Homemade Running Target
A running target that can readily be constructed by an amateur and used without the assistance of a helper is made as follows: Erect two poles of such height as you wish the target to run, place them as far apart as they are high since the altitude of the poles governs the length of the run. Stretch a good stiff, straight wire between them at the desired elevation. The target itself can be made of a block of wood plated with iron, or a simple block of wood could be used if the marksman did not object to replacing it pretty often. Bore a hole through this block of such size that it will slip freely along the wire. Fasten a cord to the target, this cord to be run through a pulley a trifle higher than the wire, thence over the top of the pole across another pulley and down to the ground where a weight is attached. Fasten the pulling cord to the upper corners of the block so that it will be held right side up when being pulled—it might possibly be necessary to attach a weight to the bottom of the block too if it betrays a tendency to turn over when struck.
In using the target slip it along the wire from one post to the other; this will raise the weight at the end of the cord to the top of the post. Now fasten the block to the second post with a trigger or catch which will slip easily. A cord fastened to this trigger is run back to shooting position ready to release the target by jerking. When the target is released it is jerked across at the speed with which the weight falls from the top of the post.
The higher the posts the greater the speed of the target at the end of its run—friction aside it would move sixteen feet the first second and thirty-two the next. By making the poles high enough or the run long enough a speed would be attained of nearly the rate at which a bird flies. This target is only adapted to small bore rifles; large weapons would shoot it to pieces, or the necessarily thick steel would entail too much weight and friction.
By having an assistant the marksman can stand back any distance he likes until he attains a range that will force him to hold ahead from one to two feet in order to land on the target. We will go into the speed of running targets and the distance they must be led presently.
Askins, Charles. Rifles and Rifle Shooting. New York: Outing, 1912. Print.
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