Secret Airgun BB Manufacturers Revealed!
So where are your BBs manufactured? We know they’re all made in China because it says so on the bottles. But who are the airgun BB manufacturers really?
From the Big HAM BB Test series, it’s clear that steel airgun BBs are manufactured to different specifications. There’s a range of different sizes, weights, surface finishes and production tolerances. So it makes sense to think that there may also be multiple manufacturers, too.
However, although we know the name of the company marketing and selling the BBs to us – Umarex, Crosman etc. – the actual airgun BB manufacturers remain a secret. Sadly, the times when Crosman and Daisy manufactured their own steel BBs in-house in the USA are long gone…
Of course no company today actually manufactures all of its own products. For example, no airgun company is going to manufacture screws, springs, O rings and bolts – it just doesn’t make sense!
So all companies source products from other companies to some extent. It’s just sensible business practice. And, generally, it makes no sense to publicize the third party vendor’s name to the world.
(One exception to this is Daystate, which is proud to publicize it’s use of high-quality suppliers such as Huma for regulators and Best Fittings for connectors etc.)
Generally, the airgun BB manufacturers are OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) companies whose business model is to sell to other companies. They’re not interested in selling 1,000 BBs to an end-user shooter. Their business is selling Millions of BBs at one time to another company that will sell them to us through their distribution network.
This means that these manufacturers – while not exactly secret – are also not always so easy to find. However some online sleuthing enables us to find out some of the companies making steel BBs. They can also be found at the SHOT Show and IWA OutdoorClassics Trade shows – if you know where to look.
We can also sometimes discover something of their manufacturing standards and – possibly – even the companies they supply to.
This investigation also makes it clear why Daisy and Crosman do not manufacture their own BBs any more.
For both companies, BB manufacturing would have been a relatively small part of their overall operation designing, manufacturing and assembling airguns. The Chinese companies we’ll see below specialize just in manufacturing steel balls in VAST quantities. Their costs and – possibly – quality would obviously be far better than the relatively small production that airgun companies could manage.
In fact, this HAM investigation found three airgun BB manufacturers in China and there could well be more out there. Let’s see what their websites say. That’s public information, after all…
Shandong SDBALLS Industry Corp. Ltd
This company manufactures steel airgun BBs, as well as steel shot for shotgun use and for slingshots. They also manufacture small balls of many different types and from a range of different materials.
The SDBalls website says that they manufacture more than 5,000 tons of steel balls annually and that they are sold to 50 countries around the world. Now not all of that 5,000 tons is airgun BBs, but this is clearly a big, professional company that’s been in existence for more than 30 years and is proud of its ISO9002:2000 quality certification.
Here’s how they describe their BB production capabilities. You’ll see the range of surface finishes offered, together with manufacturing tolerances and packaging options.
Overall, the company website is very interesting, with descriptions of the manufacturing processes, photographs of equipment etc.
Dongguan Lychon Hardware Co. Ltd
Here’s another airgun BB manufacturer that also makes a wide variety of other steel balls of all types.
Again, this company manufactures plain steel, Zinc-plated, Brass-plated, Copper-plated and black Zinc-plated BBs. All their steel BBs are precision ground – they say – to ensure the best possible accuracy.
As well as BBs, the company’s products are used in automobile industry, precision instruments, measuring appliances, motorcycle and bicycle bearings and many more applications.
Dongguan Lychon Hardware Co. Ltd is proud to show photographs of their manufacturing operations on their website. They claim to have more than 362 people in their team. That’s another big, specialized business making steel balls!
The company also promotes itself through another website. We don’t know why…
De Rong (Guangzhou) Outdoor Co. Ltd
This airgun BB manufacturer has two major product lines. They are steel balls and – interestingly – CO2 cartridges.
The company started its international business in 2017. The factory in Guangdong China covers 3000 square meters (over 32,000 square Feet) and has passed ISO 9001 and CE quality management system certifications.
This factory claims that it manufactures over 8,000 Tons of steel BBs, shot and slingshot ammunition every year. Wow!
Following are some screen shots from the company website https://www.asdlgas.com. We’ll offer them without further comment…
I hope that you found this little investigation as interesting as I did…