What household items do you reuse in this interest?


February 28, 2012, 11:55 PM
I was recently going through some of the stuff that's been pack-ratted in my house, trying to figure out what to keep and what to toss.
So, like the title says, what do you reuse? What common household items have become new tools in keeping components separate or maintaining order in your gunworking areas? Or other uses related.

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February 28, 2012, 11:59 PM
Right now I'm using ordinary grocery bags to store brass. Also, I use Republic of Tea (http://www.republicoftea.com/) tea cans to store 22 lr ammo. Each can will hold around 300 rounds, which is a nice amount to take to the range. I take the labels off and use some Goo-Gone on the old label glue. I have cans with different colored lids which helps me organize. Federal ammo goes in cans with black lids, Winchester in red lids, and Remington in green. It works for me.
Also, milk jugs full of water make great targets, but we all knew that already.

February 29, 2012, 12:45 AM
Large jars for brass.
Used dryer sheets to cut down on dust in the tumbler.
Top half of a computer desk is now the top half of my loading bench.
A large Stanley toolbox is my range box.
Wooden toolbox I made in scouts now carries my cleaning supplies.
Old tshirts make good cleaning rags.
Random tupperware has various solvents/cleaning solutions.
Empty plastic bottles make good targets or water bottles for the range.

February 29, 2012, 01:05 AM
I recycle old towels for cleaning, I've got an old tackle box for range tools, milk jugs make good targets.

February 29, 2012, 01:41 AM
Empty plastic jars my wife wants to toss out for sorting brass from the range.

February 29, 2012, 01:48 AM
The 3 items I seem to collect most are coffee cans, jelly jars, and butter tubs.

I really miss the tin coffee cans, they were great for 22 plinking. The plastic ones dont do much when u shoot em.

Zach S
February 29, 2012, 04:06 AM
CVS has some Q tip looking things in the makeup isle, they're tougher than Q tips, one side is a bulb and the other side is pointed. They work great for cleaning hard to reach areas, painting the markings on an AR lower, applying cold blue, etc. You guys that are married or shacked up might have some on hand, but remember, the makeup box is her version of your toolbox - ask first.

Speaking of getting in trouble with the lady, in a pinch, tampons make pretty good bore mops for shotguns.

The glad storage things that Hillshire Farms sandwich meat comes in are great for holding small parts, are stackable, and best of all, are basically free after you eat a big sandwich.

I'll cut small holes in the top of said glad storage things to drain the last little bit of motor oil out of the bottle. It adds up quicker than you think. But on the other hand, I am the family mechanic, own three high mileage vehicles, and do a lot of driving, so it may not add up as quick for you...

I outgrew a tool box I got as a gift several years ago, and when I replaced it with a bigger box, I used the top box for gun tools. Its similar to this one (http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200387699_200387699). But its a little weird having gun tools in a box covered with stickers from companies such as Edelbrock, MM, Holley, etc.

I used to keep old shirts and towels and such for gun rags, but between cars and guns, I wasn't wearing clothes out fast enough. I've just got to where I use disposable Kimberly Clarke Shop Towels.

February 29, 2012, 05:41 AM
4 and 5 quart ice cream buckets for brass.

February 29, 2012, 08:17 AM
From my days as a kid flying model airplanes, I use a metal fuel can and squeeze spout for Ed's Red gun cleaner.
I'll pick up any large pieces of cardboard and cut 2' X 2' target backers or USPSA targets from them.

February 29, 2012, 08:25 AM
Old rags to clean guns. Newspaper with a bit of oil to wrap ak/ar mags in.

February 29, 2012, 08:27 AM
big mayonaise jar for used cleaning patches, throat spray bottles for alcohol/cooking spray to lube brass to size, dishwashing soap bottles to hold the majority of mixure for case lube.

February 29, 2012, 08:39 AM
My wife messed up the finish on an old heavy duty oak dining room table with three leaves. I moved it out to the garage after finding her a new one. At trip down to the local cabinet shop got me a dozen sink cut outs for nothing. I came home and drilled one for a jig by clamping to table and drilling right through cutout and table, table is 2" oak. by attaching tools and presses to sink cutouts I can swap them on and off the table using carriage bolts with wing nuts. As table is heavy duty I can use a hammer on it no sweat. I can also get my feet under it comfortably.


Sauer Grapes
February 29, 2012, 08:48 AM
Plastic coffee tubs and butter tubs. Old clothing for gun rags.

February 29, 2012, 08:57 AM
The list is almost endless.

Q-Tips far more for gun cleaning than for personal hygeine.
Many a used pizza box has been executed by firing squad on the range.
Undershirts and socks used for cleaning rags and patches.
A tampon will patch out a shotgun barrel in one pass.
Various automotive products (STP Oil Treatment for case resizing lube, Ed's Red Bore Cleaner, ATF or synthetic motor oil for lubricating).
All toothbrushes get repurposed for gun cleaning.

And many many more.

Just my .02,

February 29, 2012, 09:32 AM
I reuse anything I can. 2 liter bottles and milk jugs filled with water for range targets, old towels and t-shirts for rags, I use an old static mat for working on circuit boards for my gun cleaning mat (solvents won't leak through), old toothbrushes for cleaning guns (and motorcycles), etc.

There are a lot of things around the house that can be put to good use once their original purpose has been served. Any money saved is more ammo for the range!

February 29, 2012, 09:48 AM
4x3' outside rug for shooting prone. Lengths of inner tube for scope covers. Old produce gets shot. Seems there's a website/archive of just these things on the net.

Oh, here it is..


February 29, 2012, 10:10 PM
Check around and see if there is a local rag company handy. I buy 20 lbs of boxed "white washed tee shirt material" for about $20 from Big Chief here in Oklahoma City and that usually lasts me several years of misc rag use. I have been buying this size for about 30 years. When I was working I bought them for work, and occasionally I lost a hand full to some lady in the bank because they were "perfect" for some project she has at home. I just scratched it up to customer PR.

February 29, 2012, 10:26 PM
Crown Royal bags for carrying loaded .45 ACP moon clips to the range
an unused cooler for storing reloading supplies
old toothbrushes for gun cleaning
plastic coffee cans for ammo storage
rubbermaid tub for holster storage
kitchen drawer organizer for magazine storage

February 29, 2012, 11:34 PM
- Dozens of Planter Peanuts square plastic containers for brass in various stages of cleaning/prep...get these from the office where the welcome bowl is emptied about daily.
- 5-6 large kitty litter or dog biscuit square pails from Walmart for dirty brass.
- couple dozen of the plastic shoeboxes for various access, tools, pasters, scoring disks, league score cards and spare parts - these are often on sale by the dozen for 75 cents each.

Everything is cubic or rectangular - makes for nice storage.

Gotta find a use for those 100s of primer trays...? There's a limit to how many coasters one really needs!

March 1, 2012, 12:34 AM
there's a lot of good ideas here, many of which I do to some degree.

but the best I ever heard of was someone taking a dead fridge/freezer and making it into a gunsafe ... brilliant!

March 1, 2012, 12:40 AM
For those of you who like to take women's necessities to clean guns and trick out your BOB first aid kit; don't ever take the last one.:scrutiny:

March 1, 2012, 01:46 AM
there's a lot of good ideas here, many of which I do to some degree.

but the best I ever heard of was someone taking a dead fridge/freezer and making it into a gunsafe ... brilliant!
I saw pics of an old soda machine (http://www.gunlistings.org/arizona-gun-classifieds/phoenix/accessories/7439/gun_safe_made_from_a_coke_soda_machine_safes) turned in to a gun safe. I thought that was awesome.

Last night I had an idea about using a 55 gallon drum, some springs, weather sealant strips, a keyed locking mechanism, and a guide bar as a semi-portable longarm carrier with some stickers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NFPA_704) on it.

March 1, 2012, 04:58 AM
old soda machine turned in to a gun safe
And it comes with a lock built in already, doesn't it?

March 1, 2012, 07:49 AM
Nice size pieces of cardboard become great targets when coupled with a magic marker - one more use before the trash can. Old toothbrushes and makeup brushes are great for getting into tight places, as are old dental tools - ask your dentist, he might have a set he is about to get rid of. An old colander became the tumbler's sifter to separate media and brass, as did an old plastic dish soap bucket.

Old canvas cloth shot bags now hold brass and serve as breathable dust covers for various items. An old BBQ apron is now the shop apron. 3X5 index cards get the reversed side reused with load data because they fit nicely into the plastic ammo cases.

I shoot a lot of shotgun, so old plastic 40# kitty litter buckets hold empty hulls and stack neatly with lids on them

March 1, 2012, 07:51 AM
Kitty litter buckets for brass. Square, reusable lids, stack-able and more manageable in weight than 5 gal buckets

Edit: LOL One ounce beat me to it.

March 1, 2012, 12:43 PM
Used a piece of a replaced recoil spring from a 1911 to fix a bobbin winder for my wife's weaving studio.

March 1, 2012, 05:21 PM
Speaking of getting in trouble with the lady, in a pinch, tampons make pretty good bore mops for shotguns.

LOL!!!! I never would have thought of that!

March 1, 2012, 07:09 PM
Just remembered a brilliant one that I use on a regular basis

Step#1, get paper grocery bags whwnever possible, and re-fold them - keep them in the car you take to the range.
Step#2, with your trusty pocketknife, cut the folded bag top to bottom, right in half. Then cut out the bottom seam so it opens up into ... ... ta-da! ... A nice silhouette target!

March 1, 2012, 07:51 PM
Plastic soap dishes sold for travel/camping to hold bits and pieces for case trimmer, case prep tools, etc.

A wooden salad bowl (rest of set disappeared in a move) for the bullets I'm currently loading. Perfect size and shape to avoid fumbling from original box.

March 1, 2012, 08:58 PM
This time of year I like those politician signs they come by and offer
to put in my yard. A can of flat white spray paint and a Caldwell or
Shoot-N-C stick on target and you have a great target for the
100 yard rifle range or 25 yard pistol range. The wire support allows
you to stick them in the ground anywhere. Since I'm retired I
volunteered this year for a local politician's campaign. Guess who
signed up to drive around in his truck and pickup and dispose of those
signs once the campaign is over. :D

March 2, 2012, 12:00 AM
Takeaway plastic soup containers
Chop sticks

March 2, 2012, 12:18 AM
My toolbox I made in agriculture class is full of supplies for my guns. Oh and medicine bottles with the child proof lid on it make great waterproof containers. I usually carry my 22 ammo in them when I'm squirrel hunting though.

March 2, 2012, 01:51 AM
Not sure if thus is on topic, but when one of the guns finishes with its Colgate Total Professional Sensitive 360 soft bristle toothbrush, I usually take the hand-me-down.
With a bit of bore scrubber and a pass through the dishwasher, those things usually have a bit of life in them for my teeth.


March 2, 2012, 11:09 PM
Not sure if thus is on topic, but when one of the guns finishes with its Colgate Total Professional Sensitive 360 soft bristle toothbrush, I usually take the hand-me-down.
With a bit of bore scrubber and a pass through the dishwasher, those things usually have a bit of life in them for my teeth.

Ummm... I think it's s'posed to go the other way around... ;)

I use used drier sheets in the tumbler, Ziplock bags for brass, I'm sure there are more...

March 2, 2012, 11:25 PM
I use the measuring caps off old detergent bottles for small parts storage while I'm working on guns. They're sturdy and small and handy.

Obviously old toothbrushes, and rags get used.

I keep an old phone book or two for use while I'm cleaning. I set the gun on the phone book--it makes a sturdy surface, and when it gets dirty or torn, I just tear a few pages off the top and throw them away.

Old mouse pads make nice work surfaces. They're non-skid and provide some protection to the underlying surface.

When a mug or solid cup gets chipped or otherwise damaged, I generally requisition it and use it to hold things like punches, picks or brushes on my workbench.

Old Bic pens that have run out of ink make good firing pin/decocker/firing pin safety testers. Drop them down the bore with the point up and do your test to see if it jumps or not as appropriate.

March 2, 2012, 11:33 PM
I do most of the above, but there are other good ideas here, thanks!

I use tissue boxes for containers. Four snips with scissors and some staples, and you've got an open-topped box. Snip and staple another one and you've got a top for it.

I keep all kinds of gun things as well as other stuff in these. Nice and uniform, size-wise.

I use the five gallon kitty litter buckets for lots of things, but gun-wise, I roll up targets and stand them up in them for temporary storage. A couple of years ago I was thinking of artist's porfolios for storing targets, but decided it was economically impractical.

Now I just take pics of the targets or scan them if small enough and store them electronically. Not that I get enough "good" targets worthy of keeping, but it's handy to document where various loads are hitting with various guns.

Terry, 230RN

March 3, 2012, 12:44 AM
Peanut Butter Jars make great containers for bulk pak 22 ammo.

The large square 35 oz. Peanut containers work for everything. I store 38, 40 S&W and 45acp loaded ammo in them. I store brass in them, and cleaning patches. I about for got, I also store my home cast bullets in them.

The bulk cans that Red Beans and Chili come in are also handy. I believe they are 3 LB Coffee Can Size. We normally use 4 or 5 large cans a month on either Red Beans & Rice, or Chili at the Club during 600 yard Bench Rest Matches, and F Class and Sniper Matches.
The Lid from a 45 oz Country Crock marjarine is a perfect fit on the cans.
I try and keep one in the truck for range brass. Work great for storing your open bags of shot also. Majic Marker the Shot Size on the Lid.
Just For Info: The 5.45 LB cans of Instant Mashed Potatoes are the same size can, and the Country Crock lids will fit on the potato cans also.

Skoal cans make great 22 ammo storage containers for the pants pocket.
The Skoal cans would also hold Ear Plugs. Two of the guys at the gun shop chew, so any time I need more, I let them know.

Old Bath Towels make great bench covers for the concrete benches at the range. Roll an end up to keep your brass on the bench top. Fold one up into 3 or 4 plys for under your shooting elbo to keep it from getting scuffed up on the concrete table top when shooting groups.

Old Hand Towels make great sweat rags when pistol shooting.

I normally get the tall and better made water bottles at the gas station, and refill them multiple times. I filled one up this morning before I left the house.

Stainless Steel Dog Pans. I put my brass in them when reloading, and processing cases. I have a bunch of them, all the same size so they will stack.

Small Stainless Steel Cat Bowls. I put my bullets in them when reloading.

Not a house hold item, but a Fat Fifty ammo can will hold 14 of the Federal 550 Pak's of 22 shells. Just handy to know.

That is about all I can think of at the moment.


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