Article: DIY: 5 Gallon BB Trap
Published: March 2005
Recently there's been renewed interest in the construction of BB Traps for airsoft guns, generally used for indoor plinking or testing after doing a little work. I thought I'd throw my design into the mix, as I've been using this style for a while now and found it very useful.
To construct the 5 Gallon BB Trap you will need:
* a serrated knife or saw
* roll of gaffers, duct or 90mph tape
* piece of paper to use as target (optional)
* a plastic 5 gallon bucket (preferably square)
* 10 minutes
You start with your plain unadulterated bucket, empty and clean. A square bucket, such as the type that cat litter or some pet foods come in is definitely preferable to the more common round bucket. The reason the square is preferable is that the trap, when complete, will be more stable and not roll about when perched for shooting. This will become more obvious later.
Begin by cutting the center out of the bucket's lid. This will form a 'clip on' frame that will hold the target in place.
Being careful to cut as straight a line as possible, cut along the edge of the lid but not too close, as you want the frame to be as sturdy as possible. Remove and discard the center section.
This part is relatively easy. Since the lid bears no real weight, the amount of plastic devoted to its construction is limited. Once the lid has been prepped we move on to removing the bottom of the bucket.
You don't want to cut the bottom out, as that will leave a 'lip' around the bottom that can catch bbs and either damage them (for those of you who like to reuse) or cause them to ricochet back out toward the shooter (while not generally dangerous it certainly leaves a mess in the room).
Once the bottom has been cut away you have a 'tunnel' of sorts. For reasons mentioned before, you should clean up any burrs or lips that are still present around the cut edge. Take a pillow case, preferable of a fairly high thread count for strength, and tape it over the bottom opening, allowing it to hang loose.
Then you can clip a target over the other end by removing the lid frame made in the first part of this process, setting the paper over the top of the bucket and then clamping down the frame over the paper. This will pull the paper tight and hold it firmly.
When set on a surface in preparation for shooting, the pillow case should be allowed to dangle free of any obstructions for at least 6 inches behind the bucket. When you fire at the target the bbs fly down this channel, strike the loosely hanging pillow case. This billows the case out slightly, absorbing the impact, and the round falls into the bottom of the case. The reason you need the 6 inches of clearance is because if you don't have this clearance the rounds can strike the obstruction causing damage to the surface and/or ricochets back out toward the shooter.
I've been using this type of trap for over 2 years and have had 2 instances where I failed to leave proper clearance to the rear of the bucket. In once instance I pulled off a burst which immediately caused the rounds to come flying back out at me, at a range of less than 5 feet total distance. While the ricochets did slow the rounds, the burst was enough to damage my chronograph and raise small welts. In the other instance, the rounds peppered the wall, damaging the drywall. While these rounds ricocheted as well, they didn't come straight back out as I was firing, by chance, at a slight angle.
A low thread count pillowcase will allow bbs to pass through it with relative ease. You will want a high thread count case to make sure that they don't punch through easily. High thread count cotton is not that hard to find. Look for something that is reasonably thick and feels soft to the touch without feeling 'silky' or like polyester. A great place to find them is at a Goodwill or other recycled articles store. Older sheets tend to be of higher thread count, at least the ones that survived to today, even if they are in some pretty awful colors.
If you are firing down the center of the trap, be careful to not cause any rounds to strike the sides of the bucket, the rounds should be in nearly perfect condition when they come to rest in the pillowcase. While I don't reuse rounds myself, those of you who do will find this to be a rather effective solution. In fact, if you don't use targets in the trap, yow would be able to pour the bbs straight from the trap into your hicap. Targets tend to get torn up by repeated shooting throwing confetti like scraps of paper into the mix.
Total cost: About 5 cents worth of gaffers tape if you already have a spare bucket and an old pillowcase.