Steel Targets & AR15's Don't Mix

Discussion in 'Range Report' started by Vikingdad, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

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    At least in my experience so far they don't.

    We built a 2'X2' 1/2" thick steel swinging plate target awhile ago. It works great with pistols (I was hitting it 13 out of 17 shots from 75 yards with my Glock 27 sub-compact). My next door neighbor came over to try out his new AR build at my range a week or so ago (see this thread http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f66/deputies-showed-up-59960/) and we shot the steel target for a few rounds before inspecting it (I was using Hornady 55 gr FMJ's in reloads, my buddy was using Tula factory loads in 7.62x39- yeah, I know, AK rounds in an AR is just wrong, but its his gun...)

    All of the rounds penetrated about half way through the steel plate leaving a huge crater:eek:. We stopped using it as a target immediately. Today we finally got around to hauling it up to the shop and my 14 year-old son welded the craters up with the MIG welder and ground them flat to repair it. Took some before and after pics of it (on the welding bench).
     

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  2. RufusTFirefly

    RufusTFirefly New Member

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    For high-powered rifle rounds, you need to use hardened steel.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012

  3. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

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    Well now you tell me!
     
  4. Kdub

    Kdub New Member

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    Shootsteel.com. You can get some Ar 500 series steel plates for fairly cheap. The other stuff should only be used for rimfire/ pistol rounds. Like you I found out through trial and error. Steel sure is gratifying to shoot though!
     
  5. dvcguns

    dvcguns New Member

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    Ar500 minimum and even then you want at least 50 yards
     
  6. Tackleberry1

    Tackleberry1 New Member

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    Why did you repair it? That's some quality red neck garage art!

    Tack
     
  7. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

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    Yeah, maybe so, but I am more interested in shooting it some more with the low velocity stuff. We made another 6" square target out of some 1/2 inch. The .17 HMR will put a good ding in that at 50 yards. We don't shoot the .17 at it anymore.

    I figure we can repair the targets as needed and the will last for a long time as long as we don't shoot high velocity at it.

    Besides, I have done much better "art" than that. Just look at my avatar. :cool:
     
  8. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

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    I might try shooting another smaller piece (1/2"x5"x6") I have and use some of the AP rounds.

    Do you think that might fully penetrate?
     
  9. Gutpile

    Gutpile New Member

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    Even 1/2 abrasion resistant plate doesn't hold up to hot centre fire .30 cal up under 200 metres. I'm constantly plug welding the holes(which returns the steel to behave like mild steel). Military surplus metal cored ammo ammo will make Swiss cheese out of your plates or give you bounce backs. Use copper and lead only on gongs.
     
  10. Tackleberry1

    Tackleberry1 New Member

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    I thing it might, I've never shot 2" steel so you'll need to let me know. I do know that it goes through steel engineer stakes like a hot knife through butter but those are only 1/4"

    Tack
     
  11. StoneCat

    StoneCat New Member

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    Both Thunder Ranch and Gunsite have used steel targets in classes where AR-15 rifles are used. And I know for a fact that Thunder Ranch uses steel targets on their precision rifle ranges, which use .308 or higher on most exercises... I would see what's different between what they shoot at and what you shoot at...
     
  12. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

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    I also have some other thicker material, of unknown hardness, that I could shoot but it would have to be at a longer distance. I might try a shot at the half-inch plate just to test it out (with the flak jacket and ballistic shield in place.) If it penetrates it would make a nice wall hanging in the reloading shed. Hardly art though.

    I have some green tip 5.56 and some black tip .308. (the green tip is loaded ammo, the black tips are bullets only.) I also have 100 silver tip .50 bullets but nothing to load it for.
     
  13. mjkeat

    mjkeat New Member

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    We use steel (AR500) on the majority of the stages in 3 gun and non magnetic ammunition. Use stuff like Tula and you'll be the new owner of a steel plate target.
     
  14. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

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    The Hornady FMJ non-magnetic (handloads) were also cratering the target but not nearly as badly (not apparent in the pictures). Again, what we did was probably at too close of range, but we did stop once we realized what was happening. We switched to paper at that point.
     
  15. mjkeat

    mjkeat New Member

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    Probably just the hardness of the steel. Take a look at TacStrike, they sell some nice targets. I believe they have a sale going on.
     
  16. MobileMarine

    MobileMarine New Member

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    I have a 2in thick chunk , Needless to say it will resist a nuke ! Even the 300minmag was useless on it . You almost want them to adsorb a little bit to keep the lead rain down . heavy bullets moving that fast into a object that hard is a bit unnerving . But I just dont like shooting steel period , wood and dirt for me
     
  17. Wi_Hunter556

    Wi_Hunter556 New Member

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    I know for most of their classes they require frangibles.

    The Constitution shall never be construed … to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms. –Samuel Adams
     
  18. TCH2FLY

    TCH2FLY New Member

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    As previously mention mild steel is easily penetrated by rifle rounds, you need to find AR (abrasion resistant)400 or 500.
    3/8' AR500 will hold up to most .30 cal and under factory loads and get 1/2" if you play with heavy hitters.

    This is my 3/8" plate as hit by .223 and .308 at 150 yds
    [​IMG]

    It was hung with firehose which took a beating from the shrapnel.
     
  19. The_Kid

    The_Kid New Member

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    In addition to steel I had laying around, I use leaf springs. I've shot a 30-06 at 100 yards, didn't even scratch it.
     
  20. Vikingdad

    Vikingdad New Member

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    I have used truck springs to make spinner target. Never shot them with anything but .22 rimfire though.