DIY Project: Make This Shooting Range Target Bucket

Be prepared when you go to the shooting range by having everything you need for targets in one easy-to-carry bucket.

DIY Project: Make This Shooting Range Target Bucket

When you're at the range be sure to have everything necessary for the targets, from paint to clips, and you'll have a better day. (Photo: Alan Clemons)

Whenever I visit shooting academies or attend media events I'm always looking for helpful ideas. Sometimes they're so easy it defies logic, like this DIY project for creating your shooting range target bucket.

If you're going to a range you don't want to forget anything. Guns and ammo, of course, along with hearing and eye protection. Notebooks and pens are helpful for jotting down anything, especially if you're into handloading or are OCD about your shooting.

Where many folks mess up is for the actual target stand and targets. No doubt you've seen guys show up at the range but they forgot something. 

Most hunters think "range time" means for big game rifles but anything you're shooting should get a workout. Ditto for the ammo. If you're hunting coyotes or hogs with rifles and shotguns, why wouldn't you want to make sure the ammo, optic, choke and firearm is in sync? Is the 168-grain ammo better or worse than the 150-grain? Without spending time at the range, you won't know these things.

 Don't be that guy, eh? You should have this bucket of goodies with you whether you're at a big "real" range or out in the pasture checking chokes and ammo.

Make a checklist, create this shooting range bucket like they use at the Sig Sauer Academy in New HampshireSig Sauer Academy in New Hampshire and you'll be good to go.

Bubble Level

If you're shooting for scores, precision or just want to make sure the target is level, use a bubble level. Make sure the target stand is level and the target is level when you affix it to the board.

Why? Because you shouldn't be shooting at crooked targets, that's why. Why be wrong? Why have a crooked target. Just use the level and do it correctly. You don't see the SEALs or Marine Corps snipers practicing on crooked targets (unless they specifically need to do so).

Create a range bucket and you won't forget the key items for your targets or stands.
Create a range bucket and you won't forget the key items for your targets or stands.

Visible Targets

Punching paper is fun but being able to see what you hit is better, which is why using visible targets helps tremendously. The popular Shoot-n-C targets from Birchwood Casey are known for their ease and dependability. Shoot a while, add a new decal target or cover up the holes with the dots, and keep shooting. They're available in a wide variety for different shooters, disciplines or needs.

Spray Paint

If you're shooting steel targets it's nice to have something visible if they're at 100 or 200-plus yards. Or even if you're doing pistol drills at 7 yards, you may want a reference dot in the torso or target. Blaze orange paint works great for this. It's easy to see and if you record a hit it shows up. Red also is good, of course.

Black is great to have, too, in case you need to black out hits on a target or cover up something else. Get a can of white, of course. Black, white and something eye-popping. You don't have to buy the most expensive paint. Get whatever's cheapest that works. Even though we want to have nice things this isn't a photo op for Range & Garden Beautiful.

Markers, Pens, Notebooks

Notebooks, pens and markers are good for jotting down ideas or more intensive data. I like the notebooks from Rite in the Rain because they work in wet conditions, as well as a Fisher pen. These are the pens that went to space (yep, space pens!) and are used by first responders, gas and oil workers, outdoors folks and others in rain, cold, heat, mud, grease and other conditions.

Be sure to have other markers large and small for targets, making an X on hits or fliers, drawing funny faces to make kids laugh and whatever else you need. 

Binder Clips

Sometimes things break or you need to clip something to a target, or clip a target to a board or steel plate. You need some big clips like these jumbo binder clips, and maybe some medium-sized ones too.

If you've ever put one of these on your nose or ear (yes, we know you did that) then you know they're strong. Affixing targets, boards or other things will be easier with some of these. And don't stick them on your ear.

Staple Gun, Staples

No, you do not need Mrs. Bailey's desk stapler from first grade. You need a heavy duty staple gun that works with plywood and wooden posts. You need something like this one from Dewalt or this one from Arrow, along with some heavy-duty staples that won't be a pain in the tookus. Pay a little extra for the quality goods.

Lubricant, Tools

If you've ever been to a range with steel targets on chains, inevitably one will have a hitch. It's "that" target that has a stuck bolt or the chain won't move or something. Have a can of WD-40 or your favorite lube in your range bucket along with a hammer, crescent wrench and maybe some pliers. Just a few tools to bang and twist on things.

Don't Forget the Bucket

Lowe's sells buckets for a few bucks. I'm sure Home Depot does, too. Or you can do like the guys at Sig Sauer and use a kitty litter bucket, or find whatever else works best for you. Maybe one of the pricey Yeti buckets would work and you could get more of your money's worth from it.

If you buy a level that doesn't stick up higher than the bucket, don't forget the bucket lid. That way you can keep it all contained and use it for a stool to admire your fine shooting skills after range time has ended.

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