Many airgunners regard JSB pellets as their first choice for accurate shooting. But most of us know very little about how pellets are actually manufactured. In this article we find out some of the secrets behind JSB pellet manufacturing.
There’s a lot of science behind JSB pellet manufacturing, but there’s also some art – the human element that makes good products great!
The first stage in JSB pellet manufacturing is to source the raw material.
JSB buys lead ingots (photo above) that are 99.97% pure. The lead ingots are then melted and a small percentage of Antimony added to make to make a lead alloy. This step gives JSB pellets optimal hardness and a pleasing, shiny appearance.
Joint owner of JSB, Pavel Kobalec, explains. “As we are producing our own alloy, everything is under our control and we can be sure that the consistency and quality of our products is outstanding.”
From this melted alloy, JSB then produces wires in many diameters. Different caliber pellets each have their own dedicated diameter lead alloy wires.
The lead alloy wire is weighed (for quality control) and then cut into individual chunks which are then weighed again. These chunks form the basic stage from which semi-finished pellets are produced.
Weight consistency at this stage is crucial for the consistency and repeatability of the future finished pellets. JSB produces these semi-finished wire chunks for their whole range of pellets. The minimum weight is 0.475 Grams and there are separate chunks for each of the individual pellet weights up to 5.000 Grams.
The full range of JSB pellet weights is 0.475 Grams, 0.500, 0.520, 0.535, 0.547, 0.670, 0.870, 0.890, 0.930, 1.030, 1.050, 1.175, 1.645, 2.200, 2.900, 3.250 and 5.000 Grams.
These semi-finished pellet chunks are then made into spherical balls and cleaned carefully. Next they are lubricated to facilitate further production stages.
JSB uses a special precision machine to make weight selection of the semi-finished chunks for Premium Match and Exact pellets. This weighing machine operates to a sensitivity of plus or minus 0.001 Gram. That’s +/- 0.015 Grains!
Finally JSB feeds these semi-finished pellet balls into their pellet machines. These balls are dropped into a machine that has up to 6 mold heads to form each pellet.
Molds are all unique. Each mold makes a very slightly different pellet. This is why specific lot numbers are requested by professional and high amateur competitors who demand specific lot numbers for competition.
Pellets are produced by cold pressing using these very precise tools. It is essential to mention that all the JSB machinery was designed and build in-house. Their appearance and functionality is top secret – as you can probably understand. No photos!!!
JSB believes that this custom machinery is the key to the precision of their products – together with their skilled and experienced workers.
There are 54 pressing lines in the JSB factory. Pavel Kobalek says that, for consistency of shooting, “We never mix pellets coming from different lines in one tin or carton”.
In the JSB pellet manufacturing process, each pressing line is fitted with a set of tools that form the pellets. If they change any of the tools, JSB personnel change the manufacturing batch as it could change the performance of the pellet.
Each batch is now carefully tested by shooting for a grouping test before they move on further towards packaging.
Next step is quality control. JSB has a substantial Quality Control department, staffed by no less than 30 very well trained ladies. Every JSB pellet is viewed under magnification by these trained inspectors, with only 2% being rejected and remelted.
Each and every JSB pellet has to pass this quality control. As Pavel Kobalek says. “That is why we can guarantee our quality.”
Finally, the checked pellets go to the packing department where they are carefully packed. Every tin is then weighed and counted. JSB pellets are shipped to over 50 countries throughout the World.
Hard Air Magazine would like to thank Pavel Kobalek, one of JSB’s joint owners, together with Dick Dixon of Predator International Inc. the US distributor of JSB pellets, for providing the information and photographs used in this article on JSB pellet manufacturing.