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Old June 23, 2014, 01:45 PM   #1
BombthePeasants
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What is a good starter steel target to buy?

Dearest Sirs/Madams/Others:

I have saved up some dough to buy some static steel targets for my family's personal use, but I am not sure what size to buy. I am leaning towards the 9"x12" rectangular type plates, but I'm not sure if that's too small a target, or if it's too big. I imagine us setting them up at about 15-20 yards for pistol, and 50-75 yards for rifle. I am asking those of you who are experienced in steel matches as to a good compromise target shape and size. Thanks for any input!

ERIK
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Old June 23, 2014, 03:25 PM   #2
g.willikers
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Check out the very affordable and sturdy Birchwood Casey brand of steel targets for handgun rounds.
https://www.birchwoodcasey.com/Targe...f-Targets.aspx
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Old June 26, 2014, 11:58 AM   #3
emcon5
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Don't shoot steel with a rifle closer than 100 yards (unless you are talking rimfire). Not only will it will tear it up, but you are more likely to get hit with spatter.

Keep in mind that the smaller the target, the lighter it is, and the more it will flop around when hit. Try and mount it so it is angled downward, and so it can move when hit, both will make it last longer.

I would start with a 12x12 and see if that works for you.

I bought mine from these guys, they hit the local gun shows, so no shipping:
http://www.ar500-targets.com

Lots of the steel target folks are using (abusing?) USPS flat rate shipping, so on smaller stuff the shipping cost is manageable. Bigger stuff, not so much.
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Old June 26, 2014, 12:15 PM   #4
boltomatic
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eBay is your friend!

I suggest looking on eBay, there are a lot of guys on there selling steel targets and they will even make custom sizes, you can even order a life size human shaped target made out of AR-500 steel (the kind that can withstand even high powered rifles) or deer or whatever.

For pistols, you can save some money because you don't really need AR-500 steel.

A good free pistol/rimfire target are old propane tanks, you can probably get them for free from a dump. I know a 115g 9mm round nose wont penetrate them, once in a while it will but there is no way its getting through the other side at that point, and since they are free you can replace them if they get too beat up. Just remember to make sure the tanks are empty!

As for the size, I suggest multiple sizes like 12x12, 6x6, 3x3, or even smaller if you really want a challenge! On my range I have set up at 50 and 100 yards six steel plates from 12x12 down to 2x2 and a pistol rimfire set up at 10 and 25 yards consisting solely of old propane tanks painted orange.

Steel targets are the best, shooting paper gets boring but I can listen to the gong of hitting that 12x12 at 100 yards all day!

EDIT: I noticed someone said not to shoot rifles at steel under 100 yards. I've heard that before, but I think its a little too saftey conscious. Just make sure everyone is wearing good shooting glasses and I would say no rifles on steel under 50 yards (except rimfire) is a better range. No way a bullet is going to hit a steel plate and be directed back to the shooter with enough energy at 50 yards to do any serious damage to anything other than your eyes, that's just simple physics.

Last edited by boltomatic; June 26, 2014 at 12:19 PM. Reason: More info.
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Old June 26, 2014, 02:28 PM   #5
g.willikers
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It kind of depends on the bullet.
I've been hit with countless lead bullets, that came straight back in the shape of flat quarter, without much harm - just a light bruise.
But I needed stitches in my nose from a piece of very sharp jacketed bullet from a handgun round off of a pepper popper.
It sliced it wide open and had to be pulled out with pliers.
A little to the left and I would be looking at the world with only one eye.
Doubtful that my safety glasses would have been enough protection.
So some caution is required.
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Old June 26, 2014, 03:26 PM   #6
mete
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Some pepper poppers were set much too close !! I like 25 yd minimum for handgun, 50 yd for rifle. AR500 is a good choice for a steel .I set mine at 45* so the bullet hits and goes down . Most bullets shatter. EYE protection required for shooting !!
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Old June 26, 2014, 10:06 PM   #7
BombthePeasants
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Well in the time between my initial post and today, I ordered 2 8"x13" IPSC shaped targets that come with a holder that angles them slightly downwards, I'm so excited to get out to the country and blast away!
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Old June 28, 2014, 03:04 PM   #8
emcon5
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RE: the 100 yards thing, Even if you discount the risk getting hit with spall, the closer you are, the harder rifle fire is on the steel. Velocity is really hard on steel, and the closer you are, the more velocity retained at impact.

The two craters are hits at 100 yards on AR500 steel with a .243, with standard varmint bullets. The smaller marks are 7.62 steel core from a Mosin Nagant.



You can see the .30 spattered and stripped the paint. The .243 cratered and came back from the plate, shown by the lack of paint removal around the hit.

Last edited by emcon5; June 28, 2014 at 07:35 PM. Reason: typo
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Old June 28, 2014, 07:13 PM   #9
chris in va
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I'd love to get a smaller resetting popper. I found a couple online for around $150. Rifle compatible AR500.
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Old July 4, 2014, 10:07 AM   #10
lmccrock
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Wideners sells them. I have some 8" round plates, 1/2" thick. I have shot them as close as 35 yards with 223 FMJ and the only evidence of a hit was the paint blown off. Mine are hanging from chain, and angled down.

Depending on where is Texas, check out ar15targets.com.
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Old July 4, 2014, 02:07 PM   #11
hartcreek
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Steel

I use scrap steel plate left over from my welding projects. The main thing is how you mount the steel. I weld a chain link onto my steel and hang from my frames with a S hook or a length of chain. This leaves the plate free so it can swing on impact and the bullet is deflected to the ground behind and below my target stands.

Others have shot my targets with AR pistols and that does punch holes but because I am just hanging cheep steel I do not care that the ring tone has been changed. I have some 1/2 inch plate for shooting rifle and no holes in it.
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