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Gamo PBA Pellets and Velocity Testing Practices

Gamo PBA AmmoHere’s some quick thoughts about the practice of using Gamo PBA alloy pellets for testing airguns. Good / Bad / Doesn’t Matter??

For all those that say Gamo PBA alloy pellets are a gimmick to increase velocity claims… I want to let you all know that I feel the exact same way. However, we can keep complaining about it, or we can learn to work around it, as companies are not going to change the way they are doing it these days.

Here’s what we know:

  • Are alloy pellets accurate – generally not
  • Are alloy pellets stable – nope
  • Is shooting above the sound barrier practical for accuracy with alloy, or any pellet? – nope.. not really
  • Does accuracy need to be considered when testing for baseline velocity – NO

So why do they use alloy pellets for testing velocity? That’s easy, it gives them the biggest numbers. Here’s something to consider. When I test with lead pellets, I generally use RWS Hobby pellets which are wadcutter pellets. They are not that accurate either. So velocity testing isn’t really about accuracy. It’s about VELOCITY and establishing a baseline for velocity and energy. To do this you must use the same projectile in all your testing and you need to know the weight. I use RWS Hobbies, Gamo uses their Platinum PBA ammo, both have a known weight.

Here’s another thing to consider. A lot of manufacturers specify “up to” velocity with “alloy” pellets. Do they tell you which one, how much it weights? Not generally so they are really telling you nothing at all. At least Gamo identifies the actual pellet used for testing. It’s very light, terribly inaccurate, BUT we do have a grain weight to go by which establishes a baseline of performance. What other manufacturer puts that on the box? So we have a baseline of 1520+/- with the Gamo Magnum shooting 4.7 grain Platinum PBA ammo = 24.12 FPE at the muzzle. Since Gamo uses that same pellet on all their break barrels, whether we like their choice or not, it does give us an actual baseline for performance, something that other manufacturers fail to provide.

So if we look at Gamo’s offerings these days we see: 1200, 1250, 1350, 1400, 1450, and now 1650 (.177 class with alloy pellets and I’m sure I may have missed a few numbers there) if you are looking for a product to meet specific power outputs, you can use these numbers to dial in to which product is going to best suit your needs. It’s not a perfect system, but it is a system, and it’s actually better than what most other manufacturers are providing their customers.

Again, don’t get me wrong, I would never shoot PBA Platinum ammo for anything practical, and never for hunting. But if it’s the pellet they use to establish their baseline velocity and energy numbers, then it does its job in the same way the RWS Hobby pellets do when I test with lead pellets.

I hope this is helpful.

Cheers

Rick

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