What effect do heavier airsoft BBs have on accuracy?

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

ASG CZ Shadow 2 Part 1
ASG CZ Shadow 2 Part 2
ASG CZ Shadow 2 Part 3
ASG CZ Shadow 2 Part 4
Sig Air M17 ProForce Part 1
Sig Air M17 ProForce Part 2
Sig Air M17 ProForce Part 3
Sig Air M17 ProForce Part 4
Sig Air M17 ProForce Part 5

This report covers:

  • ASG CZ 75 Shadow 2 first
  • The test
  • Game Face Maximum Precision 0.25-gram BBs
  • Trigger!
  • ASG 0.30-gram Blaster Devil
  • Umarex Elite Force Milsim Max 0.32-gram
  • Wearsoft Sniper Grade 0.36-gram
  • Swiss Arms ProGrade 0.36-gram
  • Discussion 1
  • On to the Sig Air M17 ProForce
  • Game Face Maximum Precision 0.25-gram BBs
  • ASG 0.30-gram Blaster Devil
  • Umarex Elite Force Milsim Max 0.32-gram
  • Wearsoft Sniper Grade 0.36-gram
  • Swiss Arms ProGrade 0.36-gram
  • Discussion 2
  • Summary

Today is a special report, done at the request of reader Michael. He wondered whether heavier airsoft BBs than I used in the final test of the Sig Air M17 ProForce airsoft pistol would be more accurate. Read what he said.

“I have always read that heavier Airsoft “BBs” are more accurate than lighter ones. One theory is that in order to be heavier, they are manufactured to have fewer and smaller gaps inside them. Theoretically, that would reduce imbalances in the sphere and make them spin and fly more true.

“Because this is a CO2 pistol, it should be able to launch .30g, .32g and .36g ammo without breaking a sweat. It would be very interesting to see how it shoots with, say, WE or Swiss Arms .36g “BBs.”

It was a good question and I thought I would give it a go. And then I remembered that I had tested two accurate airsoft pistols in 2019 — both the Sig ProForce M17 airsoft pistol and the ASG CZ 75 Shadow 2. If I was going to test Michael’s theory I should probably test both pistols. So I did, and today is the report. I have labeled all the links above so you can read the full report for each pistol.

ASG CZ 75 Shadow 2 first

The Shadow 2 was tested earlier in 2019 — May to July. I tested it with BBs weighing up to 0.26 grams. In today’s test I have five new BBs to test. They range from 0.25 grams to 0.36 grams. There are even heavier BBs but they will slow a gun down a lot, so I stopped at 0.36 grams.

The Shadow 2 is powered by CO2, so it’s fairly powerful. Its tactical rear sight adjusts for both windage and elevation, but I didn’t adjust it in this test. I also did not touch the adjustable Hop Up. This is just a test of the ammunition with the gun set at one single setting.

The test

I shot both pistols off a sandbag rest at 10 meters. My hands were resting on the bag — the gun never touched it. I found that to be the most accurate way to hold both pistols. And I am only shooting 5-shot groups today because of all the shooting there is to be done.

Game Face Maximum Precision 0.25-gram BBs

These BBs are from Crosman. They have a dark finish, are double polished and apparently not biodegradable. They are lighter than the 0.26-gram TSD Bio 180 BBs I tested earlier with the Shadow 2, which were also the most accurate. The Shadow 2 put 5 of those into 1.194-inches at 10 meters.

The Shadow didn’t like these BBs and put 5 into 3.808-inches at 10 meters. I didn’t use the dime for groups like this for obvious reasons.

Trigger!

I had forgotten just how sweet the Shadow 2 trigger is! All my pistol triggers should be as nice. It has a long first stage and a crisp stage two that’s incredibly light. It made the pistol a joy to shoot.

Shadow Gameface group
The Shadow 2 put five Game Face BBs into 3.808-inches at 10 meters.

ASG 0.30-gram Blaster Devil

The next BB tested was the ASG 0.30-gram Blaster Devil. They are white BBs that are also not biodegradable. The Shadow 2 liked them good enough to put 5 into 1.899-inches at 10 meters. That is better than the best target the pistol shot last year (1.954-inches).

Shadow Blaster Devil group
Now we’re talkin’! Five ASG 0.30-gram Blaster Devils went into 1.899-inches at 10 meters.

Umarex Elite Force Milsim Max 0.32-gram

Next to be tested were five Umarex Elite Force Milsim Max 0.32-gram BBs. They are white and they are biodegradable. But the Shadow 2 didn’t like them. I shot 5 but only got 4 holes on the target. It’s possible that two BBs went through the same hole but I cannot see that they did. The centers of the 4 holes are 4.34-inches apart.

Shadow Elite Force Milsim group
Only 4 BBs seem to have hit the target. Their centers are 4.34-inches apart.

Wearsoft Sniper Grade 0.36-gram

This is the one for the Shadow 2! Of the 5 BBs tested, this one was the most accurate. Five Wearsoft Sniper Grade 0.36-gram BBs landed in a group measuring 1.245-inches between centers. This is a BB I would spend time with, adjusting both the sights and the Hop Up. It’s a black BB that’s not biodegradeable. It comes in a 2000-round resealable bag rather than a bottle.

Shadow Wearsoft Sniper Grade group
The Shadow 2 put 5 Wearsoft Sniper Grade 0.36-gram BBs into 1.245-inches at 10 meters.

Swiss Arms ProGrade 0.36-gram

The last BB I tested was the Swiss Arms ProGrade 0.36-gram. It’s a black BB that’s not biodegradable. The Shadow 2 put 5 of them in 3.866-inches at 10 meters. Three of them are grouped nicely in the black, but the other two went high for some reason.

Shadow Swiss Arms group
Five Swiss Arms 0.36-gram BBs went into 3.866-inches at 10 meters.

Discussion 1

So, what’s the verdict. Well, Michael was right about heavier BBs being more accurate. But what I haven’t told you is how much drop there is. When you go heavier than 0.30-grams the BBs slow way down and I wouldn’t want to shoot many of them in a skirmish. As accurate as the Wearsoft 0.36-gram BB is, I think the ASG 0.30-gram Blaster Devil is the more suitable of the heavies because of the increased velocity over the Wearsoft.

Before I continue, have you noticed how many titles these airsoft BBs have in their names? Apparently the airsoft world is motivated by impressive names. Well, I have one for them — the Ubiquitous and Devastating Terminal Mega Blaster! I’ll take a quarter for that, please.

On to the Sig Air M17 ProForce

Now I moved to the Sig Air M17 ProForce pistol. I tested it in October and November, 2019. You may remember that this pistol is sold as a CO2 pistol but there is also a green gas magazine available separately. Sig Air made that magazine available to me to test, so that is the mag I used for today’s test. It was the more accurate of the two mags when I tested the pistol with lighter BBs last year, but after seeing today’s results I see that need to switch to the CO2 mag for a final test.

Game Face Maximum Precision 0.25-gram BBs

Where Game Face Maximum Precision 0.25-gram BBs weren’t so hot in the Shadow 2, they were actually the best in the M17 with the green gas mag. Five went into a group measuring 1.807-inches at 10 meters. In the last test of the M17 the most accurate BB grouped five in 0.80-inches. I was so impressed at the time that I shot a second five and got a 1.21-inch group. So today’s best isn’t up to what we saw before.

M17 Gameface group
The Sig M17 did best with the 0.25-gram Game Face 0.25 gram biodegradable BBs. I will put that down to the lighter weight of the BB because I’m running on green gas, though that wasn’t apparent until the end of the test. Five went into 1.807-inches at 10 meters.

ASG 0.30-gram Blaster Devil

Next up were the ASG 0.30-gram Blaster Devils. Only 4 hit the target paper and their centers are 1.999-inches apart. Not bad but still, it’s just 4 out of 5.

M17 Shadow Blaster group
Four of five ASG Blaster Devil BBs went into 1.999-inches at 10 meters.

Umarex Elite Force Milsim Max 0.32-gram

After the Blaster Devils the M17 shot 5 Elite Force Milsim Max 0.32-gram BBs into a group that measured 4.482-inches between centers at 10 meters. Obviously this is not the right BB for the M17 on green gas!

M17 Milsim Max group
The Sig ProForce M17 put 5 Milsim Max BBs into 4.482-inches at 10 meters.

Wearsoft Sniper Grade 0.36-gram

Now we are getting way too heavy for green gas. The time of flight became noticeably longer with the two 0.36-gram BBs and they dropped lower on the target, necessitating a sight hold at the top of the bull instead of 6 o’clock. Five BBs landed in a group measuring 2.936-inches between centers at 10 meters.

M17 Wearsoft Sniper Grade group
Five Wearsoft Sniper Grade BBs went into 2.936-inches at 10 meters.

Swiss Arms ProGrade 0.36-gram

The last BB I tested in the M17 with the green gas magazine was the Swiss Arms ProGrade 0.36-gram BB. Once again, these are too heavy for green gas, so I aimed at the top of the bull instead of the bottom. Five BBs went into 2.898-inches at 10 meters. But notice that four of the five are closer together at the bottom of the target. They are 1.656-inches between centers. Some of the group size could be attributed to how I was aiming. So, with the CO2 mag, this BB could be viable.

M17 Swiss Arms group
Five 0.36-gram Swiss Arms BBs went into 2.898-inches at 10 meters, but the centers of the bottom 4 are only 1.656-inches apart.

Discussion 2

I had to get through the entire test to realize that these heavy BBs were too heavy for green gas. This test had already taken so long that I decided to test the M17 on CO2 at a later date.

Summary

Michael was right about heavier BBs being accurate. But we must bear in mind that accuracy means little to a tactical airsoft player if his BBs drop too fast in flight. The solution has to be a BB that’s both accurate and also reasonable for engaging action targets.

We must also bear in mind that sidearms like these two pistols are not the primary weapons of a skirmisher. They are a backup to be used when reloading or attending to the long guns in some other way. You don’t need pinpoint accuracy by itself. You need the right combination of all things, with accuracy being important but not the only criterion.

29 thoughts on “What effect do heavier airsoft BBs have on accuracy?

  1. B.B.,

    Heavier plastic projectiles would lead to better accuracy due to greater energy retention decreasing effect of wind but makes them more susceptible to gravity.

    Siraniko

    PS: The title: What affect (effect) do heavier airsoft BBs have on accuracy. Although it makes me sad that they will have a lower point of impact 🙂



  2. Good write up. I personally have never used any that were heaver than .30, but I have never skirmished in the sniper role.

    For those that has never skirmished in airsoft before, the accuracy requirements for the standard airsoft player, are vastly different than an airgunner’s definition of accuracy.

    Yes there are dedicated sniper guys that want to put one in your ear at 60 yards,
    (yes that is possible with the right combination of weapon, ammo, and practice.)
    A trinket for your springer guys out there, The sniper rifles are almost all spring powered, the gas guns don’t have the power, or accuracy the springers do.

    But for the average player using an automatic electric gun (called an AEG), the accuracy is not as critical.

    It is more like the military requirements for a battle rifle.
    (The military accuracy requirement for an as issued M4 carbine is 4moa.)

    #1: Reliability above all else.
    (if it shoots, you can put enough rounds down range to hit your target, if it don’t shoot, you have a expensive stick with a magazine.)

    #2: it only has to be minute of bad guy accurate.
    (In airsoft a hit on the hand or the hip is as good as a hit between the eyes. They are out of the game either way.)

    As you shoot the airsoft gun on full auto, (with a rate of fire anywhere between 10 and 20 shots per second depending on the battery used) with the white BB’s, you can see them in flight, just like tracers, and can walk your fire onto the target.

    And yes, just like tracers, if you happen to be looking in the direction of the burst coming your way, your brain picks up the moving white DOTS as they get closer, like a swarm, and your brain screams DUCK, but you just watch it get closer and closer in slow motion until it impacts your facemask.
    (remember, its moving anywhere between 350fps and 450fps. Can you duck out of the way of a pellet shot by a crosman 2240 at 30 yards?)

    Oh, and from experience, the BB’s you shoot at your opponent, seem to fly slower than the BB’s he shoots back at you.

    The black BB’s are kind of stealthy, you have to aim, as you DO NOT see those in flight.

    Ian



  3. Something I have always wondered, and have asked many time, but have never gotten a definitive answer from any of the manufacturers or large online retailers I dealt with.

    Tom, when you are at shot show, and you run into an airsoft ball manufacturer, please ask them.

    What is the criteria/timeframe for the BB’s to deteriorate in order for them to be labeled “biodegradable”?
    1 year, 5 years, 20 years?
    If it takes 100 years to break down, it is still biodegradable, just not in my lifetime.

    Some of the biodegradable projectiles are (or at least were, when i was gaming) compressed, and polished corn starch.

    I am sure, they have a coating that breaks down with exposure to UV light, and humidity.

    But when I was tuning and working on other players guns, I used projectiles labeled as biodegradable, as I didnt want a pile of them in my backyard range where we lived at the time.

    I can say, that when we moved from there, there was quite a lot of little white spheres all over the place. and we were there for 10 years.

    Ian


  4. B.B.,

    Obviously I read today’s report with great interest. Thank you very much for doing it.

    I am glad you decided to take hop-up out of the equation, as that would have made your test unscientific. That said, if a judicious amount of hop-up were employed, the distance would likely increase, as would, perhaps, the accuracy.

    I just did a bit of quick research and found that higher-end springer sniper rifes with aftermarket barrels, springs, pistons, etc., can launch a .25 gram 6mm airsoft “BB” at velocities in the mid-500 fps. We can expect a .36 gram “BB” to fly out of those precision barrels at a velocity in the low 400s, perhaps?

    I am glad to read here that the conventional wisdom in the airsoft world regarding “BB”. weight and accuracy are, well, accurate. So many bits of conventional wisdom end up being pure myth that your results are reassuring.

    Again, thank you very much for this report.

    Michael


    • Michael
      Selling the Challenger with the factory peep and front globe sight for a good price. It looks like it just came out of the box and no leaks whatsoever. And very accurate.

      You mentioned at one time you would like one. If your interested we’ll figure out how to connect.


      • Gunfun1,

        A year or two ago I would have leapt at the opportunity, but these days I am considering paring down my collection rather than adding to it. The Challenger does look like it would be the best entrée to 10 Meter, and no doubt it could be an ideal plinker for a PCP.

        Michael


        • Michael
          Its very accurate. 25 yards and it will make a small pellet touching clover leaf hole and easy .400″ group at 50 yards if the winds fairly calm. That is with a scope on it. And yep it’s a very good plinker. Look at my reply to Chris for how much.



        • Chris
          Yep with the factory peep and globe sight it’s around $700. It comes from the factory with the Marauder rifle trigger. It’s a very nice shooter and fully adjustable stock. Look at my reply to Mike about accuracy. And I’m only asking $350 for it. Thats a bargain. 😉


  5. B.B.,

    Obviously I read today’s report with great interest. Thank you very much for doing it.

    I am glad you decided to take hop-up out of the equation, as that would have made your test unscientific. That said, if a judicious amount of hop-up were employed, the distance would likely increase, as would, perhaps, the accuracy.

    I just did a bit of quick research and found that higher-end springer sniper rifes with aftermarket barrels, springs, pistons, etc., can launch a .25 gram 6mm airsoft “BB” at velocities in the mid-500 fps. We can expect a .36 gram “BB” to fly out of those precision barrels at a velocity in the low 400s, perhaps?

    I am glad to read here that the conventional wisdom in the airsoft world regarding “BB”. weight and accuracy are, well, accurate. So many bits of conventional wisdom end up being pure myth that your results are reassuring.

    Again, thank you very much for this report.

    Michael


  6. BB, in the first paragraph after ASG 3.0- gram Blaster Devil title (right after the paragraph regarding the trigger), you stated the group was the best but the sizes you quoted are either reversed or there is a typo. You say 1.899 inches is smaller than 1.194 inches. I am surprised no one else picked that up or am I developing dyslexia?

    As for the softair name you have proposed, “the Devastating and Ubiquitous Terminal Mega Blaster”, remember what Han Solo of Star Wars fame told Luke Skywalker:
    “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.” Perhaps you will need to talk to George Lucas? Kidding. The term “blaster” was first used in the classic sy-fy movie Forbidden Planet. Lucas paid homage to it by using the term “Blaster” as well as numerous other references to classics (i.e – the Flash Gordon series),

    Fred formerly of the DPRoNJ now happily in GA


    • Hey Fred, that was just a typo; if you go back to this link…
      https://www.pyramydair.com/blog/2019/07/asg-cz-75-shadow-2-airsoft-pistol-part-4/
      …below the 6th target there B.B. has this text posted:
      “Five TSD BBs went into 1.954-inches at 10 meters. It’s the smallest group of the test and it went right to the aim point. This would be a BB to try!”
      So the 1.899″ is less than the 1.954″ from that previous test.
      P.S. Glad to see you are happy in Georgia; if you ever get down to Cochran, stop by the farm, and we’ll shoot some airguns together. =>


    • Yes, I noted that the 1.194″ group also. I continued reading the comments and thought that I would comment about it when I finished. You beat me to it 😉 Shows that we read thoroughly every word.


      • Geo,

        ” Shows that we read thoroughly every word. ”

        You bet we do!!!! 🙂 It is a highly valued part of my day. First thing in the AM and first thing after work.

        Chris

        Edit: I take little to no responsibility for my AM post as the first 15 minutes (of 45) are spent on “focusing”,… and drinking coffee. One problem I have noted is that I mouse with right hand,… which is also my coffee mug hand. I need to work on that! 😉


  7. B.B.
    The blog is still experiencing issues today. When I posted a comment, I received a 504 error (host error). I refreshed the page and then received a message “your comment has already been posted”. I had to close the page and then reopen it. Then when I checked the bottom, my comment was there with the time counting down normally. If you aren’t aware of issues, maybe you could pass it on to the IT department. This is also causing some comments to be double posted as you can see.
    Geo


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