10 Best .177 Pellets 2023

If you’re like me, you’ve had more than one occasion to ask yourself, “what’s the best pellet for killing squirrels?” Or perhaps you’re hunting a different varmint or target shooting.  The best .177 pellets have three things: consistent accuracy, good penetration, and enough mass to generate knock-down power.

The right ammunition can make all the difference in the performance of your air rifle.  .177 pellets come in many shapes and designs.  Whether you’re looking for the best .177 pellets for target competition, plinking in your backyard, or small game hunting, this handy guide will explain pellet types, purchase considerations, and review our top picks.

Ten Best .177 Pellets Table

PictureNameShapeCostRating (1-5)
1. Crosman Copper Magnum DomedRound$$4.7
2. Crosman Premier Hollow Point PelletsHollow Point$4.7
Crosman PoweerShot Fast Flight PenetratorBallistic$$4.5
4. H&N Field Target Trophy Green Lead-Free Domed Round$$4.7
5. RWS Competition Air Gun Pellets Wadcutter$$$4.7
6. Gamo Tomahawk PointedPointed$$4.7
7. H&N Baracuda Hunter Extreme Hollowpoint Hollow$$4.6
8. Winchester Flat NoseWadcutter$4.6
9. Gamo 632270154 RED FIRE PelletsPointed$4.6
10. Gamo WHISPER PelletsRound$$4.5

How to Pick Your Pellets

You can narrow down your choices by understanding the differences in pellet design, as well as what type of shooting each is best suited for.

  • Pellet Shape. Most of the pellets that retailers offer today are made in the “Diablo” design. Sometimes referred to as “wasp-waist” pellets, the Diablo shape has a thin waist in between a fatter head and skirt. The head section, which is rounder in shape than the skirt, is inserted into your gun first; this is the end that will strike your target. The thinner skirted end is designed to expand and fill the gun’s chamber upon firing; this creates a type of seal and causes the pellet to engage with the barrel’s rifling, creating a spinning effect. The design of this type of pellet creates a higher level of accuracy than a standard BB.
  • Material.  Traditionally pellets are made of lead.  The combination of malleability and weight have made it an excellent material for rifle projectiles for hundreds of years and it is still the standard.  Some pellets will incorporate additional materials including copper jackets for accuracy or steel tips for penetration.  Today, there are an increasing variety of lead-free options which are environmentally friendly and many people also consider lead-free pellets to limit the exposure of young shooters to lead.  The drawback is that they tend to be lighter, so range can be limited.
  • Head Design. Pellets are separated into four main categories according to their head design. Some head designs work better for different shooting scenarios. Each has a set of advantages and disadvantages.
    • Wadcutter. The wadcutter head has a slightly beveled edge. Lightweight and economical, this head design is often considered to be the most accurate pellet design available.  Wadcutter pellets are capable of carving large wound holes and are therefore a favorite choice of small game hunters. Since this design loses power and accuracy at long distances, they are most effective for close range hunting and target shooting.
    • Pointed. Designed specifically for hunting small game, the pointed head creates deep wound penetration. The design is incredibly accurate, and many experienced hunters recommend them as the best pellet choice for small game.  It is worth noting that pointed pellets may not work well with the actions in some hand guns and semi-auto guns due to their shape.
    • Round Nose. The round head of these pellets helps resist wind deflection, especially when firing at long ranges. They are accurate out to 50 yards or longer, making them a smart choice for target shooting or hunting where distance may be an issue; this is the design most often used in target competition.
    • Hollowpoint. The lightweight hollowpoint pellet is designed to expand upon firing. Because of the design, they have a lower level of penetration; this is a useful design option for pest control within city limits, where a stray pellet could do unintended damage.
    • Ballistic.  Ballistic pellets have a hardened tip to increase penetration.  The tip is frequently made of brass or steel and some ballistic pellets can achieve high velocities due to lighter weight body materials.  They are good for hunting thick-skinned game like reptiles and are capable of penetrating coins and sheet metal.

What’s the best weight for a .177 hunting pellet?

There are two considerations when picking a pellet weight for hunting: the type of game you’ll be hunting and the power of the gun you will be using.

Heavy pellets are usually better for hunting.  The greater mass creates more knock-down power and aids penetration.  The larger the game you are hunting, the heavier you’d like your pellet to be.  .117 pellet weights usually max out between 10 to 11 grams, so you’ll want to look at something in this range if you are targeting large game.  A lighter pellet can generate sufficient force to kill smaller game, such as birds and squirrels.

Heavy pellets are excellent when used with powerful air rifles.  If you have a low-to-medium power gun, heavy pellets may be too slow to generate enough force or range for effective hunting.  Low-power guns simply work better with lighter pellets.

Purchase Considerations

  • Check the Factory Recommendations. Since manufacturers know their guns better than anyone, it’s a good idea to start with the specific pellets recommended in your gun’s owner’s manual.
  • Not All Guns Are Created Equal. While one brand or style of pellet may shoot well out of one gun, it may not work as well in another. You’ll need to find which pellet works best in your particular gun.

Our 4 Best .177 Pellets Reviewed

1. Crosman Copper Magnum Domed Pellet

Accuracy, power, and compatible with most guns, the Crosman Copper Magnum Domed Pellet has everything.  The substantial weight of these pellets improves range, penetration, and knock-down, while the copper coating provides superior accuracy.  That makes these pellets an ideal choice for hunting small game and target shooting.  They are great for hunting squirrels, and rabbits and can take out larger prey like skunks and iguanas when used with high velocity guns.

With a range over 50 yards, we highly recommend these for more powerful, high velocity airguns, but they will work in just about anything.

  • Accuracy = Excellent
  • Penetration = Good
  • Knock Down = Excellent

Rating scale: Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor

2. Crosman Hollow Point Pellets

A true utility player.  Crosman may be the most trusted brand name in air gun equipment and they really deliver with their Premiere Hollow Point Pellets. Great for plinking, target, shooting, or hunting small game, these American-made pellets offer dependable quality and accuracy.

The expanding hollow point head assures more one-shot kills without over penetration; this makes them great for pest control.  They are a great choice for hunting birds and squirrels.  You’ll find that these are great .177 pellets at a surprisingly affordable price.

  • Accuracy = Good
  • Penetration = Fair
  • Knock Down = Excellent

Rating scale: Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor

3. Crosman PowerShot Fast Flight Penetrator Pointed Pellets

Crosman PowersShot PenetratorAmong the highest velocity and deepest penetrating pellets on the market, the Crosman PowerShot Fast Flight Penetrator has a pointed steel tip capable of piercing sheet metal and other hard objects.  The pellets use a lightweight synthetic sabot that maximizes barrel pressure and dramatically enhances velocity.  They are capable achieving supersonic speeds.

These pellets do not cycle well in most handguns and semi-auto rifles, but paired with a high-velocity single shot rifle they are lethal and penetrate extremely deep.

  • Accuracy = Good
  • Penetration = Excellent
  • Knock Down = Fair

4. Haendler & Natermann Field Target Trophy Green Lead-Free Domed Airgun Pellets

Perfect for backyard plinking, these precision-made pellets work well with many gun types.  The performance of lead-free pellets can be a mixed bag, but Field Target Trophy Green Lead-Free Pellets from Haendler & Natermann proved to load smoothly and are highly accurate, a trademark of the H&N brand.

These pellets are on the lighter side, making them safer for more populated areas.  The lower weight does reduce accuracy and penetration after about 25 yards, but higher velocity makes them effective for small game and targets at short range.  Quality manufacturing provides great consistency and accuracy.

  • Accuracy = Excellent
  • Penetration = Good
  • Knock Down = Fair

Rating scale: Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor


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