When shooting an air gun, it is imperative that you know the magic pellet for your particular air gun so that you will be able to consistently hit where you are aiming. Finding the magic pellet is a fairly simple task. All you need is a gun vise, a piece of copy machine paper for a target, a piece of wood for a backstop, and several different weights of pellets that match the caliber of your air gun.
Start by mounting your air gun in your gun vise and aim it in the direction of your target. Make sure that your gun vise is also locked down so that it cannot move. Take a medium weight pellet and fire a shot at your target to see where the pellet hits. Move your backstop with your target attached instead of your air gun until you are hitting the near the middle of the target. Then lock down your target so that it cannot move.
What you are doing is finding the perfect balance of pellet weight to air pressure. When you find this balance, you will know the perfect weight of the pellets to use for your air gun. This will allow you to predictably hit where you aim every time. This perfect weight is called the “magic pellet”.
You always want to start with the lightest caliber pellet, shoot a string of six shots and take a look the diameter of the group you have produced.
For example, let’s say that your air gun is .22 caliber and its air pressure is 3000 pounds per square inch (psi). An 11 grain pellet may exceed the speed of sound (1125 feet per second- fps), make a nice loud crack, but produce a group of holes three inches in diameter for a string of six shots at ten meters and but barely stick into the backstop. It would be hard to hit anything with this pellet because there is too much air pressure for the weight of the pellet.
Label your target, remove it from the backstop and install a new target for your next six shot string. Move up in weight to a 17 grain pellet and then to a 21 grain pellet and observe that the group diameter is becoming smaller. With each heavier pellet weight, you are coming closer to balancing the pellet weight to air pressure.
Then move up in weight to a 28 grain pellet and the group diameter narrows even more and you may notice that the penetration is becoming deeper with each consecutive six shot sequence. This means you are getting closer. The weight of the pellet and the air pressure are beginning to balance.
Then Move up in weight again to a 32 grain pellet and you will see that there is no longer a diameter of holes, but a single hole for the six shot string and the pellet has gone completely through your backstop. You have arrived! The weight of the pellet and the air pressure are now in perfect balance.
Once you have found the ideal weight you do not want to go heavier. A lot of people think that heavier is better, however this is not true. When you go heavier you will notice that penetration becomes less because the pellet is too heavy for the air pressure. This also causes the pellet to not fly straight and you will miss your target.
Regardless of the caliber or the air pressure produced by your air gun, this simple procedure will work for you every time so that you will always know the magic pellet for your air gun.
But what about the other pellet weights? Do you just throw them away? Were they a waste of money? Not at all, in a future article I will discuss how it is possible for an air gun to indeed have more than one magic pellet.
In the meantime remember, to hit where you are aiming, a shooter must know the magic pellet.