Maker Mayhem: Low Moments in How-To History, Part 5




Oswald crouched behind his makeshift shooters nest…


Way to spread hate and stereotyping there.

The steel plate is at a 45 degree angle, so the bullets bounce down. I should also note that there are lower-powered rounds out there. If you are shooting a .22LR, you can get “CB” ammunition that is almost silent, and the power can be compared to that of some premium air rifles. If you load your own ammo, you can make some primer-only rounds that would be quite safe indoors.

And as to posting the article with safety warnings about other people and eye/ear protection, they pretty much assumed that people had some common sense and did not need to even be told that coffee may be hot. Don’t forget that way back then, children were actually allowed to play on monkey bars and all sorts of other dangerous playground equipment. The rash of safety warning on things these days is just so that the lawyers can’t go after you because a moron didn’t have any common sense.


When I was growing up in Alaska in the 80s, I actually knew several people that had in-home firearms ranges. Without one single accident. I also know a few people nowadays that have them down here in the “Lower 48” as well. Without one single accident. It is quite possible to safely operate a firearms range in your own home as long as you are building it correctly for the type of round you will be shooting. See, this original article was written back when America wasn’t a land full of whimps that believe that guns just go off willy-nilly and that even if you aim the gun there is no telling where the bullet will go!


I’m confused. Can you point out the “hate” that you complain about, shooter?


Missed the very first qualifier “Basement.” In other words underground. In those days the typical basement was a single -underground- room made of concrete, brick or cinderblock. You can argue the wisdom of playing with firearms in your home to start with, a loaded firearm dropped could discharge in any direction. An unintentional discharge might penetrate the floor of the space above and do harm if it were of sufficient caliber, but even in modern construction a floor is a subfloor, floor and floor covering. I wouldn’t want to fire a large caliber weapon in an enclosed space anyway, even with ear protection. Even .22 lr would not have enough power to penetrate a floor from that period.
Sure, some folks might have been foolish enough to try larger rounds but that’s the difference between a shooter and those out there that have been converted by the magical thinking that comes from the anti gun lobbies and Hollywierd. Bullets aren’t magical, they don’t seek, and they don’t always wound let alone kill. It’s also the difference between those days and now, when your neighbor can sue you for a loud fart.


The title implies that this is something bad and not something rather ingenious. That maybe what they are referring to.


When we were kids, we did this in the living room with BB guns. Needless to say, we didn’t have to worry about inhaling lead vapor.


Except for all of the automobile exhaust.


And all of the paint chips we ate.


I had a class in shooting while in England using 0.17 caliber rifle rounds on a set-up exactly like this in 1998.


Overall I agree with what you have posted, but you might want to clarify that while a dropped loaded firearm COULD discharge in any direction, it would be extremely unlikely that it would. As I’m sure you know but most people don’t, firearms going off by themselves is another invention of the movies. While it can, and has, happened (generally with old single actions and percussion firearms) the likelihood of that happening with modern pistols or rifles is vanishingly remote. Of course with any firearm you should always assume that it could happen in the interests of safety, but the the chances of it happening are very unlikely.


You must not have read the entire post. Here is a quote:

You might want to run your fucked-up plan past the neighbors, too.
The sound of Dad’s gunshots coming from the basement might be a bit unsettling for the kids upstairs trying to do their homework, and it might put the kibosh on mom’s bridge night, but let ‘em squawk all they want. Who’s the king of this castle anyway? Who puts the food on the table? What if dad decided to spend mom’s grocery allowance on an expensive membership to a club target range instead, and the whole family goes without food for a month? How would they like that?

Nothing like implying that gun owners are misogynists and bad parents.


When I was kid in New Jersey, a friend and I set up a shooting range in his basement using a set of encyclopedias which we found in the town dump (less than a mile away across the railroad tracks). As I recall, the bullets (22 caliber) never got further than “N.”


Am I the only one looking for the other 4 parts?


The period illustration shows windows in that “basement,” though…


Personally wouldn’t try this with a fire arm other than perhaps a .22 CB - which is about as loud and powerful as an air rifle.

But this would be a great set up for an air rifle.

I used to have something similar for BBs. Only the back stop was a couple sheets of old jeans. Using a card board box, you could shoot into box, the BBs go through the paper target, hit the jeans, then fall to the bottom of the box. Then you can just rather up and reuse the BBs.

ETA - just a note prompted by another post, BBs usually aren’t made of lead, but steel, some times copper coated. Made gathering them up with a magnet easy.


Only a gun nut thinks a basement shooting range is a good idea.

You’re new to Boing Boing, aren’t you? This is not a pro-gun site, by and large.



I have checked this site at least twice-weekly for over a decade… Been through a couple of site re-designs and hate this new look with two panels (yes, I use the super-secret URL gets me back to the old layout).

I am certainly not a “gun nut” – I own a few, but they spend at least 363 days a year in a safe. I am a lover of the US Constitution and consider it to be the best written work in the last millennium, and I resent anybody who tries to weaken the Constitution in any form.