H&N Baracuda FT Pellet Test Review .177 Caliber
Testers: Doug Wall, Stephen Archer
Test Date: Nov 9, 2023
Source of Supply: Supplied by H&N Sport
Consistent head diameter
We Don't Like
Weight and head dia. slightly above spec.
- Comparison to Makers Claims:80%
- Most Common Head Diameter 90%
- Variation in Head Diameter 80%
- Most Common Weight 60%
- Variation in Weight 80%
- Most Common Length 45%
- Variation in Length 35%
- Dirtiness 90%
HARD AIR MAGAZINE TEST CONCLUSIONS
HAM Gold Award-winning H&N Baracuda FT airgun pellets offer an interesting, mid-to-heavy weight domed pellet in .177 caliber.
With a claimed weight of 9.57 Grains, they fit between the highly-regarded, mid-weight 8.64 Grain Field Target Trophies and the 10.65 Grain Baracuda Match heavies.
This HAM test showed a high level of manufacturing quality and consistency. This will translate into consistent accuracy in downrange shooting, as claimed by the manufacturer.
VALUE FOR MONEY
.177 caliber H&N Baracuda FT airgun pellets are priced at 4.0 Cents each when purchased in a 400-count tin. Given the rate of inflation that has effected the pricing of so many products recently, this is an attractive price for a quality pellet.
Note that this price is calculated – as always – before accounting for the “buy four, pay for three” and similar offers offered by Pyramyd Air and other major online airgun dealers.
TEST DATA SUMMARY
|Price per Pellet||4.00 cents|
|Most Common Weight||9.66 and 9.69 Grains|
|Pellets at That Common Weight||14%|
|Variation in Pellet Weight (Smallest to Largest)||1.77%|
|Most Common Head Diameter||4.53 mm|
|Pellets at That Common Diameter||72%|
|Variation in Diameter (Smallest to Largest)||0.44%|
|Most Common Length||6.41 mm|
|Pellets at That Common Length||18%|
|Variation in Length (Smallest to Largest)||3.17%|
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
Overall, the H&N Baracuda FT pellets tested by HAM were very close to the manufacturer’s specifications.
The average weight of the tested sample was 9.68 Grains – that’s about 1% greater than the specified weight of 9.57 Grains.
The average tested head diameter was 4.53 mm. That’s 0.4% above the 4.51 mm specification.
H&N gives a Ballistic Coefficient spec of 0.018, HAM testing showed 0.015. Again very similar values, with a small difference that – quite possibly in this case – could be due to the measurement technique.
H&N claims that the tin contains 400 pellets. That was exactly the number we counted.
The manufacturer also claims that the Baracuda FT is optimized for competition in Field Target and Hunter Field Target disciplines, yet can be used for hunting small birds and game. The HAM Team agrees with these claims.
There were no damaged or malformed pellets in the tin tested by HAM.
As mentioned above, the head diameters of the Baracuda FT 9.57 Grain pellets tested by HAM were very consistent. 72% had a head diameter of 4.53 mm.
With a smallest head diameter of 4.52 mm and the largest being 4.54 mm, the variation in head diameter in the pellets tested by HAM was just 0.44%. That’s very good consistency.
As always, the H&N Baracuda FT pellets were weighed using HAM’s ultra-sensitive, laboratory-grade Sartorius milligram balance. Here we found a typical “bell curve” distribution, such as is usually found in our testing.
Consistency of weight was definitely better than average among the Baracuda FT pellets tested by HAM. The average weight measured was 9.68 Grains, with 12% of the pellets having that weight.
As can be seen from the chart above, the most common measured pellet weights were 9.66 and 9.69 Grains. 14% of the tested pellets had either of these weights.
The variation in weight between the lightest and heaviest pellets was 1.77%, from a lowest of 9.60 Grains to the heaviest at 9.77 Grains.
HAM testing usually shows length to have the largest variability in airgun pellet manufacture. This is reflected in the Baracuda FT measurements, as we see in the chart above.
However, the variation between shortest and longest – at 3.1% – is a little worse than the average that we normally find in HAM’s structured measurement protocol. Really it was down to that one “flyer” long pellet, though.
A small amount of lead dust and particles is to be expected with any lead airgun pellets. The H&N FT 9.57 Grain .177 Caliber pellets tested by HAM included a total of 0.478 Grains of dirt in the tin. That’s 0.119 Grains per 100 pellets – very low.
The photograph below shows what this looks like when washed onto our standard cloth. As you can see, the vast majority of this was dust. There were very few semi-circular lead shavings, such as we often find when washing pellets.
In HAM testing, we found a Ballistic Coefficient of 0.015. This is very close to the value published by the manufacturer and gives decent performance downrange.
Downrange performance has been charted using the ChairGun ballistics program.
With a muzzle velocity averaging 845 FPS in the standard “1,000 FPS” Beeman 1074 air rifle used for all pellets tests in .177 and .22 calibers, Muzzle Energy was 15.35 Ft/Lbs.
As we can see from the ChairGun graph below, if this “1,000 FPS” air rifle was sighted-in at 27.5 Yards, the H&N Field Target Trophy 8.64 Grain .177 Caliber pellets will have a point of impact within plus or minus half an inch from 11.6 to 42.4 Yards. That’s 31 Yards of effectively “flat” shooting.
When fired into the standard HAM ballistic soap test block using a Beeman 1074 air rifle, the Baracuda FT pellet penetrated a total of 52 mm into the target. The entry wound was 8 mm in diameter.
When retrieved from the soap, it could be seen that the 4.53 mm head diameter had expanded only slightly to 4.67 mm after impact. The length was reduced from an un-fired 6.38 mm to 5.92 mm.
The fired pellet is shown on the right of the photograph below. If you look carefully you can see slight rifling marks in head and skirt.
So it’s clear that .177 caliber H&N Baracuda FT 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 850 to 950 FPS, that means that the Baracuda FTs would be ideally-suited for hunting with air rifles having a Muzzle Energy between 15 and 19 Ft/Lbs at ranges out to about 40 Yards.
BUYING AND OWNING
Baracuda FT pellets are widely available online from the usual outlets such as Pyramyd Air.
H&N Baracuda FT 9.57 Grain .177 Caliber pellets ship in a screw top tin that works very well. Unlike push top tins, there’s no concern that the top will somehow part from the bottom of the tin at an inconvenient moment!
There’s no padding in the tin, but no damage from shipping was found in the pellets tested by HAM.
H&N recommends using Baracuda FT pellets in air rifles with a minimum Muzzle Energy of 12 Ft/Lbs. HAM test results confirm the validity of this.
Hunting and Field Target competition are thus ideal uses for these Baracuda pellets – as you would expect from the name!
Chairgun is a product of Hawke Sports Optics LLC and is used with permission. Check out http://www.hawkeoptics.com
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.
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