CAN-DO AT­TI­TUDE Dis­abled shooter, Russ Dou­glas, shows us how to con­struct some pleas­ing re­ac­tive tar­gets

Airgun World - - Airgun Diy -

If you’ve seen my first few ar­ti­cles, you’ll have no­ticed some cu­ri­ous Heath Robin­son-style tar­gets down­range, in­volv­ing T-shaped frames and mul­ti­ple pel­let tin tar­gets sus­pended from them on chains.

I started mak­ing these last year, for use as plink­ing tar­gets out­doors at GARC (Grampian Air Ri­fle Club). We can’t use BB-fir­ing guns on the 25m in­door range, for fear of ric­o­chets and the hazard they’d leave un­der­foot for any­one walk­ing down­range to change tar­gets. The tar­gets are at fixed (10m/25m) ranges, so hav­ing mul­ti­ple tar­gets at dif­fer­ent ranges/ heights out­doors seemed an ideal so­lu­tion.

This does mean you can’t use them in a con­fined gar­den or range, in case of oc­ca­sional pel­let ric­o­chets. For these lo­ca­tions, I’d use the por­ta­ble carpet tile box back­stop you can find a cou­ple of pages back.

I’m also a gen­eral fan of re­cy­cling, and de­vised a way to re­cy­cle empty pel­let tins. Many thanks to my fel­low mem­bers for all the tins do­nated thus far – none are wasted. One prob­lem straight off is that pel­let tin lids are of­ten push-fit, so they’d fly off when hit. Plus, with lids in­tact the tins pro­duce a more sat­is­fy­ing noise.

SHRED­DED

An on­go­ing prob­lem is that such tin tar­gets get shred­ded in no time if shot by full-power 12 ft.lbs. ri­fles. That’s only solved by fel­low shoot­ers ob­serv­ing the cour­tesy of leav­ing tin tar­gets for air pis­tols, or sub-6 ft.lbs. ri­fles, e.g. the SIG MPX.

Even then, I thought that if the tin tar­gets were sus­pended on chains, the free move­ment would help to dis­si­pate some of the im­pact, re­duce ric­o­chets, and pro­vide more of a fun tar­get/vis­ual hit in­di­ca­tion, as they swing or flip around en­er­get­i­cally when hit.

Cue some on­line searches and a trip or two to B&Q, to gather raw ma­te­ri­als.

I should say now that if I’d planned from the start to make so many of these tar­gets, I’d have sourced the ma­te­ri­als on­line in bulk. That would mean pay­ing around £7.50 per six-tin tar­get, or less. As it is, some of the early ones cost me nearer £10 each, les­son learned there.

On early ver­sions of the tar­get, I drilled two holes in the side of each tin, large enough to thread the chain right through. This may have negated the need to use wires, but proved la­bo­ri­ous when it came to change shred­ded tins due for re­place­ment.

SHOP­PING LIST

1. Medium reel of bal­ing wire. 2. 4cm x 4cm 90cm hard­wood banis­ter per

nine or ten tar­get frames.

3. 1m lengths of M8 threaded rods (three 0.5m lengths per tar­get, or two 0.5m lengths and a 1m length for a longer ground stake).

4. Gal­vanised or chrome-plated chain, chunky enough not to be dam­aged by a pel­let, but thin enough to be eas­ily threaded with a 20mm split ring.

5. 15mm & 20mm split rings (cheaply avail­able in bulk on­line, e.g. Ama­zon).

6. M8 threaded in­serts and an 8mm Allen key (Ama­zon again).

7. M8 Nuts, Ny­loc nuts and wash­ers – to keep the chain where you want it on the stud­ding (guess where from).

BUILD­ING A SIX-TIN TAR­GET

1. Empty the tins of foam pad­ding which oth­er­wise snarls-up the drill bit, and re­place lids as tightly as pos­si­ble.

2. Clamp the lid­ded tins down to a sheet of waste wood and drill four holes, equally spaced right through the edge of lid/tin. The burred holes can be sharp.

3. Cut the bal­ing wire into 4” lengths, bend each in the cen­tre into a U-shape, thread through the drilled tins and twist tightly to wire on the lids; snip off the left­over wire with pli­ers, and bend over the sharp stubs.

4. Thread two 20mm split rings onto ad­ja­cent wires, from which the tins will at­tach to the chain.

5. Cut the chain into 50cm lengths, add a 15mm split ring to each end and space two more equally along the chain, one third and two thirds of the way along – the chains hang from these rings. 6. Cut one 1m M8 threaded bar in half. 7. At­tach the chain to the threaded bar, us­ing M8 nuts at the ends to re­tain the chain, as re­quired.

8. Cut the 90cm banis­ter into nine or ten equal lengths.

9. Drill two 10mm holes through, 20mm apart as shown, 25mm from one end; drill an­other hole into the cen­tre of the op­po­site end.

10. Screw-in threaded in­serts flush into all three holes, us­ing an 8mm Allen key.

11. This can be fid­dly, but now you hold the wooden block ver­ti­cal and in turn each M8 threaded bar hor­i­zon­tal, screw­ing them in turn into the threaded M8 in­serts, tak­ing care to keep the chain hang­ing freely and un­tan­gled.

12. Once both bars are threaded onto the block the pre-wired tins can be hung from the chain, spaced as re­quired, at­tached via the 20mm split rings.

13. At the range, screw in a ver­ti­cal length of stud­ding (50cm-1m, as re­quired), to act as a ground stake for the tar­get. If us­ing mul­ti­ple tin tar­gets these can be set at vary­ing heights, to spread out the tar­gets and add va­ri­ety. A hazard in soft ground is the T-shaped tar­get holder ro­tat­ing away from you, but just shoot at the op­po­site end’s tar­gets to ro­tate it back.

14. Lastly – pe­ri­od­i­cally re­mind your fel­low shoot­ers that these tar­gets are only for pis­tols or sub-6FPE ri­fles, de­spite the sat­is­fac­tion of shoot­ing holes right through them.

TIPS

1. Be care­ful han­dling the tins once drilled, and the wires once twisted-to­gether; burred holes and snipped wire ends can be sharp.

2. Un­screw the ground stake to store the tar­gets more eas­ily, they should last a long time if not left out to the el­e­ments.

3. Wall-mounted L-brack­ets are ideal for stor­ing tar­gets when not on the range, keeps the floor clear and pre­vents the chains from get­ting tan­gled.

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