by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier*

This report covers:

  • The project
  • Attach the pan to the board
  • Now the duct seal
  • Finished trap
  • Put trap inside a box
  • Time?
  • Bottom
  • Future of the trap

I know that many of you readers are craftsmen, so today’s blog may disturb you a bit. You see, old BB is going to build something. I had a problem and found a very good (read that as cheap) way to solve it. I call it the Right Now pellet and BB trap.

One of the pastors at my church has a 9 year-old son who is very interested in guns. He’s a shy kid until he starts talking about guns. Then his eyes light up and he gets excited. I feel like I am looking at myself, threescore years ago.

I have been giving the boy my old gun magazines and he is soaking them up like a sponge. I also gave him a couple gun books that he and his father read together. His dad is not a gun guy, either, so I’m really working with two pupils here.

A couple weeks ago I spoke to the boy’s mother, and discovered that she is behind what I’m doing all the way. She sees that the subject of guns is one her boy is interested in and she wants to do all she can to encourage him.

Well — I had to do more than just give him books! And I was in a unique position to do so. I asked his dad if he would like to shoot with his son, which is how I learned so much about the dad’s background. The boy has a Crosman 760, which is pretty nice for a young boy, but I wanted him to have something a little better. I found a vintage Diana 25 that is ideal for him, but that brought up another problem. Where is he going to shoot it?

I didn’t want to spring for a pellet trap, so I pondered the problem until one day on my daily walk I happened to spy an old aluminum frying pan someone had thrown out. It was in the trash beside the curb for weekly pickup. I took it and a very nice hardwood cutting board that was lying next to it (someone was moving and had cleaned out their kitchen).

pan
This pan and cutting board were in the trash.

This looked like a quick solution to my need for a pellet and BB trap. Fill the pan with some duct seal and you’re done!

The project

First I drilled out the rivets holding the handle to the pan. When they were free I drilled two holes on opposite side near the other side of the pan — away from the handle holes. The handle holes would be at the base of the trap and the two holes I drilled were at at the top.

I also cut a piece of wire coathanger to run through the two holes at the top of the pan. The ends stick out about 1-1/2 inches on either side when the wire is run through both holes.

pan board wire
The three parts of the trap. You can see the holes that were drilled at the top of the pan for the wire.

Attach the pan to the board

I originally thought the board would just rest loosely behind the pan, but if they were attached it would be neater. You would only have to pick up one thing to move it. So I drilled two holes through the pan and the board and attached them with two bolts. I chamfered the back side of the board so the bolts sit flush, but that isn’t necessary.

pan attached to board
Pan attached to the board with two bolts. The angle of the picture doesn’t show that the pan lip is even with the bottom of the cutting board.

Now it’s time to attach the wire target holder. Run the wire through the holes drilled at the top of the pan.

pan with wire
Run the wire through the two hole drilled at the top of the pan.

To attach the wire, simply twist each end to take up the slack. Try to get the wire tight across the pan.

wire tightened
The wire was wound tight on both ends, so it looks like this.

wire detail
Twisting the wire on each end tightens it.

Now the duct seal

It’s time for the duct seal. I put about 5 lbs. into this 9-1/2-inch pan. That fills it to a depth of about 1 inch. So the Diana 25 that shoots 177 RWS Hobby pellets at about 620 f.p.s. will be stopped by an inch of duct seal, with an aluminum pan behind that and half an inch of hardwood behind that. It should be very safe!

duct seal
The duct seal is pressed into the pan.

duct seal smoothed
It takes a few minutes to smooth out the duct seal.

Finished trap

All that remains is to put a binder clip on the wire target hanger at the top and clamp in a target. You will have to press the duct seal out of the way to get the clamp in place, but people shouldn’t be shooting at the clamp anyway.

finished trap
The trap is finished. The targets stick to the duct seal naturally, so tape isn’t needed.

Put trap inside a box

Duct seal is fairly clean in use but pieces will break off and come out of the trap with use. So, cut down a cardboard box to set the trap inside to collect those stray pieces. The trap can lean against the wall or you can make a stand for the back, but make sure it will fit inside the box as well.

Time?

I call this the Right Now trap, because it took me one hour and 15 minutes to do everything seen here, plus taking all the pictures and putting away the tools and cleanup. The only cost was the duct seal, which is about $2 a pound or a little less. I buy it 20 pounds at a time to keep the cost low.

If you can’t find a pan in the garbage, look in a local thrift store. They can’t be much.

Bottom

After finishing the trap I mounted a flat board the bottom. Now it stands up by itself. That added another 20 minutes to the project, but I think it’s almost necessary for a good trap that’s useful everywhere.

bottom
By mounting the trap to a board it now stands up by itself.

Future of the trap

If the pastor and his son decide they like shooting they can always buy a better pellet trap — though I doubt they can improve much on this as a BB trap. A trap like this will easily last for a half million rounds, if it is cleaned periodically and if the guns are no more powerful than the Diana 25. The duct seal does need to be replaced every 50,000 shots or so.

I have a couple traps like this with that kind of shot count (half a million) on them — or nearly so. In fact I may build another one of these for myself, because the design is so much more elegant than the homemade traps I have been using.