Thursday, June 9, 2011

Cheap and Easy Target Holder

I recently gained access to a fantastic range.  The only problem is that it's bring your own target holders so I needed to get one together in a hurry for a recent trip.  I shopped at Lowe's but I'm sure that Home Depot or any other home center or builders supply would have the same stuff.

Here's what I bought.
(2) 1 1/4" 5' sections of Sched 40 PVC pipe
(2) 3/4" 5' sections of Sched 40 PVC pipe
(2) 1 1/4" x 3/4" Sched 40 T couplers
(2) 1 1/4" Sched 40 elbows

(2) 3/4" Sched 40 caps
(2) 1 1/4" Sched 40 caps
Kobalt 1 5/8" PVC Pipe Cutter

I really went for the economic approach and was trying to see how little you could spend to get a decent reusable and non-wood target holder put together.  My total investment wasn't too bad.  Just under $31.00 after tax.  You can skip the end caps without sacrificing function.  I just wanted a more finished look.

The biggest expense was the PVC pipe cutter.  I originally thought I would use a hacksaw, but the pipe cutter solution looked well worth the extra $10 and now I've got a new tool for future projects.  I shopped in the irrigation section and not the plumbing section.  Irrigation had the 5 foot lengths of pipe I was looking for.  Plumbing supplies may be cheaper, but I didn't bother to find out.

Start by cutting both 1 1/4" pipe sections in half.  That will leave you with 4 30" sections of pipe.  Set one of these aside as it will not be used.  Cut 2 of the 30" sections in half.  Rejoin the cut halves with your T couplers.  Put your elbow couplers on one end of each section.  The elbow should be oriented 90 degrees from the 3/4" outlet of your T couplers.  Insert your remaining 1 1/4" PVC section between the elbows to complete your base.  Add your two 3/4" 5' PVC pipes into the corresponding holes in your T coupler.  You're done!

I went over the ends of each pipe section with 300 grit wet/dry paper and also a green Scotchbright pad.  I did this so disassemble could be easily done if I needed to do it.  I used a rubber mallet to seat the pipes in the T and elbow sections.  I also used the mallet to add my optional end caps to the open end of the base and one end of the 3/4" vertical sections.

I had the Pony clips, closed cell foam mat, sandpaper, and Scotchbright pad at the house.  If you don't have those available, you should pick them up with your PVC.   The closed cell foam mat is actually a camping mat that you lay on the ground and put your sleeping bag on when camping.  I picked one up at Walmart last year for another project that required closed cell foam so I had it on hand.  If you don't want to go the foam route, you can always substitute a piece of scrap cardboard.  I like the foam because it can be reused multiple times, accepts staples for hanging targets, and you can stick an adhesive target to it and it will peel right off when you are done shooting.

Disassembled for transport or storage. You can remove the cross support for transport if required.  This fit perfectly in the back of my vehicle. 

Target holder in action with (2) 10 1/2"x12" NRA B-16 targets attached.  Plenty of room.

I do plan on picking up another 4 plastic Pony clips that will be exclusively for the target holder.  I like plastic vs. metal in case I ever shank a shot and it hits the metal clip.  I'm sure the plastic clip would be destroyed.  I don't want the metal clip sending my shot back at me or someone else as a ricochet.

On really windy days, I think I could pour water into the base through the holes in the vertical T to add weight.   I would probably have to drill some holes in the 1 1/4" caps to let the water out after the shooting session.  As is, it works great.  You can do an unlimited number of variations on this theme to add more cross members to the base, add cross members to the vertical target supports, and on and on and on.  I believe this is just about the minimum build you can get away with and still have a stable stand.  I would have upped my vertical supports to 1" diameter, but my Lowes was out of stock when I did my shopping.

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