Sunday, January 20, 2013

Super Cheap Silent Pellet Trap

Yesterday I made a silent pellet trap to replace the old ammo crate stuffed with newspapers that I’d been using for my airguns and my daughter’s BB gun. My original intention was to make it from some 2x6 piece of wood, but without a table saw or a large enough miter box, I couldn’t get the straight cuts I wanted.

So, looking around my shed, I saw the box that the little electric space heater I use in the shed came in, and cut it to size. I cut all around the box about 3.5” up from the bottom. I then reinforced the bottom with two more layers of cardboard cut from the sides, and reinforced the whole thing with plenty of duct tape.

Here’s the front with a target pinned up:

(The target is one that I downloaded awhile ago from, and cut to fit this trap. The original file was a PDF but I converted it to a PNG and put it here, if you want to use it.)

And here’s what it looks like inside:

The dark grey putty like stuff is seven pounds of Gardner Bender Duct Seal compound. It comes in one pound bars. You can get it from that link to Amazon (and I’ll get a commission), or at Home Depot or Lowe’s in the electrical section. It should be near the cable ties.

The wide border made from duct tape is intended to catch any back splatter, and any pellets that fall out of the duct seal into the bottom of the trap.

This is what the duct seal packaging looks like. I had a little trouble finding it on the shelf at Home Depot.

As you can see in the second picture above, pellets from my Diana 27 air rifle don’t penetrate very far from 25 feet. Compared with a steel pellet trap it’s much quieter for indoor shooting. Once you’ve put a couple thousand pellets into this kind of a trap you can remove them then knead the Duct Seal back into place. The pellets I’m shooting are made from dead soft lead, so I’ll recycle them for bullet casting.

One layer of Duct Seal bars is enough to stop most air pistols and air rifles with MVs up to about 700 FPS. More than that and you should add at least one more layer. Also, if you’re shooting a magnum airgun, it would be prudent IMO to have a steel or thick wood back to the trap to eliminate the possibility of a passthrough.

The duct seal ran me $2.48 per pound + 6% sales tax, or $18.41. So, for less than $20, plus a scrounged box, and some duct tape, I now have a good pellet trap.

Googling for “silent pellet trap” brings up 393,000 hits. There are plenty of hits for nice looking traps made from wood, plus some less aesthetically pleasing traps made from buckets and electrical junction boxes.

Some of the nicer looking silent traps that I found are at Archer Airguns. In particular, I like the one sized for using 8.5x11 targets, which uses a cut-out clip board to hold the paper targets. It’s offered both completely finished and as a kit. If I stick with this airgunning I may order one of the kits.


Anonymous said...

Modeling clay (the stuff with the greasy feel to it) in the bottom of a Tupperware storage container, with a well sealing lid was my answer - ten years ago.

It is quiet, but if you are a really good shot, you should smash the clay down after every target switch, just so you don't shoot a hole through the backing with a nice one-hole group.

I just push the target on top of the clay, and it sticks without clips or anything.

Dave Markowitz said...

Plasticine clay will work but it is more expensive than duct seal compound, and you will need more of it. The duct seal is denser as well.

I did some informal penetration tests in clay when I was a teen. I recall the pellets penetrating further than the pellets I'm shooting into duct seal now.

Boyer Taylor said...

I have just finished a large 2'X2' pellet trap with duct seal but the duct seal has started drooping off the back and falling off when in the vertical position. Any suggestions for how to remedy this?