Steve Prime re­pur­poses a stack of old bits and bobs into a tar­get sys­tem

Air Gunner - - Contents -

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’.

Par­rot play

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.

Find­ing time

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

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