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Old 02-27-2009, 11:56 PM
KRMF KRMF is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: British Columbia
Posts: 34
Home made steel targets?

I want to build some 8" steel targets to practice on but I'm not sure if there are any standards for them.

What kind of steel thickness/weight would they be?

A bigger question, where do the slugs go after they hit a steel plate? Are the plates generally vertical or are they angled up or down?

I'm thinking simple... round target plate with a base to hold it up.

Any advice?
Kimber Eclipse Target II (.45); Ruger No 1 (.22-250); Beretta Xtrema 2 (3.5" 12 Ga); Weatherby Mk XXII (.17 HMR); Etc.
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:08 AM
jumbo72 jumbo72 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Atkins, AR
Posts: 147
i'm a member of a gun club that has a pistol range that is exclusively steel targets. It seems that almost all of them are 1/4" steel plate, and none of them are solid mounted. I'd say if you just want a target, mount it on a hinge or something so you can knock it down, then set it up where you can pull a rope to reset. Or something like that. Just some other ideas: we have a post with 6-5" circles on it that pivot on the post, when you hit it swings to the other side, a silhouette hung on chains from a frame that the center mass is cut out and on a hinge, a set of 5" circles that are on hinges where when you knock them over, you can pull a rope that resets them all, several circles hung from a frame, etc, etc.

You can pretty much do anything you want, but the rule seems to be no centerfire rifles on the pistol range. Like i said, everything is 1/4" plate and it's all dented a little, but they have a 12" circle hanging in front of the awning that's the result of being fired at by rifles, it's not pretty. So as long as you use 1/4" plate (or something similar), and don't mount it solid, you should be good with any handgun.

As far as the slugs, i have no idea, sorry. It seems like most of mine end up in the dirt behind what i'm aiming for

Last edited by jumbo72; 02-28-2009 at 12:10 AM.
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:35 AM
Greyson Greyson is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 9,376
AR-500 steel is the "standard" steel for targets I have observed.

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Old 02-28-2009, 12:58 AM
1911.it 1911.it is offline
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Bellevue, WA
Posts: 606
Check this out http://www.lvsteeltargets.com/

I have one of his pepper poppers and it is GTG.
NRA Patron Member | 1911's | AR's | GAP Crusader
Semper Paratus
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Old 02-28-2009, 01:16 AM
KRMF KRMF is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: British Columbia
Posts: 34
I've seen the type that swing to the other side when you hit it... I like that idea. I think they have one-on-one games to play with those that sound like a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, my local range is an unsupervised "free for all" outdoor setup and you have to assume that anything you put out there permanently is going to get hammered with (at least) a .375 H&H within a month and a .300 Winchester within a week.

I was thinking about portable targets I can take home with me. The fortunate part of my local range is I get to do pretty much whatever I want while I'm out there, just so long as it's not something stupid.

Thanks for the help... I'll have a chat with the local welder/fabricators and see what I can come up with.
Kimber Eclipse Target II (.45); Ruger No 1 (.22-250); Beretta Xtrema 2 (3.5" 12 Ga); Weatherby Mk XXII (.17 HMR); Etc.
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:31 AM
RonT RonT is offline
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Mid Ohio
Posts: 127
Here's some that I made for our club. Used .700 steel plate, two steel tubes that slip together and a ~45* cut for the pivot point. The center tube is welded to the bottom tube, the outer top slips over.

Spes mea in Deo est
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Old 02-28-2009, 09:48 AM
Rinspeed Rinspeed is offline
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Western NY
Posts: 1,050
I make my own out of 304 SS using 1/4" plate. Shooting steel is much more fun than paper.

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Old 02-28-2009, 10:04 AM
HarryT HarryT is offline
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 589
Its safer to shoot steel targets with lead bullets. I you are shooting jacketed bullets, angle the target away from you to avoid ricochets. Always wear eye protection.
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:09 AM
Mike'sgooddeal Mike'sgooddeal is offline
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Michigan
Age: 46
Posts: 903
Since it sounds like you are new to steel shooting, here's some basic safety rules.

1) minimum safe distance to shoot steel with handgun is 10 yards (30 feet).

2) ALWAYS wear safety glasses, long pants and long sleeve shirts are a good idea also. This includes non shooters loading magazines or watching. To answer your question about where the bullets go... They basically shatter upon impact with steel and generally spray outward from the steel paralel with your target line. (the lead causes the grey on the targets in the pictures posted above) Some pieces will inevitably fly back at you and small cuts can result from copper jackets and larger chunks. Bring a few band-aids.

3) If the target starts getting significantly dented from round impact, replace it. Curious thing about steel...if a bullet strikes any of these little cups, there is a much greater likely hood the bullet will bounce straight back at you.

4) Moving targets help with the bullet ricochet, but stationary ones may also be used. Generally stationary ones have the top angled forward (down) so the fragments and ricochet chunks are more likely to hit the dirt than your forehead.

5) Don't eat or drink on the range. With steel targets you are much more likely to handle the target to reset and everything is covered with lead.

This is by no means an all inclusive list.

As stated earlier Brinell 500 or A 500 steel is basically armored steel and designed to withstand impacts. It does cost more. If you want to use centerfire rifles on your steel, spend the money and move your minimum distance back to 50 yards. There's a cool video of some guy catching a ricochet from a .50 BMG in the head. They were too close and probably shooting dimpled steel.
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Old 02-28-2009, 12:16 PM
JohnC JohnC is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Missouri
Posts: 2,693
I've ordered both steel and paper targets from these guys several times. http://www.letargets.com/ Always received fast service. I tried to get two local welding shops to make me some steel targets. The first one wasn't interested and the 2d wanted way too much money.
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Old 02-28-2009, 04:21 PM
Dreadnought Dreadnought is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Virginia, USA
Posts: 1,179
Another good steel target maker is Nevco. I shoot matches with the owner, great guy.
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Practice doesn't make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.
-J. G. Hale
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Old 02-28-2009, 07:31 PM
Agent6-3/8 Agent6-3/8 is online now
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Location: West Virginia
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Mine are made of plain old 3/8" plate steel scrap my dad had laying around his shop. I cut out 7" (as I recall) circles and welded them onto a stip of 1/4" 1"x1" angle as a base. Very low tech, but they work wonderfully. Only catch is that I have to walk down range and reset them after knocking them down.

I usually position them so that any ricochet will deflect down or off to the left or right. I usually shoot from 15 or 20 yards.
...arms...discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. ...Horrid mischief would ensue were (the law-abiding) deprived the use of them. -- Thomas Paine
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:00 PM
KRMF KRMF is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: British Columbia
Posts: 34
That's kind of what I was thinking about, just some plates with a base. I'd be shooting from 25 yards most of the time.

I do like that gizmo in Rinspeeds picture. Looks simple enough.
Kimber Eclipse Target II (.45); Ruger No 1 (.22-250); Beretta Xtrema 2 (3.5" 12 Ga); Weatherby Mk XXII (.17 HMR); Etc.
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:59 PM
radren radren is offline
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 47
One of the best places I have found for quality steel targets is Arntzen targets.
They have several grades of steel for different needs, they also have many shapes.
You may be able to get by with less costly steel if only shot with pistols.

Angle the targets so the splatter goes into the ground.
Have fun,Ren
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