Starting an airgun ...

Starting an airgun program  


Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 79
2019-04-20 21:48:51  

Been on here and old YF a long time.  Lots more keyboard time than shooting but looking to change that finally.  Joined a private gun club about 5 min from my house because I figured hey, at least I can shoot my rifles off the bench.  Then I join up a couple weeks ago, look at the schedule and see "airgun practice".  Get in touch with the board and the club has a dedicated little field and berm/hill for airguns!  Nothing like the great clubs around the country but definitely something you could do a 6-8 lane match on.  The club leadership was very excited to have somebody make a proposal and give the airgun shooting some direction.   Apparently somebody else started up some activity but he hasn't been seen for months, left targets and equipment out in the weather etc.

ANYWAY - all this to say is, would like feedback from those that have started clubs or programs.  The VP threw out a dollar number to support the effort and I was fairly floored.  $2000.  There's existing equipment of various quality and we are sorting out what's the club's, what belongs to the other fellow etc.

That being said, if you had $500, $1000 or $2000 to start a program, where would you go with it and how would you invest the money?  The airgun range can get used for LEO or special events use but it's very infrequent and essentially I have permission to go out and shoot 7 days a week.  I'll get some photos and plan to inventory what's there.  The board meets once a month and I'd like to do a solid proposal.

So.... targets, lane markers, safety (as-in, range is hot flags/lights), strings, winders, storage, gun rack, pop-ups etc etc.  The shooting area is probably 40 yards by 40 yards with up to 100 yards up a slight hill.  Places on the hill could be set up for the beyond 35-40 range.  I'd like to focus on FT because at this point, it's just me and although BR, EBR, silhouette etc sounds cool, I've only go so much time.  Club has a good riding mower setup, weedwhackers, small tractor etc and the leadership seems happy to help.  

Thoughts and feedback welcome.  Excited to finally get out after all these years of excuses.  My goal is to present at the next board meeting early May.


Rochester Field Target
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 92
2019-04-21 07:39:09  

Hi Casey,
4-H Shooting Program might be something to look into. They provide the structure and training and already have a large population of kids interested in shooting sports and air rifle/pistol training can be offered earlier than other rifle/pistol training.
I will say that we are finding it a challenge to get the kids participating in the firearm training to then get into the Field Target class that we set up. My suspicion at this point may be a time issue. We had set up the field target course to be 8 sessions (3-hours each) but this might be too intense or at the wrong time of year. If we don't meet the 5-person minimum that we set then we may go the route of including 1 or 2 sessions outside as part of the firearm training to whet their appetite. 4-H allows you to add to the curriculum, but you can't remove anything.
Just an idea, and happy to talk if you want. smcdanie at rochester dot rr dot com
--Sean McDaniel
Rochester, NY

Sean McD

Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 43
2019-04-21 08:44:38  

Casey, I was just going to refer you to Sean !!  But he beat me to it!!  Take his advice as he knows what he is doing!!   Good luck !!   J.L.

Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 53
2019-04-22 09:42:02  


You are asking an opinion question so you will get opinion answers.  There are four basic types of airgun competition, 10 meter bullseye, silhouette, field target, and bench rest.  Way back we had a junior indoor bullseye program and when we started outdoor airgun we did what we thought we would like.  At that time it was NRA silhouette.  We didn't know about field target then but moved into that the next year(1989).  You seem to be leaning more toward field target so maybe you should start there.  Field target unfortunately is the most work if done well and also fairly costly to get started in.  The up side is that it seems to be more appealing to more casual shooters although some FT shooters are very intense.

You have the room for silhouette or bench rest and they are less costly and less work to set up but they are less popular generally.  Silhouette is difficult because it is shot standing.  That makes some love it and others hate it.  Bench rest is an equipment race which is a bar to many people.

If you are trying to recruit junior shooters the NRA, 4-H, and others have specific programs you might want to look at.   Junior shooting is a mixed bag.  In our present times it is just not the most popular thing with lots of folks however it doesn't mean we shouldn't try or that it is a total waste of effort.  Results vary.

Whatever you do will be better than doing nothing and if that doesn't work just try something else.

Rick Bassett

Richard bassett

Hector J Medina G
Member of Trade
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 286
2019-04-22 11:24:41  


If you have 40 x 40 yds, you can set up to 10 lanes (1 between markers for the " shooting positions" ) and 3 between shooting positions.

That is a sizeable FT course, if you place your lanes correctly, it can be very challenging.  EFTCC in Dutchess Co, NY has a similar size firing line and they use 13 lanes.

You will need at least 20 WORKING targets (5 to for spare/maintenance) with their winders and strings, and 2 stakes to make the "door"  for the shooting position. Send a PM to Cameron Kerndt here in the forum for strings and winders. Write to Tyler Patner at Pyramyd Air and get a "club quote" for the targets you need (hopefully, the Club will own already some of the targets out there) Search the forum for Scotchmo's "fixing" of targets, get some Rust-oleum inverted marking paint cans in White, Black, Blue, Yellow and Pink, and you will be set to start working on your FT course.

You will also need some target holders for the sighting-in range, and some self-resetting targets to hone the zeroing of rifles.

Assuming you have NOTHING:

25 X $15 (average target cost).-                            375

8  x $15 (resetting targets)                                     120

25 X $20 (average "loaded"  winder)                   500

8 x $13 (target holders)                                           104

4 x $8 (6 pack of 60" stakes)                                   32

4 x $5 (100 pack 5 bullseye airgun targets)         20

4 x $5 (inverted marking paint)                             25

75 X $1 (Steel "Edging Stakes")                             75


Start setting the targets on the ground by using the edging stakes (about 12"  long and thick).


When you get two or more persons interested, then you can start thinking of cinder blocks and clamps, and a more semi-permanent location of shooting points with which you will save time in set-up and design.

Look into AAFTA's worksheet for planning the matches AND take the trouble of LOADING YOUR TARGET INVENTORY FIRST!

Plan on bringing an old BBQ to the range and have a "bring your own meat cook-off" after the match, you will still need to provide the coal and the starters. Have some water and/sodas available for shooters.

Scorecards are available for printing from the web, but you will need a budget line ($) for paper and ink to use in your printer.

Make sure bathrooms are available to the shooters or have a budget line for a "Port-a-Potty".

So, $2,000 will get you STARTED and give you some "running expenses"  budget, but it will be a ton of work and you need to get some help from interested parties. You will also need to define a cost for the shoots. That cost should take into account whatever the Club wants to get out of each shoot, plus a little more for paint, tools and other things you will need to RUN the thing.

Run ads/affix posters at the local gunshops and sports outlets, make sure everyone knows about this. You MAY need additional $ for this.

Do you have a local radio station/TV station? sometimes they will run an ad "Pro-Bono"  for sports associations/non-profits and then will cover the shoot (VERY important if you can achieve this).

Most important of all, HAVE FUN!, if you don't, the others won't either and the whole thing will die soon.

Best of lucks!







Jeff P
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 52
2019-04-22 12:17:18  

Hi Casey,

One other thing to consider.  Maybe try to get the name and contact for the previous guy that ran the airgun program.  See how much airgun interest there is in the club.  Is this a club that allows non-members to participate in the club programs?  Maybe find out from the club officials what the interest level was if you cannot contact the original airgun director.

I say this because this scenario is pretty much what happened to me when I joined a local gun club so that I could shoot airguns.  I was asked to start a program and become an airgun director.  My problem was that the club did not allow non-members to shoot the club events.  I would go to yearly meetings and introduce and discuss the program and let people shoot my rifles during junior rifle picnics.  In the six or so years that I have been the director, I have had about three people come out and shoot.  So, please find out if there is an interest or you may be spinning your wheels.  Its not always the case of "if you build it, they will come."

Jeff P


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