A New USPSA Stage and a Plea for Help

Earlier this week I received an email from the Match Director at Southern Chester. I was asked if I had anything in the draft stage to use on the 75 yard range because he had something planned for the 50 yard range (the 50 is the range I tend to design for since it offers plenty of room to play with)

I didn’t have anything in the draft stage but I came across a YouTube video that used a trap door triggered by a series of poppersOpens in a new tab.. I loved the idea as soon as I saw it and thought the 75 Yard Range might offer the opportunity to give it a try.

The basic premise was that the shooter has two positions to engage a series of steel poppers. One position allows the shooter to take a big risk for a big reward while the other is low risk but requires more time on the clock.

Southern Chester 75 Yard Range - WaltInPA USPSA Stage 017 Camera 1

My interpretation of the situation starts the shooters in a Shooting Box no less than 30 Yards away from three steel poppers. Behind those poppers is an elevated cable that triggers an out and back. From the shooting box, the cable setup is irrelevant and shooters may engage them at their leisure. The second position, roughly 10 yards away, is where the activator comes into play.

When any of the poppers fall onto the cable an out and back is tripped. The out and back will be covered in a black plastic bag and act as soft cover. I want to tie off the weights so that the out and back drops but does not return to the upright position, blocking the port.

I mocked up this stage and sent it off to the Match Director for consideration. We went back and forth a couple of times to break down the design intent of the stage. I was given the approval but was warned that if it failed it was on me.

A Plea For Help

I’m a big fan of USPSA Stages that require a little finesse and offer risk vs reward. I’m completely behind the concept and think that it will be well received. The issue I have is that I’m going out on a limb here and it must work. Flawlessly.

There are two areas of concern, the first of which is the Out and Back. I need to set it up in such a way that it triggers like usual. A break away leg falls and the prop becomes out of balance and swings out to one side. Instead of the weight falling off and the prop flinging itself back into a vertical position, I need to it stay in the down position.

My thought was to tie the weights to the frame. I need the weights to fall off, as usual, but have enough slack on the rope so that the weight hits the ground and holds the prop in the down position.

Will this work or is there a better way?

My second issue is the elevated cable. I’m thinking that it needs to be between 6 and 12 inches off of the ground. One end needs to be anchored so that the break-away leg is pulled free from the far end of the cable.

The ground at Southern Chester is loaded with rocks. I don’t know that I’ll be able to drive enough stakes into a small framework so that it won’t move after the popper falls onto it ~100 times throughout the day.

Southern Chester 75 Yard Range - WaltInPA USPSA Stage 017 Cable Prop

I spoke with a friend and Match Director elsewhere and he recommended possibly using some all-thread and a cinder block. I don’t know if the cinder block would be heavy enough unless I filled it with concrete (which I certainly could do but it would wind up being one very heavy prop that would be used sporadicly).

What is the best way to setup the elevated cable so that it works consistently from shooter to shooter?

Help Me Out
How Do I Make This Work?


Hi There, My name is Walt White and as the name of this blog suggests, I am a Pennsylvania resident. In addition to having numerous hobbies that I discuss on my blog - I’m also the father of three little girls and a pitbull.

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