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BSA Black Star .22

Mike Morton tests the BSA Black Star .22, a hollowpoint hunting pellet that promises to put pests to sleep for a long time

BSA Black Star .22

The search for the perfect hunting pellet seems neverending, with manufacturers trying to create the elusive mix of ballistic performance and the sudden transfer of kinetic energy into the killzone of the quarry, and one of the latest contenders is the Black Star .22 from BSA.

When I tested the .177 variety, I found these pellets to be very well-made, hard-hitting and accurate out to medium distances, so for this issue I decided to repeat the test in .22 calibre, wondering whether the results would be similar.


BSA Black Star .22 – key specifications

Black Stars are one of BSA’s premium pellet line-up, offering the airgun shooter numerous options with regard to the pellet type and material

Pellet: Black Star
Supplied by: BSA Guns (
Type: Hollowpoint diabolo
Calibre tested: .22
Head size: 5.50mm
Length: 7.35mm
Supplied in: Tin of 200
Price: £8.50
Advertised weight: 18.21gr
Average measured weight: 18.58 gr
Uses: Pest control


Black Star pellets come in a screw-top tin of 200 in .22 and have an RRP of £8.50, which equates to just over 4p per pellet. Black Stars are part of BSA’s premium range which includes Gold Star domehead pellets, Green Star lead-free domeheads and the rather intriguing Silver Star hybrid round that’s part hollowpoint and part pointed pellet. All these pellet types are available in both .177 and .22, and can also be bought in sampler packs in both calibres. This is a great idea for pellet testing in general, and in particular for hunters wanting to experiment with different designs.

In common with the rest of the lead pellets in the premium range, BSA has chosen to go with a relatively hard and crush-resistant alloy. The skirt is deep, with relatively thick walls, but the standout features for me are the depth of the hollow and the overall quality. Dumping out the contents of the tin onto a microfibre cloth showed no damaged or deformed pellets and no swarf.

These pellets have a head size of 5.50mm and a measured overall length of 7.35mm. They fitted perfectly well into the drum magazine of my BSA R-10 SE, and posed no problems with the way the action cycled the inner rotor.

BSA lists the weight on the tin as 18.21gr, heavier than its other .22 premium pellets and almost 4gr heavier than the Gold Star roundhead. I weighed a random sample of 50 pellets with my digital scales, finding eight weighing 18.4gr, 40 measuring 18.6gr and two coming in at 18.8gr, yielding an average weight of 18.58gr.

The deep hollow is designed to assist expansion inside the quarry animal, but this would probably be best achieved at FAC velocities


Test Conditions for the BSA Black Star .22

This shoot was carried out on a thoroughly miserable day. I love overcast conditions as they really help me view the target more clearly, but this day was bitterly cold and damp too. Nevertheless, the pellets were the ones being tested, and not my resilience to uncomfortable weather conditions. All shots were taken at self-adhesive 1in Birchwood Casey Target Spots stuck to white A4 card, with the rifle used for the test being the aforementioned R-10.  



The rifle was supported with Dog-Gone-Good bench bags front and rear filled with heavy ABS plastic chips. I zeroed the rifle at my normal distance of 30 yards, but it quickly became evident that that was just too far for this combo, especially considering the weight of these pellets, so I re-zeroed at 25. 

With that done, I carried out my velocity testing using my Shooting Chrony F1. The average muzzle velocity was 523.6 ft/sec, muzzle energy was 11.31 ft-lbs and the variation in velocity was just 5.3 ft/sec, a great result.

Due to my new zero distance, I began the accuracy test at 15 yards, with the Black Star and R-10 combo delivering a five-shot group size which measured 8.0mm centre-to-centre, with me aiming on. As you can see from the target image, that group included one wayward pellet, which may or may not have been down to me. With that shot taken out of the mix, the group size shrank to 3.4mm.

Back at 20 yards group size was a tiny 4.6mm centre-to-centre, with me having to use 6mm of holdunder, while at 25 yards the group expanded to 17.5mm centre-to centre, with me aiming on at my primary zero. These pellets certainly hit hard, actually breaking off a section of the orange Target Spot and sending it flying.

It would be interesting to see what sorts of results could be achieved when putting these pellets through an FAC rifle, but at the very least the Black Stars delivered a good degree of accuracy at the shorter distances I used while absolutely pounding the targets. 


It’s a case of history repeating itself as the .22 calibre Black Stars echo their .177 counterparts in delivering decent accuracy at shorter distances. If the quarry is the anvil, this pellet is the hammer