Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Stops powerful airguns
  • Stops BBs
  • BB trap can be thinner
  • Targets determine where the holes in the box are
  • Quiet
  • Still use a steel trap
  • Not a commercial product
  • Summary

I was going to do another test today, but I have to give you an update on the rubber mulch pellet and BB trap. This thing is phenomenal!

Stops powerful airguns

I have been testing some pretty powerful air rifles lately and, since I made it in late October, I’ve used the rubber mulch trap exclusively to catch the pellets. The .25-caliber Gauntlet 2 from Umarex that I’m testing puts out more than 55 foot pounds of energy, yet not a single pellet has made its way through the mulch. Fifty-five foot-pounds is in the neighborhood of what a standard speed .22 short bullet can do. 

We saw the box stop five .22 long rifle bullets in Part 2, as well as an arrow from my Sub-One crossbow. I didn’t think it could do that, but it did it nicely and the arrow only dented the back of the box.

rubber mulch box new groups
The circled groups were shot when the box was filled with black wood mulch. That didn’t work. The holes not circled are five (looks like 4) .22 JSB Jumbo Heavy pellets shot from the RAW HM1000-X that puts out 43.4 foot-pounds with this pellet and five .22 long rifle standard speed rounds (about 100-110 foot-pounds) at a distance of about five feet.

rubber mulch box with arrow
The rubber mulch even stopped a crossbow arrow!

The .22-caliber Air Venturi Seneca Eagle Claw is even more powerful (over 60 foot-pounds) than the Gauntlet 2 and yet the rubber mulch trap had no problem stopping all the pellets. That test was the accuracy test shot yesterday and in that one, alone, I fired 40 rounds that all struck close to each other. Was there any tunneling, as some readers have mentioned? None. However, the box I’m currently using isn’t a cube and I shot that test on its long axis, which is a depth of 14 inches.

Stops BBs

The principal reason I built this trap was to stop BBs. I have run out of good BB traps, and I needed something that worked. Well, yesterday afternoon I did a velocity test for the Smith & Wesson Model 29 that you will be reading about on Friday and I shot the heck out of the trap. To get a BB to register on the light-activated skyscreens requires the gun to be shot in almost the same place every time. Even with BBs that only go 400+ f.p.s., if they always hit in the same place they chew up the box.


What you see here is the result of several tests that used the rubber mulch trap. BBs from the S&W Model 29 are what ate the big holes.

When I used to use commercial BB traps several BBs would rebound back out of the trap, despite there being “ballistic curtains” to stop them. 

The only trap this didn’t happen with was the Winchester Airgun Target Cube, a styrofoam cube that had a steel plate in its center. Shoot into the plate and the BB’s velocity could be quite high. Shoot parallel to the plate and you had to keep your shots under 350 f.p.s. But the styrofoam eventually got shot up after several thousand rounds and once that happened there was nothing to do but throw it away. We have the same thing with the box, but the mulch inside lasts indefinitely, I think. And boxes are cheap to come by.

Winchester Airgun Target Cube
Winchester Airgun Target Cube

BB trap can be thinner

You don’t need a 12-inch cube to stop a BB. A box that’s 4 inches thick should work fine. And I see a lot more of them than I do perfect cubes. Given all the shipping that’s happening here in the U.S. finding the proper box shouldn’t be a problem for most folks.

Targets determine where the holes in the box are

A reader made this comment — that the bullseyes you shoot at determine where the pellets hit the box. He was discussing a pellet’s potential to burrow through the mulch and exit the back of the box. I read his comments and have been careful to shake the box when I position it. So far nothing has made it through the rubber mulch, though when I started by mistake with wood bark, the .22 long rifle bullets sailed right through!

Because the shots don’t hit evenly over the surface of the box, it has to be switched around frequently. I say frequently because, on an average week I shoot 50-200 rounds. On a busy week I shoot even more. I may get a couple months of use from a box, but I’m always on the lookout for the next one.

rubber mulch trap shots
I’ve learned that my shots hit in specific places on the box. This enlarges the holes and rubber mulch may eventually leak out.

Find a Hawke Scope

Quiet

Besides BBs not rebounding the box trap has one other redeeming feature. It’s quiet. In the past, when I shot a powerful air rifle at a steel bullet trap, there were two loud noises — one from the rifle and the other from the trap. The mulch trap has eliminated the second sound. I mentioned in yesterday’s report that I thought the Eagle Claw wasn’t shooting H&N Baracuda 18 pellets. That’s because I didn’t see them go into the group after 6 shots and also because there was no sound returning from the target. It was like I wasn’t shooting at all, until I got past the 10th pellet. Then, when there was no pellet, the rifle became so much louder that I knew I had been shooting pellets before.

Still use a steel trap

I own two steel bullet traps that I still do use. They are more portable than the box trap and a lot lighter. But for standing in one place and taking anything I throw at it, the box trap wins hands down. I can’t shoot steel BBs at a steel trap for safety reasons and for sure I can’t shoot a crossbow at one!

Not a commercial product

The box pellet and BB trap can never be a commercial product. Since rubber mulch is the main ingredient and you get it for cheap at a home improvement/garden center, there is nothing else to buy. Yes, you can buy boxes if you want, but you can also look for them for free. My church has a food drive every month and some of the items that come to us from the county food bank come in 12-inch cubic boxes. Guess what I do? And for BBs alone I look for thinner boxes, because I usually just shoot at 5 meters (16 feet 4 inches). They can be just as wide as the big boxes because I never know where the BBs are going when I start shooting, but thinner is lighter.

Summary

The bottom line for the rubber mulch pellet and BB trap is:

1. It’s inexpensive
2. It stops anything airgunners might shoot
3. It doesn’t let steel BBs rebound
4. It’s quiet

I’m telling you that this trap beats anything else I have tried. And it’s cheap!