How to Make an Outdoor Pellet Trap at Home

Written by mike frees
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How to Make an Outdoor Pellet Trap at Home
Pellet gun target shooting is made safer with a good pellet trap. (young marksman image by Jake Hellbach from

Target shooting with a pellet gun is an enjoyable hobby and a fine way to teach kids about gun safety. One important aspect of safe shooting is a target holder that traps the pellets, preventing them from ricocheting. Commercial pellet traps are available, but it is not difficult to build your own. Some traps use a metal plate to deflect the pellet into a collection area; these can be quite noisy and may produce lead dust from shattered pellets. Another design, called a silent pellet trap, safely stops and holds the pellets in a ballistic gel.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Metal electrical junction box or similar (see Step 1 for details)
  • Electrical duct seal
  • Cardboard
  • Tape

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  1. 1

    Choose a box sized to support the targets you will be using. A large metal electrical junction box will hold a letter-sized 8.5-by-11-inch target (many targets are available on the Internet for you to print out -- see Resources). If you are using smaller targets, choose an appropriate size box. Make sure the box is at least 4 inches deep to hold the duct seal. A wooden box of the correct size will work just as well. Note that many new electrical junction boxes are made of plastic; these will not hold up to pellet strikes and should not be used.

  2. 2

    Purchase enough electrical duct seal to fill the back of the box to a depth of 2 inches or more. Electrical duct seal, also called PUG seal, is a dark grey flexible putty used to seal irregular openings in structures and foundations. It will not harden, shrink or stain. It is sold in 0.454kg. blocks; it will take about 3.63kg. to fill a box large enough for letter-sized targets.

  3. 3

    Fill the back of the box with the electrical duct seal. A 2-inch depth will handle .22 calibre wad-cutter pellets with a muzzle velocity of up to 700 feet per second. The same pellets at 1,000 fps require 4 inches of putty. Add 50 per cent more putty if you are using pointed pellets. Smooth the putty evenly over the back of the box.

  4. 4

    Trim the cardboard to just cover the front of the box and tape it in place. Tape a target onto the cardboard. Place the assembled pellet trap in a location with a solid backstop such as a fence or hillside. You are now ready to enjoy safe target shooting.

Tips and warnings

  • After many weeks of shooting, simply pry the excess pellets off of the duct seal and smooth it over. It will last almost indefinitely.
  • If you are using a high-powered pellet gun, add MDF particleboard to the back of the box before layering in the electrical duct seal for extra strength.

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