Well, I think I've found a solution to the issue of the tips separating from the bodies of these pellets. If you've been following my adventure with these new pellets, you know that they initially looked very good from the stand point of weight consistency, and head diameter consistency. Then I took them out and shot them on paper. I was shooting them out of my Benjamin Discovery. If you ignored the flyers, the accuracy was quite good, but you obviously can't ignore the flyers, and those were being caused by the zinc tip separating from the pellet body, in flight, on many of them. There was also an issue with some pellets yawing. The first hint that there could be problems, was when I found loose tips in the tin when I was weight sorting them.
But, even with all of that, I decided that I just wasn't quite ready to give up on them just yet. I wanted to see if I could figure out why the tips were separating from the Pellet bodies in flight. When I weight sorted the initial tin of 200 pellets, I had one group of 53 that weighed 17.3 grains. I took that group, and decided to see how tightly the tips were being held in the pellet bodies.
My method was very basic, and very simple. I used a pair of tweezers to see how difficult it would be to pull the tips out of the pellets. I was surprised by how easy it actually was. Some were so lose, that I barely touched them and they came right out. Of the 53 pellets, I had 12 where the tips were in to stay, and could not easily be removed.
In thinking about the problem, I realized that the tips just needed a little something extra, that would give more adhesion to the stem to bind it to the pellet body. The tips only weigh about 1.4 grains. It's not like they need to be epoxied in. Initially, I thought about Super Glue, but I hate working with that stuff. Before I'm done, I'll have fingers glued to fingers, tweezers glued to fingers, or tweezers glued to pellets, or all of the above, and it's probably overkill anyway.
Plan "B" involved the use of a bottle of clear fingernail polish that I swiped from my wife's girly stuff drawer. It turned out to be the perfect solution to the lose tip problem.
After removing the tip from the pellet, I would simply wipe the stem against the applicator brush from the nail polish bottle, and that would apply a small amount of polish to the stem. I would then re-insert the tip back into the pellet body, and then set it skirt down on the table top to dry. Would it work? I was about to find out.
I headed out into the forest to my shooting spot. While setting everything up, I realized that I had left my wind flags back at the house. The good news is the wind was forcast to be moderate today.
As usual I would be shooting from my stand, off of bags front and rear. I started with the target frame at 25 yards. I had a couple of questions in my mind. One, I wondered if taking the tips out and gluing them back in would have a negative effect on the accuracy, and two, if the tips would now stay in the pellet bodies in flight.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm not looking for benchrest accuracy from these pellets. They are a specialized hunting pellet intended for use on larger tougher critters, such as raccoons, skunks, possums, nutria etc.
Those critters have good sized kill zones, and in my personal experience, excluding nutria, which I have never hunted, are taken at fairly close ranges. The raccoons and possums that I've taken, over the years, were all under 25 yards.
The good news so far is, no tip separations. Next, I moved the target frame out to 40 yards, and shot five more Metalmags at another orange dot. The result of that effort is below.
Again, a good group, and no tip separations. The gun is sighted in for the 18 grain JSB's, and I want to leave it that way, so I didn't make any scope corrections to adjust the POI. For what I want to do today this will work just fine.
Out to 50 yards goes the target frame. The wind has picked up, running right to left, but I'll give it a go anyway.
Looking good so far. Not one tip separation, and me taking the tips out, and then gluing them back in hasn't had any negative effect on accuracy that I can see. There is still some slight indication of yawing on some pellets, but not severe enough to effect the intended purpose of the Metalmags. Those that are yawing are still in the group.
Now just for the heck of it, I decided to shoot a couple of targets in hunting mode. In other words, I'm going to shoot a couple of life size cottontail targets, off of my Stoney Point bipod, as though I were in the field rabbit hunting with these pellets. A real world hunting accuracy test. I know these pellets are overkill for cottontail rabbits, but those are the only life size targets that I have at the moment.
The wind is blowing about 6 to 8 miles per hour, and swirling. I'm making adjustments to my hold based on what I'm seeing the wind doing to the grass, and how it feels on my skin.
All shots well within the kill zone at 50 yards, and again, no tip separations. This is really looking good.
I decide to shoot one more cottontail target, and this time expand the kill zone to include the head, which is actually my favorite target. A pellet between the eye and ear works every time.
I taped a piece of white paper behind the head, for the photo, so that the pellet strikes are more visible. The hunting accuracy of these pellets is excellent, at least out of my Rapier, and the really good news is, I didn't experience one single tip separation. The fingernail polish solution to that issue has worked out really well.
Now, should I have to do this? No. Should the tips stay in from the factory? Absolutely. But, sometimes, you have to tune your guns to get the performance that you want, because the factory settings weren't doing it for you, and sometimes you have to tune your ammo to get the performance that you want.
I'm a long time, long range varmint hunter using powder burners. I haven't done it in years, but when I did, most all of my guns were tuned through bedding, and barrel upgrades, or even just full on custom guns.
All of my ammo was handloaded using benchrest methods. It was time consuming, but the down range results were well worth the effort. The same is true here. The hunting accuracy of these pellets is very good, taking a few extra minutes to ensure the tips don't separate from the pellet bodies, is well worth the effort. In reality, how many are you going to shoot on any given hunt. You may only get a shot or two. A little extra time invested to be sure the pellet arrives on target, with the tip intact, in my book, is time well spent.
If you have a situation where the critters are large, and a metal tipped pellet could give you an edge on penetration, and added lethality, give these guys a look. But plan on gluing the tips in before you shoot them.
Next up, I'm going to try them in a few of my Air Arms PCP's.
Until next time, thanks for reading.