Pellet guns make for great hunting tools, especially when dealing with pests or harvesting small game. They are quiet, affordable, and very accurate out to 50 and 100 yards depending on your specific airgun. While the gun and the shooter behind the trigger play a huge role, it’s the pellet that’s flying downrange and doing the dirty work. To make sure you get the best result on your next hunting trip, let’s talk about some of the best hunting pellets out there.
Accuracy over Energy
Pellet guns are useful because you can put that pellet exactly where you need to make a clean, ethical hunting shot. At least that’s the goal anyway. If you can’t make that shot nine out of ten times, you need to sort out why. It may be that you are too far away, or you need more practice, or it may be outside the reasonable expectation of your equipment. Regardless of the reason, ethical hunters will sort out how to make the most of their gear and stay within an ethical hunting range.
Much of the time, it comes down to finding the correct pellet for the job. It’s less about the shape of the pellet and all about “does it hit the same spot each time I pull the trigger.” Let’s look at some ways to help shorten the learning curve and test time on the bench.
Inside 35 Yards
Airguns that shoot close to 20 foot-pounds and more should have an easy time inside 35 yards. Most “quality” pellets are going to be accurate enough to get the job done. If you are taking game with thicker fur, consider a good pointed pellet like the JSB Polymags, Metalmags, or the H&N Hornets. All of these are absolutely devastating on small game up close.
For pest birds, mice, and rats, a good hollow point will work great. The 14.3 Grain Crosman Premier Hollow Point pellets are very affordable and will certainly get the job done. Other pellets like the often-overlooked RWS Super-H-Point pellets also are a great option.
35 to 60 Yards
When you start looking past 35 yards, you should be shooting over 20 foot-pounds, and ideally more up near 30 foot-pounds if you hunt pests like prairie dogs or woodchucks. A good heavy hollow point or an accurate pointed pellet will be your best bet.
For the heavy hollow point, consider the H&N Baracuda Hunter or Baracuda Hunter Extreme. Also, the new JSB Hades are proving to be very effective. These pellets have many characteristics as a domed pellet and are considered “match” hunting pellets. The Baracuda pellets have a few grains on the Hades and retain their energy a little further downrange. The Hades however, expand with less energy generally deliver the same accuracy as the 15.89 grain JSB domed pellets, some of the most accurate pellets in the world.
60 to 100 Yards
Being able to consistently put a pellet inside a quarter at 60 to 100 yards takes exceptional skill and some great airgun gear. World-class shooters struggle to make it happen. When accuracy at range is critical, then look to match grade domed pellets. They may not offer “expansion” like hollow pointed pellets, but they deliver what’s most important, and that’s hitting the target way out there.
Some of the best options in .22 caliber will be the H&N Baracuda Match at 21.14 grain. The JSB 18.13s are also top-shelf pellets for ranges out to 100 yards. Both pellets remain stable in higher-powered airguns as well, making them a great go-to for just about any shooting opportunity.
Past 100 Yards
Shooting past 100 yards with an airgun is possible. Not always practical, but with the right gear and shooter, it can be done. Today airgunners have options that were simply not commercially available just a couple of years ago. This not only applies to the airguns themselves but, more critically, the ammo.
With airgun slugs available from JSB, H&N, FX, and others, you can’t ignore the benefits they bring to the table. Essentially, provided your airgun can drive them, you have hollow point bullets that retain velocity and energy long after pellets fall out of the sky.
Airgunners are stretching things out beyond 200 yards with hunting accuracy. That certainly changes things.
Get Out & Get Shooting
The best way to know what’s really going to work for you and your airgun setup is to get out and just do the work at the bench. From there, you’ll know what pellets will work best for your gear, and you’ll know the effective hunting range as well. And if you need help, just give us a call, and we’ll be happy to get you started in the right direction.