BSA Silver Star .177
Mike Morton wonders whether a hybrid round can be truly accurate, and sets out in search of the truth as he tests the BSA Silver Star .177 pellet
BSA Silver Star .177
While I’m a lover of domed diabolo pellets, believing them to be more consistent and accurate than any other, I admit that some hollowpoint and pointed designs have exceeded my expectations. But what about a pellet that combines both a hollow and a point? That can’t work, can it? I’m talking here about the BSA Silver Star .177, one of the company’s new premium range of pellets. (What are the best pellets for your airgun? Read our advice here).
Silver Stars come in a screw-top tin of 400 in .177 calibre, as seen here, and in tins of 200 in .22 calibre. Both are available in sampler packs in their respective calibres, along with Gold Star domehead pellets, Black Star hollowpoints and Green Star lead-free domeheads.
Silver Stars are made of a hard, crush-resistant lead alloy, and have a skirt with thick walls, again offering a superior level of crush resistance.
BSA Silver Star .177 – key specifications
Pellet: Silver Star
Supplied by: BSA Guns (bsaguns.co.uk)
Type: Hybrid hollowpoint and pointed diabolo
Calibre tested: .177
Head size: 4.50mm
Supplied in: Tin of 400
Advertised weight: 7.25 grains
Measured weight: 7.22 grains
Uses: Hunting, plinking
It was little surprise, therefore, to find there were no damaged or deformed pellets when I carried out my standard procedure of tipping the entire contents of the tin onto a microfibre cloth for inspection. Similarly, there were no lead flakes or other detritus.
These pellets have a head size of 4.50mm and an overall length of 6.02mm, but it was the design of the head that really piqued my interest. The hollow is cleanly formed, and while the outside is perfectly round, where it will engage with the rifling in the bore, the interior has been segmented into a hexagonal shape to assist deformation on impact. Then there’s the point itself, which again looks cleanly formed.
However instead of coming to a sharp point, it more closely resembles a flattened cone when viewed under a magnifying glass. I suspected this would prove to be a benefit, rather than a hindrance, as it’s difficult to perfectly centre a sharp tip, and one that’s off-centred could be prone to instability in flight.
The weight on the tin is listed as 7.25 grains, and when I weighed a random sample of 50 pellets with my digital scales, 45 came in at 7.2 grains, while five measured 7.4 grains, giving an average weight of 7.22 grains.
This shoot was carried out on a mild, sunny and windless day. All shots were taken at self-adhesive 1” Birchwood Casey Target Spots stuck to white A4 card. I chose to use my Daystate Red Wolf for this test as it’s a brilliant all-rounder and isn’t too pellet-fussy.
Nevertheless, I did wonder whether my normal maximum test distance of 40 yards might prove to be a bit too far for what seemed at first glance to be a fairly un-aerodynamic design. I always clean the barrel before testing any new ammo, and put 20 pellets through the bore while setting my normal zero of 30 yards.
Despite the wind-free day, I gave the Red Wolf maximum support by using bench bags front and rear filled with heavy ABS plastic chips.
With the rifle and scope set up properly, it was time for velocity testing. I fired 10 shots over my Shooting Chrony F1, with the average muzzle velocity being 794.3 feet per second with a muzzle energy of 10.12 foot pounds, with the variation in velocity being 7.6 feet per second, anything under 10 being pretty good.
Now it was time for the shooting test to begin properly, and I was simply stunned by the results.
At 20 yards the Silver Stars punched a tiny five-shot, one-hole group measuring just 0.9mm centre-to-centre, with 4mm of holdunder. At 30 yards, the rifle’s set zero, group size expanded, but not by all that much, now measuring a tiny 3.8mm centre-to-centre with me aiming on.
As for 40 yards? Admittedly, there was no wind on the day whatsoever, but even so I was impressed with the 16.5mm centre-to centre group that the BSA Silver Star .177 delivered, with me using 23mm of holdover.
Silver Stars are more proof that my bias toward domehead designs has been influenced more by familiarity than fact, and these hybrids are capable of excellent accuracy after all.
If you’re in the market for a hunting pellet, or even some plinking ammo that will give a real smack to a spinner, then BSA Silver Stars will prove to be a very attractive, as well as a very accurate, proposition