What is the best hunting pellet for my airgun?
Finding the right pellet can be a challenge given the multitude of choices now available. The short answer is this: The best hunting pellet is the most accurate pellet from your airgun.
Here’s why: Airguns do not necessarily kill with raw power like firearms. In fact, the majority of airguns on the market produce less than 30 Ft.-Lbs of energy. Compared to a standard 22LR rimfire bullet, which produces over 100 Ft.-Lbs of energy, it is easy to understand how shot placement is the most important aspect of airgun hunting.
The most accurate pellet will likely be a quality one made by a reputable manufacturer. If you happen to own an airgun that is accurate with many different types of pellet, you can begin to check out the varying options of hunting-oriented pellet designs on the market. The ideal hunting pellet is one that will penetrate well into your game without simply passing all the way through. Usually the pellet will achieve this by deforming or expanding enough to disperse its energy before it makes an exit.
Traditional diabolo-shaped pellets work well with low to moderately powered airguns on most smaller, thin-skinned game. When you need more penetration for tougher game, pointed pellets can be used. There are several variants to choose from, including some with exotic materials in the end that help with aerodynamics and penetration – but also aid in forcing the hollowed lead portion of the pellet to expand. There are also hollow-tipped pellets that can be used with higher powered guns to start expanding the instant they contact the target.
Some pellets are designed for varying ranges and/or power levels. Heavier round nose pellets are often designed for long distance and mostly to be shot from higher-powered airguns. Often, the pellet manufacturer will give examples of the type of game intended to be hunted with each model they offer. Some even provide a recommended power level to ensure the pellet is performing as designed. For example: H&N’s Piledriver is a boat-tail pellet designed specifically for PCP rifles and requires a minimum of 18.5 (.177cal) or 29.5 (.22cal) Ft.-Lbs of muzzle energy in order to perform well.
If you want a good place to start, try our Vortex Supreme pellets. They are quality pellets and have been designed specifically for Hatsan airguns. If you’re looking for a more specific hunting recommendation, our preferences tend to lean toward H&N’s Baracuda Hunter Extreme, Hornet, and Sniper Magnum pellets (depending on the gun, caliber, and game).