I’ve been doing a lot of hunting and shooting with my Daisy 880. In keeping with the theme of a locally available air rifle, I’ve been feeding it a diet of locally available pellets. It has also been heavily modified since my last mod post, I’m a bit behind on documenting my progress. Suffice it to say that with 15 pumps, it will shoot a 10.5 grain Piranha at 720 fps, making 12.1 fpe. With the same number of pumps, the 7.4 grain Destroyer EX will exit the muzzle at 800 fps, making 10.5 fpe.
Like pellet rifles, pellets themselves are subject to a lot of marketing hype. These pellets are no exception. The packaging on the Piranha claims to be the ultimate hollowpoint with an extra bite. The Destroyer EX claims to have maximum penetration and expansion. Let’s put these claims to the test.
I set up a couple aluminum cans filled with water at 15 yards. A lot of the small game I take is shot at that distance. Here’s the entry side of the cans:
The can on the left was shot with the Destroyer EX, the one on the right with the Piranha. In spite of leaving the muzzle with 1.6 fpe less energy, and shedding more energy over the 15 yards it traveled, it managed to rip a larger hole in the can than the Piranha did. Here’s the exit holes that suggest why:
The exit hole from the Destroyer EX shows that the pellet expanded, while the Piranha expanded very little. From this simple experiment, it seems that the Destroyer EX takes some bite out of the Piranha, especially shot from a mid powered air rifle.
How does this test compare to real world hunting? I can tell you from experience that both pellets are lethal on small game, even with slightly misplaced shots. Both pellets fail to exit the animal the majority of the time, meaning they expend all their available energy into the animal, resulting in 100% recovery rates so far. Here’s some Destroyers that I’ve recovered from game:
Notice the expansion. This results in clean kills. The Piranha is a different animal. It seems to be made of a harder alloy that expands very little. Here’s a couple Piranha pellets I’ve recovered:
Instead of expanding, they break bones and change direction of travel, usually coming to rest right under the skin, somewhere a couple inches away from the entry hole.
Which one is better? It really depends on your air rifle and needs. My Daisy 880 shoots both with similar accuracy, so we have to take other things into consideration. The heavier Piranha will carry energy farther, a good thing if you are taking distant shots, a potentially bad thing if you are doing pest control near other animals and buildings. The Destroyers lose their energy quickly, bad for long shots, but good when you want to minimize collateral damage.