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 Post subject: Alloy pellet problems...
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:03 am 
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Hi all.

I am shooting a Ruger Air Hawk and bought some Gamo Match alloy pellets because my range is inside and I’m not keen on shooting lead pellets in an enclosed space. Well the pellets are the right caliber but they go in rather tightly compared to the lead pellets (Daisy) and the gun won’t shoot them. The gun makes a disturbing pulsing sound as the spring/piston tries to unload against the pellet going nowhere.

This gun isn't supposed to be pellet picky, and the lead ones work fine. Is it normal for some pellets to be slightly different sizes even though they are the same caliber?

Any recommendations for a lead free pellet that has a better chance of working?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 8:11 am 
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Pellet caliber is a nominal size, although there are 3 sig figs in .177".
0.177" is equivalent to 4.50 mm (3 sig figs), so the nominal pellet head size is 4.50mm. Now to engage the rifling and to account for slightly oversized bores some manufacturers sort and sell pellets with larger head sizes, 4.52 mm is very common for example. JSB is one manufacturer that does this, and the size is marked on the tin. Others just say .177 or 4.5mm and the size is more variable. Some ppl actually get a micrometer or caliper and measure and sort pellets to get consistent size for best performance.
Alloy pellets are much harder than lead pellets, so if your Airhawk bore is on the small side, it may like smaller pellets and the alloys you have may be more like 4.52 mm.

BUT, there is an issue because if you can get the alloy pellet seated with fingers, then the rifle should be able to expel it from the barrel. Seems you have a leaky breech seal or piston seal possibly busted spring. Maybe caused by shooting alloy pellets. If you have a chrony, check pellet speed with lead pellets and if its in the expected range, then just stop shooting alloy pellets in your Airhawk. If you want better speed and flatter trajectory for indoors, shoot match type wadcutters like RWS Hobby and similar.
My 3C. :drinkers:

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 9:14 am 
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The gun is new with only 10 shots on it, so hopefully not a failed seal. The lead pellets seem to have the velocity I would expect given the number of layers behind the target it goes though. I don't have a chrony.

I've ordered some Daisy lead free pellets so we'll see how it goes with them. I've seen some other forum posts with these Gamo pellets that also report them not firing out of the gun.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:06 am 
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Location: Greater Napanee, ON, Canada
I have never been a fan of the non lead pellets that tend to be very light. I figured I would give one of the "quality" brands a try. H&N have a pretty good reputation and I have had guns that shoot them well in the past. I bought a couple of tins of H&N Field target Trophy Greens and the same for the Baracuda match Greens. Expensive!

The Trophys shot well and the velocity was proportionately higher which was what I was after since I was shooting them in lower powered guns like my FWB300 Junior and a Crosman 187. The trouble was the accuracy. Beyond a certain distance they tended to have the groupings get fairly large. They are more expensive and the accuracy could not even come close to JSB 7.3s or 7.9s. They would be ok for short distance.

The baracudas were another story. I put them in one of my guns and the velocity dropped by about 1/3, in spite of being a lot lighter (6.48 gr.). I used my pellet gauge to see the size of the pellets and most would not drop thought the largest hole which was 4.55. Wow. I used a sizer I have to bring them down to a point where they seated in the barrel like the 7.9s I was using. They still shot slower than the 7.9s. They just seem too hard to form to the rifling of the barrel. Didn't even try them for accuracy.

I am pretty much over my efforts to find a non-lead pellet. Indoors, I either use a box stuffed with rags or my .22 cal, steel target box with the front taped over to contain lead dust. Both are very effective, but the box full of rags is much quieter. Once in awhile I take the rags out and shake them into a garbage bag. I then use them to re-stuff the box. Once the rags are shredded too badly, I replace them and the box.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 3:38 pm 
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GBNova wrote:
Hi all.

I am shooting a Ruger Air Hawk and bought some Gamo Match alloy pellets because my range is inside and I’m not keen on shooting lead pellets in an enclosed space. Well the pellets are the right caliber but they go in rather tightly compared to the lead pellets (Daisy) and the gun won’t shoot them. The gun makes a disturbing pulsing sound as the spring/piston tries to unload against the pellet going nowhere.

This gun isn't supposed to be pellet picky, and the lead ones work fine. Is it normal for some pellets to be slightly different sizes even though they are the same caliber?

Any recommendations for a lead free pellet that has a better chance of working?


Sounds like a 495 fps gun won't shoot hard skirt alloy pellets due to low pressure that generated by a weaker spring just like my non pal rifles. You can try either push pellets through a pellet sizer before shooting or add preload to your spring.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 5:21 pm 
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Maybe you can also use a pellet seater to push the pellet a little farther into the breech to 'pre-cut' the pellet with the rifling before pulling the trigger...

I believe that's just a bad combo with this pellet and this gun. Just leave the pellet to use on other guns and buy something else for this gun.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:54 am 
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Thanks all.

Yeah, I'm waiting to see now the lead-free daisys work. Just got a Crosman Olympus and they go in the chamber by hand just as tight as the Ruger, so I'm not planning to even try shooting them in that gun either. They just seem too big to me plain and simple.

Can I harm the gun by trying to shoot a pellet that the spring/piston can't push like you can shooting the gun with too light a pellet or no pellet at all in the chamber?


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 8:57 am 
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Yes, you can harm the spring and the piston seal.
Advice here has been to give up on the alloy pellets, and it's good advice. :drinkers:

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:40 am 
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Ok, sorry for the newbie questions guys.

So I tried my Crosman Olympus with the Gamo match lead free pellet like I did with the Ruger and same result, gun won't budge the pellet even though it goes into the breech as easy as the lead pellets do.

So I fired a lead pellet and it shot fine although it sounded weak compared to my Ruger Airhawk. So I tested both guns and the Ruger goes through twice as many layers of card board as the Crosman even though they are both rated at 490-495 fps. The Airhawk noticeably hit the target harder too so I know it's travelling much faster.

So now I'm worried that one attempted shot of the alloy pellet in the Crosman damaged the spring because it's velocity is obviously much lower than the Ruger. What do you guys think? Could it be that the Ruger is just that much more powerful even though it's supposed to be the same 495 rating?

No funny noises from the Crosman and the cocking action is stiff an consistent, so it doesn't feel like it's broken.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:12 am 
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GBNova wrote:
What do you guys think? Could it be that the Ruger is just that much more powerful even though it's supposed to be the same 495 rating?

Hey, newbie questions are encouraged and all good. I didn't know a mauser from a javalin when I first started.
Anyhow.. no such thing as a Crosman Olympus... suspect you have an Optimus - a very common wire spring-piston break barrel likely shooting 450 fps or so out the box. Your Airhawk is probably doing what it should at 490 fps. So, that's the likely difference right there. If you are concerned about the power levels and consistency, you must get yourself a chrony. There are some relatively inexpensive ones, and even the run-of-the-mill chronys are about $100 and are an invaluable tool for anyone that is concerned about power level and/or wants to tune. Loudness of thunk, penetration into phone books, number of times wife yells "what you doing in the basement?" are not really useful measures of power. HIH, :drinkers:

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:34 am 
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Haha, thanks. I hear ya.

One thing I can't complain about is the grouping with the Crossman. About 1.25" at 30' from a semi rested position.


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:05 am 
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GBNova wrote:
even though it goes into the breech as easy as the lead pellets do..


In your experiment, did you push the alloy pellet 'into' the breech, not just flush? And if the pellet couldn't be fired and it's still in the breech after you fired the gun or somewhere in the middle of the barrel?

I am thinking you might try to use a long stick (wooden, bamboo, avoid metal) to push through a pellet (lead, non-lead doesn't matter) from the breech to the muzzle, you can find out if there's some tight spot in the barrel that a soft lead pellet may go through but a harder alloy pellet just stuck....

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Russian Izzy 46M
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Camo Chaser long barrel rifle kit


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:17 pm 
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YepYep wrote:
GBNova wrote:
even though it goes into the breech as easy as the lead pellets do..


In your experiment, did you push the alloy pellet 'into' the breech, not just flush? And if the pellet couldn't be fired and it's still in the breech after you fired the gun or somewhere in the middle of the barrel?

I am thinking you might try to use a long stick (wooden, bamboo, avoid metal) to push through a pellet (lead, non-lead doesn't matter) from the breech to the muzzle, you can find out if there's some tight spot in the barrel that a soft lead pellet may go through but a harder alloy pellet just stuck....


I pushed it as far as it would go with my finger, just flush. It never left the breech in both guns and was with no effort at all pushed back out of the breech using a wooden 1/8" dowel from the bore end, so it didn't even try to enter the barrel.

It's like the flange is too large for .177 even though it's supposed to be .177


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 12:47 pm 
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It's something normal on a low power airgun when comes with a tight barrel... It just has less than enough power to push the pellet... When it's a 177 caliber, the power will be weaker further more...

I had a Norica Black Eagle .22 and once I shot the RWS Hobby and it jammed... (The hard skirt Hobby not only jam the Black Eagle but also on my HW45 before) Then I pushed through several different pellets and found out the Black Eagle does have a tight bore and every pellet being pushed through been cut deeply by the rifling and feel tight when pushing it in the barrel...

And later, I found out both on my Black Eagle and my HW45, I can shoot those pellet well by seating it into the breech using a pellet seater or the stick you used to push it back out... Finger tip can only seat it flush to the breech, you need to seat it inside the barrel. Like I said, pre-cut the pellet by manually... Image

On the picture you can see the cut marks are far more deeper than just 0.0x mm... So you use the 4.48mm size pellet would be better, but not far better than a 4.52mm size....

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FWB300S Universal
HW30s / 35e / 40+Extender / P3+Kit Scope
HW45 with customized grips from UK
Russian Izzy 46M
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Camo Chaser long barrel rifle kit


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 1:06 pm 
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I could try that but that doesn't look like it would be good for the riflings to force feed a pellet, especially considering the pellet is already harder than standard lead.

I'd want to run them through a pellet sizer first I think.


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