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- Last updated: 15/12/2016
Whilst packing up my kit for a woodland day I came across an inoffensive bit of paper informing me that my site now only accepts Biodegradable BB airsoft ammunition, oh blast!
These Bio BB’s are being used more and more, as sites, clubs and individuals recognise that the landscape on airsoft skirmishing grounds is gradually filling up with little 6mm plastic balls – so wouldn’t it be a good idea if they could just break down harmlessly over a period of time and not clutter up the environment.
The world of Bio BB’s is completely alien to me as I have always been happy rocking my ASG Blasters, so I figured I had best do my research and figure out which brand would be the best. With the help of an old University pal I have managed to infiltrate a Lab with a spectrograph and arranged for the top 5 brands to be rigorously tested. Unfortunately these tests take a fair bit of time and as yet I don’t have the full results but I can however share the story so far…
A Vast Improvement… or a horror story?
Little did I know when I first started looking into this what a controversial topic I was stirring up! Every airsofter seems to have a different opinion on Bios; some say they’re the best thing since sliced bread and enthuse about 60 day breakdown times and improved accuracy (hmmm you sure about that?). Others have complete horror stories about how they have got the BB’s wet and they have swelled blocking barrels or ruining magazines but who to believe?
As I briefly mentioned I have taken the 5 top Bio BB brands and have been putting them through some technical tests but what I didn’t say was that I have also run them through both my pistol and AEG to determine accuracy, shatter, anti-swell (not sure if that’s the technical term) and the all important damp tests.
ASG Bio Blasters
In the blue corner we have our first challenger, the mighty ASG with their Bio Blasters – I have heard that there is now an updated version of these which are supposed to be amazing but did not have them in time for this test). These bad boys claim to be made from PLA which is a Thermo Plastic Polymer so how can something made from plastic biodegrade? Well the clever chappies at ASG have cunningly made a plastic that derives from corn starch or sugar cane, which is of course environmentally friendly and will biodegrade – genius! Available in either .20g or .25g the weights are also acceptable but I would however have preferred a heavier bb but that is just personal choice!
Ok so this BB passed the shatter test with flying colours, at 20ft the BBs were hitting the target with no problems (clearly my aim has improved) and zero shattering so that’s one myth busted. Luckily I didn’t experience the BB’s swelling, even after soaking them with a shower, so obviously they don’t start to breakdown straight away - handy if your reloading in the rain! These seem like reasonable bits of kit so at present I’m quite happy but is there better out there?
King Arms Bio BB
Contender number 2 is the King Arms Bio BB which is only available at present in .25g and states on its packaging that it will biodegrade in weeks if the ambient temperature is over 63 degrees or within 2-3 years on the ground at a temp of 10 degrees, so definitely looking at the long term view here! I couldn’t get any details on the composition of these bb’s but the spectrograph will tell all (fingers crossed). These also achieved a decent grouping with only 1 bb out of 3 full mags shattering on impact at 20ft distance, so quite reasonable. These BBs also refused to swell under the shower.
Bulldog Bio BB
Ok so moving on to our next champion we have the Bulldog Bio BB from Madbull, only available in a disappointing .20g which is not ideal for me. These BB’s claim to biodegrade within 6 months regardless of temperature which I am quite impressed with. These BB’s performed well with the 20ft target (once I had got used to the lighter weight) and there was no shatter issue. There was however a difference in size after a good soaking, which is only to be expected really in a BB that will degrade fast. Overall not the BB for me, but impressive performance on the target and if your site demands speedy composting then these would probably be ideal for you.
Cybergun .357 Magnum Bio BB
Moving swiftly on to number 4 we have the Cybergun .357 Magnum Bio BB’s again only available in .20g – I’m sensing a pattern here! These BBs do not quote any specific time period for decomposition only stating that this will occur over a number of years, again this is one where I am awaiting the spectrograph results eagerly. Target performance was acceptable but there was a higher amount of shattering with 10 bb’s in 3 mags ending up breaking. However these BB’s had no swelling after soaking and this does balance out the slightly poorer target performance for me.
Last but by no means least we have an own brand BB, the Biosphere by Airsoft World. These guys have long been pioneers for Bio BBs and indeed their own site in Scotland only allows Bio BBs to be used. Biosphere BB’s are supplied in biodegradable paper packaging, which I feel is a very thoughtful touch so the whole package and contents are ‘green’. There was no shatter whatsoever and the BBs actually disappeared after an extended soak so seriously impressed! Available in .20g and .25g, at present these have been my favourite BB so far and the fact that the packaging is also biodegradable really put the icing on the cake for me.