making .177 lead BBs?


June 7, 2006, 03:00 PM
I have purchased a CO2 powered Russian BB gun (can fire 3 and 6 shot bursts) for control of small garden pests like blue berry eating birds and squirrels (They eat everything). Put a small dot sight on it and have a laser and flashlight sight on order.

The instruction manual states that use of steel BBs will do in the rifled barrel and besides the lead BBs hit harder and are less likely to rebound when shooting.

I can obtain Lead BBs only by ordering.

I have over 100 lbs of soft lead and was wondering if there is a some way to obtain tools for swaging round .177 BB shot?

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June 7, 2006, 05:11 PM
I think most round shot is either drop shot or cast from a shotmaker.
I've seen shotmakers for smaller shot (the Littleton Shotmaker comes to mind),but not for BB size shot.
If that lead you have is dead soft,it will need antimony/tin alloying to make good round shot.
Mic some purchased lead BB shot and see if bulk bags of lead BB shot for shotgun reloading (nominally .18" rather than .177") will work. That would be really cheap-25# of BB lead shot for $28+shipping at precision reloading.

June 7, 2006, 05:31 PM
Poodleshooter: Is there any reason why air rifle shot must be hard? Remember that I am not trying to get a tight pattern out of a shotgun and ranges will not be more than 50 ft.

I can see that it might function better through the magazine. Are any other benefits?

At $375 Littleton Shotmaker is certainly not for me.

Do you know if nominally size 0.18" shot will work through a .177 bore CO2 air rifle barrel?

June 7, 2006, 05:42 PM
Avoiding leading would be my biggest concern for hardness purposes. It would only need a bit of antimony. Also the tin would help in the manufacture as it aids in flow characteristics. I have a much harder time casting with straight lead and getting reliable shapes than I do using an alloy such as wheelweights.

The size issue is what I'm not sure of. I've never handled lead air rifle shot,so I can't say. The ability to use "BB" sized .18" shotgun shot would be very advantageous for price reasons. 25# of shot at that price would feed even the full auto Drozd for quite awhile.

June 7, 2006, 05:48 PM
Thanks poddleshooter

I guess I probably need to find an airgun site.

June 7, 2006, 06:56 PM
BB's were originally .18 BB shot. I don't think there is a 17 shot size but maybe 18 will go thru your barrel.

June 7, 2006, 10:50 PM
Current steel BBs are actually .171 caliber. Lead pellets and bbs tend to be .172, or 4.37mm. I guess they decided to round the metric measurement to the nearest half and then convert to real units, rather than the other way around. So BB shot will most likely not work well. You may want to just order the darn lead BBs from

$8.99 for 750 of them, and shipping is done by price, not weight.

Swaging the things would be an inordinate amount of work. You'd need to carve off hunks of lead that are exactly the right weight, then stick them into the swaging thing. You could probably do a bunch of them per squish, but it would still take forever. Casting would be just as bad, since you'd need to trim off the flashing on each BB individually, unless you can somehow precisely pour such a tiny amount into each mold.

June 8, 2006, 11:11 AM
Thanks RyanM:

The cabello price is cheaper than the midwayUSA price. I use to buy a lot of supplies from gander mountain and for some reason never looked much at cabellos after it bought out gander mountain's catalog business (or at least that is what I recall happened).

Cost wise, time wise, and quality wise it appears that buying is better than trying to manufacture perfect lead BB's. I need to find my micrometer and measure my bore and the lead balls that I am using. If I can find a shotshell loaded with BB's I will break it down and do the same.

I did read that many years ago all BB airgun shot was lead and that BB's were later changed to steel.

Right now I am trying to improvise a hands free way of carrying the Drozd while I working around my property. I have not found out yet if this will kill a squirrel with burst to the head. A fellow at one of our local IDPA matches showed us a fullauto 6 mm soft "air" gun built to look like an M16. It uses some sort of electric device to propel the pellets. He said that he had killed a squirrel with it. I really cannot use a .22 rimfire too much anymore due to recent home construction around my property. Another alternative is to use live traps or poison.

June 9, 2006, 04:48 AM
BB shot has a nominal riameter of .180" and B shot has a nominal diameter of .170". WHile BBB has a nominal diameter if .190". You can use whichever fits your bore the best.

An 8# bag of BB shot will set you back about $20 and give you close to 6000 shots. That's a lot of vermin shooting.

If you look around you might be able to find some that is nickle plated or copper plated. That's will cost 15-20% more but will ber cleaner shooting while still be easier on your barrel than steel BBs.

You could also just buy some batgain brand 12 gauge duck and geese load shotshells loaded with BB shot and just cut them open and salvage the shot.

June 9, 2006, 01:36 PM
Thanks BluesBear for the advice.

By the way "Magazines have SPRINGS, Clips do not": Don't many stripper clips have a flat spring in them? I think the difference is that a magazine's spring is used to exert positioning pressure upon the cartridges when they are fed into the chamber. On a stripper clip they only serve to retain the rounds and help to strip them into a proper magazine. An enbloc clip is usually a "spring" but another spring is needed to position the cartridges during feeding into the chamber.

So you could say ""Magazines feed cartridges into a chamber, Stripper Clips do not, but enbloc clips can with the aid of a magazine spring"

So much for semantics.

June 9, 2006, 02:56 PM
Hm, I just measured some old .177 pellets I had lying around (don't have a gun for 'em anymore), and they actually are .177". Seems like diameter depends on brand. I'm pretty sure some are as small as .172. I do know for a fact, though, that most brands of steel BBs are .171". Maybe so they'll ride the rifling?

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