The Pellet Branding Phenomena & 10 Shot Group

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

When you do a career 180 and begin to spend your work week reviewing airguns, there’s a certain phenomena and awareness that quickly turns to clarity… when seeking the one, you’ve got to try all brands and offshoots of a manufacturer’s pellet and you’ve got to cull with 10 shot groups. Yesterday for example, I spent the day getting familiar with the new Benjamin Maximus Euro, the 12fpe variant that our brethren in the U.K. have access to (and us as well). As always before shooting video, I’ll spend 2-3 days familiarizing myself with the gun’s tendencies & preferences in order to streamline my time come video day. What did I learn this week? … the branding phenomena is reality and my above discovery is true.

Take the below for example:

These are 5 shot groups at 25 yards experimenting with 6 different brands of pellet. I came away from the session thinking the Maximus Euro was a shooter across 4 of the 6 pellet types and in my mind, I’m starting down the path of, “This rifle isn’t pellet fussy at all… but I need to run some more brands through it to confirm.”

But is it?…

I spat all of the above through the Euro and confirmed that I could scratch them off the list. 1-2” groups at 25 certainly wouldn’t work for YouTube land… I’d be leaving this rifle’s reputation permanently scared and forever lost in the airgun graveyard. Having used up the day working through several rounds of culling and cleaning, I finally came away with 9, most of which I felt shot well enough to be consistently dangerous.

Check it out:

Now if you take a moment and study the above, you’re probably feeling fairly confident in a few of these groups, right? Don’t feel bad if you do, I did… that was until this morning when I funneled the assortment one final time and discovered the below takeaways:

Lesson 1: This rifle (and maybe yours) can keep to dime-sized groups 5 maybe 6 times across a good variety of pellets, but when you change the rules of the game, the picture begins to tell a different story. If you truly want to know what pellets your gun will be most consistent with, begin experimenting repeatedly with 10 shot groups and with lots of barrel cleaning in between batches. It’s clear to me now that Maximus Euro .177 is a dagger with the 8.4 gr Air Arms Diabolo Fields… 9/10 landed within .35” of one another. It also performed pretty well with the Diana Magnum and JSB 10.34… all three of which will accompany me on video day tomorrow.

This brings me to lesson 2: Have a another look at the above. The 8.4 gr Diana Exact is supposedly the same pellet as the 8.4 gr Air Arms Diabolo Field. JSB manufactures both and the forums will tell you they’re the same thing just re-branded… but I beg to differ. To me, it’s clear that this rifle performs better with one than the other. If that’s not enough to convince ya, have a look at the Diana Magnum and H&N Baracuda. This is the same scenario… H&N manufactures both brands and to the eye, they look the same… however, they clearly don’t perform the same out of this rifle. In yours, the reverse may be true.

What this means to us airheads is that before you give up on your rifle and call it a lemon, try all the brands and offshoots of a pellet manufacturer. JSB and H&N make most of them, and while seemingly disguised as the same thing, they are not. You’ve got to try them all. Then, once you think you’ve got things narrowed down, make your final decisions with 10 shot groups.

You’ll have a better time shooting & your prey will appreciate it.

YouTuber & Columnist
Steve Scialli


  1. Mike C. says:

    Steve can we have a short description of how you clean your barrels between groups? Thank you.

    1. Hi Mike.

      I never clean between groups but I do clean every hundred shots or so when mixing so many brands of ammo. To clean, I like to pull a Ballistol sprayed Boresnake (with bristles removed) through 3 times. Then I’ll pull Ballistol soaked patches through untiill clean, dry fire 5 times to rid the transfer port and barrel of oil, then pull dry patches through until they come out free of residue.


  2. Ken says:

    Well said Steve, thank you

  3. RidgeRunner says:

    I have been shooting ten shot groups from the get go. I also have a very extensive collection of various pellets. When a new air rifle comes in the door, easily a couple of hundred pellets will go down range before I settle on THE pellet. More often than not I will review the top three or four performing pellets a week or so later just to make sure.

    Thanks for contributing to this blog and thank you for your YouTube reviews.

    1. Sounds like our process is the same, good to hear. Thanks for the nice words about our efforts too.

  4. Chuck Peffley says:

    “This is a copy of a post I made to you on the Airgun Nation on the Bushbuck Bigbore topic today. Thought it also applied here so I copied and pasted it here for you to see.”
    Hi Steve,
    Just a note to let you know how much I enjoy your reviews. One thing that pleases me is the fact that you shoot these guns even under windy, adverse conditions. And the second thing that pleases me very much is that you test these guns with many, many different pellets.

    We know that an air rifle that is super accurate with one certain pellet may not shoot anything else worth a darn, and vice versa… so I am glad that you are revealing this information because there are many people that are brand new to this sport that may think their new rifle is not accurate when in fact with the correct pellet it is super accurate.

    Keep up the good work Steve. If you’re ever in the Fort Lauderdale area let me know ahead of time and I will treat you to some Sashimi tuna! 🙂

    Best regards, Chuck

    1. Steve says:

      Thanks for this note Chuck.

      Normal use review conditions & pellet variety are what the enthusiast wants to see but they both seem to drive all our backers nuts, lol.

      Take care,

  5. Franky Monroe (21grains) says:

    Hi Steve; I Post a lot in UK They Love Your Video’s on Testing Airrifles. I hope You don’t mind Me Posting then in the UK on Planet Airgun, the top Site in UK. I wonder if You ever here from Them about Liking Your Video’s.Take a look at what Say about You and Your Work. Keep them Coming 35 50 75 Yds if Gun & Pellet realy works take it to 100 in 12flb and FAC, They like Both as do I…..Thank’s Franky (21grains)

    1. Steve says:

      Hi Franky,

      Thanks for the hello. I don’t mind at all. If you’re aware of any threads that relay positive feedback about AEAC, please feel free to pass them along and I’ll make good use of them with our sponsors. I looked around there and didn’t see anything. My email is