Subversive 4th of July Picnic idea: The return of the shooting gallery.


May 23, 2007, 08:46 PM
For nearly 50 years, our neighborhood has had a quasi official block party, which includes food, fun, a parade, and games and prizes for the kids.

I'm thinking this year, there's going to be an airsoft shooting gallery booth on my front lawn.

I'm considering two: a plinking range, with spinners, knock down ducks and the like, and a "target" range for scored target shooting, maybe with a few cheapo trophies for high score in various age ranged divisions.

I'm thinking if we can iron out the details, we can make a "howto" pdf, and folks can roll these things into their own local festivities.

So, practical questions:

A) Has anyone ever run anything like this? What worked, what didn't?
B) For the "plinking" range, the more interesting the stuff to shoot is, the more attention/fun it will draw. Is there a collection of directions on making cheap but interesting active targets that are easy to reset?
C) For the target range, considering most will be n00bs, what's a challenging but appropriate distance and target size?
D) What's the best model airsoft rifle for this purpose?

Also, I'm planning it to be a "stealth" excercise. There will be no NRA or gun rights prosyletizing, just "Good, clean, old fashioned American fun."

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May 23, 2007, 09:10 PM
Be sure to fasten the airsoft guns to a steel dummy cord, or they'll walk off. People will steal ANYTHING.

May 26, 2007, 01:07 PM
Keep the targets close... say 20 feet or less.

You'll need light-weight targets to get the airsoft pellets to knock 'em over. Maybe cardboard cutouts of various shapes and sizes.

I don't know about the airsoft guns, so I can't recommend one. But, get two or three if you can.

May 26, 2007, 01:14 PM
For the guns, I would recommend a Glock and an AK, the Glock by KWA and AK by Tokyo Marui.

Might as well get the most eeeevil guns and show them how they won't magically jump up and start shooting.

May 26, 2007, 01:17 PM
Too bad AirSoft pellets won't set off tannerite, that wou'd be a whole lot of fun :D

I'd agree with under 20 feet, those airsoft pellets just don't have enough umph to knock down a whole lot past that. I'm not sure if they would penetrate full cheapo coke cans, I doubt it but you could see. Maybe someone else has more experience than I do with AirSoft guns. I have only shot my buddies a few times.

I know they will make holes in paper targets pretty well, which would give them instant feedback how their shot was. So maybe a few homemade bullseye targets would work, although probably only for an older age crowd who want to be challenged. The little ones just want to shoot something. :D

May 26, 2007, 01:27 PM
This sounds like a great, great idea! A few ideas:

- Even without direct proselytizing, make sure you emphasize safety to every single shooter before they so much as touch a gun.

- for (small) kids, I think you should make the parents be there at least for the first time. Avoid "We had no idea!" surprises.

- Related; make everyone wear eye protection

- set up some sort of bullet-catching backstop (sheets crimped such that the airsoft pellets roll forward and into some buckets?

- prizes! Visit a dollar store :) Good place for creative targets, too. (Can airsoft pellets pop the average balloon?)


May 30, 2007, 11:14 AM
Since I have zero experience with Airsoft, will they pop ballons ???

Kids love reactive targets......

May 30, 2007, 12:13 PM
They can depending on the power of the particular gun you are using.

Look for guns that shoot 325+ fps with .2g bbs and you should be able to deal with slightly over inflated balloons, no problem. Haven't tried it myself, but that will also go through one side of a pop can(and the other side, though not as reliably).

As for a specific model, that depends on what your budget is. If you're willing to plop down $300 you could get a nice AEG version of one of those "evil" rifles that is sure to make the soccer moms nervous :evil:.

As a general rule of thumb, never buy a gun that costs less than $50, though some ok ones can be had for around $40. There are also certain brands you should avoid like the plague.

If you just want your basic run of the mill rifle, I would suggest this ( Shoots at 370fps w/.2g bbs, should do the job.

May 31, 2007, 12:21 AM
It's not airsoft, but I'm thinking of getting a few of these:

I say "a few" rather than "one" just because my credit card's rewards program has them (pay for tuition on a credit card, and the points rack up ...) at a better conversion ratio than they do for many other things -- just about $50 / each, in real world dollars. Would be nice to have a few at an upcoming family reunion, so the kids can all shoot at targets against each other.

When I saw it (just yesterday) I thought of your shooting gallery -- seems like one that has some advantages; smallish kids could hold it like a mini rifle, but it's large enough I think it would help discourage sticky fingers. Also, it's single shot (minimizes spray fire and ammo wastage), and you can pump it fewer times for nearby balloons than you'd pump it for distant zombies :)


June 2, 2007, 12:47 PM


The wife wrangled herself onto the kid's entertainment committee, and slotted in the Rootin' Tootin' Shootin' Gallery as an official activity, with wide support of the other committee members.

There's going to be a plinking session in the morning for the older kids, and shoot for score & ribbons after lunch. :) I'm running 3 divisions: kids 6-12, 13-18, and adult.

For guns, I ordered a pair of $35 M-14 springers. ;)

I've designed the tarp enclosed range, using the hill in front of my yard, and a pile of 2x4 I have in the garage.

Last item will be plinking target design, and test assembly. I'll post pix as it starts coming together.

June 5, 2007, 04:33 PM
Sweet smoking diety!

The rifles arrived.

I ordered 2 of these for $35 each, and I'm stunned at how good they are.

I've got to put it side by side to my real m1a scout squad, but it's preposterously close to the real thing.

The mag release, safety, and action cycling all work just like the real thing.

The SIGHTS ARE ADJUSTABLE, for crying out loud!


If only they had this sort of thing when I was a kid.

I'll letcha know how they shoot after work.

General Geoff
June 5, 2007, 05:07 PM
Hey, if you need anyone to help.. uhh... zero them in, lemme know. I'm probably not too far away from ya. Heck, I'll even lend you a Walther P99 and IMI Desert Eagle, both spring action airsoft guns.

FWIW: I plan on picking up this Tokyo Marui M14 ( when I get enough loose change; from what I hear, you can even swap furniture between a real m14 and the TM airsoft version.

June 5, 2007, 05:24 PM
I have that same gun :D, not bad for shootin' cans and such. I tried mine on a balloon with .2g and it worked ok, just need to over-inflate them a bit. Also good for putting holes in paper(or cardboard boxes).

June 8, 2007, 06:16 PM
First signs of resistance...handilly defeated.

My wife reported the first signs of resistance @ the picnic committee meeting.

A Surprise Ally Decloaks:

The first objection was reasonable, centered around questions and concerns of safety, which the neighbor vouched for. I hadn't tallied her firmly in the ally column, but that's where she is now. :)

(Incidentally, one of the subversive purposes is to smoke out friends, allies and enemies, while I play dumb. "Aw, shucks, it's just good, clean, old fashioned American fun....")

The interesting objection:

The second objection was not reasonable, and bears at least a little bit of discussion. Two women on the block "wanted the rootin' tootin' shootin' gallery removed" from the block party, "because some parents might not want their kids to play with guns". gwa9 replied that anyone with concerns is invited to take it up with us, and any parent who doesn't want their kids to participate is free not to.

Apparently, no further objection was sustained, and the RTSG remains on the official agenda.

It's interesting. Not having been @ the mtg, I cannot determine, nor can gwa9, as to whether the 2 women who objected were being pre-emptively solicitous of the concerns of others, or if they were the actual objectors, seeking to avoid owning their objection.

If it's the second case, where they're afraid to publicly own their objection to guns, I count that as a win. People should be reticent about foisting anti American views upon others.

If it is the first case, I think that's a problem, because that means that the antis have people working for them who are not committed to the anti gun cause. This same dynamic is also a force multiplyer in the arena of political correctivism, where people chill their speech and deeds not so much because it actually _is_ offensive, but based on the theoretical possibility that someone, somewhere might be offended.

June 8, 2007, 07:08 PM
Can we come to the party?!?!?!?!

Post #2,600

June 8, 2007, 08:14 PM
1) Have a "you have to be this tall to shoot" line marked on the booth
2) Use rifles only (users know where they're pointing)
3) Have a bench low/high enough so that the shooters can rest elbows on it

and most important-
4) Attach a cable or light chain to the business end of the barrels that can be pulled down and locked, and have a barrier that will absorb rounds if fired when the rifles are "locked down". This will allow you to make the gallery safe so you can reload, change targets and (most importantly) take a break!

I have a feeling that your booth will be the biggest attraction of the day! Have plenty of ammo, use a spring-type rifle and have a spare to replace the one(s) that break.

And be ready for next year when everyone wants you to do it again!

June 8, 2007, 09:08 PM
I feel sorry for the kids whose parents are not going to allow them to touch your guns. Who knows though, maybe the anti parents will come aorund to it after they see it being run safely and how much fun the other kids are having. You darn well those people will be getting a major earful from their kids about wanting to do it.

I wish there was something like your party around here.

June 8, 2007, 09:26 PM
I think it's just gonna be a huge success! Great idea, Geek.

General Geoff
June 9, 2007, 01:12 AM
If the RTSG ends up being a runaway success, maybe you can arrange for a followup range session too... there might be more prolonged interest in target shooting than you anticipate! :)

June 9, 2007, 01:26 AM
Airsoft are such a great way to get folks interested in shooting. I know they tend to be the province of "teh maLLninJa!" but they teach all the basics, are almost silent, inexpensive and almost free to run if you recycle your ballshot.

Your gallery should be a lot of fun. I you wanted a good reactive target, those Wal mart brand bags of animal crackers are great. They explode nicely when hit by even the .15g and .2g airsoft pellets and they're cheap as can be. Cleanup can be left to the neighbourhood birds if you're short on time and any not used can be eaten. I did a noob shoot at one of our Airsoft club events, where kids could "big game hunt" their choice of prey. If they hit it, they got a unit patch sticker (this was a Stargate themed LARP group, so we had patchs and ranks and all that gamer stuff!) and a duplicate of their chosen (and now exploded) cookie. If they missed, they just got the cookie.

As you could go as many times as you want, everyone got as many cookies as they wanted and we went though nearly a pound of airsoft ammo :)

June 9, 2007, 03:31 AM
I you wanted a good reactive target, those ... animal crackers are great

Hey, that's what I was trying to think of. :P "Hmm, what reacts violently when hit by a low-velocity, low-weight projectile?" I oculdn't come up with anything, because I'm not familiar with airsoft enough to know what kind of delivery force they have.

Maybe glue a large quantity of animal crackers to popsickle sticks for 'reactive targets', and take a 2x4 with a planed groove down the center (or just little slats for the popsickle sticks) and put it out at 15 feet for people to shoot at (timed?). That'd be a hoot, though you'd go through animal crackers and popsickle sticks really, really quickly. 1 cracker and 1 popsickle stick for every 2 rounds? every round? who knows what you'd need, but you'd need a lot, I imagine.

Alternatively, something like rice cakes might also work, or even something homemade like (just thinking out loud here) small 'bags' of flour made out of (say) tissue paper ("poof" on hit).

Also, put up tarps at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions to deflect any possible horsing around from people walking nearby. Make sure there's a clear divider line between those who are playing, and those who are waiting (and there will be people waiting).

June 9, 2007, 04:16 AM
Rice crackers are actually pretty tough, like packing foam segments. Which is about how they taste......

Saltines are pretty good though, if a touch dull compared to the thrill of hunting the deadly cracker-lions and wafer-gorilla...

June 9, 2007, 11:16 AM
How about water balloons for targets? I'm not familiar with airsoft so I dont know if it will penetrate the target.

June 9, 2007, 11:26 PM
Within about ten, fifteen feet a decent airsoft will puncture a soda can if you hit the side square on, so water balloons shouldn't be a problem. There's something about rice cakes though..... if you've ever had to chew one, you'd understand :)

If they sell them here, Tarian (and Daisy I think) sell a line of chalk targets in safari shapes/prey species shapes that explode merrily when hit by an airgun pellet or airsoft BB. I used to shoot them all the time back home, much fun and they come with a pinhole for suspension with thread, which makes the target rotate for a little more challenge.

June 9, 2007, 11:58 PM
Here's an idea for a rule: "No adults whose kids aren't allowed to shoot are allowed to shoot ." :) Probably won't bother them at all, but sends a (IMO gentle and appropriate) message about responsibility / maturity, and in a poking-mild-fun kind of way. (If it was *merely* poking fun, I wouldn't suggest it ;))


June 9, 2007, 11:59 PM
That is an awesome idea RUN with it! Make sure though you use pictures of Osama to make sure that everyone realizes you are trying to make America safer. I wish I could do something like this where i live I think you have an excellent idea!

June 10, 2007, 02:16 AM
I'll admit, my airsoft knowledge is somewhat lacking compared to general gun stuff. But, most spring guns will do. Anything with "hop up" is better than anything that doesn't have it. The guns me and my friends bought were UHC mp5sd3 (I think that's the model it said it was). accurate, high capacity, and fun. The down side is you have to "cock" it everytime you want to fire it, but this will make things easier. These guns work best with the .2g white bb's.

I highly suggest putting up sheets, or other materials to keep stray shots from hurting people, or property. maybe if you put a few easy-ups in line you could get the range 15-30ft (20 being optimum).

As for targets, reactive ones are better, if you cut them out of thin sheet metal they will likely survive long enough to get some use out of them. Also, for your "impact range" hand the sheet in such a way that it will catch all the BB's and have them drop into a 5lb coffee can at the bottom and then re-use them.

Generally, since it's a back yard event, I'm inclined to say don't give away prizes unless you're charging for trigger time. Teach them instead that shooting is it's own reward. Maybe get 1-3 guns, and then maybe do timed competitions, so people can shoot competitively against each other. Maybe make a cheap version of a dualing tree. I think the firearms field has already invented many of the games people will find fun. Try to make these work for you.

June 10, 2007, 02:26 AM
The down side is you have to "cock" it everytime you want to fire it, but this will make things easier.

See, with inexperienced shooters, this to me is an upside. Just like I should have learned all my bad habits with a bolt action or single shot rather than an autoloader, the "one shot at a time" shoot will not only be safer (after all, it's hard to accidentally cock an airsoft, but easy as pie to accidentally pull a 20g plastic hair trigger) but should encourage better marksmanship, at least IMO.

June 10, 2007, 03:30 PM
I have found that popping a balloon with a airsoft pistol is hit or miss. Also if your looking for a good gun to use, there is a set up out there that I have seen at GI Joes, Sportsmans and Fred Meyers that is a P99 with a sticky target and a few hundred pellets for $20. I have 2 of these sets and the guns hold up better than any of the cheap Chinese stuff I have ordered online.

Red State
June 10, 2007, 09:08 PM

Great idea. My dad and I did a similar thing one year at fall fest that our community church sponsored. We used paintball guns, but it worked great. As a safety precauton we made the kids wear eye protection and we fully enclosed our gallery with plastic tarps stretched across a pvc frame. It seems like an enclosure that was 20' long was just about right.

Be ready to be really, really busy. Kids these days are as trigger happy as we were!

Best of luck to you,


June 10, 2007, 10:02 PM
Suggest you post the 4 rules of gun safety, and also print up a batch with several copies per sheet - cut up and give a cc to each participant & the parent: so introducing an educational component, and helping making guns less "scary".

You could add a suitable message. One might be "You could make a "Stick Gun" and practice these rules." or "If you ever find a gun, don't touch it - tell an adult instead."


June 11, 2007, 08:59 AM
Unless you have compressed air bottle to blow them up, plus you wouldn't believe how EXPENSIVE they get.

I strongly suggest some kind of cheap knock-down targets. Saltines leave a mess, anything reactive is not worth the work of gluing to a stick.

I'd try some cheap plastic figurines from a toy store, and lots of them so you don't have to reset the targets every time. Dinosaurs, toy soldiers, Barney. Or just styrofoam cups. You can stack those.

I'd shoot everyone off a long Walmart plastic folding table and out of a chair. Bring a booster for the kids. No offhand until they have shot a few times.

This is a great idea, by the way. Ought to be done everywhere.

June 11, 2007, 09:20 AM
I'd use clamps and 1X2 to construct the target array. If you hang a few foil pie-pan gongs that turn in the air they will get some attention. For walls I'd use clamps and clear plastic paint drop cloths. If it's breezy I'd pass and just tape off an area with construction tape and designate a range fan. The less work the better.

June 11, 2007, 10:50 AM
I just wanted to add a serious post about the power of these plastic pellets. They do hit with enough force to could physical harm. Someone here posted secure them so they cannot be stolen. I say secure them so they cannot be carted off 10 feet and "toyed" with.

My daughter and I fire these in our basement. Even at 35'+ these plastic pellets will dent a cookie sheet, or a steel lunch box. I like to practice with them for Advanced Tactical sessions in my basement. They can cause physical harm. Wearing googles is a must.


June 11, 2007, 11:08 AM
Doc2005 is right on the money.

I used to do the Mallninja thing and run around the woods/disused nuclear bunkers with cartloads of full-auto electric airsofts shooting at other idiots in paintball masks and goggles and pretty much every time I'd have a few cuts and plenty of little bruises to show for it.

If you get hit -anywhere- there's dense tissue or bone close to the skin (knuckles are the worst and in a close range shootout, I -always- got shot in the hands) at short(ish) range, you get little crescent shaped tears in the skin from the spinning ballshot. They'll usually bleed a fair bit so you can imagine the mess they'll make of an eye or ear canal (and yes, I've been shot in the ears a few times).

Oh and the electric guns and spring guns at short range can and will penetrate those $3 wraparound safety goggles they sell in hardware stores. I found that out the hard way.

June 11, 2007, 08:55 PM
There is a good thread about airsoft reactive targets on the Brian Enos forum, with some plans and links to other ideas: Airsoft plate racks (

Sounds like a great worthwhile project, wish I had events like this here.

June 11, 2007, 09:10 PM
$10 auto plate targets! :)

They work great!

June 11, 2007, 09:34 PM
(Can airsoft pellets pop the average balloon?)
Pretty sure they can't. I only have pistols though, so the velocity is lower.

Keep the targets close... say 20 feet or less
I have noticed with my pistols that the grouping tends to be rather open. I like to keep it within about 15 feet. Also, beyond a certain distance they have pentration problems as well.

A) Has anyone ever run anything like this? What worked, what didn't?
B) For the "plinking" range, the more interesting the stuff to shoot is, the more attention/fun it will draw. Is there a collection of directions on making cheap but interesting active targets that are easy to reset?
C) For the target range, considering most will be n00bs, what's a challenging but appropriate distance and target size?
D) What's the best model airsoft rifle for this purpose?
I would have the targets be on 8.5x11 paper. should work fine. I shoot 20 LB paper from my printer without much problem. One issue is that the the holes are more tears rather than neat clean holes as you get from a traditional bullet or 4.5mm pellet.

I have seen a couple of airsoft specific targets that are pretty cool. There is some variety- including dartboard looking targets, and sticky targets (might be a good idea).

Some of the dedicated airsoft traps on the market use a mesh net to catch the BB's. Maybe you could use a net system of some sort.

June 11, 2007, 09:36 PM
That reactive target looks like a good idea.

Stock up on eyes and 6mm BB's!

June 12, 2007, 12:31 AM
Hey geek... fellow geek here... your event sounds like a blast! I hope things go smoothly and everybody has fun.

As regards the folks who "wanted the rootin' tootin' shootin' gallery removed"... just be nice. I hardly need mention it because I'm sure you will. Just because they don't want their kids playing with toy guns doesn't make them bad people or your enemies (I know you were talking tongue in cheek). Lots of Moms don't want their kids to play with toy guns and I can mostly respect that... just be gracious and safe... set a good example! Kindness and forethought opens minds. My parents don't approve of guns and they are WONDERFUL PEOPLE. Maybe one day they'll change their opinions.

June 12, 2007, 07:17 PM
The first thing that popped into my mind was Feltman .

Man-o-man those things could really eat up all my quarters in a HURRY !!
Thanks for reminding me .

June 12, 2007, 08:54 PM
Don't give out "cheapo" prizes. That just undermines the shooting sports. Give INEXPENSIVE quality prizes. A copy of our Declaration of Independence or Constitution would be nice.

Also, it would be real patriotic of you if you reconsidered you posture about "speaking the truth" take the opportunity to inform people who get to your stand that firearm Ownership is an individual, Constitutional Right in the USA.

June 12, 2007, 09:13 PM
Lots of Moms don't want their kids to play with toy guns and I can mostly respect that...

I wouldn't let my kids play with toy guns when they were growing up, either. They had plenty of real ones to play with any time they wanted and I had a free minute or day. I bowed to pressure when the squirtgun wars started in the neighborhood. Since it was an outgrowth of the garden hose wars I had started and organized, I felt it was only fair to let the supersoaker predicessors into the game. :D However, they were out only while I or another vetted adult was around. The basic rules were: Don't shoot a suit'n'tie (I worked for IBM at the time:neener:) and no frontal head shots.


June 16, 2007, 01:54 AM
Also, it would be real patriotic of you if you reconsidered you posture about "speaking the truth" take the opportunity to inform people who get to your stand that firearm Ownership is an individual, Constitutional Right in the USA.

So, blakenzy, you suggesting I'm truth challenged? :neener:

The direct approach is in the cards, maybe someday, but not this year, which is all about good clean American fun. Of course, if someone asks me directly, I'm going to tell them that it's _their_ choice to have a gun or not, and nobody's business to decide for them.

Relax, pull up a chair, and I'll relay a relevant story.

There's a lot of awful things in this world, and one of them is FGM, female genital mutilation. Basically, the clitoris, which is a significant structure associated with female enjoyment of sex is sliced off under unsanitary conditions. Sometimes it's a right of passage ritual, sometimes it's sprung on surprise. It's primarily practiced in African societies who have that sort of thing as part of their tribal past. Women with intact genitals, fully capable of enjoying sex are not considered marriagable, and therefore effectively sentenced to a life of hardship, deprivation, and social censure, assuming they're not clean thrown out of the village, which could well be a death sentence.

As a husband and father of daughters, the whole thing makes me sick, and I would righteously send to the hospital, in several pieces, anyone who laid hand on anyone I cared about with such intentions. Actually, I would righteously send to the hospital, in several pieces, anyone who laid hands on anyone at all in my presence with those intentions.

Be that as it may.

As you can imagine, several organizations have tried to intervene over the years on this, trying to get people to stop crippling themselves, and they've found that some approaches work better than others.

The approaches that don't work at all are the ones where the westerners show up and directly try to get them to stop, boldly proclaiming the wrongness of their ways.

They're dismissed out of hand.

The approaches that get better traction are the ones where they show up, and spend some time working in the village, not even mentioning FGM for like a year. Instead, they do things like instruct the villagers how to improve their crop yield. During this time, everyone gets to know each other, and some trust is built. More to the point, once the improved harvest comes in, it hammers home that the westerners know what they're talking about, at least on that one point, and this creates some credibility that perhaps they might know things on other topics as well.

So, I'm spending some time wisely, being smart. I'm learning who my potential allies and opponents are, building up some trust and face time with the folks 'round here.

Grandstanding and speechifying feels good, but it's for the choir, not the pagans waiting to be converted. ;)

June 16, 2007, 10:14 AM
So if anyone wants to send 20 bucks to be part of this, where would they send it?

June 16, 2007, 11:41 AM
Keep it fun and safe. Moonbat hippie wannabe pagan tree hugging hypocrite mommie might not get it (if ever), but the kids will. Wow! Guns are fun, and nobody magically died from being in vicinity of such an evil object (not real guns but...).

The next step is a youth 3 position bb gun team.

I remember those full auto bb tommy guns. My favorite thing at the fair. Those old time gallery ranges look like a hoot. Forget bowling.

June 16, 2007, 12:20 PM
looking at the price of bbs and balloons, those are the least of your worries for expense. Assuming 10 shots, and 10 hits on 5" balloons, the cost of that is 5 cents. I don't know if you charge small fees for this, but for a community size group, it probably won't be a problem and the organizers should have helium bottles on site anyway for balloons.

June 16, 2007, 12:22 PM
So, Mr. Geek, after having the M14s in your hands for a week, what's the report? Still good?

June 16, 2007, 06:47 PM
Still pretty good, for $35. They have the occassional fliers, which sadly introduces an element of chance into what should be a game of skill. Using the heavier .2g ammo reduces, but does not eliminate the fliers, and you have to dial in the hop up system. It seems that bb guns are inherently more consistent. Also, the sights aren't _really_ adjustable for windage, which is a shame, because both rifles shoot about 1 click left.

Charles Foxtrot
July 1, 2007, 12:56 PM


This is such a great idea! Maybe, next year for us....

Enjoy your blog, too!

July 1, 2007, 02:36 PM
Here's some signage:

I'm pretty much setup & good to go, though I need to swing by Kinkos for target copies.

There are still vague and unowned "issues" rumbling around, this time in the guise of "liability".

Gimme a freakin' break. We carry more liability payload every time the neighborhood kids come over to sit in our kiddie pool.

The consistent message I've been putting out is that I'm not going to respond to vague and anonymous objections, concerns or issues, but I'm more than happy to talk to anyone who wants to. No one is being forced to participate, and anyone who doesn't want their kids to play has to tell their kids themselves.

Pix will be forthcoming, no doubt.

July 6, 2007, 06:46 PM
And how did it go ?????

Pictures, Pictures of kiddies with big 'ol grins on their faces..........

July 6, 2007, 10:08 PM
Summary: It was a smashing success. Details to follow, guests @ the home.

Matt King
July 7, 2007, 03:40 PM
Summary: It was a smashing success. Details to follow, guests @ the home.

Good job!

July 10, 2007, 12:15 AM
That is just freekin awesome. Great idea and good job.

July 10, 2007, 10:10 PM
Why are there no pics yet??????

I am real glad it worked out... That airsoft M1a looks mighty good tho

July 10, 2007, 11:11 PM
So, the night before, I'm wrestling the screen tents out of the garage rafters, my basic plan being to dock them end to end, so as to contain the airshot. Upon doing this, the range is preposterously short, so I dig out a tarp, thinking to use that as a center segment.

As I'm working on the tent, I'm reviewing the evidence of opposition that has occurred. The bottom line on that is that a few people tried to raise objections without "owning" them, passively casting them in terms of "a concern has been raised". I'd considered my response, and passed back through the grapevine this response: "I simply don't respond to vague and anonymous "concerns", because they're categorically impossible to address. If anyone has a genuine concern, I'll be happy to take it up with them, and I remind people that participation is voluntary."

No one objected squat directly to me, before or since. The basic dynamic of the thing was that 1 or 2 agitators had tried to work behind the scenes to muster some support, had gotten nowhere, and was generally told to sit the heck down and let it go. It'll be interesting to see what they come up with next year. ;)

Alas, sigh, I have only mini tarp on hand, and must run out to obtain Maxi tarp. I set the two screen tents about 20 feet apart, and think to use MaximusTarpus as a bridge between them. After much sweating, and, truth be told, cursing, I find that Maxi tarp is actually big enough to cover the whole shebang, thus:

I hung up a few CDs to test the range, and within minutes, I was mobbed by kids, so I let 'em in, one at a time. This boded...well.

Darkness descending upon the land, I decide to call it a night.

Awaking at the crack of dawn to sort out the signage, interior, and everything else before showtime @ 10:30, I am greeted with disaster:

As I headed out to inspect the damage, I wasn't certain what to expect. The thought of sabotage honestly crossed my mind, but I figured I'd let the evidence speak for itself. It turned out to be entirely wind damage, without any sinister elements, or permanent damage.

I commenced sweating and cursing, and had the tent back into operational shape about 40 minutes later. Racing against the clock, I setup the range for "plinking mode":

, slapped the signs on, grabbed the safety glasses, and looked around to see what was missing.


Rifles would help. I had the girls fetch them:

A few minutes later, at the stroke of 10:30, the guy kitty corner across the street started blaring his ancient collection of patriotic vinyl, and the block party is officially started. I plunk in the chair, waiting for the mob of kids to arrive.

And I wait.

And I wait.


The across the street neighbor drops over, seeking refuge from his neighbor's noise system, and we shoot the bull for a while, and eventually decide to heck with it, WE were gonna shoot.

Two mags later, we turn around, and an even bigger mob of kids is back, staring through the tent door, wide eyed!


Two hours of tincan carnage later, I have to chase them all out, so as to be able to get some lunch. I racked the guns in the house, hung the "Closed, keep out sign" up, and headed for the chow tent. {Sorry, I'm not going to post pix of other people's kids on the net...doesn't strike me as kosher.}

Along the way, I'm getting winks & nods from folk, and it gradually dawns on me...the neighborhood is INFESTED with gunnies. Way more than I'd thought!


Anyway, as I'm passing through the tent, two older women I don't recognize ask me how the shooting gallery is going. "Oh, it's going fine. Shooting stuff is always an outright hoot!" At that point, they said something so surreal that my mind grasped the essence of the meaning, but I cannot quote the words themselves. Their reaction indicated that they thought that we where shooting live animals with real guns under tarp. {Houston: ***? No, really! ***? Over?} I blinked slowly at them, as if they'd just grown spare heads, and realized I was in the presence of the agitators. "No," I explained slowly, keeping my wits and friendly demeanor about me, "why on EARTH would anyone do that? We're shooting paper targets and tin cans, that sort of thing, with underpowered air guns that shoot plastic pellets. "Oh, thank goodness", they replied. They then proceed to ask about the tarp, indicating they thought it was "to prevent people from seeing the shooting." I explained that the tent and tarp was a safety measure, to contain the pellets so I didn't have to worry about eye protection for bystanders. I don't know how much sunk in, but I did invite them to come on over and check it out for themselves. They declined as if I'd just offered them a dead muskrat to go with their beverage. Shrugging, I rejoined the festivities.

About an hour later, it was time for the shooting contest proper to begin, and I shortly had two long lines, one for kids, and the other for adults. The best kid shot 37/50, and 3rd place was taken by a girl. (You go, girl!) The adult first prize went to a guy who shot 39/50.

The last shooter up was my neighbor, who was shooting mostly for fun. She was having a hard time, having an eye dominance issue, and shot a tight the upper corner of the paper. Knowing her husband was a hunter, we decided to play a trick. Since no one was looking, I quickly reshot her target for her, scoring 41/50, theoretically putting her in first place. She had some serious fun with him, till we let him off the hook. It also turns out that he's a _serious_ hunter, with several safaris under his belt, another planned for the fall, and a crack shot. He took 3 or 4 practice shots to get on the X ring, and then casually shot a perfect 50. Then he proceeded to shoot the 10 ring completely off the paper.

:) :) :)

He smiled at me. I smiled at him.

Did I mention that I love my neighborhood?

I can't wait for next year.

July 10, 2007, 11:43 PM
You sir, Are The MAN !!!

Well Done !!!!

I would love to do something like that, but my town prohibits the discharge of Firearms and/or BB Guns, except in self defense.

They declined as if I'd just offered them a dead muskrat to go with their beverage.

Still got that dead muckrat ??

July 11, 2007, 04:58 AM
:D Awesome.

July 11, 2007, 08:26 AM
Congratulations! I was cheering you from Philly ;)

Your rules / signage are excellent, too -- I'm going to pass on the link to those on to a friend of mine working at a summer academic program (at Franklin & Marshall College); though he's on the instructional rather than residential side this, he could pass that on to the residential folks (they're the ones who run weekend activities), and perhaps it will come in handy.

Do you approve of people copying / modifying that signage?


July 11, 2007, 08:43 AM
Do you approve of people copying / modifying that signage?

Absolutely. Free license for the signage is granted for use pursuant to the furtherance of the cause of a responsibly armed citizenry.

July 11, 2007, 05:58 PM
Way to go, looks like a heck of a success!

July 11, 2007, 06:14 PM
Now that just looks like fun!

I'm glad that everything worked out very well for everyone.

I'm betting that you will now have some new Gunnie friends.

Charles Foxtrot
July 12, 2007, 01:09 AM

...the neighborhood is INFESTED with gunnies... <grins!>

Congratulations on a great well conceived, planned, executed ...and subversive... accomplishment!

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