How airsoft and BB gun magazines work

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Today’s report is another guest blog from reader Ian McKee who writes as 45 Bravo. Today he tells us how airsoft and BB magazines work.

If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me at: [email protected].

Okay — take it away 45Bravo!

Ian McKee
Writing as 45Bravo

How Airsoft and detachable BB gun magazines work

This report covers:

  • It’s a replica thing
  • Low/mid capacity
  • Most of them are very similar
  • Magazine capacities
  • High capacity
  • It’s high capacity clockwork!
  • Summary
  • Coming in the future

It’s a replica thing

A lot of replica air guns have removable magazines to replicate the look and function of the actual firearm they are copied from. 

magazine lineup
From left to right, is a real 5.56/.223 30 round magazine, a 70 round mid-capacity mag, a “20 round” mag that actually holds 150 rounds of airsoft ammo, a 300 round mag, and a 850 round “fatmag”.
read more


SigAir ProForce MCX Virtus AEG airsoft gun: Part 6

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Virtus AGE right
SigAir ProForce MCX Virtus AEG right side.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Sig Romeo5 XDR red dot sight
Part 4
Part 5

This report covers:

  • The test
  • Sig 0.20-gram BBs
  • Discharge sound
  • TSD Tactical black
  • TSD Tactical white
  • Summary

Today is the final test of the Sig ProForce MCX Virtus airsoft gun. So far we have tested the velocity and accuracy of 0.20-gram and heavier BBs with the 120 mainspring the gun came with. Then we swapped in the 110 mainspring that was also included and tested the gun all over again.

Today we test the accuracy of the gun with the 110 spring and 0.20-gram BBs. Let’s get right to it.

The test

I shot outdoors at 10 meters. The gun was rested on a sandbag. The Romeo5 XDR dot sight is still zeroed from Part 4.

Sig 0.20-gram BBs read more


SigAir ProForce MCX Virtus AEG airsoft gun: Part 5

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Virtus AGE right
SigAir ProForce MCX Virtus AEG right side.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

This report covers:

  • 110 mainspring
  • BUT
  • Prediction
  • Changing the mainspring
  • Assembly
  • Performance
  • 0.20-gram BBs
  • Rock and roll
  • 0.25-gram BBs
  • Battery
  • Summary

Today we’re going to have a little fun. I know some of you would like to work on spring-piston airguns but you just don’t want to jump into the deep end of the pool — as in buying expensive tools like a mainspring compressor and parts that may or may not work as you expect. Today we are going to change the mainspring in the SigAir ProForce MCX Virtus AEG airsoft gun, and we will do it with two Allen wrenches — nothing more! This is a job any of you can do. Then we’ll test the velocity of the gun and see what impact the new spring has made. read more


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. read more


Springfield Armory M1 Carbine CO2 Blowback Airsoft gun: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Springfield Armory M1 Carbine airsoft
Springfield Armory M1 Carbine Airsoft gun.

This report covers:

  • History
  • M1 Carbine production
  • Carbine performance
  • Carbine requirement
  • It lives on
  • M1 Carbine airsoft gun
  • M1 Carbine BB gun
  • Two stocks
  • Expected power
  • Adjustable Hop Up
  • Which model Carbine?
  • Sights
  • Can’t be disassembled
  • So much more!
  • Summary

Today we start looking at the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine airsoft gun. It’s not rifled so no matter what anyone says, it’s not a rifle. It’s a smoothbore airsoft gun.

The M1 Carbine is a favorite of B.B. Pelletier, so this blog may sound a little different — as in having a lot more history attached to it. In fact, let’s go there now.

History

Ask any red-blooded American shooter what was the standout soldier’s weapon in World War II and they will not hesitate to say it was the M1 Garand. Canadian-born firearm designer John Garand (pronounced GAR-und, with Gar rhyming with care) worked for years to perfect a design that was initially created in the late 1920s or early ’30s by firearm company, Irwin Pederson. By the late 1930s the design was accepted and in September 1937 low-rate production (10 rifles a day) began. During the war 3.5 million-ish Garands were produced, and production continued into the 1950s. It is believed that a total of approximately 5.4 million Garands were eventually produced.

M1 Carbine production

In sharp contrast, the requirement for the M1 Carbine first saw the light of day in 1938. It was formalized in 1940. Two tests were run in 1941 and on October 22 of 1941 the Winchester design that is called the “13-day rifle” (because of the accelerated time in which it was developed) was accepted for production.

David Marsh “Carbine” Williams had little to do with the development of the Carbine beyond his invention of the short-stroke gas piston that made the entire concept feasible.

The Carbine production program was one of the high points of the war, from a logistical standpoint. In 38 months 10 prime contractors and hundreds of subcontractors produced over 6 million Carbines — nearly twice as many as Garands during the war and in far less time. Ironically, the only prime contractor that never had a Carbine accepted by the government was Irwin Pederson, whose production methods were decades out of date and were thus incapable of meeting the requirement for parts interchangeability. Their contract was cancelled and their plant was taken over by Saginaw Steering Gear — a division of General motors.

Carbine performance

The M1 Carbine had performance requirements that were not equalled for decades after production ended and, indeed, are not being equalled even today. The primary one is weight. The carbine had to weigh no more than 5 lbs., yet had to handle the pressures associated with a centerfire rifle.

Carbine requirement

The Carbine was created because the Army felt its soldiers were not well-equipped with the M1911A1 pistol. Too many soldiers had problems shooting the pistol accurately, and the Army felt a small light rifle would be more effective. That sounds reasonable but two things worked against the notion. First — they named it the M1 Carbine and by the time it got to the field the Garand had already entered its days of glory. It was even made in the same .30 caliber! Too many people expected it to be a “baby Garand,” which it is not. And the second reason for its unpopularity is very similar. The Carbine looks like a rifle (which it is, of course) so people expected it to perform like one. But it didn’t. It’s cartridge is more closely related to a powerful pistol cartridge than to a rifle cartridge. The bullet is lightweight and it leaves the muzzle 700 f.p.s. slower than the Garand bullet. Instead of almost 3000 foot-pounds of muzzle energy the Carbine bullet develops less than 1,000. And the lighter bullet sheds energy rapidly, so beyond 100 yards it hits like a .30 caliber pistol.

For the purpose it was designed the Carbine is a brilliant weapon even today. But when it is compared to a powerful .30 caliber rifle cartridge used by the Garand it falls short.

It lives on

However, with all the downside I’ve just mentioned, people love the Carbine when they get to handle and shoot it. It’s just right for carrying all day and for certain tactical situations. For example, a fully automatic M2 Carbine is quite handy in close-quarters engagements. As a result of the popularity, more than 30 commercial gun manufacturers have copied the Carbine since government production ceased, and it is still in commercial production today!

The M1 Carbine is the father of Ruger’s popular Mini 14 and the grandfather of the Army’s M16. I own a Carbine that has been converted to shoot the 5.7mm Johnson Spitfire that Melvin Johnson created in the 1950s. The Army used that as the starting point in the development of their 5.56mm cartridge that’s still used today.

M1 Carbine airsoft gun

Today we will start looking at the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine airsoft gun. It is a CO2-powered semiautomatic 6mm airsoft gun that features full blowback of the bolt. It holds 15 rounds, just like the firearm it copies. Don’t let anyone tell you that the M1 Carbine holds 30 rounds, because it doesn’t. The M2 Carbine holds 30 rounds in a curved magazine that is called a “banana mag”, but nobody who knows the rifle ever carried a banana mag fully loaded. They start having feeding issues when fully loaded. The 30-round mag does fit the M1 carbine and soldiers would stock up on as many of those mags as they could get, but they loaded them with around 25 rounds to be safe. What I’m saying is the 15 rounds in the airsoft mag are correct for the firearm it copies.

M1 Carbine BB gun

We looked at the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine BB gun last year in a three-part test. In that test we learned that the BB gun is extremely accurate — to the point of being not too far behind the Daisy Avanti 499. Can this airsoft version that looks incredibly similar be far behind? I hope not!

Two stocks

You have a choice of stocks when you buy the airsoft gun. I’m testing the synthetic stock that is available right now for $199. Add $100 and you can get one with a hardwood stock.

Expected power

The description page on the Pyramyd Air website says the velocity is 470 f.p.s. which I think is too fast for airsoft. Reader Michael asked me to test the M17 airsoft pistol with heavier 6mm BBs because when I tested it with 0.25-gram BBs it became more accurate than with the 0.20-gram BBs Sig recommends. I ordered in a slew of heavier BBs for that test that’s still to come, so you can be sure I will try them in this gun, too.

Adjustable Hop Up

The Hop Up (method of putting a backspin on the BB for improved accuracy) is adjustable, but it isn’t mentioned in the manual anywhere. I went online and could not find it anywhere — including in the information on the Asian models this gun is based upon.

So I asked Tyler Patner to show me and he was kind enough to send a video. The adjustment is a tiny 1.5mm (I measured it) Allen screw that’s located at the top rear of what is the chamber in the firearm. Just pull the bolt back and lock it, then there is access for the wrench.

Springfield Arm,ory Carbine airsoft Hop Up
The Hop Up adjustment is a 1.5mm Allen screw deep inside the receiver, at the top of the chamber.

Springfield Arm,ory Carbine airsoft Hop Up wrench
The Allen wrench is set to adjust the Hop Up.

The wrench for this doesn’t come with the gun, nor are there instructions in the manual. I think that is an omission that should be corrected — however, I haven’t yet seen if the adjustment really affects anything. If it doesn’t then the adjustment isn’t helpful and you should just consider the gun to be not adjustable. As long as we can find a BB that’s accurate, I don’t care about the Hop Up unless I need it.

Which model Carbine?

The Carbine evolved over its life cycle. Some things, such as the stock changed right away, while others like the bolt, the bayonet lug, the rear sight and the flash hider, came toward the end of its production cycle.

This Carbine represents the final configuration of the Carbine. It has the “low water” stock that shows a lot more of the operating rod handle than the first “high water” stock.

Carbine right high water
This Winchester Carbine was one of the first 15,000 Carbines made and subsequently was not interchangeable with all other Carbines because Springfield Arsenal changed the drawings after Winchester began production. Consequently these rifles never went to war and are often found in excellent condition like this one. This one has the early “high” water” stock.

Universal Carbine
This “Carbine” was made commercially by Universal. It shows none of the operating rod — something genuine Carbines never did. There is that 30-round banana mag, by the way. read more


Considering the calibers

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • BB’s gun wall
  • .177 caliber
  • Are steel BBs 4.5mm/.177 caliber?
  • Can you hunt with .177 caliber?
  • More good pellets
  • Higher velocity means flatter shooting
  • Twenty caliber
  • Twenty-two caliber
  • Hard-hitting
  • Cost
  • Target shooting
  • Twenty-two caliber
  • Hunting
  • The big .25
  • Expensive pellets
  • Fewer pellets to choose from
  • Big hole!
  • Only one good handgun
  • .30 caliber
  • What does BB recommend?
  • .30 caliber
  • HOWEVER
  • Summary
  • read more


    Sig Air M17 ProForce airsoft pistol: Part 5

    by Tom Gaylord
    Writing as B.B. Pelletier

    Sig M17 Proforce airsoft pistol
    Sig M17 ProForce airsoft pistol.

    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
    Part 4

    This report covers:

    • SIG ProForce M17
    • The test
    • The BBs I tested
    • Today’s test
    • First up — Sig BBs
    • TSD 0.20-gram BBs
    • Valken Infinity 0.25-gram BB
    • Hand-held
    • Proof of the pudding
    • Summary

    I haven’t written a lot about airsoft in the recent past, but this report has turned out to be a pivotal one. Today I will show you proof of the claims I have made about the potential for airsoft accuracy.

    SIG ProForce M17

    This is about the

    SigAir ProForce M17 airsoft pistol read more