Have you ever noticed you can hold your tongue on a hot rifle barrel longer than the average lifespan of most New Year’s Resolutions? We feel great about making them and have wonderful and faithful intentions of following through, but there’s a gotcha.
Most New Year’s Resolutions aren’t fun.
Losing weight? Nope, starvation offers no entertainment value whatsoever. Budgeting? That rules out happy hours and a new 70″ TV. Weeding the Azalea beds? No explanation needed there. I prefer hammocks.
This year, a confluence of world events might have created the impetus for a New Year’s Resolution that just might stick. I hereby resolve… to build an indoor airgun range in my garage.
Think about it. Airguns, pellets, and the driving force behind it all — air — are in plentiful supply, even while the shelves of fire and brimstone firearm products and ammunition are in short supply. While COVID, riots, and politics as usual have caused a panic hoarding spree on firearms and ammo, my local stores are chock full of BBs, pellets, and airsoft supplies. And, thanks to the swamp known as the South Carolina Lowcountry, my garage is unusually large. You see, here many houses are built a level high to protect against annual hurricane threats. The ground level, while subject to the occasional Tsunami, has got plenty of space for a 10-yard range, give or take. So, if I can sneak this project past my wife, I’m off and running into fulfilling a 2021 New Year’s Resolution.
Here’s what I’m thinking…
Trendy antique stores sell decorative items known as shadow boxes. You know, a wooden bow with one side open. Inside the box you’ll find some form of diorama of a Victorian living room or some such frou-frou thing. Mine will be a little different. I’ll stick with cardboard, reinforced from behind with a stack of old newspapers. Inside my diorama, you’ll find a set of Air Venturi Slynger targets. They’re down-scaled to 1/10th of “official” steel silhouette competition size, so they’re appropriate for indoor range use. The box will catch most ricochet BBs and pellets. Better yet, I’ll use the Air Venturi Dust Devil BBs. Those turn to dust when impacting a hard surface. Make no mistake, they’ll knock over the silhouette animals with the right launching system. That makes for perfect indoor range use. Whatever ammo you choose, don’t forget to wear safety glasses.
A garage range and .177 pistol (BB or pellet) is a great place to practice drawing and shooting. What better target than a 12″ square steel gong? This freestanding target from Air Venturi is made from 1/8″ steel, so it’s perfectly appropriate for BB and pellet use. It’s also great for anything Airsoft. The freestanding system angles the plate towards the floor for ricochet control but do be sure to stand at least 15 feet away regardless. Better yet, use those Dust Devil BBs.
The only downside of this setup is it will distribute BBs and Airsoft pellets all over your garage floor. No biggie, it’s nothing a couple of minutes with shop vac won’t rectify.
Stealth Target Range
For indoor air rifle practice, one of the barriers to more frequent shooting is the noise level. Impacts on homemade targets and backstops, even ones made of cardboard or old magazines, tend to be louder than the noise from the shot itself.
Here’s a nifty solution to that problem. Duct Putty.
Available at your local Home Depot or Lowes, this stuff comes in big brick-like plugs than can be stuffed into a wooden box of your design or even an old frying pan for an instant solution. Dense and somewhat resembling super heavy Play Doh, it will not only trap pellets and BBs, it muffles that impact sound so your neighbors are less likely to call Homeland Security about the strange noises emanating from your garage. Want to shoot larger caliber airguns? No problem. Use more Duct Seal bricks and make the target trap thicker. To be extra safe, use a piece of heavy wood or sheet steel on the back of your target trap to stop anything that happens to plow through all that putty.
I’m optimistic my chances of actually following through on this resolution exceed 114%.