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Education / Training Setting up a home airgun range – Part 1BB guns

Setting up a home airgun range – Part 1BB guns

by B.B. Pelletier

Before we start, Gamo has issued a recall of certain air rifles.
This was originally issued in October 2006, but it’s been reissued along with the gun serial numbers affected.

The recalled air rifles are the following GAMO models: Hunter Pro, Hunter Sport, Shadow Sport and F1200.
These models bear the serial numbers 04-IC-415577-06 through 04-IC-579918-06.
The model and serial numbers can be found on the left side of the barrel just above the front left side of the stock.
Models Shadow Sport and F1200 look identical. Sold by:
Sporting goods stores and gun shops nationwide from June 2006 to September 2006 for between $150 and $280.
Model F1200 was sold exclusively at Wal-Mart stores. Manufactured in Spain.

The scope mount on these rifles can be installed incorrectly, causing the rifle to fire unexpectedly.
This poses a serious injury hazard to consumers. GAMO has received one report of an air rifle firing unexpectedly.
No injuries have been reported.

Contact Gamo USA (gamo usa)
for instructions.

Now, on to today’s blog.

With Christmas bearing down on us, a lot of parents
and grandparents are thinking about getting an airgun for some lucky shooter. Some of these folks will want to shoot
inside the house, but they don’t know how to set up a safe range.

What kind of gun?

There are three basic airgun types to consider when setting up an indoor range – BB guns, pellet guns and airsoft guns.

They are each so different that I will address them separately, starting with the BB gun.

Power levels
BB guns
come in power levels ranging from under 200 f.p.s to over 700 f.p.s. For indoor use,
I would keep the muzzle velocity below about 450 f.p.s., and below 300 f.p.s. is even better.

You don’t need a lot of velocity to shoot at the short range recommended for indoors, and safety is always a prime consideration. When you buy that present, look at the muzzle velocity if indoor shooting is what you want to do.

Don’t shoot your eye out!
Steel BBs bounce back from hard surfaces such as steel, concrete, boards and trees. They can come straight back with nearly the same force they left the muzzle. For this reason, everyone in the area where shooting is taking place has to wear protective shooting glasses. This is nothing to be lax about. The danger is real, and every shooter knows that glasses are supposed to be worn whenever firing a gun, but it’s just as important that the other people in the area wear them, as well.

A place to shoot
You need a safe place to shoot and about 20 feet from the muzzle of the gun to the target, if possible, though you can get by with less if necessary. Then, you need about three more feet for the target trap and backer board and five more feet for the firing line. Altogether, that comes to 28 feet of linear distance. The lighting should be low for the firing line and bright on the target. When shooting BBs, paper targets are one of the few things that are safe to shoot indoors.

Your shooting place should not allow people to be downrange while you are shooting. If there is a door downrange, or if you shoot down a hallway with doors you must make sure there are no people who can open the doors while you are shooting. If the door leads outside, it’s best to lock it while shooting takes place.

A BB trap
Because BBs bounce back, you cannot use a conventional steel bullet or pellet trap. One good BB trap is Crosman’s model 850 BB and pellet trap. It has cloth curtains to stop the BBs; and if you tilt it slightly backwards, the BBs will remain inside. To help keep them inside, you can lay a rubber magnet strip on the floor of the trap.

The other good BB trap is the AGE Quiet Pellet Trap. This trap is capable of stopping BBs from the most powerful BB guns, but I still don’t recommend shooting powerful guns indoors because of how much the BB will bounce if you miss the trap. After a lot of shooting, BBs have to be removed from this trap’s impact putty to prevent bounceback.

A backer board
Behind the BB trap, you’ll put a backer board, so if the trap is missed the BB won’t hit anything in the house. A thin piece of plywood, about 3 feet square is fine for this. I didn’t have any plywood handy when I made my range, so I used a 5/8″ thick slab of particle board. Of course, a BB will bounce off this board, so I slant mine away from the firing line at the top. Just leaning it back against a wall takes care of that. Most BB guns are not accurate, so this board will be hit about one time in every 100 shots, and those BBs will bounce around the room. That’s why everyone wears shooting glasses.

Setting up a shooting range for BB guns in the home is not difficult, but there are special steps that must be taken. Remember, it isn’t a shooting gallery – it’s a small range for one shooter, and paper targets are the only safe things to shoot at. If you choose a BB gun with a modest velocity, your in-home range will be safe and fun.

author avatar
Tom Gaylord (B.B. Pelletier)
Tom Gaylord, also known as B.B. Pelletier, provides expert insights to airgunners all over the world on behalf of Pyramyd AIR. He has earned the title The Godfather of Airguns™ for his contributions to the industry, spending many years with AirForce Airguns and starting magazines dedicated to the sport such as Airgun Illustrated.

32 thoughts on “Setting up a home airgun range – Part 1BB guns”

  1. I’m guessing, but I would think that the shorter barrel pcp would be more reliant on the design of the air chamber and valving than a longer version of the same. The longer barrel would seem to me to be more consistant due to the fact that the barrel length adds to the effeciency with the same amount of air.


    illworded guesser

  2. id’ recomend carpet. if you know the right people you can easily get rubber backed (used) carpet. any carpet will work, but i find this stuff lasts longest. 4 layers will stop a ~450 fps pellet by the 2nd layer. bbs stop by the first layer(sub 300fps) as a plus, it does not ricochet- but it does need replacing now and then.

  3. B.B.

    I need your help. I got a logun eazi-glide pump for my condor. I got all the adaptors and put everything together just like it said in the instructions. I tightened the bleed screw. I’ve done everything (I think) right on my part. Well, I’m pumping it and nothing is happening. I’ll pump for an hour but the needle in the gauge won’t move at all. Also, after that hour, when I loosen the bleed screw no air shoots out like I believe it should. What am I doing wrong? I sent logun an email so hopefully they can help as well.


  4. never mind (about the IZH 61) question I found out that pyramyd air (witch did a very wonderful job in packing and sending the items in the gun case (with the IZH 61) and they included a gel gun cusion (I guess from the canceled order with the first order, out of stock) and I am also amazed with Baikal/IZH there really is someone that inspects the rifles, not just a giant factory mass producing.

  5. Hello…To bad JSB does not make BB’s, they would probably be much more accurate! (joke) There pellets sure are. By the way their Straton pointed pellet makes my Crossman 2100 shoot better than ever. They realy helped my low and mid power guns. Have a good Christmas everyone.

  6. IZH 61,

    I don’t know what kind of preservation oil or grease IZH uses on the 61, but all airgun companies use something. They never know where thei guns are going or how long they will be on the shelf before being sold, so they preserve them in some way.

    Airforce probably uses the least preservative because a large part of their guns are aluminum. The Russians and Chinese use the most.

    I doubt that it’s really cosmoline. More likely a form of tool oil. Age may dry and harden it.


  7. Lama,

    Something fundamental is wrong. I suspect a seal has been left out of the adaptor setup. It’s difficult to diagnose over the internet, and with a pump it’s really hard to figure out because so little air moves with each pump stroke, but I will work with you to try to figure this out.

    The “Logun” pump is just an FX pump, so let’s begin there. Did they leave the white nylon seal in the hole at the base of the pump that the adaptor screws into? If so, it will defeat the AirForce seal that goes there. The AirForce seal seals the smaller metal adaptor that connects directly to the pump. It goes between the adaptor and the pump. Its a small circle of metal with a rubber insert in the center.

    The white nylon seal is found at the bottom of the hole in the pump base that this adaptor screws into. If it’s in there it holds the adaprot too high for the AirForce seal to work.


    Pleaee read Tom Gaylord’s article on using a pump in which he describes what it’s like to fill a tank from empty.

    Next, do you have the large O-ring that goes in the lip of the large black steel adaptor? If it isn’t in the lip (the tank attaches to it at that point) you’ll never make an air seal.

    Please check these things and get back with me.


  8. Ok, the little white thing is in there. Do I need to take it out? Also, the O ring that is on the adaptor (with the metal ring around it) is there. That last O ring, is it on the adaptor side closest to the tank? In other words, is it where the tank screws in. If so, it’s not there.

  9. Lama,

    There’s the problem! The large O-ring (1-1/8″) fits in the groove in the end of the large black steel adaptor that the tank screws into. If it isn’t there, the tank cannot seal and you’ll never fill it.

    Let’s leave the white nylon seal alone for the moment, though it isn’t supposed to be there when the AirForce adaptor set is used. Since I cannot verify that you HAVE a genuine AirForce adaptor set, let’s not touch this seal at this time.

    Back to the large black adaptor. Look at the spot where the AirForce tank screws in. You will see a shelf in the end of the adaptor, if the O-ring is missing. If it’s there, you will see it.

    If you don’t have it, call the dealer and request one. It’s an AirForce part that they should have supplied with your setup.

    As I recall the size is 1-1/8″ by 1/8″. A hardware store O-ring of that size will do the job.

    Let me know what you do.


  10. Lama,

    Yes, that is the correct adaptor. The FX pump isn’t supposed to have the white nylon seal at the bottom, but a lot of dealers don’t know that. The pump comes with or without the seal. AirForce sells the same pump and gets it without the seal installed.

    Removing the seal is problematic, so I would wait and see if you can get it work with the seal in place.


  11. Removing the seal shouldn’t be hard, every time I move it the stupid thing falls out. Maybe it was a sign. 🙂 I’ll try to get an O ring and let you know how it works. Thanks again,


  12. BB…Springers…Thanks for answer. But some are almost useless they are so hold sensitive, except off a bench where you have the best chance to duplicate your hold and maybe hit the same point. Others as you have said in your blogs (ie TX200) are much better. Small groups don’t mean much if they don’t hit the mark. l just thought you may know where the HW50s fits, in that scale. As l want to buy one.

  13. Tom,

    The HW 50 isn’t as sensitive as the R9 or the RWS Diana 34, or even the R1.

    The HW 50 is a lot like the R7.

    Small groups that don’t hit the mark are corrected by the sights. Small groups are everything. A hold-sensitive gun cannot shoot small groups unless the correct technique is used on every shot.


  14. You have recommended the avanti 499 in many of your blogs for indoors. Is there any other very low fps pellet rifles as well? Most seem to be 500 or more unless I go with a multi pump to control it. I want the minimum fps that can accurately punch a hole in a paper target at 5 – 10m.

    Is there any spring/ electric airsoft guns you could suggest that are still being sold and work well for target shooting?

    It would be nice if they had a line of air rifles designed just for the indoor target shooters.

    • Spork,

      Welcome to the blog.

      Are you Canadian, perhaps? Several airgun manufactures make guns that don’t go over the 495 f.p.s. Canadian limit. The HW30S is made that way, as is the Daisy 853, I believe. You just have to get the Canadian-spec version of the gun.

      As for airsoft, the AEGs are not typically the most accurate, though they can be made more accurate with tight barrels. It’s the manually cocked spring piston guns with tight barrels that are the most accurate.


  15. I’m from the USA. Just a guy who had a lot of fun shooting cans with pellet guns growing up. Except now I’m more cautious. As you mentioned paper targets in front of a trap is one of the few safe things to shoot indoors.

    I will have a closed off area with a proper trap along with following your guide lines, eye protection, etc. A concrete wall is behind the shooting area. With family and pets in the house I feel better using something like airsoft ammo that is designed to usually not even break skin. Again I will always make sure everyone is out of the area though.

    The 499 I found so interesting because of the low fps and accuracy. I might look into the daisy 853 but 500 fps seems like over doing it for shooting paper targets in the house.

    thanks for your blog. It has been very helpful for me to get back into this hobby

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