FT Blog: Heavy Weights
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- Last updated: 21/09/2018
My attention was recently drawn once again to the heavier pellet JSB offer in their fine FT range of ammunition - the 10.3-grain JSB ‘Heavy’, when I shot with Dan Eley at the BFTA Championships in early April. Now it has to be said Dan had such a poor day at that event, even I beat him by four targets! However, he recovered well on the Sunday to score 37, beating me by an equal four targets! Since then, he has been doing well enough in the BFTA Grand Prix series, to top the leader board at the half way point! So, it got me thinking that if the 10.3-grainers were working for him, perhaps they needed another look. So, on my next visit to Neath Gun shop, I picked up a couple of different batches of the 10.3-grain Heavy JSBs.
I had previously tested them at my old club, but only briefly, as the perceived drop was too off-putting. I referred to them as house bricks! Opportunity missed. On the Oaktree FTC Zero range, using 8.4 clicks and dialling for 50m/55y, the pellets landed 30mm low. Breeze Block! Undaunted, I dialled up and soon had a rough aim point in the centre of the 40mm printed circle on my grouping paper. After only a few more shots I was intrigued, as the pellets were grouping really well, and not moving much. So, I checked windage at 10m, spot on. Back to 50m, and a full series of comparison groups with my best batch of established 8.4-grain Exacts definitely showed the Heavys to be taking half as much wind, 20mm drift for Exacts, 10mm for the Heavy! The wind speed was a fairly constant ‘breeze’. We don’t have an accurate anemometer on the range, but we do have a series or tapes hanging down from branches, that at least allows for consistency checking.
Next up was the weighing and chrono check. I had weighed the tin (stated 10.34-grain) with the following breakdown: 10.5g x 22, 10.4g x 150, 10.3g x 251, 10.2g x 63, 10.1 x 17 and 8.89g x 1! Yes, there was one ‘runt’ in the tin, but out of three tins now weighed, that has been the only one and it was easy to feel the difference without visual inspection.
Chrono strings showed the weighed 10.3-grain pellets to produce a better reading with a spread of 11.8 fps over 20 shots with Standard Deviation (SD) of 2.4 fps. The out of tin results were 19 fps spread and an SD of 5.05 fps! Grouping at a constant 50m has also showed near perfect straight line groups with the weighed 10.3-grainers, but again out of tin has been too up and down for my liking. So, I have decided to use weighed pellets in serious competition. That said, on my practice course, pellets out of the tin have been OK, but have cost me shots.
With the pellets zeroed in for my usual 30m distance, the click chart was not as extreme as I feared. In fact, at the closer ranges I now have better aim points, thing is they are rarely used! Here’s my figures for dialling up from 0 at 30m:
Testing showed rangefinding needs to be spot on, but luckily I have a x45 magnification Leupold Competition series scope that does not let me down as often as I let it down! I did about two weeks testing on my own 50 target practice course, before deciding they were worth the challenge of a proper shoot. With the National GP series taking place almost local to me in Wales, this proved to be a perfect opportunity to test in anger!
The shoot went well enough. I missed seven out of 50 targets (top on the day was 48.) Two standers, so totally shooter’s fault, and the same with an off camber sitting shot that I wobbled on. I just couldn’t get a comfortable shooting position on about a third of the course! Two targets I gave not enough wind to and two targets I did mis-range, but again that was sloppy rangefinding in the very hot sunshine, which just did not suit me.
Another couple of weeks of testing had produced either no wind or at best a breeze where I definitely noticed I am staying inside the kill more with these Heavy’s. Then came the first windy days testing and as far as I can work out, they move like the 8.4-grain Exacts I am used to!
So, are they for everybody in FT? No! I think for most, the drop off as the range increases will mean most would lose more targets for height, than they will pick up in wind defying feats! The difference with me is I have a badly scored Ev2 barrel that has never really grouped that well with Exacts, but both my batches of Heavys group superbly and although you don’t win competitions on group size, it does have a certain psychological thing to it that means I will continue the experiment for a bit longer at least. Will they be on the plane to the World Championships in August, time will tell?
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