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Air Guns Two action targets: Part 2

Two action targets: Part 2

by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier

Air Venturi Rockin’ Rat target: Part 1
Codeuce spinner targets: Part 1
Codeuce spinner targets: Part 2

This report covers:

  • Benjamin Wildfire
  • More powerful airguns needed
  • Enter Codeuce
  • The eyes again
  • Did very well
  • Codeuce spinners
  • Summary

Today I will finish my report on two different action targets we have been testing. First up is the Air Venturi Rockin’Rat. Part 1 of this review was way back in September of this year, but it goes back even farther than that. I had the Rockin’ Rat at the 2017 Texas Airgun Show, back in August. And I had created what I thought would be a fascinating way to show it to you.

Benjamin Wildfire

I took the Rockin’Rat over to John McCaslin’s house, to let him shoot at it with the Benjamin Wildfire. I figured seeing the target hit 12 times in rapid succession would be pretty impressive. I got all set up with my camera and John zeroed the rifle at the distance he would be shooting, so we were prepared to be amazed. The camera started rolling and John shot 12 times and — nothing! I felt bad for him, missing such an easy target from only 25 feet.

Then I went to the target and saw all 12 impacts of his pellets. He hit the paddle every time! The paddle simply didn’t move. That wasn’t very impressive.

Then the Texas Airgun Show happened and I let the public shoot at the rat. When I retrieved it at the end of the show there were a lot of hits but no damage to either the paddles or the face (that’s the silhouette of the rat). Apparently I underestimated this target.

More powerful airguns needed

At the Texas show I had told the folks running the range not to let people with powerful airguns shoot at it. And, if we are talking about an AirForce Condor, that still holds true. The rat isn’t made for 65 foot-pound airguns. But neither is it made for 8 foot-pound airguns. So I set it aside for more than a month, while I pondered the situation.

Enter Codeuce

Then reader Codeuce sent me his spinners to test. I needed to get outdoors for most of a day anyway, to test that big Texas Star target that you will be seeing next week, so I decided to combine the test of the Codeuce spinners with the Rockin’ Rat that was tested on the same day. This time I took more powerful air rifles to shoot, but there was a problem.

The eyes again

I forgot to take a pair of low-magnification reading glasses, and on this day of testing my eyes were so bad I could not see the front sights of either of the two open-sighted rifles. I had my scoped TX200, but wouldn’t you know that it was sighted for 50 yards, and, since I wanted to shoot offhand, I needed to adjust the scope for closer. That’s when I discovered I didn’t have an Allen wrench to unlock the scope adjustments of the Hawke 4.5-14 scope. The best-laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley!

So I’m out there with all my targets and I can’t see the front sights, nor adjust the one scope I have. Well, I did think to bring my K98 Mauser .22 pellet rifle that has large open sights. When I wore my regular reading glasses (2.5 magnification) I could see both sights clearly, but the target was very blurry. However, if I stood no more than 20 feet from the target I could see it okay. That’s what I did.

Tom shoots K98
The K98 Mauser saved the day!

I said in the video that the K98 is a 15-16 foot-pound rifle, but upon re-reading my test, it’s really 17-20 foot-pounds. So, that’s what I’m shooting at the Rockin’ Rat.

Did very well

I would say that I nailed the power requirement for the rat target. Twenty foot pounds moved the paddles well but didn’t dimple the metal on the face when I shot it. If you have a 30 foot pound gun, just back up to 20 yards. If you have more power than that, back up accordingly.

The paddles spin very freely, but the rat doesn’t like to move when hit. He has a flat spot on the bottom to keep him stable, so, unless you overpower him, I think you want to shoot just the paddles. Now, let’s look at the spinners that Codeuce made.

Codeuce spinners

I said in the title that this is Part 2, but for the Codeuce spinners it’s Part 3. We have already seen them shot by a low-powered air rifle. For the same reasons as the other target, I also shot them with the K98 Mauser. And I had to stand just as close to be able to see this target.

I missed the target on the third shot and that was edited out to save time. I also only nicked the spinner on the second shot, but hit the other spinner solidly on the first shot, and you can see the different effect that had on the target.

Again, this is what a 20 foot-pound airgun does to the spinners. I never swapped the paddles for the lighter weight ones Codeuce sent, and I don’t think it’s necessary. That bearing makes his spinners spin so freely that almost any energy is enough.


These two targets are perfect for most airguns, although you will want some minimum energy for the Rockin’ Rat — maybe 14 foot pounds. Somebody mentioned leaving these targets outside all the time. I don’t think that’s a good idea. They are portable enough that you can carry them in and out easily enough, and the way I have the Codeuce spinners mounted makes them very handy to move. The only thing I might add is a carry handle on the upright board.

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.

40 thoughts on “Two action targets: Part 2”

  1. B.B.,

    It seems making a low cost reactive target for low power airguns is not as easy as it looks. Make it robust enough and the airgun won’t be able to make the target react properly. Make it easy enough to react and you might have to tie it down to prevent it from flying off to parts unknown.

    Did John McCaslin have enough fun shooting the Wildfire to inspire him to make a repeating AirForce version? Only time will tell.


    PS. Thank you for enlarging my knowledge of the English language. When I first read that sentence, ” The best-laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley!” my first thought was that you were swearing. That didn’t make sense as that you have maintained this site as family friendly as possible. So I had to look up the phrase and it revealed itself to be the original words of Robert Burns’ poem “To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest With the Plough, November, 1785”

      • Siraniko,

        Before I had the Internet, I listened to interview/discussions on the radio. One interview I remember in part. The guest said it was common for us to sing, “old ang zine” and this was inaccurate. Rather, it is “auld lang syne” which is “old long since”. This proved to be more emotional for me than I had known it before. As I approach my 67th birthday on December 2nd, I know of many thing and people that are “old long since”.


  2. B.B.,

    Nice job on the videos,.. always the treat. Nice picture of you as well. Very nice. I wonder why you did not use hold under with the TX200?

    Nice job on Coduece’s spinners. They win hands down in my book. Do you have further tests planned for them? Up the power, grain and fpe to see how much they can withstand? Call it duration testing, destructive testing or product development. As long as the hit is on the paddles, I think that they could take some very substantial punishment.

    Good Day to you and to all,… Chris

    Good Day

      • ‘morning BB,

        Curious about your comment that hold under doesn’t mix well with action targets.

        I was shooting spinners yesterday for the main purpose of practicing hold under/over. I do this regularly to the point that I am not consciously aware of how much compensation I use – just look at the target and let fly. Not sure why you would say it doesn’t mix.

        I have my 1″ spinner targets set up from 5 to 50 yards and my rifles configured for a 3/4″ KZ which puts the NZ at between 12 & 18 yards (depending on the rifle) and the FZ at 35 to 42 yards; mid-range is 30 ish.

        For me, 5 to 20 yard ranges require hold under; I tend to hold a bit low at mid-range and anything after the FZ needs some serious attention to stay in the KZ.

        This works well for me as I hunt squirrels and rabbits and shots are under 40 yards – usually 20 to 30 yards. I practice hold under shots because many times I’ll spot a rabbit holding at 10 feet and have a fraction of a second to shoot before he bolts. – like my .22 caliber HW100 for this work.

        Long shots come later in the season when the bunnies spook easier and the white snowshoe show up well before the snow flies or cottontails show up well after there is snow. I bought my .25 caliber Royale 500 and a laser rangefinder especially for late season hunting.


        • Hank
          Agree with you on the hold overs and under. Definitely with my scope guns and for sure with my open sight HW30s on my spinners.

          Matter of fact. That’s what I mostly use for my spinner practice is my HW30s with open sights. It’s fun to practice windage holds even on the spinners with the open sights.

          I got the spinners that have a high paddle and a low paddle. I use the high paddle to see how far above the target I can aim before I miss. And the lower paddle for how low below the paddle I can aim before I miss. Same on the windage of the left and right hit or miss.

          I use them more than paper targets to check that. Mostly cause I have so many set at different locations and distances.

          Matter of fact I was just thinking over the weekend they should make a new field target class. I was think a steel spinner course set up and air guns with only open sights. And basically follow the other rules of Feild target.

          I think that would be a cool class to get started.

          • Gunfun1,

            I’m going to cogitate and probably act on that. In my area we have a dearth of reliable springer rated scopes. ½-1″ swinger plate with a 2-3″ splash washer possibly. Hit the swinger for 2 points and the plate for 1 point. To idea as to what range it should be limited to though since it will be limited to iron sights. Maintain the 45 yard limit?

            • Siraniko
              Sure 45 yard limit. But only open sights. Not even dot sights.

              And any kind of air gun. Even multi pumps. But probably need a fpe limit and probably no bigger than 22. caliber.

              It would be a easy course to set up too. I think it would be a fun event.

              If you do it let me know. I already have mine set up in the back yard. It’s fun. Me and my daughter’s take turns shooting. We take 1 shot at each target. Then add up the hits just to keep it simple.

  3. “It seems making a low cost reactive target for low power airguns is not as easy as it looks”

    Oh yeah, you are correct in that statement! I’ve made a number of attempts and had a number of failures when making a spinner target to use with my low power (sub 500fps models) and have run into that problem. At first I used square aluminum tubing pivoting on a horizontal axle mounted to one of the clipboards I used as target holders with my pellet trap. Seemed to work fine – then I walked up to the trap and looked closely at the spinners and saw how deformed and dented they were after just a dozen shots! Steel square tubing stood up well but didn’t really spin. Eventually through trial and error I found the length and wall thickness of steel tube that moved easily enough but also held up under impact.

    I can sympathize with the eye trouble right now BB – I’ve got a cataract problem in my right eye and am scheduled for surgery soon. At least my left eye is still good so pistols are no problem. I’m left eye dominant but right handed so I’ve always shot pistol aiming with my left eye anyways but rifles are a bit of a problem for now.

  4. B.B.,

    Codeuce has done well in a really difficult design challenge. It seems like there is a very fine line when it comes to all-metal reactive targets for air guns. Many get negative reviews for not being stout enough in materials for even a 6 foot-pound shooter, but many others do not work as designed with under 12 or so foot-pounds.

    I have been looking for reactive targets appropriate at 10 – 20 yards for the Walther Lever Action, which is an action shooting dream. But it shoots too lightly for the vast majority of metal reactive targets available. For example, with the Air Venturi Stampede Pellet Trap the maximum distance for the Walther Lever Action, which is a 5 – 5 1/4 foot-pound air rifle, is between 10 yards and 10 meters. Past that and the targets will not reliably drop or rest if hit.

    The Air Venturi Dueling Tree is tempting, but I have doubts a Walther Lever Action or 1077 will make it function except at perhaps 20 – 25 feet. At 20 feet, however, it is too easy for long guns, and CO2 air pistols are too weak.

    For Olympic target air rifles such as the FWB 300, I have found the Gamo Rocker Pellet Trap to be almost perfect at 10 meters, although every now and then the rest will fail to function even with a direct hit. Besides, target air guns are hardly action shooters.


  5. B.B.,

    I wonder how well Codeuce’ spinners would do with a multi-shot CO2 pellet revolver or pistol such as, say, the Colt Peacemaker or one of the many 1911 based models out recently. I do believe the paddles will move, but I am wondering at what maximum distance. After all, that is only about 2 foot-pounds. (Of course the maximum distance for consistently hitting the paddles will be shorter for a CO2 revolver or pistol, too.)

    Plus, I imagine you still have your personal shorty Walther Lever Action. Accurate, fun, quick, roughly 5 foot-pounds . . . And don’t forget Lucas McCain!


  6. Coduce,
    I was thinking of a way to slow down the spinners. Perhaps a bamboo skewer stuck in the wooden base at right angle to the spinners with just the tip of the skewer just touching the top spinner. You will want to slow them down a bit when using a gun like the Wildfire. Congrats on a great design.


    • Pete,

      You have reminded me of younger days, when we used a spring loaded clothes pin and a playing card (or piece of card board) that was clipped by the spokes on our bicycle tires.

      This was before the avalanche of electronic cra … er … stuff to hold our attention.

      I do believe your idea has merit and worth exploring.


      • Coduece,
        There are grease products that are Inverse Viscous Dampening; that means that as they spin faster they actually turn more sticky and slow the bearings load quicker. I think I recall BB saying you use roller bearings and that would be perfect if you can find the right formulation.


        I would live to be a BETA TESTER even if it means buying in and S&H!


      • Coduece
        Are you going to paint them?

        I I like when one paddle is painted a different color than the other. I like seeing the color flash when the spinner spins.

        Oh and not bad welding. Did you weld them? And mater of fact what about the machining on the rods the bearings are on. Pretty nice work.

        • GF1
          Actually I’ve improved my welding process, initially I used flux core wire but have upgraded to shielding gas. As far as paint I’m gonna keep it simple, but I like the different color idea for the targets I’m gonna do that on my personal targets thanks.

          • Coduece
            Cool. When you do get around to painting your personal targets post a picture on the current days blog. I would like to see your own custom paint job. 🙂
            That’s what I like about spinners too. You can paint them up how you want. I went through and painted mine the other day. Definitely spiffed them up. They actually looked nice out in the yard.

            And yep gas welding is definitely better than flux core welding. I got a flux core wire fed and it works fine for what I do at home. But we got a real nice gas mig at work. We actually got stainless we weld at work. Takes different wire and gas.

            But yep probably just as much fun making yours as shooting at them I suppose.

          • Coduece,

            It looks like it is up to you to find out what they can withstand. Depending on what that may be,.. that could provide some (very good) marketing fodder vs the competitors models. I would for sure at least find out.

  7. B.B.
    WOW. That is a heck of a pic of you holding that beautiful K98 Mauser! That is the first pic I’ve seen where I can really judge it’s size. It does look the part. I think it’s stunning.


  8. I have the Rockin Rat and would not recommend it. My 22 airgun makes it spin but over time bends, twists, and/or bells the paddles. Maybe titanium but that would be too expensive. Less power in 22 would help but I am not willing to detune. Sometimes the paddles hang up when the heavy one doesn’t fall to the bottom. Maybe ball bearings? That also would add to the cost. I don’t own a 177 but suspect it would not carry enough punch. Yes, difficult to design a Rockin Rat that doesn’t require constant fiddling.

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