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Recommend a steel target for heavy magnum caliber rifle Login/Join 
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Picture of old rugged cross
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I have searched and remember some discussion but must of been pruned. I recall you guys talking about some great reasonably priced units.

Thanks.

Thanks DSgrouse for your info.




"Practice like you want to play in the game"
 
Posts: 13735 | Registered: September 21, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Define heavy magnum -- 7mm, 30 cal, 338 cal, 375 cal, 50 cal? What muzzle velocity and at what distance does muzzle velocity fall below 2500 fps? If bullet velocity is above 2500 fps at the target, you can pretty much guarantee some level of steel dimpling or damage. What type of bullets -- lead core, copper solids, steel core/tip? Steel projectiles will cut straight through even AR500 steel, if the speed is high enough.

Use AR500 or AR550 grade steel, unless you're looking at really long target distances -- as in well over 1,000 yards. Then AR400 might be a possibility.

Standard calibers (6 dasher, 6.5 creedmoor, 308, 243, 270, 30-06) do best with 3/8" thick steel if the distance is less than 700-ish yards. Longer than 700-ish, 1/4" thick is OK -- especially if the plate swings freely. True magnums work best with 1/2" steel, so the target doesn't become cupped in the center from bullet energy.

Lead bullets from rifles with MVs of 2800-ish fps or more generally dimples steel that's closer than 150 yards. But it could be 100 yards, or it could be 200 yards. I try not to shoot any of my steel closer than 150-175 yards, unless it's with a 22lr or a slow-ish supersonic 300blk round. I don't shoot bullets which contain steel. I limit copper solids to longer distances.

Hanging systems are important to plate longevity, ring tone & volume, and target location. There are many systems. Many of us use rubber straps or fire hose. Chains work, too, but most can fail with a direct hit or three. Fencing t-post systems are very common, as are movable 4-leg rebar stands. Use grade 8 bolts on targets.

The number of target distributors has increased dramatically. Target companies for which I either own steel or have used their targets in competition include:
- JC Steel
- Big Dog Steel
- D-M Targets
- Rogue Shooting Targets
- Rocky Mountain Steel
- AA Targets
All of these guys are good, and they have learned how to keep targets going in competitions.

Larger and thinner targets ring louder. Targets that swing freely ring better than those that are fixed hard to the support. Think of a "ting" versus a "thunk". Freely swinging targets that are center suspended with straps or chain, twist hard at close ranges with energetic rounds. An edge hit with high energy on target may spin so fast that one cannot tell if the impact was located on the left edge or the right edge. This is the real challenge of smaller targets.
 
Posts: 6016 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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That is great info Fritz. Thank you for all of it.

7mm, .300 win. .300wsm, .280, 30.06 among others.
I would like to shoot at 100yds out to maybe 600yds.

I do like the T post idea. But can do a saw horse set up too.

JC was the one I was trying to remember.




"Practice like you want to play in the game"
 
Posts: 13735 | Registered: September 21, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I use the ar500 targets (I forget which brand) but I usually get the 4” ones.

I have sort of a sawhorse sort of frame my buddy welded up and I also have a Sheppard’s hook hanger which is nice and portable.

The shooting range here goes to 177yds which is stupid, if you want to shoot longer luckily we can shoot nearly anywhere, I like to zero my hunting rifles at 200 so I find myself setting up in random spots.
 
Posts: 4896 | Location: Alaska | Registered: June 12, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Your calibers will ding and dent your steel at close distances. My brother-in-law's 7mm Rem Mag with a hunting bullet puts dimples in my free-swinging 3/8" thick 10" round JC Steel target at 250 yards.

I recommend 1/2" thick targets for 200 yards and in. Maybe even 300 yards and in. Honestly, steel at 100 yards with your calibers isn't be best. But if you're fine with steel that shows some damage, then just do it.

Wood isn't optimal for supporting targets. Bullet spalling embeds the wood. The copper jacket shards will cut skin, if you grab the wood. Traditional saw horses have legs which the angle of the A-frame is too narrow to stabilize the target -- at close distances the targets swing dramatically with energetic rounds, and may knock the sawhorses over.

JC Steel's slotted hook system is good, and it works from t-posts. D-M Targets has a similar hook system. Probably the simplest hook is that from Rogue -- its only downside is that it doesn't fit well on larger t-posts. And yes, not all t-posts are built to exactly the same steel thickness or dimensions.

JC's t-post bracket is robust and works well. Note that the targets don't move much with this system and the impact is a "thud" instead of a "ting".

Many of my swinging targets use two t-posts, a 1/2" rebar that's held horizontal by worm-drive hose clamps, and conveyor belt. If you paint targets, use rustoleum.
 
Posts: 6016 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The AR-Mor Targets i listed in your other thread are cut under water, keeping the temper on the edges.

I have other targets not hung by a chain in those pics that are not cut the same way. Then they have welded sections. Every edge or welded area is not tempered correctly and has some severe damage to them. Those damages were done at 100 yds.

the thing to remember is it is the speed that damages your targets, provided you have the target angled correctly, and swinging freely.
quote:
ALWAYS angle your target towards the ground to help deflect the remains of the bullet downwards. Angling your target will also improve its life. Our hardware kits make this easy to do. (Photo at right.) We provide 3” bolts for targets 10” and smaller and 4” bolts for targets 12” and larger.


I will also ad, like tank armor, the angle essentially increases the width of the steel plate.



Here is the way to figure out if your bullet will damage the target.
quote:
NEVER shoot any steel target with a round that will impact with a velocity greater than 2,900 FPS. This will cause pitting of the target surface due to the intense heat at the moment of impact. You can always back away from the target to give the bullet a chance to slow down. Check the ballistics information on the round you’re shooting to determine a minimum distance if you’re in doubt.


quote:
3/8” AR-500 targets will take up to 2,500 ft. lbs. and 1/2” AR-500 targets will take up to 7,500 ft. lbs.


I have 3/8" that i shoot 5.56/7.62x39 at 50 and 100 yds. Any of my other stuff, i shoot at 100. 6.5 sweede, 270, 308 etc.
 
Posts: 5434 | Location: Virginia | Registered: December 23, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have some 3/4" thick plates by TEMCO I got off Amazon, they're man killers. Big Grin

A little crude, but priced well. Though I no longer see their stuff listed there. I bought them as 12ga slug targets. If you shot them with something like a .223 you probably wouldn't even know you hit them. lol


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Posts: 16820 | Location: 18th & Fairfax  | Registered: May 17, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
semi-reformed sailor
Picture of MikeinNC
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17 hornet will damage ar500 even at 100 yards....

I hang my steel on a chain and a bolt so the disk is canted, like DSgrouse shows

And shrapnel will tear your fingers!! Wear gloves when recovering your sawhorse



"Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers

 
Posts: 6086 | Location: Texas! | Registered: October 07, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of 1KPerDay
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AR550 or AR600 if you can afford it. 500 will ding pretty quick with your calibers.


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Posts: 1990 | Registered: February 27, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Call Karl at GT Targets. He will get you what you need.

Bruce




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Posts: 3328 | Location: NV | Registered: October 06, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've been using AR550 from MGM targets mounted on firehose and its held up better than I expected. But of course on this its all about velocity and distance...


“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
 
Posts: 7768 | Registered: October 14, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
The Constable
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3/8" AR500 shot at 150 yds with Barnes X bullets and a .300 RUM.

VELOCITY at point of impact too high. BULLET composition, solid alloy, too tough. So we have a ruined target.
 
Posts: 6374 | Location: Craig, MT | Registered: December 17, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by FN in MT:
So we have a ruined target.

At least you figured it out with the first impact...
 
Posts: 6016 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I generally help with setting up & tearing down targets when I compete in the Whittington Center's monthly sporting rifle match. The match director uses quality 3/8" AR500 steel, hung from A-frame rebar stands, using conveyor belt straps, attached with grade 8 bolts.

The practice targets at 200-300 yards are beat to crap. The targets are severely dished, target faces are pockmarked with dimples & craters, some targets have clean bullet holes through them, many are cracked & just waiting to fail.

One stage has 5" to 6" targets at 350-400 yards. They lose more targets here than any other stage. When they use diamond shapes with the bolt holes in the corners, the steel generally fails between the bolt hole and the corner. Then the plate just falls to the ground, missing a corner.

When they use rounds, cracks normally form between the center of the target and the bolt hole. When failure occurs the plate just splits into two halves.

Larger targets become heavily dished in the center, from the energy of the rounds. Eventually the steel gives way and bullets begin to punch through the center of the plate. The match director states that turning the target over, so the dish faces towards the shooter, only hastens target failure.

Even targets at 500-600 yards show wear -- dimples/craters on the face, chips from edge hits, fractures near the primary point of impact, fractures near the bolt hole. Granted, match targets see more impacts in a monthly match than most of us put on our own targets in a year. But there's no doubt that high-energy, high-velocity, and non-lead rounds damage targets at even modest distances.
 
Posts: 6016 | Location: Colorado | Registered: January 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
The Constable
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quote:
Originally posted by fritz:
quote:
Originally posted by FN in MT:
So we have a ruined target.

At least you figured it out with the first impact...

Too bad the idiots shooting it didn't decide to STOP and save it fo others. WHY I have given up maintaining the targets at the Club.
 
Posts: 6374 | Location: Craig, MT | Registered: December 17, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I can understand how at a club or any area where a high volume of shooting is taking place the durability would be important. I’m the only one shooting my plates, sometimes my wife so if I spend 30-40 bucks every few months it’s not that big of a deal to me. 85% of my shooting is with a 308 fwiw.
 
Posts: 4896 | Location: Alaska | Registered: June 12, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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