Best plinking targets


November 30, 2007, 08:29 AM
Ever since I found a great uncontrolled range my sons and I have had a blast shooting at everything from bowling pins to pumpkins (see:

) but we are running out of fresh ideas.

Phone books were good, and an old brake rotor was amazing - please be careful and use a little common sense.

So what's the best plinking targets. We are thinking of taking a fresh 6 pack roll of toilet paper, poking a small hole in the package and filling it with water in an attempt to capture a .308 bullet so we can see the striations, and another idea was a small package of Gold Medal flour... environmentally friendly targets are always good.

Anybody have some recommendations? Hint - boys like things that have good visuals...


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November 30, 2007, 08:44 AM
Cans, old shot shells Great for testing your rimfire prowess. Toilet seats.
Set a bottle cap into the neck of an empty bottle and try to hit it. Thats how I made sure my .22 was properly sighted in.

Buy a 30 pack of the cheapest beer you can buy, shake em' up, and fire at will.
Longnecks disappear in a frothy explosion. Just be sure to clean up the glass. :)

November 30, 2007, 09:22 AM
Longnecks, that's funny... but wouldn't that be alcohol abuse? hehehe

November 30, 2007, 09:28 AM
First of all, kudos to you for taking your sons out plinking !!! Great Dad :) My son and I came across the same dilemma and these are some of the things we did to keep things fun and interesting. Get some plastic Easter eggs and fill them with flour or talcum powder and tape the halves together with electrical tape. I have some old sawhorses on our range that are useful too. One has blocks of styrofoam attached to the top that makes a great base for sticking in golf tees for the Easter eggs. On another saw horse, I have two pieces of scrap lumber attached to the top of the sawhorse to create a groove to stand up clay skeets on end. You can also hang water balloons to the sawhorses with string....always a hit with the kids. For something more challenging, try hot gluing paint balls to some golf tees....I also suggest a white background behind the paintballs so you can see the cool paint splatters when you hit one . A piece of cardboard and a staple gun works great for this. To REALLY liven things up, try some binary explosive targets. These are available online, but they can get a little pricey. GREAT fun though. I hope this helps....I've found that if you keep things fun and introduce new things, the kids (and dad's alike) make it to the range a lot more often, and the memories made are priceless. Have fun !!

Commander Guineapig
November 30, 2007, 09:32 AM
last time out, we had a few eggs that were "on the border" as it were.
With a .22 at 40 yards, they POP and blow apart in a most impressive manner.
And we did a 30-30 on a milk jug...gotta fill em all the way up, but it's a cheap long as it's filled with water. :D

November 30, 2007, 09:42 AM
While you're in the fridge getting those questionable eggs, don't forget to check the rotter drawer.....a great source for "range ripe" fruits and veggies ;)

November 30, 2007, 09:48 AM
I saw this posted in another forum and tried it. A cheap bag of suckers from the local dollar store make excellent targets for .22 plinking and if the wind is blowing right with each hit you can smell the scent of the recently disintegrated target.

The remnants of my wifes fall display got taken out last week. M-1 Carbine and SKS' rounds made quick work of her discarded pumpkins.

November 30, 2007, 10:00 AM
an old brake rotor was amazing - please be careful and use a little common sense.

It might not be common sense but it should be, NEVER shoot at cast iron, break rotors and flywheels “frag” when hit with high power rifles and can come back and get you.

Ever since I found a great uncontrolled range my sons and I have had a blast shooting at everything

If the range you “found” is not your land you should get permission first. Second, you need to make sure no one could tell you had ever been there. Believe it or not some land owners don’t even like clay pigeon parts on the ground, so you can forget about any glass.

Do a google search on Tannerite, you'll have a blast (pun intended).

Joe Demko
November 30, 2007, 10:36 AM
cheap sugar cookies are fun to bust with a .22. When you're done, there's no clean up; the birds and other small animals take care of the broken targets.

November 30, 2007, 10:42 AM
Yep, I use generic "Vanilla Wafers".

I've also found the hard rubber chew toys for dogs to be amazingly durable. Hang them with some garden twine from a limb or stand and watch them hop and swing when you hit them (they'll soak up thousands of rounds also).

Mr White
November 30, 2007, 10:51 AM
Gallon milk jugs full of water with a few drops of red food coloring added. Good visuals, and with 2 sons, there shouldn't be any shortage of gallon milk jugs at your house.

Another fun thing is to shoot acetylene-filled balloons with tracers.

November 30, 2007, 11:25 AM
This un-controlled range is dedicated by the site to rifle shooting.. Its really great... around the back side of a mountain that you need 4x4 to get into... as for the rotors... they were about 150yards down range... the 308 when through them as though they had been drilled with a half inch drill.

We also shot one of those Master's locks that they do the commercial on and I can report the commercial is hogwash. When hit with the 308 the lock exploded. The hasp broke into 3 pieces. A .308 is pretty powerful. It goes right through a Metropolitan phone book .3 hole in the front and a hole bigger than a Silver dollar on the back.. We've used a tree stump about 2 feet in length and 3 foot circumference. The bullets go almost 3/4 of the way through the length, but do not retain their shape, usually fragmenting halfway down. The real goal is to find some amateur replacement for ballistic gelatin and I'm hoping that the rolls of water soaked TP will do the job..

November 30, 2007, 11:34 AM
I like apples with my 12 ga. slug gun. Blows them into hyperspace. My all time favorite is still a suspended metal plate at 200 yards.

November 30, 2007, 03:57 PM
For recovering expanded bullets request paper grocery sacks next time and fill them with newspapers, a little duct tape to hold things together, and soak in water. Golf balls are quite fun and the shots get more difficult as you go.

November 30, 2007, 04:04 PM
if you want to stop a bullet, ten phone books taped together. (mosin goes through all ten.)
just want to blow one up?
soak a phone book overnight in water.
like jello!
Have a gallon jug decorating party and give them antlers and eyes.
then go jugalope hunting. kids love it.

hit a steel can on a string at dusk with high power FMJ or steelcore rounds.
makes a shower of sparks, and you can hit it over and over again.

November 30, 2007, 04:12 PM
I'm not good enough to hit a golf ball at 100 yards with the 308.... but I'm gonna try.

I"ll also try soaking PB overnight.. We poured a gallon of water into one, got it all wet but bullet still went right through it.


November 30, 2007, 04:18 PM
A milk jug filled with water and then frozen makes for an outstanding display!

November 30, 2007, 04:52 PM
Whenever my father would replace a disc, they'd make a fun target. Roughly 1/4" mild steel. You'd be surprised what goes right through...

November 30, 2007, 08:00 PM
+1 on beer cans with beer still in them. I have fond memories of shooting some we found with my dad when I was younger. They're especially fun with a twelve gauge at close ranges...

I've always wanted to shoot a mostly empty fuel cylinder for our camp stove. But I still haven't mapped out a particularly safe way to do this so I have abstained.

November 30, 2007, 08:10 PM
If you are in real need of catching bullets in decent condition, I have had great success with two different techniques:

1) Gallon jugs of water (line them up "X" deep and shoot into them). Usually get a captive bullet in good condition. Worked great on handgun bullets at 10 yards.

2) Take a large box (preferably longer than it is wide) put a garbage bag into it, then fill with water. I've used this to catch rifle bullets at 50 yards. no problem

Wet phone books and even TP rolls do a decent job, but the best "specimens" I've collected were Black Talons in the water jug.....

One fella I know packs clay into a 6 inch piece of PVC pipe(cut in half, then bungied back together). After shooting into it, the two pipe halves can be separated and you can use a wire to cut through the clay and retrieve your prize.

Tons of ideas out there, just play around and find the one you like best!

stan in sc
November 30, 2007, 09:12 PM
Clay pigeons are cheap.You can get a box of them at Wal Mart for about $5.They are easy to see at distances and are very good reactive targets when hit.Then you can go after the bigger pieces.

CZ 42
November 30, 2007, 10:11 PM
Oyster shells, cinder blocks, CO2 cartridges (good distance away), lighters near lit rags, frozen water in everything, ROTTEN WATERMELONS W/ A 12 GA!
BTW, lighters are great in the backyard w/ a bb pistol. Giant flameball if you do it right.

December 1, 2007, 02:21 AM
Golf Balls!!!

December 1, 2007, 02:41 AM
Playing cards, especially from old sets with missing cards.


Commander Guineapig
December 1, 2007, 02:55 AM
Playing cards, especially from old sets with missing cards.
then make it a card game of sorts...
5 card at 100 yards :D

December 1, 2007, 03:17 AM
I am now on the bowling pin kick but you already mentioned that. I found old silverware kinda fun especially when jabbed into something else like fruits or pumpkins.

December 1, 2007, 04:29 AM
One of my favorites are bowling balls. Their hard to get, but they last a long time. My Mosin will go right through it with large chunks flying off. Don't stand to close, sharp pieces fly 30-40 feet. It's a durable target; I once shot one with a Derringer type .22 WMR (1 inch barrel, or so) from about 25 feet. The .22 hit the ball and ricocheted and hit me in the leg (picked up a flat bullet at my feet!). Pistol rounds will not go through one (expect on the edges).

Every time you go out, always check the cupboards for expired dates on canned food. Canned beets explode in a most outstanding fashion.

Liquid laundry detergent comes in big solid plastic containers. Fill with water and shoot. Only powerful rounds will blow those up!

Cans of Silly String are fun.

CDs hanging on strings are also fun.

Once a year, the new phone books come out. I collect lots of them, duct tape them together and try to stop bullets. It took 12 phone books to stop a steel cored 7.62x54r, but i recovered the bullets in great condition.

Old hard drives have only one final sentence. Firing squad. They'll usually stop a .22LR and sometimes a .22WMR.

December 1, 2007, 05:24 AM
If you can find some expired eggs, take the time to hard boil them. They explode. :D

December 1, 2007, 10:19 AM
I like shooting at clay pigeons. They are brightly colored, and you can set them at varying distances. At 300 yards they become quite the challenge!

December 1, 2007, 12:30 PM
five gallon buckets filled with off color sand work real well. they make a big puff when you score so your spotter can easily see them out to 700+ yards. and you can hit them over and over.

General Geoff
December 1, 2007, 01:13 PM
Hard drives make amazing targets.

.22lr from a rifle will put a decent dent in them. Most centerfire pistol calibers will make huge dents in them, and sometimes blow them apart. Rifle rounds will go right through them like a hot knife through butter. :)

December 1, 2007, 03:37 PM
CD's or DVD's - AOL provides these for free alomost every month!

2 Liter Soda Bottles filled with water.

Yogurt Containers filled with dust.

Steel Cans from corn or peas etc.

Most any old electronics or fruit etc.

Prarie Dogs!

December 1, 2007, 04:23 PM

you might find some good ideas inside this thread somewhere.

December 1, 2007, 06:21 PM
Didn't I see that on the movie SWAT?

December 2, 2007, 02:27 PM
Here's a report on the Toilet paper soaked for a Ballistic gel substitute... dismal failure when hit with the .308...

First off the 12 pack wrapper did not retain the water, and secondly the back rolls were still dry after two gallons of water. The bullet went clean through. I'm thinking maybe a bag of playbox sand from Home Depot.

As for the Golf ball... when I finally hit it we could not find it. It just disappeared.. Next my Marksman son hit a golf ball at 70 yards with his 22LR and we did find that ball. The round went straight through. Oddly enough, the hole in the front was the size of a Bic refil pen, and the hole out the back was smaller. Its like the wrapper Self healed..

My next idea is to collect used plastic oil bottles put them in a cardboard case, refilling each with water. Three cases placed in a row might have a shot at stopping the 308 especially if I put the phone book at the end of the row.

I'm open to other ideas.

December 2, 2007, 03:00 PM
i'll tell ya what will make your life easier- put a tarp under anything that needs clean up. you'll thank yourself after! i too like golf balls for a good time. honestly though if you have access to welding equipment a good homemade swinging steel plate will provide a good bit of entertainment. one of my friends made one- but i don't know enough about metal to tell you what he used. i know it was hardened steel.

December 2, 2007, 03:30 PM
motor oil bottles, dont do it.
Unless you want to have that one day where
you are having a bad luck run and get nailed by the epa.
For whatever reason.
just use fruit juice bottles and don't take the chance.

More importantly:
It is a minimal amount of oil, but it's still
messy to clean up when everythig you've shot at is covered in a film
of oil. No fun.

December 2, 2007, 04:05 PM
When I was a kid, we would save light bulbs for months and then go to our "dump" and shoot light bulbs - both regular screw-ins and long flourescent - we tossed into the brush-end of the dump. The game was longest run w/out a miss; at a miss, you had to switch gun to new shooter.

We would save .22 empties and shoot them with our BB guns at 10-15 feet. Now THAT'S tough!!!

For bullet stoppage, take 6" of newspaper and tie loosly - as though you had 10" high stacks. Place into a pan of water (like a dishpan) overnight. The paper should swell until it pretty well fills up the string. While the papers are soaking, make a box out of 1x10s just big enough that you can stand the papers in it on-edge. Tomorrow, stand the soaked papers on end. Make the stack as deep as needed. That'll stop bullets. This was in SHOOTING TIMES a couple years ago.

For completely biodegradable but explosive targets, find a field that was recently disked up and is full of dirt clods. They explode in nice puffs of dirt, and there's absolutely zero cleanup.

No joke...we LOVED shooting cowpies (after the cows moved elsewhere). YOu get a nice, satisfying "whop!" when it hit, a little spray, and the satisfaction that we were helping the process of bio-degradation. And it gave new meaning to "when the SHTF" <GRIN>

Necco candy wafers are great at short range (they're about the size of a quarter); a roll is about fifty cents at the dollar store.

Milk jug lids are challenging...and free if you buy milk!

Have safe!!!


December 2, 2007, 04:53 PM
tannerite, best plinking target hands-down

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