The Varmint Target
The Desert Rat 08.26.13
I really need to thank Larry Spikes from VarmintTarget.com for asking me to try one of their units. I have to say, after taking this target to the range, it’s the coolest thing I have used in a long, long time!
The varmint target is an automated, self-contained unit that houses a varmint silhouette that automatically falls down, retracts, and resets when struck with a bullet. The unit is designed to be used with .22 rimfire bullets only. The silhouette is made of a dense, self-sealing polymer material made to withstand hundreds of .22 penetrations.
That being said, I spoke with Larry on the phone the other day and the polymer target is holding up well for virtually every caliber he has thrown at it. Larry stresses, however, that the unit’s motor and actuator housing is designed to absorb rounds from .22s and not anything bigger. If you want to try it with larger calibers, you have to make sure the unit is well sandbagged, buried, or otherwise shielded in order to protect the housing. It will not withstand hits from larger calibers.
The unit is housed in a steel container similar to the size and shape of a five-gallon pail. The front half is fully covered by a piece of quarter-inch-thick steel plate, rolled to conform to the container size. There is a motor, rechargeable power pack, and actuator assembly inside the unit. The package comes with a charger and integrated cover. The top cover has a sturdy handle, and the pail has hand-holds on the sides to enable it to be picked up and easily moved when the cover is not installed. The whole thing is sturdy, reliable, and very easy to operate.
First off, this unit is FUN. We could have burned up a thousand rounds watching that thing flop, disappear, and reappear. This would be a great tool to use to teach kids how to shoot follow-up shots. It only takes a couple of seconds to cycle and we tried a few times to hit the varmint as it was just coming back into view. If you were concerned about ricochets off of the curved front plate (depending on your range configuration and proximity to other shooters) you could also sandbag or bury the unit.
They retail for about $250 and you can find them at VarmintTarget.com. Normally shipping will run you about 35 bucks, but Larry is offering free shipping for the next two weeks or so.