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Air Guns Air Venturi Rockin’ Rat target: Part 1

Air Venturi Rockin’ Rat target: Part 1

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Rockin' Rat
Rockin’ Rat.

This report covers:

  • Knocked down
  • Together in 3 minutes!
  • Instructions
  • Three minutes and done!
  • Now what?
  • Directions
  • Why the Rockin’ Rat?

Say hello to my little friend! I saw the Air Venturi Rockin’Rat target at the 2016 Pyramyd AIR Cup and asked to have one sent for evaluation. This is the kind of product I would like to write about more, but how can I make a story out of it? This one looks so interesting that I’m going to try.

Knocked down

The target comes knocked down in a lithographed box. As a man, those words “some assembly required” started screaming in my head. That’s what took the fun out of many Christmas mornings for me when my family was young. Everybody else was passed out from their sugar comas, listening to carols, while I looked at sheets of papertelling me to “press tab A into flange B”. My most memorable moment was when I bought a youth bicycle wrapped in plastic shrink wrap, and all I had to do was straighten the handlebars and tighten one nut. Hurrah!

But the Rockin’ Rat is more complex than that. Today I’m going to fool with tabs, flanges and fasteners. The box weighs 3 pounds, so you just know there’s a hornet’s nest of parts inside!

Together in 3 minutes!

Oh, phooey! This thing is so easy to assemble that I had it completely together in less time than I’ve spent complaining about it. But I have a report to write, so I’m going to drag things out in excruciating detail. First the parts.

Rockin' Rat parts
The parts. Not too many, but there’s that bag of fasteners that no man wants to see!

And of course there is a spanner for all the fasteners. Or, if you are an American, you can call it a wrench, because that’s what it really is. It’s thin and small and you think it can’t possibly do the job, but like I said — three minutes and the whole thing was together. The nuts have lockwashers on one side, so you tighten the bolts from the head side, which is the outside of the target.


As a man I do not read instructions. Women don’t understand because they were never taught that in school. Some men missed that class, as well. They are the nerdy ones who always do things right the first time. How are they ever going to learn if they never make mistakes? As for me — I am a perpetual student! But the Rockin’ Rat is just too simple to fool anyone. Read the instructions and you’ll see.

Rockin' Rat instructions
This is not how to write instructions for anything that must be assembled! There are supposed to be three pages of gobbledygook words and weird names for all the parts. And there should also be a few fasteners missing! But when there are only 4 nuts and 4 bolts, it’s hard to be confusing. At least they called the wrench a spanner.

Three minutes and done!

I was all revved up to give you a long sob story about how difficult this assembly is, but I finished as soon as I started. It takes me almost as long to assemble a field-stripped Garand.

They even sent the crossbar with the nuts already in place. And their washers are attached to those nuts, so they cannot be misplaced. I don’t think the Air Venturi target designers went to design school. Either that or one of them is a former Ikea employee.

Rockin' Rat crossbar
The nuts were already on the crossbar. Loosen the outer one (that contains the washer) and slip the bar into both sides of the target. This is really too simple.

And then the target was together! It was as if I was watching a television show about a guy assembling a car engine and they speeded up the film. Only it wasn’t speeded up and I was the one doing it. It just didn’t take long!

Rockin' Rat assembled
Like it or not, my Rockin’Rat was together in three minutes!

Now what?

I had hoped for a lengthy struggle with this target, so you could all praise me for hanging in there, but this was about as hard as closing a zipper! So, I thought I would take it out to its natural habitat and show you what it looks like.

Rockin' Rat quartering
Looking from the left front, you see how the target will rock when the face is hit.

Rockin' Rat straight
This is how the target will appear to the shooter. The object is to hit either one of the yellow paddles.

When you see the target as it will be shot you see that when the paddles are hit they will move more than the rest of the target. But if the face of the target is hit (the body of the rat), the whole target will rock, alerting you to the miss. That may not seem like a big deal when the target is freshly painted like it is here, but after sebveral hundred pellet impacts, you will see why the Rockin’Rat is such a good idea. Anyone who has shot field target will get it straight away.


The directions for use are on the box. If you don’t understand how the target works by looking at it, they are just as straightforward as the assembly instructions.

Rockin' Rat directions
If the target isn’t obvious, these instructions are on the box.

Why the Rocking’ Rat?

A lot of you tell me you would like to shoot field target. Well, the Rockin’Rat is a type of field target. But it’s one that doesn’t need to be reset after every hit. It takes care of itself by the way it works. You can set it out in the field and just shoot at it all day if you want to. There are no strings to break, no paddles to jam and you don’t even need to repaint it if you don’t want to. Just set it and forget it — except for shooting it, of course. This will be the best twenty bucks you ever spent on your hobby!

The instructions say to keep the guns you shoot at this target to under 22 foot-pounds. I’m going to revise that downward a bit. I’d keep them at 15 foot-pounds or less. More than that and the metal will bend with time.

I made this a Part 1 because I intend coming back and shooting this target for you. I know — it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it!

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.

49 thoughts on “Air Venturi Rockin’ Rat target: Part 1”

  1. Well somebody has to say it and I’m sure you’re waiting for it so here goes,
    Ya put the paddle bar on backwards according to the instructions!
    Haha now that that’s outta the way,this is a neat target design and yes I want one.
    It will go well with my Air Venturi spinner target!

  2. BB et all..
    Well, definitely a little cooler this afternoon than it’s been the last couple of days. The thermometer on my range read 46°F. This will be the first time this fall for me to use the co2 cold weather drill that I use for my co2 guns. Action pistols or rifles – all that’s needed for this to work is removable mags that hold both the BB’s a and co2 cartridges. For 45°F and above use 2 mags. Down to 35°F use 3 mags. Below 35°F use 4 mags. If you haven’t got that many mags then just use what you have – you need at least 2 mags.
    Load the BB’s, 8 to 10 when it’s really cold and 12 to 14 when it’s a little warmer. Store the mags under your jacket where it’s warm, I usually use my shirt pocket which works perfectly. Be methodical with your shooting, no rapid fire scenarios, the idea is not to let the co2 cartridge get too cold. When it’s really cold wear a light cotton or wool glove.
    When you have used up the mag, remove and reload. To keep from fumbling the BB’s in the cold use a Umarex Steel BB Speed Loader. When new these speed loaders sometimes jam and missfeed. The fix is to spray down the insides with some silicone spray and run a couple of full loads through them. No Ballistol or Jigaloo as the carrier fluid may eat into the plastic of the speed loader. Also learn to use them for any mag you have without using any of the loading attachments. I’ve never used them, even for the guns they’re made specifically for!!
    Treated properly these speed loaders should last you a long time. I’ m currently in the third year of use on the one I use for Daisy Premium’s.
    Once reloaded place the cold mag in your pocket, take the warm one and load the gun. You should be able to get 8 to 14 good powered shots this way depending on the temperature.
    I have used this drill on warmer winter days, well below freezing, with a foot of fresh snow on the ground with no problems. I find the only limitations are with myself and how much cold I’ m willing to stand.
    Hope this drill extends your winter shootin’ fun!!!
    PS: on really cold days you might want to warm up your gun by holding it in your armpit or even better in a shoulder holster for a while. I have no idea how the pot metal slide construction on blowback guns will hold up when they get cold and brittle.
    So far I’ve had no problems but I still warm the guns up regularly and keep my fingers crossed.

  3. BB
    Sorry for the typo in the first line of my last few blog entries. Seems the spell check on this tablet doesn’t quite know how to handle Latin very well and autocorrects incorrectly.
    Just noticed.

  4. BB,

    LOL! JTinAL beat me to it, but despite reading the directions your manhood came shining through!

    I have been wondering about the paddle arrangement and had been thinking that the top paddle was for resetting, but none of the photos I had seen illustrated what was the arrangement behind the body.

    I am certain that should this one prove to be a success that other designs will be forthcoming and even possibly interchangeable size kill zones.

    As you have pointed out, many of these commercial “field targets” are beaten up pretty badly with regular use. If you refrain from using your uber magnums on it, this thing should be quite entertaining for a good, long time.

      • Okay, I will admit that even after reading this blog about how simple this device is and some of the discussion here, I still do not know what the two paddles are for. When you hit the kill zone paddle, the target goes down. What happens when you hit the small paddle? The target does not go down. Does the paddle? Then, how does the target reset? I thought field targets had strings you could pull from a distance to raise the targets without walking out there. With the second paddle you would still have to pull a string to reset the target. If you have to walk out to reset, then you’ve only gained one extra target for each walk. I don’t get it. I can only long for automatic pop up targets like they have in the army which I once got to experience when I was in JROTC.

        Sirinako, nobody gets on the Red Baron’s six. One of my satisfactions with my offhand shooting was a sense of knowing when to release the shot. It felt like Mr. Scott’s line in Star Trek where he tells the people of the planet Gideon that their cities have been fed into the fire control system of the Enterprise and the phasers were locked on target. Or it is like a blog reader who once posted that after years of shooting, he just knew when to release the shot without being able to explain it. Maybe after years, the Jaws of the Subconscious are being brought into the light even if they are not fully under control.

        I think that I also gained a new sense of control over the Enfield sights. The wisdom is that the aperture sights on the M1 series and the AR rifles are the best design for military rifles. I don’t disagree with that, but I think they are the best for long-distance shooting with military rifles. That was also true of the old Springfield ladder sights which were great for long-distance but poor for close quarters. I think the peep sights strike a better balance. I’ve heard it said that they enable faster sight acquisition than older open sights. But when the aperture is as small as it is on American rifles, I think it favors longer distances.

        My Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk. I* actually has apertures of two different sizes so they’ve got this covered. But they’ve done something interesting with the front sight. It is very narrow and at first I thought this was inferior to an M1 front post. For precision and distance shooting, it likely is. However, I now think that the narrow front post, like the two different apertures in back, strike a balance between near and far distances. What it loses in precision, it gains in this ability to poke quickly into the target for a rapid sight picture. For that matter, the Mauser 98K sights with their triangle front post have something of the same ability. It could be that these European rifles were actually somewhat ahead of the game with an assault rifle type orientation for their sights even if they had not developed the caliber or design yet.

        The Enfield sights are also part of a whole level of ergonomics before the term was even invented. That front post does something to make the mind more aggressive. The cock on close action complements it. In theory, the cock on close action was chosen so that more strength could be applied on the front stroke to eject the case without being used to cock the action as well. But more important to me is that it allows the biggest muscles–the arm and shoulder–to work on the biggest resistance which is cocking the action on the forward stroke. Slamming the bolt closed and poking that front sight into the target worked me into a kind of frenzy of joy. No wonder I felt like a Red Baron. This rifle is a key part of any shooting experience I do believe.

        There was one other strange incident at the range. I was licking my chops at a 50 round box of .357 steel cased ammo for a cheap price. But it jammed my SW 686, so I barely got through the cylinder. Then the rounds woudn’t eject. They were tighter than a tick and would not budge no matter how much force I put on the ejecting rod. I only got them out at home by flooding the cylinder with Ballistol and cautiously hammering out each case. Now, I wonder why this happened. Perhaps I got the worst of both worlds. I’ve heard that a revolver can jam if you switch between .38 special and .357 magnum without cleaning. And I’ve heard that a gun can jam if you go from brass-cased to steel-cased. I did both in going from my .38 special to .357 magnum ammo. This is a problem as under no circumstances do I want to damage my revolver.


        • On M1 garand and others I just drilled out the peep a little bigger to where I wanted it worked great. as far as enfield sites I have all of them and without windage on the rear site I had to knock over the front site to zero it putting the site off center of the protective ears which is horrible being you always center the ears in the peep. I have to really remember to center the site

        • Matt61,

          As B.B. said the target rocks back and forth if you hit the steel plates and is considered to be reset once it stops rocking. If you hit the large yellow paddle the target only the yellow paddle moves and you are rewarded by a target you can shoot again. The other paddle is smaller and represents another target for the shooter.

          Sounds like those steel cased rounds were loaded with a charge that developed higher than normal pressures the way you describe those cases sticking. Any deformation on the primers?


      • Siraniko,

        No, it would not be a problem to modify. I was thinking that as a future offering they could have one with different size zones from say 1 1/2″ down to 1/2″ that you could easily change out as some field target kits offer. A deluxe model shall we say.

  5. BB,

    Something I just noticed is your first picture was downloaded and probably that of the first generation. The rat is mounted with screws and the rockers appear to be welded while your photos show it mounted with more substantial bolts and the rockers are separate. It seems the original was preassembled so as not to challenge our manhood. 😉

  6. RR,

    Good eye! But I don’t know if the target in the first photo is a target in Pyramyd Air’s possession. They might have gotten that stock picture from the target manufacturer when they got the first targets.

    As I told JTinAL, Pyramyd AIR has a target that’s assembled just like I assembled mine. The direction of the paddles makes no difference in function.


    • B.B.,

      I just posted a comment for today on yesterdays blog. If you could move it to today, that would be awesome. If not, no big deal. I always go back and look for overnight comments and did not realize what day I was on. 🙁

      Thanks, Chris (p.s.,…. and delete this one?)

      • Chris U
        Here I copy and pasted it here for you. Can’t delete for you though. No need to delete. And can’t copy the reply button. So hope people see and reply under your last reply if needed.

        “Chris USA
        September 28, 2016 at 5:33 am

        Nice job on overcoming your mechanical angst. Good pictures too. Too bad that you had to down rate the fpe recommendations. Of course, fpe (at target) would be the factor. The fact that it is free to “rock” should absorb quite a bit of energy. If I were to design something,…. 11 gauge steel would be the minimum. That runs right around .125″ thick. It would be interesting to know the .xxx” of this.

        I saw your comment from yesterday that you are going to do another series on the .25 M-rod. That caught my interest. I had thought that you were done with it. I also saw where you told someone that the M-rod would be “on the way” the other day. I thought that maybe you had sold it. Maybe sent it out for a bit of a “tweak”? At any rate, I will be looking forward to whatever you got “cooking”.

        Good day all,…… Chris”

        • GF1,

          Thanks dude!!! B.B. did answer the steel thickness question and said it was .140″. So, for the “heavy hitters”,…. it sounds as if 1/4″ is the material of choice.

          Major rain for the next few days here. I did get out yesterday. Very nice Fall weather,….. finally!

          • Chris U
            No problem. And I have had for the last 2 days this crazy sinus cold. Headaches and sore throat. One minute all stopped up the next minute nose running and can’t stop sneezing.

            Haven’t shot for like 3 days with all kind of stuff going on. But finally out shooting today. And got us a new little 7 week old puppy. Been wanting to get another one. My sqerrial dog I had for 18 years died last year. It was a little short hair terrior that had blonde hair. The new puppy is the same and it’s a brindle color. Got it from a old farmer that sqerrial hunts. He owns both parent dogs and they are both tiger stripes brindle color and hunt good. So I hope ours gets the tiger stripes. Hes already got his nose sniffing and will stop and raise one of his front paws like he’s trying to point. I’m going to get him in the woods soon as the leaves start falling off the trees. Got to see if he’ll start running some sqerrials up the trees. It’s been a long long time since I trained a hunting dog but kind of excited about it.

    • BB,

      Oh, I could tell that the direction of the paddles do not affect function. It is that I just had to bust your chops a little bit after your bragging about actually reading the instructions and still put the paddles on opposite of how it is illustrated in the instructions.

  7. I have to admit that I am one of those weird guys that reads all the instructions BEFORE starting… sorry, it is a quirk of mine.

    I do hate the instructions that are for a dozen similar models that are written in a dozen languages – they take 10 minutes with a highlighter just to sort out! LOL!

    The ones written in Chinese and translated (???) to English can be quite entertaining/challenging though. 🙂

    Good day to all!


    • Hank,

      I’ve taken courses in technical writing, which includes manual writing. The process is often Chinese to English by a translator who has poor English or poor (insert appropriate Asian language). Asian companies need to hire seriously fluent translators.


      • Michael,

        If they hired fluent translators it would take the fun and the challenge out of the assembly LOL!

        I bought an electric fish-filleting knife that advised me (in large bold type) to “keep out of children”… probably a good idea eh?

        Some assembly manuals are very well written. I just assembled two 8×10 garden sheds and the manuals put out by the manufacture (Arrow) were excellent – complete with an overview, parts list, accurate drawings with blown-up details, step-by-step assembly instructions, cautions and explanations. Best I have ever seen.


          • Being in a technical field I read a lot of manuals, seen some real gems where it was obvious that the author was not fluent in the process and/or the language.

            I speak English, French, Dutch and have a smattering of Japanese, German and Russian thrown into the mix.

            In dealing with a variety of languages (and my relatives, fresh off the boat) I have a good ear for understanding my customers whose native tongue is not English – It also explains why the sentence structure in some of my posts may be a little strange 🙂

            The computer translators can be a lot of fun but should be used cautiously – I typed “Marry had a little lamb” into one and the translation was not suitable for mixed company!!


        • There was a famous booboo by Suzuki motorcycles, right when they first started selling in the USA. It was, I believe, a full page add in one or more motorcycle magazines with the text “Suzuki are here!”.

  8. BB—I bought my rat as soon as PA put it on their site. I had no trouble putting it together. I am having a lot of fun using it. 20 + years ago I bought a plastic ship model kit made in China. It had a motor and was a working model. The instructions on how to ballast the model ended with the comment—” water not included”. —-Ed

  9. B.B.,

    A target for the James Cagney in each of us! (Actually, I’ve read he never said, “You dirty rat.”)

    Strings on the floor are a pain, so I could see using this as part of a basement range. Do any indoor shooters compensate for the much shorter distance by reducing the magnification on the scope to 2x? The absolute max in our basement is 15 yards.


    • Gunfun1
      Off topic but I thought the best way to get your attention!!
      Monday was a beautiful fall day here, temps in the high 70’s and no wind in the afternoon. I loaded up the Daisy 74 and holstered an M&P 40 BB pistol and went down to my creek bottom range. Had a lot of fun and finally got to wring out the 74 the way I wanted too.
      My final thoughts are that it’s a great little plinker out to about 22yards. After 22 yards the trajectory really falls off and the holdover becomes so great you have to use a whole bunch of ranging shots to determine holdover and hit anything. If you run the data in Chairgun using a realistic 260 – 270 fps you will see that at 30 yards holdover is more than 10 inches and 35 yards around 2 feet.
      The M&P 40 that I had with me is a pretty hot little pistol. Good to excellent plinking accuracy as it shoots to the point of aim. It was making so much noise when it hit a can that I chronyed the pistol at 475 fps on a new cartridge and it shot 4 – 20rd mags per cartridge at good power with the muzzle velocity dropping for mags 5 and 1/2 of the 6th.
      Not my hottest BB pistol, that title falls to my KWC Jericho 941 that chronys at 495 fps. That’s the gun that I used yesterday for the cold weather drills. I have 4 mags for the gun but only had to use 2 mags yesterday. I have the Jericho set up with a bridge mount and a Walther Top Point Red Dot Sight. The dot is huge, designed for close quarter battle, maybe 10 MOA. The dot is so huge I use the center top of the dot for my zero which seems to work fine. Also trains me to hold my handguns vertical.
      So, before I get accused of rambling I have one other thing for you. You can make a great sling mount on the 74 with only a piece of Velcro tape, or in a pinch some paracord and a 1 inch key ring. Simply fasten the ring to the pistol grip just behind the co2 screw then use a single point sling or as I did a shoulder strap from an old laptop case. It works great, just let the 74 hang and you can use your pistol comfortably with both hands. For walking just cradle the 74 with your left arm.
      Give it a try. A properly strapped rifle makes walking a pleasure, even if it only weighs a few pounds like the 74!!!

      • Dave
        Thanks for all that info. And yep I still think the 74 is a nice shooting bb gun. 22 yards is a pretty fair distance I think for shooting unsupported for a bb gun.

        And I’m actually shooting my M22 blowback pistol right now with some smart shot lead bb’s out at 15 yards. It tears them cans up. And also shooting my Python with pellets. It’s not the one with individual cartridges you load. It’s the one that has a 10 shot rotary clip. It’s really a very accurate pistol with pellets and it’s rifled barrel. Cans don’t stand a chance at 30 yards. I can even hit a 2 litre soda bottle with it out at 50 yards. And thats standing unsupported shooting.

        And then back to bb shooters. The Steel Storm I got on that tethered regulated 13 cubic inch Air Venturi HPA bottles is crazy. I been thinking about setting my 74 up with one. Or at least get a extra adapter that replaces the 12 gram co2 cartridge. Then quick disconnect form the Foster fitting right over to the 74. Air Venturi makes it and it’s only like 19 bucks.

        You should think about it. Then you ain’t got to worry about your gun slowing up rapid fire shooting or cold weather. Plus the guns velocity increases on HPA. And that little 13 cubic inch bottle fits right in your front pocket. I bet the 74 would get 800 shots or more on one 3000 psi fill. And the air Venturi bottle is regulated to 1200 psi so it works great on the co2 guns. It for sure woke up the Steel Storm.

        • Gunfun1
          HPA sounds interesting but there’s nowhere local for refills. It will be awhile before I move to the Dark Side.
          I have had a Steel Storm since 2009 when they first became available in Canada and also a Steel Force since 2012. Both guns were available here about a year before the US Both guns are co2 bulked and I run a couple of 12 oz paintball tanks for power. The smaller tanks are light enough carry all day long in a belt harness and with a spare in my range bag I can switch out tanks when I have to. The Steel Storm is just about retired, replaced by the Steel Force which is a much handier gun with the folding stock and etc. The big plus is co2 is readily available locally here.
          I try to get out every day for a little shooting but today was the coolest so far for the week at about 44°F. By about 5PM it had turned clear and temperature was up to 57°F. Too late to go out shooting and hope it warms up tomorrow.
          Well, gettin’ late here so I’m going to sign off.

  10. Gunfun1
    Never thought about a hand pump. Might be something to consider after getting the carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists fixed. Should be done by next summer. Right hand surgery end of October this year and left hand scheduled for March next year. Until then I just have to take it easy.

    • Dave
      Understand that. But I think you would like a HPA hand pump. It definitely opens up a broad range of possibilities with different guns.

      Once you get done with your surgery maybe you can look into a hand pump. I think you would be happy with one.

  11. BB

    Let me tell you how manly I am. I am so manly that I assembled some metal storage shelves a few weeks back without reading the instructions. I did so good a job that I ended up with 6 extra parts. Beat that!

    Maybe one day I will find out what those extra parts are for when I extricate myself after being pinned down from collapsed metal storage shelves.

    • Slinging Lead,

      You are a fine man and Edith loved hearing from you, but, Grasshopper, what you did is nothing!

      I once assembled some storage shelves and had the parts for two entire storage shelves left over! Edith stopped me because the cursing was bothering her. I believe we sold those shelves at a garage sale, and we never bought shelves with small parts again!


      • Well, I should have guessed that you had me beat.

        That is a beautiful lawn, by the way. Much nicer than my lawn. Battlefields in Afghanistan have nicer lawns than my lawn.

        Looking forward to part 10 of this report!

  12. B.B.

    You are too macho! Here you say, “just do it”, yet when it comes to disassembling an air rifle you say make sure you can put it back to together before you take it a part. I have a completely buggered trigger from the former attitude and am now waiting on a complete new trigger unit before I try again fixing the buggered one…..
    How many functions of your camera are you not even aware of because of the former attitude. I think we need another visit from Jamel!


  13. B.B.
    Good morning guys. I wasn’t sure where to post this but has anyone ever used those plastic water bottle caps as targets and if you have how do you use them,how to get them to stand upright? I know somebody out there has come up with a good idea for using them. I considered putting duct seal on a 2×4 and sticking them in it but maybe there is a better idea out there. Thanks in advance all. Have a very blessed day.

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