In today's article we are going to discuss target stands.  Targets stands are an important and necessary component of owning a gun.  Important in the fact that in order to become experienced and accurate in your marksmanship you need to practice, practice and practice more.  Whether for self defense, competition or hunting.  Necessary because you need something to gauge your accuracy.  Something that you can transport and set up easily, will hold up to the rigors of the impact that will be imposed upon it and is stable enough so that you don't have to walk for yards to set it back up.

When we first get into target shooting, we often build our own stands (like I did) out of wood, either nailed or screwed together because it is cheap.  If you shoot like I did when I first started my wooden stand looked like Swiss cheese after a few hundred rounds.  My next venture was to go to the local gun show and buy one out of metal. 

With a tight budget I was looking at all the different designs that everyone had on display.  My purchase that day was a couple of simple stands that was made out of rebar and a rectangular piece of metal in which you could insert a 1 x 2 length of wood in each stand to hold your paper or cardboard target.  There were some problems with this design, you had to have a reasonably level surface to place the two stands next to each other on or bring a shovel to level out the area.  I tried to put sticks, rocks or what ever I could find to place underneath the legs to keep the 1 x 2's upright and parallel to each other in order to attach the target.  Using cardboard or plastic sign board was sufficient to keep the stand fairly stable.  Paper targets by themselves attached to the uprights was an effort in futility, especially when the wind started blowing.  The other thing I discovered was that I had to find rocks to stack on the rebar legs to hold it down when the wind blew.  If you don't, the stand moved about two feet to the left while I had it in my sights.  It was just a weird gust of wind that came out of nowhere.  Then one of my "stray" bullets from my AR-15 hit the rectangular piece of metal that held the 1 x 2 in place and went thru the front side, thru the wood and out the back.  I did not think to much of this until I went to take the stand down and head home.  The bullet, as it went through the front deformed the metal and created a ragged hole in which the metal was now holding the wood strip in place as if it were bolted in place. At least that is what I thought as I tried to remove it from this thin little holder.  Not being able to get out the upright by pulling on it, I had to break it off.  Lucky for me, I had a few other "stray" bullets that went through the wood that created a weak spot and I was able to break the wood at that point....until I went to put it in the truck of my little car.  I couldn't get the trunk lid to close because the piece of broken wood was just a bit to long to get the trunk lid to latch.  So out comes the stand, I set it on the ground and put one foot on the rebar leg and take my other foot and give it a karate kick to break it off at the level of the rectangular metal pocket.  As I kicked it, the wood did not break like I expected.  The metal pocket twisted and bent where it was welded and I proceeded to step on the stand to "fold" it up flat so I could fit in the trunk. Tempted to leave it, I make sure I clean up my surroundings and take everything I bring in and sometimes more.

Once I arrived home, I decided I would do the responsible thing and recycle this mangled scrap of metal which was once a target stand.  When recycling, the proper way to do it is to separate the different types of materials.  The problem was that the wood was broken off and stuck in the stand and I needed to get it out.  First I had to saw off the wood flush with top of the metal pocket so I could work on the wood that was left in the stand.  Once I got the broken and splintered stick cut of, I needed to get the rest of it out.  So I grabbed an old wood chisel and hammer and figured I could just chip it out in pieces. Wrong. It just made matters worse.  My last resort was to grab the drill and a 1/4 inch drill bit and start drilling holes into the piece of wood to create some relief areas and then I could take the chisel and split the wood where the drill bit did not get.  I finally got this mission accomplished and then had a pile of wood chips and slivers to clean up.  

I don't think I will buy this type of stand again.  I know that God has a sense of humor and I must have given Him a chuckle or two as He was watching me in my adventures of my quest to find an affordable target stand.  The lessons that we learn, sometimes we have to learn the hard way. Now it is time to clean my gun.  Taking time to do a good gun cleaning tends to relax me, calms my nerves.  Especially after today.

I am off to the next gun show to find another stand and I will be willing spend some more money this time. 

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