I need ideas for some fun (improvised) targets


December 24, 2006, 10:04 AM
Just talking about some informal plinking/friendly competition. We'll be using my AR/CAR-copy and maybe a couple pistols (a Springer 1911, a Glock in .40, and possibly trying out my S&W Model 60).

We'll be shooting from between 25-50 meters.

Paper has gotten boring. The other day I set up a "frame" and hung a plastic gallon water bottle and a beer can. I wrapped both in a layer of duct tape to see if it would keep them from shredding (it actually worked).

We shot from 25 meters, and it worked well (the can was just hard enough to hit off-hand to make it interesting), but the rounds, especiall the .223, would pass through them so quickly that sometimes you couldn't even tell you hit it.

I'm trying to figure out a homemade target that reacts when you hit it, but doesn't get destroyed after only a few rounds.

Anyone have any ideas?

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December 24, 2006, 10:15 AM
Clay targets give a good reaction, but of course are only good for one shot...

Good old water bottles are very hard to beat, and cheap enough.

Fruits and veggies are good, sure beats tossing them into the trash when they've past the 'fresh date'.... I particularly like the spatter of overripe bananas. (although my fondness for Peanut Butter and nanners usually keeps me from using them for targets! :rolleyes: )

Guys on the next thread up are having fun with leftover crackers from the Christmas party...

Hmmmm... I'm sure I can think of something else...


December 24, 2006, 10:55 AM
I've considered hanging jugs or cans to make moving reaction targets. I've shot them before and they're fun.

A lot of times I toss soda cans and plastic water bottles on the ground at 25 yards and plink at them and it's about the simplest form of plinking there is.

I'm saving gallon jugs. I'm going to fill them with water and leave them outside to freeze this winter, and shoot them with a 12 gauge (slugs) or the PLR-16 .223 pistol. That should be fun. There will be less plastic chip mess if reusable tapered plastic buckets are used to freeze water and they're allowed to melt just enough to release the molded ice targets so you're only shooting ice and not plastic. That's on my list to try. Small kid's sandbox buckets, about 6" wide, would allow more shots without having to haul a ton of ice. Plastic 16 ounce drink cups would make nice ice molds, too.

I ordered some stainless steel ($$$) to make a combination spring loaded target plate and bullet trap to catch the lead bullets I shoot, so I can remelt them and cast them into new bullets. With a steel target, there is a risk of ricochet, so be careful. Recycling the lead is good for the environment (Algore made me do it!) and it cuts down the cost of shooting quite a bit, assuming you reload.

Have you seen the brightly colored resilient plastic cubes sold as action targets? They're something goofy like $74 each! Yeow. That seems nuts for something you're just going to shoot.

For $25+ you can get iron or steel targets that are good for pistol plinking. These will spin so you know you hit them and you never need to go down range to mess with targets. That's the part I hate the most about shooting paper. There are two common versions. One has a round target hanging from a horizontal rod, so gravity returns the spinner to the vertical position. There are also target trees or posts. The target is mounted to a vertical rod and when shot, flips from left to right, or vice versa. This can be a fun game for two shooters, as you try to put the targets on your buddy's side and he tries to knock them to your side.

The exploding targets can be fun too, but they can be a tad expensive.


December 24, 2006, 11:05 AM
Every spring and fall we clean out our cabinets in the kitchen at the farm. Anything not in glass becomes a target. It can be messy cleaning up later but its fun to see a can of beans blow up.

December 24, 2006, 11:08 AM
I know it is a one time use, but helium filled balloons on a string. Instant gratification.

December 24, 2006, 11:14 AM
LAPD used balloons tied to a RC car to train their snipers. They use a red (bad guy) and yellow (civilian) balloon. The RC car drives around and when someone yells shoot, the RC car stops and they must shoot the red balloon without hitting the yellow balloon.

December 24, 2006, 11:19 AM
Old, worn-out shotshells.

Our trap range is 'the place' to pick up worn-out shells.

Great reactionary targets. Very 'humbling' too! Try hitting them with a .22lr rifle or pistol!

One of the 'old guys' (80+ yrs old) at our club hits 'em with a S&W 22lr revolver at 25 yds, open sights.

They aren't hard to pick up when you 'police' the range when you're done, either.

December 24, 2006, 11:35 AM
Great ideas--thanks!

Steel Talon
December 24, 2006, 12:08 PM
Hello Morglan,

WE (my family) use these ideas.

A bag of Sams Charcoal provides many reactive targets "black cloud puffs"

Marshmellows are good targets and can takes several hits from a 22lr. also neco wafers Kerf cut a 1x2 to hold the wafers up right.

Mono fishing line is cheap, and a little prep with hot glue allows targets to be hung in trees etc.

Hellium balloons tide onto an RC vehicle is a load of fun.

Sack of potatoes and bamboo skewers can be place at any range a russet at 300+++ yards is a challenge.

With the exception of the balloons,and mono nothing really needs to be policed up.

I also use a old lawn mower blade cemented into a folgers can. I then set it out at 20 +/- yards and set a balloon up on each side I then shoot .38spcl wad cutters at the blade edge. When hit correctly the ballons pop simultaneously.

Steel Talon:cool:

December 24, 2006, 01:44 PM
I enjoy shooting old toilets/ bathtubs (porcelain) and cinder blocks. Both fall apart pretty rapidly.

If you're shooting something with lotsa speed but little (relatively) power, TVs and computer monitors tend to leave holes, but not shatter too quickly. Not sure if thats legal or not though, with EPA regulations and all.

December 24, 2006, 02:09 PM
Round 1:
Barney doll http://www.jihad.net
Smurf doll
Barbie: So they don't grow up as b4s
Tickle dolls annoyances.

Round 2:
Fill a ballon with a cup of thin red jello and stuff it in the dolls, just pour it in the barbie.

Round 3:
Box with flour in it.
Glad bag with jello if done right it makes a thin flexible target you can put in a standard holder. You might want to make the jello thin for effect.
Glad bag with flour, same as the jello.

Round 4:
Crackers, plaster, hard candy, chalk

Round 5:
Using the glad bag jello target you staple it onto the cardboard and glue your favorite politician to it. Should splatter nicely.

Prince Yamato
December 24, 2006, 02:09 PM
how about old department store manequins? Torsos, heads, whatever parts you can get. Plus, you'll have all the fun of making people think you're a sociopath! :D

December 24, 2006, 02:29 PM
My all time favorite are hardboiled eggs. They explode when hit, and the critters take care of the clean up. Environmentally friendly. :D

Bazooka Joe71
December 24, 2006, 03:01 PM
Wow, thanks for starting this thread...I've been meaning to do this because me and my buddy are running out of ideas!

I love the sam's charcoal Idea, and the hardboiled eggs...It is very satisfying to see your target explode.

Toilets are my all time favorite thing to shoot...I have a place about 20-30 minutes from my house, where people take their trash(not garbage, but toilets, wood, etc) and dump it...No one in sight for miles, there are backstops and everythings, you name it, people have shot it out there, and porceline is my favorite. :evil:

Keep these ideas coming guys/gals, I'm writing them all down!:evil:

December 24, 2006, 03:16 PM
Cheap soda that isnt opened yet are fun sometimes.

Eat Beef
December 24, 2006, 03:24 PM
Raw eggs are great, and easier than hard boiled (unless you have pre boiled eggs laying around).

For pistols, I have several pieces of 1/2 inch mild steel hung by chains. Some are on old real estate sign frames, some just nail to a tree or whatever. They'll handle anything up to a 44 mag, but 308 does them in.:D

Rocks also make a nice puff of dust.

One of my all time favorites is the drum. A 35gal steel drum @ 300isn't isn't a gimme, you can shoot it forever with a 22 (at that range it'll dent but not penetrate), and it makes a wonderful thunk when you nail it. You can also double tap it before the sound makes it back. Crack, Crack, thunk thunk.:D

Golf balls are nice, too, and they really jump when you hit 'em right. They last pretty well because unless you get 'em dead center the ball just flies out of the bullet's way.

I've had a lot of fun with fruit, too. Haven't tried the balloon/RC car...yet!;)

ETA, almost forgot the plywood inside an old tire rolled down hill. That one's a blast, but I don't have any hills big enough for it.

December 24, 2006, 03:27 PM
fun is jello filled pumpkin :D

Honeydew will go like 40ft in the air if shot with the right sized caliber

Still 2 Many Choices!?
December 24, 2006, 03:32 PM
Take a soda can(empty). Fill it partially with dirt or sand. Crush it down. Shoot at the bottom of the can. You will know when you hit it. They are cheap, easy enough to make, somewhat of a challenge(unless you use the red dot of death:evil: )and will last a pretty good number of shots.

December 24, 2006, 04:15 PM
LAPD used balloons tied to a RC car to train their snipers. They use a red (bad guy) and yellow (civilian) balloon. The RC car drives around and when someone yells shoot, the RC car stops and they must shoot the red balloon without hitting the yellow balloon.I so want to fix my RC car and try that. Even more fun might be trying to hit the balloon on the move.

December 24, 2006, 05:05 PM
For open range use I like buying a 10# bag of potatos and or onions

December 24, 2006, 07:41 PM
A bag of Sams Charcoal provides many reactive targets "black cloud puffs"

What's the clean-up like? If you hit them, is there anything left to clean up, or does it disintegrate enough to do nothing? (My "range" is on a section of our mowed lawn, and when not shooting, I'd like it to stay kinda clean.)

December 24, 2006, 07:58 PM
My "range" is on a section of our mowed lawn, and when not shooting, I'd like it to stay kinda clean

Wait a sec...you're shooting into your lawn, likely leaving huge divots, and you're worried about the charcoal leaving some dust? :rolleyes: Huh...

December 24, 2006, 08:38 PM
Small pumpkins full of jell-o{ or generic jell-o works just as well} SPLAT:)

December 24, 2006, 08:42 PM
Bowling Pins.... yes they can take a beating.

December 24, 2006, 08:42 PM
get some potatoes. they explode very well when hit by a .22, and you don't need to pick up the left-overs

December 24, 2006, 08:48 PM
This time of year its easy to freeze blocks of ice. Color them any color you want. They shatter well and give a great reaction to getting hit. And NO clean up. Summer time they take a little more work but take a cooler full to the range and have a ball!!! :) 1/2 gallon milk cartons make just about the right size, and if you PAM the inside they slice right out of the carton. :)

December 24, 2006, 09:10 PM
Golf balls are fun to shoot at with a .22. They roll and bounce all over the place.
Old pans or scrap steel are fun too but you have to be careful to not cut yourself on them when you dispose of them.
Cast iron only holds up to a shot or two before it shatters though.

December 24, 2006, 09:23 PM
Bowling pins. A friend and I have put about 300 rounds of 9mm and 40 S&W into 10 bowling pins and they are still in good enough shape to use again.

Steel Talon
December 25, 2006, 12:17 AM
Hello Morglan.

They are biodegradable, however there will be "little black pieces" found about, the faster the bullet (strike) the smaller the pieces. When I shoot them with my 22-250 pushing forty grainers at about 4kFPS itty bitty pieces:D

We mainly use our .22lr and .22wmr

Steel Talon:cool:

December 25, 2006, 12:54 AM
Well I got the idea from mail call, but my favorite two things to shoot at are pumpkins and watermelons, watermelons are the best. .22s don't do much but when hit by my sks they both completey disentegrate, leaving no cleanup, and best of all I should have some popping up this summer from where shooting them scattered the seeds. It is very satisfying to disentegrate a melon.

The way I first got the watermelons were from a paintball game were me and my friends spit the seeds from our melon break into the then baren garden, and like magic this summer we had huge watermelon plants growing in the front yard.

Also the cheap sodas are very cool, like the guy on page 1 said. I think I might try the charcoal.

December 25, 2006, 12:58 AM
harry potter books?;)

December 25, 2006, 03:28 AM
My favorite 100 yd pistol target is an old 20 pound propane cylinder. I just hung it in a tree with a chain, works great, lasts forever, and its a great use for the old style tanks you cant fill anymore........Just make sure its empty!

December 25, 2006, 07:43 AM
Oh the joys of plinking. Now to compile a master list of fun targets. I love the lawnmower blade idea. Thanks guys. :D

December 25, 2006, 08:21 AM
fun is jello filled pumpkin
ding....ding....ding we have a winner. What fun that sounds like. Depending on the time of year I can go out into the woods and find tons of hedge apples (those green bumpy things about the size of a grapefruit) .22 will take chunks out of them, .308 turns them to "green mist" :evil: . No need for clean up afterwards either. Hit the jackpot once and found an old manequin behind a JC Penny......to bad I didnt have any "sportsmen for Kerry shirts".

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