Predator polymag shorts .22 review with Mike Morton

Predator makes some bold claims about Polymag Shorts, so Mike Morton puts them to the test in not one, but two different .22 calibre hunting rifles

I don’t hunt a great deal these days, but when I do I always use ammo that’s consistently accurate in the particular rifle I’m using, and most of the time that means a conventional roundhead pellet. But in the pursuit of more knock-down power – and to reduce the chance of over-penetration – manufacturers have come up with a huge variety of alternative designs, one of the most innovative being the Polymag from US firm Predator International.

These pellets are produced for Predator by JSB, and the Czech company makes a regular-length Polymag as well as Polymag Shorts, which measure around 8.85mm in .22 calibre, as seen here, and are designed to be used in rotary magazines. Polymag Shorts are very different to standard JSB ammo, combining a hollow head with a pointed red polymer tip. The pellets are specifically designed for hunting, with Predator even claiming they are “proven the best hunting pellet made” and offer “superior accuracy and take-down punch”.

Polymag Shorts have an advertised weight of 15.89 grains, and as usual I weighed a sample of 50 pellets on my electronic scales. While my scales are consistent, they only weigh to one decimal place and in increments of 0.2 grains. There were four variations in weight, with nine pellets coming in at 16.0 grains, 15 weighing 6.2 grains, 24 measuring 16.4 grains and the remaining two tipping the scales at 16.6 grains, giving an average measured weight of 16.28 grains.

My tin of Polymag Shorts may not have delivered the super-consistent weights I had been hoping for, but they redeemed themselves in terms of their quality of manufacture. There were no damaged pellets in my tin of 200 and no trace of any lead detritus.

When making a pellet with a conical tip it must be a real challenge to keep it concentric, but the polymer tips on these pellets all looked perfectly true, which is not always the case with pointed ammunition. And I was pleased to note that the lands and grooves of my rifling would not be fouled by the plastic tip, as the way these pellets have been designed means lead is the only thing that will come into direct contact with the bore.


Predator polymag shorts .22 – key specs

Pellet: Polymag Shorts
Manufacturer: JSB for Predator International
Pellet type: Polymer-tipped diabolo
Calibre tested: .22 (5.5mm)
Supplied in: Tin of 200
Price: £13.45
Advertised weight: 15.89 grains
Measured weight: 16.28 grains
Uses: Hunting


Test Conditions

This test was carried out in near-perfect conditions, from a covered firing point on a mild day with only the faintest whisper of a breeze. In a break with tradition, I decided to use two rifles for this test, these being my BSA R-10 SE and Weihrauch HW100, not just to get a second opinion on the accuracy of this ammo, but also to see whether the Shorts would properly cycle.

The pellets worked well in both the encased BSA drum magazine and the fully open rotary Weihrauch magazine, although I had to be careful not to thumb the pellets in too far in the HW mag otherwise it was possible for the
tips to protrude, preventing the magazine from being inserted into the action. This was user error, however, and when the pellets were inserted correctly the pellet and magazine combo functioned perfectly well.

As stated on the tin, these pellets are designed to be used in rotary magazines, being shorter than regular Predator Polymags
The sample of 50 pellets that Mike weighed did vary quite a bit over the digital scales, ranging from 16.0 grains to 16.6 grains

Downrange

I’ve included only the accuracy results from the HW100 here as the R-10 delivered near-identical results. I found these pellets would shoot well enough out to 30 yards in both guns, but were a bit wayward beyond that, so the results I’m presenting here are at 20, 25 and 30 yards, with all the pellets being taken straight from the tin
and all shots being taken at a 1in Birchwood Casey target spot.

The rifle was shot off a bench supported by heavyweight Dog-Gone-Good bags. With the barrel leaded, 10 pellets were fired over my Shooting Chrony F1, giving an average muzzle velocity of 570.3ft/sec, a variation of 8.8ft/sec and a muzzle energy of 11.76ft-lb.

At 20 yards, my five-shot group measured 8.8mm centre-to-centre, with 18mm of hold-under required due to the rifle’s 30-yard zero. At 25 yards the group size expanded slightly to 11mm centre-to-centre, with 10mm of hold-under required, while back at 30 yards the group size was 18.5mm centre-to-centre, with me aiming on.

A couple of things struck me on inspecting the targets. First, the groups look pretty inconsistent, even a bit ragged, but nevertheless they are all inside or very close to the 18mm diameter of a five-pence piece, which is my personal yardstick when shooting off a bench. And second?

The targets have been pretty much obliterated. While my usual domehead pellets would have cut through these targets, the Polymag Shorts smashed their way through. So Predator’s claim of them having superior take-down punch is a fair assessment after all.

The Airgun Shooter verdict: “Polymag Shorts are a devastating hunting round, especially against targets at shorter distances such as rat runs and squirrel feeders, and they may work well in your barrel at longer ranges too”

More reviews from Mike Morton


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