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"New" .177 RWS Superfields versus JSB Exacts - a velocity decay test

Discussion in 'Anything Airgun Related' started by cloverleaf, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    The situation with RWS Superfields appears thus: Some years ago RWS introduced their Superfield pellet in .177; which many suspected was a re-branded JSB Exact. As many will concur, the Exact is an excellent pellet and the Superfield rightly won a lot of fans based on its excellent performance.

    Some time later the Superfield pellet design changed and many abandoned the pellet; citing a lack of performance compared to the old variant, poor product consistency / continuity and perhaps a slight feeling of betrayal towards RWS for continuing to sell what appeared to be a completely different pellet in the same packaging with no explanation to the customer.

    Like many others I'm a fan of JSB pellets and with no local supplies of Superfields, never bothered trying them out. Recently I blagged a few to test and earlier in the week got up the club with the chronos to assess the performance of the "new" Superfields against the JSB Exact.


    Procedure

    All pellets were fired from a .177 HW100 in batches of five over two chronographs; one placed (as near as dammit) at the muzzle, the other a measured 25m down range. The chronys had previously been tested against each other and the marginal 0.7% variation in velocity taken into account in the processing of the results. Four batches of Exact were tested; the average of their results is given here and will be covered in isolation and greater depth in a subsequent post.

    From the velocity difference between the two guns various bits of arguably exciting information can be calculated; including ballistic coefficient (bc) and drag coeffcient. In addition the extreme spread and standard deviation of the velocity strings over five shots at both chronographs gives an insight into consistency of pellet behaviour.

    This was a fairly quick and dirty test, but shows some interesting and fairly conclusive results IMO.


    The Pellets

    Below are a couple of images of a token JSB Exact (left) and RWS Superfield. Note the significant geometric differences in the Superfield - namely the nipple on top (ish) of the dome, a longer rear-portion of the head, shallower (greater radius) dome and rebate where the dome meets the head:

    SMALL_IMG_6203a.jpg

    SMALL_IMG_6209a.jpg

    These certainly don't look much like Exacts to me..


    Results

    The results looked a bit like this:

    [TABLE="class: grid, width: 500"]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Pellet
    [/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"] JSB Exact [/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]RWS Superfield[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Calibre, mm[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]4.50[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]4.50[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Head Size, mm[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]4.52-4.53[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]4.52[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Batch No. / Tin Info.[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]Mixed[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]-[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Mass, Gn[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]8.45[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]8.52[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Sect. Density, Gn/mm^2[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]0.53[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]0.54[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Chrono Position[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]Muzzle[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]Range[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]Muzzle[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]Range[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Velocity, High, ft/s[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]794[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]683[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]786[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]625[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Velocity, Low, ft/s[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]785[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]665[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]779[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]609[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Velocity, Mean, ft/s[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]790[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]674[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]782[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]617[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Velocity, Ex. Spread, ft/s[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]9[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]17[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]7[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]16[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Velocity, Std. Dev, ft/s[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]3[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]7[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]3[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]6[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Velocity Loss, ft/s
    [/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]116[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]165[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Velocity Remaining, %[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]85.34[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]78.92[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Energy, High, ftlb[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]11.81[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]8.74[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]11.68[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]7.39[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Energy, Low, ftlb[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]11.56[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]8.31[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]11.48[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]7.02[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Energy, Mean, ftlb[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]11.70[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]8.52[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]11.58[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]7.21[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Energy, Ex. Spread, ftlb[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]0.25[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]0.43[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]0.21[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]0.37[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Energy, Std. Dev, ftlb[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]0.10[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]0.16[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]0.08[/TD]
    [TD="align: center"]0.15[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Energy Loss, ftlb[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]3.18[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]4.37[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Energy Remaining, %[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]72.85[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]62.28[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Ballistic Coefficient, lb/in^2[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]0.022[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]0.014[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Mean Drag Force, N[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]0.172[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]0.237[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="colspan: 2"]Mean Drag Coefficient[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]0.357[/TD]
    [TD="colspan: 2, align: center"]0.537[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]


    Cherry-picking our way through the table, it can be seen that the both pellets started out at the muzzle with similar energy (11.70ftlb for the JSB v. 11.58ftlb for the Superfield), however by the time they'd reached 25m the JSBs on average retained significantly more energy at 8.52ftlb against the Superfield's 7.21ftlb - a difference of over 1.3ftlb.

    In terms of percentage muzzle energy retention, at 25m the JSBs retained just under 73% of their muzzle energy, while the Superfields only managed just over 62%.

    The ballistic coefficient for the JSBs averaged at 0.022 (actually varying between 0.020 and 0.024, depending on batch) while the Superfields only managed a reasonably poor BC of 0.014.

    Similarly, the JSBs managed a drag coefficient of 0.357 while that of the Superfields was 0.537 - around 1.5 times higher and meaning that the Superfield will lose energy through air drag at 1.5 times the rate of the JSB.


    Discussion

    In a nutshell, in terms of exterior ballistics the "new" Superfield is grossly inferior to the JSB Exact; the pellet it used to be in a former life. The Superfield creates around 1.5 times more drag than the JSB and sheds energy correspondingly quicker - giving it a more pronounced trajectory, greater sensitivity to wind and potentially worse accuracy (especially at extended range).


    Conclusion

    It appears that the inferior ballistics of the Superfield are mostly due to the shallower dome and rebate around the base of the dome. In addition the wonky tit on the top of the dome is likely to cause accuracy issues.

    In conclusion the "new" Superfields do indeed appear to be a completely different pellet to the "old" apparently-JSB sourced items, their performance is significantly inferior and they're probably not worth wasting your money on tbh :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  2. JD

    JD Donator

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    RWS Superdomes

    Given your findings Cloverleaf, I doubt the humble rws superdome would fair much better against the jsb pellet of around the same weight.

    Ive used the sd's for donkeys years and they have worked well in lots of different rifles, Webleys, Weihrauch's and Diana's.

    Out to 40/45 yds the drop is not excessive in .177 and the cost keeps me coming back to them, I have tryed lots of other pellets, but have seen little point in paying extra for a pellet that just has a smooth finish, rws super fields or jsb.

    Years ago, probably 20 plus, rws brought out a FT pellet which looked very much like the superfields but weighed in at 9.3 grains, perhaps they should have carryed on this pellet, instead of 2 types of pellet that look very much alike to each other ?
     
  3. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Nope; you're right - the Superdomes typically have a quoted BC in .177 of 0.014; similar to the Superfields. I've tested Superdomes in .22 and their drag characteristics are appalling - at 50yds they have about 4ftlb left, compared to a JSB Exact with around 7.8ftlb. In the larger calibre their drag characteristics are actually very similar to the flat-nosed RWS Hobby.

    End of the day the Superdomes do go well through springers and are a pretty well-made pellet for decent money. If the range is close, the target isn't serious and you're not concerned with ultimate accuracy, trajectory or wind-bucking properties, the 'domes usually do well in my experience :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2014
  4. Jackroadkill

    Jackroadkill Donator

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    I use Superdomes in my springers in .22, and I think they're a great go-to pellet for hunting up to 30 yards. After than, not so much!
     
  5. mark112

    mark112 Engaging Member

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    Hi,

    Once again a very interesting read so many thanks for putting in the hours :). For me it just shows how any two pellets that look similar in shape/form and have the very similar weights can have pronounced differences in performance. Far more so than I would have thought in this instance. Thanks.

    Mark
     
  6. themadspread

    themadspread Donator

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    as usual very informative and well written spot on
     
  7. JD

    JD Donator

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    Ive not had problems shooting out to 45yds with .177 domes accuracy wise and they've had enough omph to give a clean kill against rabbits.

    I wonder if RWS get wind of threads like this ? I hope they do and respond with a better BC pellet, the lead RWS use is alot cleaner handling than JSB's.
     
  8. Johnc61

    Johnc61 Donator

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    Superdomes are a good starter for ten, but I've proved to myself a few times now that each gun may be pellet fussy and it is worth testing a number of pellet makes. The big surprise is that so called top quality pellets don't always perform the best, and some makes people trash as cheap and nasty actually turn out to be the best in a particular barrel/ gun. One example was in my BSA Mercury in .22. Superdomes were not as accurate as........... Wait for it...... Milbro Caledonians. So a good test, bring on all the other makes to compare against the JSB now!
     
  9. Akita177

    Akita177 The Absolute State of Britian podcast

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    I knew they must have slowed down faster as you always need more holdover often half a milldot(10x) at 55yards, though if you buy a sleave of 10 they work out out about £5 and for that i feel there a decent pellet.
    The latest ones i had where super shiney and worked like tracers on a sunny day.
     
  10. JD

    JD Donator

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    A odd question.

    Did they smell like they'd been sprayed with a antiseptic ?
     
  11. Chris.allum

    Chris.allum Donator

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    I saw exactly the same .... Half a mil dot more holdover at 55 .... Was told it's to do with the rim around the skirt and head causing drag ... They look shiney and pretty ... But are actually poop compared to exacts or field diabolos
     
  12. JD

    JD Donator

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    If your shooting at extreme ranges, it pays to use the pellet that works best in your rifle, but don't discount the humble superdome, it can still hold its own, if shot through a rifle that favours that brand.
     
  13. timmytree

    timmytree Pro Poster

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    Well done Cloverleaf, another great bit of research that reveals something I can't understand!
    Why would anyone use a less accurate and less efficient pellet just to save a couple of quid?
    I plink and hunt so I will only use the most accurate pellet for my rifles regardless of cost, could I miss a target but console myself by saying "Oh well, I saved 0.5p on that shot?" Could I hell!
    If people want to use cheap inaccurate pellets that's fine if you're shooting tins at 10 yards with a B2 but why spend good money on a gun and then skimp on ammo?
     
  14. mattyts

    mattyts Donator

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    Said people are probably from Yorkshire :rolleyes:
     
  15. JD

    JD Donator

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    BC wise yes the RWS pellets are less efficient but not less accurate, otherwise myself and many others wouldn't use them.

    A low BC does not stop a pellet being accurate.
     
  16. Stevie Darling

    Stevie Darling Sexual tyrannosaurus

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    Maybe a perfect barrel/pellet partnerships reduces the need for a high BC.
     
  17. FPoole

    FPoole Keyboard Hero

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    Last year I picked up a tin of .177 Superfields(these have a ribbed skirt) at Bass Pro in Orlando. I'd read many times that they were a decent pellet. At 25m from, my FT sitting position, all 7 of my TX's will put 5 pellets inside a .5" circle. I tried the SF's in 2 different TX's and the best I got was around 2" groups at 25m. Almost every pellet has a tiny piece of lead wire stuck to the head of the pellet and this must be the culprit because the position varies greatly. Maybe I'm just unlucky in the tin I chose, but I won't try them again. My JSB's do fine and cost me 1/3rd less than the SF's as well. It may be that .22 SF's are different, but I only have .177 guns.
     
  18. timmytree

    timmytree Pro Poster

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    I agree they can be accurate but since most of my shooting is rabbits and pigeons or longer range plinking I prefer to use a pellet that retains more power and gives a flatter trajectory. If I was only paper punching out to 30 yards then I might use them.
    Regards
    Tim
     
  19. cloverleaf

    cloverleaf Super Moderator Staff Member Mod/Admin

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    Cheers guys - glad the info is of interest. I'll try and get some more results from the test posted, however there are loads and it takes a surprisingly long time to publish / pick through them; so don't hold your breath :p


    I wouldn't outright disagree with that statement (look how accurate flat nosed pellets can be over short range) although I would qualify it with respect to distance. A low BC will make a pellet more suceptable to wind and gravity, so while in absolutely ideal conditions a low BC pellet might print similar groups to those of a higher BC offering, range estimation becomes more critical and the slightest breeze will push them about all over the place.

    In practice it appears that the group size of low BC pellets decays a lot faster with range - I shot some groups with a .22 HW100 at 25 and 50m recently; using a range of pellets. The groups were broadly similar at 25m; however by the time the pellets had got to 50m the grouping of the lower BC pellets (i.e. the Superdomes) was noticeably worse than the rest.

    Another point worth mentioning is that of course the higher drag works in one's favour once the pellet hits the target, as it will dissipate its energy a lot faster - of course this has to be tempered by the fact that it has less energy to begin with.

    Accuracy permitting I'm considering switching to Superdomes in .22 for rats in the garden on account of their massive drag - I hope they'll cycle through the gun's mag better than Hobbies and should provide a similar amount of clout when they reach their target :)


    I trust you mean Superdomes with the ribbed skirt :)

    I agree.. the projection from the front of the pellet hardly inspires confidence, does it.. sounds like you're onto a winner with the JSBs anyway - I rarely find anything that's better and use them as a matter of course in pretty much all my guns.


    I'd like to think that RWS (and companies like them) would monitor various sources for customer feedback. End of the day though, people as investigative and picky as us must make up a tiny percentage of their market and they continue to sell less-than-optimal pellets.

    I think their attitude is summed up by the whole Superfield debacle - they've replaced a popular known-good pellet with one that's blatantly inferior without informing the customer of any changes. To me this implies one or more scenarios:

    a) They have little understanding of their product - little to no R&D is carried out and nobody understood how the changes between the old and new Superfields would detrimentally affect their performance.

    b) They don't care about degredation in product performance - probably because they know the vast majority of their customer base don't care about / understand how such changes would affect them, and the manufacturer can make more money selling a crap cheapo pellet than a better-performing, more expensive alternative :rolleyes:

    I suspect the situation is more weighted toward the latter scenario (which is a shame) although I doubt a whole lot of R&D goes into "sporting" pellet design anyway.


    Yup - although it's always worth remembering that you still have to start off with a decent quality pellet. I'm sure Caledonians operate well within the accuracy envelope of your Mercury; however I doubt they'd stand up so well out if fired out of higher-end kit. As you say though - always worth keeping an open mind :)


    Thanks - totally agree. That said I suppose everyone's financial situation and attitude is different (mine, for example is utter Censored :eek:) so everyone has differing limits as to what they consider an acceptable spend. Personally though while the difference is a couple of quid a tin (which may last me perhaps a three or four weeks on average) it's a cost I'm willing to stomach in the name of chasing / understanding ultimate accuracy. End of the day I don't see much point in using a rifle unless it's performing at its best :)
     
  20. terry1001

    terry1001 Major Poster

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    Thanks for taking the time and putting in considerable effort in producing another useful thread. My experience of RWS pellets is very limited, I used them many years ago (target wadcutters) and they were excellent, yesterday I tried some Superdomes while checking out a new rifle and they didn't group as well as Exacts or AA Fields (in .177). I will probably try them in different rifles when I get the time.
    RWS centre fire ammunition was always very good although I don't know how it is now so I presume that they are buying pellets on price and not considering quality. Unfortunately it does seem as though the majority of shooters are only concerned with the initial cost of their pellets and have no understanding of the benefits of using a good pellet which is suited to their gun. Of course pellet testing under any sort of controlled conditions will be extremely time consuming, it's not something I enjoy doing.
    My HW100 KT in .22 seems to shoot best with JSB Exact 15.9gn pellets but I am finding that a large proportion of the pellets, somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3, have damaged skirts which is something I have not seen with the similar AA Field. Even though the tins are in perfect condition many of the pellets are useless and I throw them away. The .177 pellets seem fine.
    Looking forward to the next instalment of this test :up:
     

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