Setting up a home airgun range - Part 2
by B.B. Pelletier
Most airsoft users don't shoot targets with their guns, but they can! So, this post is about setting up an airsoft range inside the house.
Pick the right gun
You don't want to shoot electric guns or full-auto gas guns indoors. The plastic BBs go everywhere, and these guns are not conducive to target shooting. Go outdoors when you want to rock 'n' roll. Indoors is for accuracy.
That said, indoor probably doesn't have enough room to shoot a good sniper gun comfortably. You really should have at least 50 yards for a sniper rifle and few houses outside of mansions have a linear 150 feet. Indoors is for close-range guns, and that usually means sidearms.
An indoor range is the perfect place to shoot those inexpensive M1911A1 guns and even some that cost a little more. But you don't have to stop there!
An indoor range is the perfect place to sharpen your skills with a top-end gas gun, such as the Raging Bull revolver by Cyber Gun. If you do get this revolver, though, please note that it's 8mm and not 6mm, which is more common. You probably won't find 8mm ammo at Wal-Mart, so be sure to buy a good supply of ammo when you get the gun. Another very attractive indoor target shooter would be the MKI carbine from KJ Works. A copy of Ruger's Mark I pistol with a shoulder stock, this little gas carbine will give you lots of aiming precision on your indoor range. It's higher power, like the 8mm revolver. I'll address what you need in the target trap section.
Plastic BBs go everywhere, so you need a target trap that holds them. With lower-power guns (those that shoot 0.12-gram BBs at 200 f.p.s. or less), a cardboard box with a rectangular hole cut out in front makes a great trap. Hang the target in front of the hole. The BB passes through the target and hole, rebounds off the back of the box and stays inside. I always cut the hole with at least a five-inch lip on the bottom to prevent BBs from escaping.
A cardboard box with a hole for the target is a simple airsoft BB trap.
Reinforce the trap for higher-power guns
When using higher-power guns, reinforce the trap by fastening a piece of carpet or thick piece of material, such as a blanket, to the back of the box. If you hang this material rather than fastening it to the back of the box, it will slow the BBs to a standstill. If you shoot more powerful guns (above 300 f.p.s. with 0.20g or heavier BBs), inspect this material often. I once shot through a heavy canvas bag with just 20 shots from a powerful AEG. When they hit the same place every time, they can tear through the material faster than you think!
What about sticky targets?
You want to use those neat sticky targets? All you have to do is use a larger box and cut a hole large enough to see the sticky target inside. It captures and collects the BBs that hit the target, and the box holds the BBs that miss the target. This also works for the electronic re-setting targets.
You don't really need a backer board for airsoft, but it's a good idea to hang a thick blanket or something behind the trap in case you miss. The fabric will stop the BB, and you won't have to chase them all around the house.
I know airsoft guns are not often thought of when target shooting comes to mind, but my experience tells me they can be as much fun as any pellet or BB gun. I have purposely left out the distances for the airsoft range, but if you really need them, just build it the same size as the BB gun range.