by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
Today’s report is a guest blog from reader Rod about an economical and yet very effective pellet trap he created.
If you’d like to write a guest post for this blog, please email me.
Over to you, Rod.
This report covers:
- Humble beginnings
- Silent running, Gen 1
- A better way
- What will it stop?
If you shoot indoors or need a backyard-friendly way to shoot your airgun, then you’ve probably pondered the best way to stop a pellet. Well, I think I’ve found the cheapest, safest and quietest way to do just that, hands down. Don’t believe me? Read on.
- Do not shoot a firearm into the trap described in this report. While Rod has tested it with some powerful firearms, I would not recommend it at this time. I believe a lot of additional testing needs to be done before it can be pronounced ready for firearms.
- Rod shot directly into the center of the trap. Shooting at an angle may have the unexpected consequence of fully penetrating the box and coming out the other side.
- Do not shoot arrows or bolts into the trap. They could deflect and unexpectedly come out the side of the box, and you won’t know how much further they’ll travel.
- Lower-powered projectiles may not actually penetrate the box and could bounce back.
- Always wear safety glasses and stand at sufficient distances to avoid rebounds.
- BBs — both airsoft and steel — may not penetrate the box and could easily bounce back a considerable distance.
What do you get when you fill a cardboard box with a towel and some rubber mulch?
In the beginning…there was a brick wall. I have a 30-yard run down the side of my house that ends at my backyard. It’s a nice place to shoot, but no one wants to shoot into a wall. You’ll mess up the wall! Oh, and BBs bounce back. Ouch! Still, always remember — “Know your target, and what’s behind it.”
My first trap was made from a 4′ x 6′ x 1” sheet of plywood. It was a simple lean-to backstop. This makes a much better backstop than the wall. BBs and pellets deflect safely down into the grass. But this approach is messy. I’d have to clean the area often. The larger-caliber pellets made a distinctive “Thwack!” when they hit the wood. And it doesn’t take too long to start drilling out the center out of the wood. So, this makes a decent way to catch the strays, but it’s not a good solution for your main trap.
My next upgrade was to add a commercial steel rimfire trap like this one. [Editor’s note: This trap is very similar to the Champion heavy-duty metal trap sold by Pyramyd Air.]
This commercial bullet trap will stop all pellets, but it’s loud!
This worked great! But if I hit it with a powerful PCP, like a .25 Marauder, there was an annoying “Clang!” of pellet on metal. After 30 minutes of this racket on an otherwise peaceful Saturday, my friendly neighbor, Jay, would remind me in a not-so-friendly tone just how unneighborly I was being. Clearly, If I wanted to continue shooting at home, I’d need a quieter approach. The smoked ribs I cooked and took over to Jay’s house smoothed our relationship.
Silent running, Gen 1
It was time for my first silent trap.
See the paint balls? That was my kids’ idea. It’s very messy, but the kids loved it.
Ain’t she a beauty? I made this out of 1″ plywood. I cut grooves on the front edges so a clipboard would fit in the front. I filled the trap with duct seal to make it quiet. The last time I bought duct seal, it was around $5 per lb. at my local home improvement center. I believe it took 6 lbs. to cover the back of this trap. [Editor’s note: Pyramyd Air sells Impact putty, which is duct seal, for $2 a pound.]
You can find this for about $5 per lb.
This approach worked great. It was quiet and stops a .25-caliber pellet with no issues. [Editor’s note: Check the back of the pellet trap before, during and after each shooting session to ensure that your shots aren’t slowly ripping thru the back of the trap.] The only trouble I had was that the box was heavy. After a while, the putty would shoot out in the center. If you are like me, you send a lot of pellets into the EXACT SAME PLACE! At least that’s what I’m trying to do. After a tin of pellets has gone into the trap, the putty is filled with lead, and starts to push to the sides. Before you know it, you are adding more putty. It didn’t take long before this trap weighed 30 lbs.
A better way
About this time, I stumbled onto THE WAY! Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the world’s best pellet trap.
Here is the world’s best pellet trap, in my opinion.
This is a pellet trap I made out of a cardboard box, some rubber mulch and a towel. Why a towel? Because you should never go anywhere without your towel (see Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy if you don’t get the reference). Kidding aside, the towel is to seal the seams at the back of the box, to keep the lead and mulch inside. Here’s a quick rundown of how to build it.
Start with a cardboard box. The size of the box is up to you, but I find that 10″ x 12″ x 12″ works best. Not only will it let you staple a standard 8×11 sheet of paper on the side, but this size (along with your towel) is just the right size to hold the contents of a 0.8 cubic-foot bag of rubber mulch. And — if that’s not enough, it will stop a .223 55-grain bullet moving at 3,000 fps (1,000 lbs at the muzzle) from a distance of 50 yards. If you don’t believe me, see my test case below. [Editor’s note: Regularly check the box before, during and after each shooting session. Make no assumptions!]
Start by putting your box with the seams down and insert your towel on the bottom over the seams.
Once the towel is in position, fill the box with rubber mulch.
Next, add your rubber mulch. [Editor’s note: Rubber mulch is made from old tires that have been ground into small chunks. They can either be dyed colors or they can be left as they were.] I get this from the local home improvement store. Any brand will do, but make sure it’s rubber mulch and not wood. A 0.80 cubic-foot bag runs around $6.
Rubber mulch is ground-up tires and is often dyed colors. This bag is mocha brown.
Fill the box up and pack it tight. I find that this size box will hold all of the contents of a 0.80 cubic-foot bag. To finish off, tape your box flaps with packing tape or duct tape and staple your target over the flaps. It takes about 5 minutes to do everything, and you’ll have spent under $10. I stole the towel from my kids’ bathroom. They rarely bathe, so they’ll never notice!
Once you shoot out the center of the box, tape it back up and staple on a new target. It works best when the mulch is tightly packed. I have yet to add mulch to my trap, and I’ve been shooting it for 6 months or so. I have put thousands of .177, .22, and .25 pellets into it.
When we go turkey hunting, we take the box with us to sight in with. On a return from the field, if there’s a round in the chamber, I just clear it by shooting into this trap at point blank range. I’ve done this with a .22-caliber Benjamin Discovery and a .25 Marauder. Sadly, most turkey hunts end up with us returning with a round in the chamber. Quail, however, is a different story.
What will it stop?
Glad you asked. My cardboard box was looking a little tired, and I needed to transplant the mulch to a new box. But before I did, I took my little trap to the gun range along with a few rifles. I wanted to know exactly what it would stop.
First up, the Ruger 10/22. In the photo, it’s difficult to make out, but the little box is 50 yards out, just right of the larger target. The targets are set up 25 yards, then 50, then 100. If you look close, you’ll notice that this range has steel at the 200-, 300-, 400-, 500- and 600-yard marks.
I couldn’t talk the range master into letting me put the trap any closer than 50 yards. He was skeptical that a cardboard box would stop a .22 LR.