As you may expect the most frequent topics on airgun forums are the features and foibles of the dozens and a large number of different models, but following closely behind the model discussions may be the chatter about airgun ammunition or pellets. May very well not expect that a.177 caliber pellet from Manufacturer A would perform wildly distinctive from a.177 caliber pellet from Manufacturer B in the same airgun, nevertheless they do. To produce it even harder Manufacturer B’s ammo may outperform Manufacturer A’s in a different air rifle or pistol.
We will discuss a few of the different characteristics of airgun pellets and how you need to use this information to your advantage when selecting a pellet for the air rifle or pistol.
A light pellet will leave the barrel of an airgun faster than the usual heavier pellet and it may also accelerate faster downrange primers in stock today Which means less time to focus on and a flatter trajectory while there is less time for gravity to work its magic. A heavier pellet will tend to have a less flat trajectory not due to the weight but because it spends more time to focus on providing gravity with increased time to pull it towards the earth.
The next factor that most affects the flight of an airgun pellet is air resistance. Air resistance increases with the cube of speed. Whenever you double the speed of a pellet moving downrange you increase its air resistance by eight times. Really light.177 caliber pellets lose energy due to air resistance so rapidly that after a 35 yd. or so it will undoubtedly be moving slower than the usual heavier pellet fired from the same gun. Air resistance is probably irrelevant for target shooting out to 10 m but it would play a big role in a hunting shot beyond that range. This really is one of the reasons that you want to hunt with the heaviest pellet your airgun are designed for effectively.
As well as the weight of the pellet air resistance can vary in line with the shape of the pellet. Wadcutters are flat nose pellets used for paper target shooting. At the 10 m range the escalation in air resistance is practically negligible but the same as with the effect of weight beyond 35 yd. the flat nose will begin working such as an air brake.
Medium weight round nose pellets offer the very best compromise for both weight and shape for medium powered air rifles. For small caliber air rifles (.177 and.20) the very best hunting ammo is a round nose hollowpoint. This pellet moves through the air in addition to a typical round nose and mushrooms on impact significantly increasing the force of the shot.
The most effective advice about air rifle ammo is to try a number of different brands, a number of different shapes, and a number of different weights. Everything you read inside the airgun forums may be true generally but may not benefit your air rifle. If you should be only a periodic shooter and still want the very best accuracy and range then select a premium pellet from the same manufacturer that made your gun. It’s typically best to prevent no-name bargains because there may be significant variability between pellets in the same package.