View Full Version : Need some feedback on a DIY target rig...

September 23, 2006, 07:56 PM
Hey all! Just looking for some feedback...

I'm thinking of building a system to practice follow-up shots against moving targets. The basic design starts out like a standard plate rack. Behind (or possibly below) each plate is a second plate that is attached to a vertical rail. When you hit the first plate, it releases the second plate to drop down the rail. If you hit the second plate, it freezes in place. Kind of like this:


It's going to be for handgun and rimfire rifle. I'm thinking of using angle for the basic frame, top tray and base. I'm probably going to use ballistic polymer (http://www.justshootmeproducts.com/) for the plates, and the 'vertical rails' will be C channel protected by some more angle iron.

One of my primary concerns with construction is weight... I'll probably weld the tray for the plates and the base, and am considering a tear down-bolt together option for the vertical components.

The basic questions i have are:

- does this make sense as a target rig, any suggestions on changing (or scrapping) it?

- what kind of angle iron would i need to survive hits from .45acp at ~20 yards?

- what's the consensus on using angle rotated 45 degrees so the 'point' is facing you? It seems like it would last longer that way (rather than hitting a flat face), but i don't know what kind of deflection it causes (e.g. how much backstop i would need)

- If the plate fell 5 feet you would have about a half second for the follow up shot...the rail will slow it a little and i have some ideas for varying the speed of the fall as well. Any thoughts there?

- A simpler method would be to just let the plates freefall without the rail, and put a small box below them. If the plate lands outside the box, you must have hit it...i just like the 'stops where you hit it' idea a lot better.

September 24, 2006, 11:27 AM
If I'm following you correctly, it sounds like the "second plate" will be somewhat of a "bonus" for hitting the first. If so, then you'll be re-setting your targets EVERY time that the first and "bonus" plates are hit.

I jury-rigged a moving target by using a simple pulley system. The target was either a piece of plywood or cardboard, suspended on a piece of 1"x2" piece of wood that was securely fastened to a pulley wheel. The 1"x2" wood was long enough so that if "stray" rounds hit it, it wouldn't destroy the pulley wheel. The "hits" on the target had to be scored up close, but the holes could be patched and the target re-used.

The pulley wheel relied upon gravity, so the top end needed to be higher than the bottom end. The pulley wheel rode upon a long piece of rope, and it could be returned to the top end by pulling on a string that went through an "eye hook" fastener at the top end.

My moving target set-up was for some informal handgun competition. The firing lines were set up at various distances, with the furthest being at 25 yards. The speed of the target simulated the speed of a slow-run.

I don't recall the number of times we used that moving target pulley system, but it had to be in the HUNDREDS! Shooters were limited to firing 6 rounds every time, so it was a good "pistol vs revolver" shooting contest. During the first-ever use of it, there were 9 shooters involved. Only 2 of them posted 6-out-of-6 hits during the numerous informal relays. The 2 that had "perfect" scores were the more avid shooters, and YES, I was one of them!

When you talk about "DIY" moving targets, you can spend a LOT of bucks on "high tech" stuff that might get blasted by stray rounds. If I recall correctly, the pulley wheel cost me less than $1 at the local hardware store. The rope probably cost another buck or two, at the most. The 1"x2" pieces of wood were "scrap", as was the plywood and the cardboard cut-out targets. Another "investment", per se, was the hour long setting up of the rope at the proper angle, using a tree for the top end and a 2"x4" board at the low end. All total, less than $10 was spent.....for HOURS of fun!

If you can use the "KISS" method ("Keep It Simple, Stupid"!), it will give you a "priceless" amount of shooting time! Better to keep it cheap, and spend your money on AMMO!

September 24, 2006, 02:12 PM
If I'm following you correctly, it sounds like the "second plate" will be somewhat of a "bonus" for hitting the first. If so, then you'll be re-setting your targets EVERY time that the first and "bonus" plates are hit.
I think you're following me...and yes, reset is going to be a bit of a bear. I spent some time this morning trying to find ways to make it as quick as possible, but at this point i'll still need to take a walk every time.

I like the moving target on a pulley idea...effective, simple and efficient.