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Old April 7, 2011, 04:24 PM   #1
Andyaux
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How to make steel targets

I am planning on buying and either .40 or 9mm pistol and I want to make some steel swinging targets to shoot. My family owns a business where we manufacture propane delivery trucks and we often have to shorten the frames and cut off pieces of the 1/2 channel. I was wondering if this would be a good material to make targets out of and was also wondering how to hang them because of ricochet. My family gas a small range we have made that bumps up against thick woods buy we also have a large pile of sandblasting sand behind where we shoot. There are only fields on either side of are range and nothing working a mile either way.
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Old April 7, 2011, 05:53 PM   #2
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Do a search here, you will get a ton of info. The material you mentioned sounds like it will hold up to small center-fires like you mentioned. They will be more durable and safer to the shooter if you keep your targets moving.
Stationary steel targets are more dangerous than moving ones.
Watch your target angle relative to the shooter.
Good info here:
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=243619

Shooting steel is tons of fun, but there is far more potential for an accident compared to shooting at paper. Do your research.
Un-jacketed ammo is considered the safest to use with steel.
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Old April 7, 2011, 06:02 PM   #3
T. O'Heir
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"...1/2 channel..." Regular truck frame steel isn't terribly hard or thick. A mile isn't enough either.
"...how to hang them..." Weld together a steel frame similar to a saw horse and use a length of heavyish chain. Do not shoot jacketed bullets at steel. Pieces will come back.
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Old April 7, 2011, 06:10 PM   #4
Andyaux
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This isnt just normal truck frames these are trucks that we put 3000 or more gallon tanks. It's half inch steel
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Old April 7, 2011, 06:25 PM   #5
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Commercial made .22 rimfire steel targets can be 1/2" thick. Thats not that thick. Your steel will take a bunch of hits, but will not be invincible.
You could harder them: heat till non-magnetic, quench quickly in used motor oil, temper in the wife's/mother's oven at 400F for about an hour. (Sorry Mrs. Andyaux)

They will not dent as easy and will "ring" a little better, but when they crack they can shatter.
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Old April 7, 2011, 07:17 PM   #6
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Use heavy chain and bolt it on the back side that way it will hang on a slant away from you and bullets will be directed into dirt.
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Old April 7, 2011, 11:57 PM   #7
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Buy the right steel, an Abrasion Resistant hardface steel like Ar-400 or AR-500. Hardening carbon steel will probably lead to a shatter or it won't be hard enough. As it is now your material won't get holed by the pistol rounds but it will get pocked and cratered. Uneven surfaces send things back in the wrong direction. If you have good flat steel 10 yards is plenty safe. If you're shooting at dumb stuff like cratered steel or old car rims, then nothing is safe. I've heard things go over my head after returning from the 100 yd line steel that idiots holed with rifles.
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Old April 8, 2011, 08:19 AM   #8
Andyaux
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How much does a sheet o that kind of steel run and I could probably get cheap through the business
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Old April 8, 2011, 08:44 AM   #9
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Just buy these, from Birchwood Casey.
They are inexpensive, made from the right stuff and are just fine for pistols.
I use their centerfire, double swingers with .45s and they work perfectly.
They are often available at local sporting goods stores or off the web.
Generally priced around $40 - $45.

http://sport.birchwoodcasey.com/Targ...1-f8f663723030
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Old April 8, 2011, 12:12 PM   #10
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If I could get my hands on some 3/4" frame would that be enough or do you need to get a certain type of steel?
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Old April 8, 2011, 12:54 PM   #11
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Is there some geometry to using steel as a target? Seems like that would be a consideration with the thoughts of ricochets.

I was thinking of something like this "impact reactive ground bouncing target"

It's not steel, but I bet it could be easily suspended.
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Old April 8, 2011, 01:42 PM   #12
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Lot of good advice so far. There may be better steels available but these penny pinching days using what you have is not a bad way to go either.
I'll repeat and emphasize, targets must be able to swing and/or fall easily. And I do mean "easily". Too heavy or rigid fixed targets will throw detrius, even whole bullets back at you.
I used to manufacture metallic steel targets and did extensive testing shooting at different steels and mountings. There is a right way and a wrong way. The scar on my elbow is a reminder of one of the wrong ways.
BTW, I used T1A steet. It is a high impact resistant steel used in the mining industry and it served well. Not saying there aren't others just as good or better but that is what I used. No complaints from customers.
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Old April 8, 2011, 01:47 PM   #13
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I just found out that I can get some 1" steel round flanges
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Old April 8, 2011, 11:31 PM   #14
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Hello, Andyaux. Years ago, I made up some steel targets for long-range rifle shooting. Made one 1" thick, others were 3/4" The 3/4" ones were plenty thick enough. These were cut-offs from 6" cold-rolled steel bars. I had them pack-hardened to a depth of .060" At 300 yds, a .30-06 full metal jacket..not armor piercing, just put a little dimple in surface. I had eye bolts threaded in sides & hung from twine..Here's the strange part..1st. shot, target goes flying, when examined, eye-bolt bent double around twine BEFORE twine broke! Now thats some force! I had to use carbide & drill two holes in face near top & hang from chains.
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Old April 10, 2011, 10:08 PM   #15
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I don't know anything about making targets, but I purchased some through http://www.arntzentargets.com/index.htm (Good AR500 steel).



I hung them from those cheap plant hangers you buy at Walmart for $5 and they seem to work great. Most of the rounds end up on the ground right below the target as far as I've been able to tell. I just throw a fresh coat of spray paint on them when I'm finished. (I like the self healing reactive targets from Academy too... you can see one in the background. )
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Old April 12, 2011, 02:16 PM   #16
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Another forum I belong to has a similar discussion - one frame was made from recycled real estate sign, another from rebar. The rebar one was interesting as I would think replacement parts could readily be had:

Recycled real estate sign and rebar target holder
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Old April 16, 2011, 08:24 PM   #17
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I hit up some machine shops and ended up with two 12x12 squares and one 12ish inch circle and a some 4 inch disks. They charged me $20 each to weld them in a body/head target. Another $10 in chain and clips from Home Depot and I was set.
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Old May 24, 2011, 12:49 PM   #18
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Made this duelling tree out of scrap iron. Especially fun w/two shooters; start w/2 paddles on each side and try to get them all on one side. Just bring Lots of ammo!


Side view showing hinge construction:

Looking down on hinges:


Regards,
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Old May 26, 2011, 06:55 PM   #19
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Anybody know how a Texas spinning star holds the plates until they are shot? Looking at making one but can't find anything about how they are held in place.
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Old May 26, 2011, 07:06 PM   #20
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Is this what you are looking for?

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=232670

Regards,
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Old May 26, 2011, 07:55 PM   #21
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That's it but I was thinking something that could withstand pistol fire on the arms/plate connection. Everything made out of metal. Not sure those clips could hold up metal plates?
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Old May 27, 2011, 07:03 PM   #22
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Ok, I work with steel all day long, that doesn't mean I have the right stuff to make targets out of. I see lots of creative sources for steel. Not steel suitable for shooting mind you. See the pics in HPS' post. That is unsafe steel. If it has dimples or the face is cupped it will be returning bullet parts uprange. The target in medicgeek's post look great, the mounting method is a little ??? but to each his own. I USPSA or steel challenge we shoot flat steel all day at ranges down to 10 yards. A flat piece of steel hit dead on will drop most of a bullet very close to a target. No chance I would shoot at hps targets at 10 yards.

Quote:
Made this duelling tree out of scrap iron. Especially fun w/two shooters; start w/2 paddles on each side and try to get them all on one side. Just bring Lots of ammo!


Side view showing hinge construction:

Looking down on hinges:


Regards,
hps
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Old January 29, 2012, 04:36 PM   #23
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AR500

I make these on the side from my day to day job. Id love to hear anyones opinions and experiences with what they have seen that works and doesnt work for them.

http://www.redstitchtactical.com/Red...l_Targets.html

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Old March 17, 2012, 05:26 PM   #24
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Don't so cheap on the steel. Navy Joe advised you correctly. Your target need to stay FLAT and not dent or cup to prevent lead coming right back at you. Good steel choices of 9mm and .40 cal would be AR-400, AR-500 and TIA. Mounting is also very important. I do not weld targets to chain as they break. I drill the targets on each side, use hardened bolts with square washers and attach the 3/8" chain to the back side. This allows the target face to hang with the bottom slanted towards the back, directing hits into the ground. I hang the steel off fence tee-post that have hooks bolted onto them. The swingers are free to move and adsorb the bullet impact. I cut targets in many shapes - animals, round, square & triangles. My set has been shot at a bunch and shows very little use after 20 years. Best of luck, Dan
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Old March 18, 2012, 12:14 PM   #25
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If you weld on AR500 you must preheat or it will break if you bolt together use grade 8 fasteners it will hold up better.
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