Field test with Air Arms

Air Arms Diabolo Field are regarded as a ‘go to’ pellet for many airgun shooters, so Mike Morton sets out to discover why

Many seasoned airgun shooters will have a relatively small stable of pellets that they will put through any new air rifle they acquire. The Air Arms Diabolo Field, seen here in .22 calibre, is one such pellet. It’s an absolute stalwart of the sport, and has built up a well deserved reputation over the years.

That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to be the ultimate pellet in every gun, as no pellet can guarantee that, but part of its attraction is the fact that it will at least be good in pretty much any rifle, and will truly excel in some.

Diabolo Field are made for Air Arms by JSB in the Czech Republic, and are a classic domehead design on the outside, but feature some clever design touches on the inside.

These pellets have a stepped interior with a fine inner ridge that’s deliberately been made weaker than the rest of the material, allowing it to expand when it receives a blast of air upon firing and better grip the rifling.

Key specs

Pellet: Air Arms Diabolo Field
Manufacturer: JSB for Air Arms
UK distributor: Air Arms (www.air-arms.co.uk)
Type: Domehead diabolo
Calibre tested: .22 (5.5mm)
Head size: 5.52mm
Supplied in: Tin of 500
Price: £14
Advertised weight: 16 grains
Measured weight: 15.94 grains
Uses: Hunting, target shooting, precision plinking

The .22 Diabolo Field has an advertised weight of 16 grains, and I weighed a sample of 50 pellets using my usual set of electronic scales. These only display to one decimal place and in increments of 0.2 grains, but are nevertheless consistent.

Of the sample I weighed, there were three variations, with 21 pellets weighing 15.8 grains, 23 coming in at 16.0 grains and six pellets being 16.2 grains – an overall variation of 0.4 grains and an average weight of 15.94 grains.

Open the tin and you’ll see immediately why these pellets have earned their great reputation – they’re incredibly clean and very well made

Quality of manufacture was excellent. Two pellets had suffered slightly bent skirts in my tin of 500, and there were only trace elements of lead swarf. The pellets were nestled on a bed of foam for security.

I do wish all pellets came with a foam insert like this, as it does add an extra element of protection, especially as the pellets start to get used and there’s then more room inside the tin for them to rattle around.

Test conditions

This shoot was conducted at an outdoor range from a covered firing point on a largely windless day, but with the odd sporadic breeze.

The 20-yard and 30-yard test shots were taken at the centre of a 1” Birchwood Casey Target Spot to show how much their flightpath alters at range, while I held over for the 40-yard shots.

I used my BSA R-10 SE zeroed at 30 yards. The pellets were taken straight from the tin, and five shots were taken at each of the three targets.

Downrange

The R-10 was shot with a Harris bipod up front and a Dog-Gone-Good shooting bag at the rear, rested on a bench. With a cleaned and leaded barrel, the rifle was shot over the chrono, with the Air Arms Diabolo Field and R-10 combo turning in an impressive variation of 5.9 feet per second over a 10-shot string.

At 20 yards, the Diabolo Fields produced a group measuring 9mm centre-to-centre. Due to the particular set-up of my scope, mounts and 30-yard set zero, the group showed a rise of 13.8mm above point of aim.

The sample of 50 pellets that Mike put on the scales had extremely close weight tolerances, yielding an average of 15.94 grains

My 30-yards results were even better, with a near-one-hole group measuring 5.8mm centre-to-centre. While the 20-yards results were still great, the pellets may have benefited from flying those extra 10 yards at 30, becoming more stable due to that mystical combination of muzzle energy, pellet weight, bore friction and twist rate.

Back at 40 yards, the group predictably opened up to 17.3mm, with a drop of 40mm from point of aim, with me holding over for these shots. This group may look a bit ragged, but it’s worth pointing out that it still fits underneath a five pence piece, which has a diameter of 18mm.

With all three groups able to be covered by a 5p piece at all three distances, these pellets have certainly proved themselves to be killzone-capable, and that could just as easily be the killzone on an HFT target as well as a quarry animal.

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Posted in Reviews
One comment on “Field test with Air Arms
  1. Neil Edwards says:

    I quite agree with Mike’s findings the AA pellet is a solid all round pellet for hunting/target work but it’s more suitable for PCP shooters a bit to heavy for Springer rifles

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