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Old February 8, 2020, 11:04 PM   #1
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How to know if a "gong" will gong?

I am fortunate to have the ability to shoot rifles and pistols off my back porch. I've build and fun little "range" where I shoot mostly pistols at paper, falling plates and steel silhouettes and plates hanging from stands. Only one or two of my steel targets actually make a "gong" sound when struck. Most of the hanging targets, whether AR500 or mild steel, return a "smack" sound, being more like a ham hitting a linoleum floor than and "gong" sound?!

Is there a common characteristic of gongs that I could try to reproduce? I was thinking about buying three 12" x 20" x 3/8" silhouettes in AR500 steel but I'm not sure if these will produce the audible feedback I'm looking for.

Any feedback would be appreciated.
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Old February 9, 2020, 09:27 AM   #2
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Since I always wear ear protection, I couldn't tell you if my gongs "gong" or not. I go by the reaction or movement of the gong to tell me if I hit or not. I always have a coupla cans of different colored spray paint on hand to touch up the gongs in order to see where I hit as well. Depending on the time of year, the background colors change and so then does the color on the gongs to make them more visible.
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Old February 9, 2020, 09:31 AM   #3
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You could always make yourself some sort of wireless device that would give you a visual indication - right by your side.

There's plenty of free plans on the web to show you how to build a transducer (to sense the hit) and a wireless transmitter (to send the signal) and some sort of LED to register the hit.
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Old February 9, 2020, 09:35 AM   #4
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This is exactly how I shoot right now. However, I wear Howard Leight ear protection which muffles the shot but allows for other sound wave lengths to be heard. Shooting light solid lead loads sometimes does not result in a lot of movement in my heavy targets. I'd really like to hear the sound like Hickock45 gets with his gong.
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Old February 9, 2020, 11:40 AM   #5
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According to this site, gongs are thinner than plates. Check out the various offerings -- some are A400, most are A500, and some are 41600 steel.

I'm not a metallurgist and I've never played one on TV, but I'll take a guess that temper plays a large role in whether a sheet of steel rings or clunks when hit.
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Old February 9, 2020, 01:01 PM   #6
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I have a 12" circular gong of 3/8" T1 steel that I've had since 1979. It's been shot at and hit hundreds of times with every muzzleloader caliber and powder charge imaginable. Other than very slight dents and bullet splash, it's unharmed. And it RINGS LIKE A BELL when hit.

It was shot at, and hit, 3 times (that I know of...) at 100 yds. with a Ruger #1 in 45/70 cal. using a 500 grn. jacketed bullet over a full-power smokeless charge of powder. Other than a little bigger dent as from all the muzzleloader abuse its taken. It's still undamaged. Paint it and shoot it.

I haven't a clue as to what kind of steady pounding it would take from constant high powered rifle shooting, but shooting most pistol calibers, and probably lighter smokeless rifle calibers, a gong cut from T1 might last a long time. One thing's certain, when hit it makes a sweet, very audible ring.
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Old February 11, 2020, 11:19 AM   #7
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Mine are made from armor of an Army personnel carrier. They "gong loudly" and are very heavy.
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Old February 11, 2020, 11:33 AM   #8
Oliver Sudden
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How they’re mounted makes a difference. A single point that allows them to vibrate helps.
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Old February 11, 2020, 12:18 PM   #9
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"Pancake-Blinds" do ring/gong !!!

In a previous life, I worked in a petrol-chemical plant. During routine repair work, we used pancake blinds of various diameters and thicknesses. Have used these for years for swingers and they gong or ring, every time. You can buy these, from piping supply vendors or if you are lucky, from a scrap yard. ..

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Old February 11, 2020, 05:15 PM   #10
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I prefer to not use the bunny eared gongs, because of the inherent weakness at the junction of the ear to the main gong --- especially when a bullet hits the general area of the ear.

Black painted gongs are very seeable against a light background, and white painted ones against a dark backstop --- jus' suits me fine.
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Old February 12, 2020, 02:14 PM   #11
T. O'Heir
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"...targets actually make a "gong" sound..." Likely has to do with how hard and thick the steel is. Like Aguila says, the temper matters too. Bells can give a different sound according to their material and thickness.
I believe, mostly a WHAG, the 'gong' noise is caused by how the metal vibrates. If the plates are connected to a bar so they can be rest remotely, they'll vibrate differently than one hanging on a chain.
What type of bullet matters too. A cast handgun bullet splats to flat vs bouncing. Whereas a jacketed bullet will usually be deformed and bounce. Different sound.
"...armor of an Army personnel carrier..." Lotta those are not steel. They're Al. M113's and LAV's have more Al armour than steel. LAV's are built on the other side of London. I had an occasion to be in the plant a few years back. Actually helped assemble 'em.
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Old February 12, 2020, 04:35 PM   #12
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If you want the loudest sound, hit the plate "square on" at the very center with a bullet that just avoids significant deformation or penetration of the plate, and make sure the plate is held up by a single point that is near the top edge.

Bigger, faster bullets make much louder sounds.

Which makes me wonder, could we start a long range 'gong choir"?
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Old February 12, 2020, 05:04 PM   #13
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Thinner, harder plates hung on a single loose pivot hit with heavier bullets is the best formula for making plates ring.
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