Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Rollin Rollin Rollin

SASS is just plain different than other shooting sports, heck, we dress up in costumes, take on alias' and generally cavort around like we're from a different time. Besides all that, the one way to truely know the shooting event you're at is a SASS event is all the gun carts. What other shooting sport do you see specialized and most of the time highly decorated carts that most of the shooters built themselves?

SASS has gun carts because we're toting around so many guns and ammo that there'es no way you could carry everything you need. Hence, the gun cart. There are a few vendor that sell pre-made carts, usually kits that you can put together and even at that I've raFlickr Photorely seen two exactly alike and even then you'll see some tiny form of specialization. Most folks make their own as Judge and I have done. You've seen the first gun cart that Judge and I shared at our first shoot, it was pretty rough, but it worked. We then made a cart that became Judge's cart and then I made mine (having learned a few lessons from building his).

I'm including a few shots of my cart, sorry for them not being outdoors, at the shoot pictures, but this is the off season here in Indiana and my garage will have to do. First you'll notice the large umbrella that dominates the cart, this is an old patio umbrella my mother gave me especially for this purpose. It is anchored to the cart with a couple of copper pipe straps and rests on the lower box of the cart. This is a true lifesaver and makes anyone with a large umbrella a popular guy at the local matches in the hot Flickr Photosummer months (or when it rains).

The main attraction on any guncart is the gun holders. You want to make sure you make enough to hold the guns you'll have at the shoot, however, you don't want to make the cart too big. It still has to fit into your transportation and you don't want a goliath gun cart, especially if your range has a hill, an boy does Thunder Valley have a hill! Most carts fall in the four or five gun size. As you can see in the picture, mine is a four gun cart. You can also see that I've attached a couple of old holsters so that I can alieviate myself from the burden of my pistols, that's oh so handy.
Flickr Photo
You'll also want a place to store your ammo, empty brass and other accessories. when I built this cart, I kept it very simple and bought one by pine to build it. The box diminsions are determined by the lumber diminsions I bought. So it is roughly 22"X24"X11" (I bought 1X12, however it is really 3/4"X11"). Anyway, I divided the box in two parts, one for storage and one for the guns. The axle is a simple 1/2" steel rod cut to length with wire rimmed wheels (the most expensive part). The "feet" at the front are 4X4 posts attached with glue and screws. The uprights I cut out of 1X8 pine and cut them at a 10º angle to accomodate the comb on the long guns and to get the handle aft of the axle. A lot of folks come straight up with these and just put aFlickr Photonother angle part on for the handle (Judge's cart is like that).

One of the feature that is nearly mandatory, is to have the cart fold or break down into pieces for transport. Mine come insto two pieces to ride in the back of my truck and get below the bed cover. A word of advice about this, make it as easy as possible to break down, I started with bolts and wing nuts (4) and finally went to a couple of latches and slots at the bottom of the box to hold the uprights. Spending 10 minutes breaking down the cart after climbing the hill is not my idea of fun, plus it lets me have more time to socialize (read steal Abu's beer). I've taken to adorning my cart with the badges I get from attending SASS events, I put the badges on the lid to my storage area, I've only got three so far, but that should get full by the time I'm done. Finally, you shouldn't be afraid to attach whatever you think is useful onto your cart, heck these aren't show pieces. Notice the net and grabber I attached to have handy for anyone who wants to pick up brass, also the hangers on the side for whatever.

Be creative, you can make almost anything into a gun cart and if you don't have the skill to do it yourself and can't afford a kit/prebuilt, get someone to help you or look around for some nutjob who wants to get rid of his cart so he can build a new one.

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