How to choose the best airgun pellet

What’s the best pellet to use in your airgun? Johnny Muston from R&K Stockcraft says it’s all about accuracy, and that means there are three main things to consider. “What rifle you’ve got, what calibre it is, and what you’re going to use it for.”

Once he knows the answers to those three, Johnny says he can point you in the direction of the best pellet for you.

Johnny runs through his best selling pellets

Far and away the best seller in Johnny’s Milton Keynes shop is the Air Arms Diablo Field, in either .177 or .22. “They come in two different head sizes, so you can have the .177 in either 4.52 or 4.51mm. One will shoot better in your rifle than the other. Those pellets in either calibre are pretty much guaranteed to shoot well in any rifle.”

Other pellets that Johnny rates highly are the JSB Exact line. “The JSB Exacts actually come in three different head sizes,” he says. “That matters if you want to take accuracy to the next level – if you want to shoot one-hole groups at 50 yards.”

“They’ll all shoot well, but you’ll find that one head size will have the edge in your particular rifle. Another gun that came off the production line a few months earlier or later might prefer one of the other sizes. We’re talking about minute differences inside the barrel in terms of machining. For most people, though, they’re happy to shoot half an inch at 30 yards. That’s pretty good grouping for vermin shooting.”

The Hades pellet has cutouts in the head for greater knockdown power

Some shooters prefer a heavier pellet for greater knockdown power, such as the Bisley Magnum, Johnny continues. “That’s a heavyweight pellet weighing about 10.5 grains compared to the 8.4 grains of a typical .177, so it’s substantially heavier. That one has massive energy transfer, which you can see in ballistic tests of what it can produce. It bucks the wind pretty well too.”

Then there are specialist pellets like the Hades, with cutouts in the head to give greater expansion. “If you shoot that into wax you’ll see that it produces a bigger hole than a standard pellet. So you could say that it’s a better bet for short range work, as long as the accuracy is still there.”

Another option is the H&N Field Target Trophy, a mid-weight pellet at 14.66 grains in .22 and 8.64 grains in .177. “Again, they will shoot pretty well in just about any rifle,” Johnny says. In fact none of these are bad pellets. You can put them in any rifle and they will shoot well.”

“Ideally if you want to get the best out of your rifle, buy four or five tins of pellets and try them all to see which performs best in your gun. We do sometimes help a customer out, if they’re after that ultimate level of accuracy, by giving them a little bag with 10 pellets of each type so they can try them all out.”

Find out more at the R&K Stockcraft website

And check out the results of our Fieldtester survey for the most popular pellets in 2021. 

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