With airguns home IS the range! — Part1
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- The indoor range
- Quiet airguns
- The 499
- Quiet traps
- Build your own trap
- What about more powerful airguns?
- You don’t have to just shoot paper indoors
- Pellet trap
- Shooting table
- Shooting at home is fun!
- Your turn
Some of you are sitting at home right now, bored out of your gourds! Have you forgotten that you are airgunners? This is your time to shine!
This is a refresh of an article I wrote for the website in 2006 — 14 years ago. Things have changed a lot since then, so I have updated it.
The indoor range
With the right airguns, it’s not only possible to shoot at home, you’ll wish you’d started years ago. I’m not talking about your backyard today. Some folks have large private backyards that let them shoot without disturbing their neighbors. But many people like me are squeezed into closer quarters with neighbors who may call the police if they see someone outside with a gun. However, a home is still a castle, and yours can have a shooting range inside.
Lucky, indeed, is the shooter with a large basement, attic, garage or shed. These are ideal places, because they are usually away from the other family members. That also increases the margin of safety. But, you don’t have to have a private space! I don’t have any of these and 90 percent of my shooting is indoors.
Any interior room with sufficient distance can be quickly turned into a range. I have set up ranges in bedrooms, living rooms, hallways and even in an empty adult classroom in a modern office building.
The secret to shooting in small spaces with thin walls is to shoot quiet airguns. There are several to choose from. If you like pistols, a multi-pump like the Crosman 1377 is perfect. On three pumps it is very quiet and will not disturb folks. You may only have 15 feet to shoot, so the lower velocity is no problem.
For long-gun shooters, I just tested the Lil’Duke BB gun for you and we all saw how well it shoots. But Any Daisy Red Ryder-type BB gun is quiet. You just have to keep the range short, which is not difficult indoors. The Lil’ Duke stock is well-suited to small children and can be used by folks all the way up to adults.
If you can tolerate a little more noise the Springfield Armory M1 Carbine is ideal. It’s accurate plus it’s a semiautomatic.
Need a pellet rifle? Consider the TR5. For my money, the TR5 Pro is the one to get. Or, if you want a CO2 repeater consider the Umarex Fusion 2. It’s quiet and accurate at a bargain price. I tested the Fusion and I hope to test the Fusion 2 soon.
If you want to shoot as quietly as a mouse’s cough, Daisy’s Avanti Champion 499 is the world’s most accurate BB gun, and probably also the quietest. It can shoot 10 BBs through the hole of a Lifesaver candy at 5 meters (16.4 feet). It is easy enough for a six-year-old to cock and light enough to shoot all day, though the adult-sized stock may have to be cut shorter for youngsters. Be sure to also buy the Avanti Precision Ground Shot that is made specifically for this BB gun. It’s what makes the magic happen.
A great target pistol that’s fun indoors is the V10 Match pistol from Air Venturi. It’s a single-shot pistol that has a single stroke pneumatic system — one pump is all it takes. Sig’s new ASP Super Target is another fine single stroke and this one is easier to pump! Of course the single-stroke Beeman P17 can’t be beat! When used with a quiet trap the only noise from these guns will be their quiet discharges.
You need to catch all pellets or BBs when you shoot indoors. Pyramyd Air’s Quiet Pellet Trap is perfect for both types of ammo, though the impact putty compound does need to be cleaned from time to time. The same trap also works for steel BBs. I will be discussing the safer BBs in a bit.
With a metal trap the impact sound is often louder than the gun’s report, but with these quiet traps, there’s almost no sound at all. The trap makes zero noise, yet it is suitable for powerful pellet guns up to 1,000 f.ps. in .177 and 800 f.p.s. in .22.
Build your own trap
Okay, I will state the obvious. You can make your own quiet BB/pellet trap if you want. I have certainly written enough articles about how it’s done!
To protect the wall behind the trap, I recommend a plywood or chipboard sheet at least three times the size of the trap. It will stop any stray pellets or BBs from hitting the wall or door behind the trap. That’s very uncommon, of course, but when others shoot your guns or when you shoot a gun you aren’t familiar with, it’s good to have the extra protection.
What about more powerful airguns?
You can shoot more powerful airguns in your house, but you’ll need a stronger trap to contain them. Pyramyd Air stocks a steel pellet and rimfire trap that is ideal. It’s strong enough to stop a 40-grain bullet from a .22 long rifle cartridge. It’s also strong enough for any smallbore (.177, .20, .22 and .25) airgun made. However, when the velocity of a lead pellet exceeds about 600 f.p.s., the pellet starts breaking up on impact, and that generates both lead fragments and lead dust.
You may not want lead dust in your home, so stick with guns that shoot slower than 600 f.p.s., or use a quiet pellet trap for guns shooting from 600 up to about 1,000 f.p.s. The Quiet Trap generates no lead dust if the pellets are cleaned out after use.
You don’t have to just shoot paper indoors
We did not have safe BBs in 2006 when I initially wrote this article, but we have them today. You have a choice of two — the lead Smart Shot or the Air Venturi Dust Devil 2 that has just come out. You know from my recent testing of both BBs in the Lil’ Duke that they can be quite accurate at close range. While I haven’t yet tested the new Dust Devils in the M1 Carbine I am expecting to see the same results — if not even better. That Carbine is a shootin’ machine!
I can’t recommend the larger action targets for indoors because it takes too large a backstop behind them to stop the BBs, but the Slynger Metal Silhouettes can be placed inside a steel trap and shot with either a BB gun shooting safe BBs or a low-powered pellet rifle like the Crosman 1077. My advice is to use the hole that’s in the base of each target and somehow attach them to the metal trap with monofilament line. That will save you the trouble of fishing them out from behind the washing machine.
If you do shoot at metal traps or targets, remember to have a plan to keep the house clean. It won’t do to loose your shooting privileges over stray BBs and steel dust. You can place the targets or traps deep inside large cardboard boxes and they are great at catching any stuff that comes back out.
| 1. Shooting safety is always an issue, and inside the home there are some additional things to think about.|
2. People who are not shooting should be kept away from the downrange area. If the pellet trap is located near a door or hallway, do whatever is necessary to prevent anyone from wandering into the hall or coming through the door. This applies especially to young children. If you shoot down the length of a hall, always stop if a person has to use the hall and wait until they have come out before resuming.
3. Keep pets away from the pellet trap. Cats and small dogs are especially attracted to the noise of a pellet striking the trap.
4. Pellets shot at velocities above 600 f.p.s. shatter into fragments when they hit a hard surface. Set the trap deep inside a large cardboard box tray to help contain the fragments. Sweep up after every session to prevent small children or pets ingesting the lead particles on the floor.
BBs rebound from most traps. The silent trap is filled with impact putty that holds them tight. After you’re done shooting, a sweep of the floor with a strong magnet will collect any stray BBs before they get sucked up by the vacuum cleaner or eaten by a child or pet. This works for everything except the lead BBs. You have to sweep for them .
5. Everyone in the shooting area should wear safety glasses.
6. You must use an approved pellet or BB trap. Cardboard boxes filled with newspapers will not contain your shots for very long. In fact, they won’t contain even one shot from a powerful airgun such as an AirForce Condor. A Condor will shoot through a 2×4 or the wall of a house and still have enough force to severely dent appliances such as washing machines or refrigerators.
Construction of the range
The ideal distance for an indoor range is 33 feet or more, because so many airgun sports shoot at 10 meters. If you don’t have that much room, use smaller targets like those made for BB guns and use whatever distance you do have. I have 16 feet in my garage, which is the international competition distance for BB guns.
The trap should be ideally about the same height as the muzzle of the gun. If several people are using the range and are both standing and shooting off a bench, locate the trap at about four feet off the floor. Shoot straight into the trap, not on an angle, to prevent ricochets.
It’s important to have good light on the target. The shooting area should be not as well lit, so the targets appear very bright in comparison. A clip-on light with an aluminum reflector that you get for a few dollars at any hardware store is a great way to light the target. A single 75-watt floodlight bulb is bright enough if placed within eight feet of the target. A 500-watt halogen work light is even better! That’s what I use.
You’re going to want something on which to put your guns, pellets and other items, so plan for a shooting table at the firing line. The table should mark the line that no one passes when shooting is taking place.
Shooting at home is fun!
If you follow the safety precautions outlined in this article, shooting at home can be great fun. You will be surprised how much it increases your opportunity to shoot.
Okay, I got you started but this report is really for you. Tell us what you shoot at indoors and especially how you stop the BBs/ammo/pellets and keep the place clean!