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Air rifle pellets come in many shapes and sizes. And if you’re new to shooting, this can make it even more complicated to decide which pellets are the right choice. Ultimately, the ammo you choose will depend on what type of shooting you’re doing.

There are quite a few different pellet designs, but most are just a variation of the diablo design. The diablo design is the term used to describe pellets that have a pinched waist with a hollow skirt. The skirt creates a drag that keeps the pellet from turning over, which improves its accuracy. You’ll find many skirt variations. They may be long or short, or thick or thin. Some are harder than others, which will affect how the skirt flares up when it’s fired.

Generally, you’ll find pellets designed for three purposes: target shooting, hunting and plinking. Of course, you’ll also want to make sure that you choose the appropriate caliber for your rifle.

Target Shooting

With target shooting, pellets need to be incredibly precise and accurate. Wadcutter pellets are best suited for this type of shooting, and they are what competitors use at 10 meter competitions.

Wadcutter pellets have a pinched waist and a flat head. They’re designed for lower velocity shooting. Wadcutter pellets move at about 500-600fps, which allows for extreme accuracy.


If you’re a small game hunter, you may prefer wadcutter pellets. When shot at shorter ranges, these pellets have greater knockdown power because of its wider head.

In most cases, heavier pellets are the ideal option when hunting with an air rifle. For a .22, an 18 grain pellet is ideal, while a 10 grain is suitable for a .177. A heavier pellet will result in more foot-pounds of energy delivered on target.

If you’re shooting a high speeds, you’ll get better accuracy with a round-nose pellet. If you’re shooting at a lower velocity, mid-weight pellets are the ideal option.

Hollow point pellets are also a popular option, but you’ll need a high-powered air rifle to really take advantage of its design.


If you’re not shooting in a formal competition and just practicing for fun, your pellet options are much broader. In fact, you could probably choose any type of pellet you want if you’re shooting at close-range. But for long range shooting, a round-nose pellet is the best option.

Wadcutters aren’t very aerodynamic, so they’re not the best option for long distance shooting. But if you’re shooting at a closer range, they’re fine to use.

The type of ammo you use will depend on what type of shooting you’re doing. For target shooting, wadcutters are the optimal choice. For hunting, heavier pellets are best. And if you’re plinking for fun, just about any pellet will do. But at longer distances, round nose pellets work best.

It’s also important to remember that every air rifle is different, so what works best for one type may not work best for another. Testing different types of pellets will help you decide which one you like best for your rifle.