Maybe you are planning to build a nice shooting range. A Steel Dueling Tree should be a centerpiece of it. It is one of the best ways to quickly and efficiently improve your shooting skills. It is also very fun. You can buy some high quality dueling trees or you can do it yourself. Whether you make one or buy one, are some common features that every good dueling tree should have in common.
The most durable steel trees are cut using a laser, which will not crack, or warp, unlike other methods of cutting. You will get more durability and life out of your tree over the years. Actually, you can do even better by using hardened steel, as opposed to soft steel, which can become easily compromised after only a few turns at your range. Hardened steel may cost a little more, but it is more than worth it in the long haul, because it is more durable and will save you from having to frequently replace paddles.
You should buy targets for your dueling tree that are made for heavy use with all pistol and rifle calibers. We recommend purchasing a pack of 6-8 targets, but you can buy more or less, depending on your preference. Make sure that your weapon is compatible with the kind of target you have selected.
All About that Base
You need to have a sturdy stand for your tree, that won’t move, topple, or tip when your are hitting your targets.If you are doing it yourself, create a strong base for your stand. It should be affixed to the angle iron, which should have a height that correlates with the number of paddles on your tree. Always keep in mind that your tree should angle down between 15-20 degrees, to account for dangerous ricochet.
If you purchase a tree kit, then it will obviously come with a preset number of holders. We suggest making at least 12 if you do it yourself. You can have it welded onto your iron. The one thing you have to remember is that the paddles need room to move after they have been hit, so allow enough room between the targets. Remember, targets should have plenty of reactivity, or sensitivity to movement.
Fit your paddles to the holders and ensure that they will move freely. If you have used dueling trees before, you probably know that friction sometimes keeps the paddles from moving well. When you shoot, the paddles should move without much resistance. Use some lubricant to keep the parts oiled, from time to time.
Stand and Deliver
Place your stand securely. You can mount it into the ground or use stakes, spikes, posts or some other form of support. Try a couple of different options. Do what works best for you, and enjoy your time at your very own shooting range!