Thursday, December 1, 2011

Choosing the Right BBs

Airsoft BBs come in all shapes and sizes. This is bad, because they should all be round. When compared to almost all other conventional ammunition, Airsoft BBs are the cheapest of the lot. Some real steel firearms owners actually own GBB pistols for target shooting because the ammunition is so much cheaper. However, some Airsoft ammunition is a little bit more expensive than the average BB. These high quality BBs are going to be what you want to shoot. Using low quality BBs will not only affect your range and accuracy, but can also seriously damage your gun. What you don’t pay now for BBs you will pay later in repairs. There are a few things that can go wrong when using low quality BBs. The worst things that can happen are jams and breaks. You may not think this is such a big deal, but it can cause permanent damage to your gun. For example, if the barrel becomes jammed when the gun is being fired on full auto it can cause a massive build up of BBs in your barrel and feeding tube. Now there is nowhere for the air being pushed out by the piston to go. This can cause the piston to not complete its full cycle, which will then cause the still spinning gears to strip and break and explode into tiny metal shards of pure failure. Low quality BBs can shatter easily as well and the shards of the broken BB can end up in the gearbox. The gearbox is a tightly fitted system of gears and electronics, and tiny plastic shards that shouldn’t be there will wreak all sorts of havoc on the internals. Improperly shaped BBs can even clog up your magazines, especially the spring-powered high capacity magazines that are so popular. Even if they don’t break your gun low quality BBs will render horrible accuracy and velocity because of non-uniform shape, low weight, and inconsistent calibers.
There are a couple easy ways to avoid low quality BBs and keep your gun happy and healthy. The first thing to do is buy your BBs at an Airsoft shop. I can’t say definitively that you will never find high quality BBs at sporting goods stores, and I know that sometimes Big 5 will have decent ones, but overall you have a much higher chance of picking up useless BBs from those places. Brightly colored BBs or clear BBs are mostly likely low quality. Most high quality BBs will be either white or black but you will sometimes find them in yellow, green, and other colors. Anything that doesn’t list a weight is low quality. Anything under .2g is not for your high quality gun. .12g BBs are fine for springers but in your AEGs, GBBs, and high quality spring rifles you will want to use .2g BBs. Some people prefer .25g BBs because they give you slightly better accuracy at range, which is more of a personal preference. Don’t ever use paint BBs. They always break and then your gun will be full of paint and probably ruined. Don’t use the sample BBs that come with your gun either, they are usually low quality. If you are buying biodegradable BBs for whatever reason you have to pay more attention to quality. High quality biodegradable BBs are probably the most expensive Airsoft BBs you can buy, but it is even more important that you use a high quality product when you are shooting biodegradables. I suggest Biotech brand, although there are other good ones out there.
A lot of Airsoft gun manufacturers make their own BBs and these can usually be trusted, at least the ones from Taiwanese and Japanese companies. I don’t particularly like CYMA BBs (Chinese), ICS ones are decent, Tokyo Marui and G&G ones are high quality, and Airsoft Elite are my favorite BBs. Some other high quality BBs are Madbull, GoldenBall, Systema, and Killer Beez. An important thing to keep in mind is that even containers of high quality BBs will occasionally have a deformed BB in there somewhere. If you see these, throw them out because they can cause jams.

When in doubt as to which BB company to purchase from, ask the internet or the guy behind the counter at your local Airsoft store. If you buy some BBs that are universally recognized as high quality you might be able to trade some to other players at the field and get a better idea of which brand is your favorite. High quality BBs are probably the most important investment you can make for your Airsoft gun, and it’ll thank you by not breaking every five minutes. Be safe and have fun and head on over to HobbyTron and I’ll see you on the field.

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