DIY Dueling Tree

Coda

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These Dueling Trees seem to be quite fashionable these days, problem is the cost. A good one is going to set you back $500 and then there is the shipping. So being the cheap bastard that I am I decided to make my own.

I started with this “kit” on Amazon which includes (6) paddles and (6) tubes.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01K4ZLZJU/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 (I notice this item is currently out of stock, but there are many similar options through Amazon
)
upload_2019-9-12_16-41-3.jpeg


I also bought some 4” .22 cal paddles. I found these on eBay.


Set of 6 .22 LR Dueling Tree paddles 4" 1/4" AR500 steel DIY Dueling Tree | eBay

upload_2019-9-12_16-43-2.jpeg


Then I welded up a frame using 1-1/4” angle. A lot of them are fabricated using 1-1/2” or 2” angle but the 1-1/4” worked out best to get a full 180 degree swing of the paddles. Plus I had some 1-1/4” x 1-1/4” angle lying around. I also did not what this thing to turn into a one man hernia. The frame weighs 25lbs, and believe it or not the 6” paddles weigh in also @ 25lbs. So it is manageable with the paddles installed, and real easy to move with the paddles removed.
upload_2019-9-12_16-44-27.jpeg

Ready for primer and topcoat. I just used some Rust-Oleum reduced down with mineral spirits. Again stuff I had laying around.
upload_2019-9-12_16-45-21.jpeg

Notice how the paddles will swing a full 180 degrees. With larger leg angle you would need to notch the legs to get a full swing. I wanted to be aiming at circles not ellipses. Also notice that I tack welded a second length of angle along the leading edge to stiffen up the 1/8” thick angle. I was worried about damage from 9mm hits.
upload_2019-9-12_16-45-54.jpeg

The final product…..
upload_2019-9-12_16-47-31.jpeg

After testing the 6” (9mm) paddles worked great. But the 4” (.22) Paddles had shorter legs and occasionally they would jump out of the cylinders. So I welded some bar stock on there so the legs were the same length as the 6” paddles. Problem solved.
upload_2019-9-12_16-48-0.jpeg

This was a little disappointing, I couldn’t believe what the lead splatter did to the paint after a few hundred rounds. The only thing I might have done differently on this project was just leave the frame bare metal and spray occasionally with fluid film. I painted the frame not so much for appearance but to protect it from rusting.

upload_2019-9-12_16-48-21.jpeg

So there you have it, a dueling tree for a little over 100 bucks (add another 50 bucks if you want the .22 paddles also). If you had to buy the angle you could probably do this for about $150. I know both Tractor Supply and Home Depot stock 1-1/4” angle, although you will pay a higher price than if you source it through your local steel supplier.
 

Golddiggie

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Been thinking about doing this too. I have the 1-1/2" angle iron on hand too. Just need to get the paddle set (from Amazon) and start welding.
 

Coda

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Easy to do if you have access to a mig welder and basic fab skills. Material (whatevers not included) is pretty easy to source.
Built a few of these over the summer for people here and there.
Good single owner set up

DIY AR500 Dueling Tree Target Kit

DIY AR550 Dueling Tree Target Kit
I looked at those kits but they are way too expensive. The 6 paddle kit with base and the thicker tubes (which come with the Amazon kit) prices out at $366. Spending that kind of $$$ really defeats the purpose of building your own Dueling Tree in my opinion.
 

moojpg2

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I have a kit sitting in my garage, haven't gotten around to it yet. Looks great.
 
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Nice job! I was going to go the DIY route but I ended up buying the Birchwood Casey dueling tree and have been very happy with it. It came with a case to carry it but it needed to be broken down so I swapped it with a little bigger one and everything fits right in all together, just have to take apart the base. It carries like a rifle and sets up in about one minute. Amazon is selling it for $242.48 with free shipping.
 

Coda

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Nice job! I was going to go the DIY route but I ended up buying the Birchwood Casey dueling tree and have been very happy with it. It came with a case to carry it but it needed to be broken down so I swapped it with a little bigger one and everything fits right in all together, just have to take apart the base. It carries like a rifle and sets up in about one minute. Amazon is selling it for $242.48 with free shipping.
You did well for $242, good buy..... And it is a Birchwood Casey which is no off brand.

Most of the ones I was looking at in the size I wanted were about twice that. I guess I was kinda on a mission to see how inexpensively I could build one.
 

Golddiggie

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Another supplier of the 6" targets: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JZHSSNY
That's what I'm looking at ($99.99 with free shipping).
I need to think a bit about the base part of the tree for my build. I'm going to see about making something that can be taken apart to make it easier to transport. Also looking at spraying the stand/tree (except for the target plates) with bedliner. Should negate the issue Coda faced with splatter hitting it and removing the paint. ;)
 

Eric H

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Another supplier of the 6" targets: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07JZHSSNY
That's what I'm looking at ($99.99 with free shipping).
I need to think a bit about the base part of the tree for my build. I'm going to see about making something that can be taken apart to make it easier to transport. Also looking at spraying the stand/tree (except for the target plates) with bedliner. Should negate the issue Coda faced with splatter hitting it and removing the paint. ;)
Over time I think it'll spall away too, similar to the rubberized coatings on AR500 body plates.
 

Coda

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I’ll take one :) man I need to learn how to weld.
Would love a dueling tree..

Did you angle the post forward at all?
I thought about it but my backyard range slopes uphill, so I set the post perpendicular to the stand and the terrain angles it forward. That is a good observation on your part though as most of the ones you buy are angled a bit.
 

Coda

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True, but you can get bedliner in a rattle can. So you can fix it up as needed. ;)
I used that spray bed liner to refinish some beat to shit Apex/Sarco 9mm Sten mags. I have a 9mm AR that uses Sten mags with welded square tube steel spacers so there is another DIY project. Worked pretty well although not totally solvent resistant.
 

mac1911

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DIY is great when you have the resources.
Good scrap is not always easily accessible these days and you have to have tool space and time.

That 3rd thing is a PiTA especially as you get older.
Im a DIY'er when I can get all 3 things together.

As for painting frames and targets.
My friend said the best thing for his frame so far is he let it rust up a bit then used POR15 on it. Targets he just splashes them with rolled on white enamel end of each range trip
 

xjma99

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Wow, looks awesome and great price!

Would you recommend leaving this outdoors or should it be brought in?
 

Coda

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Wow, looks awesome and great price!

Would you recommend leaving this outdoors or should it be brought in?
Good question. I painted it to protect it from rust but as you can see in that last photo the paint is not going to last. Since in my case I have a large garage right next to my range I am going to bring it in since I have the room. But if you want to just leave it outside I would recommend leaving the frame bare metal and spray it with oil or fluid film occasionally.
 

Coda

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Nice job! I was going to go the DIY route but I ended up buying the Birchwood Casey dueling tree and have been very happy with it. It came with a case to carry it but it needed to be broken down so I swapped it with a little bigger one and everything fits right in all together, just have to take apart the base. It carries like a rifle and sets up in about one minute. Amazon is selling it for $242.48 with free shipping.
Atlas, how has the paint help up on yours? They probably powder coat the manufactured ones which is a harder finish. But I just wonder if any finish will hold up to repeated gunfire and lead splatter.
 
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