by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

BB Gage
The new BB Gage looks like a Pelletgage, and operates in a similar way. Photo provided by Pelletgage.com.

Part 1

This report covers:

  • Start with the best
  • The test
  • 4.42mm
  • 4.43mm
  • 4.44mm
  • Results so far
  • Mixed BBs
  • Conclusions

I know there is a lot of interest in today’s subject, because readers have been talking about it since the first part was published. Today we are going to conduct the first test to see if gaging BBs makes any difference in their accuracy.

Start with the best

Naturally I chose the most accurate BB gun for today’s test. The Daisy Avanti 449 BB gun has no equal, as far as accuracy goes. Several readers are talking about the velocity of the 499 and how to increase it. Mine launches BBs at around 250 f.p.s., and that velocity is perfect for what the gun does. I would not tear into a gun that is shooting as accurately as this one does.

I gaged the special BBs it shoots — Daisy’s Avanti Precision Ground Shot. I did that in Part 1 of this report, so you might read that before you read today’s report. That’s what today’s test is all about.

The test

I decided to shoot 5-shot groups today, because the 499 makes such small groups that I was hoping to see accuracy differences if there weren’t too many holes in the target. Also I find holding steady for 10 shots per group tends to tire me and might make a difference at the end of the test.

The 499 was rested on the UTG Monopod, which was steady, but did require a lot of concentration. I sat 5 meters from the target (that’s the muzzle of the BB gun at 5 meters, for those who wonder) and took as much care as I could muster for every shot. Let’s look at the results.

4.42mm

The first group was shot with Precision Ground Shot that gaged 4.42mm in Part 1 of this report. Five BBs went into 0.359-inches at 5 meters. Normally that would be all I would report about a group, but today I’m shooting a target gun, so let’s look at where those BBs hit. Only one of them appears to have hit the 10-ring. While there appear to be only three holes in the target, the two holes that are in the 9-ring (one at 1 o’clock and the other at 9 o’clock) each appear larger than a single BB. I think that is where the other two BBs went. So out of 50 points, these 5 BBs gave me a score of 46. That will become important in a moment.

12-22-18-01-BB-GageAvanti 499 BB gun target 1
Five Avanti Precision Ground Shot gaged 4.42mm went in to 0.359-inches at 5 meters, for a score of 46/50.

4.43mm

The next BBs I shot were gaged at 4.43mm Five of them passed through a group that measures 0.226-inches  between centers at 5 meters. This is clearly a smaller group than the one before. I’m not saying it proves anything positively, but if I was a BB-gun competitor, a result like this would definitely catch my attention!

However, there is more. Notice where the group is. At least 4 of 5 BBs have hit the 10-ring! This target demonstrates why we only shoot one shot at each target in competition. I will concede that one BB is a 9, so this is a score of 49/50. The score isn’t as important as the fact that the point of impact changed. That’s what a competitor pays attention to.

12-22-18-01-BB-GageAvanti 499 BB gun target 2
Five Avanti Precision Ground Shot gaged 4.43mm went in to 0.226-inches at 5 meters, for a score of 49/50.

4.44mm

Next up were five Avanti Precision Ground Shot that gaged 4.44mm. They made a group that measured 0.30-inches between centers at 5 meters. This group appears larger than it really is, because I peeled back the target paper to reveal the holes more clearly. I scored this one as four 10s and one 9, also. The POI is almost in the same location as that of the 4.43mm BBs.

12-22-18-01-BB-GageAvanti 499 BB gun target 3
Five Avanti Precision Ground Shot gaged 4.44mm went in to 0.30-inches at 5 meters, for a score of 49/50. This group appears larger than it is, because the target paper was peeled back to expose the holes for photography.

Results so far

I want to stress that this one little test tells us nothing conclusive. At best it only indicates what might be true. More testing is needed. But from what I have seen so far, gaging BBs does have some impact on their accuracy. If I were a coach of a team, I would be gaging my BBs for each gun! And every shooter at the Nationals uses the Avanti shot. Anything else gets weeded out in the local and regional matches.

Mixed BBs

The next test will perhaps tell us even more. This time I’m going to mix the BBs by size and see how that affects accuracy. I’m taking 2 BBs that gaged larger than 4.44mm, one that gaged 4.41mm, one that gaged 4.42mm and one that gaged 4.43mm. That represents shooting BBs straight from the box without regard to their size.

These 5 BBs went into a group that measures 0.252-inches at 5 meters. That is the second-smallest group of the session. That wasn’t expected, but before you throw up your hands in frustration, look at where these BBs went. At least 2 of them landed in the 9-ring, for a score of 48/50. That’s still better than what the 4.42mm BBs did, but looking at the shape of this group tells me there are too many surprises buried in these odd-sized BBs.

12-22-18-01-BB-GageAvanti 499 BB gun target 4
The 5 odd-sized BBs made a 0.252-inch group at 5 meters, but several BBs did rise above the 10-ring.

Conclusions

I said at the start that today’s test is not conclusive. But it does give me hope that gaging BBs will pay off.

This also demonstrates that the casual shooter doesn’t need to gage his BBs to shoot good groups with the Daisy 499. Most shooters would be very pleased with any of these targets.

I think coaches need to get a BB gage and start testing BB sizes to each of their guns right away. No one wants to give up the possibility of even one point in a match! If all this does is make your shooters more confident from knowing they have an edge — it’s worth the price.