Pellet Gun vs BB Gun: Which is the Best Choice for You?

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BB (Ball Bearing) guns and pellet guns are both types of air guns that can be used for target shooting at low ranges and velocities. If you’re interested in guns, but are new to the world of firearms, getting one of these two options can be a good choice for you.

While BB guns and pellet guns are quite similar in some ways, there are also a lot of differences between them, especially when it comes to the kind of ammunition they use. The power, sizes of their barrel, and accuracy also differ between the two.

In this article, we’ll dive into the pellet gun vs BB gun debate, go over the main differences between the two, and consider which one of them would be the best choice.

Main Differences

BB guns and pellet guns differ in multiple ways when it comes to ammunition, design, and accuracy. Let’s take a closer look at each of these features:


The biggest difference between BB guns and pellet guns is the ammo that’s used in them.

BB gun ammunition is simply called BBs. They’re small, spherical metal balls. They might come in different sizes and materials of construction, but BBs will always be spherical in shape.

On the other hand, pellet gun ammo comes in a variety of different shapes and sizes. The different types of ammo include wadcutter pellets, pointed pellets, hollow point pellets, domed pellets, hybrid pellets, and modified bullet pellets.

Size can also vary a lot with pellet guns, as it can come in sizes like 0.177 caliber and 0.22 caliber, while BBs typically come only in a 0.177 caliber size.



The magazine used in pellet guns is quite different from the ones used for BBs. As BBs are spherical in shape, it’s easy to stack them together in the magazine. This isn’t possible for pellets.

For this reason, a rotary type magazine is used. To fit more pellets into the gun, some pellet guns [1] use a magazine that looks like a stacked magazine but has two rotary type magazines on each end.

BB guns usually hold a lot more ammo in their magazines than pellet guns do because of their stacked build.


Rifling is a design on the inner side of the barrel that appears in the form of helical grooves. When the bullet leaves a rifled barrel, the grooves cause it to spin around.

If you’re shooting at a target, this spinning movement in a bullet can cause it to move in a straight line, cutting through the air and improving accuracy.

BB guns don’t have any sort of barrel rifling present on them. As BBs are spherical in shape, making them spin around while they leave the barrel doesn’t have any impact on their speed or accuracy.

However, pellets are relatively more pointed in shape and are made out of softer elements like lead. They need the barrel rifling to keep them moving straight once they leave the barrel.


If you want something for pest control or hunting small game, a pellet pistol will serve you a lot better than a BB gun. For hunting, air rifles are recommended, as pistols generally don’t have enough power.

Pellet guns are small, have low power, and cannot be aimed as accurately as rifles can. This means that there is a higher chance of error.

BB guns, on the other hand, cannot be used for hunting at all, as BBs will not be able to get the job done. BBs will usually ricochet off surfaces because of their spherical shape, and are better used for target practice or scaring off birds and vermin.

They’re also used in competitive shooting.


Because of the pointed shape of pellets and the barrel rifling present [2] inside them, pellet guns are a lot more accurate than BB guns.

For small to medium range, you can use either one of these guns for an accurate shot. Anything over that works in the favor of the pellet gun.

Which Gun Should I Get?

If you have to make a choice between a pellet gun vs BB gun, you need to ask yourself which of the factors mentioned above are the most important to you. Both guns have their advantages and disadvantages, giving them an edge over the other in certain scenarios.

If you want more accuracy over a long range, faster bullets, some hunting capabilities, and more power, you should go for a pellet gun.

On the other hand, if you want a more convenient shooting experience with no hassle, higher ammunition capacity, and a relatively more harmless experience, we recommend that you go for a BB gun.

CO2 Models

BB guns and pellet guns are both available in CO2 models. These are similar to air guns, but instead use a compressed CO2 cylinder within the gun that’s vaporized to offer enough power to provide speed to the projectile.

This means that you don’t have to cock or pump your gun, and you can just switch out the CO2 cylinder and start shooting. The CO2 cylinders used in these types of guns are also inexpensive and readily available, making it a more convenient option over manually cocking guns.

If you’re looking for a good, reliable air pistol, be sure to check out this handy guide on the best air pistols available today.

Final Thoughts

While BB guns and pellet guns are similar in how they function and can both be used for general shooting activities, there are several differences among them that can sway your decision on which one of these you would want to get as your first gun.

We hope that this article has helped you pick out which of these options from a pellet gun vs BB gun is the right fit for you. If you’re interested in similar topics, feel free to check out our other articles, as well!



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