The 6.5 Guys have been talking for almost a year about the idea of designing and building a new set of practice barricades. The objective being to overcome some of functional design issues of the original barricades constructed in 2013.
In August of 2017, after four years of use Steve and Ed made the decision to retire the original 6.5 Guys practice barricades and donate them to the growing collection of other shooting props at Rock Lake Rifle Range. The original barricades consisted of a pair of step-patterned barricades with a variety of different shooting ports. Additionally, it included a heavy-duty simulated rooftop that could be placed over the center section of the barricades to create an incline for shooting off of. The rooftop had begun to significantly deteriorate in the last year due to lack of use and sitting out in the unprotected wet weather of western Washington state. The rooftop was well constructed but was so large and heavy to transport to/from the range it soon became impractical to use it for regular practice sessions. Additionally, the barricades themselves were very heavy, using a 2×4 construction. Thus, the size and weight made them a little unwieldy to haul to the range for some precision rifle practice.
After donating the old barricades, Steve immediately went to work drawing up concept plans for a new set of barricades. Some of the key considerations that went into the design included:
- Lightweight construction using 2x2s
- Collapsible frame using hinges to make them easy to carry and transport
- Multiple barricade/prop levels to practice at (spaced at 6” intervals)
- Modular port design so that ports could be added, taken out, and moved as desired
Steve’s design concept was drawn up in PowerPoint and then dimensions added. A link to the design document in PDF format is located at this link (6.5 Guys Barricade Plans). Once the entire plan was created. Steve set out to build his prototype of the design. Steve used wood screws and wood glue to assemble the barricade frame. This was done to ensure maximum rigidity due to the light weight construction using 2″x2″ frame members. A long piano hinge was used to give it the ability to collapse in half, while also providing a high degree of torsional rigidity. Each of the barricade openings were built to have a 1’x1’ square openings. This consistent ‘window’ spacing lent itself to having a modular design for interchangeable panels with different port cut outs that could be inserted anywhere in the barricade and locked into place with a set of barrel bolts.
The barricades can be constructed over a weekend with the proper materials and basic shop tools such as a power saw and electric screw driver. Steve used a router for the side panel dado joints but a table saw could also be used to create a dado joint.
Steve named this initial barricade a prototype because in the process of going from concept drawing to building there are number of things one discovers along the way that work well or not so well. In this instance, Steve observed that the major difficulty he had in the construction process was getting a consistent sized opening in the frame for the port panels. The 2”x2” wood wasn’t always straight and true and even a 1/16” variation in the wood due to warping could cause a panel to be extremely tight or very loose. Steve had to do a lot of extra sanding and planing to get the panels to be able to fit easily in each window opening. Having a jointer in his shop would have really helped.
The one thing left to do is get the barricade painted to protect the bare wood and then get to using them at the range.
Editor: Steve Lawrence (Steve@65guys.com)
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