How To Choose an Airgun Pellet
Every airgun is unique. Here’s a guide on choosing a pellet for your airgun.
There are several different airgun pellet styles available to use with your airgun and each rifle is unique in that every one has an “ideal pellet” for accuracy and/or speed. Your desired result will dictate what kind of airgun pellet you’ll want to use.
Airgun pellet weight is important because it can affect velocity, trajectory, terminal performance and flight stability. Heavier lead pellets tend to be more stable in breezy conditions and retain their energy better over longer distances. Heavy pellets also hit the target with more force. Heavier isn’t always better, it is important to match the weight of the pellet to your airgun’s unique characteristics and your desired result.
If you’re desired result is accuracy, a convenient and inexpensive way to find which pellet is uniquely perfect for your airgun is to try several different pellet shapes. One product made specifically for this is an RWS Pellet Sampler. It contains five different premium pellets that are made to the strictest quality standards. There’s a good chance you’ll find one of these pellets to provide a very high level of accuracy.
If velocity is what you’re after, a non-lead, very lightweight “hyper velocity” or “alloy” will likely provide your air gun’s maximum speed.
For specific shooting activities, some shapes may be better than others. Read further to help you determine which air gun pellet will be best for your shooting objectives.
For fun shooting or informal practice, an inexpensive, “7 grain basic pellet” will do. However, choose a quality pellet, like RWS Diabolos, that will leave minimal lead residue in your airgun’s barrel.
For accurate practice and general plinking, a lightweight 7 grain rifled sport pellet will provide you with an inexpensive and accurate pellet. One such pellet is the RWS Hobby which is very economical to shoot, but still leaves minimal amounts of lead in your air gun’s barrel.
For an airgun hunting pellet, choose one with excellent knock down power and accuracy. A heavier rifled English bulldog design provides such performance. English bulldog pellets, such as the RWS Superdome, are great general use pellets as well. They have very aerodynamic heads and are good for shooting at longer distances. The shape causes these pellets to have more knockdown power at the target than other pellet shapes. Hollow point pellets are also good hunting pellets because they really expand on impact. Hollowpoints, like the Super-H-Point by RWS are popular for pest control, however, the hollow mouth can catch wind and cause the pellet to create open groups at longer distances.
If you’re looking for a pellet with penetrating power, a pointed pellet is what you’re looking for. A quality pellet that has a uniform cone can also enhance performance and accuracy of medium powered air guns. They have good penetration capabilities for pest control, but may not work as well as a Superdome pellet in a high-powered air rifle.
For accuracy at longer distances, consider a heavyweight wadcutter style pellet that’s perfectly balanced for accuracy. A pellet of this type, like the RWS Supermag, is ideal for modern ultra high power air rifles.
Extreme accuracy can be achieved with a match grade pellet. These professional wadcutter pellets are perfect for competition and training as well as accuracy and sighting in. The flat head design makes clean holes in paper targets. These pellets, like the RWS Meisterkugeln, can also be used for pest control, but they are not specifically designed for longer distances. They generally perform best at about 20 yards.
Airgun competition shooters desire the highest match accuracy possible. For this, a pellet that is consistent in size and weight from pellet-to-pellet is extremely important. RWS’s R 10 Match Pellets are optoelectronically verified and have a spotless surface finish. To ensure consistency, many air gun competitors desire R10 Match Plus pellets, which are packed in holders that do not allow the pellets to touch each other, thereby ensuring every pellet is flawless.