Airgun slugs in springers
I think you will find a lot of info on that with a bit of creative googling.
A typical diabolo pellet is an amazing design. The head is designed to just touch the lands of the barrel’s rifling, to keep the pellet straight in the bore. The skirt is a larger diameter, which seals the back of the pellet against the onrushing air, and cuts into the rifling to spin the pellet. So the pellet just has two tiny “rings” of contact with the bore, a very efficient low-drag arrangement.
A slug starts out with three handicaps - more weight, more drag, poorer fit. And if you have a barrel with a choked muzzle, even more problems. Getting them to perform consistently is very tough.
When I was testing the FX slugs for HAM, I ran them through our "standard", Beeman 1074 test rifle. This normally gives us about 15FPE. The FX slugs, at 22 grains, were a very tight fit, and only delivered about 12 FPE. I would attribute this to bore friction. The velocity was not enough to cause the slugs to expand. With the "normal", smooth sided slug, I'd say probably not a good idea.
Hello guys and gals,
Has anyone tested airgun slugs out of a spring gun? Brake barrel or side leaver?
thanks for any in site.
I held off while a few others commented.
First, I agree with what's been said about the Diablo pellet shape being the most ideal one when it comes to a springer.
Next, there are two reasons why I've never tried slugs in a springer even once. You probably know where I'm going with the first one, but I think I should put it here, just in case.
Even when using the common Diablo pellets that are used in springers of a certain caliber, the ones that are considered 'heavy' aren't anywhere near as heavy as the slugs I've seen advertised for use in a PCP. If there's such a thing as a lightweight slug, I missed it. But that would seem to be a contradiction in terms.
It's my understanding that slugs were deliberately made extra-heavy to deal with the higher power output that's very common with PCP's. The extra weight can allow for delivering a lot of foot pounds of energy to the target, while still keeping the velocity of the slug below the speed of sound. Then you get that great combination high energy and stability. Or, if you do go supersonic, the shape of a slug mimics that of supersonic bullets, and you still get good accuracy.
But, if you exceed a certain projectile weight with a springer, you can have either or both of two problems that you don't want to have.
First, the pellets that are called heavy in the springer world are usually quite a bit lighter than slugs in the same caliber. Even the former give you you extra trajectory to deal with, possibly causing you some problems with accuracy. When you go even heavier than that, like with a PCP slug, you're basically doing what's been called 'shooting mortar rounds'. That amount of trajectory loop can just be too much to deal with. I think those guys like to have a spotter along with them, with binoculars and walkie-talkies. Remember to bring a friend and extra gear. Just kidding.
The second problem has to do with possible damage to the power plant of a springer if a projectile is too heavy.
Even heavy springer pellets can put a strain on the piston seal and mainspring.
There's typically at least a little bit of lubricant inside a springer compression chamber. The more lubricant, the more combustion. The heavier the projectile, the more combustion. When a springer is fired, those super heavy slugs can cause a detonation that even a heavy springer pellet wouldn't cause. When that detonation happens, it can take a seal and or a mainspring with it. I'm talking about irreversible power plant damage in a springer that requires a repair. Now you've got down time and extra expense. Why take the chance?
By the way, I've been shooting and tuning springer's for over 20 years. When I first started out, and before I knew about tuning, I had mainsprings break in my own guns, because of detonation. But, that hasn't happened for a long, long time.
Right after I tune a springer, since I know it can have a little extra lube in the chamber, I always take my first shots with light pellets. That way, any excess pressure that might be caused by a small detonation will be immediately released behind the pellet. I've never blown out a seal or broken a mainspring using that practice.
You may have read that heavy SPRINGER pellets can be used to get rid of a little bit of excess dieseling in a springer. Notice that I used the word dieseling, not detonation. We're talkin about what I call some 'smoke and choke'. The heavy pellet technique can work, if you do it right.
I remember the first time I read it. First of all, the author was talking about dieseling, not detonation. Second, it was written a long time before PCP's were so common, and big, heavy slugs were so common. Last, he used the word pellet, not slug. He wasn't talking about a super-heavy PCP slug.
I'm no expert on slugs, and I haven't tried slugs in a springer.
But I've read a lot on them, and I'm fascinated with their advantages.
😊 They offer two wonderful things — if they are precise/ accurate out of your gun, that is:
(1) Half the wind drift or less than normal pellets. At 25 yards this won't be important, but at 50 this can be interesting, and at 70 or 100 critical.
(2) A lot more destructive power at long range and extreme long range.
(A) So, if you feel you want to try the slug challenge, you'd probably need a powerful springer with 20FPE or more, in .22, like the SIG ASP20, or some of the more traditional magnum springers (400-600$).
(B) Much more promising than using a standard choked barrel would be to have a dedicated slug springer — with an unchoked barrel. (250-400$). As slugs are usually not as easily compressed as pellets the slugs struggle with the choke.
(C) And then you probably would try the lighter slugs that are being offered (.22 cal).
NSA and Griffin Slugs are at the forefront of offering such light slugs: 15gr, 16, 17, 17.5, 18, 19 — similar weights of pellets that you'd shoot out of a springer, like JSB Domed and Heavy, H&N Sniper and Hunter, etc.
To give me (and everybody else) an overview of what's out there, I made up a SLUG TABLE with specs and prices to compare. I'll attach it for you. 😊
I really hope it works out for you! If you like shooting past 50 yards, or often shoot in lots of wind, I think it's worth the try...! 👍🏼
Thanks for your post. My apologies for not knowing about the light slugs. Everything I've seen in the past has been heavy. Now I know there are some lighter slugs out there. I don't know if that's what most people think of though when they think of a slug it's typically used in a pre-charged gun.
My comments regarding power plant damage that can occur in a springer were obviously aimed at the very heavy ones. I trust that much was clear.
Interesting information Matthias. Do you have any info on .25 cal slugs? I'd be curious if there are any .25 cal slugs weighing in the 20 grain range that I could try with a UK Tomakawk. Those old Webley barrels were not choked.
I have not researched .25 slugs, but at the end of the slug table I listed the manufacturers with contact information. Some of them offer other calibers besides .22.
I think I remember Griffin Slugs also making .25.
NSA is the most established in making slugs, and they are in transition right now as they just switched to new machinery to cut their prices down by 60% — and pass those savings on to us customers. Yeah, Nick is a real nice guy!
So, it'll be a couple of months till they offer .25 and other calibers again.
H&N and FX are new to the slug scene (new as in less than 2 months) and are still in the process of developing their offerings.
This past Field Target season, I was (and still am) on a mission to create slugs suitable for lower powered Field Target rigs. All of my dies that I had made, were designed around my RAW TM1000 barrel, and my Steyr LG 110 FT barrel, both at 12 ft.lb. These projectiles have a diameter of .1775, and I have the capability of making them from 8-10 grains, to the sky's the limit.
I made over 8000 of these, in 2-3 different combinations, and gave them away at pretty much every airgun match that I attended. They were:
15 grain 3/4 ogive, hollowpoint, hollow base,
15 grain 3/4 ogive hollowpoint, flat base
12 grain 1/2 ogive hollowpoint, hollow base
I asked everyone that I gave them to, to scrutinize them, and the masses did so.
This is what I found:
The majority of shooters that tried them, found that the 2 designs with the hollow base were basically useless in everything they tried them in. Low power, high power, Springers, pistols, whatever.
This is the one thing that surprised even me.....
I had several different people who had tried the 15 grain flat base in Springers. They claimed that they were unusually accurate in their springers. This was a total shock for me, cause I didn't expect that, and neither did anyone else. Go figure.
I did find, that that same design shot lights out with a Crosman 1720 T pistol, with the factory settings.
Since then, I have a couple more nose shapes, as well as a cup base and a rebated boat tail.
Goes to show, sometimes the non typical projectile, shoots well in some guns, they just have to be tried.
@ Doug Wall,
Steven Archer contacted me the other day about HAM wanting to do some testing for an article on my slugs, and I agreed 100%. I'm waiting for a response from him, I want to get some different designs and weights for him to test out of various platforms. Should prove rather interesting.
Field Target Tech
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Hello guys and gals,
Has anyone tested airgun slugs out of a spring gun? Brake barrel or side leaver?
thanks for any in site.
I wanted to say a little bit more about using slugs in springers, and the fact that some very-heavy ones really are out there. I wasn't imagining it.
Nielsen Specialty Ammo makes some extra heavy slugs in .177 caliber, that go all the way up to 21 grains. Twenty-one grains is twice as heavy as the H&N .177 caliber Baracuda pellets that weigh 10.6 grains. The Baracudas are already considered heavy for a springer. Personally, I wouldn't exceed that weight, and, I wouldn't go as high as 15, 18, or 21 grains, like the ones this company offers--(you'll find the 18 and 21 grain versions a little further down the page in the link). But, you can have a look at them here--the link looks odd, but it works:
Here's another example in the same caliber. This one's called a 'pellet', but, at 16 grains, the weight is clearly more along the lines of a slug. At least on this one, I think you may get a diabolo style skirt:
JSB Diabolo Exact Beast Air Gun Pellets .177 Cal, 15.9 Grains, 250ct https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KAGTS2Y/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_0bxcEbJ2VC10J
That covers .177 caliber. Now, let's move on to .22 caliber...
Here's an example of a very-heavy, so-called 'pellet' in .22 caliber. Based on both its design and its weight, I would tend to call it a slug. Please notice that the typically-prominent skirt that's commonly used on diabolo pellets is completely missing. At 30 grains, it's about 50% heavier than the 21 grain, .22 caliber Baracuda Pellet. The Baracuda pellet is already considered heavy for a springer pellet in that caliber.
If there was any remaining doubt about it, notice that right on the lid, the manufacturer has clearly-printed the words, "For PCP rifles only". Whether that's because of trajectory issues, or possible damage to a springer power plant, I don't know. But, I think it proves the point, and I for one wouldn't chance it in my springer. Anyway, here's the link:
I found another example of something pretty similar in .22 caliber. They aren't as heavy as the previous Piledrivers, but they still weigh more than the 'heavy' Barracuda by about 5 grains. And, although you can't see the bottom of the projectile, notice that the ammo is called 'Solid'. To me, that suggests that this is another example where that nice diabolo skirt probably isn't there. Link:
If you scroll a little further down the page when you open that link, you'll find the words, "Solid pellets; use in powerful guns".
Those are just four examples. I did find others.
So, if you can find some of the lighter slugs, whose weights are more in line with the heavy springer pellets offered for the same caliber, you could certainly give them a try if you wanted to. But, you could still be missing out on the beneficial efficiency of the diabolo skirt design that works so-well in a springer. And, solid slugs won't compress as nicely into the bore of your barrel as a diabolo pellet does, either, for just the right fit. The extra drag that causes could make the trajectory issue even worse than the extra weight, alone.
My suggestion regarding this issue would be, even with the lighter slugs, to proceed with some degree of reasonable caution. If you find one that works well, with good accuracy and good power, I can see why you'd probably want to shoot it. If your mainspring breaks earlier than it would have otherwise broken, because even THAT one is heavier and tighter-fitting than typical springer pellets, the cost to replace the spring usually isn't all that much, if you find the right repair shop. In fact, maybe you could even learn how to do that work yourself. As a rule, though, it does require some special skills, equipment, and the taking of certain necessary precautions.
I'm reading with great joy that you are working on light slugs in .177 — that is excellent news for many.😊
Particularly those poor airgunners living in Illinois where the lawmakers thought it wise and appropriate to restrict airguns to .177 cal — a beautiful case study of the glaring absence of wisdom and appropriateness in the legislative realm. 😟
Keep up the good work. And please, do post your progress also on the GTA forum.
With the swaging dies and process that is most commonly used for slugs, grooves are not possible due to the way the swaging process works. The blank piece of lead goes in, gets squished, and the finished slug must come out the same way that it went in. If grooves were introduced to a slug design, a different kind, and more expensive split die would have to be utilized.
If you check out my website, Fieldtargettech.com, I have an entire video of the entire swaging process.
Field Target Tech