BB guns are firearms that have the capability of expelling round, steel pellets popularly known as BBs. Nowadays, BB refers to the different pellet types of varying materials, weights, and sizes, but this wasn't always the case when it came to the early days of BB guns. It is believed that BB... the ammunition or amunicja for BB guns... stands for "ball bearing". To reiterate, the ammunition for these guns were widely believed to be ball bearings; however, if the ammunition for it is made of plastic, "BB" can be serviceably translated to "bullet ball", although it isn't necessarily precise. At any rate, the original BB guns made use of lead shots that were "BB" in size.
Other Curious Things You'd Be Fascinated to Know about BB Gun Ammunition
- The size of "BB" is exactly 0.18 inches in diameter, although size variants will happen depending on the gun you've used to shoot. Yes, they actually tried to standardize bullet sizes for BB guns early on when these relatively non-fatal "toy" guns for "children" were first invented. These bullets were also available in specialized pellets with unique, non-BB sizes, but the name stuck nonetheless that even non-BB guns were referred to as BB guns (and their pellets referred to as BB-size pellets).
- Aside from BB becoming common parlance that specifically referred to the bullet and the gun (even though the bullets weren't necessarily 0.18 inches in diameter), such that irrespective of whether or not they used BB-sized pellets, they'd still be called BB guns, these weapons are also renowned for their ricocheting action. Sure, real guns ricochet too, but ricocheting is a bad thing with real guns because that could lead to crossfire and "friendly" fire.
- What's more, real guns are made to penetrate objects, not bounce off them. With BB guns, ricochets are a good thing because it allows you to hit your non-stationary target in new and unpredictable ways. It's the steel pellets that enables BB guns to get that good ricochet; plastic and lead pellets aren't that good at bouncing.
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