The JSB Hades promises plenty of knockdown power, and Mike Morton tests the .177 variety to see whether this pellet’s a knockout.
We really are spoilt for choice when it comes to airgun ammo, with that great do-it-all pellet, the domehead diabolo, being supplemented by some specialist designs for specific applications, just like the Hades from JSB.
With a name like this, the Hades is very much geared towards the hunter. After all, Hades is the Greek god of the underworld and these pellets are intended to shepherd our quarry animals to the afterlife, albeit a little earlier than they might have liked.
But these days we’re seeing a blurring of the lines between a hunting pellet and target ammo, and JSB itself points out that the Hades isn’t just for hunting.
That was a claim I wholeheartedly agreed with when I tested the .22 variant back in Airgun Shooter issue 133, finding them accurate as well as hard-hitting, and it was now time to see whether that claim held true for .177 too.
JSB Hades – specifications
Manufacturer: JSB (www.schulzdiabolo.cz)
Type: Indented domehead diabolo
Calibre tested: .177 (.22 and .25 also available)
Head size: 4.5mm
Supplied in: Tin of 500
Advertised weight: 10.34 grains
Measured weight: 10.40 grains
The Hades pellets have a semi-cylindrical body that flares into a regular skirt, while the head has been indented with what look like three radiation hazard warning triangles, with these cut-outs specifically made there to strategically weaken the head in order to aid expansion upon impact with the target.
Hades are available in tins of 500 pellets in .177, and my whole tin’s worth was free of lead detritus. I’m a firm believer that the quality of airgun ammunition is getting better and better, with clean, consistent ammo that’s ready to shoot straight out of the tin being the norm, and the Hades didn’t disappoint.
Even more impressive was how they fared when a sample of 50 were put over my electronic scales. Hades pellets have an advertised weight of 10.34 grains. My scales only measure to one decimal place, but all 50 came in at an identical 10.4 grains, an absolutely superb result.
This shoot was conducted from a covered firing point on an overcast day in light, intermittent rain and with no wind at all. I usually pick a rifle that I think will be a good match for the pellets being tested, but this time I ended up shooting the Hades through three guns before I found one they would group well with, and even then I had to pull in the range.
As mentioned, these pellets are well made and 100% consistent in terms of their weight, but the head size of my pellets was quite small and they did feel a bit loose in all three barrels.
I ended up using my Weihrauch HW100 BP for this test, shooting the pellets at reduced distances of 15, 20 and 25 yards as these pellets just weren’t cutting it at anything further than that with my particular rifles.
A tighter bore may well have yielded completely different results – this is just something we need to be aware of as shooters, and why it’s so important to test our various rifle and ammo combos.
The HW100 was shot supported by Dog-Gone-Good shooting bags at both the front and rear, rested on a bench. With the barrel cleaned and re-leaded, the pellets were run over my Shooting Chrony F1 chronograph, with the Hades and HW delivering a velocity spread of a mere 4.8 feet per second over a 10-shot string, another excellent result, again proving how well these pellets are made.
Now it was on to the shooting test proper, with me taking five shots at three 1” Birchwood Casey Target Spots. I managed to shoot a respectable group measuring 8.5mm centre-to-centre at 15 yards, with one shot slightly off to the right spoiling what would otherwise have been a tiny 3.2mm group.
At 20 yards, the distance at which the rifle had been re-zeroed, group size was 9.2mm. It looks worse than this in the photo, but that’s because the Hades pellets lived up to their name and tried to send my 20-yard Target Spot to hell, smashing through the card and fragmenting the target.
Back at 25 yards, the five-shot group measured 13.8mm. I didn’t use any holdover or holdunder for these shots, and the group consequently landed 7.6mm high as a result.
So even when they were used in my rifle, where there was a clear bore to head size mismatch, these pellets still performed very well at shorter ranges. And if you have a barrel that these pellets really like, I’m sure that distance could be extended to devastating effect.
The Airgun Shooter verdict
Overall score: 89
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