April 7, 2017 0:00

// Pneumatic weapons

Picking up shells for a newly purchased air rifle or pistol is not such a difficult task. The main thing you need to know is the type of cartridges for your weapon. In this article we will understand which bullets are currently on the market, what are their differences and features.

Types of cartridges for pneumatic weapons

Air rifles and air pistols are used as cartridges:

  • Lead bullets (rifled barrel)
  • Flaubert cartridges (revolvers)
  • Noise cartridges (starting pistols)
  • BB balls (smooth barrel)

Lead bullets

The most popular ammunition used in rifled pneumatic weapons are lead bullets, for example, diabolo (diabolo). Bullets can also be made of tin or a combination of materials, such as plastic with a plastic coating. Pneumatic weapons with lead bullets are usually designed for shooting at a shooting range or on a shooting range, hunting small game, and have a caliber of 0.177 (diameter 4.5 mm) or 0.22 (diameter 5.5 – 5.6 mm), rarely 0.20 and 0.25 calibers (diameters 5.0 mm and 6.4 mm, respectively). Lead bullets are suitable for most air rifles, such as the Hatsan Striker Edge, a powerful rifle with a smooth trigger mechanism, or for a very serious Crosman Vantage rifle with an optical sight. Pneumatic pistols are also loaded with lead bullets. For example, an American pistol Crosman American Classic 1377 with an elongated barrel or an exotic Gamo PT-80 Tactical with a sight, a silencer and a flashlight under the barrel.

Read also our review articles on lead bullets from Crosman and JSB. 

BB Balls

BB balls were once the most common air gun ammunition in the United States. BB balls are a type of shot, usually made of steel with a copper or zinc coating, with a diameter of 4.5 mm for 177 caliber pistols with smooth barrels. They can be acceptably accurate when shooting at short distances. They are used for training and practice shooting. BB balls are suitable for a large number of pneumatic pistols, including the Crosman C11 semi–automatic pistol and SAS Makarov – the pneumatic analogue of the famous Makarov pistol. BB balls are used by some types of air rifles, such as the Crosman Comrade AK, Umarex Morph 3X, Umarex MP5 K-PDW. If you are still in doubt about which gun to choose, we advise you to read our recommendations.

Read also our review article on BB balls.

Flaubert cartridges

Flaubert cartridges are conical low–power cartridges, usually 0.22 caliber, with a charge without gunpowder. The shot occurs due to the ignition of gases. They are used for training, entertaining shooting in a shooting range, for shooting small rodents from a short distance. Flaubert cartridges are used in revolvers, such as reliable and durable revolvers of the Ukrainian manufacturer Zbroia PROFI, elegant revolvers Latek Safari or laconic and convenient Stalker Titanium . We recommend choosing a revolver taking into account the length of the barrel, the trigger mechanism and the features of the drum.

Read also our review article to Flaubert’s patrons from the Czech company Sellier & Bellot.

Noise cartridges

Noise (or blank) cartridges are cartridges without a ballistic charge, cartridges in which there is no bullet. The front edge of the sleeve (where the bullet is usually located) is compressed, in the form of an asterisk or rolled around the perimeter. Blank cartridges are used for noise effect (when defending or scaring animals), in theatrical productions, in cinematography, at tournaments and competitions, as well as to attract attention. Starting pistols are loaded with noise cartridges: Schmeiser PSH-790 (the Ukrainian equivalent of Walter PPKS), Ekol Major Black and many others.

Brands and manufacturers

An incredibly large number of manufacturing companies in the world are engaged in pneumatic weapons, cartridges and components. Let’s focus on some of them.

Limited Liability Company “LUMAN” is a Ukrainian company with 20 years of experience in the production of metal structures, including sports equipment. In addition, LLC “LUMAN” produces bullets for educational, entertainment and sports shooting. All technologies, components and labor are exclusively Ukrainian. Ukrainian athletes and masters of sports in shooting take part in testing and improving products. As a result, a high level of production is achieved with an excellent price–quality ratio. So, bullets for professional athletes, the Field Target series are characterized by expansiveness and high accuracy.

The company Sellier & Bellot is one of the oldest Czech machine–building enterprises, has been producing its products since 1825. Sellier & Bellot produces a wide range of pistol, rifle and shotgun ammunition for hunting and sports. The company owns 21 trademarks registered in 75 countries around the world. The products of Sellier & Bellot are characterized by non-toxicity, corrosion resistance, and the absence of heavy metals. To ensure the quality of products, an effective quality management system has been implemented. The products are regularly, for 12 years, certified in accordance with the ISO 9001/2009 standard and have a certificate of compliance with the requirements of this standard. All ammunition for the civilian market is designed, manufactured and tested in accordance with the standards of the Permanent International Firearms Testing Commission (CIP). The company is a sponsor of prestigious international shooting competitions. In addition to an extensive range of civilian and sports products, the company produces special products for the armed forces. Therefore, the quality management system is supplemented by the requirements of NATO standardization.

Bullets and cartridges of the German manufacturer Haendler & Natermann, from the small town of Hann-Munden, are distinguished by high accuracy and clear edges of holes. This is achieved by a system of careful control in combination with the latest developments of special alloys that reduce the leadingof the barrel. Haendler&Natermann bullets have a real German quality, based on the traditions and history of the company, which begins with the 1930s, and with the production of sheet lead, then lead shot and bullets of various calibers.

JSB Match Diabolo a.s. company is quite young, it was founded in 1991. And its founder is a former shooter and coach. After finishing his sports and coaching career, he took up the production of ammunition. Taking into account his personal experience in this field, he conducted research, made some developments, manufactured stamping machines. Today the company is developing in the same direction. The most important characteristics of the manufactured ammunition is the quality, which is guaranteed by a unique technology. The quality of the products has been proven by the best shooters, experts in this field, aviation shooting enthusiasts. To further improve the quality and properties of ammunition, JSB MatchDiabolo invests in new innovative technologies every year. The company’s products are successfully sold in 32 countries, exported to the markets of the USA, Russia, Japan and Europe.


The choice of cartridges is carried out in accordance with the needs of the shooter, the scope of application, the desired result and the availability of the appropriate type of pneumatic weapon. Lead bullets are used for rifles and pistols with rifled barrels. For smoothbore weapons – BB balls. Revolvers are loaded with Flaubert cartridges, and starting pistols use noise cartridges. Choosing a manufacturer complicates the situation somewhat. To do this, you need to decide on the type of activity that you are going to do: bullet shooting in a shooting range, sports competitions, hunting. Be sure to pay attention to Ukrainian manufacturers. Ukrainian cartridges have excellent characteristics, have certificates, are allowed for use on the territory of Ukraine.

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