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Distractions, distractions!…..studying trigger units, now back to pellets

Sorry for the delay on my next ramblings regards pellets and release pressure, studying trigger geometry and what could be improved on the Rekord and CD units after studying the LGV/LGU trigger unit got in the way, then studying the T06 Diana unit and how its a little different put me back another week or so. Now after some .22 TX 22mm testing and seeing just how much effect release pressure can make (on my guns here) I thought it time for the next update. I finished last time explaining the importance of the lead in on the barrel and how the pellet acts as a valve, helping the compression tube build pressure. Now we need to add transfer port diameter into the mix, as between the release pressure of the pellets and the choking effect of the port you can dramatically alter what pellets make good power and what do not, and alter velocity consistency.

As mentioned earlier, JSB made pellets generally have a lower release pressure than other brands such as RWS or H&N, QYS however act more like JSBs so the same rules that apply to JSBs apply to QYS generally. One pellet that responds well to very high peak pressure and fast pressure build is the RWS Superdome, both in .22 and .177 sizes. It can also help diagnose leaks as leaks cause higher peak pressure especially if more input energy has been added to counter the effect of the leak. Eventually, i’m hoping to build a platform to accurately measure release pressure on specific barrels, remembering every barrel will effect the release pressure either up or down on the pellets tested as every barrel seems to have subtle differences. For now though for ease of understanding, JSB/QYS let go and start moving earlier in the piston flight than the other brands. Earlier i mentioned you can turn the rule that spingers are more efficient with lighter pellets on its head , here is why and how.

Now we understand some pellets release earlier in the shot cycle than others, we can now look at how we can control that pressure build and how we can force the gun to favor harder or heavier pellets or favor softer pellets or lighter pellets. Larger port diameter equals higher flow but it also gives a lower peak cylinder pressure. Now consider the heavier and harder pellets like a Superdome have a naturally higher release pressure using a larger port diameter can favor these pellets. Its not uncommon to set a UK spec sub12 springer to push a JSB branded pellet at 11fpe and Superdomes are delivering more energy. Power plant design does effect this also as does the spring rate BUT running that large port can make the gun favor the harder or heavier pellets. Piston stroke plays a massive effect here also BUT that is not for now, keeping the focus on release pressure and port diameter for now 😉

So, thinking we want to shoot JSBs or QYS as they are a more accurate pellet what can we do to make the power plant in the rifle favor them?….reduce the port size!

Choking the port flow by reducing the diameter of the port down allows the pressure to build in the compression cylinder higher but build slower behind the pellet. So one side of the port the pressure is huge, the other side its much lower.

How does this benefit JSB’s?

Well we’re artificially increasing their release pressure, that means when they do let go and start to accelerate down the barrel the pressure behind them is MUCH higher, which in turn means they get a much BIGGER shove by that expanding air, they accelerate faster and as such make more energy and deliver a higher velocity. Now you can do all this with port tuning and not altering input energy at all. You can see an 80fps difference in favor of superdomes be totally eradicated by port tuning, resulting in domes and Exact 8.44s flying around the same speed or in fact Superdomes flying slower, all without adding any additional preload. This effect can be seen when over springing the power plant also but again for now lets concentrate on release pressure and port diameter. Now with a smaller port we are helping keep the pressure behind the pellet to say 300psi while allowing the pressure in the cylinder to rise to 4 or 5 times this, maybe even higher, where with a larger port the pellet is letting go much sooner and the cylinder pressure may only be 2 or 3 times higher at that point…its a subtle difference, but it makes a huge effect.
Port length can have a massive effect on this also, generally im talking about port length of 5 to 10 mm max here, this covers most of the more popular air rifles.

There is one pellet that is more difficult to set up for, this is the 177 JSB heavy, 10.3gr. It should favor larger ports however not always, so you can set up a power plant to shoot Baracuda Match or FT or the tighter fit FTTs etc and JSB heavies still fly slow. They have a low release pressure BUT they are heavy so need a good shove, finding the sweet spot is a little more tricky, but not impossible. As usual different die and batch fly at different speeds and the new Hades variant and new heavy dies have a smaller head size which has made them act more like an 8.44… More on JSB heavies another time.

I personally feel Superdomes have a release pressure almost 2x that of JSB Exacts, FTT 2.5x, Baracuda FT 2.5X etc. This means a Superdome with a large port is able to hold back the pressure to a much higher level in the compression cylinder, they then get a huge shove down the barrel aided by the higher flow a larger port allows. So if you want to shoot Baracuda FT which do act in a similar way to Superdomes you can set up the power plant to do so, BUT at the expense of JSB pellet performance, it will be lower.

Smaller ports for JSB pellets
Larger ports for RWS and H&N pellets

Even smaller ports for JSB made light pellets as their release pressure is even lower!

Next up going to go into piston diameter, and why i choose to run much smaller pistons. They are not without issues however which i will also touch on.

Pellets, friction and release pressure.


Most everyone uses JSB branded or re-branded pellets, HFT and FT competitors especially, new kid for domed and pointed pellet manufacturer QYS is gaining ground however, H&N while stopping the excellent Sniper range have brought out Baracuda FT…RWS, well most use them for plinking.

So why have I a started with pellets?

Pellets have a massive effect on the tune of the gun, they act a valve blocking the pressure from just releasing into the barrel. Springer’s rely on this valving effect to build pressure within the compression cylinder. Larger or harder lead tighter fitting pellets hold on and build pressure behind them higher than loser softer or smaller pellets. Each pellet has its own release pressure, this being the pressure that once hit the pellet starts to move down the barrel.
Larger or tighter pellets build a higher pressure BUT also have more friction, so normally produce less muzzle energy, lighter or smaller pellets build less pressure as they let go earlier. So tighter fitting pellets which many use are FTT 4.50/4.51 or Baracuda FT, H&N state 4.50 or 4.51 but when you actually measure them they are usually larger than this, FTT 4.51 its not uncommon to measure a 4.55 head size, FTs are around 4.53, this adds to the friction within the barrel and they usually fly a little slower so create less muzzle energy, however its not the head size that is the most influential here its the skirt size. The skirt on a diabolo is larger than the head and for good reason as this is the part of the pellet that acts as the valve.
Barrels on well made springer’s have what is called a lead in, this is a chamfer that is machined into the breech end of the barrel that excepts the pellet. It allows easier feed of the pellet into the breech/barrel but also it allows the skirt of the pellet to sit against the chamfer and form the seal without compressing the skirt. This is why it is important to not push the pellets into the bore of the barrel, you lose that valve seal and it effects the peak pressure within the compression cylinder.
Understanding pellet release pressure, you then start to understand how different barrels can have an effect on pellet performance. Tighter match grade barrels suit smaller pellets, the barrels are usually quite long, if a tight/larger pellet is used the friction is just to high and the pellets start to lose speed before they exit the barrel. You can get over this with more input energy but that can add to recoil and surge so barrel matching to pellets is critical.

With regard to most springer’s they use essentially sporting barrels, these suit pellets 4.50 to 4.53 usually so we shall focus on pellets within this range and how we can effect how those pellets fly with how the tune has been implemented.
The long standing rule of springer’s make more power with lighter pellets and less with heavier pellets is actually not quite true, as I work thru what I have learn’t it will become clear that you can actually make springer’s push heavies with more power than lights or you can get a reasonable balance across the weight range. Its actually not uncommon for me to see 11.5fpe with JSB 16gr Exacts and the same 11.5FPE with RWS 11.9gr Hobby, on the same .22 rifle, its all in the release pressure and peak pressure generated behind it.

Check back soon for further ramblings about pellets.

Well its time to get going, not quite like it was, maybe better…we shall see.

New start a fresh.

Having moved to Facebook a few years back, as that’s where everyone was going, I neglected this site for a while. It had been hacked and essentially turned into a porn server so everything old on here was lost. I have pics, and can remember what I did back then, but so much has now changed.
I want to bring my blogging etc back here, I now tune rifles and sell tuning kits part time, my intention is to keep it that way (part time), however, I need a place away from Facebook rules where I can show what I supply, give updates on stock levels and post whats on my mind. There will not be a buying page for now, its heavy maintenance and I don’t want to be overly bogged down, so inquiries and sales will happen over email (for now) which means slower but i can live with slower.

Instead of showing how I re engineered a specific gun (as I was doing) i’m going to cover what I have learnt.
So if you are coming over to see how I tuned my Diana 280K or my HW80, you are no longer going to see how I did it. My piston nose extension for the TX to shorten the stroke from 2012 is still in my pics folder but you ain’t going to see that either!

So where am I going to start?

Everything I do, has a fixed datum, everything has to be to UK specific rules. I am totally NOT interested in anything FAC, I don’t even think about having the extra power available as a good thing as I can’t go there. So I wont be touching on over UK power levels at all, I also will not answer question on FAC power levels either, so don’t bring questions on FAC/high power as I will just delete them!

My intention is to work thru what I have learnt, the problems I have solved and where I want to head going forward. I will not be touching on what “others are doing similar” as I am not interested, if they happen to be doing the same thing then its a good case of “great minds think alike”.

I will report on manufacturer product releases and if we see any innovations. The spring airgun industry has stagnated for over 40 years so we shall see if any changes are being made. Along side my thoughts and products I will feature ideas and products from others I feel are worthy of being pushed to a wider audience. My hope is traffic will return here, and news I post will spread.

Don’t expect anything mainstream, every springer out there can be improved, every springer designed for high power can be engineered for UK sub12 FPE a LOT better than just fitting a weaker spring.

Thats enough for now, I will get going over the next few days, the plan is an update once a week if I can going forward.