When all the factors must be weighed up… why you need to get yourself a set of scales designed specifically for your pellets
What are pellet scales?
Many people, including some successful target shooters, would never dream of weighing individual pellets and are happy to use their ammunition straight out of the tin. But airgun barrels are fickle things, and even pellets of the same head size can fly differently if they are of different weights. That’s where a set of pellet scales comes in handy. They’re part of the process of sorting consistent ammunition.
What do they do?
Scales let you organise your pellets by weight. The electronic scales shown here are able to display several different units of measurement, but the most useful for our needs is in grains. Historically, this unit is loosely based on the mass of a single seed of a cereal crop such as wheat, but is still in widespread use in the shooting world.
When should I use them?
If you are able to take a tin of unsorted pellets and shoot with the degree of accuracy you desire, you have no need of any scales. But if your pellets are not all flying true, weighing them and sorting them into batches may help deliver tighter groups. The weight of some pellets can vary dramatically within any particular tin.
What should I look for?
While you can certainly use a set of traditional scales – especially beam scales, which are used by people who make their own centrefire ammunition to weigh their powder – electronic scales are quicker and easier. Just make sure the scales have grains as a unit of measurement.
Once you’ve bought a set, weigh a single pellet, record the reading and remove it. Place it back on the scales and see if the scales are displaying the same weight. If they don’t, they cannot be relied on.
How do I use them?
Place the scales on a stable platform like a stout table, away from other electrical equipment and draughts. Use plastic tweezers to place the pellet on the scales and be careful not to breathe over them while the pellet is being weighed: this could cause a false reading. Periodically clean the scales of any pellet lube or other detritus using lens cleaning fluid or lighter fluid.