The Best Airgun Ballistics Source Is Now Even Better. Plus a BC Surprise!

Hard Air Magazine continues to add more material to what is already the best airgun ballistics source anywhere on the Internet.

Now we have added links from our outstanding airgun ballistics BC page to the appropriate full comprehensive individual pellet reviews in HAM. All you need to do is click on the red product name and you’ll be taken directly to the review.

Thanks to HAM Technical Editor Bob Sterne for this suggestion!

As we’ve also received some questions from readers asking for some “101 level” explanations on airgun ballistics. We’ll cover these in a Q&A format here…

Question: How do BCs vary between calibers?

Answer: Generally, the larger the caliber, the higher the Ballistic Coefficient for pellets of similar shapes. The table here gives a summary of how airgun ballistics vary by type of pellet and caliber. It’s a summary of the HAM airgun Ballistic Coefficients data.

 .177 Caliber.22 Caliber.25 Caliber
Wadcutter0.010 to 0.0120.010 to 0.013N/a
Pointed0.010 to 0.0150.012 to 0.0280.019 to 0.021
Domed0.012 to 0.0250.012 to 0.0390.022 to 0.046
Cylindrical0.025 to 0.0330.018 to 0.083N/a

As you can see, there’s some overlap in BC values between calibers, but the trend is pretty clear. There’s no data available for wadcutter pellets in .25 caliber as none are available!

Question: Why are airgun Ballistic Coefficients so different to those for firearms?

Answer: Basically because of the size and shape of the projectile. Airgun pellets are “waisted” with the familiar diabolo shape. The bullets fired from firearms are much bigger, longer and have no waist. Often they are sharply pointed with a boat tail end. This makes a DRAMATIC difference to their Ballistic Coefficients.

The Best Airgun Ballistics Source Is Now Even Better. Plus a BC Surprise!

Above. That’s .303 British and 9 mm Mauser military ammo alongside a .177 wadcutter and two .22 caliber domed pellets for comparison.

Question: Looking at airgun ballistics, does a higher BC give a flatter trajectory?

Answer: Yes, that’s correct. Pellets with higher Ballistic Coefficients will shoot flatter than ones with a lower BC.

Question: Surely pointed pellets give the best airgun ballistics – don’t they?

Answer: Surprisingly no, not necessarily. HAM Ballistic Coefficient testing shows that wadcutter pellets have the lowest BC values, as you would expect. But some pointed pellets can have equally low BCs – as you can see from our chart answering the first question, above.

Generally, domed pellets have higher BCs than pointed pellets and cylindrical (un-waisted) pellets have the highest BCs – the best airgun ballistics.

The Best Airgun Ballistics Source Is Now Even Better. Plus a BC Surprise!

I hope this helps!