By B.B. Pelletier
The American BB gun is recognized everywhere and the Daisy company along with it. Perhaps no single model is as well-known as the Red Ryder. Because many parents buy BB guns to teach their children the fundamentals of shooting safety, I am devoting today’s posting to that gun.
The movie A Christmas Story revived the popular saying, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” That dates to the late 1920s when Daisy changed from lead air rifle shot to steel. Suddenly, guns that no one gave a thought to were injuring young shooters with rebounding BBs. A lead ball striking a hard surface deforms and bounces, if at all, away from the shooter. Steel does not. It resists deformation, rebounding straight back toward the shooter with much of its initial velocity intact. So, safety is the first concern for anyone shooting BBs.
Do NOT use a pellet trap for BBs! Use a BB trap!
Pellet traps are made of steel for lead pellets and will cause the worst kind of rebounds if used with steel BBs.
Shoot only into a trap that prevents rebounding. This can be a commercial trap or a box filled with crumpled newspapers and backed by a thick, tough carpet. Two traps that I like a lot are Daisy’s own Sound Blaster Target, which is a perfect match for the Red Ryder, and Crosman’s model 850 BB/Pellet trap.
The Daisy Sound Blaster makes several distinctive sounds, depending on where the BB strikes the target, so the shooter gets immediate feedback. The Crosman 850 has several tough ballistic cloth screens that prevent rebounds and keep stray BBs off the floor. For that, alone, they are well worth the price. Be sure to back either commercial trap with a large piece of carpet to catch stray BBs.
Everyone wears eye protection
As a further precaution, everyone in the vicinity of the gun should wear either safety glasses or shatterproof eyeglasses. The safety glasses cost very little and protect your eyesight, which is priceless.
The stock may have to be cut down
For smaller children, the Red Ryder stock is too long, so it may need to be cut down. To find the correct fit, have the child stick his arm straight out to the side and bend at the elbow with the trigger finger extended and pointing up at the ceiling. With the butt rested on the inside of the elbow and the rifle also pointed toward the ceiling, the trigger finger should go about a half-inch past the trigger.
If you don’t want to cut up a fancy Red Ryder stock, consider buying the Daisy Model 105 Buck. It’s less decorated, less expensive and has the same solid wood stock that lends itself to alteration.
For older children, Daisy’s model 95 Timberwolf is a larger, more powerful gun that features Daisy’s widebody frame. It’s attractive and will please the bigger kids. Daisy has discontinued this model; when stocks are gone, there will be no more.
BB guns are a great for teaching shooter safety, as long as we follow safety rules!
13 thoughts on “Shooting BB guns: a message for parents and teachers”
Won’t you get holes in the carpet? is there anything else you can recommend or suggest
If the carpet is a normal wall-to-wall grade, a BB gun won’t shoot though it. It makes a great backstop for BBs, though I would put my actual target in a dedicated trap (like the ones mentioned in my posting) to keep the BBs off the floor and use the carpet square behind the trap in case I miss it altogether.
You CAN use a large cardboard box filled with crished paper (newspaper works well). This kind of BB trapo works for a while, but eventually you will shoot through it, so watch for that.
My question has no relation to this specific blog, but I thought I could post it here anyway.
First off, I’d like to thank you for this incredible blog, it has been an incredible help to me in my early air rifle career!
Now, on to the question. I’m about to purchase a Beeman R9 with a scope. The scope I’m looking at is a Leapers 3-9X40 Mil-Dot Full Size (SCP-394FMD1/SCP-394FMD2). I’m going to be doing about 25%hunting/75% target and plinking. what do you think about this scope? Is there one that goes better with the R9? I considered the illuminating rectile, but not sure. Though I’m sure I do want the Mil-dot. The ranges I’m looking at is from 10-40 yards, I’m planning on zeroing the scope at 20 yards. any suggestions? I’ve done a ton of research, and i’m very excited to get started with all the fun i’ve been missing! I just don’t want to screw up my first purchase to find out that I could have made my first experience with an air rifle better by spending 10-20 more dollars on the RIGHT scope.
Thanks again for all your articles!
The Leapers 394 MD2 is a scope I own and have mounted on a TX 200. I love it! It is as clear as a bell and I can use it at all the ranges you asked about, despite the parallax being fixed at 35 yards. At close range like 10 yards, just dial the power down low and there is no fuzziness at all.
You will like the clarity of this scope, I am sure. The emerald-coated lenses make it as bright as any scope on the market. And the size goes well with the R9.
The 394 MD1 scope is parallax-corrected for 100 yards and a little hard to use at airgun ranges. It’s more of a .22 rimfire scope, or for the really powerful air rifles like the Career 707 or the Condor.
I was unable to find the 394 FMD1 or FMD2 on the Pyramyd site, so I hope I am addressing the same scope you are asking about.
What do you use as a backstop for pellets, especially a stonger one? I use a crosman 850 but would like to have something behind it, in case you miss, or rather in case I miss
I use an Outers bullet trap that you can buy in any good gun store for around $65. It’s made to stop .22 long rifle bullets, so it will work for powerful airguns like the Korean guns and the Condor.
Almost every airgunner I know who shoots at home uses this same trap. It is so well made that it will stop hundreds of thousands of pellets and still be in great shape. Only the paint flakes off from the shots.
Do you put anything in the outers bullet trap to keep the pellets from bouncing back?
Do you put some kind of back stop like you advise for the bbs like a carpet
Well, I appreciate all the info that you helped me with. I went out and did it. I’m now a proud owner of a Beeman R9 with a leapers 3-9×40 mil-dot mini scope. I know that I said the full size in my previous comment, but when comparing the two, i noticed absolutely no difference, the mini even seemed to be a bit more clearer, so i went with it… I’m assuming that they are generally the same scope just size difference. needless to say I’m very happy with my decision. Thank you soo much for all your articles and for getting back to me so quickly.
The pellets won’t bounce back. Being made of lead, the worst they do is shattewr.
Steel BBs, though, bounce back with a vengance!
Your question is so good, I’m going to make it tomorrow’s post!
I’m glad you got your combo together. I hope you bought two-piece mounts, because the Leapers compact scopes are too short to fit standard one-piece mounts. The rings don’t align with the places where they have to grab the scope.
I personally like to shoot into a roll of toilet paper, you need to be an ok shot but at closer range theres no chance of anything going through that many sheets
Although I don’t recommend it for BB’s, I have found plumbers putty (get it at Lowe’s or Home Depot)not only will stop a pellet, it will muffle completely the sound of a pellet striking a pellet trap. The putty is soft but seems indestructible. It will stop a BB in a pellet trap but what if the BB hits the other part of the trap? It bounces right back. Don’t ask me how I know that, please.
You will discover that plumber’s putty dries out with exposure. It will flake and crumble. Also, it is about only 1/5 as resistant to a pellet as duct seal. In other words, it takes 5 times as much plumber’s putty to stop a pellet.