Reactive ''spinner'' target for heavier cal's


October 19, 2003, 06:24 PM
Posting this here - seems about the most appropriate place ........

Quite some weeks ago we had a thread going where reactive targets cropped up .. I briefly described my old one and how it was made but ... no longer had it, due to a moment's generosity during my last move ... it was easier to give it away than bring it .... stupid!! I missed it.

So .... prompted by a wish to make another (albeit not quite as heavy), and thinking this could be useful at our shoot here next Sunday .. decided to drop everything and make it!! Thought you may be interested to see the thing.


Whole thing was made very much out of steel - ''what I had'' ... this included some 1" x 2" x 10 gauge channel for spokes (15" long each) .... 3" x 5" x 1/2" plate for ''paddles'' ...... and a center piece of tube which was about 3/16" wall thickness and an I/D of 25mm. The pivot rod was a length of 25mm round bar .... turned down at one end to allow for hammering deformation .. and also lightly turned down along the pivot length to allow for a free fit on the round bar.

The spokes are welded on to hub at 120º to each other, and some other pieces of scrap 1/8" were welded across spokes to reinforce a bit and take some stress off ''hub'' welds.

The ground stake is rather light weight unequal angle .. off a bed frame!! But again all I had ... it should survive - if not a new stake will have to be made out of something heavier. The pivot round bar is welded into the included angle very generously! It and the stake take quite a beating!

A quick spray of matt black was thrown at it and then paddles sprayed white as a base coat for the fluoro orange to finish . that will soon disappear I expect but is easily touched up. The only final touch needed is a suitable I/D washer to go on pivot for hub to rest on . to ensure free spinning without binding up too much.

Only welding rods I had on hand were rather aged and were good at sticking and sputtering .. so weld quality well below my usual standard.

Here are some pics .......


The stake with pivot round bar in place - top reduced in dia to accept hammer deformation.


The hub area sitting over the stake pivot round bar. Showing also the scrap pieces added for ''spoke'' bracing.


Front view of a paddle to show attachment to channel .... which is used ''on its side''.


Rear view of a paddle to show attachment to channel - it is welded on all sides...... the crap welds are embarrassing!


The whole deal ...... with one paddle presented pretty square on.


Again .. whole deal but as it can sometimes finish up .... two paddles showing. Normally the rear one will be used as the target.

Some will be concerned re shooting at steel things ..... and of course some care is needed. However, I used my old one extensively .... even weakened and put holes thru with .308 etc!! But .. for normal use with handgun bullets, even mag loads .... the energy of impact is partially absorbed by the assembly ... and any ''splash'' or bounce has never so far come back ..... a bounce back from a berm is probably as or more likely.

Plus .. I usually won't use this any closer than 25 yds ... and at that range any splash would be very unlikely to be actually square on the shooter .... it is invariably to one side or the other - if noticeable at all. Glasses are of course a wise precaution as with any shooting activity.

On a good day .. it is possible to follow one rotation with another .. as a paddle comes available ..... and make a whole mag keep the thing turning!!:evil: :p

So - there you have it!!

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October 19, 2003, 06:43 PM
Chris , looks excellent ! Just to throw this out there for ya , may be better maybe not , when I visualised this target from your earlier descriptions my minds eye had either the whole arms or the target plates tweaked about 5~10° towards the ground. I've done that with any steel targets I have fabbed up to lessen the splashback possibility and impact damage ( but I haven't invented a keeper yet). Like I said just a thought , not to take anything away from your excellent spinner design. Ray

October 19, 2003, 06:52 PM
Hi Ray!!

You make a valid point ..... but, my original was all welded square and no probs .... and .... what I have found is that I rarely hammer the stake in absolutely vertical .... usually let it ''lean back'' a tad ... which has similar effect .. stops the paddles being dead on square.

As I mentioned . some need for care with these things but doubt this behaves a lot different to some knock -down plates ... ''pepper-poppers'' etc ....

Hope you got the emails? .... and will hope to see you next Sunday all being well. Can you drop a line to confirm??

October 19, 2003, 06:59 PM
Very cool, may have to break out the old Craftsman arc welder. Do you think a captured ball detent will help the target paddle properly aligned to the shooter?

October 19, 2003, 07:11 PM
Do you think a captured ball detent will help the target paddle properly aligned to the shooter? Guess it could help some but it would add some fiddle to the construction process .... in fact I had on my original considered four spokes at 90º ..... however ....... more times than not ...... one paddle shows enough on the right to be able to shoot it ....... so I have kept it rather simple.

Might be something to consider however now you have planted the seed! Perhaps a cross-drilled hole in the pivot round bar - just short of full dia, of a suitable size for a ball (that perhaps around 3/16" dia) ...... then insert that over a compression spring and peen the thing in ...... then the hub tube could be drilled in three places ..... hmmmm ...... I perhaps smell the ''MkII'' in the air sometime.:p :)


A though tho ......... am wondering if the increased resistance ''between stations'' might not impare the free rotation too much .... or not let it reach and settle into a detent point ... after all - this thing has quite some mass and thus moment of inertia once turning. And ..... it is rather nice once it starts turning ... to keep hammering it with more shots to keep it on the go!!:D

October 19, 2003, 09:16 PM
larryw - I just had to check that detent idea out .. I think it would be tricky to get right!

I used some scrap materials to simulate the spinner pivot and hub tube .... and instead of spokes just used an appropriate length pipe wrench for leverage.

Struck me that on try #1 - I had no real effect (detent spring too light - relative to mass/torque of assembly) ...... then, by trying a much stronger spring ..... found that although ball would find hole in tube and stop, just ... the resistance to rotation was quite compromized and ... I think it might be a matter of luck as to whether the whole thing actually stopped at a detent position anyways.

In principle a good notion - in practice I think ... pretty hard to make work - just right. It remains as MKI .. for now!

Standing Wolf
October 19, 2003, 09:59 PM
Definitely cool!

I shot at a spinning target the first time a few weeks ago, and have been thinking about picking one up if my local outdoor range permits its use.

October 19, 2003, 10:06 PM
I hadn't thought of putting it on the shaft, that's pretty smart.

My thinking was to put a plate below the three arms and weld another on the arms. The ball and spring would be captured on the lower plate (see Dillon 550B for genesis of this). In my mind, that would allow easier tailoring of the spring pressure as you don't want to slow the spinning, only stop it at a specific point once momentum had died down enough.

But hey, don't let me take up any more of your time chasing down my hare-brained ideas. :evil:

October 19, 2003, 10:16 PM
Larry .... good one! One of the probs of being a (so-called!) engineer is that I think all too often of the complex before the simple ..... it's a knack I have!!

In fact what you suggest is probably way more versatile .... and once more I shall ponder the matter ..... this could indeed work . thank you Sir!

If attempted I will surely provide feedback.:)

October 21, 2003, 02:43 PM
the crap welds are embarrassing! Well...I didn't want to say anything, 'cause at least you gots yours done! Seriously, are you sure the cold welds will stand up under impact stresses? You ARE planning on impacts, right? :D

TFL Survivor

October 21, 2003, 03:04 PM
Impact?!! Did you say IMPACT ?!!:eek: I should say!!!

OK, well judging my last one, which was admittedly made heavier (2"x2"x1/4" angle for about all - damn it was heavy!) ....... it should do fine.

One reason for the scrap pieces near hub is to make sure that an impact stress on one spoke is partially transmitted thru to rest. Tho the welds look scrappy . I had to use a tad more current than usual cos of the rods not being too good ... as a result in fact - penetration is almost excessive ... so joints are strong.

One thing I noticed with last one is that - using handgun bullets - they deform rapidly - almost, but not quite, as if they hit absolute solid. The inertial mass of the whole deal is such that majority of energy goes into that deformation .... and the shock stresses thru the structure are reasonably absorbed.

In fact the arms will have a significant degree of elastance I think which will help absorb some energy too. HV rifle bullets of course - well, as far as they are concerned the whole thing is immobile .. straight thru they go!!

We will see tho .. Sunday will be ''test day''!!:evil: :p

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