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Testing a new pellet line

JTS pellet tins
JTS pellets.

This report covers:

  • Pondering
  • The answer
  • Or, do you?
  • My decision
  • What if…
  • Twenty-two at this time
  • So what?
  • Summary

While I was at the SHOT Show  in the Evanix booth, Travis Whitney of JTS gave me several tins of their new JTS Dead Center domed pellets. He had .22 and .25 calibers, so that’s what I got. As you might expect, I plan to test them, but how? That is today’s great question.

Pondering

Before you jump in to give your answer, consider this, which I also considered. When John McCaslin showed me his PresSlug swaging system for smallbore slugs, he said that it’s cheaper and more efficient for an airgunner to make his own slugs to fit the barrel than it is to test different barrels to find the one that shoots best with a commercial slug. Never forget, the commercial slugs are only there as long as they are there. Once you find the right one you are at the mercy of the pellet maker.

The same holds for diabolo pellets. But we can’t do much about that. Making diabolos is more complex and costly than making slugs. So we assume that a manufacturer will go right on making diabolos as long as there is a market for them. What else can we do?

No, I don’t have another answer for what else we can do. But today’s question remains. How do you go about testing a new line of pellets?

The answer

Why, that’s simple, BB. You test new pellets by shooting them in an accurate airgun.

Or, do you?

Haven’t we learned that some pellets do not do well in certain airguns? But what about accurate airguns? Do most pellets do well in them?

If you are testing a pellet, is it good enough to say that MOST pellets do well in the test gun? Therefore your test pellet should also do well in that gun if the pellet is accuate?

On the other hand, is a pellet a problem if it doesn’t do well when tested in a gun that’s known to be accurate?

Do you see what I’m asking? I’m asking how much testing should be done to see whether or not a pellet is good? Where should we stop? Because that is the question I need to answer soon if I am to test these pellets.

My decision

Well, I have to proceed because there are a lot of JTS pellets yet to come. I was told they plan to have several head sizes They also plan to have wadcutters and perhaps some other pellet head shapes. Will they go up to the .30 and .35? I’m sure if the other pellets are a hit they will want to expand the line in that direction.

Right now there is a .22 dome and a .25 dome. They come in one head size, nominally, at this time and of course I will test that. What I mean by that remark is I will test the pellet heads for uniformity, and also the weights.

JTS 22 dome
The JTS .22 dome looks good up close.

I have several accurate .22 air rifles at present. The Air Arms S510XS, the RAW HM1000X and BB’s Goldie that is an Air Venturi Avenger come to mind. And neither the S510 nor BB’s Goldie are very picky about the pellets they like. I can’t say for sure about the RAW because I haven’t shot it as much. I have a good baseline of how accurate each of those other two rifles is. So my plan is to start there.

I will also probably test them in a breakbarrel or two of known accuracy. And perhaps the .22 Dragonfly 2. It would be nice to know how flexible these pellets are.

I can also test these in a pellet pistol of known accuracy. I’m thinking of my Crosman Mark I and maybe in my Webley Senior. I have good baselines on those two pistols.

Build a Custom Airgun

What if…

If these pellets turn out to be accurate, there is no problem. But what if they are not? Well, this is where my plan starts to become foggy. Right now if they didn’t test out right away I would include them in future tests of airguns as they come to me. Something could pop up.

Twenty-two at this time

All this talk has been about testing the .22-caliber pellet. I have never had a super accurate .25-caliber air rifle. My best one at present is a Benjamin Marauder and I can use it. It is at least decent. I will look around to see if I have another .25 that’s accurate enough to be a test bed.

So what?

I’m not being a fussbudget today. I want you all to think about this. What we have, from our perspective, is a brand new line of pellets that I was told are very accurate. Of course that is what any salesman is going to say about his product. But — and this is a big but — they say they plan to bring out different head sizes different weights, different calibers and different shapes. That tells us they are serious about this line of pellets. 

Last year I came back from the SHOT Show with the Apolo Air Boss pellets. But I was only given about 50 of each caliber and I could never contact the seller again. I did see that they were at the SHOT Show this year, but if they are not in this game to play, I’m not interested. I’ll let others chase rainbows. There is too much good stuff coming to market for me to play games.

Let me put it to you this way — what if, instead of JTS, this was JSB and we had never heard of them? That’s the way I’m approaching this.

Summary

We have a new line of pellets before us. The ball is now in our court. Let’s have some fun!

36 thoughts on “Testing a new pellet line”

  1. B.B.,
    The plan you’ve laid out (test guns: Air Arms S510XS, the RAW HM1000X and BB’s Goldie that is a Seneca Avenger, a breakbarrel or two of known accuracy, the .22 Dragonfly 2, the Crosman Mark I and the Webley Senior) for the .22 caliber pellets sounds like a pretty comprehensive cross section of airguns for a test bed. It’s a lot of work for you, but I think it will be telling for a lot of your readership; and that testing will likely promote much commentary.
    Blessings to you,
    dave

  2. B.B. tel us more about the pellets. Where are they made? What type of lead?
    Are they optically sorted or hand/eye sorted for defects. What are they supposed to retail for?
    I want to know the answers to these questions long before I slide one into my bore….

    -Y

    PS throw a tin in your range bag and when you test a new rifle/pistol include them amoung the test pellets. Please no special reports! You have enough interesting guns to test without just testing pellets. IMHO.

    PPS One of the best things about the .20 caliber is that there are only 3 pellets to test to find the best one for your gun.

        • Yogy,

          A smoothbore tank cannon uses fin-stabilized rounds. They are quite accurate out to several miles.

          The M1A2 Abrams tank is also smoothbore with fin-stabilized ammo.

          BB

        • A long, thin shot made of a hard, dense, material is a very good armour penetrating projectile, both from its in-flight ballistics (retaining its velocity) and its terminal effects.

          These are too long to be spin-stabilized, and so are fin stabilized and either fired from a rifled gun anyway (by not passing the spin of the rifling to the projectile) or from a smoothbore. There are probably design benefits in just going to a smoothbore.

          Compare this to the situation at the start of WW2, for instance, when adequate performance could be obtained from an armour piercing shot which would be basically the same shape as a conventional artillery shell, and so perfectly capable of being fired from an ordinary rifled gun.

          AP shot meant, in British use at least, a solid, inert projectile with no explosive content – it achieves its effect simply by its kinetic energy.

          iain

  3. Tom,

    Testing the consistency of the weight and diameter against what is listed on the tin sounds like a good way to start. How many would be required to be considered a good sample size though? If the pellets are consistent then there is high hope for accuracy. Even if they turn out inaccurate for your guns they might fit other bores better.

    Siraniko

    Siraniko

  4. Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier), to answer your question, I submit you reverse your point of view:
    whatever your thoughts are for your choice of pellets to test with a new airgun, just apply the same thoughts for your choice of airguns to test with a new pellet. ‘Simples’. 🙂
    ——————–
    By the way, what’s with that label design? Back print on a white background looks a bit cheap to me.
    Multiple font sizes, splatter, asymmetrical layout, etc, it feels messy to me. Maybe they’re just trying to look a bit different.

    The biggest boldest print looks like someone smudged the drying ink, but I assume that smear is to represent motion blur.

    What is fun, is, this “DEAD CENTRE” is off-centre (!) as is the little crosshair symbol within this graffiti. 🙂

    I first saw the red splatter as simulated rust but that is probably meant to be blood. Are they appealing to the hunter?
    Maybe that is why they have avoided the target shooting calibre, ie .177″. Could that be a clue as to what precision to expect? I hope I’m shown that’s wrong! 🙂

  5. BB,

    What are “Take Down Airgun Pellets”? Does the airgun come apart or does the pellet come apart?

    I think you need to employ a combination of testing to determine whether these are quality pellets of not. I would suggest a hybrid test suite. To start with you should “test” these pellets along the same format that Hard Air Magaizine uses. Then, if you feel so inclined you can test these pellets in known accurate shooters as you are proposing. Then, as Yogi has suggested, you should add them to your testing suite for various airguns for a bit.

    My experience is as Yogi has suggested. I shoot almost my entire suite of domed pellets through a new to me airgun to find which is “best” for that particular airgun and then I stock up as best as I can to feed her properly.

    • RR,

      Phooey! I wanted to say something but thought I’d wait to see whether anyone caught it. Yes, these pellets DO NOT disassemble. They may be takedown pellets, as in taking game down, but they themselves do not take down.

      BB

  6. BB

    Your test plan is logical. Maybe some known high quality manufacturer will send you a .25 caliber rifle to test. You could test these pellets vs pellets the manufacturer used in their rifle. It could also pass your muster as an accurate .25 rifle.

    Deck

  7. >>> Haven’t we learned that some pellets do not do well in certain airguns? <<<

    BB,

    I think that you can test a pellet for CONSISTENCY OF MANUFACTURE but not for ACCURACY as how accurate the pellet shoots is determined by the gun that it is shot through.

    The design of the pellet (aspect ratio; head size; COG – center of gravity etc. etc.) has a bearing on things but ultimately it is whether it plays well with the barrel (fit and twist rate); the harmonics; the power level/velocity and how well the airguns tune SUITS THAT PELLET determines whether the pellet flight will be stable and consistent.

    When we test for the golden pellet(s) for a "fixed tune" (no externally adjustable settings) airgun we are searching for the pellet that suits the gun/tune.

    If the airgun has external adjustable settings the opposite is true – we can now (usually) tune the rifle to the pellet of choice.

    An example. I have half a dozen .22 caliber airguns and none of them shoot a particular brand of pellets well STRAIGHT OUT OF THE TIN. But if I sort them (head size and weight) the groups are smaller and more consistent. If I tune the rifle to a particular sorted pellet then they group extremely well. There is nothing wrong with the airguns; the pellets themselves are ok, is that the pellets in the tin are inconsistent in size and weight – inconsistent enough that the point of impact is affected.

    That is why I say that we test the pellets' consistency of manufacture and the airguns' accuracy – which is its powerplant conconsistency and barrel quality.

    IMHO, testing pellets for accuracy is not possible because it depends on the airgun and even if a pellet is accurate in your rifle, my rifle (same brand and model) might shoot differently.

    Checking how different brand or weights of pellets shoot in an airgun being reviewed is valuable as it gives prospective buyers a good idea of the accuracy potential and what pellets to test.

    Just my 2 cents.
    Hank

    • Vana2
      Well said. I fully agree with you. You will have to do it all over again for every variation in head size and weight that comes out?
      Just add them, in a standard size, to the list of accuracy testing pellets and time will tell.
      If they begin to perform better than the rest people will jump on them and fine tune the size for each airgun they own.

      However, BB,
      if you must test, I think you just have to compare them to the results already documented on a few good shooters you have. Under the same conditions.
      No more than a few shots each. Not your job to establish a reputation for them. Two or three comparisons should give us an idea as to how good they are compared to the best.

  8. I would probably test these pellets in the last ten air rifles I tested for the best pellet. Five or 10 shots per rifle and see how they stack up to my testing of other pellets. Did they produce the best group? Second best? Third best and so on. If they weren’t competitive with any of the standard pellets I used in any or atleast, a majority of the rifles tested, then they might just be more fishing sinker stock.

    Fred formerly of the Demokratik Peeples Republik of NJ now happily in GA

  9. B.B.,

    Your active Readership has some really good ideas for you to consider before you jump farther into the deep end of the projectile testing SWAMP!
    Hank, Mark and any number of others got in the last before i chose to Jump In the projectile testing SWAMP….
    Manufacturer CONSISTENCY
    Bore fit 1st and foremost.
    Then Mass but only the really GROSS under and over deviations culled; precision weighing is too much work and most airgunners don’t own a Laboratory Scale nor have the requisite training to do the actual measurements.
    The wisdom of your Readership shows well in their position that testing in a “known precise” airgun is almost worthless; how does it shoot in THIS airgun is all that really maters to the shooter. B.B. you have covered how to test pellets and that is the truly important work of your Blog! Horse to water and drinking comes to mind….
    With a Spring Piston or a Single Pump airgun their isn’t much that can be done unless there is the RARE ability to adjust something or other. Even what density altitude (absolute elevation) you shoot your gun at gets in the way of generic testings applicability to the individual shooter.
    And then there are the Multi-pump and almost infinitely adjustable PCPs which make your Test Plan so long it will begin to look like a multi generational Government Jobs Program!

    Shoot them in a few different Powerplants and see if they single load well and work in magazines most of the time and call it good!

    Use your LabRadar to educate on how the Manufacturer stated BC and your airgun differ and by how much. All the data is always there…there is there, there in this case!

    I for one want accessories and airguns tested and in the process i (we readers) see how different projectile work as a FREE Side Dish!

    Test more guns and sight systems; try it instead; you’ll LIKE IT!

    shootski

    • Shootski,,,, and BB

      Once again, I find myself in agreement with you/him. Testing pellets beyond a cursory look at consistency in weight and size seems counterproductive. After all, we aren’t really looking for the definitive “Accurate Pellet”. We are only comparing the relative accuracy as compared to other pellets.

      So,, are separate tests needed? I think not. Your normal habit of testing any airgun with several different pellets will, over time, generate all the information possible. With the added benefit of providing us all with new and different rifles and handguns to drool over.

      I’m with Yogi on this one:

      “PS throw a tin in your range bag and when you test a new rifle/pistol include them amoung the test pellets. Please no special reports! You have enough interesting guns to test without just testing pellets. IMHO.”

      Ed

  10. BB,

    Sounds like you have a multi-step plan for testing and they all sound good to me. I predict the head size and weight being uniform will inform what to expect from the rest of the testing. It might also be a good idea to select guns that propel the .22 at around 850ish FPS, since that seems to be the accepted wisdom these days for domed diabolos.

    Half

  11. What is a “good pellet “? What is the intended purpose for these pellets …hunting, plinking, FT, long range? Not being anything more than a plinker, I don’t have the experience to know if a jack-of-all-trades pellet/gun combination is common or is it more common to use different pellets for different purposes, with the same gun. Is an accurate 10yd pellet also good for 20-35yds? Does it retain enough energy for hunting out to 50yds? Will it be accurate for benchrest shooting? If there is no one best pellet, then perhaps the manufacturer’s and the shooters intended purpose should be a consideration in evaluating pellets.

  12. the webley senior is not a good choice it has a 5.6 mm barrel a proper 22, the pellets wont fall through because there tailskirt is bigger but the head will be flopping about on top of the rifling lands

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