If you’re looking to pick up a new BB gun, one of your first questions is probably, “Can you reuse steel BBs?”
Steel BBs are durable and won’t break on impact like traditional bullets or paintballs. That being said, you may often find your steel BBs in seemingly good condition after you shoot them.
It’s reasonable to assume that you can use these steel BBs again. But first, you should consider some of the risks of reusing BBs and whether you should do it at all. It’s important to think about BB safety first before loading up your gun with damaged BBs.
Can You Reuse Steel BBs If You Shoot Them Into a Target?
Many people say it’s fine to reuse them, but should you? Steel BBs that have hit a target will often have dents or visible imperfections from impact. These BBs should be discarded and not reused due to being structurally compromised.
These BBs with obvious imperfections after impact could splinter or break apart if fired again. This would almost certainly damage your gun, and it could also pose a danger to others nearby. A visibly defective steel BB would fire and unpredictably travel through the air even in the best case.
You may still be wondering, ‘Can you reuse steel BBs if you shoot them into a target, and they’re not visibly damaged?’ This situation is a bit more complex, but it’s probably not advisable to use these BBs.
Despite looking normal, these BBs likely have microscopic damage that could still cause them to break apart or fire inaccurately. This type of damaged BB could scratch or negatively impact the barrel of the gun. You may not see it, but this damage is hard to avoid once the BB has hit a target.
Can You Shoot BBs If You Spill Them on the Ground?
So, you may think, “What’s the problem with dusting them off and loading them up?” After being spilled, dirt and debris can get stuck to the steel BBs and consequently damage the gun.
While this may not be as obvious as damage to a BB, it can cause just as many issues. This dirt will work its way into the gun once loaded, potentially causing jams and other firing issues. It’ll leave you spending more on repairs than you would have saved by reusing BBs.
The issue with dirt doesn’t just stop with being spilled on the ground outdoors. Even if the BBs are being fired indoors or into a trap, dirt will still attach to the BBs. This issue gets worse because these BBs that have already been fired can pick up dirt in their small imperfections.
Once the steel BBs leave the original container, whether spilled or fired, there is a high risk of picking up dirt and debris. To keep your BB gun firing straight and working correctly, you shouldn’t fire it with dirty BBs.
What Precautions Should You Take If You Do Reuse Steel BBs?
There are several reasons why you might still be considering reusing your steel BBs. One reason might be to save money, or maybe it is simply a matter of convenience. If you do decide to reuse steel BBs, there are some precautions you should take first.
The first step is to carefully inspect the BB for any dents, cracks, or visible damage. As mentioned earlier, a damaged BB should never be reused.
If you want to minimize damage to the steel BBs, you’ll want to avoid hitting hard targets. The firing of the BB alone could cause structural damage, but if it’s also hitting a hard target, the chances of damaging the BB go up exponentially.
One way to avoid this is by buying or building a soft target trap to shoot at. You can do this cheaply and easily by attaching pillow material or cloth inside of the trap. You could also add a paper target at the opening of the target box to slow the velocity of the BB.
The next step before reusing steel BBs is to wash them. As mentioned earlier, dirty BBs pose a risk of jamming and damaging your gun. You may be tempted just to wipe off any obvious debris. However, it’s recommended that you choose a more thorough cleaning method.
To clean your BBs, you should thoroughly wash and dry them. Once you’ve inspected, washed, and dried your BBs, you’ll have the best chance of being able to reuse them without any major issues.
How Can You Quickly Gather Them Up?
Whether you’ve decided to reuse BBs or only use them once, you’re left with the same problem of how to quickly and efficiently pick up all of the BBs that you’ve shot.
One way to quickly gather these BBs is to use a trap target. With this type of target, all of the BBs that hit or almost hit the target will be caught in the back of the trap. This makes for easy collection when you’re done shooting.
Of course, if you shoot wide of the trap then you’ll still have to pick up the BBs by hand. The same goes for if you spill the BBs or if you want to shoot at some soda cans.
In these scenarios, you may want to consider getting a magnet. A magnet is the quickest and easiest way to pick up steel BBs. Just run it over the floor of where you’ve been shooting, and it’ll snatch up all of those stray BBs without having to do it all by hand.
You will now be able to decide if your steel BBs are suitable to be reused and how to take all of the precautions necessary to ensure the safety of your gun. Once you’re done shooting, you can make clean-up a breeze with a trap target and magnet. Now you’re ready to collect and inspect your steel BBs.