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Build a Shooting Target in 49 Minutes, 53.98 Seconds

August 31, 2015
By Travis R. Hunt - OVO Pro Staff , Ohio Valley Outdoors

I missed this article is prefaced with a tale from a cloudy February morning earlier this year. One of the daughters spotted a wiley lone coyote meandering in the pasture. I estimated the beast to be approximately 300 yards down range. My Bushmaster Predator was chambered in .223 and dressed with a Nikon BDC slung lead. Unfortunately, the coyote, in a show of defiance, appeared unscathed as he pranced off into the woods. I learned two valuable lessons that morning. First, know the exact distance to several downrange positions. Second, practice shooting long distances. I was intimately comfortable shooting a 3/8" round steel target positioned exactly 100 yards off the back deck. However, I was yet to cast out into the deep water beyond 100 yards.

This article is a recipe to build a stout but functional shooting target that can handle the power of modern centerfire rifles. My 10-year-old daughter Liliana is a fledgling baker and she preaches to me that she cannot bake if I don't buy her the ingredients. Therefore, the first step in building the shooting target was to acquire the ingredients. I visited This is a Hudsonville, Michigan based operation engaged in enabling the pursuit of happiness by supplying the fruited plain with American made AR500 steel targets and accessories. I purchased a 1/2" AR500 torso silhouette target that was 12"x24" and weighed 40 pounds. Along with the target I purchased a magnetic bulls-eye stencil and a mounting kit consisting of two 12" heavy chains and supporting nuts, bolts, and washers. These ingredients set me back $149. My complete ingredient list is as follows:

1 Torso AR500 Steel 12"x24" target (purchased from

Article Photos

The author’s son, Logan, stands beside the finished shooting target he and his dad constructed, in less than 50 minutes. Photo by Travis R. Hunt

3 Pressure treated 6"x 8' round posts

2 Steel 1/2 head x 8" lag screws

Primer spray paint

Fact Box

"It is a sweet target for a good price and took less than an hour to install. If you are looking to pursue happiness, this is one of the best ways I can think of."

magnet bulls-eye stencil

2 - 40 pound bags of concrete mix

Post hole digger

Cordless impact driver, 1/4 driver bit and Philips driver bits

2 - 12" chains

2 sets of washers, nuts, bolts, and eye hooks

1 - 5 gallon bucket

Measuring tape



A mixing stick


Once the ingredients were secured, I sent my son Logan to the approximate position where I desired to place the shooting target. He stood and I utilized my rangefinder and mobile phone to guide him to a position 300 yards from the corner of my deck, thus providing a stable shooting platform and point of consistency. He jammed the post hole digger into the ground, jumped in the truck and returned home. From here, we gathered the ingredients, filled the truck bed, and headed back to the marked position. The title of the article claims that we built this shooting target in a bit under 50 minutes. This is true; however, I must acknowledge two points. First, the clock did not start until the ingredients were laid out next to the intended location. Second, Logan did the digging, lifting, and other grunt work. A strong back and youthful exuberance makes for much quicker digging.

Ready, steady, go.. the stop watch was running, on the I-phone, as Logan sunk the post-hole digger into the pasture. He made short work of the black soil, I pulled the tape, and he stopped at 24" deep. He dropped the first post into the hole, I leveled it, and he poured one bag of concrete mix into the hole. Next I poured half the water from the five gallon bucket into the hole and he proceeded to stir the slurry. I fine-tuned the concrete mix and leveled the post as he proceeded to repeat the above process for the second hole. The second hole was positioned six feet away from the first hole thus allowing the top post an approximate one foot overhang on each side. With the two posts in and the concrete beginning to set, I dropped the truck tail gate, climbed onto it, and stood between the two posts. Logan lifted the remaining post and positioned it on top of the two posts and allowed an equal overhang on each side. God bless my Milwaukee impact driver because it got a work up that day. I secured the top post to the posts in the ground by driving the 8" lag screw at the connection point on each post. Once secured, the lag screws provide a tremendous amount of stability. When selecting your lag screws, be sure to account for enough screw length to drive through one post and deep into the other. I found the 1/4" lag screws beefy; however, a 3/8" lag screw can work as well. Standing back and looking, you can see the frame is done. Ideally, I would wait 24 hours and give the concrete time to set, but time was of the essence for this project, so we proceeded accordingly. Logan definitely worked hard, but me, I did fine.

The next steps I considered the fun steps. With the frame built, I used a Philips bit to start two holes from which I would hang the chains that the target would hang from. With the holes started, I positioned my screw driver through the eye-hooks and proceeded to turn the eye-hooks deep into the top posts. My suggestion for this step is to allow the spacing of the eye-hooks to be close enough to enable the target to readily sway upon adsorbing the impacted of a bullet. I highlight this because in our build we had to re-position the eye-hooks. Now for the main event - utilize the chain, nuts, and bolts to hang the target from the eye-hooks. This is a relatively easy task; however, the folks at Shootingtargets7 provided directions to assist in assuring that the target was hung properly and exhibited a slight downward angle. This downward angle is important because it assists with driving deflected bullets downward as opposed to outward. Almost done. With the target hanging, I placed my magnet bulls-eye stencil directly onto the target. Once positioned, I spray painted the entire target a bright blue color. After a few seconds, I pulled off the magnetic bulls-eye and what was left was a beautiful bulls-eye pattern directly on the target. I think the magnetic bulls-eye is an ingenuous invention and for a few dollars I can tidy up my bulls-eye any time I desire. In hind sight, I would have chosen a white primer paint to make the bulls-eye. First, primer paint is cheap compared to finish spray paint and second, white appears much crisper down range than blue.

We stood back, tapped the stop watch and it read 49 minutes and 53.98 seconds. Not bad; we busted out a rather fancy shooting target in well under one hour for under $200 dollars. Logan sweated a bunch, I sweated a little, and we were able to spend precious time together. As I write this, Logan is about to turn 19. He is at Fort Benning today undergoing Airborne training and learning to jump out of perfectly good airplanes. Then he is off to his second year of college. However, every time he is home, we will always have the target 300 years off the back deck to use. It is a sweet target for a good price and took less than an hour to install. If you are looking to pursue happiness, this is one of the best ways I can think of.



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