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Buying or making steel targets? Safety?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by jawman, May 5, 2012.

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  1. brnmuenchow

    brnmuenchow Member

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    LaRue Tactical:

    $295.00
    SKU: TG-FAST1
    Free-standing Action Steel Target TG-FAST

    The LaRue FAST is a lightweight and portable reactionary target that can be setup in minutes. The FAST uses 4” x 4” posts available at most lumber dealers. Precisely manufactured from high quality materials and is designed to survive the toughest environments and the roughest treatment. Excellent for shotgun and handgun training too!

    Some of the main advantages are:

    ■Free-Standing Non Powered. Easy to setup and position, needs no batteries or power.
    ■Man Portable. 39 lbs total weight. Minor assembly required.

    ■Battle Tough. 3/8" thick 500 Brinell target. Withstands .223s and .308s. Targets are weather-proof, leave it out year round.
     
  2. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    Wow what a rip off! I bought two AR500 steel plates plus the steel to put together the hanger for about 50 bucks.

    Hammerdown, I suspect the plate you bought was compromised somehow. My 3/8 plates seem like they are indestructible and I only shoot it at 100 yards. The others guy at the range shot his at least 100 times at 100 yards when I was there and I shot it a bunch with my 7.62x54r, my K31 Swiss, and my 8x56r all at 100 yards. There wasn't so much as a pimple on the plate when we were done. You can believe your plate is the same thing as the plates we were using but I don't.
     
  3. atomd

    atomd Member

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    ar500 will get tiny little marks with .223 shot at close distance. It's nothing remotely deep and could probably take many many hits to the same exact spot before it becomes a ricochet hazard....but the steel doesn't stay completely smooth like it does from pistol round impacts.
     
  4. Freedom_fighter_in_IL

    Freedom_fighter_in_IL Member

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    I have 6 AR-500 rated plates that I have had for going on 8 years now. Countless rounds have been put into them from everything from .220swift to .300winmag. At ranges from 100 to 1500 yards. As Hammerdown stated, it is best to rotate them. All mine are bolted as well. Theres barely a mark on any of them save one. That one was shot at 1000 yards 10 times with a .50 cal M107 Barrett for some "giggle time". It has 10 little dimples in the face and I only use it on the one side for handguns now. Invest in the ready made ones. You will save money in the long run anyway.
     
  5. Rapidrob

    Rapidrob Member

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    Albuquerque,NM
    We use a lot of AR-500 for our targets from 15 yards out to 600 meters. They hold up very well.
    Many of the sellers use chains to hold up the target. I no longer allow chains to be used for two reasons.
    1. Pistol bullets can be deflected off of the links back at the shooter.
    2. rifle bullets will cut the chain in two leaving an unsafe target swinging in the breeze.
    I only allow "road alligators" to be used .( tire tread found on all interstates).
    The treads let the bullets go right through. They last forever and are free for the picking. If you soak them in soapy water for 24 hours they are very easy to cut with a hack saw or saber saw.
     
  6. jon_in_wv

    jon_in_wv Member

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    Well I love it when I am so adamant about something then I have to admit I was wrong. I took my plates out for some shooting this morning. I fired about 80 7.62x39, about 20 22lr, and another guy on the range hit it 10 times or so with a .223. I inspected my plates after we were done an low and behold ONE tiny divot! One of the rounds struck close to the edge on the bottom of the target. I guess I did say that .223 wouldn't hurt AR500 "unless the heat treating was compromised" so I could still be technically correct if the heat treating of the edges was weakened when they cut it. I suspect this is the case as there wasn't a scratch anywhere else on the plate. I could also claim that it could have some from my 7.62 but I think I'll just conclude that normal rifle fire SHOULDN'T hurt it and if it was me I would call the company that I bought it from and complain if it did as the heat treating may be bad and they might be willing to exchange it. Any company can have a bad batch once in a while.
     
  7. Ankeny

    Ankeny Member

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    There is the problem. AR steel is rated across a range of hardness. I have several sheets of AR450 that tests a shade over 470 and that's a good thing. But...if you get AR500 that tests in the lower range, add a heat affected area, and there you go...craters.
     
  8. jawman

    jawman Member

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    Some info on good vs. bad heat treating, and explains why some have gotten divots when shooting the edge of the plate: http://www.shootsteel.com/cutting-ar500-steel-plate/

    I checked with Wideners, and they use a plasma cutter, so I will be avoiding them and will probably be buying from shootsteel.com who uses CNC laser. And they have great prices on their steel too - the best I've found so far on the net.

    As for positioning of the target, I've always figured (and research I've done online confirms my hypothesis) that it would be best to position the target facing slightly downward, with the top edge more towards you and the bottom edge slightly away from you, so when the steel hits it, it ricochets downward to the ground safely. For example, if the slash is the steel plate and the arrows are the direction the bullet is traveling, and the 8 is the shooter:

    / <-- <-- <-- 8

    So you are essentially creating a ramp that forces the bullet to ricochet down to the ground safely and not up, to the side, or back at the shooter. If you want the steel to be flat, it may be a good idea to have it slightly loose via a hook or chain that allows it to move backwards when shot, absorbing the impact and forcing/guiding the round to ricochet down into the ground. Westerntargets.com has a great .pdf file explaining this: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/42597154/WesternTargets Data/pdfs/steeltargets.pdf jump to page 3 if you don't want to read it all, but I encourage everyone to read the whole thing or at least glance through each page, especially the diagrams. There is some very useful information.
    As one poster said, using chains can be dangerous for handguns so I plan on using a shepherds hook, which may also be just as dangerous, but I am not sure. Unless someone has a better method of mounting or hanging the steel. If you do, I'm all ears.

    When positioning the steel like this, the main point is that this is safe as long as the steel remains flat with no cracks, divots, bumps, etc. If the steel does get damaged and starts to display these poor traits, positioning the steel facing slightly downward will not help, and it will become hazardous and dangerous ricochets will be common. I think getting quality cut AR500 steel is keen to this point. And depending on what type of rounds you are shooting at the steel, the thickness comes into play as well.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2012
  9. jojo200517

    jojo200517 Member

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    If your gonna make them yourself and your worried about the torch,plasma cutter, or laser heating up the edge and messing with heat treat then find someone to cut your plates to shape with a water jet cutter. Keep in mind not to shoot it too close or with AP or enhanced penetration rounds rotate it over after a while and toss it if it gets damaged.

    Hanging them on the piece of tire is a good idea also, but wear some gloves when you go out to handle the target in case you have pieces of stuff sticking out of the tire, the steel belted cables in them may get frayed out the back side if you shoot thru it.
     
  10. GoWolfpack

    GoWolfpack Member

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    The bullet doesn't ricochet off steel. If the steel is as hard as it should be the bullet splatters like this.
     
  11. lmccrock

    lmccrock Member

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    Location:
    Red Rock, TX
    I just bought some 3/8" Wideners plates, and they will be shot this weekend. They say do not shoot with M855 (5.56 penetrator) ammo, and recommend free hanging targets, so the energy is dissipated.

    I shoot matches near LaRue's facility, and we have LOTS of LaRue steel. It is pretty tough, but even the LaRue rep said shooting them with M193 (55gr 5.56 FMJ) up close is the hardest wear - small bullet, high energy, more wear than 308 at the same distance.

    As for LaRue being expensive, yes, but the LaRue steel shows less wear (pockmocks, etc.) than some "generic" AR500 plates we have as well. The FAST targets do not show wear after multiple hits with steel-jacketed M2 ball (30-06) at 100 yards; edge hits are no problem. That said, if you are banging away with non-magnum handguns, you will never see the difference between this and cheaper products.
     
  12. Hammerdown77

    Hammerdown77 Member

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    Location:
    North Alabama
    The most damage I have seen from the .223/5.56 rounds was at the edges. A couple of hits looked like they almost bored completely through the steel. Guess that's a heat treating issue like you guys point out. They are tiny divots everywhere else, though.
     
  13. jawman

    jawman Member

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    Location:
    Chicago (for now)
    Yeah, I understand that the bullet splatters, but the shrapnel from the bullet mostly goes down to the ground when positioned/hung correctly.
     
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