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- Last updated: 27/04/2020
John Rothery Wholesale www.bisley-uk. com is a British institution amongst our shooting community, offering as they do quality and a variety of products for decades now. As well as being the official H&N air gun pellet distributors, which are hugely popular and will be tested in a future article, Rothery also distribute the Predator pellet range of hunting slugs from JSB pellets.
These are the Predator POLYMAG Shorts and Predator METALMAG premium hunting pellets. I say now these are not your normal run of the mill all lead slugs, as they now conform to the new wave of designs that incorporate an innovative approach to ballistics.
The Predator range is a blend of traditional lead combined with a polymer, Polymag or metal Metalmag tip. This incorporates the superior down range accuracy of a lead pellet and energy from the polymer or metal tip. The head for both types is hollow and so expansion is obtained, and the tip allows a deeper penetration and streamlines the projectile’s profile for better ballistic coefficient (BC) values.
The POLYMAG Shorts are also available in standard length, as this product is designed for use in rotary magazines of pre-charged airguns. It is made in conjunction with JSB`s American partners, Predator International. Available in .177 and .22 in tins of 200 for both calibres, they retail for £12.95 per 200-round tin.
Firstly, as with all JSB related products, quality control is excellent, with good packaging that uses a foam protective segment to the top and bottom of the tin to stop deformation of the contents. There is no swarf and all the pellets look remarkably regular with no mis-shaped skirts or missing tips. Both the Polymag calibres have a profile very much like a waisted wad cutter with a hollow point top. The rear skirt is longer than the head profile and is also a wider diameter, to create a good air seal when fired, to engage the rifling.
The overall length of the 177 and 22 calibres is 0.3135 and 0.3505” respectively with the tip projecting out of the lead portion by 0.102 and 0.114”. This red tip is polymer and really well embedded into the main structure. It is very uniform and dare I say sharp! The rear or base is also regular with a deep recess, allowing for a relatively thin and uniform skirt portion.
The head diameters were 0.1770 and 0.2175” for .177 and .22 and as expected the skirts were larger at 0.1870 and 0.2240”. This made for a nice snug fit and good air seal in the barrel. Weight wise, they quote 8.02-grains for the .177 and 15.89-grains for the .22s. Weighing a batch of ten of each I got average figures of 8.2-grains/177 and 16.4-grains/22.
The Metalmags are similar, except that they have a metal or brass tip and not polymer. It’s designed not to deform and enable them to penetrate deeper. They also have a longer profile, with both having a stretched out, waisted design with a longer central bearing surface. A bit more like a cotton reel profile.
The metal tips are blunter than the polymers and protrude from the nose at 0.104 and 0.095” for the .177 and .22s.
The rear sections have a uniform base and deep cavity and skirt section enabling a good air seal also. The head diameters were 0.1740 and 0.2155”, whilst the skirts were larger at 0.1815 and 0.2220” accordingly. These were both less than the Polymags and felt looser when loading. Weight-wise, the .177s quoted 8.5-grains, I got 9-grains. The 22s say 17-grains but averaged at 17.1-grains.
The short Polymags are designed to fit in a magazine, and yes, through my Theoben Rapid 7 I had no problems at all, but this is a 28 ft/lbs FAC version, so not a true test, so I stuck to my trusty springers. I had a feeling they would perform better, and I was half right, as the better fit certainly enabled some very healthy velocities from the V-Mach custom HW80 in .177 and the Venom HW77 Hunter custom in .22.
One word of caution is that the weight combined with the velocities from these tuned, but sub- 12ft/lbs rated air rifles was very close to the legal limit, so check carefully in your own guns, as always with any new ammunition.
The .177 Polymags showed very consistent velocity in the V-Mach HW80 with an average of 802.9 fps for 11.7 ft/lbs energy. Accuracy was a good, but I had some tight groups and then those spoilt by the odd flier but still managed 0.6140” at 30 yards off a rest; certainly, hunter grade performance.
The Metalmags in .177 sped along at an average of 768.9 fps generating 11.8 ft/lbs and had really consistent groupings at 30 yards for 0.5879” overall, excellent despite a loose pellet fit! What do I know? Next, the .177 and the Polymags were amazing in both accuracy with 0.4925” @ 30 yards, and 5-shot groupings with a velocity of 573.5 fps for 11.8 ft/lbs, excellent performance all round.
By comparison, the .22 Metalmags, which were seemingly looser, shot 552.7 fps and 11.6 ft/lbs, very consistent actually but accuracy had quite a few fliers so 0.7611” groups at 30 yards. But in real terms for a spring gun, albeit custom, that is still very good performance.
Certainly, radical in design and in the tests, they acquitted themselves very well. They will appeal to the serious hunter or someone who likes to try out something from the norm. John Rothery are wholesale only but there are stockists all over Britain.
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