3/4 Plate Steel vs M2AP


February 15, 2004, 11:45 PM
I went to the range a couple weeks ago and my buddy shot his 30/06 (165g factory Ballistic Tips) into a piece of 3/4" plate steel I had and it made it half to two-thirds of the way through. Almost there.:cool:

My buddy picked up some surplus M2AP 30/06 for 35 cents ea. at the gun show and I began to teach him to reload and we pulled them and loaded them in fresh brass with 45.0g of 4895 to see if we couldn't push it on through that 3/4" plate...

We did it today.:D

The M2AP is the two that you can see light through, I tried to get it on an angle so you could see the thickness of the plate. He hit it low/angling two times which cut the groove that you see on the bottom. The two side by side near bottom are 5.56 from my bushy (55g handloads). The few at the top were my buddy's SKS (surplus ammo) which never did penetrate anything beyond 1/4" plate.http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?s=&postid=800480

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February 15, 2004, 11:53 PM
I would be curious to see what it would do to hardened plate like ar-500 or t-520.

February 16, 2004, 12:20 AM
This is the same plate showing a 55g 5.56mm hit before we started in with the 30/06 and SKS on it. The 55g 5.56 penetrates much better than the 7.62X39.http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?s=&postid=800539

February 16, 2004, 12:47 AM
(BTW, we was shooting this plate at 35 YDS.)

It's fun blowing holes in steel. I have some more plates that just need welded up and painted. Just regular construction steel though. Nothing hardened. I don't know jack about steel, if I could get my hands on some hardened steel I'd give it a shot. I'll ask about the ar-500 & T520 and see if I can pick up some scrap.

Now I'm wonderin if SS109's would defeat the plate, or M2's in a .308.

Guess I'll have to go back soon to see...:cool:

February 16, 2004, 10:36 AM
Ed: Looks like fun! And it looks like we have similar interests. :) I have loaded up some 163 gr AP into .308 cases and found that even with a very light powder charge (40gr of 4064), it'll go through 1/2" mild steel at ~75 yards (and this was out of a 16" carbine). By the way, .50 BMG AP rounds are lots of fun too. I highly recomend them. ;) :cool:

50 Shooter
February 16, 2004, 11:08 AM
Here's a 3/4" plate that took hits a 1K with .50 BMG, the ones that went through were from a bolt gun the ones that stuck were from a M82.

4v50 Gary
February 16, 2004, 12:01 PM
Blasting steel is fun. You get the "ding" of the bullet smacking it and immediate gratification. We use to blast a steel plate at 100 yards with the HK-91 and it was fun! In making steel targets, please mention the type of steel and its hardness.

February 16, 2004, 03:37 PM
In making steel targets, please mention the type of steel and its hardness.>

Welll, it's like I said. I don't know jack about steel other than carbon steel holds it's value better than gold.;)

This stuff that I've been making targets out of is scrap construction steel. Presumably mild, like for I beams and such. Some was given to me, some I found and some I got from a welder guy who gave me some scrap from his truck. I (or my buddy who has a mig) cut rebar for legs and use big fat steel washers that will go over the rebar so it will swing using more rebar for connection to the target piece. I'll see about taking some photos which show the assembly. It's pretty easy and much cheaper than buying steel targets.

Is there an easyish way to identify steel or be able to guage it's hardness?

February 16, 2004, 10:54 PM
Has anyone tried shooting at stainless steel ? I have access to some 316L stainless disks from 1.5" to 9" in diameter and up to about 5/8" thick. I'm curious as to how durable they would be.

February 17, 2004, 03:40 AM
With out getting into too much metallurgy. Stainless steel more than likely shatter if used as a target, because the high chromium content in stainless makes it far to brittle to take the impact of a “speeding bullet”. The better steel targets will more than likely be made out of hardening carbon steel like 1070 or 5160 and have a good hardening job done on it. Two factors to remember when designing a steel target. Impact resistance and energy transfer. Using a good hardened steel of enough mass takes care of the impact resistance part. Target design should take care of the energy transfer part, by setting up the target to give with the hit. The last gong that I made out of 1” W1 has lasted me for the past 6 months and doesn’t seem to be giving up the ghost any time soon. I’ll have to dig out the Digi cam for some pics.


I harden my tgts to about 55 - 60 on the rockwell hardness scale checked by a set of testing files, but only a shallow layer of steel is hardened to that degree on the target face as to get more give from the target over all.

February 17, 2004, 06:59 AM
I don't think 316 stainless will shatter, although some grades might. This particular alloy also doesn't harden by heat treatment, so that won't work here. It can work harden though, so if you shot it a ton with anything that doesn't penetrate it, there's a possiblility you'll toughen it a little. I think you'll find that rifle rounds will penetrate this stainless about as well as they'd penetrate other common steels.

As for structural grades, they don't harden too well. Common structural shapes like I-beams and angles are low carbon steel typically. For this stuff, all you can really do is get as thick of a plate as possible and hope it holds. Any other ideal steel for making targets out of will likely not be scrap from most places, so you'd have to buy it.

February 18, 2004, 11:07 PM
Can one accomplish a good hardening job on a propane grill? Then what, quench it in oil or water. That'd be interesting to try. I've a bunch of round plates (3/8?) that I could compare with. though I think I'm doing good to even make them lol. Here's a ram I made from tracing a commercial 22 target I have..


February 18, 2004, 11:11 PM
Here's a Triangle. I have others but they're pretty beat up right now from the last trip to the range. Lemme spruch em up afore I post pics of them. You can see the washer where I brazed it. A couplke tack welds on the sides of the washer to keep it from walking sideways and voila'. Pretty cheap!


February 19, 2004, 07:31 AM
that if your steel target is free to move, even if only by making the frame rock, some of your bullet energy is being dissipated. Whereas the same round fired against, say, the side of a vehicle or other heavy mass, might actually penetrate more since the object doesn't move away as much.

February 19, 2004, 04:09 PM
Interesting point. Maybe that SKS would penetrate slightly better in real life.

I couldn't help drawing the illuminati eye on the triangle, you can kind of see the outline of it even though it's been filled & repainted. Danged if my bud didn't 'dot the eye' with his SKS. The 7.62X39 did penetrate the 1/4".

February 21, 2004, 12:08 PM
You guys that want to punch holes in steel need to get some 30.06AP

February 21, 2004, 12:56 PM
The 30/06 M2AP would be the first pic posted. I just got 100 more yesterday and loaded some into 7.62 X 51 maybe load some more into 30/06 today since the skies are cloudy and I probably wont be able to cast any as I had planned to do.

February 21, 2004, 09:29 PM
Well, I have proven that a 50 grain Nosler BT launched at 3800 fps from a .22-250 will hole 1/4" plate at 100 yards:evil:

What was even more interesting though, was that the paper target alongside the plate was covered with several light gray streaks. After a while, I finally realized it was splatters of molten lead, from when I was shooting the steel!

February 22, 2004, 12:41 AM
You guys are ruining perfectly good steel targets. Those should be good for years of pistol rounds.

I'm a match director, and at my range we have to replace about $4000 in steel targets every few years because people keep hitting them with rifle calibers and dimpling them.

If you do decide to do some rifle shooting, get some rifle grade steel, will ya?

February 22, 2004, 12:20 PM
You guys are ruining perfectly good steel targets. Shooting at scrap steel is hardly ruining perfectly good targets.

February 22, 2004, 01:56 PM
back around 1980 or so, when Handgun silhouette first took off in popularity, the range near Lubbock, Tx put up a 200 meter IHMSA course, and held their first regional match. The owner was quite proud of his new course and range, and looked forward to the new business. Of course, the first match draws in a chap from out of town, who has a custom XP 100 in full length 7mm-08.

Being a good shot, he won with a perfect score - and added a total of 40 holes to the heads of the steel targets, much to the horror of the owner. He then had to replace them all with armor plate. :D

February 22, 2004, 07:51 PM
Hard plate will take 223 or 308 at 100 yds. I am just curious about the difference when using the AP ammo.

March 5, 2004, 10:28 PM
I'm also curious if any of you guys looking for penetration have tried reversing the slug in the casing when handloading?

This used to be an old trick the Germans used on old tanks and lightly armored vehicles, they would flip the slug so the flat would be hitting rather than the point. As I remember reading the idea was that the flat would "punch" through the steel plate rather than trying to pierce.

***Brief Five Minute Intermission*** Just whistle "Jeopardy" theme music...

Ha, I at least found SOMETHING on this, just in case people read the above paragraph and now think I am insane (the judge said not enough conclusive evidence...).

Here ya go:


Look for Bullets shot Backwards

March 5, 2004, 10:35 PM
And the antis say there is no legitimate reason why we need AP rounds! :neener:

Oddly enough many of your pics look similar to our steel targets we use for BP shooting... .50 and .54 cal round balls really knock the heck out of them.

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