In Part 1 of how to shoot safely on your property we looked briefly at the importance of looking up your local laws and restrictions, and we also looked at ways to trap BBs, both airsoft and metal, so they stay put and don’t ricochet. But what about pellets?
Stopping low energy lead pellets
There are 3 categories of lead that may need to be stopped. There are low energy airguns like CO2 pellet pistols; these usually generate less than 2 foot pounds of energy. Also in this category are low powered CO2 rifles like the Crosman 1077 which generate less than four foot pounds of energy. Both the Crosman and UTG traps previously mentioned do a very good job at stopping pellets fired from these types of airguns. The ballistic curtains slow the pellet down dramatically before it hits the steel plate which easily finishes the job. Both of these traps will last a very long time if only shot with airguns at this level.
Stopping medium energy lead pellets
Things get a bit trickier as we move up the power scale. Most of the break barrel airguns on the market produce a minimum of 13 to 15 foot pounds. The same UTG and Crosman BB / Pellet traps will continue to do the job, but you will need to replace the ballistic curtains much more often. Traps that do not work are the thin metal traps, often with hanging metal target plates or spinners. They fail pretty quickly with prolonged usage.
One option is the Air Venturi Silent Pellet Trap with Steel backplate. This is a wooden trap that’s filled with “ballistic putty,” otherwise known as electrician’s putty. This is a sticky “clay- like substance that remains pliable even after several years of exposure in the driest climates, i.e. Lake Havasu Arizona.
The trap comes with 10 pounds of the stuff that you pack into the trap. As an optional accessory you can purchase a 10 ga steel plate to go between the putty and the wood back. I highly recommend this accessory. The putty is completely reusable by simply pulling it out and cleaning out the used lead pellets. Once clear of the pellets, pack it back in and start shooting! One very real benefit to this system is that the putty is virtually silent which can be important if noise is an issue. With the steel plate, this system can successfully stop hundreds of rounds from medium and high powered airgun shooting up to 20 foot pounds.
Stopping high powered lead pellets
When it comes to stopping the big stuff, i.e. over 20 foot pounds, there’s only one real option, and that is the Champion Rimfire Trap. It’s important to only shoot lead ammo into this trap. It will NOT stop BBs from coming back out so this is a NO-GO for airsoft or steel BBs. Because it’s a bullet trap, it’s made to take a beating. I’ve shot my most powerful airguns into mine and it’s still going strong. While I can’t recommend anyone do this EVER, I have shot my big bore guns into my Champion Trap at as little as 10 yards and it has held up flawlessly. Again, I can’t recommend it for that purpose, I can only state that in my most stressful tests of its construction, it’s held up without any issues.
The Champion Trap is not perfect, however. The minimum recommended safe shooting distance is 25 yards, which may not always be practical in a back yard. The reason for this stipulation is that lead will shatter and splatter when it hits a hard surface. While the trap is angled to direct the debris downward into the bottom of the trap, some lead will still possibly come back out. What I do to control this problem, is to cut cardboard backers to sit in front of the trap. I will also cover the entire cardboard face with duct tape, attaching the tape to the sides of the trap. This does three important things: It eliminates most if not all of the debris that may want to come back out of the trap; the tape against the side of the trap helps deaden the impact noise; and lastly, it provides a stable backstop for my targets to rest against.
Get shooting safely and have fun!
If you’ve verified that it’s permitted for you to shoot in your back yard, make sure you get the right tools for the job and start having some fun. AirgunDepot.com has all the necessary airguns, ammo, and the means to safely trap your projectiles. Have questions? Hop on the blog and send them our way. We love to hear from our readers!