Cast Iron as Gong Target?


May 4, 2006, 09:49 PM
Getting a new furnace tomorrow to replace the 1940's vintage behemoth in our basement. With the current oil prices I believe this furnace will pay for itself in less than two years. :)

Anyway, the old workhorse has a cast iron door that appears to be 2x2 feet and about an inch thick. I was wondering if this might make a good reactive "gong" type target. I would think it would stand up to pistol calibers ok, but I'm not sure about rifle. Would .223 or .308 sail through it like butter, or would it stand up to that for a while? How about pistol?


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May 4, 2006, 09:52 PM
I'm pretty sure it would shatter. But what the heck...why not try it out?

May 4, 2006, 10:26 PM
I'm with ready on this one. There's a very good chance it'll shatter. Cast iron is far more crystalline in nature, it's not as mallible as forged stuff.

May 4, 2006, 10:33 PM
Really no need to post as you have your answer but will reiterate that yes - CI is by nature very brittle - a good smack with a hammer will often see several pieces!!

There are so many coarse inclusions in most CI - it has very little resistance to cracking and shattering.

Try and find tho if ya can - a used snow blade - that should be good steel and if sliced into suitable size portions will make excellent target material.

May 4, 2006, 10:36 PM
I can't speak for heavier stuff but I tried a shot at a cast iron skillet once with an AK.
It lasted for two shots. The first punched a hole about the size of a quarter through it and the second shot shattered it.
I was shooting incendiary rounds to it was cool to see. :D

May 5, 2006, 01:20 AM
Seems to be well in hand. Cast Iron typically has poor shock resistance. Makes me wonder what a serious gong target is made of.

May 5, 2006, 01:54 AM
It won't ring like a steel target will either.
More like a gonk than a gong!:)

english kanigit
May 5, 2006, 02:42 AM
I've been having similar thoughts as of late. At work, I've been cannibalizing an old platen press for parts. The mother must weigh a ton and a half...

Looks very similar to this in fact.

The two flywheels alone are 30" in diameter, made of beautiful half inch thick steel and weigh about 160lbs apiece. My boss is getting annoyed with my asking to buy them from him.

"What're you going to do? Shoot them?"

"Maybe...." :evil:


May 5, 2006, 05:02 AM
Might want to check out what it's worth at the scrap yard. Most scrap is bringing a LOT of money.

May 5, 2006, 08:35 AM
Thanks for the replies. I was afraid it would not work out well, especially for rifle.

Maybe I'll call a scrap yard. I didn't know cast iron was going for much.

May 5, 2006, 08:54 AM
A group of us got together for a black powder shoot. We wanted a gong for long range shooting. Friend grabed his wifes CI skillet for a gong. It got a lot of 50 cal holes. She got a set of new skillets.

May 5, 2006, 10:25 AM
Friend grabed his wifes CI skillet for a gong

If you'd tried that in my familiy, that would have gotten all of you grabbed as targets...

Especially if you grabbed the 80 year old one. Cast iron improves with age. My set is still pretty bad compared to that one.

May 5, 2006, 11:29 AM
I'd have used you as a target with my cast iron skillet if you'd tried to use mine :neener:

Seriously, them things get better with age you shoulda went out and bought a new one if ya wanted to shoot it lol

walking arsenal
May 5, 2006, 01:57 PM
What about old brake rotors for gongs. For home mechanics those always seem to be in supply.

May 5, 2006, 03:15 PM
I had thought of those as well, but they have a big hole in the middle of them. :o

walking arsenal
May 5, 2006, 03:19 PM
True, but that would be easy enough to weld somthing over i guess. Or bolt somthing over, that way you have a replacable center. Dunno.

May 5, 2006, 03:40 PM
For safety you need to buy armor plate grade steel. Others are not hard enough and will pockmark. Eventually these craters will start reflecting the splatter straight back at the shooter.

The plates on our plate rack are slighly convex to help deflect the splatter away from shooters and bystanders. They are not particularly cheap but they show essentially no wear from probably close to a million rounds -- mostly FMJ, .44mAg and below is allowed.

OTOH at long enough ranges it fun to shoot up old junk, but use the search for a video of a close call of some yahoos shooting at a truck tire that seemed far enough away at the time :) "tannerite" should bring it up as most of the discussion was if it was "help" with a reactive mixture or not.


May 5, 2006, 10:57 PM
english kanigit, that is a beautiful little snapper. Not as pretty as a Kluge, but then, what is?

Those fly wheels would make beautiful gongs for thousand yard practice. :D


english kanigit
May 6, 2006, 12:06 AM
Not as pretty as a Kluge, but then, what is?

Heh, it is a kluge. The pic is right off the company website. You don't recognize the disgusting green color? ;)

If a kanigit wanted 'armor grade' steel, where would he look and what would he look for?

May 6, 2006, 07:51 PM
I used to have a couple of well covers from a gas station (you have all probably seen them - about 10-12" dia.) that were salvaged during a "tank yank". I thought they would be great for gongs as they stood up to cars driving over them for many years. Not so good however, they did not stand up to shock well at all as some posters before have mentioned as they were likely made from cast iron. I didn't even hit them that hard, I shot them with a 458 win mag loaded with the 500 grain lyman gov't bullet(wheelweights) at about 1200 fps (28-30 gains of IMR SR 4759 if memory serves) at 200 yards. The well covers lasted about 2 or 3 shots and then turned into crescent moons/pieces...

I would say use something much harder :)

PS They didn't "ring" either

May 6, 2006, 09:49 PM
I made some from 1/4 " plate once. My first shot was from a hornet, at 25 yds. It went right thru!

November 23, 2006, 10:04 PM
So any ideas on what would make a good gong sound? I would guess that it would have to be suspended by string or somthing so it could resonate? but also be able to take the blow of a high power.

November 23, 2006, 10:16 PM
Mild steel works well for some time if thick - 1" plate for HV rifle bullets. Cast iron's brittle nature is what lets it down.

See if you can find someone locally who has some old snow plow blades - these when cut into smaller sections will survive huge punishment! They are tough.

November 23, 2006, 10:24 PM
alright thanks for the input

November 23, 2006, 10:29 PM
I dont know about snow plows

Yes they are very tough but they arent to thick.

Plus with the curve I'd not want to be shooting at them. Shoot into the curve ) and all the energy is pushing right to one point. Shoot away from the curve ( and if the bullet doenst go through and it breaks up its going to send fragments who knows where. The curve on a smal lsection wont be to extreme but its stil la curve.

November 23, 2006, 10:31 PM
T1 is the best, but some plow blade steel would probably work; the best ones I've seen are those mounted at an angle hanging on chains, so ricochets are directed straight down into the ground, like so:
l \
l \

My pictogram didn't come through very well, but I hope you get the idea.

November 23, 2006, 10:47 PM

November 24, 2006, 01:54 AM
A buddy of mine told me of the most satisfying target he shot at.

It was an old scuba tank with the bottom torch cut off. An eyelet bolt with a nut and some big washers was put through the hole in the top and it was hung from a tree or tripod stand.

Dive shops that fill tanks usually have old tanks that didn't pass cert. They generally pull the valve and destroy the threads so the tank can't be used for compressed gas, then they sell them for scrap. Might also work at an industrial gas supply.

November 24, 2006, 02:27 AM
One of the best targets I found was some unmarked aresol cans at a local junk shoip, certainly not the safest thing but it was from a good distance with nobody near by.

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