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Marksman 5.6mm Pellets

Discussion in 'Airgun Reviews' started by Meteor62, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. Meteor62

    Meteor62 Major Poster

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    There was a time when British barreled rifles were made slightly larger than their European counterparts. The reason I believe was due to the British imperial measurements of .22 differing slightly to other countries that had the metric of .22 measuring 5.5mm. The British reading it as 5.6mm. This meant that normal 5.5mm pellets were a loose fit in British barrels such as BSA and Webley. This wasn't really a problem then as everyone had perfect 5.6mm pellets in the guise of Eley wasp pellets.

    Years later the British manufacturers started making them in true 5.5mm (true if you are european I suppose) so now we had more pellets to choose from. The problem being that there was and still is plenty of old Brit made airguns out there with 5.6mm barrels.

    Why is this a problem you may well ask. Well the good old eley wasp pellet was no longer produced and there was nothing else out there to take their place. Yes some company that will remain nameless bought the 'Wasp' brand but their pellets were/are nowhere near the same quality of the good old Eley's.

    On a visit to Knibbs countrystore last year they informed me that they had pellets being produced from them by 'Marksman' especially in 5.6mm size especially for the old British barrels.
    Now Marksman have always been a low budget no frills pellet in 5.5mm size and have never really had a reputation as a pellet for shall we say, the more discerning air rifle shooter apart from a bit of back garden plinking maybe?

    Well, Knibbs informed me that the 5.6mm pellets are built to better tolerances and so I decided I was going to give them a try in my 1959 Mk1 BSA Meteor and see how well they fared. Well I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. So here begins my findings on these pellets.

    The 5.6mm come in a box the 5.5mm can come in a box or a tin.
    photo.jpg

    photo1.jpg
    As you can see they are marked up as 5.6mm and cost £7.50 for 500 which is not a bad price for a .22 pellet.

    Both the 5.6mm and 5.5mm share the same diabolo design with a domed head that is more flatter than other designs. The 5.6mm appear to be slightly more shiny but in all fairness the tin of 5.5mm are quite old.
    photo 2.jpg
    Looking into the skirts and the hole in the 5.5mm version (top) appears to be wider than the 5.6mm brother.
    photo 3.jpg
    Measuring the pellets I got an accurate 5.6mm and 5.5mm reading respectively.
    photo 4.jpg
    photo 5.jpg
    Measuring head sizes firstly the 5.6mm Pellets gave a head size of 5.5mm and the 5.5mm pellet read a head size of 5.3mm.

    Inserting a pellet into the breach of the meteor instantly showed a difference, the 5.5 mm pellet would only require dropping into the breech to be seated properly but the 5.6mm pellet instantly required a damn good push in with the thumb and as you can see the head is a tight fit on being entered into the breech.
    photo6.jpg
    A plinking session will truly give you a sore thumb inserting these pellets.
    To be continued...
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2014
  2. dave ratz

    dave ratz Posting Addict

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    very well found,have you weighed them yet...Dave
     
  3. Meteor62

    Meteor62 Major Poster

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    That will be on my next instalment
     
  4. edtwozeronine

    edtwozeronine Donator

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    Would it be worth trying these in an old Webley Tempest pistol? Just wondering if they're more suited to rifles.
     
  5. Meteor62

    Meteor62 Major Poster

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    Sure, no harm in trying at £7.50 a box. British Pistols were 5.6mm too
     
  6. Meteor62

    Meteor62 Major Poster

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    Now on to the weighing of the pellets and out with the scales. I selected 5 random pellets of each size and here are my readings.
    Firstly the 5.5mm marksmans
    13.98 g
    13.92 g
    13.98 g
    13.94 g
    14.04 g
    Which averages at 13.97 g
    This near enough as dammit, backs up my online enquires that show marksmans to be 14g.

    Now 5 random 5.6mm pellets.
    14.98
    14.94
    15.06
    14.90
    14.96
    Which averages out at 14.96 grains so a full grain heavier than it's 5.5mm counterpart.

    I have often read about Marksman pellets being deformed and I must admit, from memory many years ago I used to get the occasional deformed Quasimodo pellet. But this wasn't the case with the tin of 5.5mm or box of 5.6mm. Sure, theres the odd bent skirt but not as many as I had to throw out of my tin of .177 JSB exact pellets recently. Talking about tins, the marksman tin is a screw on lid which I much prefer to the push on lids you see so many of these days where you end up with a tin of pellets all over the floor when you mistakenly grab your tin by the lid rather than under the tin. So, in a nutshell, the Marksman pellets that I have on review are in excellent condition, nicely rounded skirts and as good in this respect as any other pellet makers i have seen (apart from maybe the old Eley wasp but i'm reminiscing now).

    Accuracy testing

    I decided to put the 5.6mm pellets through the Meteor firstly, seeing as it had already been 'leaded up' with them. My shooting range would be over ? yards and 22 yards. This range was restricted by two factors
    1.My garden is 22 yards long
    2. I am using open sights and any further would put the rifle at a distinct disadvantage compared to a rifle that has a scope and can aim more accurately at longer ranges.

    Using some mdf board I drew a black spot with a marker pen , taking 5 shots from a sitting position unsupported at
    22 Yards. with 5.6mm Pellets.
    photo7.jpg
    I'm sure you will all agree that this is definitely not pin point accurate and you must remember when using open sights at 22 yards the target area is a mere speck. 3 of the shots were easily covered by the coin.

    Next up same range with the 5.5mm pellets.
    photo8.jpg
    Again not brilliant I'm first to admit but I always find for some reason when firing at targets like this I am never as good as when firing into the kill zones of metal targets that you get on the range.

    I can honestly say that when I was on the range with the 5.6mm Marksmans I was consistently knocking down targets out to 27 yards.

    Now for chrono readings
    I was in for a bit of a shock here.
    photo9.jpg
    Okay first of all I ran a 5 shot string with the 5.6mm pellets and although consistency wasn't bad it wasn't as good as previous tests with other 5.5mm pellets. The average fps was 480.7 at 15 grains averaged out at just 7.70 fpe!
    The 5.5mm pellets I ran a six shot string, the reason being I have found when switching pellet brand on the chrono, the first shot reads high or low and you can see this here with pellet number 1 reading just 517 fps compared to the average following string of 530.38 fps which equates to 8.75 fpe. Yep! Those tight marksman pellets have robbed the gun of a whole ft lb of energy. Yes I know heavier pellets will bring down the energy on a spring gun but 7.70 fpe is simply not good enough. For comparison here is a couple of examples with the same rifle with other brands of pellets, just look at the consistency.
    tuhytazy.jpg
    Now prior to testing this Rifle pellet combo I did go on a successful, squirrel shoot with the Meteor/5.6mm pellet combination and one shot from about 15 yards was very dead and the pellet had hit the squirrel through the neck and come to rest on the far side of it's body showing that we don't always have to have the full 12ft lb to make a clean kill
    I made a thread on that day out here http://www.airgunforum.co.uk/forums...y-out-with-an-old-meteor?highlight=old+meteor

    So my conclusion? If I had not carried out this technical test I would have probably been quite happy to carry on shooting with the 5.6mm pellets and probably quite successfully too if you read that thread above. But now I know I'm a whole ft lb down on other pellets I think I will move on from them and try something else. I still think they are worth a punt if you have a 5.6mm rifle I've been shooting pcp's for two years so shooting a spring gun again is a learning curve again so this has to be taken into compensation with the accuracy results and the fact that I was shooting with open sights. I think I will give the defiant vintage 5.6mm pellets a more in depth test shortly and see how I get on with them and I will leave you to draw your own conclusions on the marksman pellets.

    Hope this has been of some interest to someone. Sorry for any spelling or grammar mistakes I'm under time constraints today so no time to go back and check it all.
     
    Gat Man likes this.
  7. Wynne G Oldman

    Wynne G Oldman Engaging Member

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    Thanks for the review, very interesting. :up:
     
  8. Dewi

    Dewi Newbie

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    Very interesting your review. I too was recently sold the Marksman 5.6mm at J Knibbs for the very same reason .. being correct fit for the British imperial barrel of my Mk3 Meteor, when there to get parts for the rebuild which I'm carrying out.

    If I recall correct the first pellets I had with the Meteor secondhand were a box of Marksman, I'd No2 Wasp, they were 5.6mm, the current tin I have are 70's Webley, yet am told they are 5.5mm, hence needing/must have the Marksman.

    It will be a case to try out each as you've done and using them will depend on what I'm shooting.
     
  9. Meteor62

    Meteor62 Major Poster

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    Further tests have shown 5.5 mm superdomes are far superior in both accuracy and power levels through the meteors. I do have sme more different 5.6mm pellets coming though so watch this space.
     
  10. Mickey O'Neill

    Mickey O'Neill Donator

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    Good write up there mate :up:
     
  11. miketredway

    miketredway Newbie

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    Just to thank you for all the effort you have put in for us
     
  12. Trampilot

    Trampilot Keyboard Hero

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    Very interesting. I've always found .25 Marksmans to be very good - never managed anything decent in the other calibres though.
     

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