If you are like me you like to do a little target shooting. I came across the picture above posted by United Deer & Exotic Foundation and wanted to give it a try. Unfortunately I was not able to find any build directions so after some trial and error I now have a working clay pigeon holder, that's the one that's painted(I know, its not pretty). It can be used for gun or archery(position a stop block behind the holder), its mobile and if it gets damaged it is designed so the individual pieces can be easily replaced.
There are only two measurements that I found to be critical and I will explain how to compensate if you are off like I was when I replaced one of the pieces. I used material I had laying around the shop so if some of the measurements seem odd that’s what I had available.
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Step 1: Materials
(2) 2 x 4 x 36”
(2) 1 x 4 x 28 1/2”
(1) 24 x 33” ¾” plywood
(1) 13 x 28 ½” Luan
(6) 2” screws
(6) 1 ¼” screws
(4) #6 x ¾” screws
Wood shim (optional)
Car wax or wood paste (optional)
Step 2: Tools
Sander or Hand Planer
Table saw or circular saw
Step 3: Cutting the Materails
Cut the pieces according to the cut list.
The ¾” plywood may seem oversized but I planned to mount the holder to a tree or a post. The original picture from United Deer & Exotic Foundation has it mounted on a stand. If you plan to use a stand adjust the size of the plywood.
The Luan will be cut into two pieces and used as spacers. The edges can be trimmed to fit between the 2 x 4s after they are mounted to the plywood. The Luan helps to close the gap between the 1 x 4's and the plywood to keep the pigeons from hanging up on each other when the one below it drops down . The Luan does not need to be squared up on the ends.
Step 4: Assembly - Part 1
There are two critical measurements that have to be watched, the gap between the 2 x 4’s just where they extend beyond the bottom of the plywood sheet and at the top. These measurements will set the 2 x 4’s to a 4 degree angle. The 4 ½” gap will allow the clay pigeon to stop with about ¼ inch of it still touching the plywood sheet. This helps stabilize the pigeon in its shooting position.
Position the first 2 x 4 5 ⅜ inches from the edge and extended 7 1/2" over the edge of the plywood and install one screw near the bottom. This will serve as a pivot point. Measure 3 ⅜ inch from the edge of the plywood to the top of the first 2 x 4 and install a second screw. A third screw can be installed now or wait until the end.
This is the first of the two Critical measurements. This sets the gap for the pigeon to fall into its shooting position. If it’s too wide the pigeon will fall too far and tilt out of position. Place the second 2 x 4 4 ½ inches from the edge of the first 2 x 4 and install a pivot screw.
This is the second of the two Critical measurements. This position will set the final angle of the two 2 x 4’s in relation to each other. Measure 8 ½ inches from the top of the first 2 x 4 and install a second screw. A third screw can be installed now or wait until the end.
If the gap is too large a wood shim can be installed to compensate, this happened to me when I shot up and had to replace one of the 2 x 4's. If the gap is too tight you will need to move one of the 2 x 4's. Drill a new hole, when I tried to just move the board over and use the original hole in the 2 x 4 the screw wanted to go back into the original hole in the plywood.
Step 5: Assembly - Part 2
The Luan sheets help reduce the gap between the plywood sheet and the 1 x 4’s. On the bottom of the Luan sheet make a mark 4 ½ inches from one edge, at the top of the Luan sheet make a mark 4 ½ inches from the opposite edge. See drawing in Step 3. Draw your line and cut.
Position the two sheets one on top of the other between the 2 x 4’s you mounted in step 4. If the sides are tight use the sander or hand planer to get the Luan in position. It does not need to be tight, if there is some gaps between the Luan and the 2 x 4” that is okay.
The 4 ½ inch end needs to line up close with the bottom of the plywood sheet. Because we did not square up the ends there may be some overhang, this overhang helps hold the pigeon in place when it drops down.
The pictures shows the gap without and with the Luan spacers.
During the trial and error stage I used my planer on the 2 x 4's and found that a 1 ⅛ inch gap worked very well. I wanted it easy to replace damaged pieces so opted for spacers instead of using the planer every time. With the spacers installed it reduces the gap to close to 1 ⅛”. As I said earlier if there is too much gap between the plywood and the 1 x 4’s the pigeons will buckle and hang up when you want them to drop.
Secure the Luan in place with four #6 x ¾ screws. Be sure the heads are not sticking out of the Luan so that they don’t catch on the pigeons when they drop. At this point you can coat the Luan with wax. This is optional. I’m not sure if it made a huge difference but I didn’t think it would hurt. It is easier to do it now instead of after the 1 x 4’s are installed.
Step 6: Assembly - Part 3
Position one of the 1 x 4’s so that the bottom of the board lines up with the bottom of the plywood sheet and that it overhangs the 2 x 4 by 2 inches. Install one screw.
Position the top of the 1 x 4 2 ½ inches from the outside edge of the 2 x 4. Install a screw. A third screw can be installed now or wait until the end. Repeat for the second 1 x 4.
Step 7: A Few Last Notes
You're done. Painting is optional.
I destroyed one of the 2 x 4’s with my 45. When I replaced it I did not get my gap at the bottom quite right so I installed a wood shim on one side with the staple gun. Watch the position so that about 1/4" of the pigeon touches the plywood.
Because my holder is mounted vertically I found out that if I put more than seven pigeons in the holder I had some issues with them buckling and hanging up so I only use six or seven at a time. I occasionally had a pigeon that wanted to tip when it dropped into position so I added a small piece of thin to stop that from happening.
I didn't go for perfection, I knew a few shots would go astray and pieces would need to be replaced.
I hope you found this helpful. Happy shooting.