Christmastime is coming up and that means it’s time to start thinking about presents for your children as well as all of your nieces and nephews. If your kids are anything like Ralphie from A Christmas Story, then they very well may want a BB gun for Christmas. This desire makes sense, considering that children have been fascinated by BB guns for decades.
But what is a BB gun? And how does it work? Luckily for you, we’ve got the answers you need.
So keep on reading and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know!
What Is a BB Gun?
A BB gun is a kind of air gun that’s meant to shoot metal ball projectiles, known as BBs (not to be mistaken for ball bearings). These projectiles are roughly the same diameter as birdshot.
Modern BB guns usually come with a smoothbore barrel with a 4.5mm caliber. They also use steel balls that are around 4.3 mm in diameter and 0.34 g in weight. These balls are usually plated with copper or zink in order to resist corrosion.
Some BB gun manufacturers will make lead balls that are slightly larger and weigh around 0.49 g. This is the more traditional style and is meant to be used in rifled barrels. Lead tends to have better malleability and will exert less wear on rifled barrels.
The term “BB gun” is usually used to describe airsoft guns. However, airsoft guns shoot plastic balls (these balls are usually incorrectly referred to as “BBs”) that are bigger than metal BBs but a lot less dense. They also have much lower ballistic performance.
The term is also incorrectly used at times to describe a pellet gun. A pellet gun shoots diabolo-shaped (not spherical) lead balls. Although some BB guns can also fire pellets, the reverse situation isn’t true: steel BB projectiles are much more stiff and can’t be shot out of pellet guns.
The barrels of pellet guns are usually rifled and can thus get stuck (similar to a squib load in guns) and lead to the gun malfunctioning.
How Do BB Guns Work?
First, let’s go over how normal guns work. The basic premise behind practically any gun is to make a small explosion behind a bullet positioned in a cylinder. When the explosion tries to expand in the firearm, it has very few places where it can go.
Because the explosion can’t expand in all directions, it moves down the barrel of the gun. If there’s a bullet in the way, then the explosion will push the bullet forward as it goes down the barrel.
BB guns work on this same premise, although there’s no explosion. Instead, the expanding matter is carbon dioxide, ordinary air, or some other gas. Before you fire the gun, the gas is compressed so that it’s more dense.
The compressed air is kept in a container until the trigger is pulled. The gas container will then open up and the gas will flow into the barrel. When this happens, the BB will be propelled forward at a very fast speed.
This is also the idea behind gas-powered guns, including air rifles and paintball markers.
How to Choose a BB Gun
Before you buy a BB gun, you should have an idea of how much money you want to spend. You then want to choose a reputable brand. It’s also easy to find the best bb guns for kids when you shop from a reputable website.
You also want to know what kind of BB gun you want to buy.
First off, you can get a BB gun with a CO2 cartridge. These kinds of guns provide realistic recoils which can be fun for older kids.
You can also get a BB gun with a spring mechanism. Before you fire the gun, you need to pull the cocking mechanism back.
You can also purchase an automatic electric BB gun. This type of gun has gears that pull the spring back. Those gears work due to electric batteries that need to be charged every so often.
History of the BB Gun
The term BB was originally meant to refer to the size of lead shots that were used in smoothbore shotguns. BB shots were used to shoot small game birds and were also referred to as birdshot.
In the 1880s, the Markham Air Rifle Company in Michigan made the first wooden air rifle as a gun to train children. They used the BB birdshot as the ammunition. Two years later, the Plymouth Air Rifle Company came out with a metal airgun that also fired BB shots.
Around 1900, that the Plymouth Air Rifle Company came out with lead shot that was specifically made for their BB guns. Even though they stopped using the term “BB” to refer to the projectiles, the term stuck.
In fact, “BB” became a generic term and is now used to describe a variety of small projectiles.
The Importance of Knowing What Is a BB Gun
Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now have a better understanding of what is a BB gun and how these devices work. This information can now aid you as you try to find the perfect BB gun for your children and keep this fun pastime alive.
Are you looking for other helpful articles like this one? If you are, then you should definitely check out the rest of our website today for even more!