How to Set up an Indoor Shooting Range for your Airgun
When the weather turns against you, setting up an indoor shooting range can give you the same quality trigger time as the sunniest of days, but it does take some preparation to ensure proper shooting safety.
What constitutes a safe indoor shooting range? Well, it really depends on the airgun you're using. A safe setup for an airsoft gun will be different from a BB gun, and it will certainly be different than a setup required for high-power for pellet guns.
The Code of Safe Indoor Shooting
1. Never Forget Rule #1: Safety Glasses, Safety Glasses, Safety Glasses: A pair of safety glasses, can prevent a lifetime of disability and thousands of dollars in medical costs. Your eyesight is one of your most precious resources - don't compromise it. This includes anyone near the shooting area.
2. Never shoot with people, pets, or valuable objects downrange: This should be pretty self-explanatory.
3. Use BB/Pellet Traps and a Backer Board: Use BB/Pellet traps as your main target to prevent ricochets. Install a backer board for rounds that miss the trap to prevent damage to your home's walls.
4. Where to Shoot: Use a proper distance from your target, about 20ft from your muzzle to the target should do it.
Indoor Shooting Ranges for BB Guns
The lower power of most BB guns is an asset for indoor shooting, but be warned--this classic round is known for bouncing back against hardened targets. Overcome this problem with a proper BB trap and sufficient backstop. For added protection, use BBs like H&N Smart Shot which deforms on impact - or even better, Dust Devil Frangible BB's, that burst into a fine powder when they hit a hard target. Need more info? Use these guidelines for creating your perfect indoor BB range:
1. Shooting Location: Remember, you will need at least 20 feet from the gun's muzzle to the target.
2. BB Traps: Because BBs can bounce back, DO NOT USE a traditional firearm or pellet trap. Many BB traps use cloth curtains or other methods to prevent this. An excellent example is the Leapers UTG Pellet and BB Trap.
3. Backstop: We all miss sometimes. Make sure to install a proper backstop to ensure your inaccuracies don't blast off your basement wall. For BBs, a thin piece of plywood about 3x3ft behind your trap should do it.
4. Paper Targets: Anything much harder than a sheet of cardboard can send BBs bouncing back. In a small range paper targets are the only safe way to shoot BB guns indoors.
Indoor Shooting Ranges for Pellet Guns
More power requires more responsibility--especially with the speeds and power a pellet gun can generate. For this reason, a lot of care needs to be taken before shooting a pellet gun indoors. Pellets need longer ranges and specific FPS speeds. Use the guidelines below for creating your perfect indoor pellet range.
1. Distance: 10 meters (33 ft.) from muzzle to target is the ideal distance for shooting a pellet gun indoors. The reason? 10m is the same distance competition shooters use for honing their skills.Be sure to leave enough room for the pellet trap and backer board behind it.
2. FPS and Lead: Pellet guns that shoot at 600 fps or carry a very low list of lead contamination because the pellets won't fragment at that speed. Once speeds hit about 800 fps, lead pellets can fragment and create lead dust. Overcome this by using Lead-Free ammo or by keeping your speeds below 600 fps, our recommended FPS for indoor shooting.
3. The Best Pellet Traps are the Ones You Can't Hear: With traps such as the Air Venturi Quiet Pellet Trap, your round is trapped in a ballistic putty once they punch through the target. Once the putty has had it, buy a refill and keep the shots coming. Since the pellets impact the putty, the impacts are nearly silent!
4. Steel Traps: The steel pellet trap is the tried-and-true way to secure flying pellets indoors. Pyramyd Air features dozens of pellet traps to stop flying lead safely and securely when you need it most.
5. Backer Board: You will still need a sturdy backer board for those inevitable misses and “fliers”. A 3x3ft board will do the job, but make sure it's thick enough by shooting it outdoors at the same distance you'll be shooting inside. We recommend ¾” plywood minimum.
For more information, visit the Pyramyd Air Blog for more useful tips from Airgun Godfather Tom Gaylord.
Airsoft Indoor Shooting Range
Airsoft guns are the easiest to set up for an indoor shooting range. Airsoft are designed to be shot safely against human opponents, so creating a safe shooting space is at home takes little time. Here are some quick tips provided by Tom Gaylord - the Godfather of Airguns.
1. Pick your Gun: Say no to full-auto guns, unless picking up lose airsoft BBs all over your basement floor is your idea of a good time. Likewise, long-range guns like airsoft snipers need more than 50ft to shoot a distance most houses don't provide. Airsoft sidearms and low fps spring and co2 airsoft guns are the way to go indoors.
2. Target Traps: With low-power airsoft pistols ( 0.12g at 200 fps or less) a cardboard box with a hole cut out will suffice. For higher powered guns (0.20g at 300+ fps), use the same setup, but insert a thick piece of carpet or other material to absorb the shot impact.