I decided to try my hand at testing an assortment of pellets I have on hand in some ballistic gelatin. I always wondered to the validity of statements made by different pellet manufacturers about "penetration", or "expansion", or "hyper velocity" and decided the only way to get conclusive facts is to test on my own.
So, last night I whipped up some homemade ballistic gelatin in preparation for today's festivities. I used a velveeta container top as my mold, and left it in the fridge for 16 hours. I did not calibrate the gel, as I do not have a variable pump bb rifle. Anyways, it should be good enough for this test. What I ended up with was a block 8.5"x3"x2.5".
I was not able to chrony every pellet, as I returned my Chrony over a month ago to Amazon. What I do have is a baseline for a couple of pellets fired through 2 different rifles.
The first rifle is my Diana 34 Meistershutze Pro Compact in .177. I chronied it using Crosman Premier HP 7.9g pellets at an average of 897 fps.
Next up is my modded QB78 in .22. I was able to get 2 baselines out of it before returning my Chrony. The first was the RWS Meisterkuglen 14.0g at an average of 812fps. The second was the H&N Barracuda Match 21.14g at an average of 699fps.
Testing was done at point blank range (around 6 inches) due to the small target I had. Unfortunately my medium didnt come out that clear, but I was able to get some decent pictures after cross sectioning it.
Results in .22
The H&N Barracuda Match 21.14g was the first pellet fired into the block. It made a full passthrough and lodged itself into the ballistic clay in my backstop. I fired a second time with the same results. This had me worried that my mixture was off, or that I didnt have a large enough block.
The RWS Meisterkuglen 14.0g was next, and it obtained exactly 6" of penetration with very little pellet deformity.
Next was the Crosman Premier HP 14.3g with a complete passthrough. I did not fire a second time because I had limited space in my small ballistic gel to shoot. In my opinion this pellet penetrated so well due to the fact it is made from harder lead than the other pellets.
Fourth up was the H&N Field Target (also known as the Beeman Ram Jet) coming in at 16.36g. This pellet did well in penetration and stopped at 7.25" with slight deformation.
The last of the .22 cal pellets tested was the H&N Terminators, touted as having "high expansion" on the container. If thats true, its certainly got to be above 700fps impact speed, because this wasnt very impressive. It stopped at exactly 5" in the gel.
Now for the .177 tests.
First up is the most worthless pellet ever to hit the market in my opinion. The Crosman SSP. I bought these on a whim at Wal Mart because they were cheap and looked like a good hunting pellet.What they are is an ultra-lightweight alloy piece of shit that makes my air rifle sound like a .17HMR. It has no penetration to speak of, and very little expansion, and terrible accuracy. I digress. Penetration was 2.5" and expansion is shown in the pic below.
Next up was the Crosman Devastator EX 7.4g purchased at Wal Mart for under $3. In my opinion these would make some of the best pellets for hunting birds or squirrels. They shoot on par with the RWS Meisterkuglen's out to 15 yards in my Diana 34, but are so much more destructive. This pellet had the most impressive wound cavity of all pellets tested.
At approx 1" into the gel the pellet exploded, shedding its hollow point rim. The remaining mass traveled 6 7/8".
Third pellet was my baseline pellet, and the one that performs with the best of them. The Crosman Premier HP 7.9g. Penetration was 7 3/4 and had some expansion. Interestingly enough, I shot this same pellet through the same rifle at 10 meters last week at a large ball of play-dough and got perfect expansion with a completely flattened tip. I was somewhat disappointed with the expansion here, but it will remain my "go to" pellet due to its accuracy and consistency.
Last up was a pellet that I have a love-hate relationship with. The JSB Diabolo Exact Heavy 10.3g. This pellet is capable of stacking pellets on Wednesdays, but Friday shoots no better than the Crosman Destroyers. As suspected, this pellet had the most penetration of .177 pellets tested at 8.5" and slight deformation.
So, there it is, my half-assed attempt to test some pellets at home, with homemade ballistics gel. Although not very scientific, nor conclusive, it certainly cuts through the BS.
That was an interesting test!
Thank you for putting your info up!
Very good post! I have found most HP pellets need at least 850 ft/sec to properly open up. Now, back in the day when HP pellets were rare, we would invert standard pellets for explosive expansion. Among the best were RWS pellets with their razor-thin skirt edges, these would fragment in a single 12 ounce aluminum can full of water, often not penetrating the back side. Such performance is only useful on starlings and the like.
Now that we have great HP pellets like the Crow Magnum (made by H&N, imported by Beeman), the performance is much better. But still, squirrel performance is sketchy. They open up but can inhibit penetration on body shots, causing the pellet to veer off path. A round nose pellet would not alter course as much. For head shots on barnyard roosters, they are quite impressive. Much less herky-jerky than using the traditional decapitation. Plus I don't have to catch them, just get up before dawn and nail them on the roost. Yes, with a .177" Marauder. Roughly 1000 ft/sec.
The one pellet which greatly increases the capability of the .177 Marauder is the Eun Jin super heavy pellet. This is a dome nose 16.1 grain beast. At 850 ft/sec from the Marauder, it will completely penetrate a standard 2x4...1.5 inches of fir won't stop it. In my redneck testing media, that is 8 standard 12 ounce beverage cans full of water. About the same as a .22 short. And I have used them for dispatching raccoons, all with one shot kills.
Great test. I appreciate the info. My ammo selection has always been through field trials .
I've always used wadcutters for smaller birds, field points for tougher animals, and rounded pellets for any use in between or long range shots. I've also used the Crosman pellets with the BB in the tip from time to time, as they tend to be accurate, and have a flatter trajectory than most others I use (though I see these are no longer available, and I just ran out ). Due to that the holdovers tend to be a bit more conservative.Thankfully, most birds will watch the pellet fly by and let the next one count. They're also good for shooting stuff up. I've never been a HP pellet fan as they usually don't work as advertised.
Years ago, Tom Gaylord (of Pyramyd Air fame) had a newsletter about airguns and he did a lot of testing. He used Neutragena brand soap as a testing media. The clear soap is very dense and worked well to compare the relative penetration/expansion of pellets. Just thought I'd mention this in case somebody wanted to reproduce the OP's efforts without having to create their own goop.
I ported the valve body, radius end the valve, opened the receiver and barrel and am using a larger transfer port tube. I also opened up the bolt inlet and outlet. I was very surprised at the initia velocity of it when I first got it at 650fps. I was expecting somewhere between 500-600. Guess I got a factory hot gun.
My valve seal has been having issues, so I ordered a view one from England. It's supposed to be able to be disassembled. Now I just have to hurry up and wait.
Originally Posted By mike_nds:
Since those mods did it turn into a "gas hog"?
I get about 50-60 shots out of 2 CO2 cartridges in my QB78.
I forgot to add, I do have an HDD in it that I purchased from Archer. I got it more to muffle the fart sound coming from the LDC. It does a good job at that, making a much quieter pop now. I guess it helps me get 30 or so decent shots out of a pair of C02 carts, although I never really have measured.
I did receive my new custom valve stem from the UK, but it seems to leak as bad as the older one. Looks like I need to buy a whole new valve now due to a worn seat.