What does 'BB' as in BB gun stand for?

Ball bearing, perhaps?

Boy, this was a short thread.

You might think the Daisy air rifle people would know, but they’ve bypassed the question. That site does have a feedback feature - maybe you could ask them?

Baby Bullet?

Seriously though, I think it’s ball bearing. That’s what they look like.

Actually, I think “BB” is a size designation, and does not stand for “ball bearing.” I don’t have a cite, though. Seems like this may have come up in a previous thread.

spoke- beat me to it. BB is just a letter designation of the shot size ([sup7[/sup]/[sub]40[/sub]") If I’m not mistaken, I think it was originally pronounced “double-bee”. There is also BBB shot. BB or BBB shot (packed in a shotgun cartridge of course) are used in hunting waterfowl.

no, no, no, everyone knows it’s an abbreviation for “Spherical proJectile”


Sorry, ignore me. I’m losing my mind. I’ll try and do it quietly.

Well. This was supposed to be a short thread, since the answer was revealed in the OP. Dictionary.com states that a bb is in fact a ball bearing, and specifically refers to a bb shot as a small pellet fired from an air rifle or BB gun.

spoke- is right. According to Webster’s Unabridged:

Check out this link from gunshop.com for more information on shot sizes. BB is .18 inches in diameter. A bb gun uses compressed air and shots a single shot, unlike the traditional shotgun which uses gunpowder and a shell.

I thought we’d discussed this before but the search function won’t take BB as a word, so for you newcomers…

SDMB - B, as in BB

It is Ball Bearing. I remember an article in the NRA magazine American Rifleman on the subject from the mid-80’s on the history of the BB gun. It happened that the bearings of this size were abundant when the gunmaker was looking for a cheap source of projectiles.

      • It is both, sort of. The size was originally designated BB (as in “double B shot”, as in double B lead shot) but the Daisy company kept getting back large numbers of rifles from kids in Minneapolis or somewhere around there, that were jambed with reject ball bearings discarded by a local factory that were just a bit larger than the projectiles the rifles were designed for. Daisy found that the ball bearings were cheaper than the buckshot and shot better too [steel being lighter than lead], so they increased the rifle’s bore size and started selling steel shot for ammo. - MC