Metal Target Tree From Scrap




About: Me and my wife are into all things creative. She is the lead cake decorator at Cakes by Kim in Delaware. I am a metal hobbiest on my off time. The two of us want to one day be able to say we made everythi...

This is one I have always wanted to do and now I decided to make it for some friends of mine so they can have fun the next time they are at the range.

A pistol tree. Not sure how well its going to work... but it seems to be just fine when hitting it with my knuckle.

Step 1: SAFETY!!!!! and Tools... Take Notes

Safety apparently... is IMPORTANT!!!

Something I told my daughter (who was 8 at the time) was that the best thing to do is keep all of your fingers. It will allow you to be more productive in life if you got all 10.

"Keeping your fingers is a lot like passing a class. If you get a 90 or an 80 at the end of the semester. You're still going to be OK. But... you get anything less than a 70 and things become really difficult. Also, thumbs are worth 50. So lets shoot for 100 please." -Robert T Fischer

everything in the tool room is dangerous. Some more dangerous than others.

For this you will need
(On the safety side)

Welding mask

Goggles or face shield if not both

(Metal working tools)

Welder your preference but we are working with mild steel
angle grinder or chopsaw
angle grinder or milling machine
angle grinder or belt sander
measuring tape

deburring tool

Step 2: This One Is Going to Come From the Scrap Pile

So as you can see I have a nice pile of scrap gathering in my shop and decided to grab all round rod and tubes I can find for this one.

I am using round to reduce ricochet.

I am needing hinges for this so swivel the targets around the back side after being shot. So first thing I need to do is find inner and outer diameters that match.

Then I need to remove any of the steel that is tool steel since it is hard enough to cause more of a ricochet issue.

Step 3: Cutting to Length

As you can see I am cutting down the inner and rod and outer piping to make the hinges.

I got the pair that swiveled together with the least slop and wasnt tool steel. You can see the sparks do not have much secondary explosion at the end of there trails. Kinda like fireworks. If it did that would be a higher carbon steel which means it would not absorb the blow of the bullets very well and would ricochet more.

The inner tubes were cut to 3 inches while the outer tubes where cut to 1 1/4.

This was to give room for the arm to come off of the inner piece in between each hinge.

For ever inner bar I made 2 out pipes for top and bottom.

Step 4:

as you can see the cuts on the tubing and bars where rough after the chopsaw (or angle grinder) so I had to do some inner and outer deburring on all pieces.

This is important to allow the pieces to rub against each other smoothly.

Step 5: The Plates

In my scrap bin I had a bunch of 1/4 inch 4 by 4 end cuts just lying around along with some rebar.

I stacked the plates all up in the mill and did a bit of end milling to get a section of rebar to fit into each plate for welding later.

I then cut the rebar into 6 inch pieces.

Step 6: Welding on the Hinges and Plates

I lined up ever hinge in this fashion after welding on the rebar to the inner bars for the hinge.

Using a piece of flat tubing to make sure its vertical and a magnet to make sure the top and bottom hinge are in line.

Everything was done with a couple of tacks. After it cooled I checked to see if the hinges where alined since they are free floating from each other before welding.

A simple tap of the hammer would align the upper or lower hinge then once it swung smooth, I continued welding it all in place.

Step 7: Weight and Stand

For this I found I had a left over break rotor and another piece of pipe larger tham my schedule 40 tubing the hinges are welded too and made this my base.

Since the schedule 40 slides into this tubing on the bottom it is now removable. The down side is its not a perfect fit so it has a little bit of slop. A simple whole with a nut and bolt will fix this.

I hope you enjoy my saturday morning scrap build as much as I did making it.



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    9 Discussions


    5 months ago

    Nice! Love the concept. We do a lot of camping and this is way better than setting up cans every few minutes. It provides a nice report, clean, and the best part... no cleanup!


    1 year ago

    That looks great and I'll definitely be making one, too. I even have some old brake rotors waiting for a project!

    Do you have any issue with the targets bouncing off their travel end points such that they under up behind the support post? I suppose you could tip the support slightly forward so the target wants to be on either side. The commercially-available dueling trees I've seen have a slight detent in the hinge so the targets rest at either extreme.

    2 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    Im waiting to use them next weekend. But i have been debating on putting a notch on each side with a drimell... If i was to do this again i would cut the lower pipe at a 5 degree angle off 90. So that it wants to always fall forwards on either side once past the middle. If that makes since.


    Reply 1 year ago

    Yes, that makes perfect sense. That is how I've seen it done on commercially available dueling trees. I worry that cutting a notch with a Dremel might make the target get stuck. I suppose a shallow notch cut with a ramp towards the mid-point of the travel would be close to your idea of cutting at a slight angle.

    What caliber will you be using to shoot at it?


    1 year ago

    I'm glad to see a firearm related DIY getting featured, even if it is just vaguely related.

    3 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yeah I agree. I would show how I do my own lowers but depending on who reads and what state they are from I would have to do a write up on what they cant do before I can do a write up on how to do it.

    I think that's why most people don't do them on here. Thanks for the comment bud.


    Reply 1 year ago

    I don't really agree on the State legality part, since places like Youtube readily cater content to firearm enthusiasts (at least until the recent demonetization waves) despite having the same issue.

    I think it's just that Instructables, while not shunning legal firearm content in their TOS, doesn't promote it in any way to stay away from the controversy. From the business standpoint I can understand it, but as a user it seems like a huge pity to me. The firearm crowd tend to be avid DIYers in general, so it's a pity that this site doesn't seem to want anything past nerf guns and potato cannons. This place could definitely thrive even more with cleaning guides, assembly and disassembly, or even 80 percent builds, but I think they see it as risky content in today's climate. Just my speculation of course.


    Reply 1 year ago

    Either way its obvious people are enjoying this one so maybe I can do another in the future.


    1 year ago

    Great idea! My husband would have loved something like that when he did archery. If he gets back into it we'll have to make him one :)