If you’re new to airsoft, then like most of us you’ve asked yourself the question – is it okay to put metal BBs in your gun for airsoft instead of plastic ones? We’ll provide clarity on this topic, and give you all of the reasons why you should and shouldn’t do this, as well as when…because the last thing you want to do once you’ve dropped the $ buying the best airsoft gun is to screw it up with the wrong ammo!
Can You Use Metal BBs?
We’ll give you the shortest possible version right away – no, you shouldn’t. And there are more than a couple of reasons why this is the case. As you’ll soon realize, people who opt for using metal BBs face a host of different issues.
The earliest problem you’ll encounter is the size of the airsoft metal BBs. More specifically, they tend to be tinier than the airsoft marker requires. If you want to use BBs in an airsoft gun, they need to be between 8mm and 6mm in terms of diameter.
But the diameter of the barrel of a BB gun is generally 4.5mm, making the above-mentioned metal BBs too small for an airsoft rifle. Of course, you may think to find metal BBs with a bigger diameter. And you may very well find the guns that you need. However, if you use metal BBs for airsoft over a prolonged time period, you will notice the performance of the gun degrading after a while. That’s because of the pure and simple fact that airsoft guns weren’t made with steel airsoft BBs in mind.
Prolonged exposure to metal BBs is bound to deal damage to the internal mechanisms of the airsoft gun, particularly the inside barrel. This kind of damage will, in turn, be detrimental to the accuracy of the gun, and you’ll have to invest a tidy sum of money to repair or replace the barrel.
Plus, many people wrongly believe that metal BBs would give them an advantage in the field in terms of power. But remember, the projectile force that’s exerted by the spring mechanism of the airsoft weapon was calculated with plastic BBs in mind. And plastic is a lot less dense than metal, which means that, while the projectile will be heavier upon hitting; it will also have a much shorter range.
On top of that, we needn’t even mention the safety concerns – in terms of danger, the metal BBs are much closer to bullets than the plastic ones which disintegrate upon impact. The former is even capable of inflicting lethal wounds.
We have also talked about the diameter issues and the difference between plastic and metal airsoft BBs. While you could theoretically still use the metal ones, the airsoft firing mechanism simply demands a larger diameter. Thus, the smaller metal BBs can easily get stuck. And if you still try to shoot them, they’re prone to jamming or damaging the cylinder head and the air nozzle.
Your main takeaway from all of this should be that metal BBs are largely unsuitable for airsoft weaponry. Attempting to use these will probably result in damage to the gun itself. When you’re buying BBs, it’s always your best bet to follow any instructions the manufacturer of the airsoft gun gives you; that way you won’t risk safety hazards, or waste funds on repairs that you could have avoided.
Can You Safely Use Metal BBs?
It’s not all about the mechanism of the guneither, when it comes to the unsuitability of metal BBs. Additionally, practically all legal airsoft fields forbid their usage. As we’ve mentioned above, metal projectiles are far too dangerous for casual playing.
And not only are the metal BBs that hit someone dangerous. If these pellets hit metal or concrete somewhere in the field, they will break into smaller pieces that become dangerous projectiles themselves. All in all – there is no option or need to play with metal BBs in afield.
The only place where metal BBs should be used is a practice range, with BB guns. They definitely provide a sensation of their own compared to airsoft weaponry, as they’re more accurate. But we can not stress this enough – using metal projectiles in a game against other people is incredibly risky and dangerous; not to mention illegal.
Conversely, airsoft weaponry that’s filled with plastic BBs is safe for usage; these are quite harmless compared to the metal ones. Suffering a hit from a plastic BB won’t perforate your skin; meaning that you won’t anything more than a soft sting, and the pain will quickly dissipate.
So, is it safe to fill your airsoft gun with metal BBs? No, absolutely not, airsoft with metal BBs is not safe at all. There is no reason at all to attempt doing such a thing. Plus, while a BB gun that shoots metal pellets may seem almost identical to its airsoft counterparts, you can easily discern which is which by looking at their side; they have different caliber marks.
Considering all of this, we advise keeping your friends and yourself safe and sound by using only the BBs that were designed for your airsoft weapon, to begin with; the plastic ones. Bringing anything else into the airsoft field is absolutely forbidden.