Shooting house tips, tricks and other ideas

Discussion in 'How to Build Stuff' started by j-bird, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

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    Ok - I have a buddy who is getting me some building materials (we are re-using some shipping crates) and I have built 2 shooting houses before. I have made a pretty decent improvement from the first to the second one....but as an Engineer by profession I want to really make this next version pretty awesome. As such, I'm turning to you guys for what has worked and not worked so well for you.

    I do have a few things I have done in the past that I plan on doing again.

    First of all it will be a modular construction. The walls and roof will all be made as panels to assist in assembly in the field. I figure I may have to put it up by myself as I did the others and making it modular really helped to do that.

    Secondly I plan on building the towers as well. I have a set of the pre-fabricated metal brackets, but to be honest I am not sure I will need them.

    I certainly want lexan type windows. My first design didn't have them and the second design does and it is great to be able to leave them in to knock the wind down. They are not real windows.

    Full height interior is a requirement. My first one was not and it sucks.....make that mistake only once.

    They will be 4 x 6 to accommodate 2 people.

    I have done both hinged and guillotine type wooden window/window opening covers

    Some things I am not sure about:
    The 2 I have built the door opens into the blind - I am considering changing that.
    The 2 I have built have a flat roof - other than when the frost melts on the inside I have had no issue with that. So I am not sure a sloped roof is really needed.
    The 2 I have built have been for gun hunting only - I plan on these being used in gun areas, but may make the roof where you could bow hunt from that height or the tower portion like a ground blind. I'm just not sure how close the deer will realistically get to a structure like this to justify bow hunting. I don't plan on placing these right on top of plots.
    The 2 I have built all had a typical platform and door for access - I am not against a "trap-door" type set-up but I am not sure there is an advantage to doing that.
    I am figuring the floor at least 8 feet off the ground maybe as much as 12 but I don't see the need for more than that.

    So if you have some insight on any of this stuff or some brilliant ideas of your own please share with me. I won't be building for a while yet, but I want to try to capture some ideas.
     
  2. swat1018

    swat1018 Active Member

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    I don't gun hunt much, but I kill deer and turks every year out of my 2 shoot houses. If you bowhunt, I think 4' is too narrow, I know it's convenient due to common material size, but a 5'x6' is the perfect size in my opinion. I have contemplated a hatch style door, but when I look inside my current blinds, I don't see the room for it on the floor with 2 chairs on the floor, and a heater. If you don't need a second chair, it would be fine. My platforms are 5' x 8', giving me a 2' porch outside the door, to get in. My doors open out. I use a 15' ladder stand to access the stand, buy them for $39 at Menards at end of season, strap and screw them to one of the telephone poles i use for legs. My floor is about 16'. I have a slight pitch to my roof. I build a drop-on style modular roof, then add a 2x4 to one end to hold it up 1.5" higher than the end w/o the 2x4. I also seal the modular walls with a sheeting ceiling before dropping on the modular roof with metal for 2 reasons. For one, it seals out the bugs since the drop on roof is held up on one end, and secondly it insulates some of the sound on rainy days. I used Shadow Hunter window kits. A big expense, and the one thing I'm not totally satisfied with. I have a plan for new blinds this winter. Still working out a few details.....
     
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  3. Jeff H

    Jeff H Well-Known Member

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    Swat is right on the 5x6. Tape off what you think you will need on the garage floor then place a fold out chair in the box and grab your bow, nock an arrow and see if your arrow crosses the plane of the tape. I can sit in the center of my 5x6 and have a view out each window without moving yet it's still large enough to gun hunt two people out of.
    I used pallets to make my staircase. They were free and I ended up with a 48x40 landing at the top by the door which is nice.
    I also left a 4 in gap at the top of my walls and screened them in with aluminum window screen. In the early season that sucker gets hot and the ventilation is nice to have. For cold weather I place 2x4's in the gaps. I have one with a sloped roof,and another with a flat roof. Both are covered with rubber roofing material. My flat roof has leaked but in 5 years my sloped roof has not. Now I have to figure a way to slope my flat roof.
    I built my last one in modular form. I had my platform built on site and with one helper and a front end loader it was easy to assemble.
    Good luck and have fun with it!
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
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  4. FL Plotter

    FL Plotter Member

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    Here are 2 5x5s I built 2 years ago with lessons learned from 2 4x4s that I built 8 years ago. The 4x4s are still standing and I still use them, but the 5x5s are much better.

    My thoughts:
    - Built in 4 panel sections, pre-fitted at home before assembled on site. All framing is untreated 2x4s ripped in half...plenty of strength as a 2x2. Floor is treated 2x6 on 16" centers with treated 1/2" plywood...it flexes a little. 3/4" plywood would have been better but heavier and more expensive.
    - Everything external is either treated lumber or exterior grade plywood. Everything is painted to prevent carpenter bees from hollowing it out.
    - 5x5 is a weird size to shoot out of but a great size for all your gear.. I used shelf brackets and plywood to build wide shelves so my elbows can be on something stable for the shot. Also allows my phone, hearing protection, range finder, snacks, etc to be in close reach.
    - 5x5 porch allows 3' door to swing out. Very safe and easy to enter condo.
    - Porch is built with 2x4s affixed under the 2x6 frame with hangars. Lighter and cheaper than making the deck larger and using part for the condo, part for the deck. 2x4s are plenty for the porch. Decked with fence pickets. Tin used to block view of me getting up ladder and into condo.
    - 1' x 3' woodend windows swing out. I love this feature and keeps all weather outside so condos never get wet on framing around window...last forever.. Fashioned my own prop sticks to hold them open.
    - I put Deer View windows in one that fold down when the wooden windows swing out to block the wind.. Nice, but pricey, and I think I like when I inset a piece of real glass into my wooden windows better. Drop the window and watch through the glass. I get a local window company to cut 12"x12" glass.
    - Over the top hinged part of windows (and side hinge of doors), I staple baseboard molding to keep the weather and critters out.
    - On the vertical and horizontal edge of windows, I affix a ripped piece of treated for overlap to keep the critters out of the crack.
    - Roof is prefabbed with plywood and rafters, just square up sides and drop in roof. Then I staple roofing felt over that. Then I put treated 2x2 nailers on top of the felt to attach the tin roof to. That gives me a 100% dry wood ceiling and also dulls the noise of rain on the tin.

    If I didn't explain anything properly, just ask. I also have more photos if needed.

    reduced IMG_2459.jpg


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    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
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  5. Gravel Road

    Gravel Road Active Member

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    Fl Plotter, thanks for the write-up and pics.
     
  6. Berserker

    Berserker Member

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    Open into is poor idea. You give up floor space. I could see doing that if you were concerned about getting knocked off stairs or ladder.
    I don't think it really matters, but I built mine so roof opened towards deer. In theory it could block you from view. But I doubt it really helps.

    My tower I drilled holes in walls. Screwed hanger bolts into floor. Lag into floor, threads out. I set the wall on bolts. It balanced long enough to get nuts on. I did similar in corners. Connecting with short piece of uni strut.

    The roof has a lip. So once I got the roof on the walls, it would not slide off.

    I did not have a tractor when I built my tower. Now that I have one, I don't think I would build in air. Why hang your butt off the edge? It is why I have a tractor, to do the work.

    I have considered putting metal around the base, to protect from sun. But the metal sure tings. Being as far south as you are, I dunno. If you plan on using it for bow, I would limit it just the roof.
     
  7. Berserker

    Berserker Member

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    Last one I did was about 2 feet hight, and one skis. 4 wheeler pulled it easy. I am thinking of going higher. I think 5-6' would be do able. Not hard to jack up and put blocks in corner.

    Thinking of doing one that my tractor will lift up, maybe 5 feet up. Have floor 2x6s or 8s stick out, so the bucket catches it, and it doesn't slide. Though I wrapped something with chains this fall, of similar design and raised it.


    Not sure if the engineering trait is to brag on or not.
     
  8. Berserker

    Berserker Member

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    Shooting house cracks me up too.
     
  9. Berserker

    Berserker Member

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    My tower is similar to yours. Little more window coverage, and still would like more. Not for shooting,but so I can see more. I have thought about taking hole saw andjust put some holes in corner, and cover with plexiglass.

    Unless you got a small shooting lane, which one of my blinds does, having so few windows, means you are going to have to keep moving your head to see. Atleast in my area, where I am shooting 20-50 yards.
     
  10. Berserker

    Berserker Member

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    My first was modular. My goal, is the rest will not be.
     
  11. j-bird

    j-bird Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys.....I see some things I can certainly apply to my new build.
     
  12. Kwood

    Kwood Active Member

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    J-bird. I’d do at least 5x6 if not 6x6. The cost is negligible. If you have the equipment to get it in air I don’t think you regret the extra.

    We did vertical windows in corners and horizontal in walls. Didn’t think about it when putting the horizontal in, but ours are about 3-4” too low. I have to crouch to see out. Make sure you don’t do this. Plan do you can sit up tall with good posture for long sit. You can always make chair taller but hard to find one short enough.




    Sent from my iPhone using Deer Hunter Forum
     
  13. Kwood

    Kwood Active Member

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  14. lakngulf

    lakngulf Well-Known Member

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    Good ideas all. For my rebuilds
    1. Make tower floor large enough for porch entry and outward opening door
    2. Buy ladder instead of build. Look for non slip material. Wet lumber is mossy and slippery
    3. I like the angled corners with vertical bow window
    4. Temps where I am do not require enclosed windows but would be nice
    5. If good windows then get sealed door too for fewer varmints and bugs
    6. Slanted roof but that is the hardest modular section to install
    7. Outdoor carpet a must
     
  15. Jason Broom

    Jason Broom Well-Known Member

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    We have built the traditional box blinds, but I actually like the A-frame blind we built a lot better. In many ways, including being more modular, it was easier to build and is less maintenance, particularly in areas with significant snowfall. This blind is 7 years old and shows basically no signs of wearing out in any way.

    [​IMG]

    I hope to build more of these, including one on an elevated platform, in the future. This build requires four 4x8 sheets of plywood, an 8-foot landscape timber, some 2x4's and some additional hardware. It is remarkably comfortable to sit in. You can attach a couple of wheels to one end of the blind, using two heavy lag screws, then attach temporary handles (or a small hitch) to the other side to move it around very easily.
     
  16. Kabic

    Kabic Active Member

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    Do you shoot out just the ends or are their windows on the side as well?
     
  17. Gravel Road

    Gravel Road Active Member

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    I think I just found my new blind design! Would you mind sharing the details such as length, width and height? Length of the side panels? Any inside pics?

    Sent from my XT1080 using Tapatalk
     
  18. Berserker

    Berserker Member

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    I've had 350 inches on my blinds. The one I built it about 4/12 or 5/12. The 20 year old ones up there are close to flat. With such short spans snow loading is not a big deal. You just need rain to run off. Only benefit I can think of A frame is if you have lots leaves and branches falling on it. They can cause water to back up. I have one that was built with multiple pieces of metal, under a spruce. If they would used ones the completely slope, I don't think the build would have been an issue though. A frame also have to have something on ridge. Shed style roof you just need an over hanger. Simpiler. Nothing to come off.


    IMO the octagon ones are rubgoldbergs. They do show off carpentry skills, and time you have to devout to this though.

    Also I think 5x5 is the max I would go, unless you have kids with you. 4x5, is probably what my future ones will be. Last one was 4x 55 or 57, which happened to be what the bottom wood was already. To big and you have to lean to reach window.

    Number of the existing blinds I have are 4' deep with bench, which seems nice. Can put stuff under bench, and on.

    I also put lots of hooks and nails up all over the inside.
     
  19. swat1018

    swat1018 Active Member

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    If you think a 4' blind is perfect, you probably aren't a bowhunter...
     
  20. Jason Broom

    Jason Broom Well-Known Member

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    I don't know how well these instructions will come through, but building the A-frame blind is surprisingly easy. You basically take an 8' long landscape timber and cut it into two pieces, 45" long. You then take a full sheet of plywood, marine grade if you want it to be really sturdy, and you screw that to one of the landscape timbers, with 1-1/2" of overlap on each end of the landscape timber. (This space will be filled in with a 2x4, cut at an angle and attached to the end of the timber.)

    You attach another sheet of plywood to the other timber and make a ridgepole from a 4x4. You then attach the ridge pole to the top of one of the pieces of plywood, stand the two pieces up, and secure them together. At the bottom you attach a 2x4, front and rear. All of these pieces can be cut and dry fit off-site, then shipped flat and assembled in the field. The biggest challenge is the number of angled cuts you wind up making, since there are few right angles.

    The next one I build will be stood up on at least one course of cinder block, to allow for more height on either side of the blind, not just in the center. This will also make it easier to use a taller door. It would be a lot less portable, obviously, but if you anchor it properly, it will be better built than some of the homes I've lived in. :)

    These are set up for rifle hunting, with no windows in the side or accommodations for a vertical bow. They are incredibly comfortable to sit in, with the angled side of the blind walls making a nice head rest for when you are...diligently watching for deer! ;)

    Including the tar paper, metal roofing, paint (inside and out) and a used door, the entire blind cost just over $200 to build. You could do it for less with OSB, provided you brace it well inside and are diligent with the paint and roofing job. Like I said, this one is 7 years in and hasn't deteriorated at all.


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