Making steel target, how thick?


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Fenrik
November 29, 2005, 08:20 PM
I was thinking of making some steel targets from some scrap at work. How thick will they need to be for surplus FMJ 8x57?

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redneck2
November 29, 2005, 08:35 PM
I know that a 30-06 will punch thru 1/2" diamond plate like butter at 100 yards. I don't know that you'll be able to make a steel target that will stand up to repeated shots from a major high velocity caliber. Maybe someone else has experience

cracked butt
November 29, 2005, 08:36 PM
If you want them to last awhile, make them as thick as you can handle. An inch thick would be a good starting point.

ChristopherG
November 29, 2005, 09:22 PM
I don't know nothin about metalurgy, but I do know that thick is not enough if you want steel for HP rifle. You need hard. I'd start by looking at what commercial steel target (including HP silhouette) makers say about the steels they use. If you just make it thick, it's gonna be a pocked and divoted mess in a hurry.

MDG1976
November 29, 2005, 09:30 PM
My dad has a "range" in his backyard consisting of 3/8" steel plates hanging from chains . I don't know about rifle calibers but 44 mag will sping them around but barley leaves an impression in the steel.

Godfather
November 29, 2005, 09:36 PM
I've heard that the metal pieces hanging around old railrods work quite nicely. I don't know how thick they are, though.

I do know the military shoots steel silouettes with their sniper rifles, so something must work.

This is the link to some sold out "up to .30-06" steel targets. Maybe you can email to find out what they are.

http://www.sportsmansguide.com/cb/cb.asp?a=141933

mete
November 29, 2005, 09:44 PM
You should use armor plate steel ,you can also angle it 45 degrees so the bullet hits and goes into the ground. 1" for a start.

Lucky
November 30, 2005, 01:06 AM
Hey hey to harden steel, can you go over it with a torch? What heat, roughly, and what fuel, O2+mapp or acety?

Otherguy Overby
November 30, 2005, 01:39 AM
A friend has a rifle chambered in 300 ultra mag. It shoots completely through 1 inch steel plate at 100 yards. It was prolly hot rolled steel, but still impressive.

GunnySkox
November 30, 2005, 02:04 AM
Important consideration for the ignorant, uninformed, or otherwise steel-plate handicapped (i.e., me):

How do you ensure that bullets hitting aforementioned steel-plates don't go and come back ("IT CAME BACK!" ~Myself, every time a grenade bounces wrong and comes back at me in a game) and possibly hit the shooter/bystanders? Is it a design consideration? a distances thing? What's the story?

~GnSx

dasmi
November 30, 2005, 02:34 AM
I know that 7.62x54R will penetrate a steel man hole cover at about 50 yards. Granted, it was old and brittle, but it went clean through, and blew a nice big chunk away as it exited. You'll want something thick, and hard.

71Commander
November 30, 2005, 05:09 AM
Use hard steel. If the metal is too soft, it will pock and subsequent rounds can come back at you.:what:

Rembrandt
November 30, 2005, 07:34 AM
Made some swingers out of two layers of 3/8" mild steel welded together, total thickness of 3/4". Takes soft nose hunting rounds easily with no perforation, military ammo will crater the first layer. Laminating several layers together or hardened steel will make it tougher to penetrate.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v405/Rembrandt51/Targetframe1.jpg

ckyllo
November 30, 2005, 08:08 AM
brinell 500 with an abrasion resistance (AR) 800 is a start. that is what the plates at the 3 gun shoots use. granted a 3/8" 1 foot square is about $40-50 depending on where you buy it. haveing someone cut it with a plasma cutter so it dont remove its temper as bad also helps with this steel.

dch1978
November 30, 2005, 08:14 AM
I have had a little experience with hardening. I would be very careful because if you just take a mild steel sample and harden it, it probably become too hard and just shatter. Tool steel is a much better alloy and likewise is much more expensive. If you simply heat it to red hot and throw it in water you have very little control on the hardness, I have seen people take a cold chisel and harden the end so that it does not mushroom, these people usually have steel chips in an arm.

HankB
November 30, 2005, 08:39 AM
Common steel plate is soft and will crater - a gun club I used to belong to had made some metallic silhouettes for handgun competition and people shooting things like .30/30s and 7mm TCUs out of Contenders beat the stuffings out of them.

High power rifle will be worse.

They soon went to a material called "T1" or "Boralloy" (probably a trade name) and those worked well.

You might do a search on something like "Metallic Silhouette Shooting" or "IHMSA" as a starting point on what material works for targets.

Hawkmoon
November 30, 2005, 11:11 AM
I know that 7.62x54R will penetrate a steel man hole cover at about 50 yards. Granted, it was old and brittle, but it went clean through, and blew a nice big chunk away as it exited. You'll want something thick, and hard.
Manhole covers are hard ... but as noted, they are brittle. I believe they are castings, not hot rolled steel. In fact, I don't think they are steel at all, I believe they are cast iron, which has excellent compressive strength but is VERY brittle and has little tensile or bending strength.

mete
November 30, 2005, 11:29 AM
Forget about hardening steel plate. It doesn't have the proper composition for hardening and to try it with a torch is ludicrous !!!...T1 is tricky to weld.

DBR
November 30, 2005, 10:16 PM
The steel has to be hard and tough (resistant to permanently deforming) more than thick. Steel of the right type that is 3/8 to 1/2 thick should be OK for most non magnum bullet types especially if the target is angled as others have suggested.

A good place to start is to find a shop that makes replacement scraper edges for snow plows or bulldozers. The steel they use is usually B500 or better and has high abrasion resistance. It needs to be plasma cut so it doesn't soften at the edges and it is a bit fussy to weld. Not a job for most home hobby shoppers.

MountainPeak
November 30, 2005, 10:23 PM
I triple back weld the 1" center. At 300 yards I know that's where 99% of my hits will be.:D

Jeeper
November 30, 2005, 10:57 PM
It really depends on what you want to use it for. If it is out past 100 then just get thick mild steel. It will get beat to crap but if it is free then who cares. If it is close enough to splatter then use AR plate and angle it down.

MNgoldenbear
December 1, 2005, 12:59 AM
http://www.mgmtargets.com/
http://www.mgmtargets.com/hardness.htm
http://www.mgmtargets.com/repair.htm

MGM makes good targets, but they are kind of expensive. He had a nice discussion of hardness and about target repair as well.

Last poster had a good point about your intended use. If you're shooting at reasonably long range and don't care about saving the target, you can shoot just about anything. Closer in, anything that will crater creates a severe safety problem.

MechAg94
December 1, 2005, 10:27 AM
I would suggest making sure the plate is not hard mounted and will move, swing, or fall when you hit it. That way some of the energy of the bullet will go into moving the plate. My experience is that bullets tend to flatten out on steel targets, but I am sure there are exceptions. I am not sure how the copper jacket would flatten or fragment.

But I am not expert so don't take my word for it. :D

Mr_Moore
December 1, 2005, 11:06 AM
Hey hey to harden steel, can you go over it with a torch? What heat, roughly, and what fuel, O2+mapp or acety?

I used to use o2+gas. I would heat it red hot and then quench it in oil. That was what the old millwright showed me to do.

Fenrik
December 1, 2005, 11:09 AM
Well I was thinking of using it at 200-300 yards. We've got plenty of 1" thick stuff that just ends up in the scrapper so I'll use that. Its just mild steel nothing fancy. But I was thinking of hanging it off chains. Sounds like that would work ok.

ckyllo
December 1, 2005, 01:23 PM
since it will most likely get chewed up a suggestion. drill holes and bolt plate to chain with locknuts. that way when the plate is done you can replace in field without needing to reweld it.

mcosman
December 1, 2005, 01:55 PM
I am new here but I have followed most of this with interest. I have a CNC Plasma cutter that is theoretically capable of +1 inch thick plate. As I am favorable to the ways of the gun.... I will plasma cut any steel you guys get to me for free, you will need to send me shape files for cutting. My business producess a great deal of 10,11,12 guage and 3/16 scrap that can be cut to any shape and shipped in a flat rate USPS box for $7 and change. You guys cover shipping. Those thin guages work well for .22 plinking only though. I live in West Jordan Utah so if any one is local and wants to bring over thicker materials I will be happy to cut it. I also have one of the most advanced welders around and welding any of the special alloys is no problem here. Let me know what you think.

jobu07
December 1, 2005, 04:34 PM
I am new here but I have followed most of this with interest. I have a CNC Plasma cutter that is theoretically capable of +1 inch thick plate. As I am favorable to the ways of the gun.... I will plasma cut any steel you guys get to me for free, you will need to send me shape files for cutting. My business producess a great deal of 10,11,12 guage and 3/16 scrap that can be cut to any shape and shipped in a flat rate USPS box for $7 and change. You guys cover shipping. Those thin guages work well for .22 plinking only though. I live in West Jordan Utah so if any one is local and wants to bring over thicker materials I will be happy to cut it. I also have one of the most advanced welders around and welding any of the special alloys is no problem here. Let me know what you think.
That sounds like a very generous offer! :)

mcosman
December 1, 2005, 05:59 PM
That sounds like a very generous offer! :)


It isn't that big a deal. It takes 15 min. or so start to finish. I can invest 15 min. in making new friends. Down side is I only have scrap of the thin guage. Don't work with anything thicker than 3/16.

Besides, how many THR's actually have the desire to make their own targets. Plasma cutting is the easiest part of the ordeal. If people have shapes they want cut that is less than 6X6, I throw away 50 lbs a day of scrap that big. I am just letting a disposal problem benefit the like minded. But if someone wanted silouettes and brought me the steel and helped me load it, I would be happy to support the local shooting industry and clubs. If people want to pay me i will accept ammo as currency. :D

I build robots for a living so I find the shooting sports a great release from the tedium. :o

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