How to create an air rifle range in your garden
Before any actions are taken, it is important to carry out a thorough risk assessment of your potential range.
It is a serious risk and an offence for pellets to fly outside the confines of your property whether by error or ricochets. Therefore, it is important to have a secure backstop.
This may be an adequate soft soil bank without stones, or a brick wall on which an old piece of carpet can be hung to prevent ricochets. Do not use chipboard, plywood or any thick composite material with a polished surface as there is a risk of ricochet.
A comfortable shooting position should be established with a bench and table, ideally slightly elevated from the targets. The elevated position will reduce ricochets and make the backstop more effective.
This layout should be selected so spectators, other family members and pets cannot unwittingly enter onto the air rifle range.
Safe conduct is paramount and handling rules should be the same as used in the club and in line with the BASC air rifle safety code.
Targets should ideally be made of card or thick paper. These must be held in suitable metal traps to contain the spent pellets and prevent contamination of your garden.
Cans and bottles MUST NOT be used as these can lead to ricochets and the use of metal ‘drop down’ targets or spinners is not advisable for the same reason.
Shooting paper targets is great for zeroing and practicing at different ranges and positions. The great thing about paper targets is that you can analyse and re-analyse all aspects of your shooting. Paper target designs are available to download online here.
It is recommended that all airgunners inform neighbours prior to creating an air rifle range. Make sure you are familiar with the law and that you have taken all responsible steps to prevent pellets leaving your property.
If noise is an issue, use telephone directories or the yellow pages as a precursor to your backstop. This will reduce the plinking noise.
Please note, some tenancy agreements do not allow shooting in the confines of a rented property. It is advised to check with your landlord before you create an air rifle range.
Back garden etiquette
- Youngsters must be kept under close supervision at all times.
- Ensure your air rifle range has a secure backstop for the pellets to be captured.
- Let other users of the garden know that you are shooting.
- Prevent pets and livestock from entering the range while you are shooting.
- Always unload the gun and the remove the magazine (if it has one) before checking the targets.