This report covers:

  • Shame!
  • We know better
  • Ah, so!
  • Wait a minute!
  • Don’t want no silencer
  • But BB…
  • The deal
  • M Rod and P Rod
  • So what?
  • Are you sure?
  • Oh, and by the way…
  • A guy I know

Here’s a funny story that’s only funny because it didn’t happen to you. This Christmas a young wife gave her husband a 9mm Sig P365 pistol. Her mother, who is his mother-in-law, went to a sporting goods store and asked to buy some 9mm bullets. They sold her a box of 100 9mm bullets for $19.95 and she was happy — at least until the presents were opened. That’s when she learned the difference between bullets and cartridges.


Shame on the nasty men at that store who sold her 9mm bullets! There was almost a 100 percent chance that she didn’t know what she was saying when she asked for them. After all, aren’t bullets what you put into a gun?

Yet right here in Happy Airgunland we see the same thing. Several years ago a maker of custom airguns who was not a shooter himself made custom big bores and also supplied bullet noses with his guns if the customer asked. But the customer may not have wanted bullet noses. He may only have wanted bullet nose tips. Yes, dear readers, I was actually present when that conversation took place! It was like two kindergardeners discussing a mortgage!

We know better

But we are airgunners and we know better. So, when we buy things to shoot out of our new .45 caliber big bore air rifle, we ask for pellets. Because it is, after all, an AIR gun, and don’t they all shoot pellets? Well, yeah, some of them do shoot BBs. I mean — other than that.

Ah, so!

So here we are in the far east. happily making airguns for those crazy Americans and, what’s this, they want .45 caliber “pellet” rifles? Sure, we say, let’s make some of those. Hey, here is a barrel for a .45 caliber firearm, let’s use this as our starting point. 

Wait a minute!

Golly, the firearms that use these barrels shoot bullets weighing 550 grains. There is no way we are going to get our rifles strong enough to launch “pellets” that weigh that much! Let’s see. Oh, it says here that the .45 ACP pistol cartridge launches a 230-grain bullet at 830 f.p.s. Our prototype air rifle might get a “pellet” of that weight up to around 550 f.p.s. Let’s shave off 30 grains of weight and our rifle can probably get the lighter “pellet” up to around 675 f.p.s. So let’s use barrels that are made for that cartridge. Never mind that the barrel is sized differently on the inside than the first one. It is a .45 caliber, isn’t it? Yeah, that ought to work!

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Don’t want no silencer

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has some laws about silencers that they enforce. Turns out that a silencer is considered a firearm. It is serial-numbered and requires the permission of the local law enforcement officials, the United States government, a background check and a $200 tax stamp for each one you purchase. Okay, okay — let’s not call them silencers. Let’s call them suppressors! Or moderators. Oh, here is a cute one, let’s call them lead dust collectors (LDC for short, but not for long) so no one will know what we mean.

tax stamp
Here’s a stamp you probably don’t want to buy in books!

Ladies and gentlemen — a rose by any other name will get you arrested and thrown into the slammer just as quick!

But BB…

We really do shoot .22-caliber H&N Rabbit Magnum II solid pellets in our pellet guns! They are solid pellets, and they are made the same diameter as .22-caliber diabolo pellets, so even if someone were to try to load them into a .22 rimfire rifle, the accuracy would be lousy! Are you saying they aren’t really pellets?

H&N Rabbit Magnum
Yes, H&N Rabbit Magnum pellets are really solid. You have to know what it takes to stabilize them in flight to make them shoot accurately.

No, what I’m saying is the language hasn’t kept pace with the technology and even the great BB Pelletier, master of all that is airgun, doesn’t know what to call them. Solid pellets is the best he can think of. But there is a “deal.”

The deal

The deal is, unless you understand external ballistics, you won’t do very well with these solid pellets. The boys on the forums all talk as if these are the greatest things since sliced bread. Well, sometimes they do work, but don’t you believe all the hype! A solid bullet/pellet/call-it-whatever is still ruled by the laws of physics and they have to spin fast enough to be stabilized. That, my friends, is why BB sometimes strays over into the firearms world in his reports. If you wanna play the game you gotta know the rules — and there are rules.

And one of the rules is understanding the terminology and using it correctly. It’s not a lead dust collector; it’s a cartridge!

M Rod and P Rod

Goodie! We get to make up new names, so nobody who is not in our Secret Circle will know what we are talking about. It’s not a Marauder — it’s an M Rod. Only I can’t spell M Rod, so I just write Mrod. It sounds right to me.

Yeah, but when you write Prod when you mean P Rod, it looks like the word prod. 

So what?

So, a box of 100 bullets is coming your way. And they cost less than what other people are paying for 50! Fifty what, you ask? Yeah, that’s what.

Okay, BB, lay off! We all know what we are talking about. If other people don’t know, how is that a problem?

Well, let’s see. You get a new pellet rifle and someone calls it a BB gun. Someone else wants to give you a present, so they buy you a box of BBs. Shoot those in your new R7!

Okay, but nobody I know would make that mistake. 

Are you sure?

By the way, Noah Webster, the dictionary guy, was once told that sugar is the only word in the English language in which the letters su make the sound sh. To which he replied…

I declare, we need a snare drum and a cymbal today.

Oh, and by the way…

The husband of the mother-in-law who bought the box of bullets knew that BB Pelletier reloads cartridges, so he told her to contact me and see what could be done to correct her faux pas. Erase, erase. Kindly BB traded her a white box of 100 Winchester 9mm cartridges for her box of 100 Hornady 9mm bullets. BB can turn those bullets into cartridges with some other stuff that he keeps on hand!

He told her to tell her son-in-law to pick up his empty brass cases after he shoots, so they can be reloaded. Why, I even have a new box of 100 full metal jacket 9mm bullets to go into them!

A guy I know

A guy I know bought a multi-stage reloading press, dies, bullets and gun powder to start reloading. I invited him over to my place to see how it is done. He said he wanted to load 100 cartridges as a Christmas gift for a family member. When he arrived I asked him for his cartridge cases. Didn’t have any. You see, back when he was in the Army he was given all the ammunition he wanted, any time he wanted it. Picking up empty cases was beneath him — literally!

Folks, actions have consequences. They may be immediate, they may take time. But they don’t go away simply because we want them to. You really want that new holster for your Prod? Make sure your gift-giver knows it isn’t a cattle prod!