Home Blog  
Education / Training Introduction to Field Target – Part 2The targets – Part 1

Introduction to Field Target – Part 2The targets – Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier

Part 1 – How it all began

A modern spring-loaded squirrel field target.

This one falls completely flat.

The targets we shoot at have evolved considerably over the years. When I got started, there were some old British targets still in use. They were made of very heavy steel plate and had stout linkages that rusted if you didn’t maintain them often. They also had to be exercised before a match because they were so stiff and difficult to operate. You could hit one with 12 foot-pounds of energy and only knock it halfway down. Of course if you took the time to adjust all the nuts and bolts and lube all the joints, they worked fine for that match, but they presented quite a problem. If they were put out on the course the night before (which is how most clubs set up their range) the morning dew would rust all the joints and they would quit working again.

Gravity targets
Ron Juneau made some wonderful targets that operated by gravity. They were simple and rugged, and when set the paddle had a sear that held the target upright. No amount of vibration would unseat the target, so even a hit on the head of the animal with a 20 foot-pound gun wouldn’t vibrate the sear loose. However, these targets did have to be emplaced so they were very close to level or they wouldn’t work.

Ron Juneau turkey target.

Back of Juneau target showing the gravity paddle. When hit it swings back and down, hitting the bent bar connected to the target and pulling it down, too.

Here you see the Juneau sear when it has not contacted the target.

Now the sear is in contact with the target. Hitting the paddle removes the sear, allowing the target to move.

My club made concrete target holders and we had the bases of the targets bolted to wooden slabs that fit into the holders perfectly. When they were in the holders, they were designed so pulling the reset string would not pull the base from the holder, yet the target just slipped into the holder when setting up the range. However, during a match, the holders would sometimes settle into a position that was not level – especially when the reset string required a strong pull. Then the target would start acting up during the match. The first shooters would knock it down easily but as the match progressed it became harder and harder to topple. That can be difficult to spot when some shooters are using FWB 124s with .177 7.9-grain Crosman Premiers and others are using a .22-caliber Career 707 shooting 14.3-grain Premiers. The larger caliber Career will slap down most target without a fuss, while the lightweight FWB has maybe half the power and just taps the paddle. After several years of using gravity targets, my club set almost all of them aside for spring-loaded targets. The one we kept was a life-sized turkey target whose long paddle has so much energy when falling that it performs reliably all the time.

Spring-loaded targets
In the late 1990s, field target makers were not prolific, so a club starting up had to wait for months while the targets were made. Rick Stoutenberg was one maker of spring-loaded targets that my club used heavily. I suspect we bought about 25 targets from him over the course of several years. A spring-loaded target stays upright because the paddle linkage has gone past center when the target was reset. A hit on the paddle pushes it back past center and then the spring pulls the target down rapidly. Compared to the gravity-type targets, the spring-loaded targets were faster-acting and more reliable. They could tolerate not being level and still operate because of that spring. You can always spot a Stoutenberg target because of the coiled spring in the back that pulls it down and the rubber bumper to keep it from clanging when it falls.

Ulysses Payne is another maker of spring-loaded targets. He puts the spring in front of the target instead of behind it. Because of the linkage he uses, not all of his targets fall completely flat, and I will discuss what that means in the next post. I have used Payne targets for just as long as Stoutenbergs and they are just as reliable.

This Ulysses Payne target is a spring-type, held up by a linkage that’s over-center.

When this Payne target falls, the linkage prevents it from falling flat.

There is a lot more to show and talk about concerning the targets. While new FT shooters focus on the guns, scopes and pellets, the targets are what make the game run, so it pays to know them well.

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.

38 thoughts on “Introduction to Field Target – Part 2The targets – Part 1”

  1. bb,

    today i am going to go get my g1 extreme, and begin tests…my report should be ready in a little bit.

    also, i finally got a chance to fire my 1077 for the first time…first i just ran a patch through it(well…like 10), and fired it…at 20 yards, i was getting 5 inch groups…then i checked all the scope and rifle screws…3 inch groups…then i used the bore compound, 1/4″ groups…that stuff suprised me a lot!! thanks for advising me, and many other shooters to get it(oh, and just so you know, my 1077 had no problem cycling cp hollow points, so im thinking of trying some other, more accurate pellets…have any others in mind?)


  2. Hey BB

    Are the gamo squirrel targets /product/gamo-squirrel-field-target-w-4-kill-zone-reducers?a=464 made by any of these other target makers you speak of, or did they just steal the design? I have one and it looks very similar to the payne target shown in the article.

    Thanks a lot,Kyle.

  3. Okaaay… I sprung for the Webley Tomahawk .177 made in England. Now that I’ve done that, what can you tell me about mounting a scope on it?

    And any other particulars of interest about this rifle…

  4. Condor

    I just took delivery of an AirForce Condor, and my overall assesment is…..W O W!!!
    Im shooting 30g Pile Driver bullets (they are not diablo shape, but .22LR shape). The rifle is accurate, POWERFUL, on full power it averages 1020fps (70.59ft-lbs) which is almost as much as my .22LR rifle (95.35ft-lbs). Its NOT loud at all, though i am using a Gunpower silencer. If you use lighter pellets and break the sound barrier, its VERY loud, so i suggest you use these or other 30g pellets. On minimum power it shoots all day at 12.5ft-lbs and is silent except for the hammer click. It also looks awsome, like something out of a futuristic film. Niggles….Just the way the rifle was put together really. Some screws needed tightening, but nothing that took me more than 30 mins. All in all, one of my absolute fave rifles.

  5. BB

    i am in France and here silencers are encouraged to help people keep the noise from guns down. To be fair though, shooting the heavy pellets at less than 1000fps makes the Condor no louder than many of my more powerful springers, even without the silencer. I think the LOUD banner has been placed on the Condor mainly because people have used lighter ammo and its the breaking of the sound barrier that does 95% of the noise. I live in a vally and i set the dogs barking for miles around when i tried a 14g pellet just to see how fast it went lol.

  6. France,

    Thanks for that explanation. I could just see trying to explain to all my U.S, readers why somebody is able to use a silencer.

    I completely agree with you on the supersonic effect. I was out with a Condor today shooting H&N Baracudas in .20 caliber (13.8 grains) and on low power I was still getting velocities in the 920 f.p.s. region. The gun was very quiet, compared to when I turned the power up and went supersonic.


  7. BB,

    I got my carbon fiber tank today. It looks to be of the highest quality (tank and hardware). I went to the scuba shop once i got it to get it filled. Most shops dont go up to that pressure but this one does. They did not have the part to fill it! Because it has a higher pressure it takes a longer peice. But wait theres hope!!! All i need to do is get a $55 scuba adapter. Well i’m another step closer. I took my alluminum tank to the shop to be shiped out and tested so i do have a backup plan. I thought this was worth saying because the common problem is the lack of a 4500 psi compresser. I dont think a will have to bother the guys at the fire station.

    PCPs do complicate things but it is just so much fun when they do work. Is there an end in sight? what do i need after the special fitting thingy?

    Here is the “thingy” 3 in from the left at:



  8. B.B.,

    In your opinion would you say a beeman R7 in .20 Cal is powerful enough for hunting small birds at a maximum distance of 35 yards? At what distance would i be able to kill a crow? Is there a recoil difference between .177 and .20? I’m assuming that there is because of the Foot-Pounds difference.
    PCP 850 AIRMAGNUM from umarex since you like the co2 850 you might like this one too.

    Thank You,

  9. If anyone would – it would be neat for us non pcp users (heh heh) to hear a mp3 sample of the difference between the sub vs. supersonic pellet sound.

  10. Sumo,

    That adaptor changes a 300-bar hole (which all dive shops should have) to a Compressed Gas Association fitting (CGA). Did you go to a dive shop or to a paintball shop? Paintball shops don’t carry scuba fittings because they deal in CGA fittings, only.

    All you need other than that is a way to get the air into your gun.


  11. Richard,

    Birds fall into two categories – tough ones and not-so-tough ones. The meat eaters tend to be tougher and crows are among the toughest of all. I would not recommend an R7 for crows at any distance.

    On pigeons, however, it’s different. The R7 will take pigeons to 35 yards and beyond.

    As for the new Walther Dominator (the second Domonator Walther has made) I am waiting to see one. Price and accuracy are my primary interests.



  12. Ozark,

    What you ask requires at least two things. The first is a microphone that can accurately record the sound and the second is a set of studio monitor speakers that will reproduce it.

    I have the monitors, but the mike costs $2,500.


  13. B.B., have you seen the new flyer about the BERETTA PX-4 yet? It looks amazing, I’m really thinking about pre-ordering one. Do you see any obvious design flaws or am I reasonably assured of getting a decent gun?

  14. I have read about the PX-4 and it does sound like a nice all-around air pistol. 8 shots with a quick reload and a second 8 are available.

    BBs and pellets from the same barrel mean some sacrifice of accuracy for the pellets, but it shouldn’t be much.

    I’ll probably test one when they come out.


  15. bb,

    first impressions on the g1 extreme…i like the trigger-it doesnt seem to pull me off target. its somewhat loud at first, but quiets down after 50-100 rounds. when shooting, i use a somewhat firm hold with my off hand, and let it kind of loose on my shoulder. i only shot it at 20 yrds so far-cp hollow points gave round 1/2″ groups, and the only thing i had that shot better(to my suprise) were gamo raptors, at around 1/4″ groupings at 20 yards…the gun did not shoot loud at all with them, so the spring is not quite as powerful as crosman suggests, because they are one of the lightest pellets you can buy…i do not have a chronograph, so i cant tell you exact speed. i have to order more pellets, because i only had what was available at walmart…so i will try some jsb’s, and rws’s, and beemans. also, the scope is perfect for the gun…there was no movement inside the scope…the screws came loose after around 400-500 shots, but that is typical. the scopestop plate on the gun works perfectly…no scope slippage. also, the gun didnt seem to have too much droop…the mount that came with the gun worked fine. ill have more for you later in the week, but so far, i think this is a great gun for only $125!!

    oh, one more note about the scope-it seems like a duplex mil dot recticle, but it doesnt have a bold line about the recticle…like the duplex it a t, and the mil-dot is a full recticle, which i like.


  16. Ozark

    to give you an idea….
    Using a heavy pellet, my neighbour who lives 60meters away was in their garden and they couldnt hear me with the condor. I shot over 30 shots. With the lighter pellets, 1 shot was so loud, the sheep in a field 300meters away ran for their lives and the dogs for 1/3 of a mile started barking. BUT…for this shot, the gun was aimed at the valley side opposide my garden, so the sound went right in to the air, and echoed from the vally 700meters away. If i use supersonic pellets and aim towards trees and bushes, then the sound isnt so bad. Then its like an unsilenced .22LR pistol. Still loud yes, but not earth shattering lol

  17. BB,

    I went to a dive shop.

    i have all the connections to my guns. I had to get a fancy one on for the career 707. So thats out of the way.

    What does a 3000 psi 80 cubic foot standerd air tank use as a connection to the compresser?

    He couldent put any air in because the adapter (that he had) did not go deep enough because is was only supposd to fill tanks to 3000 psi. 4500 psi takes a longer one to work with the greater pressure.

    last question…
    Do i need the adapter from air hog to fill the tank from that scuba shop?


  18. Sumo,

    A 300 psi 80 cubic foot scuba tank can have either a 200 bar valve or a K valve.

    The scuba shop doesn’t have a 300 bar (4,350 psi) connector? Seems strange when they can fill that high.

    Tell Airhog what type of valve your scuba tank has. Read this blog to see the different valves:

    Scuba tanks for precharged airguns

    Airhog will be able to provide an adaptor for you,


  19. BB,

    Off topic, but maybe someone will find this interesting. To those who shoot Skenco lead-free pellets, you might want to check the bore of your airgun for plastic shavings.

    I just put 100 type-2 (blue skirt) Skenco pellets through my Crosman 357 revolver. I was just having fun and not measuring, but they seemed to group about 1″ at 25 feet, fine for plinking. However, there were two problems: (1) The pellets fit very tightly into the magazine; I didn’t want to enlarge the holes, so I just fed the pellets one at a time into the throat of the shot tube. (2) Afterward, I looked into the shot tube and saw lots of crud hanging off the insides of the bore. I removed the shot tube, ran some patches through with Kleenbore gun cleaner (not something I’d normally do with an air gun!), and found lots of exceedingly fine plastic shavings, presumably from the skirts of the Skenco pellets. Some of these shavings were over an inch in length.

  20. I’m hoping some of you more experienced users can help me out. I’m new to airguns (about two months)and have been shooting a Gamo Big Cat (composite stock, 1000 fps). I love it – pretty darn accurate up to 50 yds out.
    I go plinking down by the river and have to climb through all kinds of brush and rocky terrain.
    My question is this: how can I mount a strap to this rifle? It doesn’t have traditional under-barrel mounting hardware like many of the other rifles I see online do. I’ve looked everywhere for some kind of product to allow me to mount a strap this thing. Am I missing something obvious, or is this type of gun just not meant to have a strap on it? Any insight would really help me out here!

  21. Sheep Herder – awesome! I love it – scaring those agro sheep with a supersonic pellet blast.

    BB – I was just interesting in the mic sound from the other end of the barrel, from the target POV. I guess with the volume difference, attenuation might be difficult.

    It is fascinating to compare the POI with different pellets using the pellet sampler from straighshooters. Definitely some nice groupers – like the JSB Exacts you like, RWS Superdome, Premier & Accupell, Beeman Trophy (a tight fit in the barrel). I was surprised that the grain of pellet wasn’t necessarily correlated to POI.

    I was able to sneak over to the rifle tube yesterday at the local range at Bass Pro, and I was wondering if anyone has shot off of a lead sled with a springer like my 48? It was pretty terrible. Of course, I was laughing since BB’s description of springer recoil was pretty obvious with the gun about 5 inches forward after firing from the sled! I wanted to see if I could group anything at 50 or 100 yards, but with a 3-9 scope, 100 would be nuts. There’s no wind so I thought it would be possible. Well.. there’s laminar (?) flow in the tube for the typical rifle smoke, which might also affect the pellet flight. I think the sled might have had a bad effect related to why the artillery hold is recommended.


Leave a Comment

Buy With Confidence

  • Free Shipping

    Get FREE shipping on qualifying orders! Any order $150+ with a shipping address in the contiguous US will receive the option for free ground shipping on items sold & shipped by Pyramyd AIR during checkout. Certain restrictions apply.

    Free shipping may not be combined with a coupon unless stated otherwise.

    View Shipping Info

  • Shipping Time Frame

    We work hard to get all orders placed by 12 pm EST out the door within 24 hours on weekdays because we know how excited you are to receive your order. Weekends and holiday shipping times will vary.

    During busy holidays, we step our efforts to ship all orders as fast as possible, but you may experience an additional 1-2 day delay before your order ships. This may also happen if you change your order during processing.

    View Shipping Times

  • Shipping Restrictions

    It's important to know that due to state and local laws, there are certain restrictions for various products. It's up to you to research and comply with the laws in your state, county, and city. If you live in a state or city where air guns are treated as firearms you may be able to take advantage of our FFL special program.

    U.S. federal law requires that all airsoft guns are sold with a 1/4-inch blaze orange muzzle or an orange flash hider to avoid the guns being mistaken for firearms.

    View Shipping Restrictions

  • Expert Service and Repair

    Get the most out of your equipment when you work with the expert technicians at Pyramyd AIR. With over 25 years of combined experience, we offer a range of comprehensive in-house services tailored to kickstart your next adventure.

    If you're picking up a new air gun, our team can test and tune the equipment before it leaves the warehouse. We can even set up an optic or other equipment so you can get out shooting without the hassle. For bowhunters, our certified master bow technicians provide services such as assembly, optics zeroing, and full equipment setup, which can maximize the potential of your purchase.

    By leveraging our expertise and precision, we ensure that your equipment is finely tuned to meet your specific needs and get you ready for your outdoor pursuits. So look out for our services when shopping for something new, and let our experts help you get the most from your outdoor adventures.

    View Service Info

  • Warranty Info

    Shop and purchase with confidence knowing that all of our air guns (except airsoft) are protected by a minimum 1-year manufacturer's warranty from the date of purchase unless otherwise noted on the product page.

    A warranty is provided by each manufacturer to ensure that your product is free of defect in both materials and workmanship.

    View Warranty Details

  • Exchanges / Refunds

    Didn't get what you wanted or have a problem? We understand that sometimes things aren't right and our team is serious about resolving these issues quickly. We can often help you fix small to medium issues over the phone or email.

    If you need to return an item please read our return policy.

    Learn About Returns

Get FREE shipping on qualifying orders! Any order $150+ with a shipping address in the contiguous US will receive the option for free ground shipping on items sold & shipped by Pyramyd AIR during checkout. Certain restrictions apply.

Free shipping may not be combined with a coupon unless stated otherwise.

View Shipping Info

Text JOIN to 91256 and get $10 OFF Your Next $50+ Order!

* By providing your number above, you agree to receive recurring autodialed marketing text msgs (e.g. cart reminders) to the mobile number used at opt-in from Pyramyd AIR on 91256. Reply with birthday MM/DD/YYYY to verify legal age of 18+ in order to receive texts. Consent is not a condition of purchase. Msg frequency may vary. Msg & data rates may apply. Reply HELP for help and STOP to cancel. See Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy.