The "Crazy Uncle Burton" Steel Target

by Bryan A. Thompson

Last Updated 10/28/2011

 

Description

The Crazy Uncle Burton Steel Target shown here can be built in less than two hours for about $40.00, and is made using materials you can find at a local home improvement store like Lowe's or Home Depot. The targets are small enough to fit the trunk of a compact car, and store on a shelf in the garage.

My friends and I saw the Evil Roy target on Nutnfancy's Youtube channel and loved it! It makes a "ding" sound when shot, which tells the shooter instantly if the shot was a hit or not. Then we went to order a couple, and they were super-expensive, even with the discount offered by Nutnfancy. By the time you have them shipped to you, they're like $160 each. This is a perfect opportunity to do it yourself and save!

 

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Building the Crazy Uncle Burton Steel Target

 

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Shooting the Crazy Uncle Burton Steel Target

 

Note: You can click on any image to see a larger version of that image!

 

Supplies You'll Need

  1. 12" x 12" x 1/4" Steel Plate - Lowe's, $30.00. Note to Lowes: Your price is too high on this!
  2. One 4 x 4 post, 24" long. I bought an 8' piece of Douglas Fir, and that's enough to make four targets.
  3. One 12" x 12" x 3/4" thick plywood or particle board. I used some scrap for this.
  4. 9 - 3" Drywall Screws - Lowes, $1.00 for all
  5. 2 - 3/8" x 3-1/2" Lag Screws - Lowes, $0.60 each
  6. 6 - 3/8" Washers - Lowe's, $0.15 each
  7. Optional: Carrying Handle - I bought mine in the hinges section of Lowe's for $3.50.

 

Tools You'll Need

  • A tape measure
  • A wood saw (a hand saw, jigsaw or circular saw will work)
  • A drill motor
  • Drill bits: 1/4", 13/32" (size not critical), #10 Countersink bit or 3/16" regular bit
  • A pencil
  • A square
  • Optional: Some paint
  •  

    The Plans

    Parts Needed for the Crazy Uncle Burton Target

     

    The Crazy Uncle Burton Target Assembled

     

    Making The Target

    1. Cut the 4x4 post to length (24"). Note: I built several of these, with post heights ranging from 18" to 30", and they all worked well.
    2.  

    3. Cut a 12" x 12" x 3/4" piece of ply or particle board for the base. Size isn't critical here, so if you have scraps laying around, feel free to use those.
    4.  

    5. Lay out the location where the post will attach to the base. If the base is 12" x 12", then the edges of the post will be 4-1/4" from each edge of the base (see base drawing above).
    6.  

    7. Mark the holes for the #10 drywall screws that will attach the plywood base to the 4 x 4 post. These holes are not location-critical, so just draw them in by hand as seen in the assembly video. Be sure to keep them away from the edges of the post.
    8.  

    9. Drill the holes for the drywall screws in the base. If you have a drywall countersink bit ($10 at Lowe's), use it. Otherwise, a 3/16" drill bit will work.
    10.  

    11. Mount the 4 x 4 post to the base. Start with the center screw, and make sure it goes into the center of the post. Next, rotate the post until it's square with the base. Then put the rest of the screws in place.
    12.  

    13. Mark the locations for the holes in the steel plate. Draw a line vertically through the center of the plate (6" from the left and from the right side). Draw a horizontal line 3" from the top of the plate, and another line 3" from the bottom of the plate. Drill holes where the lines cross.
    14.  

    15. Drill two 13/32" holes in the steel plate in the locations shown above. The steel is soft, and you don't need a drill press as shown in the video. Use a slow rotational speed, and use cutting oil or WD-40 if you have it.
    16.  

    17. Mount the plate to the post as shown above using the 3/8" lag screws and washers. For each screw, use two washers behind the plate, and one washer on the front side of the plate.
    18.  

    19. Adjust the tightness of the lag screws to achieve the optimum sound from an impact. In out tests, it worked well to tighten the screws, then back them off about 1/4 turn.
    20.  

    21. Optional: Install a handle on the post, behind the steel plate, to make the target easier to carry.
    22.  

    23. Optional: Paint the target with an exterior paint. This step is important if you intend to store it outside. Note: Shooting the steel plate will strip the paint off of the front of the target.
    24.  

    Shooting The Target

    The 1/4" steel plate above can withstand impacts from pistol and 22LR rifles at close range.

    Warning! Just like the Evil Roy, the steel we used will not withstand the impact of a centerfire rifle bullet fired from close range. If you're going to shoot it with a rifle, do it at a range of 100 yards or more!

    When a bullet impacts the target, we totally expected it to riccochet and come back at us. Instead, the bullet mushrooms into a spray of molten lead that sprays off the edges of the steel plate. We've shot these at ranges as close as 15 yards with no impact or injury to the shooter.

     

    OK, we're done, so get the hell out of my driveway!

    Crazy Uncle Burton

     

     

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