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I want to build an archery range in Minecraft. I want to have targets pop up in different places like an FPS tutorial. I need some way to detect whether the arrows hit the targets or not.

What can I change by the impact of an arrow?

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If an arrow lands on a minecart track, it will stop a minecart. This probably isn't too useful in this situation though... –  fredley Oct 8 '11 at 23:22
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up vote 11 down vote accepted

The extent to which arrows can affect Redstone circuits is covered on the wiki.

Arrows can trigger wooden pressure plates and buttons, however these cannot be moved with pistons (although you could reveal them).

For your range, I'd suggest making it out of boats and paintings. These will break when arrows hit them and turn into items, which can then fall and trigger pressure plates.

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I use a minecart on top of a detector rail. Easy to reset, and can be shot from a distance without much problem.

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When this question was asked, minecarts took several arrows to destroy. Now that they only take one, this is a good deal more plausible. –  John the Green Mar 24 '12 at 22:55
    
This method has been used in FVDisco's archery range, so, it does work. –  Unionhawk Mar 27 '12 at 12:13
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