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Do pellets need to be “barreled-in”? Airgun Science or MYTH?!  

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JungleShooter
(@jungleshooter)
Joined: 11 months ago
Posts: 49
2019-06-06 17:35:00  

Do pellets need to be “barreled-in”?  Airgun Science or MYTH?!

 

I’m getting for my first serious pellet test for a new gun. Now all those things come up that I’ve read over the past couple of years in the forums. And I need to make a decision. Maybe you can help me dispel an urban gun-myth, or prevent me from messing up my pellet test (which really depends on this particular issue, I will explain this in a separate post).

The issue is that pellets need barrelling-in – meaning that the barrel rifling needs somehow to get used to a new pellet.

 

Here are some quotes from important voices. What do you think?

 

● AirArms (UK):  “Make sure you give each brand enough shots to settle down in the barrel before committing the results to paper.”  
https://web.archive.org/web/20161221142502/https://www.air-arms.co.uk/academy/161-picking-the-right-pellet

 

● Prometheus Pellet Manufacturer (UK) – the inventor of the now renamed H&N Sniper series:  “Important: Please allow at least 30 shots for the barrel bore to settle when changing from a different make of pellet.”
In another place they recommend 50 shots.
https://web.archive.org/web/20130808121409fw_/http://defiantpellets.co.uk/faq.htm

 

● Phil Bulmer, airgun writer (UK):  “The usual 40 or so ‘barrelling-in’ shots were fired; I expended these at paper targets and certainly witnessed a settling in period. Initial groups from the first batch wandered around before settling into coherent patterns – so clearly you need to give this round time to come good if you switch to them.”
Source:  Phil Bulmer (2014), in Airgun Shooter, in an article on Webley Accupell FT pellets [H&N FTT rebranded], part of a series of testing pellets.
https://www.blackrecon.com/articulos/Balines-Webley.pdf
Again, same author:  
“I fired about 40 shots to let the barrel ‘adjust’ to the new ammo before commencing testing. This is an important part of the test and, in the Diablo’s case, the running-in process was much needed; the group sizes markedly shrank from the early shots I fired.”
Source:  Phil Bulmer (2014), in Airgun Shooter, in an article on Brocock Super Diablo .177 pellets, part of a series of testing pellets.

Brocock Super Diablo .177

 

 

Please, state your opinion, and name your reasons and supporting evidence:
[1]  Airgun myth
[2]  The truth and nothing but the truth
[3]  Regional pellet debilitating virus (you notice: all writers are from the UK, and this barrelling-in debility virus has not jumped over the Atlantic to the US)
[4]  Regional ignorance (in the UK this is common knowledge, but US airgunners as of yet are ignorant of this)
[5]  Only matters for the sub-12FPE guns of our poor British airgun friends who are suffering under exaggerated laws – doesn’t matter to US airgunners because in the US the magnum fever reins
[6]  ................................?

 

Seriously, I’m serious about this. My pellet test design stands or falls with this barreling-in issue.
Thanks,
Matthias

 


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JimW
 JimW
(@jimw)
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 45
2019-06-06 18:32:04  

So all those crappy tins of pellets are actually good after 40 shots?! loooolz

So you clean the barrel, need to shoot a minimum of 40 shots to get the accuracy back?  Better be hyper accurate for all that trouble.

I'm gong with myth/pellet makers sorry excuse for continued low quality pellet production.

 

JSB, for example, has not demonstrated that they are interested in making consistently good pellets.  They removed head size and batch numbering making it difficult to get a decent batch of properly sized pellets.  You get a sleeve of 10.34's and you can see a 1/2" group open up to 2" then down to 3/4" from tin to tin (HW and LW barrels).  In fact the one consistent thing is the inconsistency between tins, the barrel is irrelevant (due to the same group inconsistency issues from barrel to barrel).  This has necessitated tin numbering and pre-competition pellet testing for every tin in order to not get caught out when finishing off a tin.

 

I think you should test the test.  Get a bunch of tins and see if things change between shot #1 and shot #50 in terms of accuracy.


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JungleShooter
(@jungleshooter)
Joined: 11 months ago
Posts: 49
2019-06-06 18:38:48  

I've just been thinking that, because on a couple of other forums I read that specialists recommend this, and even say that this barreling-in is the reason for the ["falsely"] perceived inconsistencies between pellet batches/tins. Ed of EdGun fame being one who holds to this theory (@ YouTube).

Matthias


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ekmeister
(@ekmeister)
Member of Trade
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 439
2019-06-06 18:42:24  
Posted by: JungleShooter

Do pellets need to be “barreled-in”?  Airgun Science or MYTH?!

 

I’m getting for my first serious pellet test for a new gun. Now all those things come up that I’ve read over the past couple of years in the forums. And I need to make a decision. Maybe you can help me dispel an urban gun-myth, or prevent me from messing up my pellet test (which really depends on this particular issue, I will explain this in a separate post).

The issue is that pellets need barrelling-in – meaning that the barrel rifling needs somehow to get used to a new pellet.

I'm not going to try to address all of that, but I can start it somewhere.

In tuning, cleaning barrels, checking chronograph results, and shooting test targets for at least 20 years, I do know that after a barrel cleaning, you should allow 15-20 shots for velocity and accuracy to return to baseline or normal when it comes to lead pellets.  Sometimes it only requires 10 shots.  I've seen it in person.

The only logical explanation I've come across is that the barrel needs to be (re-) coated with a thin layer of lead.  The lead is said to fill-in small imperfections in the bore, and also acts as a lubricant.

Steel or alloy pellets??  Don't know, haven't used them.  Plastic pellets, same thing.  I shy away from steel and hard alloys for fear of damaging the rifling.  If and when lead is no longer available, I guess I'll find out.

Like I said, for starters only...

Safe and Happy Shooting!

Ed, the Airgun TuneMeister

https://www.airguntunemeister.com/


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JimW
 JimW
(@jimw)
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 45
2019-06-06 18:45:38  

Typically I shoot about 50-60 pellets into each tin to test (min 5 ten shot targets indoors, benched).  The crap tins never get any better after shots two, three, four...

 

Like I said, if you have a not so great product (my EdGun 177 does not shoot all that well compared to my FT rigs) or crap pellets you'll start making weird statements instead of "my gun/pellet shoots lights out".  Ed said for years that his barrels need to be "broken in" before they shoot well.  Funny, because I have seen new barrels that shoot lights out right off the lathe and are not pellet/tin picky.  

 

Good is good, no 'breaking in' excuses needed imo...


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JungleShooter
(@jungleshooter)
Joined: 11 months ago
Posts: 49
2019-06-06 18:48:35  

That sounds about right, Ed.

But what the cited writers meant was that after the barrel has shot say 60 JSB Heavy 18.13gr and you want to switch pellets to JSB Domed 15.88gr — you must shoot 40 JSB Domed before any real accuracy happens — because, I guess, "a Heavy leads the barrel differently than a Domed."

So they seem to think, without saying it in so many words....


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JimW
 JimW
(@jimw)
Joined: 5 months ago
Posts: 45
2019-06-06 18:52:39  

Ekmiester raises a great point.

However I have a barrel that shoots as good clean as it does leaded in, there can be too much lead in it though (after about 200 shots velocity increases and about a 10% accuracy drop).  For competition that is what I would call a great barrel.  No excuses needed.  

I have another barrel that you need to find the right tin of pellets in order for it to be shot well.  Right there is an excuse.  To me it used to be a great barrel, until I got the barrel I mentioned above, now it's simply a good barrel.  It needed between 10-20 pellets to settle in after cleaning, but found no change in accuracy after 50+ pellets when testing tins.


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Citizen K
(@citizen-k)
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Posts: 369
2019-06-06 19:29:59  

They key point is that you are testing pellets, for that you will need as equal a baseline as you can manage which means (amongst other factors) cleaning the barrel between each batch test. Leading in is a factor for accuracy in some barrels; how much leading in will be a function of the hardness/softness of the pellets (as ekmeister pointed out) and the of course, the barrel itself. There is plenty of discussion out there about which barrels like to be clean (Steyr?) and which will shoot well when leaded in (S4xx?).

Forum Janitorial Services Specialist


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ekmeister
(@ekmeister)
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2019-06-06 20:23:46  

Well, maybe I should have qualified my response by saying I was talking about springer barrels, since I haven't dealt with PCP barrels.  I don't know if it makes a difference or not.  Sometimes I forget who make up a great portion of the audience here.

Safe and Happy Shooting!

Ed, the Airgun TuneMeister

https://www.airguntunemeister.com/


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JungleShooter
(@jungleshooter)
Joined: 11 months ago
Posts: 49
2019-06-06 23:10:45  

Ed, thanks for the clarification.

 

I think the springers are in the majority...!!

But yes, there might very well be a difference between springers and PCP....?

Or between different power levels, lower powered guns being more affected by such an issue I would say.

Or between different calibers, smaller calibers (smaller + lighter) being more affected I would assume.

 

Good and helpful discussion. Keep it coming. I'm learning, and I'm revising my pellet test schedule accordingly.

Matthias


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ribbonstone
(@ribbonstone)
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 230
2019-06-07 10:21:48  

Might be some truth in it. Have certainly seem the effect...although crappy shooting pellets don't generally suddenly faith-heal and shoot great. 

But it does seem that on occasion, one known to be good shooting pellet does poorly when shot though whatever fouling was left behind from a previous good shooting pellet.  20-30 shots in, will settle down and do what you expect....then reverse the process and go back to pellet #1,and will take another handful of shots for it to settle back down.  Normally at it's worst when switching brands (lets say swapping from H&N's to JSB's) which might be related to the alloy used...or whatever thin layer of factory lube (they stay bright too long to be buck-naked).

 

Going to have to put the blame on the barrel more than the pellet. It doesn't happen in all that many barrels, even barrels of equal accuracy...same pellets...different barrels....pretty wellpoints to the barrel being the variable.


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ekmeister
(@ekmeister)
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2019-06-07 10:55:24  

I think there's an implication here that's worth bringing to the realm of printed text.

While switching from brand to brand might be useful for the sake of testing them to compare them, once you've found a pellet or two that shoots well in a particular gun, maybe keep your switching to a minimum after that.  In fact, try to find ONE that does the job--accuracy, knockdown power, and head style--and only shoot that one.  At that point, this whole issue becomes a moot point: no switching=no 'changeover' delay, no re-cleaning, and no re-seasoning routine to consider.

Worst case might be one round head (dome) brand for hunting, and another wad cutter for paper targets.  Assuming both are lead, and clean with no dirt, grit, or debris, I would think the pain of changeover would be minimal.  (I want to say that debris is called, "chaff" or "flashing",  but those may be the wrong words.  I mean those thin flakes of lead that look somewhat like aluminum foil, that are sometimes present in a tin of pellets). 

Think about it--I KNOW there are guys on this forum who switch pellets in the same rifle from time to time, and posts about associated problems by them are pretty much non-existent IIRC.  We'd have read a lot about it causing lots of problems if that wasn't the case.  At least, that's my take on it as I've had some time to mull-over this thread.

Safe and Happy Shooting!

Ed, the Airgun TuneMeister

https://www.airguntunemeister.com/


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ribbonstone
(@ribbonstone)
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 230
2019-06-07 13:20:51  

Never really ran a comprehesive test on airguns....esp. not springers.

Would have to pick the only "even start" we could create...which would be a turely clean barrel.

Shoot a progession of targets to see if (or how long...I'm betting on how long) it takes for the groups to start to be pretty uniform.

Reclean it and start over with the next pellet.

Then try alternating pellets at what ever shoot-in point they seemed to be shooting their best.

Whatever...I'm more in agreement with the last post. If you have found onw pellet that actually does shoot great....just use that pellet. If you ant different perfomance than that pellet gives, bring along a 2nd rifle.


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James Perotti
(@jpsaxnc)
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 74
2019-06-11 16:29:29  

I could imagine that a little leading in the bore, could improve the accuracy of undersized pellets. But I can't imagine, how under sized pellets could lead up the bore?


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ribbonstone
(@ribbonstone)
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 230
2019-06-11 17:19:35  

Don'tsee where there ould be any high pressure/temp. gas cutting like you can get in powder burners...and pellets aren't usually way-way under sized. But could picture where an undersized pellet could tend to be engraved more (harder) on one side than the other....and maybe hard enough on that one side to actually get more than normal engravement.

 

Recovered pellets from really hot-rod PCP's often show a great deal more bearing contact with the rifling than when they're shot at lower pressures.  Even the low pressures of PCP's (compared to powder burners) can obturate a hollow based skirt a considerably amount.

 

 

OK...I'm evidently a "SLACKER". If I weren't,I'd remove the velocity numbers and use PRESSURE (cause it really doesn't matter how fast they were going,just how hard they were kicked in the butt at launch).

[URL= https://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t50/ribbonstone/pellets/IMG_4666_zpseb808060.jp g" target="_blank">https://i157.photobucket.com/albums/t50/ribbonstone/pellets/IMG_4666_zpseb808060.jp g"/> [/IMG][/URL]

 

Some folks have had a knee-jerk respoince that it was impact that made the difference in the base.....but if you think about it, if that were the cause, how did the base get rifling marks?

 

Considering the contact area....which do you think would be more prone to adding leading?

 


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Hector J Medina G
(@hector-j-medina-g)
Member of Trade
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 272
2019-06-13 21:16:50  

Matthias;

My personal experience is that if you use different BRANDS, you are also using different ALLOYS.

THIS is what makes things "finicky/tricky" and is the cause of the "barreling in" recommendations. If there is interest, we can discuss WHY different alloys will create problems, but that is not the question you asked.

I do allow between 3 and 5 "Transition" shots when testing guns, BUT I am different in that I usually find out what lubricant the rifle/barrel likes before starting serious testing.

Once you use the right lube for the barrel, it will settle down real fast after a pellet change.

HTH

Keep well and shoot straight!

 

 

 

 

HM

 


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