Rangemaster Sovereign pellet test

Whenever I’m asked by a fellow shooter what pellets they should try in their new gun, I have a few recommendations that make good starting points, and Rangemaster Sovereign is always on that list.

These pellets are billed as being suitable for general shooting, field target and hunting, and while that might make them sound like a jack of all trades, they are definitely the masters of some.

But that recommendation is based on my experience with the .177 version of this versatile pellet, while the ones on test here are in .22 calibre. Like the .177 variety, they’re made by JSB in the Czech Republic to Daystate’s specifications, and are a waisted diabolo domehead.

Overall quality of manufacture in my tin of 500 was high, but I did have to mark them down somewhat because I found a few pellets where the skirts had suffered some minor crush damage.

Was I fair in doing this? The skirts are very thin on these pellets, and the damage almost certainly occurred during transit rather than manufacture. Nevertheless, some of these slightly deformed pellets did make their way into the shooting phase of my test. Did it make any difference? Well, read on to see how they performed where it really counts – on target.

The advertised weight on the tin is 15.9 grains, and I put a sample of 50 over my scales, with 15 weighing 15.8 grains, 22 coming in at 16.0 grains, nine weighing 16.2 grains and four tipping the scales at 16.4 grains, yielding a measured average of 16.0 grains.

Rangemaster Sovereign – tech specs

Pellet: Rangemaster Sovereign
Manufacturer: JSB for Daystate (www.daystate.com)
Type: Roundhead diabolo
Calibre tested: .22 (5.5mm)
Supplied in: Tin of 500
Price: £17
Advertised weight: 15.9 grains
Measured weight: 16.0 grains
Uses: Hunting, target shooting, plinking

Test Conditions

This shoot was conducted on a breezy, bright, sunny day, although I timed the shoot to ensure the sun was not glaring onto the target or into the objective lens of my scope.

It may not be obvious in this image, but the skirt material is fairly thin, which lets it expand and fill the bore upon firing

With a 30-yard zero, shots were taken at the centre of a 1” Birchwood Casey Target Spot at 20 and 30 yards, with me holding over at 40 yards so the group would appear on the target for a more direct comparison. The pellets were taken from the tin, and five shots were taken at each of the three targets.


I used my BSA R-10 SE for this test, with the rifle shot off my usual heavy-duty Dog-Gone-Good shooting bags, resting on a bench. With the barrel cleaned and leaded, the R-10 was shooting the Sovereigns over my Shooting Chrony F1 at an average of 575 feet per second.

The spread was just 3.3 feet per second over the 10-shot string, which is one of the most consistent results I’ve ever recorded from any pellet in any rifle, so well done to both BSA and JSB/Daystate for this.

Tipping pellets onto a microfibre cloth is a good way to check for any lead swarf which might otherwise affect their performance

At 20 yards, the Rangemaster Sovereigns delivered a five-shot group measuring 5.5mm centre-to-centre. The group showed a rise of 14.5mm above point of aim because of the rifle’s 30-yard zero.

My 30-yards results were very pleasing, with a centre-to-centre group size of 5.1mm – that was actually tighter than the 20-yard group and well within the 18mm diameter of a five pence coin, which is my own yardstick when testing a rifle and pellet combo from a rested position, even if it is outdoors as this was.

Back at 40 yards, the 16 grain Sovereigns were landing 53mm below point of aim, but once I’d learned the right amount of holdover the test group measured 12.8mm centre-to-centre, again passing my self-imposed 5p test.

As with all my pellet tests, these groups were shot off bags and a bench, but the point is to find out what the ammo and rifle combo is capable of. When you know you’re using a reliable setup, you can then take it to the field or the range safe in the knowledge that any misses will be down to you alone, so in my case I won’t be able to blame the Rangemaster Sovereign!

Airgun Shooter verdict


Overall score: 92

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