DIY Archery Target
by Rachgier

So I got bored and made myself a target out of carpet, all thread, and some scrap 2-4's. I called up the local carpet place and asked if he had some scrap carpet he was going to toss. After the conversation explaining the end goal, he said to stop by. So I showed up the next day and he had a couple of rolls sitting out. He asked what type of pile I needed, and I picked the medium tight pile without the glued backing. He told me to pull around back. So 40 rolls of scrap carpeting later, I fabbed up a target with enough carpet left over for 2 more.

The carpet was cut in 24" x 10" strips and stacked in alternating layers of backer to backer, pile to pile. The 2x4's were cut to 28" with holes drilled 1.5" from the ends for the 5/16" all thread. I bought 6' lengths of all thread and cut it in half.

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It stopped 32" 9.3 gpi 340 spine Easton Carbon Raider shafts with 100 grain field points launched from my 70lb draw hoyt at 10 ft. I didn't want to ruin my new arrows testing the target. $12 for the all thread and hardware is what it cost me to make a 24" x 20" field point target so I don't chew up my friend's $75 target block.

Initially impressed with the ability to stop my older arrows, which were approximately 425 grains, I dialed up my bow from 65# to maximum draw at 74#, and switched to my hunting arrows. After switching to the heavier (475gr) arrows; 32", 9.3 GPI, 300 spine, Gold Tip Hunter XT shaft, 125 grain field points; I noticed that even at 30 and 40 yards I had enough KE to almost bury the arrows up to the fletching. 475 grain arrows moving at a chronoed 282 FPS is about 84 ft-lbs of KE.

I stapled a piece of cardboard as a face and some 1" blue masking tape to give myself something to shoot at to aid in sighting in.

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Because of that I have purchased another piece of all thread and cut a third 2x4 to add between the original two and further compress the center of the carpet to increase the amount of friction applied to the shafts as they pass through the target. I am also going to compress the target down to 20", again to apply more friction. I also added bracing across the 3 pieces of 2x4 with some scrap 2x material from another building project.

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I could have avoided the necessity of adding a third brace by using a 2x10 or cutting the carpet strips to be 12" and using a 2x12, but I used what lumber I had laying around to keep the cost down. All told, after adding the third tension brace, I'm in to this target for under $20 for the all-thread, nuts, fender washers, lock washers, and some screws.

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You can expect at least a 50% decrease in stacked height when compressing the carpet to attain the proper amount of friction to stop your arrows. So plan on needing plenty of carpet, especially if you make your target bigger than this one. I would not use this target for actual broad heads, fixed or mechanical, as it will shred the carpet and ruin your target with a quickness.

I haven't cut the additional 24 strips of carpet I plan on using to make the target a full 24 x 24, but I launched a few arrows at it so you folks can see that it will in fact stop the heavier, faster arrows.

The two arrows at the right are from 10 yards, and the two arrows on the left are from 15. The deepest arrow went approximately 22" in to the target. The shallowest arrow only penetrated about 17". There was only a marginal difference when I compared the arrows from 15 yards, as you'll see in the pictures of the back of the target.

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As you can see, this DIY carpet target is extremely effective at stopping my arrows. You will have to adjust the compression on your target to effectively stop your arrows. This target was shot with no backer or stop behind it, but will eventually be set up on a pile of straw bales to elevate it to around deer height, and to provide an additional safety barrier behind the target should I completely FUBAR a shot and miss.