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Old January 22, 2002, 03:39 PM   #1
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Wooden Pistol Box

On another thread about pistol boxes I intended to make a little brag about my wooden pistol box. Somehow my comment took on a life of its own and the thread more or less became about my box. (Sorry Lavan!) But the story became even stranger late last week.

It seems that one of TFL's members is connected with a woodworking magazine. (I'll plug them big-time AFTER I get a check! ) I was asked if I would design the plans for a little more simplified box (ie: regular dovetails vs. inlaid ones) and if it meets their standards, they'll publish an article about it. That shouldn't be a problem, as it turns out it's the same magazine that's published my plans before. My original box will be shown in the article as well, as an example of what can be done. Anyway, it'll probably be several months before it comes out in print. I'll be sure to let everyone know when it happens.

So, I thought I'd ask for input as to what everyone would like to see in a pistol box. BTW, the box will be proportioned somewhat like a sewing machine case. (And about 50% larger in all dimensions!) Here's what's in my current box;

- Front and back fold-down panels (so the box always sits upright and you can get to everything without moving something else)
- Lift-out ammo tray in the bottom of the box (keeps the CG low to make the box more stable)
- Lift-out, leather padded, six gun tray incorporating a clamp to keep guns from rattleing in transport
- Magnetic strip inside fold-down front panel to hold clips (plus raised edges of the open panel corral loose ammo if you're the "dump the box then load the mags" type)
- Rigid compartment in back fold-down panel to keep targets from getting creased/damaged
- Target compartment lid serves as a small, removeable, scoring desk
- Compartment for spotting scope (scope can sit on top of the box since the top doesn't move/open)
- Stapler compartment, storage for small tools
- Pen/screwdriver storage holes
- Storage compartments for (2) hearing protectors, (2) shooting glasses
- Storage compartment for Tac-7
- Storage slot large enough for most cleaning kits
- Divided compartment to hold (4) solvent/oil bottles upright
- Cubby for a hand towel
- Slot for (2) gun rugs
- Carrying handle runs full length of top (no matter where the CG is, you can carry the box level)

I probably forgot something, but what else should I add to the plan? (Keep in mind that with a full load of guns and ammo this is already about a 30-35# box!)

(An engineer, shooter, woodworker with too much time on his hands!)
Well, sometimes we’d travel right down the green river
To the abandoned old prison down by Adrie hill.
Where the air smelled like snakes and we’d shoot with our pistols
But empty pop bottles was all we would kill. -John Prine, Paradise
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Old January 22, 2002, 04:17 PM   #2
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Sounds really nice !!

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Old January 22, 2002, 07:11 PM   #3
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Super-duper BIG congratulations!!!

I hope I didn't start anything with the other thread, but I'm glad to see that you're getting closer to getting me that pistol box.

The boxes I've seen through the links in the other post show the lid of the box being the whole of the side. When flipped up, the lid/side becomes a natural stand/bipod for your optics. Anyhow, this is a very cool setup (presentation being nine-tenths of showing off!), but I don't see how yours is supposed to work. Are you saying that the top and sides are one piece, literally being pulled off the base, leaving the rack of pistols standing on a base drawer?

Maybe I'm missing something in your description. Regardless, it sounds very cool and I'll look forward to getting mine in the mail. Where do I send the check?

P.S. Most pistol rugs are nothing more than a cheap bit of felt that is easily ruined. I've found a 18"x24" utility rug, from Wallyworld, to be more durable, certainly cheaper, and unfortunately larger. If at all possible, I would like the compartment to be large enough to carry the rug.

Otherwise, it sounds like a great bit of work and I'm dying to see some pictures. Please hurry.
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Old January 23, 2002, 08:21 AM   #4
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Where can I find the origional post on this box?

Sounds intresting. Thanks
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Old January 23, 2002, 10:35 AM   #5
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Thought I was the only woodworker out here. Good to see a fellow wood butcher with a handful of projects. Do you make your own handgun stocks?

Re: The box. How about fixed rubber feet at each corner, and a flip-down foot at the center of the front side (End? Where-ever the spotting scope looks.) that protrudes further than the fixed feet, to provide tripod stabilization for the spotting scope when set on an un-even surface like a weathered plank shooting bench?

And a little vented box witha snap lid for a silica gel pack in the gun tray.
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Old January 23, 2002, 12:45 PM   #6
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Maybe I shouldn't have made the sewing machine box comparison. That was just for proportions, not similar function.

Also, remember that the box I described is my existing box. The plans could be for something very different.

On my box the front and back are hinged at the bottom and open down. Each panel opens the entire side except for about the bottom three inches, which is where the ammo tray sits, and also takes about a 1 1/2" lip from the top and ends. The ends support two shelves, which hold everything except the ammo, and the top, which is basically a third shelf. The top is still wide enough for the short tripod on my spotting scope to sit on it. The handle is a dowel that extends to both ends so the tripod has to straddle it, but that works out well since it also keeps the tripod from getting far enough off-center to fall off. Actually, the top of my box is a little more complicated than this but it's kind of hard to describe. But the difference is in how it works/looks closed. I never cared for the top-hinged doors. They give you a good spot for a scope but you have to reach around/under them for everything you want to get out of the box.

Being right-handed, I put my box on the bench to my left with the front of the box facing to my right. You can get to everything except the targets by opening the front of my box which drops down on the bench in front of you and becomes your work surface for loading. The angle of the top makes loose shells roll to the right side and the magnetic magazine holder (strip) is on the left, near and parallel to the hinge.

The back of the box is now to the left and stores targets as well as providing access to the other side of the storage areas. This lid has a 1/4" thick plywood panel inside which removes by sliding it away from the hinge about an inch. The targets are in a 1/2" deep compartment between the back and the panel. With the lid open this panel becomes the scoring desk or it can be lifted out and used as a lapboard. (With both lids open the box is too wide if people are trying to shoot along side you.)

My gun rugs are lamb's wool on one side and nylon cordura on the other. They're about 18" square when open and can be folded in half and secured with a velcro strip to protect a gun if so desired.


I like the idea of the tripod leveling leg. I may try to work something like that into the new box design. I've kind of stayed away from rubber feet on my boxes. Mainly because most of them don't attach very well and get knocked off pretty easy. My current box has very simple, and easy to duplicate, oak feet to protect the corners. The only nails (brads actually) in the box are holding the feet on. That's so I don't have to damage the box to change the feet if they get damaged.

I've modified a couple of grips slightly but I've never made my own. But that's because I'm kind of fond of Hogue grips and that rubber clogs up my Dremel tool.

Well, sometimes we’d travel right down the green river
To the abandoned old prison down by Adrie hill.
Where the air smelled like snakes and we’d shoot with our pistols
But empty pop bottles was all we would kill. -John Prine, Paradise
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Old January 24, 2002, 01:18 PM   #7
Apple a Day
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Hey, I'm glad I'm not the only one.
THis past summer I used some scrap wood and built a wooden strongbox for my pistols~ treasurechest sized. The leftmost quarter is reserved for ammo and miscellaneous. The right side has a botttom level and a top section that is a removable drawer. Top is hinged, front is latched, screws hidden. Simple but it fits the bill. Unfortunately, it leaves room for more pistols so now I have to get more...
THose who use arms well cultivate the Way and keep the rules. Thus they can govern in such a way as to prevail over the corrupt.
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Old January 24, 2002, 04:46 PM   #8
Christopher II
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Not to put too fine a point on it, but...


Maybe I'll put that Pelican case on hold for a while...

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