It is very often said that “BB” is originated from “bullet ball” or “ball bearing” but actually this is not true. The BB guns utilized the BB-sized shotguns having lead shot, in between size B and size BBB. BB shot is 4.57 mm in diameter but it varies considerably in sizes owing to allowable tolerances of higher nature the use of shotgun shell. In the year 1900, Daisy, the earlier makers of oldest types of guns, altered the bore of BB gun diameter to 4.45 mm and started to make marketing precision-made shot made of lead especially for guns. They termed it “air rifle shot”, but in the meanwhile the name “BB” was already established and all began to call the guns as “BB guns” and for the shot it became “BB shot” or simply “BBs”.
In the year 1920, Daisy started to get reports from users of BB gun removing ball bearings of scrap steel for utilizing in the guns and as a result many guns began to come in for repairing having split barrels, from steel balls of oversize in form. American Ball Company immediately took the chance for it as the marketing opportunity. And began to sale shot having diameter of 0.171 millimetres to 0.173 millimetres for air rifle made of steel and meant for BB guns. This immediately resulted in a marketing agreement of exclusive nature with Daisy as ground steel BBs of precision nature were cheap in respect of lead BBs of precision nature. The light type of steel BBs also generated higher velocities in comparison to lead BBs, which resulted in guns of new type shoot more accurately in short ranges where they looked effective. In the year 1939, the American Ball Company was acquired by Daisy and it began to procure its own BBs. Since, Daisy had the monopoly in the market of gun; other makers began to imitate him by matching the bore diameter like Daisy and switching over to 4.55 mm steel BBs.
In the later stage, “BB” turned into type of more general nature relating to sometimes non-round type of shot and the round type of shot of different materials and calibers. It should be kept in mind that it will be technically incorrect if the name “ball bearing” is used for any sort of steel ball. This is the brief history of BB guns.