One of the great things about airguns is their ability to bring shooting sports to our backyards. So, some of us may have a BIG backyard with hundreds of acres at our disposal where shooting firearms would not be any problem, but that’s going to be the exception rather than the rule. Most of us have restrictions like neighbors, noise ordinances, and limited space. Creating a safe and fun environment within these restrictions is what we are going to talk about today.
Step One – Know Your Local Laws
Knowing your local laws regarding shooting airguns on your property is very important. Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast rule, so you need to call your local municipality to get the correct information. Once you have the go-ahead, you can start putting together your backyard range.
Safety First – Contain the Lead
Regardless of your local laws, you want to be a good neighbor. This starts with keeping all your shots on your property. It’s easy to overlook where your pellets, or slugs, will head once they’ve hit the target and passed out the other side. So creating a decent backstop is a must.
There are many ways to get this done. Depending on what you are shooting for caliber and power, you may be able to use our quiet pellet trap with the steel backplate. It will stop most small-caliber airguns without an issue. It has the added function of being silent. The quiet impact putty captures the pellets or BBs, so all you’ll hear is the report of your airgun. Better yet, it’s easy to clean the used pellets and BBs out of the putty and press it back into the trap for another round of shooting. It’s a great solution for indoor shooting as well.
Quieter is Better – Keep the Noise Down
A loud airgun defeats the point of a quiet pellet trap. So if you are just starting and know that the bulk of your trigger time will be in your backyard, look for an airgun that won’t wake the neighbors. Most airguns these days are either moderated from the factory or can easily add one down the line. There’s a quiet airgun for any budget, starting with something as simple as the Diana Chaser CO2 rifle to something high-end like the FX Impact MK III.
What About Reactive Targets?
If you have the space to stretch things out, consider putting together a reactive target range. We have everything from cowboy action targets to field target knockdown targets and everything in between. A good application for reactive targets would be a short field target course using knockdown targets. Knockdown targets are great because they provide a clear kill zone that can be restricted to make things more challenging. Scoring a hit causes the target to drop. To reset the target, just pull the string, and you are ready to take your next shot. They are very cool and a lot of fun.
Field target is a shooting discipline that simulates small game hunting. It’s great for teaching shooters to make ethical shots at different ranges and shooting positions. Because these targets don’t trap the pellet, you’ll need to ensure that your errant shots stay in your backyard. Remember one of the key fundamental shooting safety rules: Know your target and what’s beyond. So, be sure to consider that when building your backyard range.
Let’s get back to creating a backyard field target shooting range. We have various animal shapes available here on AirgunDepot.com. Field target courses are laid out in “lanes.” Each lane may have multiple targets at various ranges. Additionally, shooting positions such as standing, kneeling, sitting, or prone may be required. Normally you’d have targets stretching out to 50+ yards, but you can keep things reasonable in your backyard. Once you have your course and lanes laid out, you can start shooting. One scoring method you can use would be to allow two shots per target. If you get the kill zone on the first shot, you get 2 points. If you get it on the second shot, you get one point. You get zero points if you don’t get it with either shot.
Changing your shooting positions, distances, and angles is a great way to train your eye and muscle memory for small game hunting out in the field. And, you can do this all in your backyard with your airgun.
That’s a wrap
There are many more ways to set up a backyard shooting range. If you have questions about various targets and the best airgun for your needs, please give us a call and we’ll be pleased to help.