PBA airgun ammo, as good as advertised?


May 21, 2009, 05:45 AM
I have a Crossman 1377 single shot air pistol and have played around with a couple different types of pellets... except PBA ammo. My airgun only generates 600 fps (advertised, never confirmed via chrono)... and at that range in the airgun performance spectrum I dont see a whole lot of deformation or terminal performance difference regardless of what I use. My only real use for this as of now has been target shooting in the backyard. It didn't really cost all that much, and is definately not in the same class as many of the air rifles/pistols brought up on occasion on THR. I'm not convinced it would be humane to take a shot on a rabbit with this particular gun, the little bit of backyard testing at bottles of water etc. Ive done doesnt impress me all that much... doesnt penetrate as well as I thought, and the sights on it dont adjust very well meaning I might not land it exactly where I want anyway... .177 is a bit of a stretch for a not-particularly fast air pistol with bad sights imo. Its a small target, and Im sure it would kill it... but I would prefer DRT.

1) Does PBA air rifle ammo's increased velocity performance as advertised? How does it compare to other ammo for varmit/small game/pest eradication purposes and do recovered pellets flatten out or deform any, is it softer than lead? How does it work to gain that extra velocity. Is it just lighter?

2) I have a pic posted at the bottom, the top row is Gamo Rocket ballistic tip... does anyone have good results with these separating out on higher velocity pellet guns? Mine only separate rarely, but I guess Im inclined to blame it on not being shot out of a rifle in the 1000-1200fps+ category.

I have had Gamo's Hunter Extreme 22 air rifle (this one) (http://www.gamousa.com/product.aspx?productID=288)catch my eye recently, its a helluvalot to spend on just any air rifle...(yes and no, I know the prices on these go up a lot higher than this - just Ive never shelled out that much for one before) but have been looking for something more serious for a while, even looking at some big bore stuff. It advertises 1300 fps with a .22cal PBA pellet... which is quick. Thats what got me on the whole PBA train of thought.

3) Anyone here own or have used this particular model or anything similar? What .22 or bigger air rifles are there out there that I should give serious consideration to?

Thanks in advance for your advice :D
Sorry for the poor quality pic-

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May 21, 2009, 09:48 AM
PBA ammo is a very lightweight non-lead pellet. A standard .177 lead pellet weighs about 8 grains. A PBA weighs 5.4 gr.

An air rifle will indeed shoot a PBA pellet faster than a lead pellet. It may even generate slightly better muzzle energy (a funciton of velocity and weight), but not by much. Since the projectile is low density, it has a much poorer ballistic coefficient than a similar lead pellet. This means it will loose energy (speed) very quickly. At ranges under maybe 10m, it may deliver more energy to the target, but at longer range it will quickly loose that advantage.

At any rate, a 600fps airrifle is quite marginal on any small game. If you must use this rifle, rather than upgrading to one better suited (say 800+ fps), find the pointed or domed pellet that your gun shoots best, and stick with it. Accuracy is your only hope. In most guns, PBA is not noted for accuracy.

PBA ammo can be destructive in higher power spring rifles, as it doesn't have enough mass to slow the piston adequately, and is almost as bad as a dry-fire. It can exacerbate dieseling too.

A lead pointed or domed pellet will give you the best penetration possible with your rifle. Domed generally shoot better, but every rifle is different, and preferrs different feed. Try several, shoot groups, choose the best.


May 21, 2009, 03:23 PM
I've always really liked the Rocket pellets and run of the mill pointed pellets.

I don't think that the rocket pellets are supposed to separate, OP.
Rather, I think the little ball at the front is meant to force expansion.

May 21, 2009, 03:39 PM
Those PBA pellets are gimmicks. No accuracy and will ruin any decent spring gun. They are too light. Yes, it will break the sound barrier with an 1000+ fps pellet gun, but so what? Useless for hunting. I prefer my RWS 350 in .22 caliber with quality pellets for any bunny-bash.

May 21, 2009, 06:22 PM
I don't think that the rocket pellets are supposed to separate, OP.
Rather, I think the little ball at the front is meant to force expansion. Got it- thought they worked a little differently, but I guess that makes sense. The steel tip is supposed to do better vs small bones then I assume.

Those PBA pellets are gimmicks Okay, they kind of gave me that impression... thought I would try confirm it here, and save a lot vs the other ammo out there. Glad to hear about the dangers of using with spring powered rifles, wouldn't have known that... probably would have found out the hard way. Im guessing all super light pellets are potentially harmful to spring powered air rifles then, correct?

May 22, 2009, 10:15 AM
Gamo Rockets do separate, at least on rabbit from my RWS/Diana 34 in .177. My gun likes them and shoots them reasonably accurately, tho not as well as Superdomes or CPHP's.

Spring pellet rifles are deceptively simple in form, but kinda complicated in how all the bits interact in the firing sequence.

It's easy to understand that firing one without a pellet loaded causes the piston to slam the end of the chamber very hard. There is no air pressure built up to cushion the impact. Same if the pellet is too light to provide enough pressure.

With the correct pellet weight (generally average weight pellets for the caliber, ie. 8gr in .177 and about 14gr for .22, tho some guns are tuned for heavier/lighter types), the pellet's inertia causes enough pressure to be generated to completely stop the piston just as it reaches end of stroke, resulting in a smooth firing sequence.

If too heavy a pellet is used, the piston can bounce off the high pressure air, making for a strange shuddering recoil. This is hard on springs.

An airgun owner should purchase a variety of brands and weights of pellets, and shoot groups with each at various ranges. Many decent airgun dealers offer sample packs for this purpose, typically with 25 or so of each pellet they offer. A clear winner or group of clear winners will emerge.

In the end, with an airgun (or any gun), accuracy is king. Far more important than the point profile of the pellet. Do avoid wadcutters for ranges beyond 10m, as they loose velocity very rapidly.

Hope this helps.


May 22, 2009, 10:43 AM
They are inaccurate as hell out of my Gamo.

May 22, 2009, 11:39 AM
Good point, 7x57; I wasn't clear.
yeah, I mean, they separated when I've shot rodents before, but the point isn't to have two projectile traveling through the target.
The little ball is there to force expansion, and whether it falls out after forcing expansion or not is inconsequential

May 22, 2009, 12:45 PM
Yeah, I think the thought with the rockets is that the ball-in-lead construction gives you some of the advantages of a pointed pellet (with penetration being primary, especially of skin or bone), and the lead expanding some to provide a limit to the penetration.

They do have a severe drawback. They are VERY prone to ricochet, just like a steel BB. Don't use'em for indoor target practice, or plinking under 20yds.


May 22, 2009, 03:34 PM
"25% increase in velocity, penetration, and energy". This statement is totally ridiculuous. How can one increase the velocity 25% and increase the energy 25% when energy is proportional to the square of the velocity? Remember 1/2*m*v^2=KE?

May 22, 2009, 03:43 PM
I found the PBA pellets decently accurate (not like RWS Match, but decent) at 50' with my cousin's GAMO a year and a half ago, and I was surprised by the fact that one would penetrate a quarter at that distance.

May 22, 2009, 10:40 PM
I'm not impressed with them. I use Crosman non-lead alloy pellets with better results for less money in my Gamo Big Cat 1200. I've had problems shooting non-lead alloy pellets in pneumatic (pump up) airguns (Crosman 1377 and 2100). I've had pellets get stuck in the barrel before I finally quit using them. I think you should stick to lead in lower powered airguns.

By the way, Gamo Match pellets seem to be the most accurate pellet to me. It works well in all my airguns.

May 23, 2009, 11:53 PM
I got me some of those Gold Gamos Raptors and do not like the way my gun shoots them.

I have a Ruger Blackhawk Air Hawk air rifle and though all of them chronied over 1000 fps, they didn't hit where the scope cross hairs lay.

It seems like my gun loves the pellets in the 8 g range. They group real tight and they hit right under the cross hairs.


Mike U.
May 24, 2009, 04:35 AM
I have a Gamo Shadow 1000.
I've shot the Gamo Gold plated Raptors and the Crossman "Silver Eagle" alloy pellets also. The Raptors are decent performers on squirrels at ~20 yards. The Crossman alloy pellets tend to impact sideways and are lacking in the accuracy dept. Both are LOUD as hell outta my rifle. This has caused neighbors to be concerned that I may be shooting rim or center fire rounds. I had to actually demonstrate to them the cause of the CRAACK! sounds they heard were from my pellet rifle. Whew!
There are better ways to do suburban pest control with a pellet rifle.

I have had excellent results using the Crossman hunting pellets found at Walmart. Both pointed and HP are nearly pinpoint accurate out of my Gamo. And no supersonic report.

I also use the Gamo Rockets the OP has pictured. Those hit squirrels hard (for a pellet). They are my "go-to" pellet for tree rats.

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