How to Build a Black Powder Shooting Box

Updated February 21, 2017

A shooting box holds the variety of tools and other accoutrements the black powder or muzzleloading shooter carries. The amount of equipment needed varies with the shooting situation and the level of preparedness the shooter intends. The boxes commonly have a handle that folds above the box for carrying and are constructed from 1-inch pine or hardwood boards.

Cut the boards for the box bottom. The size can be tailored to the desires of the shooter, but a common size utilises three 1-by-10 inch boards, 18 inches long, for the two long sides and bottom. Cut two ends, also of 1-by-10 inch boards, 9-1/2 inches long.

Cut the handle sides from 1-by 2 inch boards, 9 inches long. Cut a 3/4-inch dowel to a length of 19 inches.

Cut the box top to a length of 18 inches from a 1-by 12 inch piece of lumber.

Fasten the sides of the box to the box bottom using three 2-inch galvanised deck screws on each side. Fasten the ends between the sides using two 2-inch galvanised deck screws through each side and through the bottom of the box.

Fasten the handle sides to the ends of the box. Drill a 1/4-inch hole through the centre of the handle side, 1 inch from the end. Drill an identical hole in centre of the box end, 3 inches below the top. Fasten the handle sides in place using a 1/4-inch carriage bolt with the nut on the interior of the box. Leave the bolt loose so the handle sides pivot out easily.

Place the handle dowel between the ends of the handle sides. Fasten it in place with a 2-inch galvanised deck screw from each end.

Place the top on the shooter's box. Fasten it in place with two 3/4-inch strap hinges. Fasten the hinges to the side of the box and to the edge of the top piece. Brass hinges are traditional, although hinges made of any material will work.

Paint or stain the box. Stain is more traditional but paint, especially traditional earth tone colours, will also work. Finish both the interior and exterior of the box.


Advanced wood workers may want to use dovetail joints between the sides and ends of the box. Other options include building a tray to fit into the interior of the box to hold smaller items. The tray is usually elevated from the bottom of the shooters box with blocks. Larger items are stored on the bottom of the box.

Things You'll Need

  • 1-by-10 inch board, 8 foot
  • 1-by-12 inch board, 2 foot
  • 1-by-2 inch board, 1 foot
  • 3/4-inch dowel, 18 inches
  • 1/4-inch carriage bolt, two
  • 2-inch galvanised deck screws
  • 3/4-inch brass strap hinges
  • Paint or stain
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About the Author

Keith Allen, a 1979 graduate of Valley City State College, has worked at a variety of jobs including computer operator, medical clinic manager, radio talk show host and potato sorter. For over five years he has worked as a newspaper reporter and historic researcher. His works have appeared in regional newspapers in North Dakota and in "North Dakota Horizons" and "Cowboys and Indians" magazines.