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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
NOTE: The Google Document linked below will always be up-to-date, whereas this initial forum publication - including all data visualization images below - will not include the latest BBs tested! Just click this link unless you're interested in details/context below:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1M-VOqZXhZXZcgws-oZ3tJ4nuVvILusp5eDowwkZc9bk/edit?usp=sharing

Project Updates (details in individual comments):
[06-16-2019] Novritsch .49g added
[06-16-2019] Size takes into account BB compression
[06-16-2019] Softness takes into account inherent device compression
[05-02-2019] BLS (non-BIO) .45g added
[05-02-2019] BLS (non-BIO) .43g added
[05-02-2019] BLS (BIO) .40g added
[05-02-2019] BLS (BIO) .36g added
[05-02-2019] Inclusion metric added for all BBs
[05-02-2019] Color metric added for all BBs
[...]

Original publication --------------------------------------------------

WHEW, sorry guys- this is well overdue.
...and a continuous project...

Let's get on with what we have so far!

32 different types of BBs evaluated in various fashions. All actual hard data can be found here:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1M-VOqZXhZXZcgws-oZ3tJ4nuVvILusp5eDowwkZc9bk/edit?usp=sharing

You can use the previous link to look further into the details (sample sizes, devices used, etc.) of how I gathered data on the following properties of given BB types:

  • Size: Average BB size in the sample.
  • Weight: Average BB weight in the sample.
  • Weight Inaccuracy: Actual [average] BB weight compared to advertised BB weight (actual - advertised).
  • Weight Inconsistency: Standard deviation of BB weights in sample.
  • Size Inconsistency: Standard deviation of BB sizes in sample.
  • Shape Inconsistency: Average of BB diameter standard deviations in sample.
  • Softness: Average BB compression distance in sample.
  • Hygroscopic Size Change: Change in BB size after water soak.
  • Hygroscopic Softness Change: Change in BB compression after water soak.

Legend:
blue, cyan, green = potentially neutral observation
orange = medium priority
red = high priority
violet = BB weight (metric)
saturation = magnitude







Considerations to take into account:

  • Scale used was very high quality (accessed via my university's chemistry department), whereas micrometer used was relatively inexpensive.
  • Micrometer device indicated metal bearing compression similar to that of ceramics- it's within reason that the device itself may be susceptible to a certain amount of compression. I may look further into this to improve the data (taking into account a constant device compression amount?). Theoretically I could have measured each individual BB without imparting the devices maximal compression, but realistically this would take far too much time to be within reason.
  • Hygroscopicity (the propensity for a material to absorb water) metrics (size, softness change) should logically correlate 1:1 with regard to relative severity, but appear not to correlate well at all- this suggests these metrics may not be informative/valuable.
  • Regarding the legend: Color and saturation begin to enter the realm of subjectivity; we all know that BB weight, size, and shape should all ideally be perfectly consistent, but the actual average weight of a BB type may not be such an important metric. Furthermore, the saturation within a given metric is relevant only within that metric; for example, bright red may indicate a horrendous inconsistency for a certain BB in that metric because the range of consistency within the metric is great, but bright red within another metric may indicate a less significant inconsistency for a certain BB in that metric because all BBs in that metric were very consistent- bright red may not mean 'very bad' even though it ideally conveys that.
  • I'm human! I'd already caught one data entry error during preliminary data evaluation...pray it was the only one- and feel free to give a hard look at the data entered in the Google document for anything that looks odd.

Now for the fun part- throwing opinions around!

The results really are something- it honestly looks like Maruzen Super Grand Master .29g BBs are king. As far as really heavyweight plastic BBs go (>=.4g), it's pretty tough to say which performed the best, but I might have to go with BLS .43g (BIO) BBs- really though, none of the heavyweights stood out, other than the obvious top-tier ceramics.

What do you guys think? This is a long time coming, and I know could use a lot of improvement, so I'd love to hear any input.

Big 'thank you' to the donors!
  • BB Bastard
  • Bioshot
  • Geoff
  • mitra88 (BLS / Infantry Shop USA)
  • bmr3
  • fb6_marcin
  • Christoph (Novritsch)
  • [raw data] Dávid Szulimán
  • Graham Hicks / HickSniper


EDIT: Note that this is an ongoing project. I will not completely rewrite the initial post here- just updating the donor list. As of the time of this edit, the visualizations are technically already outdated, as more data has been gathered on more BBs not listed in the initial visualizations.
 

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Awesome data man!

Interesting how all the heavyweights everybody loves seem to score only average. Seems good quality heavy bb's are still tricky to do. Even though the old heavyweights (such as madbull .4 and bioval .4) scored the worst, so there is some improvement over time.

Oh, quick question, which batch of valken .36 did you test? The old Taiwan batch, the china batch or the new Taiwan batch?
 

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Great job, thanks.

The colour strength representation is very nice to read.
Fun to see how great quality the .69 are :D
Probably very expensive. I tested with .89, but i could not lift them. .69 would be perfect.


Suggestion for additional BB's:
G&G .25 and .28.
 

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And I just bough some more Geoff's thinking they were top tier hahaha

Jokes aside, great data. Of course there can be numerous factors affecting your results, but some data is better than nothing. It would be great if you could add other brands and weight in the future.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Awesome data man!

Interesting how all the heavyweights everybody loves seem to score only average. Seems good quality heavy bb's are still tricky to do. Even though the old heavyweights (such as madbull .4 and bioval .4) scored the worst, so there is some improvement over time.

Oh, quick question, which batch of valken .36 did you test? The old Taiwan batch, the china batch or the new Taiwan batch?
Thanks!
I'm not sure I'll be able to answer that :/ They were donated by Tactical Advantage Airsoft Supplies (Geoff..?) in a plastic bag. I could ask, but I know they are white (I think some were grey at one point, correct?).

Great job, thanks.

The colour strength representation is very nice to read.
Fun to see how great quality the .69 are :D
Probably very expensive. I tested with .89, but i could not lift them. .69 would be perfect.

Suggestion for additional BB's:
G&G .25 and .28.
Thank you!
I know, right? >:D it's a bit painful knowing how expensive they are, but very comforting knowing this next-level quality is available.
Suggestion noted!

And I just bough some more Geoff's thinking they were top tier hahaha

Jokes aside, great data. Of course there can be numerous factors affecting your results, but some data is better than nothing. It would be great if you could add other brands and weight in the future.
:p well aside from the likely partial-over-hype, people seem to love them; and more importantly, none of the testing evaluated for surface finish properties, which are likely very important- Geoffs may indeed be a cut above in that realm, who knows!
I intend to evaluate BBs and publicize the data until I die :shot:
 

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This is great. Specially the raw data.

Just to make it clear, which kind are those Madbull? The old tan ones, the white bloating ones, the dark grey, light grey, or the newest whites?

------------------

Now that it think about it, here's the only problem I see with this... Most brands are probably still being manufactured at the very same factory (my chips are GEOFF = HPA = Madbull (if the newest) = BLS, all of them manufactured by the latter), and the good and bad things we see about some brand might actually be just differences between batches of the "same" bb.
 

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Whelp, guess USPS strikes again. (I also kinda forgot to check back to see if you got them, so...)

Interesting results none the less.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This is great. Specially the raw data.

Just to make it clear, which kind are those Madbull? The old tan ones, the white bloating ones, the dark grey, light grey, or the newest whites?

------------------

Now that it think about it, here's the only problem I see with this... Most brands are probably still being manufactured at the very same factory (my chips are GEOFF = HPA = Madbull (if the newest) = BLS, all of them manufactured by the latter), and the good and bad things we see about some brand might actually be just differences between batches of the "same" bb.
Old tan ones- note added in the doc.
I agree (and would add Novritsch- seen the same machines doing quality control on Nov's and BLS)- wish I had access to that information :'/

Whelp, guess USPS strikes again. (I also kinda forgot to check back to see if you got them, so...)

Interesting results none the less.
Oh snap, forgot about that! Yeah that's too bad...but I'll still take anything if you want (new address by the way). Unfortunately I won't have access to the extremely high quality scales anymore, but I have basic scales, and may myself invest in some serious ones down the road.
 

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Yeah, I sent you all of the bbs from G&G and Elite Force. Too bad USPS lost it. Ill put another box together and let you know.
 

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With how well the ZrO2 ceramics did, I am now curious how other types of ceramics would compare. There are 6mm Si3N4 and Al2O3 balls as well. Based on size/density calculations, they should be approximately .4g and .45g respectively. This could be an option for very very high quality and equally expensive BB's that aren't as heavy as ZrO2. I believe these other ceramics are available in higher grades as well. According to AXK who sells them, 6mm grade 20 Al2O3 balls have a surface finish of .05 Ra! Thats crazy smooth.

If I ever cough up the 40 bucks for 100 of them, I will let you know how it goes.
 

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I'm trying to figure out this test. Low standard deviation is what we want, right? Looking in the .36g to .4g weight range, it looks like the BBBastard .36g is more consistent than most any other brand in every category? Does anyone have real experience with this?

to OP, you should get your hands on Bioval BBMax, they're .27g and transparent. Pretty sweet. Last I played (5 ish years ago), they were comparable to Maruzen Grandmasters, and pretty nice.

...And after a google search apparently banned at a lot of fields.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm trying to figure out this test. Low standard deviation is what we want, right? Looking in the .36g to .4g weight range, it looks like the BBBastard .36g is more consistent than most any other brand in every category? Does anyone have real experience with this?

to OP, you should get your hands on Bioval BBMax, they're .27g and transparent. Pretty sweet. Last I played (5 ish years ago), they were comparable to Maruzen Grandmasters, and pretty nice.

...And after a google search apparently banned at a lot of fields.
Yes, low standard deviation is better. Values closer to zero are ideal when comparing 'inconsistency' metrics; zero would indicate zero standard deviation units from what we expect out of the BB- a flawless sample of BBs.
*Using weight as an example: A BB having value 0 for 'weight inconsistency' would mean, on average, a given BB deviates from the average weight by 0g.
*This is a bit of an over-simplification, using 'average' because it's a more commonly-understood metric; in reality, my explanation used 'average deviation', while the actual evaluation used 'standard deviation'. I honestly can't tell you why standard deviation is used more often than average deviation - believe me, I tried to find the answer - but that is the case...
They absolutely are. Those .36g BBBastard BBs are made of ceramic (Si3N4)- simply better than plastic. And on that note: I totally blanked,
, we did evaluate some Si3N4 BBs... :doh:

Back to RkBoss,
Recorded the recommendation.
Yes, unfortunately it seems many fields have problems with harder BBs- silica (clear BBs, like BB Bastard SIL .28g) and of course ceramics. I'd really like to know if harder BBs are significantly more dangerous, because it appears the harder options tend to be better...
 

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Very nice info, I was kinda hoping to see the BLS .5g, maybe in a future test.
 
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Yes, unfortunately it seems many fields have problems with harder BBs- silica (clear BBs, like BB Bastard SIL .28g) and of course ceramics. I'd really like to know if harder BBs are significantly more dangerous, because it appears the harder options tend to be better...
I can share a little bit of info on that. "Supposedly" according to some field owners I have talked to, that regular bbs shatter on impact and bios deform.

I on the other hand, I say the inverse is true. Bios shatter, normals deform. 90% of all the games I attend are all Bio only. Every single time I get shot in the face, the bb shatters. I know this to be true, as I have to dust out my facial hair afterwards. I have never seen a normal bb shatter on impact. Not saying it does not happen, I have just not experienced it enough to give a better comment on which is less dangerous.

In my experience, bios are more dangerous. I have had more debris from bbs in my ESS gogs then dirt, dust, sand, sticks, leaves, ants, spiders, a wasp at one point, and rain, combined. (I have since changed eye pro, and I do greatly miss my bronze tinted lenses >: )
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Very nice info, I was kinda hoping to see the BLS .5g, maybe in a future test.
I'm...partially in contact with a/the(?) US BLS representative, and may receive more weights for testing- so certainly possible! They are of my personal interest as well.

I can share a little bit of info on that. "Supposedly" according to some field owners I have talked to, that regular bbs shatter on impact and bios deform.

I on the other hand, I say the inverse is true. Bios shatter, normals deform. 90% of all the games I attend are all Bio only. Every single time I get shot in the face, the bb shatters. I know this to be true, as I have to dust out my facial hair afterwards. I have never seen a normal bb shatter on impact. Not saying it does not happen, I have just not experienced it enough to give a better comment on which is less dangerous.

In my experience, bios are more dangerous. I have had more debris from bbs in my ESS gogs then dirt, dust, sand, sticks, leaves, ants, spiders, a wasp at one point, and rain, combined. (I have since changed eye pro, and I do greatly miss my bronze tinted lenses >: )
This was my suspicion :/ I've only ever heard of bios shattering from friends / other players, never standards. I've also personally met more than one person who has had their tooth chipped from standard BBs, so I'm not even sure how you could argue any other BB is somehow significantly more dangerous...pretty sure ceramics aren't going to shatter against metal that's softer than it (regarding mesh goggles) so I'm not sure why hard BBs became the boogie man...
 

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You can break a tooth with any bb.

I believe it is a mix of misinformation, a lack of understanding, and fear mongering, that is to blame for all the ceramic hate. Then there is the financial side of shooting ceramics. They are super expensive. (Compared to regular bbs.) I could go on, but I am not going to.

Looking back on your data, you have quite a bit of BBBastard on there. I can not find any in-stock and from what I have seen, heard, and read, BBBastard is no longer in business. (If I am wrong, correct me!) With that in mind, it makes a bit of your data kind of useless, hate to say.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Looking back on your data, you have quite a bit of BBBastard on there. I can not find any in-stock and from what I have seen, heard, and read, BBBastard is no longer in business. (If I am wrong, correct me!) With that in mind, it makes a bit of your data kind of useless, hate to say.
I was pretty sure that was / has been the case for a while during this project, unfortunately :/ but I figured why not include all data I had.
 
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