What is the Most Accurate Pellet Speed for an Airgun?

You just got your hands on a high-powered pellet gun, but it just simply isn’t accurate. Why is this?

The most accurate speed for a diabolo shaped pellet to travel is around 850 feet per second. Issues with accuracy can vary from pellet to pellet, but are caused by a pellet traveling too fast or too slow.

You would think that if the projectile travels faster it would get more accurate as a rule of thumb, but that is not actually the case. There is an optimal speed for accuracy that a calculus student might be able to sit down and figure out, but tests from varying guns and varying people have shown us what that speed is for a diabolo shaped pellet (your typically used pellet).

How Do I Get the Most Accurate Pellet Gun?

This data from airguns we purchased may help when trying to acquire an accurate airgun.

GunPriceFPS at testAdvertised FPS
Air Arms TX200 MkIII Air RifleOpens in a new tab.$629.99880930
Diana RWS 34 Breakbarrel Rifle, T06 TriggerOpens in a new tab.$299.99681800
Umarex GauntletOpens in a new tab.$299.99835900
Benjamin Trail NP XL Air RifleOpens in a new tab.$259.9910421500
Gamo Whisper Fusion Mach 1Opens in a new tab.$224.996481020
Gamo Swarm Maxxim Multi-shot Air RifleOpens in a new tab.$179.998541300
Gamo Big Cat 1250Opens in a new tab.$149.99688950
Stoeger Arms X20S2 Suppressor Air RifleOpens in a new tab.$129.999921200
Crosman Nitro Venom DuskOpens in a new tab.$129.99828950
Ruger Blackhawk ComboOpens in a new tab.$119.9910001200
Beeman RS2Opens in a new tab.$118.9312811000
Benjamin Titan GP Nitro Piston Air RifleOpens in a new tab.$99.99661950
Gamo Varmint VelocityOpens in a new tab.$87.718881250
Winchester Model M$69.86181700
Crosman 1077Opens in a new tab.$55.00683625
Daisy 880 Multi-PumpOpens in a new tab.$45.95611715
Daisy Red RyderOpens in a new tab.$39.99235350
Crosman Pumpmaster 760Opens in a new tab.$39.74412645
Crosman RecruitOpens in a new tab.$27.09612680
Daisy BuckOpens in a new tab.$17.99235275
Tabulated data based upon our testing. Links to each gun included.

The wide discrepancy between advertised and tested feet per second could be for a number of reasons, but is most likely because of the shape and weight of the pellets we were using.

Diabolo pellets have a wide skirt-like tail that trails a rounded head, keeping the pellet traveling straight. Other shaped pellets have differing aerodynamics, which will give you differing results, but most are shaped similar to this.

Like pellets and their shapes, air guns do not come with set velocities, instead they come with a stable amount of energy that they give per shot. This energy stays the same no matter which pellet you are using, which means that you can play around with the velocity a bit. If you have a heavier pellet, it will travel slower when pushed at a certain level than a lighter pellet will.

You can use this to help fix your magnum pellet gun. Using heavier pellets will preserve your foot pounds while slowing down your pellet.

Because of the variability of pellet accuracy, if you ask, “Which pellet should I use with my gun,” you will likely get the answer, “It depends.”

Why do Pellets Lose Accuracy Above 875 FPS?

The air around us is a fickle thing. Generally, we never notice it, but when it or us move faster than normal, the air begins to push against us noticeably. Now imagine that you are a pellet moving near the speed of sound. That air resistance is going to spike dramatically.

As a pellet moves faster, it generates a kind of cone around it, compressing the air in front of it and magnifying any turbulence already present in the air before. It is in essence building a wall of turbulence that it pushes against as it travels, which reaches critical mass at the sound barrier. This will throw the pellet off wildly at greater distances.

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