How important are round pellets vs. non round?

January 21, 2011

While developing and testing Muller Chokes I learned more than I could have ever imagined.  Some things that had little or nothing to do with choke tubes, some had everything to do with choke tubes.  Ammo is one thing I tested extensively.  I was amazed at what I learned.

I found that ammo selection is not as important as many shooters think especially when shooting Muller Chokes.  Here are things I found that are factual and evidential...short, sweet and to the point!

Factory ammo pellets come in the following shapes:   round, square, teardrop, dumbell, figure eight, pins, etc.  Don't believe me, go buy a box of Winchester AA Super Sporting, Remington STS, Remington Gun Club, Federal Gold Paper, Federal target loads (100 pack), B&P, Gamebore, Kent, etc.  Cut the crimp off and empty the pellets out onto a plate and take a gander.  I did.  You'll be amazed at what you're shooting!  I actually measured thousands of BB's with a micrometer, did crush tests on them, checked weight, antimony content, antimony weight (which, incidentally, is lighter than lead, but harder).  Nickel plated, non plated, you name it,  I tested it...and shot it!

Here's the good news.  Are you sitting down?  Inside 35 yards it does NOT matter!  35 - 45  it starts to matter, beyond 45 it matters big time and here's why!

I found that Because Muller Chokes provide such even pattern distribution, there is almost no difference in between these types of pellet shapes.  However,  with competitor's hot core chokes, there is a much bigger negative effect when shooting non round pellets. If you ask me, patterning should be mandatory when you buy a shotgun or a choke tube!!

Inside 35 yards the difference in perfectly round and the other shapes listed above are almost unnoticeable, the target will certainly not know the difference and neither will you!

Interestingly, when you start pushing the envelope shooting greater distances, things start to deteriorate rapidly.  All those non- round pellets become "flyers" and you lose many of them from your effective pattern, ultimately giving you a much smaller usable pattern for that more difficult 50 yard crosser.  So if your shooting far targets, its best to choose a high quality ammo that uses round shot.  If you primarily shoot targets inside 35 yards, save your money and buy anything that fits your budget.