Predator Polymag 8 Grain .177 Caliber Pellet Test Review
Oct 5, 2018
Supplied by Predator International.
Huge skirt expansion in target.
Excellent head diameter consistency.
Length may cause some mag issues.
VALUE FOR MONEY
As with other two-part hunting pellets, Predator Polymag pellets are expensive. This is understandable, given the obvious extra stages of manufacture involved in making and inserting the polymer tip into the lead skirt.
However, hunters generally take relatively few shots and price may not be so important compared to effectiveness in this case. And, of course, by taking advantage of “buy four, get one free” offers from major online retailers, the 7.24 cents per pellet price can be significantly reduced for many hunters.
The polymer tip and lead skirt is intended to give both penetration and expansion in the target, combined with accuracy. This does result in a rather long pellet.
However the .177 caliber Predator Polymag does fit into the common Benjamin Marauder/Umarex Gauntlet type of magazine, as well as that of the FX Impact, for example. (If in doubt, the Polymag Short version fits into all popular magazines and airguns).
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TEST DATA SUMMARY
|Price per Pellet||7.24 cents|
|Most Common Weight||8.15 Grains
|Pellets at That Common Weight||14%
|Variation in Pellet Weight (Smallest to Largest)||3.11%|
|Most Common Head Diameter||4.53 mm|
|Pellet at That Common Head Diameter||92%|
|Variation in Head Diameter (Smallest to Largest)||0.44%|
|Most Common Length||9.08 mm|
|Pellets at That Common Length||22%|
|Variation in Length (Smallest to Largest)||1.11%|
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
Predator International makes some big claims for these pellets. They say Predator Polymag pellets offer “match grade accuracy with incomparable penetration and expansion.” They also say that these are “proven the best hunting pellet made” with “superior accuracy and take-down punch”.
As is well-known, HAM pellet tests do not include accuracy testing, as this is a result of the complete “shooting system” of airgun, pellet, scope, shooter and environment. However the good manufacturing consistency demonstrated by the Polymags we tested does indicate that they should be accurate in many airguns.
Expansion into the HAM standard soap block was very considerable and would result in massive target trauma, as claimed. The fired pellet had doubled in diameter to 9.08 mm from 4.53 mm when unfired. This – in itself – will make the Predator Polymag a devastating hunting pellet within its intended range of targets.
The tin of Polymags tested by HAM contained 199 pellets. This compared to the claim of 200 pellets made on the label.
Pellet weight is given as “8 Grains”. The average weight of the Polymags tested by HAM was 8.18 Grains. Given that the claimed pellet weight is given only to one significant figure, the pellets tested by HAM met that claim.
Head diameter consistency was a strong suit for the Predator Polymag pellets tested by HAM.
No less than 92% of the tested pellets had the same 4.53 mm head diameter. That is the sort of figure we would expect from match-grade pellets. Variation in length was also minimal at just 0.44% between the smallest and largest head diameters tested.
Variation in weight was about average for the Predator Polymag pellets tested by HAM.
As can be seen from the chart below, the most common weights were 8.15 and 8.19 Grains. 14% of the pellets tested were found to have either of these weights. This is an above-average performance.
The variation in weight between lightest and heaviest was slightly worse than usual at 3.11%, however.
As always, weight measurements were made using HAM’s incredibly-precise, laboratory-grade milligram balance.
It’s clear that manufacture of two-part pellets like the Predator Polymag carries the potential for more manufacturing variability than conventional, one-piece pellets. However, length consistency was also good in the pellets tested by HAM.
22% of the tested pellets had the same overall length of 9.08 mm – that’s an average figure. However, the variability in length between the shortest and longest pellets tested was just 1.11%, which is an excellent figure!
The Predator Polymag pellets tested by HAM showed less than average dirtiness which – of course – is good. There was just 0.170 Grains of manufacturing junk per 100 pellets in the tin tested by HAM.
As the photograph below shows, the majority of this was lead dust and shavings. However, there’s a few red polymer shavings also.
In spite of this, all normal handling precautions should be taken, as with any other lead pellets.
When fired from HAM’s standard Beeman 1074 test gun, Predator Polymag 8 Grain .177 caliber pellets had an average Muzzle Velocity of 872.2 FPS. The low Standard Deviation of 6.18 FPS is a result of the good manufacturing consistency of these pellets.
With a Ballistic Coefficient of 0.012 found from HAM testing, these Polymags shoot effectively “flat” from 11 to 39 Yards, as shown by Chairgun. But, even at 35 Yards, the Muzzle Energy has been reduced by 50%. This makes these Polymags most effective as a relatively short range hunting pellet.
HAM’s standard soap block penetration test showed Predator Polymag pellets to give up their energy very rapidly in the target. This led to limited penetration, but large expansion of the lead skirt.
This limited penetration is by design. The limited penetration is a function of this significant expansion, ensuring maximum shock effect in the target. The lead skirt penetrated 35 mm into the standard HAM soap block. The tip separated inside the target and traveled less far.
The polymer tip separated from the skirt in the target medium and traveled less far. It ended-up pointing backwards, as can be seen in the photograph below.
This close-up photograph graphically illustrates the manner in which the central, necked part of the lead skirt expands and flattens on impact. This would lead to devastating wounding of the quarry and a high probability of a humane one-shot kill when hunting.
BUYING AND OWNING
Predator Polymag 8 Grain .177 caliber pellets are supplied in small tins of 200 pellets. There’s a foam sheet in the top to provide padding in transit. Tin size and padding are obviously suitable as no damaged or malformed pellets were found in the tin tested by HAM.
As ever, we don’t like the push top tin lid! This is – in the HAM Team’s opinion – always less satisfactory than a screw-top tin. We recommend transferring Polymags to a good quality pellet pouch, or pre-loading into magazines for use in the field.
Finally, you’re very unlikely to find Polymags in your local big box sporting goods store. However, they’re readily available for purchase online.
Chairgun is a product of Hawke Sports Optics LLC and is used with permission. Check out http://www.hawkeoptics.com
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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.