NEW FOR OLD
Steve Prime repurposes a stack of old bits and bobs into a target system
Steve Prime turns an old play-stand into a new, portable target system, using ‘that’ll come in handy one day’ items from his garden shed
We live in a world where so much goes to waste. Whether food or materials the list is plentiful, but have you ever stepped back and wondered why? Things are much more easily accessible and definitely more affordable these days, and this is the only reasonable explanation I have; if something breaks, at one time we would repair, but now we throw away and replace. How many of us grab something being thrown out, think it could be useful one day and put it in a shed? The said item is gradually demoted from the forefront of the shed, further and further back into the corner where it will no longer see the light of day. It stays there for a number of years and then, when we find it, we wonder why we saved it all that time ago, get rid of it and years later we end up searching for it whilst muttering, ‘ I know I put it somewhere’.
I have to admit that when my wife decided to throw out our parrot play-stand, it seemed too good an opportunity to miss and I grabbed it, letting my imagination run wild. Firstly, it’s on wheels and can be moved around our small courtyard garden easily so with a little thought, a parrot playstand could soon become a pistol play-stand. My challenge was to construct a pistol range from items destined for the tip, or the back of my shed.
A brand new target beautifully painted will not remain so for long. Once battered by incoming lead, that shiny new look is soon lost, so anything I construct doesn’t have to be up to shop or showroom standard, and thank goodness for that because my DIY is questionable at the best of times.
A bathroom refresh at home meant a new bath and pedestal mat set, so … yep, you guessed it, I nabbed the old ones. Next, my brother requested assistance at my mum’s house to get all her old furniture to the ground floor. Unfortunately, after a fall, she will not be returning home, hence the need to clear the old furnishings, so I removed a handrail that she had needed, the wood was sawn into pieces and put in the back of the car. With the materials I was slowly accumulating, the pistol range design was starting to make progress in my head.
All I had to do now was to find the time in which to construct a masterpiece, and it’s not that easy with a busy work schedule
“it is amazing what you can knock up, not only practical, but also offering hours of fun”
and a club to look after, but a bank holiday Monday arrived and I had a couple of hours so it was time to begin.
Firstly, I boarded the base so I could easily screw on a knock- down target; Mum’s handrail backing was put to good use. Secondly, the stand had a couple of small arms at the top, drilled out, on which to hang parrot toys. That was ideal for an old shelf to sit on, and secure enough to house a re-setting, pistol target box, and I added the remains of the wood from the stair rail to give a bit of a backstop. Things were taking shape. The parrot ladder was the easiest part to accommodate and I added three Firebird targets, set to give great fun with a bang and plume of smoke, bringing out the mischievous young boy in me.
A couple of screws were placed in the front of the top shelf, so I could hang some paper targets, used to sight in, and below the ladder was a small cast hook in the frame - ideal for hanging a spinning target – those of you who have owned parrots will know there is a massive market of toys and accessories. A corn- on-the- cob skewer, was no longer required and destined for the scrap metal graveyard in the sky, until I rescued it and after I’d cable-tied on a couple of brackets – voilà! – a neat little spinner!
Trap every pellet
One of the most important aspects of garden shooting is not to let the pellet stray from your own boundary, and so it is essential to have a good backstop. I knew that bathroom set would come in handy for something! Three screws and a couple of washers later, and the backstop was in place. I did need to extend it slightly, though, and so cable-tied the two-piece set together to give a greater drop and more protection.
Step back and take a look at the masterpiece, all from scrap material. As previously mentioned, it doesn’t need to look pretty; after all, it is going to be shot at and will no doubt suffer from the odd rogue pellet, or dare I say bad shot.
A little imagination, spare time, a few saved bits and bobs and it is amazing what you can knock up, and it’s not only practical, but also offers hours of fun. If you like the idea you can purchase these play-stands at a pet shop or on-line for around £ 60 new, cheaper second-hand, and then let your imagination run riot. They are on wheels so they are easy to move around, and if you have to keep it outside, an old barbecue cover will keep your workmanship in good shape and protected from the elements.
To conclude: Remember, practice makes perfect, and no matter how small your backyard or garden, where there is a will and the materials, then there is a way! Good luck everyone and happy plinking, or should I say ‘practising’.
I wanted as many different targets as I could include
This is how the play- stand looked to begin
Hours of portable fun for almost nothing
Adding this box target was a good choice
I couldn’t resist adding this knock- down
I reused these old boards and rail to good effect