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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
A great pistol like a Walther deserves a great target to shoot at.

Here is how to make your own reactive targets for a lot less $ than commercial ones.

First a materials list:

Tools:
This tool will make applying the 9" X 12" laminating sheets much easier. Amazon.com: Norpro 3077 Wooden Pastry and Pizza Roller: Pizza Cutters: Kitchen & Dining. Of course you can probably source this locally at a kitchen supply store also.

If you don't already have one, I suggest a respirator rated for spray paint. Medium worked for me.
3M Tekk Paint Project Respirator, Medium, P95 - Papr Safety Respirators - Amazon.com


Make a plug (for lack of a better word) to keep paint off the bulls eye area. The easiest way to do this is take a coin and gorilla glue a flat head machine screw to it. You can use a dime, nickel, quarter, or half dollar for the coin depending on how big you want the bulls eye. The plug will be pictured later.

Materials:

The laminating sheets I bought. These were the cheapest I could find.
Amazon.com : C-Line Heavyweight Cleer Adheer Laminating Film Sheets, Clear, 9 x 12 Inches, 50 per Box (65001) : Laminating Supplies : Office Products


28" X 22" bright colored poster boards. I like fluorescent green, but fluorescent orange or yellow also work. These can be sourced locally at Dollar Tree or any number of Art/Hobby shops.

The cheapest Flat Black can of spray paint you can find. The cheap stuff actually works better than a name brand like Krylon. I buy the 99 cent flat black at Lowes, WalMart is also a good source.

Price per target:

28" X 22" bright colored poster board. $.74 divided by 4 = 18.5 cents per target
12" X 9" laminate sheets $13.99 divided by 50 = 28 cents per target
Lowes or WalMart cheapest can of flat black paint $1.07 divided by 9 = 12 cents per target

Total price: 58.5 cents per target

Procedure:

Start by cutting the 28" X 22" poster board into (4) 14" X 11" inch pieces. On the top and left sides, draw lines 1 inch in from the edge.



Take a 12" X 9" laminating sheet, remove the starter strip, then fold the backing over to make a tab for pulling.



Place the laminating sheet with the tab folded back and sticky side down. Line the sheet up with the top and left lines. This will center the laminate sheet on the poster board. Press down the exposed sticky area, then reach under the sheet and pull the tab at about a 45 Degree angle towards the bottom. As you go, use the roller to apply the sheet while working out any bubbles. When the sheet is applied, run the roller back and forth, while pressing down, to assure good adhesion. Notice that 1 inch on each side of the poster board is not covered by the laminate.



After the sheet is laminated, use a template to lay over the target with a centered hole and use a Sharpie to draw a circle. This will center the bullseye. See above. Ready for paint. The bulls eye is created buy putting the plug in the circle. Make the hole in the template slightly larger than the plug. The plug will keep the paint off the bulls eye. Notice my ridiculously expensive paint booth, and the plug covering the bulls eye.



Put two fingers close to the plug's handle, start moving your fingers up and squeezing them together to snatch the plug off without smearing the paint.



This mornings production:



And the final product:




Yes, I shoot low and left. My big knuckle on my trigger finger is screwed up from injuries, along with the arthritis that comes with injuries. I'm lucky to hit the target at all.
Pudge
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Brilliant, Pudge. Positively brilliant.
Unfortunately this wasn't an original idea. I saw a video on youtube, tried it, and ended up improving the methodology. Originally he was using packing tape for the plastic laminate. Took too long to line up several strips of tape 2 inches wide, and it left seams. Plus the packing tape left a "Splash" that was too narrow. He also was using stick on dots like they use at garage sales for the bulls eye. But if you hit it or right next to it, the dot would fly off.

Next I tried "Carpet Saver" that came in two foot rolls that contractors put on your carpet when working on your house. Too thin, was like trying to put Saran Wrap on the poster board, plus if you didn't use it right away the sticky would start letting go. Plus it also left a small splash.

Stumbled on laminating sheets. Actually, I was talking to the wife about my little project and she promptly said, "We have those laminating sheets down stairs in the basement, that will probably fix most of your problems. :( Well she was right, but I will deny that statement if asked. The laminate sheets were 12" X 9" and covered most of the target with one sheet so no seams. The Laminating sheets were 3 mils thick, thicker than the packing tape and the Carpet Saver. Plus it was stiffer and went on easier. So the thickness and stiffness make for the perfect splash. Plus they adhere like crazy. Let's face it, the laminate sheets were made for exactly what I wanted to do.

I just realized, this is sounding a lot like a story my Mom told me about a girl and three bears! :D

By posterboard, you mean the thicker paper, yes? Not foam core?
Yes, it is thicker than construction paper and comes in larger sheets, and no foam core. If you go into a craft supply store and say poster board they will know exactly what you want.

When I read "reactive targets" I was thinking something different... ;)
Like something that would say ouch when hit? :eek:

Pudge
 

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Interesting project. Thanks for posting.
 

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I have seen these sheets (made by Pudge) in action. They work VERY well. I even saved a"clean" one and a used one so I could show another shooter buddy of mine. He was super impressed at how well these worked, and how visible the splash mark is at a distance.

Thanks, Pudge!
 

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Instant sticky - well done, sir!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks

Instant sticky - well done, sir!
Thanks. Just trying to pull my weight around here and give back something useful.

I usually make a big batch of targets in the spring and fall as these are the best times for spray painting. After shooting with jackrock, my winter stock pile was running low. Yesterday was in the 70's and almost dead calm for wind. Perfect conditions. So I decided as long as I was making some I might as well get the camera out and post some pics and a description.

Pudge
 

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I usually make a big batch of targets in the spring and fall as these are the best times for spray painting.
Pudge
I just went out and got 5 sheets of neon green and found laminating sheets and cheap spraypaint, but it's cold and raining outside. I guess I missed the recommendation to wait for decent weather. ; )

Thanks so much for this. I can't wait to get them made. I may have to paint indoors by converting my shower into a paint booth (while wearing goggles and respirator)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Inclement weather is when I cut the poster board into the four pieces, apply the laminate, and mark the bulls eye. Since the laminate sheets come in a box of 50, when I actually do the painting I usually have 50 targets all set and ready to go. It usually takes me about 2 to 2 1/2 hours to paint 50 targets.

The only hard part is learning to roll out the laminate sheets. You may end up ruining 2 or 3 targets during the learning process. Even now I still occasionally end up with a crease or bubble. Just roll them out the best you can and go ahead and paint them. Twenty feet down range and you'll never see it, plus all you are going to do is shoot holes in them and throw 'em away.

The only other tip I can think of is, I keep two different sizes of plugs. One made from a quarter, and another larger one about 1 3/4 in dia. made from a fender washer. I use the smaller bulls eye for close range, and the larger bulls eye for longer distances.

For sighting in rifles, I have even used the full 28 X 22 green poster board, and put 4 laminate sheets butted together to cover almost the whole poster board. Next I used a gallon paint bucket for the bull's eye and sprayed the black paint on. Since the green bull's eye area is so large and does not produce a splash, I put the paint can on a piece of cardboard, traced out a circle around it, then cut out the circle so it's the same diameter as the paint can. Line the cardboard up with the green bull's eye, and spray paint it fluorescent orange or white. Now the bull's eye will produce a splash also.

Put it out 100 yds use a spotting scope or binoculars and it works great.

Pudge
 

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The only other tip I can think of is, I keep two different sizes of plugs. One made from a quarter, and another larger one about 1 3/4 in dia. made from a fender washer. I use the smaller bulls eye for close range, and the larger bulls eye for longer distances. Pudge
Yeah given my inbound PPS, I have decided to make mostly 8x8" squares with a diamond grid of some sort with a circular bullseye like you did. I might make a few bigger ones for longer range also. I'll post the results if they aren't too embarrassing. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Here is something I haven't done in a while, and I probably should do it more regularly.

If you hold the 14" x 11" quarter sheet of poster board up to your chest, it is a close approximation of where you want to aim. However, I have yet to see a criminal considerate enough to wear a shirt with a bull's eye and/or concentric circles and/or cross hair printed on it. Maybe some legislator should introduce a bill to that effect. :D

So sometimes I will take a 14" x 11" sheet of poster board, carefully mark the center point, and push a phillips head screw driver through the poster board. Then I paint the entire poster board black. The small hole is a center point reference that can't be seen down range.

Then I run the target out about 20 feet. I grip the pistol as I would when presenting the firearm, with my trigger finger on the side of the slide, and put the bottom of the hands on the shelf of the shooting station. Then raise the gun, acquire the target, and fire. Then lower the hands and repeat.

The first few times I was all over the target. I didn't realize how dependent I was on that 3/4" bull's eye and how deficient I was on judging the center of the target without it. It makes sense, with the 3/4" bull's eye, you are aiming small and missing small. Without the bull's eye, I am assuming your mind's eye is acquiring the entire target and then shooting at that. In other words, aiming large and missing large.

I had to slow things down quite a bit and spend a second or two judging the center of the target. Then after a magazine or two, I started speeding things up a little each time. After about 50 rounds, let's just say I was way better than when I started.

As I said in the beginning, I haven't done this in a while. I think next time at the range I will do this again.

Pudge
 
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