Q: I’ve heard that loading airgun pellets backwards is a great way to achieve a dum-dum effect when controlling pests such as rats. Does it work and could it damage the barrel of my airgun?

Q: I’ve heard that loading airgun pellets backwards is a great way to achieve a dum-dum effect when controlling pests such as rats. Does it work and could it damage the barrel of my airgun?

A: Loading airgun pellets backwards is unlikely to harm your barrel but it is not conducive to accurate shooting either. Airgun ammunition is designed to be propelled by a blast of air that is captured by the skirt at the rear of the pellet, and to rotate around the pellet’s waist as it travels through the air, nose forward. Pellets that are loaded backwards tend to perform very poorly downrange, and group extremely inconsistently at anything much more than 10m.

There are several good brands of flat-head and hollowpoint pellet that shoot very accurately and transfer plenty of energy when they connect with their target. However, regardless of my results when practising against a solid backstop, I’ve yet to  find a pellet that really does mushroom on impact with flesh and bone  when fired from a sub-12ft/lb air gun. My advice therefore is to ensure that your shots connect with a vital organ by opting for a pellet that gives you optimum accuracy.

Airgun pellets

Picking the perfect airgun pellet

The airgun pellet is an important link between the shooter and the target. It can make the difference between Olympic gold or bronze. For…