Introduction: Terminal Ballistics Target Box - Cardboard

About: Professionally I have been a summer camp counselor, a Draftsman/designer, salesperson, bicycle mechanic, laminate flooring machine mechanic, teacher, and designer of the OP Loftbed. Personally I am a human tha…

In 1981 I was the typical boy wanting a BB gun for Christmas. It came with a very serious talk, from my dad, about gun safety and how, if not handled correctly, my new Red Ryder could cause unwanted damage. And yes there was a discussion of ricochets and the possibility of eye injuries. Keep in mind this was two years before the movie "A Christmas Story" came out. Shooting targets soon turned into experimenting with Terminal Ballistics. I did not know that is what it was called, at the time, I just knew that different targets acted differently when hit by a BB. This is one of the targets I made as a kid, and I still do as an adult. I will show you how to build and use a Terminal Ballistics Target Box.

Step 1: Warning

You will be using a sharp knife to cut cardboard. You will also be using BB and Pellet guns to shoot the Terminal Ballistics Target Box. Be careful.

Step 2: Tools and Materials

The main version of the Terminal Ballistics Target Box uses only cardboard. The improved version also uses Duct tape. I will show how to build both versions. The materials you will need will be cardboard and duct tape. The cardboard I used was from a box that came from a purchase I made on E-bay (a bb gun). Is was six inches by six inches by about 40 inches long. I also used a target that fit the box perfectly. It is one of those targets that hits show up on brightly, but you could draw on a target or just shoot the Terminal Ballistics Target Box without a target on it.

You will need something to measure and mark the cardboard with. I used a framing square which also doubled as a straight edge for guiding the knife for cutting straight lines.

You will need something to mark with. I used a sharpie.

You will need a knife. I used a utility knife but any sharp knife will work.

You will need a surface to cut on like an old board or cutting mat.

You don't need safety glasses during the construction, but you will need them later when shooting.

Step 3: Measure and Mark

My box worked out to where a six inch by six inch by six inch cube box would be the finished product. I measured and marked out lines every six inches.

Step 4: Cut the Box

Cut out the bottom part of the box and set it to the side. This will be the part that holds the other pieces.

Step 5: Cut the Inside Pieces

I flattened out the rest of the box and cut on the lines I had marked at every six inches. This resulted in six pieces. I then cut down what was the corners of the box. This left me with twelve pieces which were each two six in square pieces held together by the fold that was the corner.

Step 6: Put the Pieces in the Box

This is the first version of the Terminal Ballistics Target Box. You just put the pieces into the box and it is ready. If you want to take a little more time, you can make the Terminal Ballistics Target Box a bit fancier and easier to use.

Step 7: Stick on the Target

One way of making the Terminal Ballistics Target Box fancier is using a stick on target. I used one of the "shoot-N-See" style targets that show hits as a bright spot on the target. These are easily replaced as the target gets worn out over time.

Step 8: Optional Improvement

Another way to improve the Terminal Ballistics Target Box is to make the inside pieces into a book. I used duct tape to tape each of the twelve inside pieces together into a book and then I strengthened the spine by adding two more pieces of duct tape. I also used the sharpie to number the pages of the cardboard book. These numbers come in handy when you are using the Terminal Ballistics Target Box. It is also easier to put in and take out one "book" of cardboard instead of the twelve individual pieces.

Step 9: Book in a Box

Next you simply put the cardboard book into the box.

Step 10: Using the Terminal Ballistics Target Box

Terminal Ballistics is the study of what projectiles do when they hit something.

You may have seen ballistic gel like in the Instructable by demon fang:

Or this one by Nick-Smith-513:

You can also experiment using different pellets like jac91498

The way to use The Terminal Ballistics Target Box is to set it up in a safe location. Shoot it with a bb or pellet gun. And then see how many layers of cardboard the bb or pellet go through. You can mark the pages of the internal book beside the holes made by each pellet and bb. Lots of variables will effect the performance of a projectile's terminal ballistics. Weight, speed, angle of impact, shape, cross section, just to name a few.

Step 11: It Is Not Bullet Proof

The Terminal Ballistics Target Box is not bullet proof. I had 24 internal layers of cardboard and It will stop some bbs and pellets but I did find it's limits. My Terminal Ballistics Target Box did not stop a .177 caliber gold pellet going 922 Feet Per Second. Make sure you have a good back stop behind anything that you shoot a bb or pellet gut at. If you are shooting a bb or pellet very slowly, it could bounce back at you. Wear safety glasses.

Step 12: Video

As usual, I made a video.

Thank you for watching and enjoy.

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