One of the most important parts of becoming a great Airsoft Skirmisher to ensure you use quality BBs in your Airsoft guns. Unfortunately, more and more RIFs booked in to our workshop with damage caused by a poor choice of BB. In this blog I will take a look at why this is happening and what you, the user, can do to prevent the expensive damage caused by using poor quality BB's in your guns.
What is a poor quality BB?
Poor quality BB's are BB's which have been manufactured in a location with poor quality control, resulting in ammo which breaks easily, has mold lines, injection marks or poor weighting ratio. This is typically the case with budget and unbranded Airsoft pellets.
Poor quality BBs are often misshapen, have mold lines or injection marks on the BB. We've even seen examples where the two hemispheres of the BB were offset on each other. If one of these BBs makes it into your barrel and jams, it causes a ‘pile up’ of more and more BBs.
This means that as each BB helps to block the barrel more, the piston can no longer come fully forwards, bouncing on a cushion of air inside the cylinder. If you cycle the gearbox at this point the pickup tooth on the sector gear will slam into the middle of the piston rack. If this doesn't strip your piston, it will strip your gear set as the motor is still trying to turn the gears into each other with nowhere to move.
BBs with an injection mark on them or sharp plastic flash from the moulding process can also tear up your hop rubber. Injection marks can be identified from the thin plastic rim around the circumference of the BB from where the materials where injected into the mould during production.
If the Hop Rubber in your Airsoft rifle is damaged by the BB, it can cause a range of problems, ranging from inaccurate shooting, to loss of power and range.
Poor Weighting Ratio
Poor weighting ratio can be caused during the manufacturing process, be it with poor quality material or variations in the density of the plastic. Having a BB with a poor weight ratio can cause the BB to dramatically change direction during flight.
Whilst this does not have a direct impact on your Airsoft Rifle itself, this can lead you to thinking there are problems with your weapon, and stop you from actually hitting your targets.
Poor Manufacturer Tolerance
During production manufacturers set certain boundaries to their products, meaning that during quality control products which do not meet the correct specifications will be discarded. Typically, a good Branded BB will have their tolerances set to 5.95mm +/- 0.01mm, this means for example that BB's which do not fall between 5.94mm and 5.96mm do not pass quality tests and are discarded.
This becomes a problem when dealing with tight bore barrels. When using 6.01mm Tight bore barrels, the slightest deviation can cause the BB to become jammed in the barrel, potentially damaging the barrel and your piston. When using high quality Tight bore Barrels is it imperative that you use good quality BB's to prevent this from happening. It is worth noting that more and more manufacturers are fitting tight bore barrels as standard to their rifles thus increasing your need for better quality ammo.
Why should I buy good quality BB?
Obviously, you want your gun to shoot as accurately as possible and without stripping gears or pistons, so what can you do to prevent these expensive, time consuming and frustrating problems? Spend a bit more money on good quality BB's!
You’ve bought a gun costing several hundred pounds, some will have put upgrades in them and tuned the RIF to fire as well as possible and then use cheap BBs using the excuse 'I can’t afford expensive BBs!'. BBs are cheap, even the ‘expensive’ ones are fractions of a penny each, cutting back the benefits of a high quality BB to save a few pounds on the cheapest part of the hobby is frankly nonsensical, especially given what most Airsoft players will spend on Gucci bits of kit.
Choosing the right BB's is about finding the balance between cost and quality, and like anything, the more you spend, the better the quality. However, spending slightly more money on BB's now can mean a reduced cost of repairs down the line, as well as improving your accuracy and range.
What BB's should I buy?
At Patrol Base, we have spent a lot of time testing the BB's we sell, and if we don't like them we won't sell them. Over the years we have tested many types of BB's ranging from Budget BB's to Bio BB's and adjusted accordingly. After all the testing, we have decided to stock mainly three brands: ASG Blaster (A mid range tried and tested brand) Swiss Arms (formerly Kings Arms) and BB Bastard (A high end, top quality new comer from Canada). Below is breakdown of the two, using their 0.25g variants as an example:
(0.25g BB Blasters)
Available Ranges: 0.20g 0.25g - 0.30g
Price (Per Bottle): £7.99
BB Amount: 3000
Price (Per BB): £0.0026
BB Blaster are the standard mid range for all Airsoft BB guns, with good consistency and quality control these bb's are used all over the country at airsoft sites and shops alike! We even use the 0.20g version of these BB's to test all guns before they are sent to customers.
(0.25g BB Bastard)
Available Ranges: 0.25g - 0.28g
Price (Per Bag): £8.99
BB Amount: 2000
Price (Per BB): £0.0044
BB Bastard BB's are new comers from Canada and are high quality BB's designed for high quality BB guns. With excellent range and accuracy we can't recommend them enough if you are looking to improve your choice of BB. All the members of staff have switched to BB Bastard brand BB's and cannot praise them enough!
With an increase in range and accuracy, the fewer BBs in the bag and increase in price becomes unnoticeable as you actually save ammo, you are more likely to hit your target first time!
Comparatively, both BB's are great for general Airsoft players, but for those wanting to take their game to the next level will want to try BB Bastard BB's. Although they are more expensive, the improvement in range and accuracy is (unlike most BB's) visible to the naked eye and easily offsets the price!
Don't let this put you off Blaster or Swiss arms BB's however! They are still great quality BB and still hold their own!
What weight of BB's should I chose?
We are often asked which weight BB we recommend. Lighter rounds travel faster, so require less lead on a moving target, but are more effected by environmental conditions and do not carry their initial energy as far. For indoor CQB games 0.20g is usually the most appropriate, outdoors many players will choose a 0.25g to counter wind better, and to provide more punch through light foliage, more experienced players or those with modified hops may even choose a .28 or .30 for an even straighter flight path and to really cut through leaves and bushes to engage players using only visual cover.
So why not upgrade your BB choice? If you are using 0.20g go up to the same brand but try 0.25g BB. If you use 0.25g at the moment, try out a bag of BB Bastards next time you top up your supplies.
Written by Karl, who has written a total of 202 posts.
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