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The Basics of Bb Guns

By: Amelie Mag

There is nothing more important than safety when marketing or purchasing bb guns. You can have good clean fun with them, indeed, but you definitely should not look at bb guns as if they were toys.

Any potential user or buyer of bb guns needs to understand this issue, because although they are ideally harmless, there are an increasing number of people who are killed every year in the United States owing to misuse of such recreational arms. Obviously, the number of injuries is also increasing.

However, in order to understand safety related to bb guns, you must first understand what they really are and how they made them. They are air guns, which people invented to fire projectiles in the form of a sphere referred to as BBs. They gave the name to this type of gun. These guns usually respect a series of parameters regarding the size of the barrel and the caliber. Modern BBs also have a fixed diameter and are generally made of steel, although at times they might cover them in copper or zinc in order to resist corrosion. Still, some producers still make a certain type of larger BBs than those used in the past.

There is a widespread confusion between a bb gun and an airsoft gun. Frequently, the same meaning refers to both terms, because they both hold a smoothbore barrel. Moreover, they both shoot spherical projectiles. However, an airsoft gun is a somewhat milder version of a bb gun, since it is usually plastic made (or some other material, which is not metal, for that matter). In addition, their pre-designed level of danger is lower.

The history of bb guns reaches back, at the beginning of the 1900s. 'Daisy' was one of the main manufacturers of the time. At some point in the 20's, some gun users began using scrap steel ball bearings as ammo, and huge numbers of guns started coming in for repairs. Pellets that were far too big to fit inside blocked and deformed their barrels.

American Ball Company, the competition, took advantage of this and saw it as a marketing prospect. However, this firm ended up eventually as part of 'Daisy', which remained in the lead of the market and set the standards for years to come. Moreover, from the first production BB gun pellets to this point, the accuracy and velocity increased overwhelmingly.

Amazingly enough, the same BB gun model from Daisy dominated the professional (but low-price) market for over 50 years. It was the case of a lever action model; in present times, though, the spring piston type is much more common. Most lever models of the past century, though, could only reach a rather low velocity, but held up to a thousand BB in the barrel. The process of loading the gun with ammunition depends a lot on gravity, and the gun has to be at a certain angle.

Airsoft guns have limited accuracy and range, as well as bb guns, which have recently begun to improve with a magnet mechanism operating the barrel. Makes sense, since they are mostly made of steel, in contrast to airsoft guns. In any case, the purpose of the magnet is to keep the pellet (or the BB) in its place, at the bottom of the barrel. Without it, it would most likely simply roll out and fall if the angle permitted it.

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