What Are The Best Airgun Pellets?

One of the most common questions from airgunners with a new airgun is: what are the best airgun pellets? Meaning, of course, the best pellets for their own airgun.

It’s a fact that every individual airgun is unique and that different airguns – even if exactly the same model – will “prefer” different pellets. Trying out different pellets and seeing the results is an interesting part of shooting for many airgunners.

Hard Air Magazine’s airgun tests are performed with a variety of quality pellets that have a good reputation for shooting well. Are they the best airgun pellets for every gun? Not necessarily, but they certainly give a good guide that you can start with. This enables you to see how muzzle velocity and accuracy vary when different types of pellet are used in the exact same air rifle or air pistol.

Here are HAM’s overall guidelines for the general types of pellets that are likely to work best with your airgun.

Generally flat-fronted “wadcutter” pellets are best used for shooting paper targets as they give good, clean holes. They are also best used with relatively low muzzle velocities, say 800fps or less as their aerodynamics are poor above that speed. But these are typically the most accurate pellets available and can be used for close range hunting, too.

Dome pellets are those with a rounded front. These pellets cut through the air better than wadcutters and can be considered as “general use” pellets for plinking, hunting and everyday shooting.

Pointed pellets have a sharp nose and are typically recommended for hunting and longer-range shooting. Accuracy is normally not so good as with domed pellets, but is still OK.

Whatever the pellet design, one thing is for sure. Lighter pellets shoot faster than heavier ones in the same gun. Lightest of all are the non-lead PBA pellets: these give very high muzzle velocities but often show poor accuracy. They also have low “knock down” power (muzzle energy) and thus are not suitable for hunting. A heavy pellet is much more humane in providing a one-shot kill.

This is why larger calibers of .22 and above are more suitable for hunting than .177. The pellets are heavier, so they travel slower but hit harder.

So what’s the best pellet of my airgun? Use these guidelines and have fun trying as many different pellet types as you can to find the answer for your airgun!