When the spouse is away, the kids will play.
If the above statement applies to you, I’m not judging – really. In fact, and just hypothetically speaking, I might be making a bit of a confession. You see, I work out of the home and have a pile of airguns sitting on my desk at any given time. I could be a responsible adult and pack them up in my Sequoia for a range trip. Or, I could get creative and set up ranges around my house. Heck, I’ve got a yard, a garage, and for especially hot days here in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, air conditioning inside the house. Sounds like a perfect recipe for a little airgun fun. Isn’t that one of the big benefits of airguns anyway? To be able to shoot them safely most anywhere? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Anyway, hypothetically speaking, if a person who worked out of the house got bored and wanted to do some testing and plinking, they would need targets at which to shoot, right? Again, purely hypothetically, said targets would have to be interesting and challenging because the hypothetical air gunner has a short attention span.
I thought this might be a good time to share some of the targets that have found their way onto my “spouse is away” home ranges. Hypothetically speaking of course.
Even though I’m barely 29 (again) my eyes are starting to exhibit civil disobedience. Those tiny little .177 and .22 caliber holes, even at short ranges like ten yards, aren’t as easy to see as I’d like. For accuracy testing, I want to see what’s going on before wandering from the kitchen to the target box located under my bedroom nightstand. Hypothetically speaking.
The Big Burst targets come in 12-inch sheets, but you don’t have to use the whole sheet. Each three-inch square peels off the backing sheet individually so you can use only what’s needed. Stick them on boxes or whatever backstop you prefer. No waste, no staplers, and no fuss. The best part is that impacts show against the black and orange back as bright white explosions so that you can see your hits from far away. No more need to burn excess calories walking 10 yards or so down range to check. Just think of the global energy savings!
If you live under the oppressive iron fist of a neighborhood association that frowns upon scaring the neighbors’ cats with loud noises, this one may not be for you. If you don’t care about some power-hungry HOA, or choose to shoot in a more noise-friendly place, check out these little gems.
The caps fit most water and soda bottles whether they’re jumbo two-liter size or smaller individual servings. Like a football or basketball, the caps have a soft rubber barrier that allows insertion of a pump needle.
Here’s how it works. Put the cap on an empty bottle. Push the needle (attached to a bicycle pump) through the cap and inflate to 80 pounds per square inch or so. Now shoot it from a safe distance. The company recommends 60 feet. If you hit, the plastic bottle explodes. Bigly. There’s noise galore and you’ll have no doubt about your hit or miss status.
To add some extra fun, partially fill the bottle with water, or better yet, colored liquid. For less mess, but equal drama, put some flour in there or maybe colored chalk. You’ll then witness a technicolor explosion worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster – right in your backyard.
Here are a couple of pro tips. Umarex includes a mesh bag with the set of 10 caps. That’s handy for carrying caps and empty bottles. However, its real purpose is safety. Place the bottle inside the mesh bag when inflating in case it goes boom. Also, each cap has a string loop. Tie the cap to something, so you don’t lose it when the bottles explode.
Remember the game Battleship? If you get enough hits on your opponent’s ships before they sink yours, you win the Admiral Nelson naval strategy award.
These targets replicate that game, but with guns. Better yet, they just might get you out of the doghouse if your spouse catches you setting up a home airgun range. When my wife raised her eyebrows at my shooting bag arrangement on the kitchen island, I quickly went on the offensive and asked her if she wanted to play a game of Battleship. Who could say no to that?
The targets come in a couple of different sizes depending on the range you want to shoot. With a scoped air rifle like the Umarex Gauntlet .177 we used, hits are fairly easy. About halfway through the game, when it became clear we were headed for a tie, we switched to air pistols – an Umarex Browning Buckmark and a Sig Sauer X-Five – and shot freehand. As you can tell by the targets, that added a lot of challenge to the mix.
Check ‘em out. It’s amazing how much fun a little target creativity can add to your home air gunning.