You should know that using the right air rifle pellets leads to a better shooting experience?
Air rifle and ammo selection are the two main factors that come into play in shooting and hunting with air rifles.
Disregarding one or the other will often mean you end up missing the target or not fully incapacitating the quarry.
Air rifles used to only be able to use BBs which aren’t as effective as to today’s pellets because of three reasons:
- BBs aren’t as aerodynamic as pellets due to their shape. This resulted in reduced accuracy and inability to cover further distances.
- Another issue pellets solved was they did not ricochet which could be dangerous depending on where the airgun went off. The round shape of a BB meant that it could bounce around and end up hitting the shooter.
- Pellets were specifically built with an impact region that is able to deliver more power to the target that’s hit.
What are the Different Types of Air Rifle Pellets
Today there are four basic types of air gun pellets. While there are many other types that make use of a combination of these, the four listed here are often the most useful air rifle pellets for the shooter. These pellets are very easy to tell apart because of their shapes. Each of these shapes is built for a specific purpose which means they all have their advantages and disadvantages.
Wadcutters can be distinguished by their flat nose. By design, these are made so that when they tear through paper they cut a nice round hole that’s easy to spot and mark for officials during shooting competitions.
They work best in low velocity, focusing more on accuracy. This makes them ideal for target shooting and competitive events like the 10-meter air rifle events.
Most effective inside 25 yards and about 600 FPS, they are limited in terms of their hunting capability and best used for small pests in that capacity.
As opposed to the flat head of the wadcutter, these have pointed tips. Along with hollowpoint pellets, these are excellent hunting pellets. Due to its shape, it is best used in situations where you want to achieve penetration.
That said, they are best used with larger caliber rifles to take advantage of this ability since the smaller .177 calibers already have the tendency to over penetrate, using pointed pellets with .177 cal air rifles doesn’t offer any additional advantage.
Along with their ability to pierce through layers, pointed pellets are accurate and carry well over distance making them a good hunting pellets.
Also called round nosed pellets, domed pellets offer the best aerodynamics. By looking at the shapes of the other types of air rifle pellets listed here you’ll notice that in one way or another they are based on the domed pellet with a portion of the nose modified.
If you aren’t sure what type of pellet to get or want to be able to do different types of shooting with one set of ammo, this is the one to get. They work well for hunting, field and target shooting and plinking. Known for their versatility, they are inexpensive, have good range, accurate and can deliver good power.
Used almost always for hunting purposes, hollowpoint pellets are different from the other pellets in that they are built to expand right after entering the target. This way they don’t go right through the target and maximize the knockdown power.
In order to make them effective, you need to make sure that you use a gun that’s powerful enough so that the pellet can penetrate the animal’s skin for it to achieve its maximum effect. Otherwise, they’ll behave like wadcutters producing an impact force using the flat area of the nose.
The main disadvantage of the hollowpoint, much like the wadcutter is because the tip of the nose has been cut off they aren’t as aerodynamic as domed pellets. This causes them to start losing accuracy past 25 yards.
In shooting air rifles, pellets are the least expensive part of the equation. Spending extra in choosing the correct ammo often translates to better target shooting or hunting experience.
Don’t do what many people irresponsibly do. They take all the time out to research and get an exceptional air rifle only to try and skimp on ammo. Low quality, cheap pellets, when inserted into good airguns not only negate much of the ability of the weapon but can also cause damage to the firing mechanism and internal bore.
The Need for Experimentation
Just like rifle scopes, certain guns are built to perform better with specific types or brands of pellets.
Try out different types of pellets and you’ll find some that will easily outperform others. Aside from the brand and type of head pellets have, another factor to consider is its weight. Today, you have quality air rifle ammunition that ranges from the ultra-light 5.5 grains all the way to those that are over 30 grains in weight.
Due to the numerous possible combination of brand, type, purpose, and weight, experimentation is often needed to get the ideal type and weight of the pellet that produces optimal results with your airgun.
The good thing is air rifle pellets is inexpensive. It comes in different size packages so you can try testing different pellets to get a group of those that work best with your rifle.