Here’s a shield you can use in competition to keep your competitor’s brass from hitting you in the face or dropping down your shirt.
At Home Depot, Lowes or your favorite hardware store, get two things:
- A piece of 1/4″ mesh hardware cloth about 19.5×25.5″ but smaller will work; and
- A large glue clamp like the one shown here.
On a flat surface and being careful not to puncture your fingertips on the exposed ends of the wire mesh, fold over a 3/8″ wide strip — that’s one and a half of the 1/4″ squares — on all four sides. The corners where the material is 4x thick will need a little more effort but none of it should be particularly hard.
Use something flat to squish down the fold — but don’t hammer it flat. That would bend the wire too sharply and the wires would break. Instead, you want the folded ends to be rounded, not sharp, so use something flat against the folded edge and press down with your palm with a moderate pressure.
Then, do it again. You will end up with a doubly-folded over edge. Again, the corners will need the most effort as they will now be 8x thick. And again, don’t press it too hard — you want the bends in the wire to be rounded, not sharp points.
In competition, use the wood clamp to hold the screen to the corner of your opened gun box. Depending on your neighbor’s ejector tuning, move the shield for best protection.
In the past, I’ve tried adding stiffeners to the edge. I first used aluminum stock 1/8″ x 3/8″ and cut to the length of each side and then held in place with duct tape but, over time, the tape started squishing around in the Arizona heat and the stick’em started getting on other stuff. Yuch!
I then had someone make up a frame of 1/8″ steel rod by welding the corners together and then folding over the hardware cloth around that. That was nice until it got bent and unbent a few times and eventually the deflector looked like it had been run over by a truck several times such that the steel frame was … not very rectangular anymore.
But the simple hardware cloth with a double fold-over all around the edges is stiff enough to stay erect and do its job. And, if it gets warped, it’s easy to un-warp. Finally, when it eventually gets seriously folded, squished, otherwise unusable or lost, a replacement is as close as your local hardware store, a couple of bucks and ten minutes labor.
(Band-aids not included.)