Best Airgun Pellets for 2020
The range of airgun pellets available to us today is larger than ever before. In each calibre, there’s a massive range of head shape, skirt size, length, material, and weight. There’s a lot of difference in price, too, and it’s easy to make the (sometimes misguided) assumption that the more expensive the pellet, the better quality it will be.
Those shooters who have found the ideal pellet for their gun and purpose will often stick with it, perfecting their shooting performance with the benefit of consistency. Some shooters will have a repertoire of favourite pellets. Others, however, are still experimenting – still searching for the pellet that perfectly suits their gun, purpose, and style.
At Pellpax, we’ve been looking at some of the best airgun pellets on the market, and we’ve picked out what we consider to be the cream of the crop.
For target shooting, a wadcutter (flathead) pellet is ideal, as it will punch a clean hole in the target for clear scoring. This shape of pellet, though, has high air resistance, and will lose speed, causing it to drop. A wadcutter pellet is perfect for shooting over a short distance, for example 10m competition target shooting.
Over longer distances, the wadcutter loses efficacy, and this is where the aerodynamic domed (roundhead) pellet comes in handy. Although heavier than the wadcutter, the domed pellet will maintain a straighter trajectory over distance, thanks to its aerodynamic properties. The domed head and added weight also serve to stabilise the pellet in windy weather.
THREE: H&N Baracuda Power (Domed) .177
The hard copper coating of the Baracuda Power pellet means less deformation during firing and on impact, and less lead fouling in the barrel. Weighing in at 10.65gr (0.69g), this is a heavy pellet for .177 calibre. It’s ideal for target shooting at long range.
Available in .177, .22
TWO: Rifle Premium Series (Flathead) .177
Made from supremely high-grade lead, Rifle’s Premium Series Flathead is an accurate and powerful pellet. The purity of lead and the refined manufacturing processes result in uniformity and consistency among pellets. This wadcutter pellet, which weighs 8.18gr (0.53g) is designed especially for the competitive target shooter.
Available in .177, .22
ONE: QYS Match Grade (Wadcutter) .177
Zhuhai Qiang Yuan Sports Goods Co. Ltd (QYS) was founded in 1994 by Fu Qiang, who is still very much in the company’s driving seat. QYS operates from Zhuhai City, in the south of China, and exports to more than 50 countries. In the last five Olympic Games, QYS pellets have been used by 19 medal winners.
This flathead match-grade pellet, which weighs just 8.18gr (0.53g), is designed specifically for competition target shooting and high-level training. The pellets are carefully and securely packed, separated by layers of padding and well protected from corrosion and impact.
Available in .177
For hunting, a hollow-point pellet is generally considered to be the best option. The hollow-point pellet is designed to mushroom on impact, creating a wider wound channel that’s more likely to result in an instant kill. Alternatively, that jack-of-all-trades of the pellet world, the dome-head, is an effective hunting pellet.
There are conflicting views when it comes to the pointed pellet. Some shooters swear by it, and others won’t touch it.
A wider-skirted pellet will add power to the shot, as the skirt creates a tighter seal in the barrel, meaning that more pressure builds up behind it, increasing the velocity of the pellet.
THREE: Weihrauch Magnum (Domed) .22
In compiling this list of top-performing airgun pellets, I talked to the gunsmiths, sales staff, and shooting enthusiasts who make up the Pellpax team.
One of the gunsmiths, whose work involves zeroing guns before they’re sent out, recommended the Weihrauch Magnum .22. He told me that this pellet is an excellent all-rounder, suitable for most .22 rifles. What my colleague particularly likes about this pellet, though, is that it’s the very best choice for his own Weihrauch HW100 KT.
“It’s brilliant for pest control. But I use it most of all for plinking in the garden with the kids. For my HW100, there just isn’t a better pellet.”
The Weihrauch Magnum .22 weighs 21.14gr (1.37g).
Available in .177, .22
TWO: Daystate Rangemaster Sovereign (Domed) .22
Throughout the manufacturing process, Daystate pellets are carefully checked for quality. Only the very best are selected for packing. This means that there’s excellent consistency in form and performance.
Because the Rangemaster Sovereign is on the heavy side 15.9gr (1.03g), it’s better suited to high-power PCP rifles.
Available in .177, .20, .22
ONE: JSB Hades (Hollow Point) .22
JSB Match Diabolo is based in Bohumín, Czech Republic. The company was established by an experienced shooter and coach, Josef Schulz, whose research into airgun ammunition led to his own developments in the field. Teaming up with some equally knowledgeable colleagues, Mr Schulz began to produce a new line of airgun pellets.
The 15.89gr (1.02g) Hades .22 has a hollow point that’s surrounded by a trio of lead flaps. On impact, the air pressure in the hollow pit forces the three lead flaps to spread outward, creating a wider wound channel. This well-engineered pellet is perfect for hunting and pest control.
Available in .22
Pistols often present the problem of jammed pellets. One of the causes for jamming is that the pellet is too long for the magazine, which is then prevented from cycling properly. The other main reason for stuck pellets is that the low power (under 6 ft/lb) of a pistol is not enough to propel a wide or heavy pellet.
So, basically, when you’re choosing a pellet for your pistol, make sure that it isn’t too big in any way: length, weight, or width.
THREE: RWS Superdome (Domed) .177
This pellet is an excellent all-round performer. Whether you’re using it in a PCP-, spring-, or CO2-powered gun, and whether that gun is a pistol or a rifle, the RWS Superdome is a reliable pellet. The pellet weighs 8.3gr (0.54g), and behind the smooth, round head is a ribbed skirt that adds aerodynamic stability and a flat trajectory.
Available in .177, .22
TWO: Air Arms Field (Domed) .177 (4.51)
The Air Arms Field dome-head is recommended by Pellpax gunsmiths for use in pistols.
Air Arms pellets are carefully inspected at each stage of the manufacturing process to ensure that each one is of the highest quality. The perfectly shaped domed head maintains a flat trajectory, adding to the consistency of this super little pellet. Each Air Arms Field Dome .177 pellet weighs 8.4gr (0.547g).
Available in .177 (4.51, 4.52), .22 (5.51, 5.52)
ONE: H&N Field Target Trophy (Domed) .177
Haendler & Natermann Sport GMBH (H&N) have been manufacturing airgun pellets since the 1950s. The business, which started out in the production of lead foil, was founded 100 years earlier by Carl Georg August Natermann. H&N is still based in its original location – the town of Hann. Münden, Germany.
Made of a lead alloy that produces one of the lowest rates of lead fouling, the H&N Field Target Trophy dome-head is lightweight and aerodynamic for a flat trajectory and high velocity. Suitable for air rifle and pistol, this pellet is ideal for competitive shooting and high-level target practice.
Available in .177, .20, .22, .25
There are, of course, many other fantastic pellets available, and this list really is a subjective selection of some of the best. Nevertheless, the pellets featured in this article are all excellent products and have been positively reviewed by shooters all over the world.
For more information about airgun pellets or any of the products on the Pellpax website, just give us a call on 01263 731 585 or email [email protected].