Portable Target System I Just Built


April 27, 2003, 12:12 PM
The other day, I realized that my new permanent range was not going to be enough -- because due to where it is, I cannot access it after a rain, and never without a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

So, I decided to build a portable target system. Basically, it consists of 4 2X4X8 peices lumber, and a peice of plywood.

I cut three 2X4X8s in half (making 6 4' long peices), and cut another one into 2 3' long peices.

It is sort of an easel design.

Here is a view from the front.


Here is a view from the rear.


Note the hinges on the rear-view pic. This lets you adjust the angle the thing is sitting at.

Here are some pics with the plywood on. Notice the rear pic has the 2X4s going up the side. This is where NOT to place the target :D .... hopefully, the frame will not get shot up.



So, what do you all thing about this design? Does anyone else have a design for portable shooting that can be moved around?

Yes, I could just get one of those steel Hoppes things, but it is cumbersome to use those little clips to affix the targets, then they're blowing all over the place...

This thing is basically in two peices -- you just put it in the vehicle, drive to where you want to go, set it up, staple your targets to the plywood and let the lead fly...:D

Comments and/or pics of other THRers portable setups please!!!


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April 27, 2003, 01:26 PM
Looks fine and sturdy, but the splinters out the back of the plywood might be a pain when you go to put it away. Perhaps chicken wire, snow fence, or another thick plastic might be able to substitute as a backer, and be lighter to carry around too.

April 27, 2003, 01:42 PM
I built a portable stand with 2X4s. It consisted of a base and then several planks that were vertical to hold the target. Several cross pieces (horizontally) added stablity and a place to staple the targets to. It was great, but tall (about 6').

A couple things I learned:

Be careful with the weight. Adding an extra cross beam or two adds weight.

Make it tall enough if you intend to shoot from a standing position.

Be prepared to replace the parts; the wood will get shot up.

Here's the design:


Edit: for some reason, the Xs that are vertical are not showing up.

April 27, 2003, 02:31 PM
Dang, that looks pretty good. I'm in the process of making portable stands myself but not quite as well made as yours. Mine's just a used tire cut into thirds with a slot cut in the middle of each to put cardboard into. Your's looks much better.

Only concern I can possibly see is if a strong gust hits the back of the stand and sends it forward flat on its face.

April 27, 2003, 02:47 PM
Good point about the wind HKSW. You might want to drill a hole in each leg a few inches above the bottom, for a spike that can be pushed into the ground to keep the stand secured as needed.

April 27, 2003, 03:57 PM
1/8" Masonite makes a better target backing material than chip board or plywood. When a bullet hits it you get a nice round hole punched and some dust - no splinters, chunks etc to rip clothing or enter fingers.
It isn't as strong as plywood, so it won't add as much support, but it really does make better target backing.

April 27, 2003, 09:41 PM
You have a nice looking target stand, tadyson. Rather than plywood, maybe you could just staple cardboard across the vertical 2X4s.

Anymore I just take odd size scraps of clean cardboard, a stapler, and a couple of wood lathe or some such. Pound in the three foot wood pieces, staple the cardboard between them, and tape targets of interest to it.

April 28, 2003, 02:20 PM
That's a sturdy looking target stand. I considered building one similar to yours for a portable stand, then decided that the K.I.S.S. principle was needed for this project. My "design" de-volved to the point where it was just 2, 30" 2X4s with a slot cut into the narrow side of the 2X4 about 1/2 the way through. I kerfed out the slot to allow a piece of thin plywood to just slip in the slot with some friction to hold it in place. Just cut the plywood so that it is the height you want (I usually make them 2' by 4') and slip it into the slots. When you "wear" out one end, you can turn it over and "wear" out the other. The weight is light and you only have 3 pieces. If it is windy, you can just tie a piece of line to the top corners and anchor them in the ground with a large spike.

April 28, 2003, 03:02 PM
I have done a couple of things similar....

1. An old pallet with a couple of 2x's attached on the side for legs.

2. A piece of plywood with cedar posts for props.

3. A nicely made stand similar to yours but used barn insulation instead of plywood or OSB. The insulation makes neat holes, accepts staples, is light weight, is cheap and very durable.

You can buy it at most building supplies. It is a compressed fiber that comes in black, 4x8 sheets. Usually used in barns between the lathes and tin. I don't know the official name for it.

April 28, 2003, 03:07 PM
I used to make a portable target stand out of 2" PVC.

8' x2" PVC pipe - 5 pieces
2" "T" connector - 4 pieces
4' x 2' x 1/2" styrofoam insulation - 1 piece

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(Note: line up the lines...I couldn't get it lined up)

I would cut the 8' pieces in half, giving 10 pieces. I'd used 7 pieces and the 4 "T"s to make the simple frame above. Then I would simply duct-tape the insulation across the top part of the frame. I'd carry the left over PVC and a spare "T" just in case any parts got shot.

The best thing about this setup was that it was very light but wasn't too bad in the wind because of the 8' legs. The whole thing comes apart and stores in very little space. I think the whole thing cost less than 10 bucks in materials from Home Depot.

I would just use a staple gun to staple targets to the insulation.

April 28, 2003, 03:12 PM

It's called asphalt sheeting. Also something else that's not PC.

We use it for our range, and will take lots of rounds.

April 28, 2003, 03:24 PM
I made my portable target holder from a steel real estate sign, the type stuck in the ground to advertise homes for sale.

It's metal, lightweight and requires little or no work. I removed the metal advertising portion and replaced it with quarter-inch plywood. Just jam it into the ground when you're ready to use it. I carry a five-pound ball-peen hammer to use when the ground is too heavy for easy installation.

The target area measures 28x22 and will easily accommodate three 8.5x 14-inch targets. I use a staple gun to hang the targets.

Did I mention it's lightweight? I made a few extra plywood holders I can use to replace the original when it gets shot up. It really works well, even stays erect when struck by .45-70 slugs.

A good feature is that it's flat and easily stored in my garage along with my portable bench rest.

April 28, 2003, 04:06 PM
Thanks keyhole.

It really is the best stuff I've found for longevity and ease of use.

April 28, 2003, 04:19 PM
since you plan oh hitting what you aim at, why dont you cut out large holes where the center of the targets are going to be, not to big though. It wil lighten it even more, and it will also allow bullets to pass through the middle of the target and elongate the life of the stand.

April 28, 2003, 04:48 PM
Looks sturdy but cumbersome. I made my portable target stands out of 4' 1"x3" wood and 3" pvc pipe. The ends of the pvc are cut at an angle to make them easier to get into the ground. The 1x3s are then put into the pvc. I use leftover targets from IDPA and IPSC matches and just attach them to the posts with tape or staples. In the continuing theme of pictures, here's what it looks like:

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:D :D

April 28, 2003, 07:05 PM
Several have mentioned using PVC -- an excellent choice. My first one was all PVC, and blew around when it got windy. So I threw together a new set of legs from galvanized pipe and attached an iron-to-PVC coupler. Now I can have a "tall-skinny" stand for pistol sillouhettes, or a "short-fat" one for rifle practive (sitting and prone, mostly). It's especially nice to have several targets at once when shooting at extended ranges -- I go to the range to shoot, not stroll back and forth. :)

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