H & N Baracuda .177 Pellets
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- Last updated: 23/08/2021
H&N are synonymous with excellent airgun pellets, offering a diverse range, style and calibre choice. Their Baracuda Match pellets are very popular and have just received a makeover.
The new projectile is designated the H&N Baracuda Light, and as the name suggests, it weighs less than the Match pellet. Not only is the new ammo more affordable but it has also been optimised for FT and HFT, plus there is no reduction in quality. The rationale behind this reduction in weight is to achieve a higher velocity and thus flatter trajectory, whilst also making them suitable for all airguns below 12 ft/lbs, so my old springers are in for a treat. Prices on the street are around £9.49 for a tin of 400 pellets.
H&N Baracuda Light pellets are available in 4.50 and 4.51 head sizes. In old money, that’s 0.1772” and 0.1776” respectively. This means that you can pick the specific pellet diameter that suits your rifle’s rifling, and yes there is a difference, see the results.
The pellets were very uniform and despite being designated as a pointed design, they are more like a higher domed classic waisted pellet, with the waisted section longer than the head, and with a hollow cavity to the skirt to allow expansion and grip into the rifling lands.
Made of a special lead alloy, these pellets are reasonably hard. This means that they can be manufactured to close tolerances, which is great for low standard deviations and therefore accuracy down range. It’s also claimed that the alloy reduces lead fouling in the barrel but a longer-term test would have to be conducted to substantiate that.
Available in .177 calibre, each pellet weighs 9.57-grains and they are packed in tins of 400, with a nice twist grip closure. The new pellets are designed for sub 12ft/lbs airguns and work well in all types. They have a maximum distance rating of 50m from the manufacturer, but I can’t see why they wouldn’t work in a mild FAC rifle as well.
Interestingly, the original Baracuda Match in .177 weighs 10.65-grains and has a ballistic coefficient (BC) of 0.024, whilst these Baracuda Light pellets have a BC of 0.018. I like that H&N offer BC values as it makes calculating down range trajectories much easier. However, being the proverbial doubting Thomas, I always test the ballistics myself, to get a true picture of things out in the field.
If you look at the ammo table, you can see that both pellet diameters for an average of 10 pellets, weighed 9.8-grains and not the 9.57-grains, as advertised. No matter, the consistency was excellent, with no swarf in the tin at all and very few, if any, deformed skirts, which are the fragile part of any lead pellet. Also, the actual pellet diameters were both smaller than the advertised 4.50 and 4.51mm, however, they were consistent. The 4.50 pellets snugly fitted into my HW80 barrel, while the 4.51s were quite tight, requiring a gentle push to seat them.
Velocity wise, I was impressed. The 4.50mm Lights produced an average velocity of 725.8 FPS and a very healthy 11.46 ft/lbs of energy. The tighter 4.51mm pellets achieved a slightly lower velocity of 713.6 FPS and generated 11.08 ft/lbs, which is still excellent.
The best was yet to come with the accuracy test. I set up at 25 yards with the HW80 custom and shot off the bench with a soft cushion. The groups were minuscule, which is what I have come to expect from the V-Mach custom and H&N pellets. I shot five, 5-shot groups using the 4.50mm Baracuda Lights and the average group size was 0.4103”, while the slower and tighter fitting 4.51mm pellets grouped even better at 0.3704”. They also produced better SD values as well. In the end, it just goes to show that thorough testing gives you a true indication of ballistics in your own rifle.
During your testing, it’s also worth checking out the BC values for each pellet. The advertised BC is 0.018, so I tested at 2 yards from the muzzle and then at 20 yards for velocities. I then calculated a true BC for the pellets when used in my rifle and the local environmental conditions. The BC worked out at 0.0202 for the 4.50mm diameter pellets and 0.0196 for the slower 4.51mm ones, so pretty damn close to the advertised value!
The trajectories were very good too. When zeroed at 25 yards with the 4.50s and with an initial velocity of 726.0 FPS, you are -0.62” at 10 yards, -1.47” at 40 yards and -3.84” at 50 yards. The 4.51mm pellets figures are -0.60, -1.59 and -4.11 respectively and in real terms, that’s not too much elevation to judge or adjust for, which is nice.
Another premium product from H&N at a very reasonable price point too. I love the fact that these slimmed-down Baracuda’s work better in my older style springers, producing some excellent velocities and accuracy too. They are equally good in PCPs and the performance makes them a great choice for target shooters. In my case, I will be using them in the future for a spot of rabbit/squirrel control.
John Rothery Wholesale - www.bisley-uk.com