When I recently needed an airgun pellet trap for practicing concentration and trigger pull indoors, I expected that a Google search would make quick work of a workable solution. Not so!

I had devised a list of functional- and non-functional requirements:

Functional requirements

  • Pellet sizes: 4,5mm (0.177) and 5,5mm
  • Pellet shapes: Flat and domed
  • Pellet energy design envelope: < 16J (12FPE)
  • Pellet energy safety envelope: < 50J
  • Expected range: 0-10m

Non-functional requirements

  • Can be used indoors
  • Quiet
  • Free of lead dust
  • Small, light, and portable
  • Easy to clean spent pellets
  • Low maintenance
  • Cheap in use

A pellet trap poses an interesting engineering challenge: Absorbing thousands of concentrated high energy impacts.

An angled steel plate is a seemingly perfect solution: Simple, cheap, effective, easy to make. Unfortunately, it produces lead dust at impact speeds surpassing 200m/s, so indoor use really is limited to low power air guns. And, even worse, there is that never ending "klang" on pellet impact. That significantly reduces the WAF factor :-)

Another, maybe even more seemingly perfect solution, has been devised: The sand berm.

In addition to all the qualities of the angled steel plate, it's a beatiful engineering solution to the problem of absorbing concentrated impacts: It self organizes. Unfortunately, a sand berm takes up a lot of room. It doesn't take a lot to stop an airgun pellet, but to have an acceptable height, it needs to be big. An then there's the whole mess of having it indoors.

It quickly became apparent, that all pellet traps being sold are in some way based on an angled steel plate, and so a different solution had to be sought.

The go-to solution for an improved pellet trap seems to be variations on the "Silent" Pellet Trap. In addition to being simple, effective, and easy to make, it's also quiet and free of lead dust. It seems perfect.

Unfortunately, the magic ingreedient in that solution - Duct Seal - is far from cheap in Denmark where I live. The 6kg which a pellet trap with duct seal typically requires, is almost $200 here :-(

So, instead I decided to build an improved pellet trap that would satisfy my requirements.

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