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AR 500 v. 400 v. Mild Steel

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Jessesky, Dec 29, 2018.

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  1. Jessesky

    Jessesky Member

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    Hey guys,

    I know all about AR500 and I have a few 1/2” plates to use for my rifles. AR 400 on the other hand is more difficult to find out its abrasion resistance in regards to bullets. I was looking to buy some knockdown targets like rams and pigs for handgun only. (Max would be a 44mag at 50 yards). AR400 is much cheaper. How does it compare to mild steel?

    Is mild steel acceptable for 9mm at 50 yards?
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2018
  2. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    I haven't shot any AR400, but can guarantee it is light years better than mild steel. Mild steel simply can't take .44 Mag, even at 50 yards.
     
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  3. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

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    AR 400 is a cost effective 22LR target.

    Mild steel has been worthless as a target for 22LR and up.
     
  4. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    Thanks for letting me know that. I'll run right out and throw those I've been shooting for years with 22LR and lead center fire pistol away now that I know they are worthless.
     
  5. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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  6. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    Amazing the things you can learn online. I've been shooting mild steel for years with 9mm. Works just fine. Maybe they have a different kind of steel in your neighborhood. o_O
     
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  7. k4swb

    k4swb Member

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    It is all about bullet construction and distance.
     
  8. cheygriz

    cheygriz member

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    JohnK
    Thanxs for the flow chart.:thumbup:
     
  9. Bfh_auto

    Bfh_auto Member

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    I hang 24 gauge sheet metal so I can act like my 22 is armor piercing.:)
     
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  10. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

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    Sorry guys. My limited experience is just that. Carry on.
     
  11. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    I am curious about your experience though. You stated that mild steel "has been worthless". Do you have personal experience shooting mild steel? What happened to make you think it was worthless? It's one thing that doesn't take a whole lot of time or ammo to determine.
     
  12. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Depends on the load. Most 9mm loads won’t hurt mild steel. 9mm “major” or 100 gn bullets running over 1300 FPS will mess it up.
     
  13. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    I’ve dented the bejeezus out of 3/8 and 5/16 mild steel plate targets with .44 mag, .357 mag and heavy .45 Colt loads. Even .22 mag fmj will dimple it. Dimples = unpredictable bullet splatter or ricochet potential if one isn’t careful about the placement and distance.

    Rifles like .308 or .223 whistle through them like a hot poker through butter.

    My 1/2” AR 550 2/3 scale torso silhouette targets and 10” circles handle .30-06 fmj, commie 7.62x54r and similar loads with very minimal scarring much less leaving a divot.

    They’re more $$$, but in the long run they’re worth it.

    Stay safe!
     
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  14. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    That's the bad part of using targets not designed for shooting. Even AR500 has limitations.
     
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  15. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

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    A friend recycled scrap steel about 1/8” or 3/16” thick for a 50 yard 22LR target. The rounds went through so we had to stop using the target. Our range is strict about shooting deformed steel targets.
     
  16. mrmeval

    mrmeval Member

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    Just internet spelunking. Nothing will inform as well as hauling BOTH to the range and finding a way to utterly destroy them. Then share the video of that and help drive the cat videos out of existence.

    http://tppinfo.com/defect_analysis/yield_strength.html

    Heat treatment effects yield strength, a list of materials including human skin.

    https://www.hunker.com/12410861/ansi-ar400-steel-specifications
    AR400 has a yield strength of 250 ksi compared with only 50 ksi in AISI 1045

    https://www.cliftonsteel.com/ar500-steel
    Yield Strength (typical) 220 ksi (1516 MPa)

    1095 Heat treatable carbon steel yield strength is 76.1k psi
     
  17. NWcityguy2

    NWcityguy2 Member

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    I'm currently the President of the El Paso IDPA and Multigun, so let me share what I have seen when shooting our various steel targets. We have everything from locally built steel targets of an unknown source, mild "A36" steel targets, Pistol rated MGM targets, Budget AR500 targets and high-$$$ MGM AR550 steel targets. We hold matches twice a month (at least since 2010, but likely for years before that) and always use steel targets. We can have as few and 10 shooters, and up to about 30 shooters.

    Mild unknown steel/A36 Steel targets: This steel has been shot constantly with 9mm/40/45, as well as some 9mm major, with little dimpling or deformation, as long as it is 3/8th inches thick. One time we accidentally bought some 1/4" thick targets and they will dent with 9mm, so they are shotgun only. We will shoot this steel from 10 yards away and no one has even been hit with anything more than the small amount of spall that is common to all steel targets. It will deform heavily if shot with a shotgun slug and be ruined. Rifle bullets will make deep divots, but generally won't give a clean pass through. Some of these steel plates are likely 15 years old, as the last two club presidents did very little to buy new equipment for the club.

    Pistol rated MGM targets: I don't know specifically what steel this is made out of, or how hard it is, but it is not rifle rated according to MGM. This is tougher stuff that the mild steel targets though, and will take a shotgun slug at close range without deforming. This stuff is more pricey and we won't use it if there is the possibility of it sustaining a rifle impact from a new shooter who shoots at the wrong target.

    Budget AR500 steel targets: These are generally my personal targets which I will use at club matches. They are rifle rated-ish. Supposedly they are rated for anything under 3000fps, but they will show minor divots where steel is removed down to about 2800fps. These divots are generally about 1/16" deep. I have shot at them extensively with pistols at 10 yards and have never received a major piece of spall from them. I have also dented them with 165gr monolithic bullets out of a 30-06 at 100 yards. They have been shot enough to start to crack at the corners.

    Premium MGM AR550 steel: These targets are excellent, but too expensive to employ in mass numbers. They have been shot with bullets easily going over 3000fps but have not had material removed. Their edges are also much stronger than the budget stuff, with no material being chipped away.

    Hope it helps.
     
  18. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    It is important to make the distinction between a steel composition/thickness that the surface won't deform on impact and result in unpredictable splatter/ricochet and those that simply won't shoot through. The desire is for a steel target that the surface won't dimple so we have predictable safe performance. I've shot both general kinds of steel target and my experience has been that a hardened surface steel target that isn't dimpled makes for a safer target. Unless I'm mistaken, that's our goal, safer shooting.
     
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  19. NWcityguy2

    NWcityguy2 Member

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    If absolute flatness is needed, than every single target with an exposed weld or mounting bolt would be considered unsafe.
     
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  20. Everready73

    Everready73 Member

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    I have 2 ar400 12'' circles targets i bought local. I have shot them with 22lr and handgun calibers 9mm, 40, 45, .38, and 357mag as close as 10 yards and they do not show any damage. I turn them around from time time and they have lasted a few years already and have seen plenty of rounds. AR400 should be perfectly fine for handgun calibers.

    * Targets have seen 357mag but main diet is 9mm
     
  21. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Thickness makes a really big difference as well. Gotta mention what thickness when talking about what a plate can withstand. Also distance and velocity as well.
     
  22. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    Yup, as will heat from plasma cutting or welding. I had a hook welded on the back side of an AR 500 circle a few years ago not knowing how much this will affect the steel. This plate took dozens of handgun and rifle rounds with no effect before I decided to alter it. After I had it welded, the steel started to deform on impact and was ultimately cracked and penetrated by rifle shots where the welding temperatures altered the hardness of the 10" steel plate. IMHO, the all-around best ones are the AR-500 to 550 strength that are non-heat cut (Water/abrasive jets?) Those will usually hold true across the entire target face and will resist dents a lot longer than those that are heat-cut.

    Stay safe!
    front side of steel target.jpg

    back side of steel target.jpg

    Stay safe!
     
  23. readyeddy

    readyeddy Member

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    For high power rifle I prefer AR500 1/2" thick at 100 yards. Loads are 180 gr at 2700 fps and 55 gr at 3100 fps. Bullets are soft points or fmj, velocities are at muzzle.

    3/8" also works but doesn't last as long and the lighter weight results in more target swing.

    And when ordering from a new manufacturer test a sample before placing a big order. I had a new AR500 3/8" 10" plate crater from 30 06 hunting loads. The cratering was so bad it bulged on the other side of the plate. Like mentioned earlier, deep craters are considered unsafe.
     
  24. bearcreek

    bearcreek Member

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    That makes more sense. 1/8 is too thin for any metal target, regardless of what kind of steel it is.
     
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