Battle of the Hollow Points .22 Edition

In a previous post, I compared the performance of a couple .177 hollow points. Today, we are going to look at three of the hollow points I have on hand in .22 and see how they perform out of my recently tuned Hatsan Edge.

Here’s the contestants and their handiwork from a range of 15 yards:

The entry wounds produced by our contestants
The entry wounds produced by our contestants

The heaviest pellet I tested is the H&N Barracuda Hunter Extreme, in the old 19.09 grain size. In addition to being massive, it has an excellent ballistic coefficient, .0263 according to Chairgun. Now that I have tuned the Edge, it leaves the barrel at a respectable 700 fps and hitting the target with 17.95 fpe.

The next pellet is the Benjamin Destroyer, weighing in at 14.3 grains. I can’t find an exact ballistic coefficient, but I’d estimate them to be very similar to a wadcutter of the same weight, .013. This pellets flies out of the barrel at 803 fps and hits the target with around 14.96 fpe.

Our final contestant is the lightest of the bunch at 14.2 grains, the RWS Super H Point. As the lightest pellet, it features the highest speed, 805 fps, and the worst ballistic coefficient, .011. It smacks the target with 14.13 fpe.

Let’s take a look at the exit wounds and make a few statements:

Here's the less impressive exit wounds
Here’s the less impressive exit wounds

The Hunter Extreme had the most energy on impact and exploded the entry side the least. It tore out a bigger hole on the other side, indicating it had quite a bit of energy left over. It looks like an excellent candidate for larger quarry or longer distance shooting. At 38 yards, it carries the same energy the other two had at 15.

The Benjamin Destroyer really impressed me. It is a budget pellet that actually groups well and hits like a ton of bricks. It appeared to have the most efficient energy transfer of the bunch and didn’t make much of a mess on its way out of the can.

The RWS Super H Point is one of the most accurate pellets I’ve shot out of the Edge and it really packs a wallop. The entry almost tied with the Destroyer and the exit was a tad bigger.

For 30 yards and under, the Destroyer would be my choice hunting pellet. It is cheaper than the other options and it really does a good job of anchoring game down on the spot. If minimizing property damage was a priority, the Super H Point would be my choice. The high level of accuracy combined with the poor ballistic coefficient gives a higher probability of a hit and low probabilities of passthroughs and property damage in the event of a miss.

The Hunter extreme has the ballistics of many domed pellets and delivers a pretty good punch as well. It would be my top choice for raccoons and groundhogs, or for sniping squirrel and rabbits out to 50 yards.

Speaking of domed pellets, how do they perform in comparison to hollowpoints?

Domed pellet performance
Domed pellet performance

I used a Beeman Kodiak for this shot. They travel slow at 645 fps and hit with 17.56 fpe. You can see that there is some energy transfer, but nothing like the hollow points. In spite of this, I’ve probably harvested more game with domed pellets. I prefer them for their superior accuracy, penetrating ability, and their ability to buck the wind.

In the end, you’ve got to shoot what your airgun likes the most and put the pellet where it matters. Each pellet type has advantages in different situations, so it pays to keep an assortment of pellets on hand to get the job done.

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Refurbished Hatsan Edge .22 Review

I need another air rifle like I need to lose more hair. That didn’t matter when I was looking at Hatsan’s refurbished deals and found they were selling the Edge spring version in .22 for $39.99 plus $5 shipping. It only took a couple of days for my rifle to show up:

Hatsan Edge in .22
Hatsan Edge in .22

I topped it with a dovetail to picatinny rail adapter and mounted a UTG 4×32 AO scope on it for testing. Even with the scope, it is a fairly lightweight setup. They claim 800 fps with lead pellets and the person doing the inspection said the rifle averaged 787 fps in his tests. Close enough.

When I received it, I noticed that the breech seal had a couple creases in it and was flush with the barrel. I wrapped about 6″ of waxed dental floss around the seal area to make a shim and reinstalled the breech seal. Here’s the results:

Velocity after fixing breech seal
Velocity after fixing breech seal

These speeds and energies are very respectable. I like the trend toward heavy pellets so much, I’ve ordered some Beeman Kodiaks and JSB Jumbo pellets. Both pellets have high BCs, so they should be able to reach out and pack a punch on game.

Unlike many springers, I found my groups tightened up with a firm grip on the Edge. It is shooting dime sized groups at 20 yards with the RWS Super H Point pellets. The cocking is a little gritty, the shot cycle has a bit of a high pitch ring to it, and the trigger has a lot of creep.

In spite of that, I think the rifle is a bargain at the full retail price and an absolute steal refurbished. I’ve already begun modifying the rifle and will share my progress as I work some magic on the Edge.

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Vortek Spring Hunting

My Vortek spring showed up quickly, so I swapped out the Chinese spring in favor of the more powerful aftermarket spring. Vortek was quick to ship out my spring and even included a small container of spring tar. The spring is very nice, beefier than the original Gamo spring. The spring is a loose fit on the tophat and guide, so I still have some work to do to make it a perfectly smooth shooter. It did, however, boost my average power to 16 fpe and isn’t very hold sensitive to boot.

With this added power, I should be able to take out some bigger game. I’ve taken a couple of nice fox squirrels, one shot kills to the brain:

Power sprung Gamo is a hunting machine
Power sprung Gamo is a hunting machine

The Shadow is a surprisingly quiet air rifle, and the smack of the pellet hitting the squirrel’s head is amazing. By the way, two fox squirrels was enough to feed my family including the cat when combined with some rice and homemade gravy.

I’ve seen a raccoon over the last week out in the woods and decided to try a shot on it. It is a long 43 yard shot from my back door to where I’ve been seeing him, but the pellet should have over 10 fpe on impact, plenty to penetrate the skull and deliver a kill. I slowly opened the back door, steadied my arm on the door jamb, settled into a artillery hold, aimed, and squeezed off the shot.

I watched the pellet skirt illuminated by my back porch light as it made its way to its mark. The pellet landed right between the eye and ear and the coon began its death dance. I couldn’t have asked for a better kill shot. While cleaning the coon, I found the pellet had deflected off the inside of the skull and came to rest in the neck.

A perfect kill shot
A perfect kill shot

It isn’t the biggest coon I’ve killed, but it my largest air rifle kill to date. It also didn’t smell like garbage, so I’ve decided to cook him up. He’s in the crock pot as I type this and the house smells amazing. I’ll be sure to share my experience in cooking and eating raccoon in the future.

My largest airgun kill so far
My largest airgun kill so far

To summarize, I highly recommend Vortek springs as an upgrade to your spring piston rifle. The quality of the product and speed in shipping are top notch. 16 fpe in a .177 air rifle produces a very flat shooting, deep penetrating setup that is absolutely lethal for small game hunting. There’s still a few more experiments I plan to try with this spring and a new aftermarket seal. I hope to squeeze out a bit more power and smooth things out a bit. We’ll see what happens…

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