A word on ammo

28 05 2007

I was sitting around thinking, and it came to me… I haven’t said a word about ammo on here. When it comes down to it, this is a touchy topic for all veteran airsofters and a topic that every newbie needs to learn about. For the veteran it’s like global warming or religion… if you believe one way, there is almost no chance of changing your viewpoint. For the newbie it’s like searching for a needle in a haystack trying to find the facts among the opinions that are given. For that reason, I’m writing this short article.

I personally prefer the KSC perfect bbs, as I’ve used them since day one and never had a problem. That being said I’ve also run the other end of the gamut and used Crossman .20g bbs from a department store. So why choose one over the other? What should a buyer consider when choosing a bb? Does the quality of the airsoft gun matter when choosing the bb? If I have a low quality gun is there a benefit to buying a higher quality bb? Lets look closer.

So what do you need to know about bbs before choosing one. First, what weight do you need. For guns shooting under 325 feet per second, the general rule is to use .20g bbs. Now if you’ve picked up a $10 springer at a flea market, it might not be able to push that bb very far and you might be stuck with using .12g bbs, but given the lack of quality in that weight bb, there is no point discussing its performance nor consideration for any decent quality airsoft gun. Now if you’re shooting 325 fps or more you might wish to use a heavier weight bb such as .25g bbs. Why? The heavier the mass, the longer it will maintain its velocity and the less deviation there will be in its trajectory. What does that mean to you? A slight loss in range with an increase in impact and accuracy. We’ve all had it happen, you’re zeroed on a target, pull the trigger and a ever so gentle breeze blows it right off course. The heavier the bb, the less likely this is to happen. Now you must consider that no bb will be impervious from the wind, and on a gusty day you’re still screwed. What if you’re a sniper using a 450+fps rifle? That’s when we start looking at .30 and higher weight bbs, for the same reason stated before. With the increase in fps to such a high level, the loss of range is not considerable given the increase in accuracy over distance.

I do want to make a quick point here. Just because you picked up an entry level AEG that sates it will shoot 320 fps, does NOT mean that it will shoot anywhere near that. Some brands are better than others and closer to the truth, but we’ll take a look at my UTG MP5. It was stated that it would shoot 320 fps with .20g bbs. Mine chronographed at 265 fps after upgrading to an M100 spring! Another one I saw (stock) chronographed at 150fps! So it is also a good idea to have your gun tested with a chronograph and use those measurements to help you choose the right weight for your gun.

Something else to consider is the quality of the gun you plan on using. If you’re using a gun that has a 6.14 inner diameter inner barrel, then is there a real reason to buy the best bbs out there? That’s a double edged question. On one hand, a slightly malformed bb should should through that no problem. The gun itself is probably not consistent enough to warrant a smoother bb either. In the case of my UTG MP5, I saw very little difference between using the KSC brand bbs and the Crossman brand bbs (both .20g). Given the lower velocities and the amount of tolerance of the bore of the barrel, it wasn’t a problem. I did notice a few defective bbs in the Crossman brand, but was able to catch those and weed them out easily (and there were very few). The lower quality polishing of the Crossman bbs did not make as great an affect on the trajectories given the quality of the gun I was shooting them from. Now I have a much higher powered AEG with a tightbore barrel. Due to this, I will shoot nothing other than high quality bbs. I do not wish to have my inner barrel messed up by poor quality bbs, and there is a noteable difference in accuracy between the Crossman and the KSC.

If you do have a lower powered or quality aeg, then by all means, save some money and buy the Crossman brand or something comperable. The KSC brand will cost you about $.00299 per bb, whereas the Crossman will cost you about $.00199 per bb. Now these comparisons were both make with .20g bbs in mind. I would never consider using the Crossman .12g bbs (or any other .12g bb) as the quality control is lacking severly.

Consider this when choosing a bb.

  1. Weight — What does your gun require to be effective?
  2. Quality of your airsoft gun — does it need “premium”, or will it see the same results with lower cost bbs?
  3. How much are you willing to spend?

Those simple questions will help narrow the field down a bit for you. Now all that being said. I suggest that we all use biodegradable bbs. Sure, they might take near 10 years to look like anything other than a white ball bearing, but given the tiny difference in cost we might as well.

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