Blind pellet test - method and result
Some time ago, I noticed a huge difference between two tins of Daystate FT pellets which I acquired in 2003.
I sat down in the howitzer hold and shot at a paper target at 47 meters, and couldn't get them to group at all.
I then looked at the bottom of the tin, and saw that I was shooting my wife's pellets, which were marked 4.52.
I went back in, got me own tin (which says 4.51), and as if by a miracle, group size shrunk from well over an inch in the horizontal as well as vertical plane to less than half an inch (two of them less than a quarter inch vertically, and all three half an inch or less horizontally.
At that point, I attributed this to head size, which I posted about here, and was (with various degrees of rudeness) correctly recognised as ignorant.
One of the respondents actually said that, if I were to be able to identify pellets from two different tins, I should go to the Worlds to mop up trophies.
While I think this is utter nonsense, because there is a lot more about shooting, most of which I either can't do anymore after a 10 year hiatus, and some of which i was never even decently capable of in the first place, I think that, by now, I can distinguish a crap pellet from a good one.
Someone also suggested that it may have been between the earphones: trusting my pellet better would actually make me shoot better. Which I found an excellent point, and I thought of a little experiment to test that hypothesis. I promised you guys I'd do this, and let you know the result.
So, today (very little wind on my rangelet), I did the following experiment.
1. I took three empty pellet tins, and marked them: one with a blue marker, one with a red marker, and one with a black marker.
2. I gave these tins to someone else, who had no knowledge whatsoever about what I was going to do, or what it was for, together with a tin of Daystate FT Pellets, 4.52 and a tin of Daystate FT pellets, 4.51. I asked him to fill one empty tin with five 4.51 pellets, another with five 4.52 pellets, and for the third one he could choose the head size, as long as they would all five be the same. He would jot down the colors and the corresponding head sizes and stuff the note in his pocket.
3. I left the room and let him do the above.
4. I took the tins out, positioned a target at 50 meters (my scope said 48, so my pacing is improving), and sat down to shoot. Howitzer hold (yes, I learnt to shoot with spring guns, and it rubbed off), fire five shots in five minutes so as to consciously not hurry things up. Then take a 5 minute break and shoot the second, five minute break and the third.
The first group was, ehm, crap.
OK... break, drink some water, fire the second tin.
The second group was actually a little bit worse. I started to worry.
"No... no... don't worry. If you worry, your third group is going to be crap as well."
Take a break, admire the view, listen to some jazz...
The first shot of the third group calmed me down. So did the other four. Turned over the tin, and saw a black marking.
"Black is the correct one; the others were wrong", I said, forgetting that he had no idea what right and wrong would mean. He looked up from his iPad and looked at me blankly, produced the note and said "... Black was 4.51, Red and Blue were 4.52".
So... this goes to prove that, in a blank test, even an average shooter CAN distinguish between a crap pellet and a good pellet.
OVER 40 METERS, THAT IS. Apparently, that is when the differences show.
To test that point, I positioned a log at 20 meters, and lined up 5 pellets on the log, which is a practice my wife and I did regularly 10 years ago. Scope said it was 20 meters, but that was easy, since I got a practice spinner at 25 meters.
I then sat down and pulled myself in the howitzer hold, with a tin of Daystate 4.52 (the ones that were crap at 48 meters). With these pellets, it took me 6 shots to clear the 5 pellets off the log, which is probably child's play for the likes of most of you, but for me is very good.
Which indicates that a pellet that doesn't work at all over 40 meters can still be very accurate at 20.
Now... the question is: what useful knowledge have I gained from this?
I'll have to think about this a bit, but I think it boils down to a certain level of gained confidence and trust in my abilities.
Which will undoubtedly go to pot once the wind is back up
The Filthy Pig: Air Arms 100 (1990) + AA Olympic trigger + Welham reg + Custom Shop CS1000 stock. Status: leaking.
The Unknown Quantity: AA EV2 Mk4. + BSA Platinum 10-50x60 + Jon Harris wheel. Status: sorted up to 25 yds.
The Limping Dog: Air Arms Shamal (1989) + unknown origin sporter stock + Optisan Cobra 3-9x42. Status: slowly leaking; needs work.
The Ox: HW97k + Venom Lazaglide. Status: working just fine; needs scope.
with apologies to NJR100
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