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Making a Decent Portable Target Box
Written by uscmCorps   

Making a Decent Portable Target Box for long term use.

Like many of you, I don't have access to a decent outdoor area to test fire my guns... at least not an area in which the neighbors wouldn't readily call SWAT down on me. So I'm stuck shooting in the garage. I tried the card board box approach but I eventually shred them especially with full auto fire. And I was getting pretty tired of picking up used BBs off the floor with the shop-vac.

So I decided to make an Indoor Target Box. I had a general idea of how I wanted to construct it, but I gave myself certain criteria to adhere to: (a) Shouldn't be over engineered, (b ) easily made using found objects and/or items found in hardware stores, (c ) relatively cheap and robust, (d) light and relatively portable, and lastly but also most importantly (e) the Target Box had to use 8.5" x 11" printed targets (basically A4 sized). This last criteria was the most important as there are so many really decent free printable targets that can be downloaded off the internet, and once I downloaded one, I could simply photocopy it at work so that I'd have an almost limitless amount of targets to shoot at.

Step 1: The Frame
With that in mind I began construction, starting with the frame which comprised of 4 pieces of aluminium Bar stock (1/8" thick x 1 1/2" wide) cut into lengths so that when assembled into a frame, the hole in the center would be just a little wider than 8.5" wide, and about 9 to 10" high. The reason why it's shorter than the paper is long is because I needed enough of the paper to overlap with the frame so that I can clip it in place easily.

Step 2: Holding the paper in place
To hold the paper in place, I bought two clip boards from Staples. The clip part of the clip boards are simply riveted in place so I just drilled the rivets out and the clips popped right off. I then bolted one clip to the top of the frame, and one clip (turned upside down) to the bottom of the frame. This system held the targets very firmly and because the top and bottom bars of the frame was behind the side bars of the frame, the paper was held somewhat recessed which deterred BBs from flying out the side of the paper during ricochets.

Step 3: Making a support / stand
To keep the frame upright I used two steel L-Brackets (12" x 14") that are normally used for shelves. These brackets were bolted to the back of the frame keeping it perfectly 90 degrees upright. The loose ends of the two brackets were bolted together using another piece of Bar stock (the same as used for the frame) which keeps the entire structure SOLID.

Step 4: making a catcher for the BBs
While at Staples I came across some office trash cans made out of steel / aluminium mesh. They're more often found in the round variety. I lucked out and found a square one. I also lucked out in that when I bolted the brackets to the frame, I unwittingly made them exactly the same width apart as that of the corresponding edges of the trash can. The trash can was then directly bolted onto the backs of the brackets and is also rock solid. A hand towel is used to slow the BBs down when entering the catcher and it's held in place by having the top edge of the towel wedged between the top of the frame and the trash can. The rest of the towel is simply allowed to hang loosely in the catcher.

What you can't see in the pics below is the addition of some black card that funnels all the BBs that roll out the trash can into a choke point in the space between the bottom edge of the trash can and the back of the bottom of the frame. These BBs roll out into a box or a can below making disposal easy. (I'm still trying to figure out a better, more elegant solution for this, but for now... it works ;) ).

3 Quarter view:

targetbox1jb1.jpg


Front view:

targetbox2hy3.jpg


Front view, no target:

targetbox3sc2.jpg


Side view, Hand Towel in place:

targetbox5tt9.jpg

Typically I have the Target Box sitting on top of a large Trash Can in the garage. I made sure to make it sturdy enough to with stand being held firmly in place on the trash can using bungie cords. But further testing showed that I didn't need the bungie cords and the Box stayed nicely in place even during full auto fire using fps above forum limits.

Being relatively portable, this could easily be used indoors as well as outdoors (for those environmentally conscious guys and gals). All in all was relatively cheap to make: about US$60 in parts, but it could probably be cheaper if you find some of the items like the trash can and clip boards at a yard sale or some other used item venue. And it didn't take long to construct: about 4 - 5 hours (mostly because I'm super compulsive about angles and measurements and I kinda winged it for the most part). If I made it again it'd probably take a lot less time.

Here are some links to some free downloadable targets:

They should all print at 8.5" x 11" (I think they do, but you may want to check first).

Anyway there you have it! :)

-Alex

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Last Updated on Monday, 24 August 2009 08:11