Elliott’s First Law of Pellet Perversity

Monday, October 20, 2008

A while back I got a telephone call from an airgunning friend. He was testing a new airgun, and he was frustrated.

“You would think,” he said, “that a gun built by Crosman would shoot at least one Crosman pellet well.”

“No, I don’t think that at all,” I said.

He was astonished that I could have such a thought, and he said so. Clearly, he didn’t understand Elliott’s First Law of Pellet Perversity, which says:

“Any airgun built by any particular airgun manufacturer will rarely, if ever, shoot well with pellets made by that same manufacturer.”

There you have it. The short version of the Law is: if you have a Brand X airgun, it will inevitably shoot Brand Y pellets the best. I’ve been messing around with adult precision airguns for a while now, and I’ve seen the First Law of Pellet Perversity play itself out with creepy consistency time after time.

Now, just in case you are new to adult precision airguns, here’s a thing you need to know: every airgun will “prefer” a particular type of pellet and deliver the most consistent accuracy with that pellet. Sometimes, if you are lucky, an airgun will have two different pellets that it shoots will really good accuracy. To find out which pellet(s) your airguns “likes,” you usually have to try several different kinds of pellets, shooting them for groups at the same distance until a clear winner emerges.

So, how does the First Law of Pellet Perversity play out in real life? Currently, in my gun closet, I have two rifles from Beeman, an R7 and an R1, both in .177. Does either of them work best with a pellet from Beeman? No, of course not! The R7 works well with either Crosman 7.9 grain Premiers (also known as CPLs, for Crosman Premier Lights) or Daisy Maxspeed wadcutters. The R1 prefers CPLs and isn’t happy with anything else.

Also in my gun cabinets, I have two RWS 54 recoilless spring-piston air rifles, one in .177 and the other in .22. Neither of them “likes” pellets from RWS. The 54 in .177 is very happy with 10.5 grain Crosman Premiers (Crosman Premier Heavies, or CPHs), and the .22 version seems very well pleased with JSB .22 Jumbo Express pellets.

None of my Benjamin or Sheridan multi-stroke pneumatic rifles delivers their best accuracy with Crosman, Benjamin, or Sheridan pellets, but boy do they love any pellet made by JSB! I will admit, though, that all of the .20 caliber Sheridans shoot Benjamin cylindrical pellets with decent, but not their best, accuracy. My Steroid Sheridan Blue Streak delivers very good accuracy with non-lead Dynamic SPC-5 pellets while my Sheridan Silver Streak (surprise!) thinks these same pellets are downright indigestible and sprays them all over the place.

Just to keep me on my toes, there are exceptions to the Law. My Crosman Discovery shoots CPLs pretty well, but I have the feeling that somewhere out there is a non-Crosman pellet that will produce even better results. Cliff Tharp, the producer of the “Airgun Hunting the California Ground Squirrel” DVD, tells me that his Discovery shoots best with a Beeman pellet that was discontinued years ago, but he bought up a supply at bargain basement prices when they stopped making them.

The bottom line to this bit of fun is that, to achieve the highest accuracy with your airgun, you’re going to have to test a bunch of different pellets to see which one gives you the best results. And when it turns out that it doesn’t shoot worth a darn pellets from the same company that manufactured the gun, now you know why.

One Comment

  1. Marvin says:

    My modified Crosman .177 pumper actually loves the Crosman Premier 7.9 pellets – go figure.

    Take care!

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