How does JSB make pellets?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

How does H&N make pellets?

This report covers:

  • It begins with lead
  • Lead becomes wire
  • Wire becomes balls
  • Clean and lubricate
  • Swaging
  • Hot off the press
  • Production begins
  • Pack and ship

Airgunners are naturally curious, and when it comes to their ammunition, their curiosity piques. Today we will take a look at how JSB, the Czech Republic pellet manufacturer, makes pellets. This report was made possible by information and photos supplied by JSB.

It begins with lead

The process naturally begins with lead — a lot of lead. JSB buys lead in ingots that are at least 99.97 percent pure. They melt this lead and add a small amount of antimony for optimal hardness and to prevent rapid oxidation. This process is entirely controlled by them so they know the quality of the end result.

JSB pellets lead ingots
It takes a lot of pure lead ingots to feed the pellet manufacturing process.

SB pellets lead- urnace
JSB alloys the lead to their own specifications in-house.

Lead becomes wire

The melted alloy is cast into lead wire, which is the most common form for lead that’s going to be swaged into diabolo pellets. The wire comes out in different diameters, depending on the weight of the pellets they want to make. But JSB adds another step in the process at this point.

Wire becomes balls

They chop the wire into small pieces with very precise weights. Most pellet makers would then swage these pieces, called preforms, but JSB adds one additional step. The wire pieces are turned into balls before being fed into the swaging machine.

JSB calls the balls semi-finished products and they make them in weights that range from 0.475 grams (7.33 grains) up to 5 grams (77.16 grains). These correspond to the pellets that will be made.

SB pellets lead balls
Lead balls are swaged into pellets.

Clean and lubricate

The semi-finished products (balls) are then cleaned and lubricated prior to swaging. Some are sent to an extremely precise scale and weighed to a sensitivity of 0.0001 grams (0.015432 grains) for further sorting. This scale is extremely expensive and has a limited capacity, so only the JSB Exact and Premium Match pellets are processed on it.

Swaging

Now the lead balls are fed into the swaging machines. Each machine die has as many as 10 holes for pellets and only one lot of pellets is run on one machine at one time. There are 54 swaging lines in the factory. If any of the tooling has to be changed, the resulting pellets fall into a new and different die lot.

You must also understand that each die is unique. Even if it makes a pellet they have other dies for, each die produces slightly different pellets and it is the lot number that controls this. Pellets are kept in the lots in which they were made because serious competitors demand such regulation.

I would love to show you what this swaging machinery looks like, but JSB considers all of it highly proprietary and secret. They build all of it in-house and will not show it outside the company. This is not unusual. I encountered the same secrecy on Crosman’s pellet line years ago.

Hot off the press

Before the company commits to a production run, freshly made pellets are taken to their test range and tested for group size. If the pellets pass the test, the production run starts.

JSB pellets test rifle
Each batch of pellets gets tested for grouping before the production run begins.

JSB pellets test range
The test range is automated to speed things along. Undoubtedly, JSB uses this facility a lot!

JSB pellets target back
A push of the button and the target frame returns for evaluation. Each batch is checked this way.

Production begins

Once quality control announces success, the production run begins. From there the output is 100 percent inspected by one of 22 female inspectors. Nothing passes unless they say so. Production moves rapidly, producing great quantities of pellets to be inspected.

JSB pellets production run
once production starts, the pellets begin to pile up.

Now is where those 22 inspectors come into play. They look at each pellet for imperfections and only the best make it into the tins.

JSB pellets inspection 1
Hand inspection of each pellet ensures high quality.

We don’t think about the rejects a company like JSB might see, but that’s because the inspectors remove them from the batch before they are packaged. JSB has a reject rate of 2 percent. Those pellets are remelted to go into a future batch, and what we see is what passed their test.

JSB pellets inspection 2
This look through an inspector’s magnifying glass shows what they are looking for (arrow).

Pack and ship

Once the pellets have passed the inspectors’ gauntlet they are packed and readied for shipment to more than 50 countries around the world. Pyramyd Air receives JSB pellets on wooden skids on hundreds of tins per skid. One can only imagine the number of labor hours that go into such a shipment.

JSB pellet tins
After inspection the pellets are loaded into tins, weighed and sealed. Then they’re ready to go to over 50 countries around the world.


Crosman Silhouette PCP pistol: Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2


The new Crosman Silhouette PCP pistol is a tackdriver!

Today is accuracy day for the Crosman Silhouette PCP pistol. It’s been a month since I last tested this air pistol, so you may not remember all the details. This is a remake for 2011 of the Silhouette pistol Crosman brought out in 2010. I tested that pistol for you also and did four reports on it back before all the bad things happened. You can read those reports here.

That gun was a fine one, but Crosman decided to add the new Marauder pistol-style trigger and they made a few other small changes in the process. What they ended up with is an accurate pistol that also has a fine trigger. While this pistol is on the pricey side and is really meant for the sport of air pistol silhouette competition, it also serves well as an accurate air pistol, or as a carbine for general shooting if you attach the optional shoulder stock.

The scope
I selected a Leapers 3-9×40 scope with red/green illuminated reticle. The illumination means nothing in this test, as I didn’t use it. My scope is older than the one I linked to, but the specifications are exactly the same.


The scope is a bit large for the pistol, but it is also the reason this test went as well as it did. This makes a very handy PCP carbine.

The scope was mounted on a BKL 1-piece mount, which isn’t appropriate for this gun because of how it loads (the breech needs clearance for loading the pellet), but I got away with it because of the long steel breech. Since there’s no need for a scope stop on this recoilless pistol, the BKL might be seen as overkill; but the scope was already mounted in it, and I’ve used it successfully on many other air rifles and the time savings was a consideration.

Accurate from the start!
Some days, everything just falls into place. I’ve learned to recognize those days as soon as they come, so this shooting session was a breeze.

The first pellet I tried was the 10.2-grain JSB Exact. Normally, I wouldn’t use such a heavy pellet in a gun of this power, but something told me it would work out well this time. And it did. After sighting-in, 10 shots blew away the aim point at 25 yards.


Pay no attention to the hole at 12 o’clock. It’s the last sighter before this group was shot. Ten JSB Exact 10.2-grain domes went through that hole at 25 yards. It measures 0.43 inches between centers.

I had to adjust the scope after the first group, because I was blowing away my aim point. So, I dropped down several clicks and shot a second group of 10 with the same pellet.


Another 10 JSB Exact 10.2-grain pellets tore this small hole at 25 yards. This one measures 0.318 inches between centers.

Next, I tried the JSB Exact RS dome that weighs 7.3 grains to see what a lightweight pellet would do. Same 25 yards and same conditions overall.


Ten lightweight JSB Exact RS domes made this tight group at 25 yards. Notice how the point of impact has shifted from the target before, though the scope settings remained the same. This group measures 0.484 inches between centers.

Time to try something new
Okay, we now have a certified tackdriver air pistol. I thought it might be nice to try out some of those non-lead pellets to see how they compare. The next target was shot with H&N Baracuda Green pellets. All conditions were exactly the same, and I concentrated on every shot just as hard as with the first two targets.


Ten H&N Baracuda Greens didn’t do so well at 25 yards. All shooting conditions remained exactly the same as the first two targets. This group measures 2.084 inches between centers.

Back to what works
After the non-lead pellets, I decided to finish the test with H&N Baracudas — the real lead Baracudas this time. I figured they would be in the same ballpark with the JSBs.


Ten H&N Baracudas made of lead made this ragged hole at 25 yards. It measures 0.455 inches between centers.

The bottom line
The bottom line with this air pistol is one of accuracy. Crosman has really outdone themselves and given us a tackdriver with this setup. It likes both heavy and light pellets, though not those made without lead, which is common these days.

The trigger is crisp and the shot count is astounding, considering the little air that’s used. This pistol would really work well with a hand pump.

Then there’s the question of muzzle blast. The Silhouette is almost as quiet as a shrouded pistol because of its efficient use of air.

If you like stunning accuracy from an air pistol, consider this Silhouette PCP.


Beeman R8: A classic from the past – Part 3

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1
Part 2

My new R8 made me sit up and take notice!

Today, I’ll look at the accuracy of my new Beeman R8. I waited until now to do this test because I wanted to be off the IV and be capable of doing my best with this rifle. Along that line, I have some good news to share about my condition.

Last Thursday, I went for a walk outdoors. It was about a half mile or less around my housing subdivision, but it was all I could do at the time. When I finished, I was tired for about an hour, but then something wonderful happened. I awoke out of the fog I’ve been in since this thing began in March. My head cleared and I was able to think clearly for the first time.

The next day I stretched the walk and the day after that I went about one mile. I’m doing that every morning now and it gets my blood flowing for the day. I have jump-started my metabolism with the result that I’m able to eat all I want (though not to excess) and I’m losing weight, because I’m building muscle to metabolize the fat. I feel wonderful, which is why I felt I was ready to give this rifle a fair test.

This R8 was represented to me as a very accurate air rifle. Well, I hear that a lot in my job, and it doesn’t always work out. Often, what someone else thinks is accurate is different from what I expect. Then, there are other times when my technique can drag out a decent amount of accuracy from just about anything (except for the B3-1). But it’s a real strain.

Then there are those very rare occasions when I get a rifle in my hands that does everything the owner has told me it could do. Those rifles are the natural shooters of this world, and they’re as scarce as hen’s teeth. I think this R8 is one of them.

I shot this rifle at 25 yards, which is the longest range I can get at my house. I’m not yet able to drive to other ranges, so I have to work with what I have at home, but 25 yards is a good test for a spring rifle.

It always takes me some time to get familiar with every new rifle, so the first 20 shots or so are not for record. Fortunately, last weekend, we were all advising reader rikib of the need for repeatable head placement to cancel parallax, so the lesson was still fresh in my mind. The Tyrolean stock on the R8 seems perfect for benchrest, because I can feel the spot weld precisely. It took a while to get into the groove. Once I did, I simply could do no wrong with this rifle. I actually had to adjust the scope off the aim point to leave a spot to put the crosshairs, because this gun wants to throw every pellet into the same hole! I knew where every pellet was going, and they all went where I expected them to go.

The first pellet
I had been told that this rifle really likes JSB Exact RS domes, and they should be seated deep in the breech. That’s what I started with. The scope needed some adjustment to shoot where I wanted, and that allowed me to get comfortable with the rifle. I found my lips kissing the front edge carving of the high cheekpiece, which gave me the perfect repeatable feel shot after shot.

The first group I fired for the record was unnerving! I stopped at just five shots, because I just didn’t want to screw up that group. I wanted to have something good to show you even if I couldn’t hold 10 shots for a group.

Five JSB Exact RS pellets shot into this group at 25 yards.

But I needn’t have bothered, because it was easy to group 10 shots. This R8 groups like a fine PCP, and that’s no exaggeration. If you do your part, you’ll get a screaming group at 25 yards.

Ten more JSB Exact RS pellets went into this group at 25 yards. This rifle just puts them in there!

Crosman Premier lites
The next pellet to be tried was the Crosman Premier 7.9-grain dome.

Ten Premier lites were just as tight as the JSB RS pellets at 25 yards.

H&N Field Target
The final pellet I tried was the H&N Field Target pellet. At 8.5 grains, these are from half to a full grain heavier than the other pellets I tried. They printed a slightly larger group at 25 yards, though it was all one hole, too.

H&N Field Target pellets went into a slightly larger group at 25 yards.

The scope
The Burris 4.5-14x32AO scope is quite a piece of glass. Because of a bad experience I had with a Burris compact scope years ago, I’ve been off this brand, but the Timberline scope on this R8 has turned me around. This glass has the timeless quality of the old Beeman SS2 scope that still commands a place in airgunners’ hearts and gun racks. It’s clear, sharp and focuses as close as 21 feet on high power.

Wow!
This Beeman R8 is a natural shooter. Hold it correctly, and you won’t miss your target. This particular rifle is beyond the norm because of the excellent Tyrolean stock. Normally, a Tyrolean stock restricts the rifle to just offhand use, but this stock allows for a good hold off the bench, too. That means it would probably work well in a number of hunting holds.

Besides being a knockout for looks, the stock complements the accuracy potential of the basic rifle. Lastly, kudos to whoever tuned it, because it shoots like a dream. A springer that’s as accurate as a PCP doesn’t happen every day.