You have 2 main types... Layered and compressed or "bag" targets
Layer carboard, carpet, fiberboard, soundboard.. etc
They stop the arrow by the arrow being physically slowed down due to the compressed material until the material itself just stops the arrow. These are the targets everyones dad's used to have back in the day.
Needed: 2x6 (pressure treated if possible), a long piece of All thread (and a hacksaw to cut it), washers and nuts for each side (so 4 washers, 4 nuts), the material for the target.
To make one: Take strips of whatever material you are using and cut them into the desired length (keep in mind the targets that will be shot and if you will be shooting by yourself or with others. 4 feet wide and 2 feet tall will give enough room for 2 fivespot targets side by side). Depending on what you are shooting 10 - 12 inches deep should be fine. If you are only shooting at long distances 10 should be fine, if you are shooting very close, often, and with high KE setups you may want to go to 14 inches.
Once all you're strips are cut to the desired size take a 2x6 (pressure treated is best if this is sitting outside) and cut it to approx 1 foot longer then you're strips. Drill a hole about 4 inches in on each side that matches you're all thread, put the allthread through the holes w/ the nuts and washers on the thread and put all the target material in the middle.
tighten down the top nuts so that they are snug against the wood and then crank them down till the cardboard is heavily compressed.
shoot the crap out of it
take layers of cardboard, stack em up, put a 2x6 across the bottom and top, all thread through the sides of the boards and then crank em down tight. last for ever if you cover them.
good parts: cheaper then dirt for cardboard and carpet (ie: free).
- No real limit to how big you can make it so you can easily make a "range size" 4'x4' or larger target for little money (normal range sized targets run 500.00+)
- Replacing worn out sections is simple, remove the top brace, remove material, move unshot up material to the shot area, re tighten it down.
Negatives: carboard and glue can easily "burn on" to the arrow due to the amount of heat from the arrows impact, pretty easy to scrape off though normally.
- VERYYYYY heavy when they are big targets and can easily develop dead spots and hard spots from being shot
- Weather can destroy these things, so can mice, tree rats, birds... etc
- having a piece of wood on the top and a piece of wood on the bottom can definately damage some arrows, having 2 metal rods down the side will immediately destroy any arrow that missed (I promise the arrow won't survive)
The alternative is the "filled with stuff" target. These are what are normally called bag targets and they stop the arrow by having so much stuff in front of the arrow that it just can't push forward anymore. They work great!
The most common is a burlap sack stuffed with something, either old clothes (without the metal stuff), plastic bags or wrap, fabric.. etc.
to make em you just pack as much of the filler material as you can and then close up the bag with staples or thread... whatever you like. You can make them as big as you want or as small.
the good: these things stop arrows great! at point blank they will stop arrows within a few inches if made correctly and last thousands of shots
- lighter then the above target and more resistant to weather
Negatives - you need a LOT of filler to make it stop the arrows, if you "skimp" you'll lose arrows
- if you start shooting through it you'll lose a lot of vanes as pushing arrows back through it is bad.
- broadheads will shred this kind of target in a few shots
- While the target can be as large as you want the larger it is the harder it is to pack effectively. If you need a large surface I would suggest using multiple bag targets sewn together and shoot each one as an individual target.
So there are the 2 common targets. Bag targets are definately the "way to go" right now unless you need something huge. I shoot a Morrell Outdoor bag target and have been for over 3 years, I'm building a 4' x 4' carboard layered target as well so that I can shoot more then one person at a time and at long ranges.