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Should I sort pellets by weight or head size? Or both?

Forums Pellets, Projectiles, & Ammo Should I sort pellets by weight or head size? Or both?

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    “Pelletgage”
    My recommendation is to all seeking the “liked” pellet –  first sort out enough pellets of a type you have, in order to get some batches that are 0.01 mm apart, and shoot ten shot groups from each batch to find the head diameter that groups best for your rifle. Then, when buying pellets, sample 10% or more from a new tin. Calculate the mean of your sample. Not more than one pellet should exceed 0.01 mm from that mean – two sigma variance is the goal (95% within +/- 0.01). The sample mean should be no more than 0.02 mm different than your desired size. Now, if you are shooting a match, the half hour that it may take to sort every pellet you’d need for the match might still prevent one flyer. 

    I always find that gaging the first 50 or so tells me everything needed about that tin of pellets.
     

    
I completely agree with you here about using the Peletgage to sort your current best performing pellets into batches of 100th of a mm as that’s exactly what I did and was surprised by how clear the evidence from the resulting groups was, (which for my FX400 was the 5.52 slot in the Pelletgage).  I have now re-sized various pellets down to 5.52 and done a bit of testing but in windy conditions so not quite ready to publish anything – however, despite that, it seems so far that the performance of the re-sized pellets is going to be as good as those that were 5.52mmm straight from the tin. 

    So fingers crossed, the Pelletgage and a pellet resizer may have solved the pain of owning a high quality rifle that is not as “accurate” as it should be…

    One interesting thing that also looks like it may emerge is that going down to 5.50mm ie: 0.02mm smaller than optimal has a far more dramatic effect than being 0.02 larger at 5.54mm so a looser fitting pellet is going to effect accuracy much more than than a tighter one…

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    “Measurement with calipers is really only measuring one chord.”
    Well, not necessarely! The reason I know that pellet heads can be oval is because I’ve measured more than a few at two points 90 degrees apart and found that MOST I’ve measured before sizing are oval. In all actuality, even when using a Pellet Gage (it’s not just a plate with holes) you’re only sizing on one chord…..the widest part of the oval pellet head.

    Anywhoo, as I’ve stated before, as long as the pellet head is large enough to be “sized” in the lead when loading it really doesn’t matter what the head size because they will all be made consistent at loading and after exiting the choke.

    Oh well….to each his own and it’s definitely good to have confidence in your equipment!

    LOL……I just made up a new pellet sizer for use with my tight leade .177 HW95 and it gives me a 4.48mm head. My older .177 R9 has a considerably looser leade and I can shoot unsized CPLs straight from the box, however I’ve been sizing the CPLs to 4.52mm for a while now because that head size actually worked well with the HW95 and R9 when seated properly. The “when seated properly”  was the “fly in the ointment” with the HW95 because I would occasionally get a dented pellet skirt when relatching the barrel if I didn’t use my pellet seater. I just tested out the 4.48mm size CPLs in my HW95 and they all could be seated properly without the need for a seater and upstairs at 18 yards I was “touching pellet holes” shooting from “bucket and sticks” so I’m satisfied. Here is a pic of my 4.48mm & 4.52mm sizer…………..

    LOL….took some time and effort but I was able to make the new sizer die so the same sizer ram could be used with both. Sizing CPLs while casually watching YouTube machining and airgun videos I can size the heads and “round out” the skirts of 720 pellets per hour.

     

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    “I think it is the simplest and most positive way to determine if a pellet exceeds a precise round opening (gaging, not measuring).”
    and
    “Dropping the pellet through a perfectly round, precise cylindrical opening in a stainless steel gage plate is the Pelletgage concept.”

    Hummmm…….the points of a square peg can fit in a round hole depending on the dimensions so the above really proves little to verify that a pellet is dimensionally consistent unless they deviate considerably from the norm!

    Anywhoo, the only time I measured pellets was when I was making the pellet sizers to verify that the output dimension was correct. After the sizer is made a pellet is dropped into the “big end” and the head of the pellet is forced through the “small end” making every pellet consistently round and of the same size while expanding the pellet skirt a few 1/100th of a mm, all with one squeeze of the ram and die. Then the sized pellet is pushed back out of the die with my finger and another pellet is loaded into the “big end”, so on and so forth. As mentioned in another reply I size about 720 pellets per hour while casually watching YouTube videos.

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    BOTH. That is only if you are an accuracy fanatic. It sure takes a lot of time and fun out of shooting.
    For competition or extend range hunting or target shooting yes. Back yard plinking no. Just keep your fingers crossed you don’t get those surprise bad batch of JSBs or H&Ns both in 177 and 22. With Crosman it seems as though they can be salvaged and when they are good, they really are great!
    Seems as though the manufacturers are over producing quantity over quality these days.
    AJ

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by AJ.
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    “It sure takes a lot of time and fun out of shooting.”
    Hummmm…..I don’t weigh or sort during my “shooting time”, I do both plus pellet head sizing while on the internet reading or watching YouTube videos.
    For me sorting pellets is a relaxing and beneficial way to enjoy internet time!

    I do agree that SOME “Back yard plinking” like “can rolling” really doesn’t require much accuracy, however if the shooting is for hunting or pest control then, IMHO, the critter deserves a certain amount of respect by using the most accurate pellet possible from the individual gun. Fortunately, most shooters can find a brand of pellet that is “accurate enough” from their gun so they don’y need to take the fun out of shooting.

    In 2010 I shot a National field target match with my HW77 and unsorted CPLs shooting hunter class. At that time the hunter class was combined PCP and piston and there were 17 hunter class entries. Of the 17 entries only 5 were shooting piston guns yet I still took 4th place with the HW77 and unsorted CPLs……………..

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    I hear you but you have to hold and control your breath while weighing. Exhaling in between switching out the pellet on the scale or breathing through the corner of your mouth. Making sure nobody is walking or talking close to you and turning down the volume of the TV low enough as to not affect your scale. Personally it sort of gives me a certain degree of stress and satisfaction at the same time knowing these are the best shooting pellets after processing. I posted on the Air Gauge thread also.

    http://www.airgunnation.com/topic/who-have-experience-with-air-gauges-to-size-pellets/

    I have heard the older Crosman Premiers in the brown boxes were fantastic and were the go to pellets of choice until QC went down hill. Are they back on track accuracy wise with the 7.9s and 10.5s? It seems as though Crosman discontinued the 22 Premiers in the Brown Box. Will the 177s share the same fate? You can only do so much for the JSB and H&Ns to process or fix the bad ones.
    AJ

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by AJ.
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    Yep…breathing and most any air movement on a .001gram scale will change the reading! What I do is to have the scale off to the side so I don’t breathe on it. Since it’s usually set up next to the computer I use the bax it came in to block any “computer cooling air” that may be coming around from the back. Here is a pic of my measuring setup that has worked well for me………..


    Anywhoo….weighing pellets is more tedious for me than sizing, especially when the scale is trying to round up or down an intermediate weight. Still, I do my weighing while watching YouTube videos so it isn’t so tedious.
     

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    It looks like you favor Crosman Premiers in the brown box. What will you do when they are discontinued and share the same fate as the rest of the no longer available calibers?
    Would you be able to sort out the Walmart tins of Crosman Premiers resulting within a
    reasonable or maybe even a comparable degree of shooting accuracy?
    It would be FANTASTIC if it can be done with the cheap Walmart tins.
    AJ

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by AJ.
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    OK…lets deal with the comments one at a time.

    “What will you do when they are discontinued”
    Hummm…….I wasn’t aware that the .177 grain Crosman Premiers were to be discontinued! I do know that the .20 cal was discontinued a while back but my thinking was that they weren’t selling enough to continue production. LOL…..for years, in Europe it was even difficult to find a .20 cal airgun. I just read in this thread that Crosman has also discontinued the .22 cal Premiers of which I was unaware since I haven’t shot a .22 cal pellet since my “fat pellet testing” from my R9 over a decade ago.

    Even if the boxed .177 Crosman Premiers were discontinued I have found another odd looking pellet that worked well with my looser leade .177 R9, the H&N “Sniper Medium”……….

    Now for the tighter leade .177 HW95 even the Crosman Premier Hollow Points from “WallyMart” shoot pretty accurately as well as the common JSB Exacts.

    “Would you be able to sort out the Walmart tins of Crosman Premiers”
    Yup….just sized a few simply for this question. With my 4.52mm sizer “not so good” because the CPHPs from Walmart had heads considerably smaller than the 1250 count boxed Premiers and the CPHPs also were less consistent than the boxed variety. Still, with my 4.48mm sizing die the few I tried sized perfectly and they can also be sorted by weight just like any other pellet………..

     

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by nced.
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    I’ve come to the conclusion that a bit of head size difference really doesn’t matter as long as the pellet head is large enough to be “sized” when pushed into the barrel leade. When I was using JSB Exacts with the looser leade R9 (looser than my HW95) I was having accuracy issues due to the inconsistent fit in the lead. Some of the JSB Exact pellet heads from tins marked 4.52mm and 4.50mm were so loose that I had two “dry fires” at a field target match and would have had three if I didn’t see the “loose after seating” Exact flip out of the leade when relatching the barrel. Obviously a lot of loose Exacts were just sitting in the leade ready to slop their way through the bore.   

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    With your custom sizing die, or by making a similar yet different die, wouldn’t you be able to press it hard enough so that the under sized pellet heads get squished and reshaped into a larger diameter size if needed? Wouldn’t that be the intended goal? Your work is very interesting and I believe can possibly fix the bad and undersized pellets as well as making the entire batch exactly the same by fixing the undersized heads.
    AJ
     

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    No….because the “ram” part of the ram & die is preset at a specific length so only the pellet head is pushed through the sizing ring no matter how hard it’s pushed. Sketch of the sizer ram & die……….

    Pellet is inserted in the die. Matter of fact, if the pellet skirt is oval by more than a couple 1/100th of a millimeter it won’t slide to the sizing ring of the die under it’s own weight………..


    Minor skirt deformation like that shown above will be “ironed out” by the tip of the ram.

    Then the pellet is pushed through the sizing ring by the ram………

    Then the sized pellet is pushed out backwards from the die with a “click”………


    I really don’t know what the final “second metric decimal” is due to the rounding off of the calliper measurement but the sized pellets are much more consistent in size than random pellets in a tin or cardboard box. I’ve developed a measuring sequence that works well for me and is repeatable so I use the digital readout for the sorting. Matter of fact, the “second decimal” (whatever it’s actual value) is accurate enough that I can tell if a pellet head is oval by a couple 1/100ths of a mm.

    Anywhoo….the purpose off all this measuring is simply to size all pellet heads for a consistent tight fit in the barrel leade and the pellets from my 4.48ish mm sizer do fit “sufficiently tight but not too tight” in my HW95 leade while pellets from my 4.52mm sizer fit a bit too tight in the same leade and needed setting with an old Beeman pellet seater to prevent an occasional “slightly protruding pellet skirt” that will get deformed when the HW95 barrel is re-latched. My looser leade .177 R9 really doesn’t need pellet head sizing with boxed CPLs but the fact that my sizers help with weeding out the occasional damaged pellet skirts while “rounding” the rest so I intend to keep sizing the pellets for the R9. The 4.52mm sizing die works well with the R9. Since I now have two 4.52mm sizers (due to excessive lapping when making a 4.48mm die) I think I may open up one of the 4.52mm dies by lapping to give a 4.53mm CPL head.

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    I think you can manufacture a top piece for this setup to enable semi pressed heads instead of it just passing thru, it is a top plate contoured to the head shape of the domed pellet and you can use a hammer to tap it to semi form a larger diameter head/edge.
    You put a set stop to the ram as to not have the head stick out past the edge/largest diameter then put your newly manufactured top plate, pound it, release the stop on the ram, remove the top plate then ram it thru.
    What are your thoughts? Then they should ALL be the same right?
    AJ
     

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by AJ.
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    My only purpose for sizing pellet heads was to make them a looser fit in the tight leade of my HW95. I found that when I sized CPL heads to 4.52mm the pellets were pretty much an universal fit for both the HW95 and the looser leade R9. As mentioned previously, the 4.52mm sized pellet heads did work well in the HW95 however I needed to use a pellet seater to prevent the occasional unseated pellet when finger seating. To eliminate the “extra pellet seating tool” I decided to make another sizer that reduced the CPL head further to 4.48mm. From my HW95 the smaller head CPL worked perfectly when finger seated and during testing I shot a sub 1/2″ ctc group at 50 yards while sitting on a bucket resting the gun on cross sticks……

    Now to directly comment on your suggestions:
    I suppose it would be possible to both size and reform a pellet head as you mentioned at the expense of collapsing the pellet waist between the skirt and rifling surface of the head. I personally don’t think doing this would help anything to do with accuracy (certainly not with my equipment and shooting style) and it would add incredible complexity to actually forming the sizer die and ram. LOL….making a sizer that only swages the pellet head to .0x mm measurement is extremely tedious and I personally wouldn’t want to also try re-forming the pellet head dome as well as the size.

    As a side note, over that last couple days while watching airgun, machining and inkjet printer videos, plus the airgun forums I took one box of CPLs, sized the heads to 4.48mm and then sorted them into three weight groups. Here is the result……….

    LOL….it does seem that Crosman should be listing the CPL weight as 8.00ish grains because most pellets weighed in the 8.00-8.04 labelled box in the center. After weighing several thousand die “B” CPLs I had the same result from every box!

    This time I also sorted out the CPLs that weighed more than 8.12 grains and less that 7.90 grains and was a bit disappointed that out of 1250 CPLs there were only two that weighed less than 7.90 grains and only 6 that weighed more than 8.12 grains. LOL….the intent was to shoot the <7.90 grain and >8.12 grain CPLs at 50 yards to see if there was a measurable difference in accuracy with my specific shooting style (i.e. bucket and sticks). Weighing pellets takes more time than sizing with my sizer so I would like to know if the weighing of CPL is only a “feel good exercise”!

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    Weighing pellets definitely increases accuracy when shot in weighed batches to 1/10th of a grain for both spring guns and PCPs. If there were only one method to choose out of weighing and sizing, it would most definitely be weighing. For example using a 1701p with larger transfer port, at 50 yards it will mean the difference between under 1/2-3/4″ groups weighed and over 1″-1-1/2″ at the same distance shooting straight out of the tin/box. Using an air gauge to further sort them according to their head size in batches and using a Beeman Pell sizer with .1785 and .1790 dies for the over sized ones depending on which type of pellet shot shrinks the groups even further to achieve accuracy that is unbelievable with the guns that are capable of extreme accuracy when given a test of  shooting at 20 or more in a row of individual pieces of PEZ candy standing up width wise on a fence at 50 yards. I don’t really know if the one I have is a fluke because it is only a Crosman pistol so I bought a second one which is on its way now just to see if the accuracy will be duplicated since I have a neighbor who shot mine and wanted to buy it after seeing what it can do at 50 yards especially with it being only a pistol. It just has a larger TP and TKO LDC with an AR stock on it with no modification to the internals. The trigger takes some getting used to. It is not a match trigger by any means.

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by AJ.
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    Interesting! Here is a target where 15 out of 20 unsized and unweighed CPLs on December 2015 (believe they were die “A”s) using my break barrel .177 R9 went through a 3/4″ killzone at 50 yards while I sat on a bucket and rested my gun on cross sticks…………..

    Perhaps some of the “windage spread” was due to “pellet variations”. I’m sure that some was due to wind drift but I believe most was shooter induced from swaying on the bucket.

    Here are a couple more 50 yard 5 shot groups shot “bucket and sticks” showing the usual (for me) elongated groups………..

    Here are the next 5 shots on paper………..

    Both groups are 1/2″ high (or less) and about 1″ wide. Here is a 50 yard group I shot from the R9 using the only tin of JSB Exacts that fit the leade almost snug…………

    This shooting session and groups is the reason I ordered 8 more tins, however I ordered 4.52s instead of the 4.50 tin used to shoot the group. I was trying to get a pellet that fit snugger than the ones from the tin marked 4.50 but I was “fooled”. The JSB Exact tins marked 4.52mm varied a more than the one 4.50mm tin with many from the 4.52mm tin being actually smaller. I was able to sell my unused Exacts and I reverted back to the boxed CPLs thinking that I might have to wash them before use.

    The point of all this is that I’ve come to the conclusion that as long as the pellet head is large enough to be “sized” when loading into the barrel leade it really doesn’t matter much what the “second metric decimal” happens to be.

    Weight may be another issue since it does make sense that weight variation will affect the point of impact, however I do need to do some testing by shooting <7.88 grainers and >8.14 grainers side by side (whenever the wind “lies down” again). I’m wondering if there will be much difference with my shooting style and skills since even the extreme spread of die “B” CPLs varies a bit less than 1/2 grain. Regardless, since weighing pellets is more time consuming than sizing, I’ll forget weighing CPLs in the future if I can’t detect any accuracy difference with my shooting style and skills.

     

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    Are the current recent production brown boxed Premiers currently for sale now any good?

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    I am setting up a rifle for FT. I just today finished weighing 2,000 pellets, H&N and JSB. I am using the same scale you are Ed and I am using a 0.10 gn mean.  I have approximately 900 pellets that passed the weigh test, most of the pellets that didn’t pass the weigh test are on the heavy side. Next is the size test. At this rate of pellets being out of advertised specs. I really have to wonder how many I will have left to actually use.  No wonder those who don’t go to these efforts have so many flyers. Very sad QC on the manufacturers part !  I see you and others praise the cpl pellets, I am going to get a box of those next. Then get busy finding out which pellet my FT rifle prefers.

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    Believe it or not I primarily process and shoot older 7.9gr. (NOT the 7.4gr. and NOT the one with the sharp point, its more like a rounded point similar to the H&N Barracuda’s tip and has a close similarity to the 7.9gr. Premier) Crosman Copperhead Pointed in 177 and Crosman Red and Blue label 14.3gr. Copperhead Pointed in 22 from the 175 count tins. After processing them, I can get reliable pin point shots out to  just past 55 yards in 177 and out to just past 85 yards with the 22. I am shooting them in lower powered guns with the exception of a 22 Sumatra carbine which surprisingly shoots them well even when the power is bumped up.
    They shot a little better than the brown boxed Crosman Premiers in most of my guns.
    The 20 caliber brown boxed Crosman Premiers are ridiculously accurate shooting them straight out of the box if you can find them.
    See 7:44 and 13:20 on this you tube link, its the same 22 I refer to and process and use.

     

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by AJ.
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