Should You Ever Reuse Airsoft BBs? (What Can Go Wrong)

Is it smart to reuse discharged airsoft BBs?

Airsoft BBs are not expensive, yet many beginners tend to reuse them and face serious consequences for such actions. You spend time playing with your airsoft gun and suddenly it seems so tempting to collect the BBs from the floor, perhaps rub them with the sleeve or piece of a cloth and preserve them for later.

After all it could save the money and this way you would never run out of the ammo. Well, We all make mistakes until we learn, the only difference is that some learn the harder way and end up with a broken gun while some get lucky and get away with it.

If someone suggested you to reuse the BBs from the floor or you thought it would be a good idea I will explain why it is one of the worst beginner mistakes you can do and to begin with it I will state the following:

You should never reuse discharged airsoft BBs from the floor because they can seriously impact the performance of your gun permanently by damaging its inner components. Simply put, do not take chances with discharged BBs.

Soon, you will see the whole set of reasons why it is a terrible idea to reuse the BBs, but I will also mention one specific case when it actually may be a smart idea.

Discharged airsoft BBs can be damaged and dirty

Whenever you eject the BB out of a gun there is a decent possibility that it got damaged and once the BB lands it may also get exposed to the dirt or similar stuff you do not want to put back into your precious airsoft replica.

Some people may argue and say that a BB does not shatter very often, but it depends at what FPS it was shot through and where did it land.

Some BBs may get scratched without being visibly shattered and just because it may not be an observable damage it does not mean that the gun won’t feel it.

There is a reason why you should even put in the trash the BBs they give you in a package with an airsoft gun.

They are poorly manufactured and are there for some mandatory manufacturing policies, but no one should ever use them.

Taking risk should not be a rational option when there is not much to gain.

Reused BBs may be decomposing

BBs may take up to a few years to decompose, but there are biodegradable BBs that are made for faster decomposition and although not fully decomposed, they will lose the performance after a month in a mud.

If you have by chance picked one of such decomposing bio BBs there would be a solid chance that they could shatter within the gun which means the big issue because now you have to worry about not taking out a single piece, but rather a whole set of small plastic fragments.

Definitely, not a nice thing to experience and how can you tell apart a standard plastic BB from the biodegradable one? It’s hard in practice.

Reusing airsoft BBs often leads to jamming of the gun

This is the number one reason not to reuse airsoft BBs.

If you have an expensive and quality replica that you are proud of, the last thing you should think of is being cheap on the BBs.

Both, the gun and the magazine can jam, although the gun jams are more often a thing that is also more serious and it happens as a result of a dirty or damaged BB being used.

Jamming means that you won’t be able to use the gun no longer until you fix the issue because it will completely negate the flow of the gun and reduce the performance to the bare minimum.

There is a way to fix the jammed airsoft gun and you might be able to do it on your own with a cleaning rod or by resembling the gun’s pieces, just bear in mind that if you are not familiar with what you are doing, it is better to leave it to those more experienced than you.

Reusing airsoft BBs can damage the inner barrel

One of the most sensitive inner parts of an airsoft gun is the inner bar and a single malevolent BB can sometimes cause damage to it.

When a BB carries dirt it accumulates within the barrel each time it passes through it and if you have tons of dirty BBs, the performance of the gun will be greatly compromised.

Luckily, the dirt is not really a problem because you can clean the barrel in couple of minutes, the only issue here is that using dirty BBs will accumulate the dirt way sooner then it would naturally occur and it will mean that you will have to take the maintenance cleaning game to the next level.

The serious problem can happen when a BB is not dirty, but rather damaged by having shuttered corner that can cause a scratch inside the barrel.

With time it can lead to imperfections on the inner sides of the barrel and it results in permanent loss of accuracy that can hardly be fixed ever.

The only thing that is there to do is to polish the barrel and hope for the best, but if its truly damaged the only way that will work is to buy a new inner barrel.

New BBs are not expensive

All that pain with a broken and malfunctioning airsoft gun because you wanted to save a few pennies? Well, if we make the calculations, we could probably conclude that you could save up to 8$ each month if you only play airsoft at weekends and if you have not be trained to dig the holes in earth for the abandoned BBs better than your regular neighborhood dog.

Calculate the back pain into this equation and the result will be pretty reasonable.

A new package of standard 0.20 gram (2000) airsoft BBs costs approximately $13 for higher quality standards and there are decent BBs that can be found for the same price in twice the amount you will get.

Any branded BBs are better than the BBs from the floor and you do not have to go for the premium ones if you do not want to.

You will usually be good for a few days of long airsoft gaming with 2000 BBs if you are not a true Rambo player, so most people do not spend more than $20-$30  on BBs monthly even if they play airsoft excessively.

A decent inner barrel costs $50 and calculate the other possible damages and service expenses.

Just stick to the proven and fresh BBs and you will be good.

You can reuse BBs in the following cases

Sometimes We should use the discharged BBs and it applies to situations when we do not risk damaging our precious gear.

Grenades, claymores and similar airsoft devices

These devices operate by ejecting the whole load of BBs by the act of imitated explosion.

The mentioned devices can eject up to 50 BBs per activation and reusing BBs with any grenade or claymore is recommended because you will save money over time.

In this case it would not be smart to use the fresh BBs because it would be a waste of money and there are no sensitive parts in such devices that can get damaged.

As a matter of fact even if you would put the dirt directly in them it would not matter and the devices would eject whatever you put in them.

Low-grade airsoft replicas

I do no longer play with spring pistols, but when I was a kid I loved it. Back in the day I did not care about using fresh BBs primary because I had no clue that the damaged BB can impact the airsoft gun and I could play for weeks before the gun would start to malfunction.

I have to admit that I had always managed to break a gun by dropping it on the concrete rather than jamming it and the damaged inner barrel would not be measurable with such natural-bad performance of spring toy guns anyways.

But, you get the point, if you do not care about the gun’s performance you may have fun by reusing BBs and maybe you will get lucky and never jam it, but on your own risk.

The another reason is that the airsoft spring guns have extraordinary simple mechanism, so there is less room for the BB to get struck within.

Final take on

There you go, take care of your equipment because once you invest into it it shall serve you for a long time with proper maintenance.

Poor BBs are one of the top reasons why airsoft guns break, but I have covered the whole topic on how long may airsoft guns last, so it will probably be insightful for you to check it out.

Discharged airsoft BBs do sometimes cause damage to your gun and BBs are more affordable than a gun repair, so there should be no more arguing about it.

Some people may still tell you that the inner barrel is for instance made from metal and a BB is a mere plastic, so there is no logic that plastic can damage the metal, but there have been documented cases when a dirty BB indeed did reduce the effectiveness of a gun.

Have fun on your next airsoft game and keep it fresh!


Dino is a thrill seeker who loves to share what he learns about his favorite hobbies.

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