Shop Floor Talk  

Go Back   Shop Floor Talk > Welding and Metalworking Forums > Fabrication

SFT Search:   
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-25-2018, 07:19 PM
Spencer Spencer is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Western Michigan
Posts: 398
Default Hanging Steel Targets

I bought a bunch of steel targets over the Winter for my gun range here on my property. In the Internet searches that I've done, it looks like the most common method people have used is to create a swing set type structure to hang them from.

I'm thinking I'd like to go with a bit larger and more permanent solution than most of those appear to be. I'm leaning towards installing two 4x6 treated posts (pole barn type) about 10' to 16' apart and then installing a truss between them.

In addition to giving me a lot of flexibility on where to hang the targets, having a horizontal member about 12' above the ground will also allow me to install some lighting. I have a pretty thick canopy of trees and while low-lighting shooting is good practice, I'd like to have the option to illuminate the area at my back stop from time to time.

As opposed to just spanning between the posts with 2x lumber or an LVL beam, I'd like to weld up a triangular web truss using rebar if that seems feasible. I'm also contemplating forgoing the 4x6's altogether and fabricating some similar triangular shaped structures for the upright posts. I'd just use Sonotube forms sunk down to the frost line and extending above grade 2' - 3', similar to a parking lot light pole base and then I'd mount the uprights to those.

I'm guessing the design for the vertical uprights would ideally be different from the horizontal member, but I'm not sure for what I'm doing it would make that much of a difference. I'm certain there are specific designs and angles that would make these as strong as possible, so if any of you have any pointers or links to share, please do.

In case I haven't done a good enough job describing what I am looking for, the link below shows the type of triangular truss I had in mind for at least the horizontal member between the two uprights. For the uprights themselves, if I don't use 4x6's, then I'm thinking of the type of triangular towers that everyone used to have for their TV antennas back when we were all young and carefree.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2018, 12:16 AM
SmokinDodge's Avatar
SmokinDodge SmokinDodge is offline
Post Fiend
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Missouri
Posts: 5,869

Whole-e-shit that’s a lot to shoot at.

I’ve severed 1/2” rebar. I’ve shot chain links. I’ve killed 5/8” sucker rod from Texas. I’ve splattered and killed paint cans that were not the target but the lead spray found their way there. I’d recommend something cheap and easily replaced if there’s any kind of volume of shooting.

What the hell are you hanging that would require a truss?
The guy that said money can't buy happiness never bought a tank of fuel for a turbo diesel.............
Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2018, 05:32 AM
weldor2005's Avatar
weldor2005 weldor2005 is offline
Perpetuus Discipulus de Vita
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Marinette, WI - Menominee, MI
Posts: 2,901

How many steel targets you planning to shoot at at one time? I sense extreme overkill here . Maybe lay out on the ground your thoughts of what your hanging and then take a picture for us to look at. We could get some good ideas from there.

Sent from my [device_name] using ShopFloorTalk mobile app

David Finch Mixed Media Creations
My YouTube Channel

"Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language." - Walt Disney

"Formal education will make you a living;
Self education will make you a fortune." - Jim Rohn
Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2018, 06:53 AM
RED caddy's Avatar
RED caddy RED caddy is offline
Da Chief
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Venice, Florida
Posts: 5,290

Many years ago, I solved a similar problem for a friend of mine in Idaho.

Using some setions of what I think was salvage from a steel bridge, ( about 8" X 8"angle, 5/8ths.web) we sunk 2- 12 foot sections about 4 feet in sackcrete, 4 feet apart, with the corner pointing back towards the firing line, torched notches in the down range (web) side, to hold 2 inch sched. 80 pipes, with torch cut hooks welded on, to hold 1/2 inch chain. The chain was welded to the back of the ringers, at a point that let the plate hang at a downward deflecting angle, with the top of the plates/target's protecting the chain from stray rounds.

The first set was positioned at the 400 yard line, with 4 rectangular swingers. Subsequently, 4 more, smaller, shorter sets were placed at 1,2,3 and 500 yards with full size silhouettes', cut from 1 inch plate. All targets hung at about a 15° angle, top toward the firing line, for downward deflection.

AFAIK the property has had several owners since then, but I'm pretty sure the range is still there...

A 160 MPH drive, down a 2 lane blacktop, all by yourself, is NOT anti-social behaviour... I drag race because football, baseball, and golf only need ONE ball. Paul.

What I really need to know is, WHEN DOES THE SHOOTING START?
Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2018, 06:57 AM
Matt Shade's Avatar
Matt Shade Matt Shade is offline
Made From Scratch
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Ohio
Posts: 2,762

If someone shoots one of your wooden posts, you will swear and have a post with a hole in it. If someone shoots an odd shaped angled piece of steel you will swear and wonder for days where the bullet went....
For my range I tried to make it so that the only metal that can be hit is the steel plate targets which are flat and hung from conveyor belt so that they swing a little bit and send the bullet fragments at a downward angle. Everything else in the shooting lane is either wood or dirt.
Handcrafted Leather
Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2018, 09:51 AM
dubby's Avatar
dubby dubby is offline
Director: Apprentice Gatekeeper
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Lubbock, TX
Posts: 9,444

So far this is the best setup I've found for any type of volume shooting. The legs hold up forever and only the RR tie wears out. It's not easy to change, but can be done and is extremely stable. I have better pictures somewhere though I can't find the things. I had to dig pretty deep just to find this one. This is our hanging steel rack on the pistol side of our line @15yds. No rifle calibers allowed this close.

I've got three of these setups built. On the rifle line (@150yds) they're made with sch80 galvanized pipe and 1/2x2" bar stock spanners. The top spanner is just wide enough to clear the width of the tie (I want to say 10"). The bottom is 13" or so as to allow the legs to flare out to about 4' width at the ground. I didn't get fancy with joints and such, they're just cut and welded onto the backside of the pipe. The pipe will stand up to most rounds, a .30-06 will punch through but won't exit the backside. We hang the smaller targets toward the ends--aim small, miss small.

Hanging lights above them isn't a good idea. Ideally you'd want the lights projecting back onto the plates and far enough out to avoid the spall coming off the fronts. That crap can fly and it will do some damage. When we shoot at our racks at night, we usually park a truck about 30 yards away off to the side well out of the firing lane. If I were to build a permanent light setup, I'd do a buried light box again off to the side(s).
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	steelstand.jpg
Views:	150
Size:	130.3 KB
ID:	144696  
I've always had more time than money.

Wade's Custom Kydex
Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2018, 09:54 AM
Scratch Scratch is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Hudson WI
Posts: 526

If I had a personal range on my property, and I do... I wouldn't want to hang my targets from an immovable object. Maybe you're not like me, but I don't like to stand in one position, and shoot the same point each time. If I wanted to do that, I'd go to a public gun range.
I like to draw from a holster, incorporate movement, different positions, different heights, targets at different angles and distances, set up stages with them using a variety of cover or props, then change those stages out... frequently!
I'd want them to be mobile.

Here are some pics of the steel target stands I have on my range. All made from scrap 2X4 lumber and 3" sheetrock screws.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	2.jpg
Views:	112
Size:	106.5 KB
ID:	144702   Click image for larger version

Name:	1.jpg
Views:	102
Size:	111.3 KB
ID:	144703   Click image for larger version

Name:	3.jpg
Views:	108
Size:	133.3 KB
ID:	144704  
Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2018, 09:58 AM
Scratch Scratch is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Hudson WI
Posts: 526

The 2X4's do wear out, but it takes a while. This picture is after about 4 years of lots of shooting. Still plenty of life left.

Here's some videos I made a while ago on how these two were made:
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	4.jpg
Views:	96
Size:	122.0 KB
ID:	144705  
Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2018, 12:28 PM
vinconco vinconco is offline
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: WV
Posts: 1
Default Easy steel set up

I was faced with the same problem and had tried wood, rebar, firehose and all sort of contraptions until this solution came along. This system uses a T Post available everywhere for less than 5 bucks. The hanger slips over the post and the target is held in place by gravity. EASY to set up... and take down.
Multiples can be hung on the same post.
No welds

Hang Fast Targets
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	2deIEPL.jpg
Views:	114
Size:	29.8 KB
ID:	144715   Click image for larger version

Name:	botjoeL.jpg
Views:	110
Size:	85.7 KB
ID:	144716   Click image for larger version

Name:	gDWd4PU.jpg
Views:	106
Size:	75.6 KB
ID:	144717  

Last edited by cutter; 04-26-2018 at 01:08 PM. Reason: remove embedded images, upload attachments
Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2018, 01:12 PM
cutter's Avatar
cutter cutter is offline
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Lubbock,Texas
Posts: 33,026

Hi vinconco,

Welcome to SFT.
Please read the first item in our FAQ.

Short version: we do not use embedded images or off-site hosting for them for the simple reason that we like those images to stay with us.
For more reasons, please read the FAQ.
Housekeeping Staff: the Gatekeeper
Director of Policy, Syntax and Grammar (by appointment)

"Dr. Chandran, will I dream?"

Just Keep Walking

"I am not a body, I am free.
For I am still as God created me."
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Web Search:

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:22 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions Inc.