by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

This report covers:

  • What is a spinner?
  • Enter Codeuce
  • How they differ
  • The bearings
  • Two power levels
  • You can help

There have been some steady threads among the comments that have nothing to do with the topics of the report. One that has lasted for a long time is spinner targets. Some of you veteran readers may remember back in March of this year that reader Vana2 wroter a guest blog titled,
DIY spinner targets. Today I’m starting a report on some serious spinners made by reader Codeuce. He is relatively new to airgunning but we have already seen his innovation in the form of an assisted hand pump jig he built. So, when he offered to let me test his new spinners, I jumped at the chance. When you write your comments he will be reading and answering, so this report is being written by both of us.

What is a spinner?

I’ve been an airgunner for more than 60 years and a firearms shooter for most of that time. Like many of you, I have seen and shot at lots of spinners. For airguns the simplest ones are a flat piece of metal that’s twisted 90 degrees at the top with a small hole drilled through. A rod passes through the hole and serves as the axel upon which the spinner spins when hit. This Birchwood Casey spinner gallery is a good example of that.

commercial spinners
Birchwood Casey’s spinner gallery is the simplest type of spinner, described above.

This design can be modified by putting the twist in the middle of the steel and putting a target both down low and above the bar. You need two 90 degree twists for this. The heavier target hangs at the bottom and ensures that the spinner will always return to the upright position, like this Air Venturi spinner. One of the two paddles must be heavier or this spinner can stop in a position that makes it both hard to see and to hit.

Air Venturi spinner
Air Venturi spinner has a target paddle below and above the central bar. Often the top paddle will be smaller than the bottom one.

Enter Codeuce

Codeuce felt the market was underserved for action targets — especially good quality ones that have larger paddles for longer distance shooting. So he made some that he would like to use. He told me about them and I asked if I could test them to show to you. He consented and sent two targets for me to test.

How they differ

These targets have real bearings on axels, so they spin freely. I will try to show that to you in a future report. But today we can examine the targets and see how they are made.

coduece spinners
Two spinners made by codeuce. I mounted them on some 2 by 10 boards. Notice the left target is angled to miss the bottom target paddle when both paddles spin.

Take a good look at those two spinners. The one on the left side is angled so its paddles clear the ones on the bottom target. The two targets can be mounted closer to each other than you see here. I made this mount in 30 minutes out of 2 by 10-inch lumber.

There is more to these than you can see on first glance. For example, the maker counterbalanced the top paddle on the bottom target so it would spin freely. The bottom paddle being larger is heavier than the top, but with washers he made the two weigh nearly the same, so they spin a long time. Take off the extra washers and the spin stops sooner.

coduece spinners counterbalance
The top spinner paddle is counterbalanced to allow the spin to last a long time. It also makes the spinner easier to move, so less energy is required.

The other target’s top paddle has no counterbalance, so the spin stops quickly. As you can see, these features are quick and easy to change to suit your needs.

coduece spinners no counterbalance
This spinner has no counterbalance, so it slows down fast.

The bearings

The maker uses conveyor bearings on his targets, but he thinks skateboard wheel bearings would work as well. Those are readily available at discount and sporting goods stores. I can tell you the paddles move very freely, even though they are made of heavy steel.

coduece spinners bearing
The hub of the spinner (arrow) is a conveyor bearing.

The bearing runs on an axel that is bushed to remain centered in the target frame. Everything has been done right.

Two power levels

The targets as shown have higher power paddles installed. He also sent me thinner paddle faces for airguns of lower power. I plan to test them with both high and low power airguns with the high power paddles installed, because I think the bearings makes this setup universal — especially with the counterbalance. The lower powered guns may not spin the paddles as fast, but I think they will work. We shall see.

coduece spinners lower power paddles
These thinner paddles lower the target’s power requirements.

You can help

Codeuce wonders whether there is a market for high quality spinners like these. They obviously have to cost more than the simple spinners I showed in the beginning.

I plan to test these spinners with powerful airguns and with weaker ones, as well. I will also listen to any suggestions you readers have.