Rather spend your hard earned bucks on ammo and not targets?

These 12 DIY targets are cheap, fun to shoot, and will keep your money in your wallet.

1. Golf balls

How many times do you find golf balls in your yard or at your local hiking spot? These tightly wound balls of elastic are great targets. When hit they bounce and zing. Hitting them on the move is quite a sport with a .22 caliber weapon. Hit them with a heavier caliber weapon and they just might never be found.

2. Plastic lemon juice container

These cheap plastic bottles are just about indestructible and the soak up bullet after bullet. The plastic lemon bottles are also about the size of a rabbit’s head or a squirrel’s head. Hang them up with a string from your target stand and practice those difficult head shots with instant feed back on hits.

3. Old tennis balls

For longer range shooting of rifles or handgun shooting at moderate ranges nothing beats an old tennis ball. They are bright and quite reactive to hits. Oh yes and they too have a long bullet absorbing life.

4. Tin cans

Those old soup cans we all started shooting at years ago are still a great pick and readily available from our kitchens. Bring back some memories and break out a tin can.

5. Paper grocery bag silhouette targets

A wise use of leftover grocery store paper bags is to cut them open into the form of a silhouette target. These DIY targets cost you nothing as you already have them. Draw faces, score zones or anything else you want to bring even more fun to these easy to make targets.

6. Plastic drink containers

These plastic containers when filled with water or other harmless liquids are an instant hit especially with new shooters. It truly is a one shot deal most of the time but the kinetic energy damage to the containers is a great lesson of the power of bullets.

7. Balloons

What can be more fun than a balloon popping at long distance? No need to check for bullet holes from this target as an impact cannot be refuted by any onlooker.

8. The lowly saltine cracker.

There is always a big supply around. These cracker makes one of the most environmentally friendly targets out there. They break and birds clean up the remains. Is this perhaps the perfect target? Give them a shot or two and decide.

9. Cookie tins

Oh yes, Christmas is over, but those tins stick around to haunt you. Figure these are the tin cans for 100 yards and farther shooting. Most of them mimic the size of a deer’s vital hit area. That could certainly help for pre-season practice.

10. Snowmen

Well this is a seasonal target, but is quite a fun winter target. If you live up north, you might already hate the snow enough to shoot at it. Might as well go for it with tiny snow men as targets. Oh yes and there is no clean up. That certainly is a win win.

11. Empty shotgun shells

They are brightly colored and are hard to hit. Also there are probably a bunch at your feet at any outdoor range. Set them on the backstop and see just how good you are.

12. Old paper copies and a marker

Flip over that junk mail or other used notes and draw a circle. Now that was an easy target.

Remember the sky is the limit for cheap targets that can save you some serious cash. Make sure there is always a safe backstop and that your targets will not cause ricochets. Always also pick up after the target shooting is over. Have fun and be safe.

Do you like articles about the outdoors? You can follow him @ericthewoodsman on Twitter, The Classic Woodsman on Facebook, The Classic Survivalist, and @theclassicwoodsman on Instagram, and The Classic Woodsman YouTube Channel.  


  1. I do a LOT of practice shooting with 22s (and occasionally with large caliber rifles and pistols. Three of the targets are high on my list (using a dirt mound with RR Tie Backstop). Tennis balls, Golf balls and Ammo casings. The dirt mound gives Instant Feedback if you DON’T Blink. Golf balls are my Favorite.

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