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Old 03-21-2017, 09:45 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Oakland Co MI
Posts: 254
Safe and Sensible Steel Target Setup

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I have been digging through the archives and trying to digest all the information there is about steel targets. I'm having a hard time weeding through all the opinions, options, setups etc and applying it to what I want and where I will be shooting.

Bottom line is that I want a steel target that I can use safely for the given calibers below and for the given bullets.

Calibers used would be:

22LR - LRN and CPRN
223 - JSP, FMJ, Cast Bullets
303 Savage and 30WCF - JSP, Cast bullets
30-06 - JSP and Cast bullets.

For the 223 and 30-06, I never load super hot. Usually just around the medium velocity range for those calibers. In all calibers 90% of my shooting will be with cast bullets. Velocity with cast bullets will never exceed 2100 fps, and more than likely the overwhelming majority of my cast bullet shots will be in the 1400-1800 fps range. My cast bullets are around 10-12 BHN as they are made with straight clip on wheel weights.

Distance I will be setting up at can be varied based on the best practice for safety that you guys suggest. In the location I will be shooting, I can setup at 50, 100, or 125 yards. My thought is to utilize and stick to the safest distance and vary the size of the steel target to test my accuracy.

As for the target make/design, I am okay buying a whole target setup or making my own. I do not have welding tools or know how to weld. So welding is a limitation. But if there are other ways to build one, I'm can and prefer buying plate and building the stand.

So I'm looking for some guidance here. Hopefully the setup I describe is possible (i.e. safe) for what I am looking for. If not at the very least, I would like to be able to shoot at steel plate with cast bullets since that will be most of what I am shooting.
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Old 03-21-2017, 09:57 AM
nvshooter's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Nevada
Posts: 4,597
A half-inch AR500 steel plate will stop all of those projectiles. Hang them from The Last Stand and you're set. I bought a six-inch disk through Walmart's Site-to-Store for twenty bucks. No shipping charges, which made the sale extra tasty.

A whole Last Stand kit: The four green pieces come to around $60; the six pieces of half-inch rebar came to about $15. It's best to round-off the sharp ends of the rebar; makes them go through the holes in the green pieces much, much easier. My legs are six feet long; the horizontal pieces are four feet long to allow me to hang two targets at the same time...

Six-inch plate; $15. No shipping if you order by Site-to-Store and pick it up at your local Walmart:
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Safe and Sensible Steel Target Setup-last-stand.jpg  
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Last edited by nvshooter; 03-21-2017 at 11:07 AM. Reason: Add the picture...
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Old 03-21-2017, 12:38 PM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Oakland Co MI
Posts: 254
I like that idea of rebar. I am going to use that and get the last stand brackets. For holding the actual plate, I think I will go with paracord or zip ties to begin with. See how that goes. First.

Still wondering about distances to targets. I don't want to get hit by anything.

Oh, and not sure what mod moved this thread. I don't mind. Just wondering why it went to the "Article Comments" subforum. Is there an article that was written on this? If so, can you provide a link so I can read it?
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Old 03-21-2017, 01:59 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Remote Idaho
Posts: 7,628
Dimmer-- I shoot 99% steel and only shoot paper for groups which is very seldom. All my plinking targets are at 50 feet. I shoot all handguns and rimfires at those swingers and dingers and flippers and ringers.
At 100 yards and at 200 Yds I have a RR iron permanent frame work with all sorts of targets like mill balls, sledge hammer heads, digger teeth and one plate an inch thick and 12 x 12 for zeroing. There is a piece of OSB for nailing targets to, also.

The problem is holding the steel target. Zip ties last one round and if Murphy is paying attention so does a log chain.
The best I've used entails some welding, a bicycle inner-tube and an anchor.

Weld three rings or hooks on the back side of the steel plate about an inch inboard of the edge in a triangle pattern. A ring or hook (turned downward) at the two top corners and one centered near the bottom (upward) for an 'anchor'. Hang the target by the hooks or rings at the top to a top bar or other support by the inner-tube.
Hang an anchor that touches the ground on the bottom. The plate shivers but doesn't have a lot of oscillation if the anchor is big enough. The inner-tube will take hundreds of hits or one perfect ricochet. I've only seen one ricochet cut and that was after three years of use.

The best steel for no splatter is hard steel. AR-400 or 500 or try to find an old dozer blade liner or loader bucket lip. They just show a smear and a dimple from the hottest loads.
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Old 03-21-2017, 03:31 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Parker Colorado
Posts: 2,416
Quality target, best place to buy steel targets...period.
Quality Targets

You can get away with shooting steel relatively close if it's hung by either conveyor belt or nylon truck strap, put a carriage bolt through the impact side and stack several washers on the other side before putting both ends of the strap over the bolts, then another washer and nut, this forces the plate to hang with the bottom tipped away, bullets hit the plate and skip harmlessly into the dirt below, not back at you.
My silhouette range with help from Calvin at quality targets.
Notice the swinger targets between the stands.

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Old 03-22-2017, 09:18 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Oakland Co MI
Posts: 254
Thanks for the information guys.

I had forgot to mention that this setup will have to be a portable setup. My shooting will be on state land and less occasionally on my uncle's property. So it will have to be able to break down and transport easily (within reason).

Jack, I like the rings welded in the pattern you have described. I'll probably end up with that arrangement. For now though, I think I'm going to use kevin's nylon truck strap and carriage bolt method for a quicker start and so I can find a willing welder. Kevin, I really like your gallery setup. One day... one day... I hope to have something similar. Maybe just a few less targets

As far as the steel. I'll get AR500 since that is what is being sold most places I look.
For 100 yards, should I go with 1/2" or 3/8"? I like the price of that walmart steel. It's 3/8". I see the majority of places selling 3/8". I have no problems paying more for the extra thickness, but there is more variety in targets in 3/8".

At 50 yards, is it okay to shoot 1200fps rimfires at these targets? How about the 17HMR? I do have some FMJ ammo for the 17HMR. I'm thinking that at any distance I should probably avoid the FMJ, correct?

For my setup I'm thinking circle targets 8", 5" and 3". Then a 1 or 1.5" wide rectangle for some fun. Me and my friends like to make bets and shoot at little tiny targets until someone misses. We usually bet little items that we have up for trade. Kinda like a story Jack mentioned in a different thread about shooting for the breakfast tab.
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Old 04-19-2017, 08:42 PM
Beartooth Regular
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Parker Colorado
Posts: 2,416
I would not buy 3/8 thick targets for any caliber using fmj ammunition, Quality target has a 3 target set of round 1/2 swingers with bear ears in 8"-10" 12" for 129.00. I just bought a set and am really pleased, looks like there cutting them with a plasma cutter now, very clean cuts.
I got them in the Hardox AR 500, very very tough. The "bears ears" are less susceptible to damage than the regular ears.
I would post a link but there website is down for maintenance tonight.

No need to worry about your 22's or 17hmr, you shouldn't shoot them any closer than 40 yards, at that distance the 17fmj makes a tiny dimple, 22's don't do anything.
A good set of rimfire swingers would be a 2"-4"-6", anything smaller than 2" gets hard to hang up.

If I'm shooting out where the set-up is temporary I drive two 5' t-post's into the ground with my driver 3' apart, hang the targets via the truck straps on a 4' piece of re-bar between the posts.
The posts don't have to be that far in the ground and are easily worked out when your done.
The nice part about this is you'll find the farther away you shoot you may want to hang the targets higher because of grass or whatever, mechanics wire holds it on, use the fence post nubs like you would if you were building fence.
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