When you live in the suburbs, most neighbors tend to frown upon the idea of constructing a shooting range in your backyard. Come on, what’s a little noise and flying debris among friends? As unreasonable as it may seem, we ought to do our part to spare the angst and triggered emotions of those who may live within hearing-safe distance of our yards. Enter airguns.

While you can get monster airguns capable of taking African game, the affordable all-season fun stuff usually comes in .177 and .22 caliber. Those small, light pellets offer safe shooting with their low risk of penetration and quiet operation. You’ll still need safety glasses but no hearing protection. The bottom line? They open up backyard range possibilities — even in the burbs.

As a shooter who appreciates centerfire also, I’m jealous. The folks at FX Airguns have invented a pocket radar chronograph. Yes, pocket. The FX Pocket Chronograph is smaller than two or three stacked drink coasters and pairs with a smartphone app to display velocities. It’s got all the bells and whistles, allowing you to record strings, set gun and ammo (pellet) profiles, and calculate all the geeky stuff like standard deviations. Did I mention it operates by radar? It lists for $199.99 and sorry, it works with airguns only. We can hope, though?

Who says you can’t shoot a classic sixgun in your garage or backyard — even if you live under the iron fist of a neighborhood association? The Air Venturi Colt “Duke” Pellet Revolver looks and feels like the big bore real deal, but it’s powered by CO2, shooting .177 pellets. The nifty part is it uses removable cartridges — just load a pellet in the base of each cartridge (where the primer would go) and you’re off to the wild west of suburbia. This Peacemaker’s rifled barrel will give you about 380 fps of backyard fun. MSRP is $149.99.

Backyard shooting requires reduced scale. This set of 1/8″ steel Airgun Slynger Metal Silhouette Targets by Air Venturi are modeled precisely after the big bore competition steel beasts, with one notable difference — they’re exactly 1/10th scale. This means you shoot the ram at 45 yards, the turkey at 36, the pig at 30 and the chicken at 20 if you want to follow official silhouette shooting rules. If you use your Colt Duke pellet revolver, reduce the distances accordingly. They’re great fun but be sure to use pellets or lead BBs only. Steel or copper BBs will bounce all over creation. MSRP is only $9.99.

If you’re hankerin’ to practice your quick-draw skills, get yourself an Air Venturi Diamond Gong Target. This 12″x12″ diamond target comes with its own stand. The height is adjustable from 33″ to 45″ and the base has holes to stake it into the ground. The steel plate is 1/8″ thick, so stick to .177 caliber pellets or lead BBs only please! MSRP is $29.99.

The big deal in the airgun world is affordable, portable compressors. Capable of spitting out 4,500 lbs. per square inch of air power, the Air Venturi Nomad II 4,500 PSI Portable PCP Compressor runs on 110 or 220 volt power and 12-volt systems. With the included alligator clips, just attach this unit to a nearby car, boat, ATV or lawn tractor if you like. It’ll top off the most powerful airguns in a few minutes. Yes, it costs $699.99, however, you must remember with this one purchase you’re buying an infinite supply of shooting power. It’s a bottomless equivalent to centerfire cases, primers and powder, so you only pay for the “bullets” as you go. Buy once — cry once.

Here at Handgunner, we’re fanatically cautious about not shooting each other. Here’s an exception. The SIG Proforce M17 Airsoft gun is designed for force-on-force training. It shoots 6mm plastic BBs and looks and operates just like the louder version. Two versions are available. One operates on Green Gas and cranks out 320 fps while the other uses standard CO2 cartridges and delivers up to 410 fps. Take it from my hind-side, these can hurt, so it adds some, let’s say, excitement to live training. Do be careful and always use proper face and eye protection when training. MSRP is $159.99.

PCP (pre-charged pneumatic) air rifles will spoil you rotten. With onboard high-pressure air supplies, there’s no cocking, no ka-ching when you press the trigger and most come with magazines so they operate much like a bolt-action rifle. They’re also powerful, accurate and quiet. The word “elegant” comes to mind. One of my favorite starter PCP rifles you’ll never outgrow (like a fine rimfire) is the Umarex Gauntlet. It’s generous and a hot swappable air reservoir gives you 90 or so shots per fill so you’ll shoot more and recharge less. It’s accurate, thanks to its regulated air delivery system delivering consistent velocity, and you can’t beat the price. The fully shrouded barrel (acts like a suppressor, perfectly legal on airguns) keeps the neighbors from complaining. MSRP is an affordable $269.99 for this much performance.

Airgun scopes have special requirements. First, if you’re using one on a spring or gas pistol rifle, they need to handle double recoil abuse — forward and backward — thanks to the motion of the piston followed by the ejection of the pellet and compressed air. Second, they need to focus at much shorter distances. While centerfire scopes can get away with 100-yard fixed focus if they don’t have an adjustable parallax, an airgun scope needs to be functional down to 10, or even five yards. MTC Optics makes fantastic air rifle scopes like this Cobra F1 model. You’ll appreciate the luxury touches like turret adjustments not requiring tools to zero and recalibrate indicator wheels and push/pull locking turrets keeping your adjustments set. You’ll also like the extras such as the threaded flip-up lens caps and a crystal-clear sight picture. The Cobra offers 4-16x magnification and a 50mm objective lens. MSRP is $489.99 but it’s an amazing tool.

Believe it or not, you do need to clean airguns now and again, and even more importantly, lubricate them with the right lube (no petroleum-based products please!). The new Tetra Gun Air Rifle kit (.22 and .177) includes their Triple Action (airgun safe) cleaner/lub, a brushless version of the Bore Boa cleaning rope and a silicone cloth. MSRP is $14.99.

SIG’s Precision Super Target Air Pistol is aimed at entry-level target shooters and scores 100 percent there. It’s accurate enough to challenge you, but affordable enough to make it fun to own. Muzzle velocity is in the 350 fps range and it’s quiet enough for basement or backyard fun. It’s a single stroke pneumatic-action (break-open) style, with adjustable trigger and big, bold adjustable sights. The 33-oz. weight and 7.5″ rifled barrel is deadly on those 10-meter targets! MSRP is $359.99 and it even has real wooden grips!

Subscribe To American Handgunner

Purchase A PDF Download Of The American Handgunner May/June 2020 Issue Now!