How Fast Do BB Guns Shoot

As an airgun enthusiast, I wanted to know how fast pellet and BB guns shoot. The speed of these airguns varies between 300 and 1400 feet per second (fps). The adult springer airgun usually shoots between 800 and 1200 fps. However, the pellet’s shape, size, and weight can also affect its speed. While speed provides an idea of a gun’s power, it might not reveal everything you need to know.

What Speeds Could I Expect in a Pellet or BB Gun?

When I shoot in my backyard, I usually find that BB guns shoot at 300 to 500 fps. However, with a high-performance gun, this can go up to 1000 fps or more. Pellet guns come in more shapes and sizes than BB guns, but they have similar speed ranges. Most springer pellet guns I’ve used shoot at around 800 fps or more.

For multi-pump airguns, performance varies depending on the number of pumps, ranging from 300 to 600 fps. When it comes to precharged pneumatics (PCPs), they often deliver higher speeds and power than other airguns.

Some springers can reach 1400 fps or more, but they rely on a small combustion of lubricating oil in the compression chamber. Once the oil runs out, they don’t fire as fast. Also, burning oil isn’t good for an airgun.

I’ve noticed that airgun makers often overestimate their guns’ speed. If you measure the speed using a chronograph, you might be disappointed to see a difference between the advertised speed and the actual speed. This could be due to using different pellet types than the manufacturer.

What Speeds Should I Want in an Airgun?

The optimal speed for an airgun depends on its purpose. Hunters might prefer a PCP shooting at about 900 fps, while Olympic shooters might choose a pellet gun shooting at 600 fps. For backyard plinking, 500 fps is usually sufficient.

Many airgun manufacturers and consumers want their guns to shoot at 1000 fps or more. However, these speeds aren’t always ideal for shooting. An all-around good speed is around 850 fps, but velocity alone doesn’t reveal everything about a gun’s performance.

Why Doesn’t Speed Matter as Much as it Seems?

Muzzle energy is another essential factor in a gun’s performance. While muzzle velocity refers to the speed of the projectile as it leaves the gun, muzzle energy measures its kinetic energy.

A heavier pellet will travel slower than a lighter one but will have the same energy and maintain it longer due to aerodynamics. Some manufacturers use extremely light pellets to make their underpowered airguns seem more powerful, which can be misleading.

Why Would I Want to Slow My Airgun Down?

There’s an optimal speed for pellets to maintain accuracy. Other factors like pellet shape and size can also affect accuracy, but speed plays a significant role. As a pellet approaches the sound barrier, it compresses the air in front of it, creating turbulence that affects its trajectory.

Are Faster Airguns Louder?

An airgun’s volume doesn’t significantly increase unless it breaks the sound barrier, which produces a loud crack similar to a .22 caliber firearm. As a pellet gets closer to the sound barrier, its sound waves overlap and create a loud noise.

At What Speed is an Airgun Considered a Firearm?

Airguns are not firearms, but some local and national governments treat them as such when their speed or muzzle energy exceeds certain limits. Regulations differ between locations, so it’s essential to check your local rules regarding airguns.

At What Speed is an Airgun Dangerous?

Airguns can be dangerous at all speeds. At 300 fps, a BB

gun can pierce skin at point-blank range and leave nasty welts from a distance. As the speed increases, the gun becomes more dangerous. At 400 fps, a BB gun can be lethal with an unlucky shot. Shots to vital body parts carry a higher risk of serious injury.

When I’m shooting, I always ensure I’m not aiming at anything I don’t intend to destroy, especially another person. I wear eye protection, especially when shooting BB guns, because lead pellets can ricochet, and BBs are more likely to do so and maintain their energy better than pellets when they ricochet. So, while I enjoy the thrill of airguns, I always remember to prioritize safety.

How Does Speed Affect Accuracy?

One thing I’ve learned is that speed plays a significant role in the accuracy of a shot. As a pellet approaches the speed of sound, it compresses the air in front of it, creating a kind of turbulence that disrupts the pellet’s path. This issue is generally not noticeable at closer ranges, but it becomes apparent when you’re aiming at targets farther away.

Are There Speed Restrictions for Airguns?

In certain jurisdictions, airguns with a speed or muzzle energy higher than specified limits are considered firearms and regulated as such. In the United Kingdom, for instance, an air rifle shooting more than 12 foot-pounds of energy is essentially treated as a firearm. In the United States, the rules for airguns vary wildly. Some city governments won’t allow you to shoot an airgun within city limits, effectively treating them like firearms. It’s important to be aware of these regulations to avoid any legal trouble.

What are the Potential Risks of High-Speed Airguns?

Even though I love the thrill of shooting high-speed airguns, I am always aware of their potential risks. A BB gun shooting at the lower end speed of 300 fps can pierce skin at point-blank range and cause painful welts at greater distances. As the speed increases to 400 fps, a BB gun could even potentially be lethal with a tragic shot. Certain parts of the body are more vulnerable and carry a higher risk of serious injury.

So, when I’m shooting, I always ensure I’m not aiming at anything I don’t intend to destroy, especially another person. I always wear eye protection, especially when shooting BB guns, as BBs are more likely to ricochet and maintain their energy better than pellets when they ricochet.

In conclusion, while speed is an exciting aspect of airgun shooting, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t tell the whole story about a gun’s performance. Other factors like muzzle energy, pellet shape and size, and regulations also come into play. Above all, safety should always be the top priority.

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