Portable Target Stand

(Click to embiggen)

Here are the details on the portable target stand I put together. It’s based on several found on the web including this one from which I started but then simplified.

My goals were a standing height target, big enough to hold a standard B-6 or B-8 target, low cost, reasonable stability in mild winds, and easy to repair in the field. Barring winds, all parts can be carried downrange and set up in a single trip. If the wind kicks up, you’ll need a second person (or second trip) for the concrete blocks (or a “geezer cart”).

Overall, the stand uses two “feet” made from 2″ PVC, and then a target stand and frame constructed from 2×2″ wood. The outside dimensions of the target area is 24×24″ and is faced with taped on cardboard.

Assembled, the center of the target is just about shoulder height. This makes it ideal for anyone shooting from a standing position. And while I did not tally the cost, I think you’ll find the parts are less than twenty bucks from your local building materials supplier. With the addition of concrete blocks for windy days and a roll of masking tape and “splints” for field repairs, I think you’ll find this works very nicely.

Parts (Shopping) List

  • One 10′ piece of 2″ PVC
  • Four 2″ PVC end caps
  • Two 2″ PVC “Tees”
  • Three 8′ pieces of 2×2″ pine
  • Eight mending plates
  • Two concrete blocks with precast channels
  • Roll of 2″ masking tape
  • 24×24″ squares of cardboard (cut from scrap boxes)
  • Sandpaper (to debur the cut ends of PVC, 60 or 100 grit, one sheet)

List of Tools

  • Saw (to cut PVC and 2×2)
  • Hammer (to assemble target frame using the mending plates)
  • Helper (to sit on free end of PVC while cutting, to help hold frame parts during assembly, and to tell you what you’re doing wrong before you do it)

Each “foot”, looking from end to end, contains a 2″ PVC cap, 24″ of 2″ PVC, a 2″ PVC “Tee”, another 24″ of 2″ PVC and a final 2″ PVC cap. Sticking up from the “Tee” is the 12″ piece into which the 2×2 leg of the stand is inserted down range. All PVC parts are “press fit” only. They will fit snug enough that no glue is needed. You’ll need two such “feet”.

Cut a 10′ section of 2″ PVC into two 1′ and four 2′ sections. While power tools reign in most jobs, this is one where a handsaw and a helper’s rear on the free end will work just fine. Use sandpaper to debur the cuts before assembly of the two feet.

The wooden stand is cut and assembled from two 8′ pieces of 2×2″ material. (At the store, search the bin for relatively straight pieces, or select two that have a similar degree of warp — the stand will lean slightly regardless.)

Measure the actual thickness of the 2×2 (mine were 1.5″), double that (3″) and subtract from 24″. That result (21″) is the length of the horizontal cross pieces.

Cut one (21″) cross piece from the end of an 8′ 2×2. Save the remainder as one of the vertical legs.

Take the second 8′ 2×2 and cut the other (21″) cross piece from its end. Again, what’s left will be the other leg.

Cut up the remaining 8′ 2×2 into four 24″ splints. Set these aside to be used for field repairs.

On a flat surface, lay out the stand. Holding down a leg and one cross piece — I ended up with one knee on a “leg” and my other knee on the cross piece of interest — and tap the mending plates into place one joint at a time. When all mending plates are done on one side, turn the work over, press it down flat and tap in the other four mending plates. Strive for tight and square joints. (“Close enough” will be “good enough” for these.)

Cut a couple of 24×24″ cardboard squares from some old cardboard boxes. It is unlikely you’ll need more than one or two of these for any given range trip. I found 2″ masking tape best for attaching the these to the wooden frame.

That same roll of tape will be used in the field if you need to attach any of the 24″ (2×2 stock) repair “splints” in the field.

The stand is quite tall and may not fit in your car. If that’s the case, cut the legs into approximately equal ~3′ lengths and, when you reach the range, use two of the “splints” and tape to repair them to full length. Note that you will need several complete turns of tape up and down the length of each “splint” to provide sufficient strength.

Finally, the two concrete blocks with pre-cast channels are to be kept in reserve. On a calm day, they won’t be needed and can be left in the car. But if the wind gets frisky, retrieve them and straddle each leg with a block. While four blocks might work even better, it’ll take two trips (of two blocks each) to carry them downrange and, besides, if the wind gets that strong, there’s a good chance it will suck the wooden stand right out of the legs and tumble it across the range. (High winds might be a message that it’s time to pack up and go.)

10s and Xs!

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