H&N Baracuda 18 18.13 Grain .22 Caliber Airgun Pellet Review
Testers: Doug Wall, Stephen Archer
Test Date: Feb 24, 2022
Source of Supply: Supplied By H&N Sport CONDITION
Very good price
Generally excellent consistency
We Don't Like
Just a few “outliers” in our tin
Limited expansion in target
- Comparison to Makers Claims:80%
- Most Common Head Diameter 50%
- Variation in Head Diameter 50%
- Most Common Weight 80%
- Variation in Weight 60%
- Most Common Length 60%
- Variation in Length 45%
- Dirtiness 80%
HARD AIR MAGAZINE TEST CONCLUSIONS
H&N Baracuda 18 18.13 Grain .22 caliber pellets earned a solid HAM Silver Award on test. Without just a few “outliers” this would have easily been a Gold Award pellet.
At 18+ Grains, this is a very suitable pellet for hunting with the many PCP air rifles having a Muzzle Energy of between 26 and 35 Ft/Lbs, so long as the intention is penetration rather than in-target expansion. It’s likely also to be useful for mid-range target shooting and plinking, too.
VALUE FOR MONEY
H&N Baracuda 18 18.13 Grain pellets are a fairly recent introduction from the famous German manufacturer of airgun ammunition. H&N positions the Baracuda 18 as an intermediate design between the long-established Field Target Trophy and Baracuda Match lines. That’s clearly so if we compare the three types in the photograph below.
From left to right, we have Field Target Trophy, Baracuda 18 and Baracuda Match.
For quality airgun ammo, there’s no doubt that the H&N Baracuda 18 18.13 Grain pellets are well priced. In fact, at 4.0 Cents per shot, they’re exactly at the Median price for .22 caliber lead airgun pellets in the US market.
That obviously makes them great value!
TEST DATA SUMMARY
|Price per Pellet||4.00 cents|
|Most Common Weight||18.27 Grains|
|Pellets at That Common Weight||20%|
|Variation in Pellet Weight (Smallest to Largest)||2.1%|
|Most Common Head Diameter||5.54 mm|
|Pellets at That Common Diameter||58%|
|Variation in Diameter (Smallest to Largest)||0.73%|
|Most Common Length||7.89 mm|
|Pellets at That Common Length||24%|
|Variation in Length (Smallest to Largest)||2.69%|
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
The manufacturer ships H&N Baracuda 18 18.13 Grain pellets in tins of 200. HAM found that no less than 204 pellets were in the tin we tested. More is good – right?
The weight claim for the Baracuda 18s is 18.13 Grains. However there was a tendency for the pellets tested by HAM to be slightly heavier than this. In fact the average weight of the sample tested by HAM was 18.25 Grains. Yes, it’s heavier than the spec, but only by 0.7%.
At an average of 5.54mm, the head diameter of the sample pellets tested by HAM was also slightly larger than the 5.52 mm spec. That’s a difference of just 0.4%. Again that’s very close and shows both the tight tolerances to which airgun pellets are manufactured and to which HAM tests!
H&N claims a BC of 0.029 for the Baracuda 18s. Appropriately, that’s between the values for the Field Target Trophy and Baracuda Match pellets. HAM matched that value in our testing.
Of the 204 pellets in the tin tested by HAM, just one had any damage – a bent skirt.
The H&N Baracuda 18 18.13 Grain pellets tested by HAM showed very good consistency of head diameter. Fully 90% of the tested pellets had a head diameter of either 5.53 or 5.54 mm. True, there were a few outliers, but they were not far off.
The difference between the smallest and largest head diameters measured by HAM was just 0.73%
As always, HAM measured pellet weights using our laboratory-grade precision balance that measures to an accuracy of one thousandth of a Gram. This time we found that 88% of the pellets were in a tight range between 18.21 and 18.35 Grains (a difference of about 0.75%).
However, we also measured some outliers which – unfortunately – spread the range out. You can see this in the chart below.
Length is usually the parameter that shows the largest variation in HAM pellet testing. In the case of the H&N Baracuda 18 18.13 Grain pellets in this review, length was VERY well controlled between 7.81 mm and 7.96 mm. All except for one pesky outlier, as you can see below…
It’s just these very few outlier measurements that cost the H&N Baracuda 18 18.13 Grain pellets tested by HAM their Gold Award 🙁
As is the case with most quality pellets nowadays, the H&N Baracuda 18 18.13 Grain pellets tested by HAM showed very little sign of lead dust and junk from manufacturing.
In fact, only 0.56 Grains of dust and slivers were washed off of the 204 sample pellets during the HAM standard washing procedure. That’s very good.
In HAM testing, we found a Ballistic Coefficient of 0.029. This matched the value published by the manufacturer and gives decent performance downrange, as we can see from the chart below.
The result is that the Baracuda 18s retain about 67 of their Muzzle Energy at 50 Yards. That figure is still 57% out at 70 Yards.
H&N Baracuda 18 18.13 Grain pellets are positioned by the manufacturer as a hunting pellet for medium game out to about 50 Yards range.
As we can see from the standard HAM soap test, below, the pellet traveled 48mm into the block at a 603 FPS Muzzle Velocity. The wound channel was 8mm in diameter at impact.
When retrieved from the soap, it could be seen that the 5.53 mm head diameter had expanded only slightly from 5.53 mm to 5.55 mm after impact. The length was reduced from an un-fired 7.87 mm to 7.66 mm.
So it’s clear that H&N Baracuda 18 18.13 Grain pellets are most suitable for hunting where penetration in the target is required, rather than expansion.
If we accept the general rule (proven by HAM) that best accuracy is achieved at 800 to 950 FPS, that means that the Baracuda 18s would be ideally-suited for hunting with air rifles having a Muzzle Energy in the 26 to 36 Ft/Lbs range. out to 50 Yards or so.
There’s a very large number of PCPs out there that fit into that range in .22 caliber!
BUYING AND OWNING
Baracuda 18 pellets are widely available online from the usual outlets such as Pyramyd Air. They’re packed in tins with H&N’s “best in class” screw-top lid. That lid is not too hard to unscrew, yet it stays in place well when carried in a range bag.
Chairgun is a product of Hawke Sports Optics LLC and is used with permission. Check out http://www.hawkeoptics.com
BUY FROM PYRAMYD AIR
H&N Baracuda 18, .22 Cal, 18.13 Grains, Round Nose, 200ct 0.22
Understanding HAM Pellet Awards
HAM Pellet Awards come from the most rigorous, professional and comprehensive pellet testing by any independent publication. They are the result of much precise measurement and analysis using high precision measuring devices and highly-experienced testers.
Note that accuracy is a product of the complete “system” of airgun, scope, atmospheric conditions and shooter ability – not the pellet alone.
This means that no pellet test review can predict the accuracy of a particular pellet with YOUR individual air rifle. That’s why we do not measure accuracy in these pellet tests.
What HAM Pellet Awards do recognize is manufacturing consistency. Inconsistent pellets definitely will be inaccurate, consistent pellets are much more likely to be accurate.
HAM Awards also recognize value. There’s considerable variation in the price of airgun pellets. This means that an 8 cent pellet needs to score higher than a 2 cent pellet to achieve an award.
For full details of the HAM Pellet Award scoring methodology, please check out our Pellet Testing page.
For a full listing of HAM-tested Ballistic Coefficients, please see our Ballistic Coefficients page.
This entire article including scoring, data etc is Copyright Hard Air Magazine and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the publisher.