EXP5

Review: EXP Air rifle pellets

hunting EXP3 300x129 Review: EXP Air rifle pellets

A recent issue with some Indian Myna’s invading the farm shed meant that I was prompted into thinking about how best to control them. I didn’t like the idea of trapping them so the only viable option was to try and dispatch them with a firearm.

I was concerned about ricochets so the most appropriate choice for the job was my old Diana Millbro Model 70 Series 79 in .177 calibre. The poor old Diana doesn’t get used much these days so I thought it would be a good excuse to wipe the dust off it.

I had a couple of tins of pellets lying around so I thought I’d sight the rifle in and see how they went. I have a 2-7 power scope on it so dialling in a 20 meter zero was an easy task. I had forgotten how terrible the three stage non-adjustable trigger was but even with the handicap it still managed to produce minute of Myna groups at 20 meters.

Heading down to the shed I quickly found some suitable targets and spent a few hours getting stuck into the pesky birds. It didn’t take more than a few shots to realise that my Diana wasn’t giving the results I was looking for.  Some birds would fly quite a distance before expiring and I wanted a quicker kill than I was getting.

I decided to check exactly how fast my rifle was shooting the pellets so I dug out the Chrony and worked off an average over ten shots. I was getting 615fps from the pellets which weighed in at roughly 8 grains. I’m certainly not an airgun hunter (just starting to get into it) but I figured that my Diana was giving me enough velocity for shots on birds at under 30 meters.

I knew that I’d get better results with a .22 calibre air rifle but I wanted to use what I had and the only other option I could think of was to try a few different kinds of pellets.

A trip to the local gun store had me baffled. I told the guy behind the counter what I was after and he pulled out all sorts of weird pellets that I had never heard of before. Plastic tipped pellets, pellets that had ball bearings in them and even pellets made entirely of plastic. Things have certainly come a long way in pellet design.

In the end I politely told the gentlemen that I wanted something with no gizmos attached and something that worked and wouldn’t break the bank (I was shooting Myna’s and Pigeons after all). He handed over a container of 500 pellets that was branded EXP and said “you won’t go wrong with these mate”.

When I got home I had a closer look at the EXP pellets and discovered that they are brought in from Europe by Alcock & Pierce down in Victoria. They are marketed as extra power hunting pellets and are a pointed design.

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A couple of targets shot with EXP pellets at 20 meters

Out of curiosity I decided to weigh a handful of them and my scales told me that they weighed in at 8 grains. They were the same weight as the previous pellets I was using so naturally I just assumed that they would have close to the same velocity.

I had some 22LR ammunition to Chrony and just as an after-thought I decided to put down a few of the EXP pellets. I got a bit of a shock to see that the EXP’s were travelling at 640fps (average) which is 25fps faster than the previous brand of pellets. I have my Chrony location marked so it’s always in the same spot so how I got the increase is beyond me. If anyone can explain it please post it below in the comments section! Perhaps they have a tighter seal in the barrel?

Of course I wanted to see how they grouped before I tested them on game so I set up a target at 20 meters and used a bench to get some steady shots off. Over the course of six, five shot groups I managed to average an impressive 16mm group size. I know it doesn’t sound all that great when you compare it to some of the more serious air rifles around today, but it’s got to be the best the Diana has ever shot (in my hands anyway).

Extremely happy with the accuracy of the EXP pellets, I decided to get them out on the farm and into some birds.

The first couple of targets were some Myna’s that were happily picking at an old dog bone. I had some good cover and it was an easy shot into the chest of the closest bird. He fell over and was dead within seconds!

The next bird was roughly 25 meters away when he took an EXP pellet straight through the centre of his chest. He was facing towards me and he took it hard! He flopped over backwards and had nothing but a few shakes left in him.

I had similar results over the next few days with only a couple of lost birds. The EXP pellets were certainly doing a much better job at ensuring a humane kill. I don’t usually shoot past the 25 meter mark simply because I don’t think I have the equipment or skill to ensure a good hit.

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A few recovered pellets shot into newspaper at 20m

I was hoping to recover some of the pellets but in each instance they past completely through the birds. I decided to fire a few into some wet newspaper media at 20 meters just to see how a pellet reacted on impact. As it turns out not much changes in the pellet profile and in all the recovered ones there was only small skirt damage and hardly any tip deformation. I can’t say what would happen when impact velocities are higher but perhaps someday I might have a more powerful air rifle and I’ll do an update.

If you’re after a high performance air rifle pellet without all the advertising hype and one that just does what it’s supposed to, I recommend you at least give the EXP brand a go. They of course come in .22 calibre and Alcock and Pierce have some other design options available as well.

12 thoughts on “Review: EXP Air rifle pellets”

  1. Hi Jason,

    I am no expert with the air rifles, but have used them since I was a boy. You’ll find that with any air rifle, more so the newer, higher-powered models, that they can be very pellet fussy (kind of like a centrefire is with handloads). It’s always a good idea to try different pellets and I would suggest that you stick with the lighter ones due to your reduced velocity.

    Check out Chair Gun Pro http://www.hawkeoptics.com/apps/chairgun-pro.html if you wish to work out what your pellets are doing down range. It’s arguably more about down range energy than velocity for clean kills.

    I’ve always preferred the Dome pellets over the pointed as I found them to give good knock-down power and penetration, but fewer pass-throughs. That’s just my personal preference and everyone is different. But when you find a good thing, stick to it. Even consider replacing the spring and seals, it may just give the gun a new lease on life, as it did for my old Diana Mod 36.

    Happy hunting.

    Pete.

  2. Gday Pete,

    Thanks for the info! I just shot some 10grain pellets into some ballistic gel next to the EXP’s to see how they compared. The heavier ones went an extra 2 inches in which is way too much penetration for the type of shooting I’m doing.

    Thanks very much for the link, I’m just about to check it out.

    I’d love to do an overhaul on the old Diana but I have now idea where I could find parts for it.

  3. I keep chooks and the mynas and starlings and doves are always in getting a free feed, I build a hide using a tarp and blanket, A cold longneck and I thin them out I have 2 old air rifles open sights I’m nearly out of pellets and looking forward to trying some of the new bred of pellets. When I bought the ones I’m using now the gun shop owner asked what I was using the for Hunting or target and he gave me the dome shaped ones They work OK being open sights I know accuracy is an Issue.

  4. Hi Jason,

    As I say to everyone, “Make Google your friend”. I just googled up parts for your air rifle and got these back …

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/DIANA-MILBRO-SERIES-70-MODEL-79-COMPLETE-PISTON-SPRING-AND-GUIDE-/130714138530?pt=UK_SportingGoods_Hunting_ShootingSports_ET&hash=item1e6f2b77a2

    http://www.gunspares.co.uk/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=24470&cat=G79#

    It seems the Pomms still actively use and restore them, hence the availability of parts from over there. I hope it helps if you do decide to vamp it up to original standards. I was reading that one of it’s main competitors was the BSA Meteor, so it must have had some punch!

    All the best,

    Pete.

  5. Thanks for those links Pete! I had noticed the gun spares site before but I just assumed they wouldn’t ship to Aussie. As it turns out they do and I have now ordered the parts I need to give the old girl a new life.

    It will be interesting to run some pellets over the chrony once the new spring and seals are in to see if there’s any increase. I also had a play with the trigger the other day and with some careful work it actually came up really well!

  6. That’s great news Jason! I hope that you’ll share the results of the project in a Daily Digest for all to see, good bad or indifferent. Call me a traditionalist but there’s just something about the older rifles that I love. It will be interesting to see the results regarding velocity, noise etc.

    I kind of wish I had of hung on to the old Diana that I had, but in the next few months I’ll be looking to purchase a PCP air rifle as a change of pace.

    Let us know how you go with it.

    Pete.

  7. I’ve tried these and found the quality to be sub-par. The RWS Superpoint is IMO the way to go for a pointed pellet and is similarly priced. Quality is much better than EXP.

  8. I’m a latecomer to this forum but thought I’d lend my experience with the Gamo .177 gun I use. I’ve tried all sorts of pellets, even expensive gold plated ones but the best I’ve used is Winchester round tip. They come in packets of 500 for only $8 or so. Good repeatability. Like one of the other guys in the forum I too keep chooks and the doves are eating most of the feed. I picked off a couple of doves the other day and when I gutted them they both had a fist size lump of my chook feed inside them. Yes I do eat doves, they are very nice plucked, opened up and fried. The’re a real delicacy in some countries.
    Neil

  9. just in response mainly to neils post winchester is a very good brand as i had a 500 box of the pointed pellets for my open sight rifle im quite new to the air rifle world but the winchester pointed pellets sure do pack a punch although i did have one starling take one to the chest and fly off although best shot was a sparrow to the neck at about 8-10 meters went clean through and droped it i was looking at some gamo polimer tipped pellets but have yet to get them -Alex

  10. Hi. Just read your review on the EXP pellets and thought I’d add my bit. I have an old Norica model 56 in .22 which like your Diana shoots well but isn’t massive in the power department and I’ve just started using the EXP’s in to clear out some of the innumerable cane toads that infest my area. I went with the pointed style to get the best performance out of my old gun and I have to say that with the EXP’s when the toads are hit, they stay hit! Curiously I don’t have any problem with overpenetration – toads, especially big ones seem to be able to soak up a lot of punch – and overall I quite like the results I’m getting. I bought mine from Halls Firearms in Townsville and while they weren’t real cheap I’d certainly use them again.

  11. hi Jason,
    I’m just getting back into airgun hunting and am looking for a partner to shoot with, and hoping we can meet up and have a bit of fun getting rid of some of your pests and air gun shooting together. If your keen on the idea email me back or call me on 0407137804. Enjoyed your review by the way.
    Cheers mate

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