Automated Robotic Target Practice

Fan of shooting things? Jealous of proper shooting ranges? Why not build your own automated target practice rig with a few servos and an ATMega168?

[Cowboy Bob] of Making Stuff decided he needed a practice target, and wanted to make it a bit more interesting than throwing up some beer cans on a fence. He’s created a highly durable 10-target “Robo-Target” which can be remote controlled or automated.  A thick piece of 1/4″ angle steel makes up the main frame of it, so if you’re practicing with hand guns it’ll take the abuse. If you’re just using  an air soft or paintball gun you probably don’t need to make it this beefy.

Five servo motors swing paper five targets back and forth on 3D printed swing arms — and since each target has a front and a back side, it gives you 10 different things to shoot at. In challenge mode it’ll even show you two targets at a time which will require you to quickfire in order to get both!

If you’re looking to practice inside, maybe you should try building this home-made laser gun target range instead.

12 thoughts on “Automated Robotic Target Practice

  1. Very cool! It would be a little bit better to have each target consist of a good/bad guy and flip it randomly to show one or the other. The present method gives you foreknowledge of what each position is so you are prepared before you begin shooting to avoid the good guys.

  2. I’ve dreamed up recently similar thing, but it’s horizontal rack with five small animal silhouettes from metal. When you shoot one, it hides. When all are hidden, it automatically resets them. Now this article gave me even better idea. I shoot regularly from airgun with some friends. So we could make something like Cowboy Bob, but everyone has a foot pedal. When they reload and press pedal, a target shows up, highlights with color appriopriate for pressed pedal and if you hit it, your score is increased. This could be fun :). A good shooting practice for many people at once.

  3. Neat! The design is nice with the angled steel. The angled steel is important with firearms because anything that lives downrange being shot towards WILL catch a bullet sooner or later. The plain paper targets seem a little floppy with wind in the video but it’s neat to see this kind of project.

    1. I’m not too familiar with gun ranges, but is it a possibility that the bullet could hit right on the middle of the angle, and bounce back? I think the angular sides is nice because they will shunt the bullet away, but if you hit it bang on center, is there any risk there?

      1. Steel > Lead, Steel wins. And if you’re more than 7 yards away the energy of the bullet won’t be enough to do (much) harm. If the steel is angled forward towards the shooter, shots will go into the dirt in that case anyways.

      2. Bullets seldom ‘bounce’. At least not far. Most likely out come in the case of an absolutely dead center shot is a fragmented bullet sending a spray of various sized chunks (Or one big one if jacketed) off to an angle on either side of the target. Doubtful if any would be coming back towards the shooter with any energy. Still, general safety practice dictates a reasonable distance from the target unless using specialty practice ammunition. Myth busters did a good episode or two on it.

      3. Bullet’s don’t really bounce back after hitting things head on, it’s exceedingly likely to shatter instead. Some of that can head back towards the shooter but it’s not much of a danger, they lose energy quickly. Hitting edge on to a piece of angle iron like that will kick more of that back splash out to the sides too. It’s not a big danger.

  4. maybe shine a light on the paper from behind the steel barrier (red – good to shoot at, green – bad to shoot at, or whatever) with a sensor that knows when a bullet flies through/near the paper. tally up the +/- points. Game On.

    1. Could be done w/ steel targets but I doubt servos would last very long under that kind of abuse. There was also that hack a while back where they put sensors on a screen and triangulated hits. Just set up a projector w/ dancing dots or duckhunt.

  5. Brilliant!
    I’m not a programmer or any derivative thereof… I would benefit from the arduino files.
    It’s plenty strong enough for anything a pistol can dish out! I think I’d like to build one!

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