Why Are Benjamin Match Grade Single Die Pellets Better?
In the recent HAM test review, we found that these pellets gave excellent results for overall consistency. That’s why they received a Gold Award. But why are Benjamin Match Grade Single Die pellets better?
To answer this question, I visited the company’s Bloomfield headquarters and spoke to the key players in this initiative. Here’s what I found…
Building On History
First off, they’ve been manufacturing airgun pellets in Bloomfield, New York – and Fairport, New York before that – for many, many years. After all, Crosman, which is in the same Velocity Outdoor group as Benjamin Airguns, celebrates its century in business this year – 2023.
So it would be fair to say that there’s a huge history of pellet-making experience in the company. How many pellets have they manufactured in total? It has to be in the Zillions – at least!
Below. The Benjamin Match Grade Pellets build on the tradition of Crosman “die marked” pellets (box on the left).
But Benjamin Match Grade Single Die pellets are different and better. The company has really ramped-up their game with these pellets and the results are clear to see, both in HAM testing and user feedback.
The plan is to incorporate these enhancements into future Benjamin Match Grade Pellets in additional calibers, too.
So what’s this “Single Die” thing? Well, it turns-out that while this is a major part of the new product’s benefits, it’s not the only one. There’s actually a lot more design and manufacturing excellence that’s incorporated, as we will find in this article.
They’re Really US Manufactured!
Benjamin and Crosman are proud of being US companies. All the people I spoke to are proud to have developed these new pellets here. (The process took no less than 12 months). They are proud that the pellets are manufactured in New York, too.
In fact, there’s more than that. The lead for Benjamin Match Grade Single Die pellets is supplied by US manufacturers. The company can prove it, with their process-checking control system. The pellet-making dies are manufactured in the US too.
Below. Ed Schultz is a leading player in this project.
Process Control Is Key
So what is Process Control? Simply-stated it describes a system where everything is tracked to keep within certain pre-defined limits. The tighter the limits, the greater the consistency of the finished product – and the higher the manufacturing cost!
Documentation is a vital part of this as – without comprehensive records – no-one can know what those limits are, or if they are being attained.
Of course, these Benjamin pellets are made from lead. But in fact, it’s not any old lead, rather lead with a precise chemical specification and definite physical properties. So making consistent, precision-manufactured pellets starts with setting that specification for the material and selecting the vendor it’s purchased from.
If the lead vendor cannot deliver consistent, high-quality raw material – and prove it with appropriate process control – the resulting pellets will not be consistent, however good the subsequent manufacturing processes.
Below. Benjamin Team designer Ethan Butterfield won the Open Clas Speed Silhouette match at EBR 2023 using pre-production Benjamin Match Grade Single Die pellets in .22 caliber.
Why Is This Lead Special?
The lead used in Benjamin Match Grade pellets is manufactured to a special specification for both chemical properties and hardness. It’s another element of what makes Benjamin Match Grade Single Die Pellets better.
As most air gunners will know, Crosman and Benjamin pellets have always seemed harder than most. Even a basic “thumbnail test” (pushing against a pellet with your thumbnail) proves this. In fact, the hardness specification for the new Benjamin pellets is set high for two reasons.
One is to prevent damage in transit, particularly of the pellet’s “skirt”, the most vulnerable part. After all, there’s no point in manufacturing perfect pellets if they do not make it to the user in pristine condition.
The second is that the Benjamin experts find that harder lead produces improved internal ballistics in the barrel with this design when the pellet is fired.
Now, internal ballistics is a hugely-complicated subject. You can learn more about it by reading this “Airgun Technical” post made in HAM by Technical Editor Bob Sterne back in 2019.
OK, So What About The Single Die Thing?
As you would expect, the die is what forms the lead into its final shape as a pellet.
Again, the dies used for Benjamin Match Grade Single Die pellets are designed and manufactured in the USA. They are painstakingly manufactured from special hardened tool steel (that steel is US-made, too).
The Benjamin folk told me that this steel is so hard that there’s practically no wear from the lead – even over millions of pellets manufactured. Such wear as there is is due to to the halves of the die moving and closing against each other. But – again – we’re talking of HUGE numbers before that will show any effect on the die.
In fact, the die used to manufacture these Benjamin pellets is actually in two halves. (Some other pellet manufacturers may use dies with more sections). That’s can be seen if you take a very close look at a pellet with a magnifying glass.
So, Is It Die Or Dies?
The “Single Die” name is derived from the fact that every pellet in a specific tin of Benjamin Match Grade Single Die Pellets will have been produced by the same die – even though that die is actually in two parts.
Knowledgeable airgunners want to know that the pellets in one tin are as consistent as possible. After all, that’s a key component of down-range accuracy.
Having found a pellet that works well for them, they then also want to know how they can buy multiple tins of “the same” pellet. This is where the Bloomfield Team’s process control comes-in again.
Benjamin Match Grade Single Die Pellets are packed with 12 tins to a master pack. This means that – if you order 12 tins from the Benjamin Airguns website – you will receive one master pack and that all the pellets will be from the same die.
Should you order 12 tins from another airgun dealer, you would be dependent on that dealer keeping the master packs whole and shipping a complete one to you. Understandably that’s something over which the manufacturer has little control.
Does It Tell Me On The Tin?
Another thing knowledgeable air gunners want is that tins of pellets should be marked in some way to confirm that the contents all come from from the same manufacturing batch.
Naturally, this is something that the Bloomfield Team is well aware-of. After all, they have some serious competitive shooters among their ranks!
Turning the tin over, you can see that the batch number is printed on the bottom of each one. In addition, the Team plans also to print batch information on the 12-tin master packs.
I’d like to thank the Bloomfield Team for explaining some pretty complicated stuff to me in a simple, understandable way. I’ve tried to convey what makes Benjamin Match Grade Single Die pellets better in this article. If it’s still not clear. It’s my fault, not theirs!