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Single-shot pellet loader

Today reader Hank, whose blog name is Vana2, tells us how he makes a simple yet effective loading device to load single pellets. Folks, this is one most of us can use! I can think of several times I could have used it recently.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me at blogger@pyramydair.com.

Take it away, Hank

Making a single-shot pellet loader
by Hank Vana2

This report covers:

  • The single-shot loader
  • The “grip”
  • Using the single-shot loader
  • Summary

Hank single-shot loader
The single-shot loader in use, hanging in place of the magazine after loading a pellet.

The single-shot loader

A single shot loading tray is convenient for tuning, testing pellets, or shooting groups when you don’t want to use the magazine. For airguns that don’t have one I’ve made up this simple jig that helps me load pellets where there’s not a lot of room for fingers. 

The loader only takes a couple of minutes to make from materials that are easily found around the house.

Single-shot loader assembly

Hank single-shot loader assembly
The assembly of a single-shot loader.

The loader consists of an elastic, a small tube and a bit of yarn. The elastic should fit inside the tube loose enough to move smoothly but with enough resistance to hold the projectile without having to keep tension on it. Narrow elastics are best for gripping the waist of a pellet; wide ones get a better grip on slugs.

The tube can be a soda straw, an old ballpoint pen barrel or a piece of bamboo cut an inch or so shorter than the elastic. I prefer bamboo as it is light, ridged and allows me to ream the pith out to the best size to suit the elastic.

A piece of wire or stiff monofilament is used to pull the elastic through the tube.

several Hank single-shot loaders
The loaders can be your original style.

The “grip”

A length of yarn forms a grip to hold the loader by and stop the tube from sliding off of the elastic. If it is long enough, the grip can be formed by tying a knot in the elastic, leaving a loop to hold.

Using the single-shot loader

using the Hank single-shot loader
Holding the single-shot loader.

The loader is used by clenching the yarn to your palm and moving the tube forward with your thumb and fingers to close the loop around the projectile.

I line up ten shots on a “stage” (a block of wood or foam) to raise them up off the bench and make it easy to “lasso” the pellet/slug. Hand loading one pellet at a time works as well.

The stage can be a simple block of wood as shown or embellished as desired. My stage is a fancy bit of hardwood with five rows of five shallow holes (I tend to shoot five groups of five in a session) drilled to hold the pellet. Lining up all the projectiles ahead of time helps me keep track of my shots –new row, new target — and I don’t lose my focus looking around for the next shot.


The Single-Shot Loader is a simple tool that’s easy to make. It’s handy for bench shooting and particularly useful for cold late fall shooting sessions when fingers get too numb to handle small pellets easily.



33 thoughts on “Single-shot pellet loader”

  1. Wow, great job Hank, simple, effective, and convenient!

    Who would have thought of a straw, and a rubber band or string, could be turned into such an effective tool.

    Thank you!.

    I hope everyone had a great Holiday.


  2. What an ingenious idea . . . and I like the cost too. Even in my dotage, my fingers are still limber enough load my single shot trays with only an occasional “missfire” of the pellets. I do strongly prefer .22 cal pellets over .177s for what are, perhaps obvious reasons. I also believe that I am able to load most breeches faster by hand than by fiddling with this tool, although I believe I’ll put one together for emergencies. Thanks for a great idea, Orv

      • Ahh. . . Good to know. With my Seneca Dragonfly MK2, I always use the single shot tray rather than the magazine. Loading one pellet at a time helps my mental reset. Firing away with a magazine reminds me of the “pray and spray” mentality shooting my M16 or M14 in the military. I simply enjoy the peace and accuracy I get shooting one pellet at a time. Orv.

  3. Hank,

    I really need to make a trip up to the Great White North. You manage to have some great ideas up there. I will have to give this a try with my “new” Armada. LOL! It is the only airgun around RRHFWA that is not a single shot.

  4. Great idea, I will have to try this one! I imagine that the way that the rubber band fits with only a slight resistance inside the tube is critical in order to be able to easily manipulate the release of the pellet. Thanks!

    • Elmer,

      A loose fitting elastic will work, you just need to keep tension on it or the pellet might fall out.

      I prefer using bamboo because I can drill out the pith to the best fit to the elastic.


      • Thanks, I tried using a straw that we had laying around that came from Chick-fil-A. Those straws seem to me to be too big in diameter (larger than the pellets). Then I brought home another straw that is much smaller in diameter and it seems to work well. I will have to get used to using this device in order to develop a good procedure. But I think it will be a big help. Thanks again!

      • My apologies, Hank, for my twisted sense of humor. I was being an “ugly American” and poking fun at your use of the word “elastics”. Apparently, that’s what we in the Midwest know as a “rubber band”. Had never heard anyone refer to them as “elastics”!

        Good suggestion, though!

        Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year!

        Eastern MO

        • No problem Motorman,

          My bad! Sorry that I missed your humor – I’ve always see the terms “rubber bands” and “elastics” used interchangeably.

          It never occurred to me that someone might not.


  5. Thanks for the kind comments!

    Glad that this “high-tech device” is of interest.

    As frequently seen, necessity is the mother of invention… numb fingers and fumbled pellets needed a solution. 😉

    Hope you all had a good Christmas!


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