What's the best and least expensive way of choosing the right pellets?

Is your air rifle spring powered, pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) or powered by carbon dioxide? Here’s a run through the different models, which will help you choose the correct pellet.

Spring-powered air rifles

Most spring-powered air rifles work more efficiently with lightweight pellets, as do CO² rifles, while PCP air rifles are more efficient with a heavy pellet.

These rules apply to diablo-shaped lead pellets but there are now pellets on the market of more advanced and aerodynamic design that will give efficient results in most air rifle barrels with regard to bore size, type and direction, pitch of rifling and whether or not the barrel is choked at the muzzle.

As a general rule of thumb, in spring-powered rifles the head of the pellet should be the same size as the bore or land size, and the skirt diameter should be the same size as the groove diameter of the barrel.

Pre-charged air rifles

This is not the same for pre-charged air rifles, where the pellet is sized down to be an exact fit in the barrel when the pellet is chambered by the transfer probe.

I would recommend that you test out several different brands and see how you get on. That way you’ll end up selecting the most efficient and accurate pellet for your air rifle.

Lead-free accuracy?

Q: I’ve seen lead-free airgun pellets for sale in my local gun shop and fancy giving them a try. Are these pellets as accurate as traditional airgun ammunition and could they harm my barrel?

A: Lead-free airgun pellets have come on in leaps and bounds over recent years. Go for a quality brand and their finish and consistency should certainly be on a par with lead ammunition. But lead-free pellets are usually lighter than their lead counterparts so wind can have a serious impact on accuracy. This can make shot placement unpredictable at longer ranges.

Lead-free airgun pellets

Lead-free airgun pellets

Lead-free pellets are usually made from zinc alloy. Though harder than lead, this material is still fairly malleable and shouldn’t cause any harm to the barrel of your air rifle.