Finding the right pellet – can one read the punch marks on the target for clues?

Forums Field Target Field Target Talk Finding the right pellet – can one read the punch marks on the target for clues?

  • Views : 655
  • Link

    fe7565
    Participant
    Member

    I am in the process of trying to find the best pellet for my Daystate .22 MVT.  Luckily, I have access to an indoor 50 yard range, so no wind. I am asking for some inputs on what the best method may be for finding the best two or three pellets out of the 36+ various types I gathered :)   Finished with around 20 pellet types but my biggest concern is velocity vs flight stability. A really bad pellet at 820fps may be an outstanding one at 960fps.   Is there a “smart” way to sort through all these pellets and various velocities without spending a life time?  Don’t get me wrong, I love the process, but would hate to leave out a potential “tack driver” pellet because the JSB and H&Ns already rule :)  Would I need to just go trough each and every pellet type with various velocity settings (820fps, 880fps, 920fps, 9660fp) and various head sizes?  

    What I really would like to find out how accurate this rifle really is. But I know this often depends on velocity, pellet shape, and rifle twist (and the shooter).   Started with a cleaned and primed (5 shots through it) barrel. Shot 10-shot groups for each pellet regardless how bad they grouped from the beginning. Some things of note:

    Pellet spiraling:    Unfortunately, I do not have my slow-mo iPhone cam set up yet, I need to make my own scope adapter first. So cannot tell how the pellets fly and if they spiral or not. But I noticed that some pellets punched almost a prefect round hole (JSB Predator), while some tore a large hole (the size of two pellet heads) as if the pellet landed sideways or tumbled in flight before hitting the target.  

    Pellet velocity:  I tried randomly various pellets at 50 yards starting with the usual well-performing suspects such as JSB, AA, H&N.  Was able to maintain the same velocity when changing from one pellet weight class to another (i.e. 21gr to 18.1gr to 15.74gr)  because the MVT is able to automatically re-adjust velocity after a few shots.   I tried a range of velocities at 820fps, 880fps, 920fps and 960fps, except for those pellets that had a 2 inch or more grouping from the very beginning.

    Pellet size:  I tried various sizes, such as 5.50, 5.51, 5.52, 5.53, 5.54. 5.55, most of these were H&N Baracudas and FT.

    Pellet head shape:  a variety of (mostly) domed, couple wadcutters, couple hollow points, some pointed.

    Barrel twist:  can’t control that, but must play role in velocity vs flight stability.

    Results so far:  The best groups so far were 0.5inch 10-shot groups with a couple of flyers.  But only one out of three 10-shot groups with the same pellet was 0.5inch the other two 10-shot groups opened up to 1 inch.  Most accurate were the H&N 5.51mm Baracuda Match heavy 21.1gr, the 5.50mm head size in the same pellet very close. Similarly accurate, but not always consistent were the JSB 18.1gr and the 15.9gr, the AA’s Diabolo Field 16gr ; Napier 15.6gr; and the Beeman Kodiak 21gr.  As the head size increased towards 5.55mm things got progressively worse.  So at least I know that my Daystate barrel is 5.50-5.51mm which confirms what I read from others too.  Also, it seems that a velocity of between 820fps and 950fps is a good range to test. But I read that JSBs 18.1gr are best at around 905fps, but not more than 930fps and not less than 880fps. Similar for the Baracudas.  The JSBs seemed accurate but with “sideways?” punch marks at 820fps, while still accurate and nice round holes at 960fps but with more fliers.  The only pellet that left a perfectly round hole on the target at all velocities was the JSB Predator 16.2gr, due to it’s pellet head shape, and also because of its straight flight. I know that certain type pellet heads (hollow point, wadcutter, etc.) leave nice round holes normally, but if they tumble in flight they can leave a sideways mark too,

    Question:   Without a slow-mo scope cam how can I tell if the pellet is tumbling in flight? Can I tell it from the punch mark it left on the target paper? Are there any “smart” shortcuts or “best practices” in the process of finding the best pellet that would make sure that a potential “gem” pellet does not slip through? I cannot possibly test every pellet for all the velocity ranges!  I believe that a goal of finding a pellet that groups three consecutive 10-shot groups at 0.5 inch at 50 yards is not unreasonable for a Daystate Airwolf .22 MVT (unless the shooter sucks) :)

    Thank you for any input, experience!  

    Edit: before the next shooting I will replace the old Tasco Custom Shop 12-60x56mm scope with a brand new Mueller SF 8-32 as they supposed to hold zero better. I am getting some strange looks at the range anyways about that huge scope on a “bb-gun” :)  

    Link

    FearnLoading
    Participant
    Member

    Holy cow. That’s a lot of testing. My compliments for the patience and for bringing it down to a solid science. 

    Finding the most accurate pellet is a long drawn process. I took a few months before finally settling on the JSB pellets. I weighed each pellet, tried head sizes, cleaned them. It took time. But once I found that the JSB 25 grains were the magic pellet, I stuck to it. At 50 yards I get between .27 to .35 inch groups without any wind. At 100 yards about an inch and at 150 yards, about 1.5 to 3 inches. 

    You’ve already done so much. It’s incredible. Getting a scope cam is what I would suggest at a later stage. The only variable now to consider is the shooter. Get a gun vice with weights and tie your gun down using bungee cords so the gun has zero movement. Then test the top 3 pellets you have found so far in an indoor environment. I am pretty positive, you will find the magic pellet. If the pellet gives you less than .5 inch groups at 50 yards, stop searching. 

     

    Link

    fe7565
    Participant
    Member

    Thanks FearnLoading for the good tips and words of encouragement.   I like the sound of “solid science”, albeit not sure if I am there yet :)    I will try my adjustable shooting stand instead of the tri-pod and bean bag (for the rear) I am currently using. 

    I think weighing, ensuring consistent head sizes, and cleaning will help squeeze the last bit of accuracy once I found the top pellet.

    Will post when I get some more tests done…
     

    Link

    Dhc8guru
    Participant
    Member

    Here is my method that works pretty good.
    Start with a selection of pellets with as varying of weight and brand as you want feel you have time to test. Try to limit your pellets to 10 different ones. Oh, and make them all dome shape.
    Set your gun to the mid power setting.
    Shoot 5 shots of each pellet.
    Pick your top 2 or 3
    Take those and reshoot at 3/4 power and compare to the original target.
    Choose the one that changed the least and was the most accurate.
    Stop there.
    If you want to try for a more accuracy, take the brand of pellet that was the winner and buy the same brand and model but with a different weight.
    I don’t go beyond this as you’ll just drive yourself nuts.
    I have a couple guns that i have run dozens of pellet through and they are not what I consider accurate. Everytime I get a new pellet, I run them through those poor accuracy guns. At this point, I am convinced those guns either have barrel issues or are just crappy guns.

    Link

    fe7565
    Participant
    Member

    Kris, thanks for the tip on the use of IR gear.  Unfortunately, I am not there yet to have such cool gadgets, still need to fabricate the iPhone scope adapter. But once I get the slow-motion setup I think I can come pretty close to an IR type result. I read somewhere (may be the YF) that by applying white pain inside the skirt of the pellets the reflection and contrast with a black target helps the cam pick up its flight much better.  Of course it has to be a very thin coat and must make sure that the paint does not get on the pellet where it comes in contact with the inside of the barrel. The clamping down is a good idea…and will do it using my shooting stand  (as suggested earlier with some bungee cord straps).

    Dhc8guru, thanks, your method saves time and makes sense.  I agree that non-domes are very likely not good long distance candidates. It also makes sense that if a pellet does well at a medium power and high power it should do well overall through the entire range out to 100 yards.  But I am a bit anal about going trough each and every pellet type I accumulated because there may that one pellet that groups magically at 50 yards where none others come even close, but that same pellet may group lousy at 75 or 100 yards. I agree, your method saves time and likely will lead ultimately to the same results doing it my slow way.  I figured that since the number of .22 pellets to test are limited and will only need to do this big fuss once in the life of this particular rifle model (Daystate Airwolf MVT), I rather take the slow path so I can sleep at night when I am finished  :)

    But yes, I see that it’s not practical to test every pellet at every distance (50 and 100 yards) and at every velocity (820, 880, 920, 960fps).  That’s why I hoped to find an easy way to detect any pellet tumbling or wobble during flight. But nothing is simple…or I am just over-complicating things…  :)

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.