As you might expect the most frequent topics on airgun forums are the features and foibles of the dozens and lots of different models, but following closely behind the model discussions could be the chatter about airgun ammunition or pellets. You might 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, but they do. To make it even more difficult Manufacturer B’s ammo may outperform Manufacturer A’s in an alternative air rifle or pistol.
We will discuss a number of the different characteristics of airgun pellets and how you need to use these records to your advantage when selecting a pellet for your 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 large rifle primers. Which means less time to a target and a flatter trajectory because there is less time for gravity to work its magic. A weightier pellet will are apt to have a less flat trajectory not because of its weight but since it spends more hours to a target providing gravity with an increase of time and energy to pull it towards the earth.
The second factor that many 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 because of air resistance so rapidly that if a 35 yd. roughly it is going to be moving slower than the usual heavier pellet fired from the same gun. Air resistance might be irrelevant for target shooting out to 10 m but it’d play a large role in a hunting shot beyond that range. That is among the reasons that you wish to hunt with the heaviest pellet your airgun can handle effectively.
Along with the weight of the pellet air resistance can vary based on the shape of the pellet. Wadcutters are flat nose pellets employed for paper target shooting. At the 10 m range the increase in air resistance is practically negligible but the same as with the effect of weight beyond 35 yd. the flat nose will begin working like an air brake.
Medium weight round nose pellets offer the best compromise for both weight and shape for medium powered air rifles. For small caliber air rifles (.177 and.20) the best hunting ammo is a round nose hollowpoint. This pellet moves through the air in addition to a regular round nose and mushrooms on impact significantly increasing the force of the shot.
The very best advice about air rifle ammo is to use several different brands, several different shapes, and several different weights. That which you read in the airgun forums might be true generally but may not benefit your air rifle. If you should be only an unexpected shooter and still want the best accuracy and range then choose a premium pellet from the same manufacturer that made your gun. It’s almost always best to prevent no-name bargains because there might be significant variability between pellets in the same package.