Many teachers have been using Chrome Music Lab as a tool in their classrooms to explore music and its connections to science, math, art, and more. Theyve been combining it with dance and live instruments. Heres a collection of some uses weve found on Twitter.
All our experiments are all built with freely accessible web technology such as Web Audio API, WebMIDI, Tone.js, and more. These tools make it easier for coders to build new interactive music experiences. You can get the open-source code to lots of these experiments here on Github.
1. The market drives and hurdles across Danmark Denmark, as one of the earliest countries to use biomass pellet fuel, started the use around late 80's as a replacement ofcoal in the heating sector.From 1993 on, the annual pellet use within district heating plants hit about 110,000 tons. An increased consumptionin both power plants, public buildings and the residential sector could be seen since 1998.Since 2003 a new CHP plant co-firing with pellets (Avedre II) started operation and increased significantly the Danish pellet consumption. The main market drivers are tax exemptions on pellets and that the utilities are forced by Government decree to use biomass in large amounts. The barriers are that the supply chain for pellets demanded large investments, overseas ship transport,new storage facilities under roof and modifications for in house transport systems, milling systems and burners. READ: THE GLOBAL PELLET MARKET ANALYSES 2. Production capacity The Danish production of wood pellets reached 137,000 tons in 2010, and there has been a decreasing domestic production since 2005 where it was close to 200,000 tons. This is mainly due to the lack of raw materials. There are 6 pellet plants in Denmark, but only 4 of them were active in 2010. The overall pellet production capacity was 400,000 tons, which represented less than 25% of the 2010 pellet demand in Denmark. Therefore import played an important role in the country's pellet supply. 3. Consumption Since 2000 the consumption of wood pellets had increased significantly for both large power plants and private consumers reaching 917,000 tons in 2005 and 1,719,000 tons in 2010 respectively. The power plants (usingnegligible amount of pellets before year 2003) had increased to nearly 900,000 tons in 2010, the firstyear to overtake the private consumers, which made up the largest market segment in 2009 with471,000 tons. The steep increase in consumption by power plants was due almost exclusively to theestablishment of Avedre Unit 2, which consumed large amounts wood pellets (250,000 tonnes peryear). Since 2003 private consumption had increased by 190,000 tons. A slight increase of 12,000 tons inindustry since 2003 had taken place with a consumption of 54,000 tons in 2010. The new multi-fuelboiler (Amagervrket Unit 1) with the mixture of coal, oil, wood and straw pellets had been taken incommercial operation. The projected yearly consumption of wood pellets was 40,000 tons and 110,000tons of straw pellets. READ: PELLET FUEL MARKET IN SWEDEN 4.Trade and logistic aspects Since 2003, the amount of wood pellets imported had increased from 385,000 tons to 1,581,000 tons in2010; an overall increase of 310 per cent. This was due to the use of pellets in power plants with anincrease in the period 2003-2010 of 779,000 tons, among others Avedre Unit 2, and private consumerswith an increase of 294,000 tons in the same period. The main suppliers for the Danish market were theBaltic States, Poland, Sweden, Canada and Finland. According to Eurostat, in 2010 a significant volumeof pellets was imported from Portugal. In the same year, around 100.000 tons of pellets were alsoexported to Germany and Sweden. The biomass pellets were imported by ships to several Danish harbors and to the harbors of the powerplants themselves. Ship size varies from small Baltic coasters to large Bulk carriers from Canada. Ice inthe harbors in December-February could cause troubles to smaller ships. The harbors had all unloadingfacilities as crane or vacuum transport systems and roofed storage for the pellets. If not used at powerplant, the wood pellets would be transported by truck to the end user (district heating plant) or to anintermediate storage facility for distribution to private consumers. The delivery to private consumerstook place in bags (15-25 kg), big bags (1000 kg) and truck with blower equipment. A few tons wereimported from Poland by truck. READ:PELLET MARKET IN GERMANY 5. Pellets quality and standard A national standard for wood pellets is not available yet, although it is demanded by consumers andsuppliers. The only legislation in thisarea is the Biomass regulation (BEK nr 638 af 03/07/1997),requiring that wood pellets must be produced from clean wood without any kind of contamination. Amaximum of 1% residues of glue (e.g. from fibre boards) is allowed, but there are no rules or demandsfor e.g. moisture or ash content which are important for the combustion characteristics. Labelingaccording to CEN/TS 14961: Fuel Specifications and Classes has not really been used in Denmark untilnow. Some producers and importers use their own labeling. Although private consumers are the largest end users calculated in tons, pellet quality has not been soimportant. In general private consumers go for the best quality, when they once have tried a low pelletquality. As a substitute to the lacking national standard three quality labels from respectively FORCETechnology, Teknologisk Institut and the Danish environment label "Svanemrket" (the Swan Mark)have entered the market and offer quality certifications for pellet manufactures and suppliers. READ:PELLET FUEL MARKET IN ASIA 6. Price trends Price on wood pellets has been quite stable in the last years for district heating plants and for privateconsumers. The price for truck delivery to private consumers in a quantity of 5-6 tons is 214 Euro/tonsexcl. VAT, which in Denmark is 25%. For district heating plants the price is lower due to purchase oflarge amounts and due to the often lower quality compared to what private consumer purchase. Thereare no price statistics from the utility companies (power plants). ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- How to choose the biomass pellet fuel Biomass pellet fuel is one of the representatives of modern clean environmental energy, and biomass pellet fuels have been applied in many family stoves. As for the choosing of biomass pellet fuel, it is necessary to examine and distinguish carefully though it was popular on the market now, then how to choose the good quality biomass pellet fuel? Market analysis of biomass pellet fuel How to Make Wood Pellets or Biomass Pellet fuel Sawdust Pellet Machine and Wood Chip Pellet Mill How to deal with the powdery material compressed by the pellet machine? Pellet Mill Ring Die is the core of Pellet Machine
In 1982 Traeger Heating in Oregon began experimenting with a furnace that would burn wood pellets made from compressed sawdust, a byproduct of the area lumber mills, and before long introduced a home heating system that they sold mostly locally. Since furnaces sold mostly in cold months, before long they began experimenting with a grill that would burn pellets, too. Eventually they created a device with an auger to feed the pellets and a blower to help them burn.
They had the field to themselves for a few years, but the idea was too good to go unimitated, and with the digital age came the electronic controller that allowed Traegers and others to create a system that had a thermostat in the cooking chamber that would tell the fan and auger when to do their thing. Today there are more than a dozen manufacturers making increasingly sophisticated machines.
They are often called grills, but, at the time of this writing, I consider them to be primarily smokers. Almost all of them cook with indirect heat and those that try to grill over direct flame dont do it well. If you love steaks, there are far better ways to cook them. But if you love smoked turkey, ribs, salmon, pork chops, brisket, and smoked foods, a pellet smoker may be the best solution available.
Pellets look like rabbit chow. They are about the width of a pencil and as long as a couple of erasers. If they get wet they turn into a pile of sawdust. The beauty of pellets is that they have none of the additives and fillers in charcoal briquets, so they combust almost completely. Almost zero ash. The pellets provide the heat as well as flavor. No need to add wood chips. Surprisingly, they do not produce overly smoky food. If anything, the food is undersmoked to some people because the combustion is so complete.
Their behavior is sometimes counterintuitive. The hotter they get, the less smoke they produce, and at their top settings, they dont produce much smoke at all. This is good for when you are baking cakes or pies or doing dishes that dont need smoke. But down under 250F, they produce plenty of mild, elegant smoke. And even though the fuel is wood, it is hard to oversmoke with a pellet smoker. Burning wood on a charcoal grill produces much more intense smoke flavor.
Manufacturers advertise that these are both smokers and grills, but it is best to think of these devices as superb indirect heat convection smokers, not grills. Most just dont do as good a job of searing a steak as a charcoal grill or even a gas grill with a sear burner. I can sear steaks better on a $20 hibachi than on most pellet smokers.
To sear a steak you need direct radiant heat. I dont care if you can heat the air to 1000F, it is still indirect heat and that does not deliver as much energy as direct radiant heat. Its physics, but not hard to understand. In short, heat is not the same as temperature. It feels hotter at 80F if the sun is shining on you than if it is 80F in the shade. I discuss the concept in more detail in my article on thermodynamics of cooking.
To solve the problem, several pellet burners have come up with ways for you to expose food to the flameand can actually get a nice sear. Still not as good as charcoal or sear burners in my opinion, but a lot better than the ones that are strictly indirect. Check out theMemphis Pro, Cookshack Fast Eddy, and MAK 2 Star.
One option is to put a griddle or a frying pan on the grill, high heat, get it blistering hot, add just a little oil to prevent stickling, and sear by conduction on the metal. It should only take two to three minutes per side. This is a good technique for reverse seared meats. You start them indirect, low and slow, with a little smoke, and then Maillard the outside in a hot pan or on a griddle. No, its not cheating. Its making food better.
Central to all pellet cookers is a digital controller similar to the controllers on modern indoor ovens. You select a temp you want, and there is an LED display that tells you the actual temp. Some of the controllers also are programmable so you can cook at a certain temp for a determined time. Some have leave-in meat probes that can dial back the ovento a holding temp when the meat hits its mark.
Pellet cookers usually have an auger or another feed mechanism that pushes the pellets into a burn pot typically about the size of a beer can ripped in half. An igniter rod sits in the bottom of the pot and when you turn on the grill it glows like the element on an electric stove. As the pellets ignite, a fan blows to feed them oxygen, and the igniter shuts off. The Traeger Lil Tex, an inexpensive model, draws 300 watts while the igniter rod is on in the first four minutes, then it drops down to 50 watts for the duration of the cook session, less than a standard light bulb.
The small burn pot is covered with a large deflector plate that absorbs the heat and spreads it out below the cooking surface making them essentially wood-fired convection ovens. Flare-ups are a thing of the past. You need to keep the plate clean because it is right below the food and if you leave sauce and grease on there, it can smolder and leave soot on your food. Carbon buildup will also diminish its heat transmission.
Because the burn pot is small, there is usually a hot spot directly over it. Some units have an optional perforated section above the burn pot so you can put the meat over direct flame, but the ones Ive tested still do not sear properly. And there is no way to set up a 2-zone cooking system with a cool zone. As with most other grills and smokers, the differences between lower and upper racks is not huge, so think of it as one heckuva indirect heat convection smoker with precision temperature control.
On the better models, a temperature probe in the oven area tells the controller what the temperature is and if it is below the target it tells the controller to feed more pellets and air. The best manufacturers, like MAK and Memphis, have designed their own versatile custom controllers that are easy to use and can hold a temperature within 5F, tighter than many indoor ovens.
The MAK Pellet Boss will increase or decrease with the press of a button in 5F increments and has a probe in the oven that keeps the temp pretty solid. As with any thermostatically controlled oven, even your indoor oven, the thermostat cycles heat on or off as needed. So it you set it for 225F it cycles on til it hits 225F, then off until it drops to 220F, then on to 225F. There are three meat probes and the Boss can be programmed to change the cooker temp when the meat hits a target. Ive had one for several years outdoors in the Chicago winters and summers without a cover and no problems.
Some cheaper models, such as the Brinkmann, have a controller with only three settings, Low, Medium, High (LMH), and there is no temperature probe in the oven to create a feedback loop. We do not recommend these units. You actually have less control over temp than you do on a gas or charcoal smoker. The whole reason to buy a pellet grill is because it is set-it-forget-it and it hits a temp and holds it regardless of the ambient air temp outside, winter or summer. On these LMH controllers, the temp fluctuates widely and it cannot correct itself for the weather. They just arent as smart as a digital device. Whether youre smoking a few slabs of ribs on a scorching summer day, or six pork butts during a blizzard, the three position controller only knows auger on and off times for Low, Medium, and High. It has no information on the temperature inside the cook chamber.
The good news is that if you are stuck with one of these dogs, Ortech makes a controller that can be used to upgrade Brinkmann and Traeger controllers. If you own another brand and are interested in upgrading to a digital controller, contact the manufacturer of your smoker or Ortech.
Many of the rest of the manufacturers have come to the grill industry having first built home heating devices that burn pellets. This is a technology particularly popular in the Northeast and Northwest, but selling furnaces is seasonal, so they all seem to be making grills on the side now.
Rather than design their own digital controllers, they buy them from a company named Ortech. Ortechs RealTemp TR-100 Digital Controller is shown here and its operation is not intuitive so lets take a little time to explain it.
The Ortech has two knobs. The large one, the Cook Control has settings for: Off, Smoke, 180, 225, 250, 275, 300, 325, 350, 375, and High. One smoker manufacturer says that the Smoke setting is about 160F and high is about 525F, but both can vary due to ambient temperature, humidity, fuel type and quality of the smoker. Another knob, a teensy weensy knob to the right of the LED screen looks more like a push button. Labeled SMOKE and called the Smoke Control Knob, it is meant to turn, not push, and it controls the pellet feed rate with auger on/off sequences indicated by P settings. The P settings range from P0 to P15.
Turn it on to Smoke mode and use the P settings, or cook mode by selecting a temperature. When you select smoke or a temp setting you start the ignition sequence. The fan, igniter and auger motor turn on. The fan stays on until the smoker is turned off. The auger motor continuously delivers pellets to the red hot igniter rod in the firebox for two minutes under normal conditions. Then the igniter rod shuts off and the pellet fire burns with only the assistance of the auger and the fan.
In cook mode the thermometer in the cooking chamber sends info to the microprocessor which controls the auger. When temperature is correct the auger motor is idle. When the temp drops below a set threshold, the auger motor kicks in and delivers pellets until the desired temperature has returned.
In smoke mode the controller is no longer controlled by the thermometer, it merely switches the pellet feeding auger on and off. On time is 15 seconds, off time ranges from 45 seconds at P0, to 165 seconds at P15. Temp and smoke are controlled by the duration of off time: the auger always runs at the same speed. More smoke is produced at higher P settings and lower temp settings because longer off times allow the pellets to smolder. At P0 in smoke mode or High in cook mode the auger replenishes the pellets at a faster rate, creating more flame, less smoke.
Use of the P settings in smoke mode is easy to understand. But one can also use them as a dual function feature in cook mode. Remember, in cook mode the auger idles when the temperature is correct, but the P settings continue to function in idle mode. Ortech recommends the P2 setting as the default idle rate in cook mode. However, as one gains experience, the P settings can be used to improve the grills performance. For example, when using high temperature settings, select P1 or P0 to reduce auger off time and maintain strong, steady heat. If you have trouble hitting low temperatures on a sweltering day, increase the P setting to increase auger off time. It does not have a significant effect on smoke production. The basic rule remains: Low heat = more smoke, high heat = less smoke.
There are no food probes with this controller as there are on the MAK Pellet Boss, and the controller is mounted to the surface with two screws and no gasket so I fear rain could get into the electronics, but after more than a year of sitting out without the cover in rain and snow, the controller on the IPT I tested is still working fine. Ortech recommends covering your smoker.
Wood pellets are an all natural product. No petroleum products in them, no fillers, chemicals, or binders. They are an excellent source of smoke flavor and compact energy, 8,500 BTU per pound. No hot coals, no flareups. There is also very little ash: 10 pounds of pellets will produce about 1/2 cup of ash. All the rest is converted to energy and combustion gases. I clean out the bottom of the ones I tested after about 10 cooks. At high temps there is very little smoke, at low temps the pellets smolder and produce superb but understated smoke flavors. Click here for more about pellets.
According to Bruce Bjorkman of MAK, his cookers use about 1/2 pound of pellets per hour when set on Smoke (about 175F). At 450F, the high temp, they burn about 2.3 pounds per hour. This is about the same average as I have experienced on a variety of pellet eaters. The burn rate will vary somewhat depending on the outside air temp, and how much cold meat is loaded in the grill, but cooking load should not have a major impact. Cooking pellets run about $1 per pound depending on the wood flavor, brand, if you get them on sale, and if you have to pay shipping. As a point of comparison, Kingsford briquets list for about $0.75 per pound, but they dont pack the same BTUs because there are fillers. I usually buy 40 pound bags of BBQrs Delight pellets fromBigPoppaSmokers.com for $45 and shipping is free to IL. Thats $1.13 per pound. That means that if I cook a slab of spareribs for six hours at 225F I will probably burn about 4 pounds at about $4.50. If I put 8 slabs in there in rib holders, and allocate 1/2 slab per person, my cost for 16 people is about $0.28 each. If I grill a mess of chicken parts at about 325F for about 1 hour, I will use about 1.5 pounds of pellets for a cost of $1.70.
Pellets are available from a number of sources because they are popular for use in home heaters, so if you are worried that you will be buying a gizmo that might be worthless someday if the pellet supply runs out, it is unlikely. As more and more pellet grills appear, and word of their excellence spreads, sources for pellets will become numerous. Ive even heard of a few Home Depots carrying them. The bad news is that I have tried several brands and I always return to BBQrs Delight. They seem to have the least sawdust, so they are less likely to clog the auger, and they have a higher percentage of the flavor wood on the label.
But you cannot burn home heater pellets in a cooking grill. Cooking pellets are hardwoods. Heater pellets often contain softwoods such as pine, they can have treated lumber and other chemical contaminants in them. The smoke they put out is potentially hazardous in food.
Pellets are made from different woods, each of which imparts a distinctive flavor to the meat. Hickory, oak, maple, alder, apple, cherry, hazelnut, peach, and mesquite are among the flavors available. For more about pellets, read my article, The Science of Wood. There is a pretty good forum for people who have pellet cookers at PelletSmoking.com and of course our Pitmaster Club has a lively discussion on them with many active users.
The biggest cleanup issue is the buildup on the heat deflector under the cooking grates. Youll need good gloves and an apron. On most models, a thorough cleanup means a 30 minute process of taking out the greasy grates and the gooey deflector plate, scraping them and washing them. You should do this when the carbon and grease cover the deflector plate. Stainless parts can go in the diswasher, but I wouldnt do it. That grease is like tar and it could get all over the insides of the dishwasher and hang on for dear life. I use a handheld steamer like the Steamfast SF-320 Portable Steam Cleaner shown here.
After about 10-15 hours of cooking, you should remove the burn cup and dump the ash. If the ash builds up it can prevent ignition. Ash also accumulates in the bottom of the unit, but doesnt impact cooking. A vacuum cleaner with a hose makes short work of it. Only a few manufacturers, such asBlazn Grill Worksand Camp Chef have a slide out combustion cup that makes cleanup much easier, but you still have to get underneath the deflector occasionally and suck out fly ash that has scattered around the lower part of the grill body.
Maintenance is an issue. There are moving parts on these grills. Moving parts eventually break. There is an auger with a motor, and a fan with a motor. There are proprietary electronics systems on these babies. Augers clog. Motors burn out. Electronics have bugs or fail. Especially when exposed to rain, snow, hot, and cold. When they fail, will the manufacturer have a replacement part?
In 2008 there were only two consumer pellet grill manufacturers. Today there are dozens. The market for these relatively expensive devices is small but growing fast. Not all of these small manufacturers will survive. Forget the warranty and ask When it breaks will the manufacturer still be in business? They do not have repair shops near you. When it breaks will they be able to diagnose the problem over the phone? They may be able to figure it out, but then you have to buy the replacement parts and do the repair work yourself. Are you up to the task?
On the flip side, the parts are not complex, and you may be able to get them from another source. If you are handy, repairs should not be too hard. Some brands have tech support online. MAK leads the pack in this with numerous helpful videos. Are you getting the sense that I am a fan of MAKs?
The built-in cords on outdoor cooking devices are often not long enough, and although regular household extension cords will work for rotisserie kits, they will not carry enough juice to keep you pellet smoker or electric smoker going. They could become a fire hazard as they heat up trying to deliver power to the unit. To extend the cord you need a large capacity cable as measured in amps. Heres how to figure out what you need:
For home models, get at least a 10 amp, 12 gauge, three prong cord (oddly, 12 gauge is higher capacity than 14 gauge). Thats more than you need, but better safe than sorry. Commercial models may have different requirements.
The best solution: Have an electrician custom make a cord the proper length for you. Dont buy a cable much longer than you need it because the longer the cable, the higher the resistance and the power diminishes. You dont want to see the equations for that.
Most owners are crazy about their pellet cookers, but some say the flavor is different than they are used to from charcoal and gas grills, and more than one has told me they do not like the flavor because it is too mild. They are a minority.
I have found that using the upper shelf gets more airflow around the meat than the lower shelf. I asked the AmazingRibs.com science advisor Prof. Greg Blonder about the problem (he has a MAK 1 Star). He explained that smoke sticks to cool surfaces and wet surfaces, and the surface of meat warms and dries out after a few hours. When he wants more smoke flavor he uses a strong smoke wood like hickory or mesquite, he starts with cold meat, and then he keeps the meat moist by painting or misting it with apple juice or a mop like Lexington Dip or East Carolina Mop or Texas Mop Sauce. A awter pan can help because the water condenses on the cool meat and attracts smoke. Read his detailed research on the subject in my article on the Science of Wood and my article on Basting.
Because they burn wood, pellet smokers are popular in BBQ competitions and they have been winning top prizes at many of them. Fast Eddy Cookshack Smokers have won the top prize at numerous competitions, enough to make some traditionalists cry foul and try to get them disqualified. Theyre too easy, opponents claim.
Before buying, please note that pellet smokers need access to electricity to run the digital controller, the auger that transports the pellets to the firebox, and the convection fan that circulates the air in the cooking chamber. These cookers can use a lot of pellets at high temps. At high temps there is little or no smoke, and at low temps smoke is unavoidable. So if you want to cook, say, a chicken breast low and slow to retain juices, but you dont want any smoke flavor, youre outta luck. If you want to torch a thin burger to get a crunchy crust and add a little smokiness, youll get great smoke flavor, but it is hard to get the crust. But if you want killer ribs, bacon, smoked salmon, etc., pellet burners are hard to beat for convenience and quality.
Millions come to AmazingRibs.com every month for quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 4,000 pages and we dont have a big corporate partner like TV network or a magazine publisher to subsidize us.
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3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably cant help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.
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The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers because temperature control is so much easier.
With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer weve tested. Click here to read our detailedreview
The Good-One Open Range is dramatically different from a traditional offset smoker. By placing the heat source behind and under the smokebox instead of off to the side, Open Range produces even temperature from left to right, something almost impossible to achieve with a standard barrel shaped offset.
Napoleons 22 Pro Cart Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. Its hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the 22 Pro Cart a viable alternative.
Green Mountains portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But its also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.
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BB guns used to be thought of as weak toys used for nothing more than teaching kids the fundamentals of marksmanship and firearm safety, but nowadays there are some very fun and powerful BB guns that when fired will put a smile on just about anyones face.
After looking through this list, you might want to take a look at my review on the coolest BB gun targets for plinking. We also have reviews on pellet guns and pellet pistols you might be interested in.
This review will begin with good starter BB guns for kids, but if youre looking for something a little more powerful, you can use to table of contents below to navigate straight to the variable pump, C02 powered, or full auto section of the review.
This classic model is a lot of fun and actually shoots pretty far considering how basic the level action cocking mechanism is . It fires standard .177-caliber BBs and is spring-powered, meaning that velocity and max range will be limited by the amount of force generated by the spring propulsion mechanism (I described how that works at the bottom of the page if youre interested).
This particular model includes both a supply of ammo and targets you can practice with. If you think the paper targets it comes with are boring you can use some soda cans, or if you really want to have some fun check out my page of air rifle targets.
My Review: This is another classic single-pump offering from Daisy that was first introduced over 100 years ago in 1914. It has been discontinued several times and reintroduced, and it has also undergone revisions and small modifications along the way.
It has since become a go-to introductory single-pump BB gun for youth or new shooters as well as a tried and true gun in terms of reliability. It shoots BB balls only, comes with adjustable iron/open rear sights that can be set for wind direction and speed to increase accuracy.
Like all single pump weapons, this gun does not have a super high velocity and a limited max range due to the limitation of how much pressure can be built up with a single pump, versus multiple pump guns in which the velocity and range can be controlled and customized depending on the task at hand by either pumping more or less, up to the maximum pressure specified. However, this single pump BB rifle is perfect for target practice and is super easy to use.
Bottom line: This classic beginner air rifle is perfectly suited for beginners, affordably priced, and is a classic model with proven staying power, so repairs or replacement parts could theoretically be found very inexpensively, or the gun can be replaced without a large drain on your wallet.
My Review: This is a BB gun that I personally own and I still love using it. Its a classic single-shot variable pump rifle that is one of the most powerful, yet most affordable BB guns reviewed on this page.
Above the trigger area, there is a covered hole where you can store tons of BBs, so when you cock the bolt back a BB automatically loads. This makes it nice for walking around and plinking with because you wont have to worry about continually adding BBs or carrying extra ammo.
The only thing I can think of that people might not like about it is the plastic materials used for construction, but I mean come on its a BB gun, not a collectible. Although its made of plastic, its not fragile, flimsy, or easily breakable like low quality or cheap BB guns.
At a price point of under 75 dollars, this rifle packed full of features, including the iron sights and detachable scope, which makes this best BB gun for the money and the one I recommend for most people looking for a traditional style BB gun.
My Review: If youre looking for a pink BB gun for girls, this is a classic rifle is much like the one I recommend above in brown (which I personally own). It is made by the reputable Crosman company and is a great BB gun for kids and teens.
In the rear of the gun above the trigger area is a compartment that holds a ton of BBs, so you wont have to worry about carrying around ammunition. All you need to do is cock the rifle, pump the gun and its ready to fire. You can adjust the power of the rifle by adjusting the number of pumps (more pumps = more power).
My Review: This is another BB gun that I had to add to the list. Im pretty sure this is the exact rifle a friend of mine had when I was a kid, and I can tell you I loved it, but the critters, not so much. Its a hybrid BB/pellet gun, meaning you can shoot either BBs or Pellets. Its single-shot, pneumatic multi-pump BB rifle, which means you have to cock the gun (feed the round) and pump it between each shot. like the guns above there is a storage area near the trigger to store up to 50 BBs, so you wont have to worry about always carrying ammunition with you. It has a respectable velocity of 750/715 feet per second for BBs and pellets, respectively. Its most attractive feature has to be the bundled items that are included, at under 75 dollars this rifle is a steal!
The bundle includes free safety glasses, a 750-count carton of BBs, a 500-count box of pellets, iron sights, and a detachable scope that can be removed/replaced with an aftermarket scope if you so desire. This rifle is strong enough to hunt small game and pests with (I know from experience).
Bottom line: A solid all-around BB gun that comes with all the necessary accessories to get shooting right away. You might want to check out my targets page to include a cool target if youre buying this as a gift.
My Review: If youre looking for a realistic looking BB gun that is powerful and can shoot pellets as well as BBs this one is perfect. Coming in at just under $50 this rifle is a great value. It can fire up to 880 feet per second but takes a good bit of pumps to get to that kind of power. It is a replica AR platform, so many aftermarket AR parts will fit on this model, such as scope, stock, and more. The rifle is made out of plastic, but the plastic used is very durable. It could easily be mistaken for an authentic AR, even at close range, so you definitely want to be careful when walking around with it, as doing so could definitely lead to legal problems or scared neighbors. This is a risk that you face anytime you pull a gun out, replica or real, but with the demonizing of assault rifles recently in the United States and worldwide, it is much more likely that an accident like this could occur with a replica assault rifle in your hand than with an air gun that is obviously marked as such.
My Review: This cheap little spring-powered BB pistol is the lowest priced model. This gun is famous for being mass-produced and readily available at big box stores like Wal-Mart, making it one of the first air pistols that most youths end up with. Its velocity is only 240 feet per second, making it the least powerful weapon that we have reviewed. Furthermore, with a 3-star average rating, it is the gun with the largest number of complaints, but these complaints are generally from people expecting to get the power of a $30-60 pistols instead of the very cheap $8 price tag.
While you wont be killing any game with this, it is very useful for target practice and novice gun handling and safety training. The cheap price tag does have an upside, though; and that is the fact that you can easily spend the $8 to purchase this and see if it will accomplish your intended goals without hurting your wallet at all. If it does not meet your intent, you can easily put it away in a drawer and order a better BB pistol to solve your issue.
My Review: This BB pistol is a replica of one of the most popular handguns in the world, the Glock 19. It has the traditional Glock fixed U-shaped rear sight and white dot front sight. It has a weaver rail system located on the bottom of the barrel to attach a laser or flashlight. If you a Glock fan or just looking for a reliable bb pistol, I really have no major complains about this BB gun.
My Review: Its made by Sig Sauer, do I really need to say more? Theyre one of the most legendary companies out there and are trusted by police and military personnel all over the world. On top of that, this particular BB pistol is a replica of one of the most famous handgun models in the world, the 1911. If youre a patriotic American, youll probably also love this model because it has we the people engraved on the side and 1776 (the year America was founded).
My Review: Beretta is another company that is trusted by civilians, law enforcement officers, and military personnel around the world. This particular model is unique because its one of the few reliable full auto BB pistols on the market right now. It takes 12-gram CO2 tanks that go inside the handle.
My Review: This is another one of my favorite products on this list, I love that it is a BB revolver that looks and feels so real. It fires at a velocity of 375 feet per second, which is about average for a CO2 pistol of this type and in this price range. It has a realistic revolver action, and the frame is made out of a special hardened polymer (plastic). Purchasers of this gun tend to be surprised by the performance, as they indicate better performance than the manufacturer specifies, which means that this is a pretty good pistol to have around versus a model that advertises a higher power velocity than what their product manual specifies. This tends to give Umarex a great reputation for this rather hefty, very affordable pistol.
My Review: This CO2-powered, semi-automatic BB gun is one of the best replicas out there. Modeled after the exacting specifications of the 1911, this gun boasts full metal construction, giving a full weight experience.
Coupled with a semi-automatic rate of fire, this pistol will definitely give you the feeling of a realistic shooting experience. This pistol utilizes .177 steel BBs for ammunition. Unfortunately, at 400 feet per second maximum velocity, it does not pack that great of punch, but will do just fine for target practice, which is exactly what it is designed for; but without a fresh CO2 cartridge, the velocity is going to be significantly decreased, as with all CO2 cartridge powered air pistols.
My Review: This semi-automatic, revolver bb pistol is very realistic looking. It comes with a free holster, which is a nice addition for a BB gun under 50 dollars. Its maximum velocity is 435 feet per second, which is pretty standard for a pistol of this type. Also, it includes extra rotary magazines, so you wont run out of ammunition or have to reload each slot after firing. The grip is ergonomically designed, and it very comfortable in your hand. Furthermore, the barrel is rifled, which increases the accuracy of pellets fired versus the smoothbore counterparts.
My Review: This MP40 BB gun replica by the Legend company looks awesome and just like the that was used by the Germans in world war 2. The 0.177 caliber gun can shoot BBs or pellets, be sure to read the note above if you are planning on using BBs. It has a velocity of 450 feet per second and is powered by small Co2 cartridges.
Along with looking totally badass its also functional and shoots true. It has a full metal-polymer grip that looks and feels realistic. Whether youre buying this for yourself as a cool collectors piece or for a kid or teen as a gift this thing is a steal at under 200 dollars.
This certainly isnt the most functional or most powerful BB gun on this list, but for those of you are just looking for a cool BB to add to their collection, this thing is awesome! If you want a fun gun to display and shoot on full auto with your buddies this is great, but if youre looking for your first BB gun to actually hit targets with at long ranges, this isnt the BB rifle for you.
My Review: This is another BB rifle that looks really cool, but if youre looking for something that will survive the test of time, this certainly isnt the best option on this list. That said, being that its priced at just over $100 and shoots full auto, Its a good bang for your buck.
That said, if youre looking to just buy one bb machine gun on this list, the Crosman rifle above is much more practical, as it doesnt require a large paintball style CO2 tank to operate. That said, this thing is super unique and one of a kind, so I wanted to at least let you know about it.
My Review: This semi-automatic rifle is .177 (standard caliber for BB guns), but is designed to shoot pellets. I think its awesome and made by one of my favorite companies, Sig Sauer, so I decided to add it to the list!
If youre looking for a modern looking badass pellet gun, look no farther than the Sig Sauer MPX air rifle with red dot scope. They also sell this rifle without the red dot sight and they also sell another model called the Sig Sauer MCX here if youre interested in checking it out.
Im a former Marine and got to play with all kinds of military weapons and rockers and I still think this thing is badass. It has a rifled barrel that spins the round to increase the range just like a real rifle barrel. If youre a Sig fan this may be for you!
My Review: This is a .177 caliber rifle, so technically it can shoot BBs, but it is highly recommended that you fire standard pellets or Performance Ballistic Alloy (PBA) Pellets. They will be much more accurate than BBs.
It has a unique barrel break design for loading and cocking the spring. It includes a sound dampener that can reduce noise by up to 52%, which makes this the worst enemy of those annoying little pests around the house. It comes standard with a 432 scope sight, which makes it a lot of fun and accurate. Though it is a single pump rifle, it is surprisingly powerful, with the ability to shoot at a rate of 1200 feet per second with PBA pellets and around 1000 feet per second with standard pellets. It comes with an adjustable smooth action trigger (Gamo made this improvement after getting many complaints about the previous trigger quality).
The Crossman DPMS is one of the newer BB guns on this list and nothing but pure joy to shoot. It has a selector switch that allows the user to easily switch between safe, semi-automatic, and fully automatic.
This thing looks real, feels real, and breaks apart into upper and lower components (good in-case of jams and barrel obstructions) much like a real m4 or AR-style rifle. It has a realistic charging handle and bolt system that gives the gun a small amount of recoil. It has front and rear flip-up sights, but only the rear sight has windage adjustment capabilities.
A lot of people think that the BB in BB gun stands for ball bearing, but thats not accurate. They actually get their name from the size projectile the original guns fired (BB-sized lead shotgun shot pellets).
They come in all shapes and sizes, from toy replicas of historical pistols to very powerful modern looking air rifles that can be used to hunt small game. While technically BB guns are strong enough for some types of hunting, theyre more commonly just used for plinking, target practice, and having a good time.
In addition to BBs, some guns can fire pellets, which are non-spherical projectiles that are typically more accurate and do more damage than BBs. They also are generally more accurate and have more stopping power due to their shape and design, which is why pellets are usually the preferred over BBs for shooting long ranges and/or hunting, but both work.
When you decide to enter the BB gun market, there are quite a few things to consider, especially due to the fact that there are so many different types and models. You should have a clear idea of what you are looking to get out of it. For example, if you just youre just looking to buy one as a gift for a kid, a single pump BB will work great. But, if youre looking for a fun gun to use yourself and want some something a little more powerful, you really should consider one of the other types.
Spring Powered / Single Pump: These are the simplest type of BB guns. Many of the cheaper rifles and BB pistols are spring-powered, and this just means that a tightly-compressed spring mechanism is responsible for the propulsion of the BB. They can be very powerful, but cheaply-constructed spring firing mechanisms can be pretty terrible in terms of velocity and max range and they have a tendency to jam the spring if not handled with care.
Heres how they work: When you cock or pump the lever (depending on the design) it pushes back a small piston that compresses the spring. When the piston slides back to a certain point it catches on a small latch (called a sear), which holds the spring in a compressed position. When the trigger is pulled, it pushes on the sear and unlatches the piston, causing the spring to expand very quickly, which pushes the piston forward. The compressed air in the chamber then propels the BB or pellet forward, resulting in a fairly powerful gun.
Due to the fact that they are generally weaker, they are the best BB gun type to give kids who are still learning proper weapon safety. They can have a good time without the dangers associated with higher-power air or combustion rifles.
Heres how they work: Each time you pump the gun a small piston moves inside a tube, there is a one-way valve that lets air in but not back out, which means with each pump the pressure inside the chamber increases. Thats why it gets so harder and harder to pump with each sequential pump. When you pull the trigger, it allows the air to release from the chamber, which propels the BB or pellet forward. I remember as a kid my brothers and I would always try to get the max number of pumps in, but we were too weak at the time so we would have to do it together. When we got our first multi-pump BB gun it was bad news for the birds around the house.
Multi-pump guns can sometimes match or even exceed the stopping power and velocity of even a CO2-powered gun. These are also called variable pump guns because the user can determine the velocity of the shot by pumping either more or less each time, depending on the target and intended use.
Co2 Powered: Co2 powered BB guns use separate charges of compressed carbon dioxide (CO2) as the propulsion mechanism. The CO2 cartridges resemble the CO2 cartridges used for charging whipped cream cans under pressure but are, in general, slightly larger.
The main drawback to a CO2 powered BB gun is the cost of the replacement cartridges, contrasted with pump-action guns in which the propellant is air in the environment, of which there is an unlimited supply. This makes the cost of ownership of a CO2 air gun much higher that of a single-pump or variable-pump unit.
Single Shot: This means that, with each pull of the trigger, exactly one round exits the chamber. Sometimes, with lower quality spring-loaded pistols, two BB may fire simultaneously, but this is a design flaw, a symptom of cheap manufacturing standards, instead of an intentional rate of fire.
Its semi-automatic because like a fully automatic gun you do not have to operate the bolt or cock the gun in order to fire your next round, but unlike full auto, you still need to pull the trigger each time you want to fire. You can continue firing the gun until the magazine whatever is holding the rounds is empty, then you can just replace/refill the magazine afterward and go back at it.
Most semi-automatic rate of fire BB guns are powered by CO2. It is the most common rate of fire for quick-firing weapons. This is mostly because the US government banned ownership or possession of a fully automatic machine gun back in the 1980s. This ban does not apply to BB guns or pellet guns, but it definitely had an impact on the types of guns produced afterward, with a preference for semi-automatic.
Full-Auto: Fully automatic fire simply means that you can squeeze the trigger one time and hold it down and the gun will continue to fire until the trigger is released, or it runs out of ammo. Fully automatic firearms built after the mid-1980s are specified by the federal government as machine guns, but with small lower caliber BB guns you dont need to worry about it.
Max velocity, when talking about BB guns, refers to the top speed the BB or pellet can theoretically reach as it travels through the air. This matters because a high max velocity usually correlates with a high max range (how far the gun can shoot). Most guns will come will have the max range and specifications printed on the box or in the user manual.
Sights are mechanisms used for lining up your intended target with the trajectory of the bullet. Using a sight, whether it a lower-quality iron sight on a cheap gun or the best scope in existence, is the fastest and easiest way to increase the effectiveness of the gun. If youre buying a BB gun for a child, be sure you teach them how to properly use whatever type of sight it comes with.
Just like everything else, the best sight to use is going to depend on personal preference and training level. Its also important that the scope is properly adjusted or zeroed so that the bullet hits where youre actually aiming. Usually, BB guns come sighted in out of the box, but if you bang them around a lot or mess with the sights that can throw off pretty bad.
BBs, as mentioned above, are 0.177 caliber projectiles similar in size to bird-shot pellets found inside of shotgun shells. They can be fired out of guns with either smooth bore or rifled barrels, but repeated use of BBs instead of pellets in a rifled barrel can lead to faster wear of the rifling, leading to early failure and a reduced life of the barrel.
a Pellet is another type of projectile that is more aerodynamic than a BB, which is why they typically have a higher max range and velocity They come in different sizes, just like bullets, ranging from .177-caliber (standard BB size) to .22-caliber, and even .25 caliber. Some of the more-advanced air rifle systems can actually have almost as much stopping power as their combustion-based counterparts.
There is no age that acts as a magic number for which it is appropriate for a child to begin using a BB gun. Generally speaking, when your child can demonstrate that he or she has, at the very least, a working understanding of the need to be wise and safe when using any weapon, and understands the consequences of improper use then you can think about buying them a BB gun. They need to understand that these guns are not toys, but rather are tools designed to accomplish a specific task. The best option for your childs first BB gun is a single-shot, spring-powered or single-pump action rifle with a limited range and velocity. Either of the first two guns we reviewed meet these characteristics, but the Red Ryder is probably the best BB gun for kids.
The short answer is yes, but it is very very unlikely if proper safety precautions are followed. As a general rule of thumb, you should never point a weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot (thats a weapon safety rule in the Marines). So, as long as they never point the gun at someone or fire at something too hard that could cause the BB to ricochet (safety glasses will protect against this), you wont need to worry.
Even low-powered spring-loaded pistols carry the possibility of serious injury and even penetration of the skin; and fired point-blank or at a very close range, even these lower velocity guns will puncture several layers of the skin. Emergency rooms all over the nation treat these types of injuries every single day. Some of the highest-powered compressed air rifles are actually powerful enough to create a through-and-through wound with both entry and exit wounds, although the probability of an exit wound is less likely, with a more likely outcome being that the BB or pellet could become embedded in the skin, requiring surgical removal.
Thus, it is entirely possible to not only take out your eye but to cause even more serious injuries, up to and including death if a vital organ is punctured, if proper care and safety precautions are taken. BB Guns are not toys, they are tools for accomplishing a task, and as such, should not be treated as toys, even BB guns. With that said, with proper training and handling, shooting a BB gun for sport or just for fun can be a very enjoyable experience that will provide one with a certain level of gun-handling experience.
This is a loaded question because state laws vary from state to state as does the legal definition of a firearm. In the state of Florida, for example, an air gun is not considered to be a firearm, but rather, an imitation firearm. However, New Jersey, any gun that fires a projectile, including BB guns, are defined as firearms under the law, and as such, a convicted felon is prohibited from owning one. Other states, like New York, require a permit to be issued prior to the purchase of any BB gun by any person, whether they have been previously convicted of anything or not.
However, if you have lost the right to bear arms due to a conviction, and you brandish a realistic-looking BB gun in public, you can almost guarantee that you will be arrested and possibly even charged with a crime that carries a lengthy prison sentence. The law can be interpreted in many different ways, even in the same courthouse by two different judges and if the decision is wrong, it wont be corrected unless the person takes it to an appeals court.
The best advice here is, if you are unsure of the laws in your state, contact a criminal defense attorney before you buy any gun, be it a real firearm, and imitation firearm, or a BB gun. Gun laws are notoriously ambiguous at the federal level as well, and as such, the best advice is to contact a local criminal defense attorney to clarify whether or your state allows possession of a BB gun if you have been convicted of a felony. It is a simple, free, 2-minute phone call that could potentially save you 5 years in prison.
Many things, ranging from target practice using either professional or ready-made targets that you can purchase from any sporting goods store or simply lining up objects like cans or bottles to improve the accuracy of your shot.
Alternatively, you can go live quarry shooting, which basically means that you enter a property known to be populated with annoying or crop-damaging animals in order to hunt them and/or rid the property of them. However, it is super important to obtain the express consent and permission of the property owner before you enter any property, much less enter a property with a gun or any type in your possession ready to open fire. Failure to get permission is not only illegal but if the property owner sees you lurking around on his property with a gun in hand, then he/she could take your life and would be completely within his or her rights under the law in doing so.
In an emergency situation, such as if your home is being burglarized, and you do not have any other self-defense weapons, a BB gun may end up saving your life. In some scenarios, it is actually preferable to use a BB gun to stop a criminal act, as the criminal will likely underestimate the power of the shot. The other plus side is that you will not have to live with the emotional consequences that come from taking a life (even if you are justified in doing so) that you may have to deal with if you open fire on an intruder, say, with a 12-gauge shotgun or a large-caliber handgun. This means that you will be able to inflict some damage on the intruder, and possible even detain him alive until the police arrived, catch him in the act of being in your home illegally, and charge him with a felony without the need for you to make a trip to the district attorney to make a separate complaint. Plus, with the intruder still being alive, he can be held accountable by the court for violating your home. Now, BB guns are definitely not designed to be self-defense weapons, but in a pinch, it may just save your life.
Are BB guns legal for children to buy? This depends on the state in which you are residing. In some states, there may not be any legal restriction whatsoever, and in some, such as California, it is a misdemeanor criminal offense to sell a BB gun to a minor. Federal law does not place that many restrictions
Who would have thought there was so much to know about a simple BB gun? Not me, well at least not until I started writing this page. As Ive said before the best BB gun depends upon what its being used for and who is using it. For a youngster learning firearm safety, a single pump gun is best. For an adult or gun enthusiast replicas or even a full auto BB gun is a ton of fun.
Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or if you found this review helpful. Its always good to hear from you guys. Let me know of any really cool BB guns you think should be added to the list. Make sure you check out my page on air rifle targets as well. If youre buying one of these as a gift it is a great addition.
Corporal Wabo is a former Infantry Squad Leader with 3rd Bn 4th Marines that specialized in Mortars. In his free time, he enjoys hunting, hiking, running, shooting guns, and reviewing gear. He started this website while transitioning out of the Marines, and since has recruited several other Marines to help him work on the Marine Approved website. We are currently looking for former Marines to join the team who are interested in writing about tactical gear, survival gear, hiking supplies, etc. For more information about us or joining the team, check out the About Us tab.
Marine Approved is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associate Program. This program is designed to provide a way for websites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. Basically, if you click on a product link on this site and buy that product we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. The owner of this website does not guarantee offers on this site, and all offers should be viewed as recommendations only.
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