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Old June 23, 2010, 05:20 PM   #1
FALacy
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Question about Steel Targets

I'm interested in building some steel targets for up at our farm. They will be exclusively shot with by 9mm luger. I know a lot of you swear by ar400 or ar500 steel, but I cannot afford that nor am I interested in it. This question doesn't pertain to that type of steel.

What I am interested in is the minimum thickness of mild steel I can shoot at with 9mm luger without deformation. I was quoted at $14/sq. foot of 3/8" mild steel, so this would be ideal. My targets will be various hanging steel plates and a few mounted plates at a 10 degree downward angle.

So will 3/8" mild steel stop standard velocity 9mm luger reliably without denting or deformation?
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Old June 23, 2010, 06:46 PM   #2
THORN74
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personally, with the dangers in volved i would make my own target.

taget stand....sure.

target ...NO.

check out this site, the first one that poped up on google, mgmtargets
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Old June 23, 2010, 07:12 PM   #3
Edward429451
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3/8 mild steel will stop 9mm's but we were shooting lead.

Do you realize how hard it is to go shooting with steel and come back home with them not all shot up and holey? almost impossible!

Fortunately my shooting bud has a mig welder and I have a grinder so it's not a big thing to patch holes and grind smooth again...good luck with that no dent thing!
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Old June 23, 2010, 07:29 PM   #4
FALacy
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Edward, if you are shooting the proper round at the proper distance at the proper piece of steel it shouldn't dent. Dents are dangerous as they are what will send shrapnel and in rare cases the entire round right back at you. I also have a mig and grinder, but I will be discarding any dented targets I shoot or finding a new use for them.

Thorn, I'm not making anything. The steel comes in sheets and I don't plan to do anything but attach them to my stands. I'm not casting or forging a steel plate, there is nothing that you're 'making'. The steel targets you linked to are no different than the steel plates you can buy at any steel supplier except they're cut into different shapes. a 3/8" ar400 steel plate is the same as an ar400 3/8" steel target (if they're cut the same).



I'm only looking for advice from those who have shot 3/8" mild steel with standard 9mm FMJ's who can attest to the durability of the plates.
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Old June 23, 2010, 10:26 PM   #5
LarryFlew
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Not even close to durable. First dent throw it away or risk the bullets coming back at you. What is too expensive to be safe?
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Old June 23, 2010, 10:40 PM   #6
HisSoldier
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I had 1/2" standard iron plate, what is it? A36? The .45 ACP would bend it convex as the surface got "textured" by the hits. I had a center gong made of 3/8" 304 plate that got dented pretty good by them. I never segregated my ammo though and 9MM got mixed with .22 and .380 and .45.
The replacement gong was 7/16" thick AR, and it showed no deformation of any kind up to the moment I got too greedy for the lead that got wasted splashing against it outdoors.

My indoor bullet trap, made of 3/16" T1 at a 20 degree angle gave me back all the lead I'd wasted on gongs before.

I miss the gong though, it was very satisfying to shoot at, 14" diameter 7/16" thick as I said, at 25 yards I never had it send anything back at me.
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Old June 24, 2010, 03:36 AM   #7
Lost Sheep
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Scrap

I was at the range a couple of weeks ago and saw a nice setup. A guy had built a large sawhorse out of welded angle iron and hanging from the cross-bar (on short lengths of chain) were two chunks of steel, angled so that ricochets were deflected downward.

The chunks were made of the cutting edge of an old grader blade, about 12" x 9". They stood up to 500 Magnum and 223 Remington just fine.

Thing weighed about 150 lbs, he said, but it could be made lighter, and using hooks instead of chain welded right to the sawhorse, you could make it more portable (broken down for transport).

But, you can also buy action targets for between $20 to $100 to $150 that will stand up to 22 RF at the low end to 44 mag at the high end. Some are made of a plastic that allows hundreds of bullets to go through without appreciable damage (but it will eventually wear out) or steel.

I know there is nothing like the satisfaction of building your own "toys", tools or gear, but sometimes it makes sense to take advantage of what the market provides.

Lost Sheep.
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Old June 24, 2010, 08:13 AM   #8
Rifleman1776
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Larry nailed it. 3/8" mild will dent and richoet. Whatever steel you use, be sure the targets will either fall or swing. Do not shoot at a rigid steel target. Ever. If you cannot afford a better steel in, at least, 1/2", stay with paper until you can afford the good stuff.
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Old June 24, 2010, 08:38 AM   #9
Double Naught Spy
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Quote:
Edward, if you are shooting the proper round at the proper distance at the proper piece of steel it shouldn't dent.
That is why you want AR400 or AR500 steel for 9mm Luger so that it won't dent. What you haven't told us is what your "mild" steel" actually is in regard to hardness. It does make a difference.

Quote:
Dents are dangerous as they are what will send shrapnel and in rare cases the entire round right back at you. I also have a mig and grinder, but I will be discarding any dented targets I shoot or finding a new use for them.
Your will be discarding a lot of targets. You can't fill dents with your welder as the fill will fall out. You can't grind them away because that will thin your steel.

Quote:
I'm only looking for advice from those who have shot 3/8" mild steel with standard 9mm FMJ's who can attest to the durability of the plates.
Once again, it depends on how mild your steel is. 3/8" isn't that thick.

Quote:
Larry nailed it. 3/8" mild will dent and richoet.
All steel will ricochet.
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Old June 24, 2010, 12:45 PM   #10
LarryFlew
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How expensive is expensive would also be a big question. Less than $45 for AR500 shipped from a guy in our area. I mount mine on a garden shepards hook with a washer welded at the same height as the hook on the opposite side so you slide the chain over the hook to the washer and the other chain onto the hook. Very portable and cheap. If you do bolts and hook the chain on the back side it deflects the shrapnel downwards. First one we did we just used a vice grip on the washer side but soon discovered 5.56 goes right through a nice vice grip

I paint one side flourescent orange and one side flourescent green and switch depending on background colors
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Old June 24, 2010, 04:11 PM   #11
LarryFlew
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Some more pics and info 3/8 AR500:

The orange side has had over 600 rounds from 22 to 45 in pistol and rifle 22, 17HMR, lots of 5.56 and one 270 YUP look close that one left a mark about at the heart.

The green side has had that many also BUT look close and you will see about 20 pock marks - one magazine of incendiary 5.56 that kind of melts into the steel.

Be aware that you need to get the shape and the hole you want because you are not going to cut or drill it without a plasma cutter.

MNguntalk.com and search for steel targets if you want to see the thread and info on ordering. I'm am not involved in the sale of these just shooting at them is enough for me
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File Type: jpg steel01.jpg (44.6 KB, 135 views)
File Type: jpg steel02.jpg (33.2 KB, 111 views)

Last edited by LarryFlew; June 25, 2010 at 12:14 PM.
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Old June 25, 2010, 10:53 PM   #12
USP-45
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LarryFlew, I would be interested in buying some of those targets, especially if they are $45 shipped. Could you post the dimensions and who I could order some from? That is if the guy you know is willing to sell some. I am a police officer and shooting the steel at the range is not only fun, but being able to draw and put lead on target and having the audible feedback is invaluable. I would like to be able to do the same on my time so to speak. Actually I would probably weld up some stands to hold them up but finding a good steel target that will put up with the pounding is the hard part.

Thanks
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Old June 26, 2010, 08:00 AM   #13
LarryFlew
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PM with info sent

anyone interested in contact info please PM or email

Last edited by LarryFlew; June 26, 2010 at 11:54 AM.
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Old June 26, 2010, 08:30 PM   #14
g.willikers
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I've been using Birchwood Casey's World of Targets brand double swinger for years with .38 and .45s with no problems.
Their larger double swingers are rated for .44 mag, cost only $40 or so and work great.
The top is 4" diameter and the bottom is 6".
Cheap and effective, hard to beat.
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Old June 26, 2010, 11:02 PM   #15
cougar gt-e
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3/8 mild steel will be bent up quick.

I would go with 5/8 or even 3/4.

By the time you get mild thick enough the price is greater than the "expensive" steel...
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Old June 27, 2010, 12:22 PM   #16
chris in va
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I stumbled upon a great steel target when I visited the local scrap yard.

Steel I-beams! They take my lead handgun bullets like a champ. PING!!!
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Old June 27, 2010, 01:16 PM   #17
Rembrandt
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Built these for our farm range, two layers of 3/8 mild steel welded together to get 3/4". Used mild steel because it was free and what was laying around, but hardened would have been better. These swingers are at 50-100-200 yards, so heavy not much swing with .22's...but center fires will move them. Deep craters are from .223 and .308....others are .44 mag and blackpowder rifle. Another thing that will help cut down plate deformation is stiffening up the back side as shown.






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Old July 17, 2010, 10:55 AM   #18
LarryFlew
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http://www.mnguntalk.com/viewtopic.p...168470#p168470

thought some might be interested in the original thread regarding the steel targets I was talking about.

Larry
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