A reader is experiencing disappointing results - what can he do? Airgunning expert Matt Manning advises

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Q: I have recently switched from a sub-12ft/lb air rifle to an FAC-rated pre-charged model producing muzzle energy of around 40ft/lb and my results have so far been very disappointing.

My old air rifle is capable of grouping pellets within half an inch at 30m, whereas the high-powered one is struggling to group within two inches at that range.

I was hoping that the extra power would increase my hunting range, but it’s going to be useless unless I can improve its accuracy. Do you have any advice to help me? Any tips are welcome.

A problem with your setup?

A:  Assuming that it is functioning correctly, a modern FAC-rated pre-charged air rifle should be able to consistently group pellets inside a one-inch circle out to 50m so it certainly sounds like there’s a problem with your setup.

It is possible that you have a misaligned silencer and pellets are being pushed off course as they clip it, but I think the lack of accuracy is more likely to be down to your choice of ammunition.

The extra muzzle velocity generated by high-powered air rifles, especially those churning out in excess of 30ft/lb, tends to cause standard weight pellets to fly inconsistently, so make sure you’re using heavyweight ammunition that has been designed for the job. It also pays to experiment with a few different brands.

Air rifles have a reputation for being pellet-fussy, and the problem is usually more prominent at higher power levels.

How to get better accuracy from air rifle pellets

Air rifle pellets have improved over the years and there are now many different makes to choose from. There is still room for improvement, however, and many shooters requiring the best performance for pest control give their pellets a bath.

Airgun accuracy

1. If you tip out the contents of a pellet tin onto an A4 sheet of paper you will see swarf or lead chippings from where the pellets were swaged.

2. This swarf clings to the pellets themselves and can rub excessively on one area of the rifling, causing poor or inconsistent accuracy.

washing airgun pellets

3. The answer is to wash the pellets with washing up liquid in a bowl and swirl them by hand until you can see the tiny lead fragments sink to the bottom

4. Sieve the pellets, rinse them to remove the detergent and let them dry on a towel, turning them a few times to prevent oxidisation.