Mat Manning takes a look at slug ammo.
Talk to airgun shooters and the subject will turn more and more often to air rifle slug ammunition. It is gaining in popularity with airgun shooters and the choice of readily available airgun slugs is now far wider than it was just a couple of years ago. Many of the big airgun ammo names are producing slugs now, as well as some newcomers.
Here’s my list of the best air rifle slugs that you should look to when experimenting with slug ammunition and my comments on what I thought of them. (You’ll find recommendations for the best airgun pellets here and the best lead-free airgun pellets here).
I’ll be trying out more in the future and will keep this page updated accordingly. (In meantime, you might like to check out our list of the best air rifle targets for setting up a range at home too.)
Mat’s list of the best air rifle slugs – tried and tested
Best for combining slug and pellet benefits
+ Impressive long-range grouping
+ Good performance in wind
FX Airguns Hybrid slugs are claimed to combine the best attributes of pellet and slug ammunition, and boast impressive long-range grouping and good performance in wind. The Hybrid slugs feature a hollow core and recessed base to reduce weight and improve expansion on impact. They are available in a .22, .25, .30 and .35 calibre and a range of weights from 19 to 68 grains.
Best for consistent performance
+ Handmade in Britain
The Wildman ethos is to produce consistent, accurate, high-quality rounds, and the business’s rolling development programme has resulted in an ever-growing range of hand-swaged slugs, with calibres from .177 to .30 and a wide selection of weights and designs.
Best for having loyal following
+ Impressive results
+ Numerous weight options
Pro Hunter slugs include Premium Standard and Premium High Impact lines, both made to remarkably tight tolerances and with variation of no more than one-10th of a grain on each calibre.
These slugs were intended for high-power airguns but with weights as low as 13 grains in .177, sub-12 shooters are also getting impressive results. The full range includes numerous weight options (up to a whopping 60 grains) in .177, .22, .25 .30 calibres.
+ Coated in anti-friction lubricant
+ Suitable for different barrels
This tried-and-tested slug from famous German ammo stable H&N has been around for a while and is regarded as an excellent round. Hand-packed following careful visual inspection, they are even coated in a special lubricant to minimise barrel friction.
Recommended for airguns producing 20ftlb and over, these slugs come in numerous variants to suit different barrels. The .22 round is available in 5.51 and 5.53 diameters and 21, 23, 25, 27 and 30 grain weight options.
Best for both benchrest and hunting
+ Two types available
+ Tried and tested
These roundhead diablos have a distinctively squashed look to them, but they work extremely well. The range is also available in wadcutter and pointed pellets. Rifle Premium Series rounds are marketed as being suitable for HFT or Field Target, but with accuracy like this you can happily add hunting to that list.
Daystate’s high-powered airguns have achieved some amazing results with slugs, and the British gunmaker’s electronic Delta Wolf can quickly be tuned for optimum performance with different types of ammo. Tried, tested and recommended by Daystate’s renowned Accuracy Research Team (ART), Juggernaut slugs are a variation of the famous JSB KO, weighing 25.39 grains in .22 calibre and 33.49 in .25.
Best air rifle slugs – conclusion
Although most airgun experts will tell you that slugs will never replace pellets, there is no denying that the improved ballistic coefficient of slug ammo has the potential to deliver remarkable performance at long range and in the wind.
Tight groups at 100m were the initial benchmark for slugs but some shooters are now using them to achieve impressive results at 200m and beyond.
Switching to slugs doesn’t guarantee good performance, however. This ammo tends to work better with a high-power air rifle and favours some barrels over others—even then, results are better if the gun’s power output is specifically tuned to match the exact type of slug being used.
There is no denying that the wider choice is making it easier for shooters to find the right slug for their guns and for their shooting requirements, and some of the lighter variants can even produce decent results with sub-12ft/lb airguns.
This article is kept updated.