|In Search of the Perfect Pellet: Shooting the H&N Baracuda
I received several tins of H&N pellets to try out, and as I'm always on the look out for quality hunting pellets, was interested in seeing how they work out of several of my favorite hunting rifles. JSB Exacts and Beemans Kodiaks are excellent performers out of these guns, so I used them to benchmark the H&N Baracuda Match.
|Part I: Close Range Shooting
The Baracuda is a heavy (21.14 grain in .22 caliber) roundnose pellet that has been designed for field target and hunting at long range. The skirt of this pellet is substantially thicker than that on the JSB Jumbo Exact, exactly resembling that of the Kodiak.In fact I've been told these are the same pellets Beeman has marketed as Kodiaks, but I don't know if there is any difference in manufacturing equipment use for the Beeman branded pellets. One thing I love about the H&N pellets is the packaging: for the H&N branded pellets, the tin is clearly labeled with model, the number of pieces, pellet weight, suggested application, the suggested range, caliber, and optimal energy level. Each tin has the information in the same place …… what a great idea! The packaging also protects the contents, out of several tins used there were no damaged pellets found.
The manufacturer recommends the Baracuda be used in guns generating 12 – 40 fpe, so I pulled out a number of my hunting rifles to give them a go. The guns I selected were all proven performers that I’d used a lot in the past, and included the AirArms S410 FAC, the Beeman Falcon Rs, the Twinmaster Air Hunter Carbine, the Crosman Marauder and the Crosman Discovery.
My method of testing was to shoot several groups with each gun to familiarize myself with the characteristics, then set up a target and shoot three consecutive 5 shot groups with each pellet out of each gun at 20 yards.
|The Exacts and the Kodiaks are a couple of my favorite hunting projectiles, and shoot well out of many of my guns. The H&N compared well with these heavy hitters.|
| JSB Exacts H&N Baracuda Kodiak
18.1 gr 21.14 gr 21.14 gr
|My test platform for evaluating the pellet, included 5 pcp rifles that span the range of price, but all excellent performers.|
|The results obtained underscored the importance of trying multiple pellets in your rifle, the Falcon and the Twinmaster liked the Baracuda the best, The AirArms shot best with the JSB Exacts, and the Marauder and the Discovery seemed to digest all three pellets equally well, but these guns were slightly less accurate than the much more expensive European guns. It’s also worth noting that both of the Crosmans have a marked preference for their Crosman Premier pellets. The other point to consider is that all three of these pellets offered very good accuracy out of all guns.
I think the reason there was a slightly better performance with with the Baracuda over the Kodiak plellets was that the later were the double gold plated variety.
The bottom line is that at close range these pellets were as accurate as any hunting pellet I've used
|All pellets were accurate in all guns, and though certain guns had slight preferences, all provide more than adequate accuracy for hunting applications. But for a heavy round nose it's hard to beat the Baracuda.|
|Predictably, the JSB pellets yielded the highest velocity. The Kodiak and Baracuda yielded about the same velocities, which makes sense as they are virtually the same pellet (except the kodiaks are plated)|
|I was out today in the snow and cold getting my AA S410 FAC ready for the last squirrel hunt of the season, and decided to give the H&N Baracuda pellets a go for longer range hunting. I shot several 5 shot groups at 50 yards rested on the door of my car, and a representative example is shown to the right. Accuracy like this in a heavy roundnose pellet makes these a great hunting projectile.|