A reader is considering giving them a try. What does Mat Manning think of them?
Q: After all the talk about shotgun shooters moving away from lead ammunition, I feel inspired to try using lead-free pellets in my airgun. Are there any brands you can recommend, and should I expect them to perform differently?
Talking lead-free-airgun pellets
A: Many of the reputable airgun pellet manufacturers, such as JSB, H&N, RWS and Gamo, produce lead-free options. It is difficult to recommend one particular brand because they perform differently in different barrels, so you will need to try a few to see which suits your gun best.
Affected by wind
I have yet to find ‘green’ airgun pellets that group quite as well as traditional lead ammo, and they seem to be particularly affected by the wind which can have a serious impact on accuracy. This can make shot placement unpredictable at longer ranges.
The pellets I have tested have been impeccably made. The problem is mostly to do with their weight — .177 lead-free pellets tend to weigh around six grains, whereas the lead equivalent would be between eight and nine.
‘Green’ airgun pellets also feel hard by comparison, which makes them quite rough through magazines and I would imagine it compromises their ability to hug the rifling of the barrel.
Though lead-free airgun pellets tend to fall short of lead in terms of performance, they have come a long way over the past decade and I expect them to advance further as demand increases.
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Will they be suitable for your gun barrels?
Can these pellets harm gun barrels? Go for a reputable brand and the finish and consistency should certainly be on a par with lead ammunition.