Low impact practice - fire Airsoft from your rifle, pistol, or shotgun.


April 8, 2009, 09:27 AM
I was looking for a way for my son to learn safe gun handling skills with his youth-sized Rossi combo rifle/shotgun. I wanted him to be able to develop good skills without the recoil/blast of live ammo, so I had an idea...

A company called A-Zoom ( http://www.azoomsnapcaps.com/ ) makes solid aluminum "dummy rounds" for over 120 cartridges and shotgun sizes. I had one in 12 gauge and I modified it to use shotgun primers to launch 6mm Airsoft pellets. It's a snap to do if you have a lathe. I drilled through with a "B" size bit, it's very slightly larger than the ~0.235" diameter pellets I had. I then used a "C" sized bit to countersink the rear for the 209 primer and put another shallow countersink with a 5/16" end mill to allow the flange on the primer to seat flush with the end of the A-Zoom dummy round. The Airsoft pellet will roll out at first if you tip the assembly forward, but after a few uses the residue inside will keep the pellet in place pretty well.

To use it, I push a 209 primer in the aft end (it only takes thumb pressure) and insert an Airsoft pellet from the front and seat it with a bamboo skewer. The "round" is then ready to load in the firearm. The thing fires with a satisfying "BANG" that's somewhere in between a .22 CB and a standard .22 short in volume, you even get a little puff of smoke. Recoil is non-existent. You can use the bamboo skewer to push out the spent 209 primer and it's ready to reload.

Ready for the big surprise? I'd read that cowboy shooters can get 800 fps with a 209 primer and wax bullets, but I wasn't prepared for what the chronograph told me... The 0.12 gram Airsoft pellets were reaching an average 1,850 fps out of 2.5" of effective barrel length!!! It's "minute of soda can" accurate for plinking in the back yard, I haven't done any real accuracy testing. I imagine you could modify most A-Zoom dummies in this way so long as the barrel is .243/6mm or larger.

In fact, I'm now trying to see if firing Airsoft from a modified .243 Winchester cartridge case will work even better. The pellet is the right size to ride down the lands of the rifling and will probably pick up some spin. It'll be interesting to see what kind of accuracy will be possible.

Bottom line is, if the ammo shortage has you bummed out but you can get your hands on some 209 primers, you can have tons of fun plinking with Airsoft pellets for about the same price as bulk .22, and the rounds won't go 2.5 miles. I'm not saying a .12 gram Airsoft pellet at 1,850 fps is a toy, it would most certainly penetrate skin and cause a NASTY flesh wound. It would, however, be safe to shoot in most back yards without the need for massive dirt berms to keep the neighborhood safe. Who knows, maybe the folks at A-Zoom may even want to sell dummies already modified for plinking use...

If you give it a try, chime in and let us know how it works for you. :)

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April 8, 2009, 10:19 AM
Or you could just buy an airsoft copy of your gun. I bought an airsoft G19 and a spare magazine for under $200 shipped from Hong Kong. One shot costs a fraction of a penny and there's no lead residue from the primers, so I'm comfortable with shooting it indoors with a heavy quilt for a backstop.

April 8, 2009, 10:36 AM
My basement is riddled with pellets... besides, finding ammo is not an issue. I just go to the local store and buy 20k "rounds".

I was looking at real dummy rounds (ready to fire) and the few i could find in the calibers i need were like 2-3$ per round!

April 8, 2009, 10:41 AM
For low impact practice, I mostly just shoot Colibri (5fpe) in my .22 pistols and Super Colibri (11fpe) in my .22 rifles. Colibri's are only around $22/500 rounds and work with my silent pellet trap.
For my .25acp pocket pistols, I load a .25 pellet into a primed casing (no powder)...sort of a ".25acp Colibri". I also shoot various pellet guns.

April 8, 2009, 10:44 AM
Airsoft is probably cheaper as you don't have to use primers, and no lead dust.

Grey Morel
April 8, 2009, 10:58 AM
Its true that you could just buy a normal airsoft gun. But a cheap plastic spring powered Glock copy isn't quite the same as practicing with the real thing.

April 8, 2009, 10:58 AM
All true comments. Keep my original intent in mind, though. If you have a young person or someone who has zero experience handling firearms, this type of training can be a great tool to have them learn proper sight picture, firing stance, practice good trigger pull, holster draw, etc. without developing a flinch from blast or recoil. It's a step up from dry-fire practice. I don't think anyone's airsoft trigger pull is going to duplicate a Colt or S&W. An airsoft may be the same shape but the feel is very different.

April 8, 2009, 02:05 PM
If you could do that on a 6mm rifle it might just work great.

April 8, 2009, 03:11 PM
Actually both my airsoft and real Glock 19s have pretty much the same mediocre-to-awful trigger.

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