Rat-On-The-Run Target Is Great For Field Target Wannabees

The Air Venturi Rat-On-The-Run airgun target has become a very helpful tool in Matt Coulter’s journey of becoming an (even) better shooter. In this story he explains how.

Airgun shooters often standardize on certain types of targets and may go seasons (or even years) shooting in the same way and at the same style of targets. This continuity can be a very good thing when trying to take the “me” out of the accuracy equation while shooting.

But what if the “me-factor” is unavoidable in the type of shooting you want to do?  Uh-oh. Things can start to get uncomfortable fast!

The Air Venturi Rat-On-The-Run knockdown airgun target has become a very helpful tool in this airgunner’s journey of trying to become a better shooter. This rat-shaped silhouette is a self-indicating Field Target made of metal.

Rat-On-The-Run Target

(For more information on Field Target shooting, check out the series of HAM articles here).

A successful shot through a hole in the target’s face (sometimes referred to as the “hit-zone” or “kill-zone”), hits a paddle and causes the rat-shaped silhouette to fall backwards onto its base.  An included string is then used to reset the target by pulling it back up towards the shooter from location up to 65 Yards (60 Meters) away.

While this target can be fun for plinking with any airgun, it is ideally suited for backyard Field Target practice! Note:  This target is rated for use with airguns firing pellet (or slugs) with less than 22 Ft/Lbs of muzzle energy.

Rat-On-The-Run Target

With an elemental understanding of the Field Target (FT) shooting discipline (thanks to the American Airgun Field Target Association’s (AAFTA) Handbook), I knew that FT shooting distances range from 10 Yards to 55 Yards and the “hit-zones” to knock down the target ranges from 3/8 Inch to 2 Inches in diameter.

Fortunately, the AAFTA’s website also referenced something called the “Troyer Chart”.  This chart assigns difficulty ratings to these various sized hit-zones in one-Yard increments making it a simple exercise to objectively assign a difficulty level for all the hit-zone sizes throughout the range.

A quick caliper measure showed my target had these hit-zone sizes:

Hit-Zone SizeDiameter in mmDiameter in Inches
Small14.8 mm0.58 In.
Medium24.6 mm0.97 In.
Large39.5 mm1.56 In.

The Troyer ratings of are on a difficulty scale from 0 to 50 with anything over 51 being “illegal”:

RatingDifficulty Level
Easy0 to <20
Moderate20 to <30
Hard30 to <40
Expert40 to <50
IllegalOver 50

Having recently measured and marked my yard in 5-Yard increments from 10 to 55 Yards, I associated these Rat-On-The-Run target hit-zone sizes with the following Troyer difficulty levels:

RangeHit Zone Size*Troyer Difficulty
10 YardsSmall (5/8 Inch)16
15 YardsSmall24
20 YardsSmall32
25 YardsMedium (1 Inch)25
30 YardsMedium30
35 YardsMedium35
40 YardsLarge (1.5 Inches)26.7
45 YardsLarge30
50 YardsLarge37.5
55 yardsLarge41.3

* To keep things simple, I am rounding my measurements up to the nearest common Inch sizes.

From this mapping exercise I can now see that opting for the next larger size hit-zone will make sense at 20 Yards and 35 Yards.  Doing this will drop the difficulty level a bit making it slightly more favorable for a new Field Target shooter.

RangeHit Zone Size*Troyer Difficulty
10 YardsSmall (5/8 Inch)16
15 YardsSmall24
20 YardsMedium (1 Inch)20
25 YardsMedium25
30 YardsMedium30
35 YardsLarge (1.5 Inches)23.3
40 YardsLarge26.7
45 YardsLarge30
50 YardsLarge37.5
55 yardsLarge41.3

Given the available hit-zone sizes in the Rat-On-The-Run target (roughly 3/8 of an Inch to 1.5 Inches), the effective ranges for “Easy” targets is 10 to 29 yards, “Medium” targets 13 Yards to 40 Yards and “Difficult” targets 19 Yards through 53 Yards.

Rat-On-The-Run Target

Not having a hit-zone larger than 1.5 Inches will keep your long-distance practice shots in the difficult level. If this target allowed a 2 Inch hit-zone, that would allow “Moderate” difficulty out to 53 Yards. But as it stands with this target, the “Moderate” level effectively ends at 40 Yards.

My target has been perfectly usable through a couple of seasons of light practice with it.  While the original string is still in usable, a thicker string and better string winder will be a worthwhile upgrade for this target.

The target’s base and the provided ground stakes for it have proven to work fine in our loamy Central New York soil.  Having left the target outside in the elements some, the target remains relatively rust-free and no parts have needed to be replaced. (However, it may benefit from a sanding at the end of the season to remove the layers of spray paint that will be needed between shooting sessions.)

While this one target leans toward the more difficult side when used at longer distances, it has proven to be a great teaching tool and will be a regular fixture in my backyard range!

Air Venturi Rat-On-The-Run Airgun Target

The complete TroyerChart is published below, with approval from the AAFTA. Thanks to Brad Troyer for all his work in generating this outstanding tool!