BB vs Pellets: How Do They Compare

bb vs pellets

Comparing the BB vs. Pellets has been a major topic of discussion among the varmint hunters, so how do they compare? 

At the kickoff of the 20th century, the BB shots we see today were re-engineered by Daisy, one of the earliest crafters and manufacturers of the BB guns. The company changed the BB gun bore diameter from .180 to inches to .175 inches and marketed precision-made lead shots for the BB guns they had made. The name for these lead shots they were marketing was to be ‘Air Rifle Shot,’ but this never picked momentum as the ‘BB’ name had already stuck.

Mostly, shooters talk of BB when they mean ‘Ball Bearing, ‘ which should not be the case. But what do they say about Pellets? Pellets came after the BBs and are therefore more modern. 

So what is a pellet? A pellet is a shot you use in your gun that can have a round, flat, or pointed tip followed by a taper to a thin waist.

Let us have an in-depth look at BB vs. Pellets below.

BB vs Pellets: How Do They Compare?

The BB vs Pellets Structure and Makeup

BB vs pellets

BB’s Structure and Makeup

BB shots are typically made using steel, which makes them strong and gives them the ability to ricochet much easier than pellets. BBs are mainly used for target shooting in the backyard or open fields. Their round structure makes them less aerodynamic and is therefore not very accurate. You can, therefore, not depend on them too much for hunting or pest control.

If you plan on purchasing a BB, you must be getting ready for some good shooting times and fun in taking target shots with friends.

BBs can be shot in a six-round shot, three-round shot, and a single shot semi-automatic depending on the air pistol in use. If you set the switch to six-round bursts, you will be experiencing a firing speed reminiscent of that of firing a full-auto machine gun. This experience is a full-fun moment you can’t miss out on as an ardent shooter.

Pellet’s Structure and Makeup

A pellet can take any form at its tip with the common tip shapes being round, flat, pointed, or hollow. The tip is followed by a taper and a thin waist that supports the tip and the tapper. After that, the rest of the pellet is hollow and opens to full diameter. The solid part of the pellet is its head, which is normally made to fit the bore and just touches the rifling.

The pellet’s head structure helps keep the pellet centered in the bore and maintain friction at its lowest level.

The pellet has a thin skirt constructed using a soft, deformable material that is normally lead. However, some pellets manufacturers use plastic or even tin. When fired, the skirt closes to fit the bore and offers a perfect seal while engaging the rifling, which provides a spin.  

Generally, pellets are made using lead or an alloy of lead and other materials. Unlike BB, pellets rarely ricochet as the lead material used in making them is soft. 

Pellets are more accurate than BBs thanks to their aerodynamic shape. This means a BB vs. pellet comparison about accuracy always ends in favor of the pellets.

BB vs Pellets Guns and Calibers

Pellet gun vs bb guns

The first official BB gun used the BB-sized lead shotgun shot midway between an era when B shotgun shots were getting off the market and before BB lead shotgun shots were introduced. Initially, the BB shots were 0.180 inches, which is about 4.60mm but would vary in size thanks to the high allowable tolerances for using the shotgun shell. 

The problem with size variations was sorted out at the beginning of the 1900s when Daisy Gun-manufacturing Company worked on BB guns’ latest size. They changed the BB gun’s bore diameter to 0.175 inches, which is about 4.45mm to fit the specifically made precision lead shot for their BB guns.

Pellets, on the other hand, are handgun projectiles that are majorly used for hunting small games such as birds, squirrels, hares, etc. Pellets came a little bit late after BBs and have been a major competition against BBs. When comparing the two, you may be pushed to think that one is better than the other, while in the real sense, they only differ in structure and functionality.

Best BB Guns

A BB gun is an air gun designed for specifically shooting the BB projectiles. BB guns exist in different forms ranging from the common handguns to the fully automatic rifles. They commonly shoot .177 (4.55mm) lead BB projectiles, which are usually soft and rarely harm humans and huge animals.

Let’s have a glimpse at an example of BB Guns available in the Market.

Avanti Champion 499

The Avanti Champion 499 is globally known as the most accurate BB gun manufactured by the renowned Daisy Company. It is mostly used by most shooting schools in their shooting education programs and competitions they host. 

The gun is a single-shot, lever-action muzzle-loading BB gun with a consistent speed of about 240 feet per second. Daisy constructed the gun to make it achieve the most accurate BB shot from a distance of 5m. However, over time, it has been a favorite for pickling and target shooting among trainers as it was found to be an ideal gun for such shooting deals.

The gun is only 36 ¼ inches long and weighs a paltry of 3.1 pounds, making it an ideal choice for young shooters.

The gun’s plastic slide safety feature allows you to prevent accidental fires and unwanted triggers easily. You put the gun to safety mode by pulling it back and pushing it forward to fire and release the BB projectiles.

Best BB Calibers

Here are some of the BB projectiles you could consider for your target shooting experience.

Daisy .177 Cal BBs

These are zinc-plated steel BBs that are mainly used for pickling. The package comes with 2,400 counts of BB, but you can opt for the 6,000 counts bottle or the 350 count bottle if you need more or less, respectively. The BBs are extra smoothened to boost their velocity when leaving the barrel.

The container has an opening, making it easy to load the BBs into your gun without spills and wastage. You can always trust the quality of Daisy BBs anytime.

Umarex 2211056 Hornady Black Diamond .177 Caliber Steel BB

These are premium .177 caliber BBs made of steel. They come in a perfectly shaped bottle with a lid to minimize spillage when loading. They have a black anodized finish to reduce surface variation for maximum speed.

The bottle contains 1500 pieces inside, which is enough for all your pickling needs.

Crosman Copperhead 4.5mm BBs 

They are 4.5mm BBs coated with copper and are compatible with BB air rifles of 4.5mm caliber and even BB air pistols. The package comes with 6000 counts, which is ideal for all your fun activities. You can also purchase the 1,500-counts package or the 2,500 one if you need smaller amounts. 

Best Pellet Guns

Pellet guns exist in many different forms, with the most common ones being handguns and single-shot rifles. Pellet guns can cause intense harm, especially to children, and you should take caution when shooting in public areas where children are. An example of an ideal pellet gun includes:

FX Impact X MKII

FX Impact X MKII is one of the most accurate pellet guns in the market. Such a gun gives pellets a favorable advantage over the BB. The accuracy of this rifle is a force to reckon with. It is ideal for taking long-range shots and still hitting the target.

It comes packed in a nice hard case that ensures it is well protected, and you can use it for good storage to aid durability. The gun is easy to assemble and disassemble, so you do not have to worry about fixing some minor breakages you may encounter.

Its cocking lever is very smooth, further boosting its accuracy from as far as 100 yards. You will not have to use only one type of pellet as the gun is adjustable to any pellet.

Best Pellet Calibers

RWS Hobby .177/4.50mm Air Gun Pellets 

This ideal pellet was purposely designed for field use. It is admired for its high penetration abilities thanks to its high velocity, sharply pointed head, and lightweight. It is ideal for hunting and target shooting. 

Its wadcutter design separates it from the rest of the RWS air gun pellets. The pellets are a perfect fit for shooting with highly powerful air guns. You can achieve small and round shot groups with the pellets.

Crosman .177-Hollow Pointed Pellets

If you need pellets that can travel far, you should give Crosman pellets a try. They are ideal for both hunting and plinking as they can fly fast through the air and achieve deep penetrations.

They are made with high-quality precision tooling to make each pellet almost the same as the next, to ensure consistent accuracy. Therefore, you never get to worry about the accuracy of the pellets.

Gamo Hunter.177 Cal Pellets

Gamo pellets pride in their silent operations that sets them above other pellets with almost the same features. They are accurate pellets that you can use to kill small animals like coon, opossum, and even wild cats.

However, you are most likely to get deformed pellets in the package, but you can easily get them out when washing and cleaning the pellets.


There are no significant discrepancies in the BB vs. pellets comparison apart from functional differences. The main difference remains on the purpose each projectile is made for. While BBs are majorly made for pickling and target shooting, pellets are majorly for hunting and can be used for target shooting.