Starting from a strong base of Match Wad Cutters (their Finale Match line), H&N introduced many years ago, the "Crow Magnum", then under exclusivity to Beeman, and now available directly under their own brand.
They supported the initial trend towards heavier pellets and more powerful airguns by making the Barracuda Match more than 20 years ago and, more recently, they introduced more options for the hunter and long range shooter in heavier hollow points, larger calibers and heavier-for-caliber pellets suitable only for the most powerful PCP's, some even needing special barrels.
They have also embraced wholeheartedly the non-lead trend that, whether we like or not will prevail in the long run, with the "Silver pellets": Barracuda Green and Field Target Trophy Green and their "Golden" ("Power") pellets that encapsulate the lead content and therefore prevents the skin to lead contact some people are becoming wary of.
Less than two years ago, H&N relocated the plant and the machines, re-vamped and streamlined its production. It was a huge financial, logistical, human and technological effort on their part to do this and still keep on going with the supply, the development and all the intense activity that goes hand in hand with a world-class company that supplies a good part of the Olympic shooters and Top of the World aspiring shooters everywhere. Yes we lost some products (like the EXCELLENT 0.20" cal. Lasers) , but the results have been nothing less than amazing.
Not all companies were so lucky. Some pellet companies failed, or decided to close given the increasing restrictions, regulations and difficulties that go hand in hand with the lead raw material; and designs that were interesting were about to be lost. Except that H&N saw the opportunity where others saw the problem and when PAX (UK) decided to sell, they were ready to buy. PAX was making in the UK the "Range Master", "Pile Driver", "Dynamics" as well as some Prometheus pellets.
And so it happened that they bought the whole operation, "lock, stock and barrel", and moved it to Germany.
Fast forward almost a year and half and we now have the first results of that vision.
H&N has been a long time supporter of FT and was kind enough to send some of the first samples to come out of the Sniper line. They admit that the line is not running as smoothly as they like (some skirts are "wavy"), and the offerings are, for now, limited to the 4.50 head diameter. In the future, the Sniper line will also offer the 4.52 mm's head diameter for those of us that shoot non-Match barrels.
On the commercial side, Pyramyd Air now shows at least 6 pellets that are the result of these efforts, among which are the Excite Dynamics ; the Pile Drivers; and our pellets of interest for this post: the Sniper Medium, and the Sniper Light.
So, ¿what makes these pellets so interesting?
Look at them and think in terms of location of Center of Gravity and Center of Pressure:
In all these areas, the design of these pellets excels. Center of gravity will be as forward as can be, given the weight of the pellets (7.5, 8.5 and 15 grains respectively). This emphasizes the "shuttle-cock" effect and adds stability to the pellet.
Center of pressure will be a little bit in front of geometrical center, which should make these pellets less susceptible to vertical deflection with side winds.
Because of the "Column" shape, they will exit the barrel pretty much as they went in. Preserving the BC. And the relatively thin skirt affords a good seal at any pressure above 80 BAR's.
So, ¿how do they shoot?
The answer is that it depends on your barrel, as usual. Some barrels will like them, some will not.
A big disadvantage, for the time being as stated above, is that H&N is offering only the 4.50 head diameter.
When testing, bear in mind this and compare with other pellets in the same head diameter out of YOUR rifle.
That is what I did and these are the results:
All other groups were shot at 32 meters (35 yards).
The bottom right is a 5 shot group with Sniper Lights.
The top left is a 5 shot group with Sniper Mediums
I did not test the Sniper Magnums because I do not have anything setup to shoot 15 grain 0.177" cal. pellets at present.
For comparison, the center target shows the two sighters and a 5 shot group with JSB Exact 8.44's, the top right target shows TWO 5 shot groups (8 clicks apart) with JSB Exacts 8.44's.
There are a few holes (labelled BMG) made by Barracuda Magnum Green's, but that is another story.
As you can see, the Sniper line shows potential. The accuracy obtained is on par with what would have been obtained using other high quality pellets in the specific head diameter (4.50) in this gun (my CCA WFTF D-54).
All pellets were lubed with "Boe Shield / T-9"
If you do have a Match barrel in any old gun, test the Sniper Light. It might prove an interesting pellet; and if you do not have a Match barrel anywhere, then try some but be aware that in the near future they WILL be available in 4.52, so keep an eye out for them!
Keep well and shoot straight!