The airguns we have featured here usually have a 1/2″ barrel (though other barrel sizes can be used.) While shooting marshmallows is great fun, they loose accuracy after a short distance. These airguns have potential to shoot much further, more accurately. Here are some ideas for ammo.
CAUTION: Some of these examples could be dangerous if used improperly or carelessly. These examples are for information only.
Here is what we are shooting for in improvements over the amazing marshmallow:
1. Ways to increase the weight and range of the ammo.
2. Ways to stabilize the ammo to improve accuracy over a longer distance.
3. Ways to fill the barrel to better capture the released air.
4. Ways to indicate where the hit was on a target (stick, dent, hole).
Additionally, I wanted the ammo to be inexpensive, readily available and easy to make.
Here are some ideas about some basic types of ammo shown above:
A. Tapered Cone Darts – This type is patterned after darts used in blowguns. The tapered cone captures the air and provides stability. Experiment with different length, weight and types of shafts. Shafts pictured above are nails, a paper clip, a golf tee and a pop rivet. These can be fast and accurate.
B. Round Candy – This type can add weight and can splat or dent, leaving a mark. Why candy? Because it is so readily available, and has a fun factor (can be eaten). Pictured are M&Ms and Cherry Sours. Peanut M&Ms can work well too.
C. Homemade Round - Another round, heaver ammo. Those shown are made of plastic modeling clay. They can be made quickly and make a satisfying sound when they hit a hard surface. Consider other types of clay that can be cured. Bullet shapes can be fun. If a mold can be made, plaster can make fun ammo that “explodes” upon impact against a hard surface.
D. Foam Bullets – The idea from foam dart guns, this ammo is made from 1/2″ foam insulation “rope.” I usually hot glue short roofing nails in the forward end to add weight. A fun ammo.
E. Pompom Ammo – I have found these small pompoms at many stores. They are about 3/4″ in size and can easily be pushed into a 1/2″ barrel to capture the air. Add something with some weight to create ammo. When fired the pompom helps with stability. Pictured are ammo with nails, pop rivet and a .22 hollow point air gun pellet hot-glued on top. Fun to shoot and often easy to find and reuse.
Other Ammo – (not shown) I have read about the use of marbles and steel ball bearings. Darts made with handmade yarn tassels to catch the air and provide stability. The plastic from wire nuts, with the insert removed, instead of paper for the taper cones. And a million ideas … Share some of your ideas and experiences.
Making Tapered Cone Darts
This type of ammo can really show off the ability of your homemade air gun. These darts are quite easy to make and the possibilities are nearly endless. Here’s some info to get you started:
A. Making the Cone – I make my cones from small pieces of paper. In the picture, I used post-it-notes (sticky part not used.) I like a shorter cone, but have seen longer taper cones used with success. Roll the paper fashioning a cone with a sharp point. Adjust the cone taper to your liking, and secure with clear tape.
B. Marking the Cone – I keep a short piece of “barrel” to get the right marking. While holding the cone in the tube, check to see that the point is centered in the tube. Use a pen or marker to make a line along the top of the tube.
C. Cutting the Cone – Cut the wide end just a little above the line. The cone should fit snugly into the barrel without buckling or sticking. The small end should be cut to provide a hole that provides a tight fit on the dart shaft.
D. Assembling the Dart – Some shafts can benefit from using hot glue, filling the space under the head of the nail. Super glue can also be used to attach the cone to the shaft. Trim the cone to fit well and be balanced.
There have to be lots of other great ideas out there. Share, enjoy!!!