Pellet test: pretty poly

Predator Polymag Shorts are billed as premium hunting pellets, so Mike Morton sets out to see if these projectiles deliver on that promise.

The US firm Predator International commissions some of its pellets from Czech manufacturer JSB, but Polymags are quite different to JSB’s normal ammo, as these pellets combine a hollow head with a pointed polymer tip. They’re designed for hunting, the aim being to combine the energy transfer of a hollowpoint pellet with better aerodynamics.

There’s an original version of the Polymag which comes in a black and white tin, while the ones here are .177 Polymag Shorts, supplied in a red and white tin of 200. The Shorts are designed for use in rotary magazines where the regular Polymags might be a little too long to let the mag cycle properly.

We’ll take a look at those another time, but for now, let’s stick to the Shorts. As their name implies, they measure just 7.6mm and were indeed short enough to allow the flawless function of the 10-shot magazine in my Daystate Red Wolf.

The red polymer tip increases the flight characteristics of the pellet while maintaining the design of a regular hollowpoint

These pellets have an advertised weight of 8.02 grains. I weighed a sample of 50 pellets using my usual set of electronic scales. These only weigh to one decimal place and in increments of 0.2 grains, although they are very consistent.

Of the sample I weighed, there were just two variations in weight, with 28 pellets coming in at 8.2 grains and 22 at 8.4 grains – a variation of 0.2 grains and an average weight of 8.28 grains.

Quality of manufacture was excellent. There were no damaged pellets in my tin of 200 and no trace of any lead swarf. While of no relevance whatsoever to their performance, the Polymag Shorts are a triumph of design, with the graphite grey body and red tip looking like a piece of airgun art.

It’s worth mentioning that the polymer tip will not foul your bore; the only bearing surface in contact with the lands and grooves of the rifling is the lead of the main body and skirt of the pellet.

 

Test Conditions

This shoot was conducted on a breezy winter’s day with the sun behind me. All shots were taken at the centre of a 1-inch Birchwood Casey Target Spot, regardless of distance, to show how much their flightpath alters at range, with the Red Wolf zeroed at 30 yards. The pellets were taken straight from the tin, and 10 shots were taken at each of the three targets.

 

Downrange

My usual heavyweight Dog-Gone-Good shooting bags, rested on a table, were used to support the rifle. With a cleaned and leaded barrel, which took fewer than 10 shots to achieve, the Polymag Shorts and Red Wolf combo delivered an impressive variation of just four feet per second over a 10-shot string.

At 20 yards, the Shorts produced a 10-shot group measuring 3.5mm centre-to-centre. Due to the particular set-up of my scope, mounts and 30-yard set zero, the group showed a rise of just 2.6mm above point of aim.

My 30-yards results were similarly good, with a one-hole centre-to-centre group of 7.6mm. In comparison, a five pence piece is 18mm wide. The left-to-right breeze didn’t seem to have affected the groups at either of these distances.

Back at 40 yards, the group had opened up, in part probably due to the wind. The average group shifted 8mm off centre to the right, with an overall centre-to-centre size of 16.9mm and a drop-off from point of aim of 25mm.

Predator refers to these as premium hunting pellets, and with results like these it’s hard to disagree. As they stand, these would be excellent pellets for target shooting as well as hunting out to 30 yards – and the range could probably be pushed further if the wind decides to play ball.


Key Specs:

Pellet: Predator Polymag Shorts

Manufacturer: JSB for Predator International (www.predatorpellets.com)

UK distributor: Air Arms (www.air-arms.co.uk)

Type: Polymer-tipped hollowpoint

Calibre tested: .177 (4.5mm)

Supplied in: Tin of 200

Price: £14

Average weight: 8.28 grains

Uses: Hunting

 

The Airgun Shooter Verdict:

Quality: 19

Weight: 18

Muzzle Velocity: 19

Accuracy: 17

Stability: 18

Overall score: 91


 

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