Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Silent Pellet Trap

silent pellet trap

I do a lot of target shooting with my airguns.  One requirement is a safe backstop that will stop even the most  powerful shots.  It must hold up to thousands of shots.  Additionally, you don't want your pellets to splatter on impact spreading lead fragments all around as they do when they hit a hard surface like steel.  And lastly, it would be nice if it isn't too loud, especially if you shoot indoors.

.22 caliber bullet trap

I was using a steel trap designed for .22 caliber rimfire bullets.  It is plenty strong enough but the pellets do splatter on impact and this thing is LOUD.  Sounds like a gong each time you hit it.  I came across this trap design online that seemed like the perfect solution.  The trap is filled with duct seal putty.  The putty catches the pellets silently and almost unharmed so there is no lead splatter or bounce back.  Looked like something I could build.

my inspiration

I don't really like to work with wood and I didn't like the idea of a stray pellet hitting the wood and damaging it, so I decided to go with steel.  I started with a 9" x 12.5" x 4" breaker box.  I cut a 8" x 9.5" opening in the front cover and fitted a cardboard backer behind it.  There were a few small mounting holes in the back of the unit, so I cut a piece of tough aluminum from an old street sign to fit the back and riveted it in place.  That way, even if I shoot through the putty, there is no chance of a pellet going through a hole in the trap.  I used an old steel carry handle I had lying around and riveted that to the top to make it easier to transport.  Then I put a few rubber feet on the bottom.  Finally, I filled it with about 10 lbs of duct seal.

carry handle
filled with duct seal
(and a lot of pellets)

It worked great just like that for many months.  Then, one day while the in-laws were cleaning out the garage, I acquired an old portable movie screen.  I didn't know why I was keeping it, but I was sure I would find a use for it.  Turns out, it made a great stand for the pellet trap.  I removed the screen and the handle that adjusts the height of the screen.  I mounted the handle on the back of the pellet trap.  The handle slides up and down the stand when you push the red button.  Release the button and it will hold position at any point.  The target center will adjust from about 2 - 5 feet high.  If I don't want to use the stand, I can just slide the pellet trap off the top of the stand and use it alone.

height adjustment handle

target stand

The pellet trap works great. Targets are held securely behind the front plate.  The duct seal will withstand thousands of shots.  When it is too full of lead, I just pick out the old pellets.  Then I knead the duct seal like clay and press it back in place for a nice even surface.  Good as new and ready for a few thousand more shots.

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