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FAQs about airgun ammo

A selection of airgun questions from readers, with answers from the experts

airgun ammo

Airgun ammo FAQs and other queries

Q: I have changed from my usual airgun pellets to a brand recommended by a friend. He has been getting great results with them, but they don’t seem very accurate at all through my gun. Have I bought a bad batch of airgun ammo? (Read more on best airgun pellets – tried and tested picks.)

A: Mat Manning says: “While it is possible that there is a problem with the pellets you bought, the most likely explanation for their poor performance is that they simply don’t make for a good match with your gun. All airguns shoot differently with different ammo, even guns that rolled off the same production line, so what works well with one won’t necessarily produce the same results from another. I suggest that you let your friend try your new ammo through his airgun. If they group well, I’d let him keep them and move back to the old brand that has been performing well.”

Q: I shot with some pellets a while ago and rejected them, because I found them inaccurate. I then rediscovered them a year later and had another go with them and to my surprise found they behaved much better than before. Why is this?

A: Mike Morton says: “I believe there are two reasons: a running-in period of the gun itself, particularly if it’s new, and the other, maybe even more significant reason being the shooter’s own technique, especially if they are new to the sport.”

Q: Should I clean my air rifle? Many of my airgun shooting companions swear that they’ve never cleaned their rifle and they never will. What do you think? (Read more on cleaning your air rifle.)

A: Mike Morton again: “I would suggest that anyone who believes this carries out at least one barrel clean before testing pellets. To give a pellet the best chance of performing properly, you should clean the bore and then re-lead the barrel with the same type of pellet before any accuracy work is carried out. If the barrel has not been cleaned, the pellets will be making contact in the lands and grooves of the rifling with a different lead alloy, not to mention old oil or pellet lube.”

Q: What can you tell me about ‘bedding-in’ a new rifle?

A: Mike Morton: “Any new rifle, especially a spring-powered airgun, will probably not perform at its best straight out of the box and will need time, or more correctly will need plenty of use, in order to ‘bed in’.  The rifle needs to be taken out and shot regularly.

“One of the reasons a pellet may not appear to be accurate could be down to the fact that the rifle itself is not performing consistently because it has not moved out of the bedding-in phase. It can be difficult to tell when this phase is over, but a springer will probably feel smoother, there will be less recoil and it may be quieter too.

“PCPs will generally not need as much bedding-in time, but will still definitely benefit from having at least a couple of hundred shots put through them before being used for any serious pellet testing. (Read more on PCP air rifles.)

This bedding-in period is the ideal time to get fully acquainted with the rifle. “