Pellet Head Size And Weight Really Do Matter!
Yes, pellet head size and weight really do matter! Let’s take a look at the differences in accuracy that happen with “the same” pellet that’s available in different pellet head sizes and weights…
For this investigation, we’re looking at H&N Finale Match pellets. These are high quality wadcutter pellets indended for competition and training use in 10 Meter precision target shooting.
Finale Match pellets are available in two weights. The “Light” version weighs 7.87 Grains. The “Heavies” are 8.18 Grains. Both types are available in two different head sizes – 4.49 mm and 4.50 mm.
Below we see the pellets. From left to right there’s light 4.49mm, light 4.50 mm, heavy 4.49 mm and heavy 4.50 mm. Can you tell the difference between them? I can’t and I took the photograph!
H&N pellets carry their type – Finale Light or Heavy – on the top of the tin. However, you need to look on the underside to see the head size. As follows…
So here we have four subtly-different pellets that look identical. To find out if there’s a difference in accuracy downrange, I shot six, 5-shot groups with each pellet. That’s 30 shots for each, a total of 120 shots for the test.
The test was undertaken at 11 Yards range (approximately 10 Meters). The gun, scope and shooter were all the same. Target illumination was the same also.
The pellets were shot unsorted, straight from the tins. In fact this test was never intended for publication – if it was, I would have been more tidy when writing on the targets!
It’s also NOT intended to be an absolute accuracy test of H&N Finale Match pellets. The gun in use was a specially-modified, custom QB79 that I built working on regulated HPA. You can expect a more expensive, dedicated, target rifle to be inherently more accurate. You can also expect another barrel to “prefer” a different size and weight pellet.
However, this review does demonstrate the differences in accuracy that occur with even the slightest differences in pellet specification.
Test 1. H&N Finale Match Light, 7.87 Grains, 4.49 mm Head Size
Here’s the six test targets. As you can see, I marked the Center-To-Center (CTC) group sizes against each 5-shot group.
[table “610” not found /]
All measurements are shown in inches, measured with a digital caliper. I ranked the group sizes by adding together the horizontal and vertical CTCs and dividing by 2.
As we can see, Group 6 was the smallest – just! The average group size across this test was 0.108 Inches, CTC.
Test 2. H&N Finale Match Light, 7.87 Grains, 4.50 mm Head Size
[table “611” not found /]
This time, Group 6 was obviously the best (again!). The average group size across this test was 0.078 Inches CTC.
Test 3. H&N Finale Match Heavy, 8.18 Grains, 4.49 mm Head Size
[table “612” not found /]
This time, Group 6 was best again. Hmmm, interesting, I wonder why that was? But, overall, the group sizes were definitely larger than for the Finale Lights.
Test 4. H&N Finale Match Heavy, 8.18 Grains, 4.50 mm Head Size
[table “613” not found /]
The same trend continued with the 4.50 Grain Finale heavies. But this time – for once – Group 3 was best!
Pellet Head Size And Weight Conclusions
By charting the average CTC figures for each of the four tests, it’s immediately clear that there’s a clear difference in accuracy between the four similar – yet so slightly different – pellets.
It’s clear that the test gun had a clear preference for the H&N Finale Match Light pellets. Specifically, the 4.50 mm head size was the most accurate.
Again, you would expect to find different results for your air rifle.
The point is that – yes – there ARE definite and significant differences in accuracy that result from very small changes in pellet head size and weight. The only way to find out is to run a test like this where you keep all of the other variables, apart from the pellets, the same.
This is the reason H&N takes the trouble to offer its pellets in multiple head sizes and weights. It enables you to obtain the best accuracy from your airgun!