Homemade Archery Targets

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SlimBlundt's picture
SlimBlundt
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Homemade Archery Targets

I'm beginning to ponder building an archery target. I'd like to do something large but mobile. I've got a couple of the smaller layered targets but I'd like something bigger so I can practice at 70 to 120 yards. In the Red River Valley, there are no backstops. If you flinch and miss the target, that arrow is gone. I'm thinking something with a face as large as 40"x40". If anybody has any ideas or has built a target before, please share your input. Or maybe there's a less expensive alternative to spending $200 on a supersized version of The Block? Thanks!

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yote-thumper
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years ago I had a stacked cardboard target.  two 4X4s, piece of plywood, stack of cardboard (mine was about 45 inches wide, 12 inches deep and 50 inches high), another piece of plywood and two more 4X4s.  I put ready rod in the four corners to compress the cardboard until I got 12 to 15 inches of penetration.  I put wagon wheels on it to move and yes it is heavy but it lasted over 10 years.  The last 7 or so years it was outside year round.

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How much would you guys say it costs to make an average size layered target? I was thinking of using those thin foam insulation panels, I think they are 4x4. 

kzz1king
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 I built one 4 wide by 6 high about 10-12 inchs thick. It is carpet front and back stuffed with plastic grocery bags. The whole thing is on large 8 inch castors so I can move it with the mower. It works great. I have used it for 2 years know. Takes a lot of bafs though! Got mine out of the grocery store recycling bin. The plastic stuffing is nice as it is light and stays dry. I use a smaller bag target in front sometimes and use the large one as a backstop. I was shooting at 90 yards last summer. It is great fun, takes the boredom out.

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While I am certainly interested in everyone's DIY archery targets, for the purposes of this particular experiment I'm thinking something weighing about 70 lbs or less. I currently live in town so I can't expect to be shooting around the neighbors. I usually just head somewhere west of the Sheyenne diversion and park on a section line. I need something I can easily load and unload from an SUV or pickup.

It seems to me that the targets used for competition are made of tightly rolled and coiled rice straw. I think I've seen indoor range blocks made of commercially produced straw blocks. I'm not sure how those would hold up over time. Anyone know where I might track down a whole lot of heavy duty foam? I've tried the plastic-stuffed burlap already. I need something that holds the arrow better. That's why I'm thinking layers or straw.

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A pile of sand can be had for about $50.

When I was a bit younger, we would shoot pretty regularly at cardboard boxes set up in the sand piles at the local gravel pits.  Never lost a single arrow doing that, nor do I recall ruining many.

Buy a few yards of sand is my suggestion.

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

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Allen Said:
A pile of sand can be had for about $50.

When I was a bit younger, we would shoot pretty regularly at cardboard boxes set up in the sand piles at the local gravel pits.  Never lost a single arrow doing that, nor do I recall ruining many.

Buy a few yards of sand is my suggestion.

Great idea!  Shovel a few yards of sand in the back of your truck, head out West of the Sheyenne diversion, shovel it off, do your shooting.   When done shovel the sand back onto your truck, take it home and unload it so you can use it again next time.

So obvious, I can't believe I didn't think of that first.   Hmmmmmmmmm.

Now I know......my half ton truck ain't big enough to haul a few yards of sand.

Genius idea for a portable shooting target.  :) 

"Lifes tough pilgrim, and it's even tougher if you're stupid"  --John Wayne

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guns4ever Said:

Now I know......my half ton truck ain't big enough to haul a few yards of sand.

Genius idea for a portable shooting target.  :) 

Play nice, Guns4ever.  We're gonna have more sandbags than we can count by this time next month. Using sand is not a bad idea at all, just doesn't suit this particular project.

That does raise an interesting point. If a guy wanted to build a permanant archery or rifle shooting backstop, this time of year is a great time to pick up sandbags! Just give it another month or two.

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guns4ever Said:

Allen Said:
A pile of sand can be had for about $50.

When I was a bit younger, we would shoot pretty regularly at cardboard boxes set up in the sand piles at the local gravel pits.  Never lost a single arrow doing that, nor do I recall ruining many.

Buy a few yards of sand is my suggestion.

Great idea!  Shovel a few yards of sand in the back of your truck, head out West of the Sheyenne diversion, shovel it off, do your shooting.   When done shovel the sand back onto your truck, take it home and unload it so you can use it again next time.

So obvious, I can't believe I didn't think of that first.   Hmmmmmmmmm.

Now I know......my half ton truck ain't big enough to haul a few yards of sand.

Genius idea for a portable shooting target.  :) 

Ha ha ha, forgot about the want for it to be portable. 

“Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.” ~ Mark Twain

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Hmmm... What about fiberglass insulation layered and packed tightly? Maybe just throw a rug on the front and back faces to keep it from stringing out. That could make for an itchy target... Any thoughts?

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kzz1king
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 For portable I would use the 12"x12"x16" foam blocks I get from the local TSC store for free ( from trailers)Strap as many as you want together with a nylon ratchet strap and you are good to go. I strap 20 together for long range broadhead shooting. As the center ones start to get shot out I move them to the outside, Strap them down to a 1/2 strip of plywood and maybe a light brace and you are good to go. Very light. I hesitate to post this cause I dont want any competition for the blocks!

mathews25
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There's a couple different things I've seen that work really good.

Layered carpet is one of the most common.  It only needs to be 18-24 inches deep, and you can cut it and stack it as wide and/or high as you like.  I don't know how "portable" you are looking for, but you would obviously need to build some kind of wheeled stand you can use to move the thing up and down your range. If you don't have a "range" this would be a tough one to do.

Secondly are old clothes.  If you gather up as many as you can from thrift stores and jam them down in large sacks, they work well as a target. However, you need to make sure that you remove all the zippers and buttons. They will wreck arrows. I've seen one of these made out of a soybean tote from the elevator. It was chuck full of clothes. It worked great, and arrow removal was pretty good. Every now and again you'd have a arrow that the clothes would wrap around but it was few and far between.

Third, is furniture batting and the same concept. 

OR.....if you can stomach it....buy an American Whitetail FITA mat.  They are spendy, and you need to use an arrow lube for awhile when the target is new, but it is an awesome target.  They also have a replaceable center in them. The target itself is 52" circle and I believe a 24" replacable core. 


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Yes, the FITA mats would be AWESOME. I just chatted with my brother-in-law tonight about building a large layered carpet target. Cheap, effective, and easy to make. Not to mention, you can make a carpet target just about as large as you want. Definately not a mobile target. One guy online built one 3 x 3 x 1 feet and estimated that it weighed 125 to 150 lbs.

I did find a large commercially made target that might not break the bank:

http://www.biggreentargets.com/field-point-foam-targets.html

The big one is 28 x 28 x 14 and it runs $70. However, it only weighs 30 lbs. I have a feling that I might knock it over with one shot. Anyone have any experience with these targets?

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 i made a good portable target out of a bunch of old clothes in a garbage bag.  i used a few garbage bags just to keep it from falling apart too easily.  best thing is that you can re-wrap the bag if it gets to be in rough shape.  you definitely will need some sort of back stop though.....i lost two arrows before i threw it in front of the sand pile in my yard.

 

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dw_03 Said:
  you definitely will need some sort of back stop though.....i lost two arrows before i threw it in front of the sand pile in my yard.

The whole point of this is to build a large target because THERE ARE NO BACKSTOPS IN THE RED RIVER VALLEY. If you drive outside of Fargo it is absolutley flat as a pancake until you run into either the grasslands in the SE corner of the state or Valley City.

Basically, you drive down a section line, park your vehicle and pace off where to set your target. If you flinch, that arrow is gone. I've recovered arrows 150-200 yards beyond the target. Hence, why i need a large target. You want to take 80 yard shots at a 16 x 20 target with no backstop? Nothing like losing $50 or $75 worth of arrows before the season even starts. You don't get to be good at 60 yards without practicing at 80.

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Sometimes spending a little cash is worth your time and trouble in the end.  I've been thinking about one of these for a year or so now, they look pretty slick.

www.bupsports.com/


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What about a dozen or so square straw bales.  They are cheap, light, and fit into the truck bed real nice.  I've been killing straw bales for years and they are easy on the arrows too.  After season they are good insulators for around the house or for fragile shrubs during the winter.  Good luck.

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kdm Said:
What about a dozen or so square straw bales.  They are cheap, light, and fit into the truck bed real nice.  I've been killing straw bales for years and they are easy on the arrows too.  After season they are good insulators for around the house or for fragile shrubs during the winter.  Good luck.

Don't your arrows go right through them?

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bowhunter, I stack them so the stems of the straw are facing me, not the ends of the straw.  I stack the front set of bales up and then put some bales standing up the long way in the back to stop any pass throughs between the front bales.  For me, my usual set up is 6 in the front (2 rows, 3 bales high) with 4 in the back.  That gives me a target of about 6 X 6.  Which is more than enough for me as I only shoot at 30 and closer.  For longer distances it becomes a matter of scale and how many bales you want to move.  Most of the bales weigh about 60 lbs or so depending on how tightly they are bound, so it is manageable.  My bow is set for 65 lbs, so for those that shoot heavier poundages it may not work as well.  My arrows usually go into the bales about 8 inches if that helps. 

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yeah i am sure that would work just fine.

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Allen Said:

guns4ever Said:

Allen Said:
A pile of sand can be had for about $50.

When I was a bit younger, we would shoot pretty regularly at cardboard boxes set up in the sand piles at the local gravel pits.  Never lost a single arrow doing that, nor do I recall ruining many.

Buy a few yards of sand is my suggestion.

Great idea!  Shovel a few yards of sand in the back of your truck, head out West of the Sheyenne diversion, shovel it off, do your shooting.   When done shovel the sand back onto your truck, take it home and unload it so you can use it again next time.

So obvious, I can't believe I didn't think of that first.   Hmmmmmmmmm.

Now I know......my half ton truck ain't big enough to haul a few yards of sand.

Genius idea for a portable shooting target.  :) 

Ha ha ha, forgot about the want for it to be portable. 

Sorry Allen, I just had to poke you on that one.  All in good fun.  

"Lifes tough pilgrim, and it's even tougher if you're stupid"  --John Wayne

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I've used the pink polystyrene 4'x8' sheets you get from menards for insulation.  i wouldn't think at 70 yards you would need it to be to thick.  Not sure how broadhead removal would be from it, probably have to unscrew them.  When i used the foam it left a light coating on some of my arrows, never seemed to effect flight any.  I would think that 8" would be plenty of that stuff to stop an arrow at that range.  Not sure what you want to spend and not sure on the price of that stuff anymore. 

Dak jP
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Joined: Friday, February 20, 2009 - 4:47pm

In the past I have taken 3 hay bales and piled them neatly. Then taking a thick rope loop around the 3 bales and tie a good knot. Now the tricky part, take a stout section of steel pipe and place on top of the pile of straw and under the rope. Start tightening up the rope and compress the straw bales. When secure and tight tie off the pipe on top to keep secure. This makes a fantastic butt for shooting and very cheap. When you start shooting it out replace the bales or try a little more tension on the rope.

I did the sand shooting though a good backstop could be a little tough on your arrow finish unless you like silver arrows.

mathews25
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walkswithwhispers Said:

dw_03 Said:
  you definitely will need some sort of back stop though.....i lost two arrows before i threw it in front of the sand pile in my yard.

The whole point of this is to build a large target because THERE ARE NO BACKSTOPS IN THE RED RIVER VALLEY. If you drive outside of Fargo it is absolutley flat as a pancake until you run into either the grasslands in the SE corner of the state or Valley City.

Basically, you drive down a section line, park your vehicle and pace off where to set your target. If you flinch, that arrow is gone. I've recovered arrows 150-200 yards beyond the target. Hence, why i need a large target. You want to take 80 yard shots at a 16 x 20 target with no backstop? Nothing like losing $50 or $75 worth of arrows before the season even starts. You don't get to be good at 60 yards without practicing at 80.

You made a good point to just buy a good target mat!

You might save yourself the money in lost arrows just by buying a good mat!

kzz1king
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Joined: Friday, January 13, 2006 - 10:55am

 Maybe a combo is needed. A backstop that catches or slows the errant  arrow or two and a target in front for the rest. The foam blocks I mentioned  do work great and can be found anyplace that sells utility trailers. They are used in packing. For what you are describing it is the way I would go with a manufactured or homemade bag targe tto put in front  of it.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChEzs85Fa_Q

looks like it could work. i might have to give it a try. If you find something easy that works. let me know!

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I'm not being critical, I'm just curious... why would you practice at 120 yards?  That's freaking amazing.  I've never practiced at anything over 70 before.  But then again, I won't shoot at a deer in the field if he's over 30 yards.  That's just a personal rule of mine.  I know there are ALOT of guys that can whack 'em and stack 'em at further distances than that.

-Justin

-Justin

aba
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Find what size cardboard you want for your target. Find someone who foam insulates buildings and have him fill you box. They last along time and are light weight

kzz1king
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dakota1977 Said:
I'm not being critical, I'm just curious... why would you practice at 120 yards?  That's freaking amazing.  I've never practiced at anything over 70 before.  But then again, I won't shoot at a deer in the field if he's over 30 yards.  That's just a personal rule of mine.  I know there are ALOT of guys that can whack 'em and stack 'em at further distances than that.

-Justin

Its great exercise Justin! Fun too. Actually havent went beyonf 105. Its fun with a large backstop. The large backstop gives me confidence. Buying or searching for arrows takes the fun out of it.