Saturday, 18 June 2016

DIY Air Gun Targets With a Twist

Shootin' shit is fun.

Paper targets are great for seeing how close a grouping you can get from whatever distance they are set up, also good for zeroing in a new scope and finding the hold over/under you need on different air rifles. They don't cost a great deal of money but i tend to just knock some up fom a few peices of A4 scrap paper, also a pellet tends to rip a rough hole through this paper unless it's backed by a piece of cardboard and that does for me. 

Shooting at the dot is fine for sighting in

A simple 5 mm dot works fine for setting up a scope and working out pellet trajectory, though i  tend to draw a circle with a diagonal cross for groupings and general target practice.

Concentric circles and cross hairs gives you a better idea of how you're fairing.

This is all well and good but sometimes more often than not i want a target with a little more oomf to it, not quite one that lets off fireworks and streamers while playing the Can Can but some thing that's a little bit interactive. Knockdown targets that are reset by pulling a piece of string like the ones used in HFT are great, i have one with a resetable paddle with four different size target holes. You can pick them up for 15 to 20 quid but i got mine for a fiver with a few pellet dinks in it, it's not a problem as they all need a respray eventually.

Hoers of fun can be had by shooting and resetting a steel HFT target.

Once i've practiced with paper targets and the knockdown target i place the lids of plastic milk bottles balanced on top of sticks or wire at various distances out to 50 yards, 

Pill and milk bottle tops are plentiful and ping off to the side when you hit them.

then i try to estimate the holdover or under and try to shoot them off the sticks. It really is a crack and fairly challenging with my .22 s410 or .177 Shamal PCP, 

The AA Shamal is single shot but soooo satisfying to use.

it's even more taxing when using one of my springers but such a buzz to see them go flying off to the side when hit. Round mints are challenge to shoot at and explode in a ball of dust, and if you're really shit hot you could always shoot through the center of a polo mint.

Small pill bottles or alcohol minitures filled with parafin with a burning wick on top make a good ball of flame when hit (90 percent of the time), but you have to be careful where you set that one up as you don't want to piss of your neighbours or start major fires. Failing that there is always an inflated balloon with flour in it, an easy target but very effective all the same. A ballon filled with lighter gas with a lit night light behind it goes up a treat and is far less of a fire hazard, it is a bitch to get the gas into the balloon without an adaptor but it is possible and well worth it.

Recently i've been going down the woods with my blow back BB pistols and shooting a energy drick cans, which is great fun in itself but i felt i had to step up the anti. So i got to cutting out some metal plates of various sizes and seeing how quick i could shoot the lot while hanging them from tree branches.

DVD casings are great targets for low powered steel plate shooting, but the BB's still rebound with a vengence.

 The plates were made from the cases of old car cassette players, VCR cases, and radiator heat shields all cut down to handy sizes with tinsnips. By putting a right angle fold at the top of the plate and and hanging the wire from edge of the short length, the plate hangs at an angle so the BB's rebound to the floor (usually). 

By hanging the plate from the back of a 90 degree bend i have found the BB's rebound safely to the floor in front. Tried and tested.

Recently i have started to hang a larger plate below a smaller plate and taking two shots at the larger plate and one at the upper smaller plate. It would appear i have been watching too many Navy Seal's shooting technique You Tube videos, and to those people who may call this childish all i can say is that your granny does it better when she takes her false teeth out.

A cardboard box backed with a piece of carpet to deaden the rebound of a BB is pretty cheap and handy. and if you tape a piece of paper to the front with a target stops any rebounding bb's. Toy soldiers, plastic pill bottles, plastic lids to Monster drink cans amongst other things make cool targets when set up in front of the box. Or you could buy one ready made but that will set you back 15 odd quid, besides it's not really DIY is it.

And remember most importantly of all is always wear your safety glasses, as a BB in the eye is a sure fire way to really crap on your day. These you will have to buy as i can' t think of a DIY way to knock up a pair of these.


Best wishes, Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe.

Sunday, 12 June 2016


Got a voucher for four free sessions at Old Down Pursuits rifle club off the Wifey Christmas just gone, so due to the fact that sessions are every second sunday and crap weather in general, i finally got to go. Its the other side of Cirencester from where i live, so 1st sunny sunday found me being dropped off by the wifey.(Two weeks later it's pissing down with rain again)

There is a lot of clay shooting going on which i ignored, but the 30 lane HFT course did take my fancy.

Some one with a HW100 using the HFT course at Old Downs Pursuits.

Though i didn't take advantage of this i did of the sighting and plinking range, with it's many spinning targets, knockdown targets out to 45 yards , and a large board for sighting with a couple of once used Shoot N C targets on it.

Two lanes and four spaces at the sighting and practice range.

Having brought a selection of rifles, a Hills pump and a small bag with some tools and pellets in it i was content to sit at the double bench and seats and plink away, next time i'll take less rifles and some target paper for fine tuning of sighting.

All set up and ready to rock and roll.

I started off using the Air Arms Shamal in .177 with 4.52 AA field diablo pellets, this rifle is heavy, incredibly accurate, but accuracy goes tits up if it's canted.

I get a boner just thinking about my Shamal.

I could not top up on air as i forgot to bring a 14 mm spanner to remove the forster fitting on the pump as the rifle dates from 1989 when diver's bottles where a screw fit, so i had no idea how much air i had in it.

It's a good job the air cylinder is this big on the .177 Air Arms Shamal,it's annoying if you forget the spanner to attach the refill hose.

Fair enough i must of got over 80 shots out of the Shamal so i could of used it, however i had topped it up on air over a year ago so it's nice to know the old girl is still air tight.

The .22 Air Arms s410 for which i did have an adaptor fitting for shot very accurately as well using H&N field target trophy pellets, I did have trouble hitting accurately past 40 yards as i had forgotten how much hold over i needed. I used clip after clip on the s410 and refilled the resevior twice, as i did have the adaptor fitted to the pump for this one.

.22 Air Arms s410 is also a bloody cool bunny basher

Later in the session i did use the ASI Sniper which has proven to be an accurate little springer shooting AA diablo's at around 7 ft/lb, annoyingly this one didn't hit a dickie bird as the sighting was out.

The ASI Sniper is not too bad for an old Gamo.

I met about three pairs using the HFT course who were very affable and friendly, they had rifles such as a BSA Ultra, a HW 100, and one of those Evanix tactical jobs. Also a father and son with a under lever and one of those 715 Dan Wesson rifled barrel co2 pistols which they kindly let me have a go with, i really was impressed with the pistol even if the trigger pull in double action was a little on the heavy side.

I was having so much fun i didn't even notice the clay shooters banging around and was saddened when the wifey informed me by phone she was on her way to pick me up, after all i would look a trifle dodgey walking through Cirencester with three gun baps on my shoulders. Any way that's it for now.


Best wishes, Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe.