We will be taking a look at .177 hunting pellets. We have already talked about .22 hunting pellets and saw how they performed on the range, so we will discuss its .177 variant, with a little twist in our selections today.
If you haven’t seen our .22 hunting pellet review, consider checking that out first. Regardless, the biggest calibers for pellets are .177 and .22. Choosing the right pellet caliber is the first step in ensuring that you have a good time in the field. So, which should you go for?
For hunting, people prefer the .22 more since the pellets are larger, thus can do more damage. They have a larger surface area and retain their velocity better. So a lot of energy is dumped immediately upon entry, causing shock damage. The pellets are more likely to tumble, causing even more damage.
For target practice, go for .177. They are much cheaper, so it does not cost your life savings just to practice shooting paper targets 10 meters away. The amount you save might be meager, but it adds up very quickly. In terms of hunting, .177 is not the best caliber for the job.
These pellets have a tendency to sail right through, failing to cause enough damage to down the target. It might still drop, but it might have enough time to scurry into a hole somewhere. Of course, a well-placed shot can down your target either way. Even .22 pellets fail to down a target in one shot if the shot is poorly placed. So it all comes down to practice, and .177 is cheaper to practice with.
It might not seem like a big deal, but many people in the airgun community believe in humane killing, that is by downing the target in one shot instantly. They may hunt for sport, but they still want to keep the suffering to a minimum. Even those who own an airgun for pest control also want their target to drop in a shot.
Another thing I want to warn you about is that your mileage may vary. Using sub 12 foot-pound guns may give you worse performance than those with 40 foot-pounds of power, in terms of accuracy, penetration, and damage. Some pellets fit into airguns better than others due to their shape. Some have worse performance in lower-power guns. Then there is the question of the barrel build quality, your marksmanship, and external factor. As you can see, there are a lot of things that contribute to the overall performance. So, consider this to be a rough estimation of how the pellets would perform.
In addition, you might be wondering why we only cover a small number of pellets. There are a ton of those out there and we would be here all day if we have to go through each one of them. The manufacturers behind these pellets claim that their pellets are hunting pellets or that they come with destructive power, so we want to see if they really work as advertised.
If you know of any other pellets that should make it to the list, let us know in the comment section below. It gives more options to your fellow viewers.
We will start off with the JSB Exact, everyone’s favorite hunting pellet. In the last video, we talked about the .22 variant and they worked wonderfully. It is the same story for the .177 variant. It is affordable, making it the best value-packed pellets you can buy.
Made out of soft lead, the pellets have a mushroom-like head to encourage deformation. When it comes to trajectory, it is relatively flat between 11-41 yards. With a stronger gun, maybe you can bump up that number further.
The JSB Ultra Shock makes another appearance here, this time in .177. Performance-wise, these pellets hit like a brick. They look like bricks too with their hourglass shape, flat top, and hollow design. This is designed so for maximum shock damage upon entry and deformation once inside the target, causing all sorts of damage. In the end, you get a clean and humane one-shot kill before your target can think of going anywhere.
Again, this one also comes in .22 and both perform largely the same. The wide pointed tip gives this pellet greater penetration, but just enough to tear into your target. The large surface area of the head means that a lot of energy would be dispensed soon after impact, causing shock damage. Couple that with the thin neck underneath that encourages deformation, you have a very capable and popular pellet for hunting small game or for pest control.
Again, H&N also made a .177 variant of the Baracuda Hunter Extreme. Overall, the pellets are largely the same. The mushroom head design with Phillips indentation allows for better deformation. This really shows upon inspection after the shot as the head expanded a fair bit, demonstrating the potential damage it could cause in a small game. Despite all the complicated shapes etched into the head, it does not compromise the accuracy at all. Overall, this pellet is designed as a hunting pellet and it delivers.
The H&N Terminator is distinct in the sense that the pellets resemble pin tacks. They feature a similar mushroom-shaped head with a concave top and a pointy tip in the middle of it. Despite their complex shape, the pellets are incredibly accurate. The spike improves penetration while the squashed and hollow head encourages deformation, increasing this pellet’s stopping power drastically. They are designed to be short-range rat stoppers and one shot is enough to drop them on the spot.
The H&N Piledriver pellets look more like actual bullets than your typical hunting pellets. They have a rather bad reputation among the airgun community for their lack of reliability, but that is possible because of the wrong gun/pellet combination. Some people have reported that these pellets do perform well, however. So, your mileage may vary here.
Given their heavy weight, these pellets are best used for PCP air rifles. This could be the reason why some people have a negative opinion about it. They could be using the wrong airgun. The overall design prioritizes long-range shooting as its round head and boat-tail design reduces drag. In the end, the pellet gives excellent long-range accuracy and downrange energy.
The Predator Polymag is one of those unorthodox pellets, both in terms of looks and performance. It looks similar to H&N Terminator, except this one has a larger plastic spike in the middle. Again, the idea is to maximize internal damage due to deformation. The tip, though plastic, goes a long way in penetration. The pellet does not cut deep, but this is intentional since what is more important is bullet expansion, which this pellet has a lot of.
In terms of ballistic performance, expect to see a flat trajectory between 11-39 yards. However, it loses power quickly, so your best use for this pellet is at short range. Another downside is its steep price, so I do not recommend this pellet if you just want to practice. This is a pellet with an extraordinary appearance and extraordinary performance and you will not be disappointed if you can afford it.
Finally, we have the Predator Metalmag, which is basically a Polymag with a metal tip instead of a plastic one. This is the pellet to go to if you find the penetration on the Polymag underwhelming. Other than that, their performance is almost the same. These pellets are accurate and deform easily once inside the target.
And there you have it, everyone. I understand that I have not gone over some other .177 pellets, but hopefully this review helps you narrow down your options. Another thing I want to discuss is that you should never skimp on pellets. I understand that pellet expenses can ramp up very quickly, but certain pellets are expensive for a very good reason.
Cheaper pellets may seem like a good deal until you realize that they cut corners in quality. Nine times out of ten, you end up with a pellet that is very inconsistent and inaccurate. In other words, they are so unreliable that the best use for them would be to shoot at things from point-blank range, but there is no fun in that. So, if you can afford it, buy the right pellet even though the price might be a bit steep. It will improve your shooting experience drastically.