Pellet portrait: RWS R10 Match – Half a gram of lead, expertly shaped, helps collect medals

Tight shot groups at 10 meters with as clean a hole as possible on paper targets, so that the hits can be easily evaluated: that's what top shooters demand from the pellets they load their air rifles and air pistols with. And this is true even though more and more competitions are being evaluated electronically. "Diabolo pellets" is the name given to these projectiles, which weigh barely half a gram, because they resemble the children's toy of the same name. But instead of a string stretched between two wooden cups and pulled back and forth, the diabolo pellets are set in rotation around their longitudinal axis by the barrel rifling. Despite their actually unfavorable profile from a ballistic point of view, the developers integrated many finesses that allow the diabolos to fly optimally and with the smallest deviations from shot to shot. From a clamped barrel, today's top groups are often only slightly larger than the .177/4.5 mm caliber size after ten shots. This is important because the air rifle ten measures only 0.5 mm, and today scoring is done with tenth-ring (decimal) scoring. So the barrel, pellets and shooter simply have to harmonize perfectly. The RWS R10 Match as the top ammunition of the RWS Premium Line has met these conditions for years and is therefore also used by many national and international champions and medal winners.

We want to provide you with some facts about the RWS R10 besides the manufacturer video above, which may be new:

For example, did you know about the RWS R10 Match...

RWS R10 Nahaufnahme
RWS R10 Match: 0.45 g (for air pistols) or 0.53 g (for air rifles) lead pellet. Head dimensions from 4.48 to 4.51 mm.

...WHAT makes the typical diabolo shape ballistic? The flat head with the slightly flattened edge has the task of punching out holes as circular as possible from paper targets, the diameter of which is close to the caliber value of 4.5 mm prescribed by the rules. The lower edge of the skirt guides the bullet in the barrel. At the rear, the funnel-shaped skirt is slightly larger than the caliber dimension (4.65 to 4.71 mm) – the pressure flowing into it during firing slightly flares out the soft lead from the inside, pressing it firmly and evenly all around against the inner wall of the barrel and ensuring the greatest possible exploitation of energy through this seal. The hourglass-shaped “waist” between the head and the skirt reduces (compared to a cylindrical "slug", for example) the friction of the diabolo pellet in the barrel. It is guided in the barrel only by the head edge at the top and the skirt edge at the bottom, and otherwise has no direct contact. This ballistic shape is ideal, by the way, when more and more competitions are no longer held on paper targets but are evaluated by opto-electronic systems without contact: The diabolo shape continues to guarantee that shot after shot lands only exactly where the shooter aimed.

...THAT the nominal caliber for the Olympic air rifle and air pistol shooting disciplines is .177/4.5 mm according to gun laws, but the barrels have minimally different calibers due to the manufacturing process? That is why diabolo pellets manufacturers also offer different head diameters, which can be used to find the ideal combination of barrel bore diameter and diabolo size during test shooting. The RWS R10 Match is available in the head dimensions 4.48 to 4.51 mm.

The classic RWS 500 round pack of R10 Match, now in a new design: rifleman in the pictogram, the pellet shape (flat head) and the weight provide immediate information.
The lighter RWS R10 diabolo pellets for air pistols
The lighter RWS R10 diabolo pellets for air pistols, here as a newly designed 500-piece tin. At 0.45 g per bullet, they fly faster from short barrels.

...THAT there are diabolo pellets of different weights for air rifles or air pistols? For the RWS R10 Match, these are 0.45 grams for the air pistol, with the heavier air rifle diabolos at 0.53 grams. The high manufacturing quality is guaranteed for both weights, but experience shows that air pistols with their shorter barrels benefit from the lighter "bullets" because they bring a slightly higher muzzle velocity. On the other hand, the heavier diabolo pellets are usually better suited for the air rifle barrels, which are between 42 and 49 cm long. Our tip: pay attention to this difference when buying – the respective tins (or 10-piece boxes) bear the corresponding gun symbol and also the individual weight on the tin lids or boxes.

The RWS Competition Box holds 100 pellets
The RWS Competition Box holds 100 pellets – easy to fill, each bullet can be picked up individually. Indispensable in competition to keep track of everything.
The RWS Pellet Saver: no more twisted adhesive strips
The RWS Pellet Saver: no more twisted adhesive strips – this practical slide-on holder securely closes your 500 diabolo can.

Things work better with the right accessories: the RWS Pellet Saver keeps an already opened pellet tin securely closed after training, even without tape. The RWS Competition Box can be refilled in just a few seconds: pour the diabolo pellets onto the yellow surface, gently shake the horizontally held box back and forth until all 100 diabolos have slid into the recesses. During competition, the pellets can be picked up individually without damage; for transport, the base plate is lowered and the pellets are fully protected by the perforated plate. By the way, Pellet Saver and Competition Box can be purchased directly in the RWS store or through your dealer!

The RWS R10 from the RWS Premium Line at a glance: 

From an air rifle with clamped barrel
From an air rifle with clamped barrel, even a 30-shot result is hardly larger than the caliber.
  • High-end pellets for highest accuracy
  • Available in .177/4.5 mm caliber
  • Four different head diameters (4.48 / 4.49 / 4.50 / 4.51 mm)
  • Weights: 0.45 g or 0.53 g
  • 500 round tin, 5000 pcs pack (10 tins in a box) or 100 pcs competition box

Visit the RWS test shooting range in Fürth, Germany

The perfect interaction of ammunition and rifle is crucial for success. At the RWS test shooting range in Fürth, sport shooters will find the best conditions for matching their competition rifle with various ammunition lots. A total of five lanes with target retrieval systems and state-of-the-art electronic targeting displays are available for shooting at distances of 10, 15, 25 and 50 m with clamped barrels, free from the effects of weather. The trained specialist personnel supervise the tests and are also on hand to provide advice and assistance. The ammunition is already included in the small user fee. The RWS R10 Match diabolo pellets (both weight classes) can be tested at 10 meters, and in the rimfire range the RWS R50, R100 and Special Match grades as well as the P25 Rapid Fire and Special Match SR pistol cartridges.

It is best if the customer comes along to the shooting range in person with his/her weapons and accompanies the entire process. To do so a prior appointment is a must.

How does the order processing work? At the test shooting range the customer is required to produce a valid firearm certificate and a confirmed order from his/her dealer to prove that the he/she is a customer or dealer. The dealer is charged for the range fee per weapon and the goods to be delivered in accordance with the General Terms and Conditions of Delivery and Sale.

All information about the RWS test shooting range can be found here.

You can download the 40-page brochure "RWS rimfire and air gun cartridges" as a PDF file here.

What happens if lead in ammunition is banned in the EU?

We are dealing with a "horror scenario" for sport shooters as well as industry and trade. According to the latest plans of the EU Commission, the coming ban on lead in ammunition will also extend to indoor use. If we look at the material and the design process of the RWS R10 Match here, it is no exaggeration to say that this would be the end of top-level sport and Olympic disciplines for sport shooters. Of course, the same is true for all other manufacturers. The documentation of tests with lead-free rimfire ammunition linked here shows the dramatic effects of a lead ban in ammunition on accuracy.

Dear sport shooters: the ban on lead does not only affect hunters, as many think.

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