner skirts. But are they any good? Well, they gave the smallest 10-shot group with the S510. How about with the ASP20? Once again they gave the smallest group of the test. Ten pellets went into a 25-yards group that measures 0.402-inches between centers.
The ASP20 can still shoot! And here is something that is a little curious. When I broke it open to cock it the first time, the barrel went all the way down without resistence. Either all the gas had leaked out of the piston or I had cocked the rifle long ago and never fired it. There was a pellet in the breech, so I fired it. It hit the target below where I aimed, so I reckoned the rifle was still good. I then fired four more shots just to check the sights, though I didn’t adjust the scope at all.
How long had the rifle been cocked? Well, not less than five months but more likely over a year. I really don’t know.
I am not making any claims for gas springs/gas pistons. I’m just reporting what happened.
The new Baracuda 18 and 15 are premium quality pellets. No doubt they will sometimes be less accurate than the traditional heavyweight Baracudas, but in the last two tests they were more accurate. I still do want to test them in a lower-powered spring-piston rifle, just to see.
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