Jump to content
SASS Wire Forum
Sign in to follow this  
Rancho Roy

TARGETS...Type of steel and how thick?

Recommended Posts

I want to buy some steel to make a few targets for my wife and I to practice.

 

What are folks using for steel and how thick?

 

What is the typical size of SASS square targets?

 

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AR series is the best, but you really can't weld it.

Just look for 1/2" thick hot-rolled flat stock and that should serve you well.

Not for jacketed bullets at all........

OLG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AR500 steel is best. With that you can go down to 5/16" thick without any problems. Size can vary pretty wildly. 8"-24". If I were buying practice targets I would probably be looking for something in the 18" range.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We've been using AR400 3/8inch for the last several years and it holds up very well. We're also lucky in that we have a member that owns a water jet cutting business. Cutting AR, or any steel, with a torch draws the carbon to that area and weakens the steel. The last lots of steel we had made into18x19 inch targets. He then cuts a square hole about 2-3 inches down from the top edge for a 1/2 inch carriage bolt to hang the target on brackets he also cuts for us. That hanger style lets us reverse the target face each year.

 

An 8ft x 8ft sheet gets 25 targets but the cost around here is $810- $840 for a sheet that size; depending on the market at the time. I just got a sheet for another club I shoot at and that size of AR was $835. They got 25 new targets which they needed badly, and the remainder of the $850 they had got the hanger brackets using 1/4 x 4 inch flat bar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I once had some 1/2 plate, but I don't know what the AR rating was.

 

I hated em because they were heavy and made no noise.

 

I like the 5/16 and 3/8" AR 500 plates.

 

I also have some AR 400 plates that have managed to 'bow' over the past few years. They are good and ring well and will probably serve an individual very well thru many rounds of shooting.

 

P.S. - I don't use any jacketed stuff on my steel.

 

 

..........Widder

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks folks! Great info....

 

Anyone have plans or drawings for a set of stands?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We use 3/8 AR500 cut to 16x16, 16x24, and 24x24. Cut it on my plasma table. Cutting fancy shapes wastes about 25-30% of the material and they fatigue quicker than squares and rectangles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Am using 400 3/8" and have for 5 years now.It has been really good.You can use 500 if you can find it at a good price.You can weld 400 or 500,if you know what rods to use and have a torch to warm the plate some.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I've found railroad plates hold up real well. I made bullet traps out of big skidster tires. There traps have a backing plate bolted to the back side. The railroad plate is suspended in front of the back plate. I figure I recover well over 50% of the lead thrown at it.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AR500 can be welded just fine, and can also be cut with a torch without hurting it. You will notice that most of the people who will say that cutting it with a torch ruins it are trying to pay for very expensive water jet machines. I use this stuff, cutting and welding it in place regularly the edges do not wear any faster where they were cut with a torch.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We haven't used the AR 500 due to cost compared to the 400. We're lucky in that the club has a life member that cuts all of our steel (and steel for other clubs we shoot at) at his water jet business for FREE. His brother has worked for a steel business (Pacific Steel) as a welder for over 20 years. He's the one that told us cutting up the 400 3/8inch is not a good idea with a torch unless you heat the entire plate 1st; then it doesn't cause the carbon to be drawn to the hot edges. But I guess that's comparing apples to oranges...AR400 vs AR500 3/8inch vs 1/2inch etc. When we buy the AR400 3/8 the steel company cuts the one edge with a torch and it's rough as a cob. I always have them add 1 inch to the sheet so the water jet can cut that rough edge off when cutting the targets.

Edited by Charlie Whiskers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want to buy some steel to make a few targets for my wife and I to practice.

 

What are folks using for steel and how thick?

 

What is the typical size of SASS square targets?

 

Thanks

If you two are the only ones using it and you shoot ONLY LEAD bullets you can buy inexpensive 1/4 12 X 12 squares at Lowes.

I welded a couple of eye bolts on the back of each and you can hang them on a piece of rebar or pipe.

 

Please check with your local club before setting up and using steel targets on your own. It may not be allowed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For my practice targets (i am the only one that uses them.) I use common 1/4 inch cut to 16 inches square. At that measurement you get 3 wide and 6

 

long 18 targets. Plenty to shoot a lot of different ways. I have shot them with lead bullets for 1000's of rounds and have no issues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been using 1/4" plates that were originally cut for shims on bridge decks, they appear to be cold rolled as don't ring real loud and drilled easy. Holding up good so far. Only a couple dents from edge hits. For the amount of practice I get at home, I think they are fine & cheap comparatively YMMV.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AR 500 3/8" @ 16"x16" will last forever. Will need to get them (or 400) cut. For just you and low velocity lead bullets 1/4" will work. IMHO Arntzen Targets have the best type of stand, we have either bought new or refitted all of our existing targets and stands to this style. Good Luck :)

http://arntzentargets.com/products.htm

 

Jefro :ph34r: Relax-Enjoy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So my local steel wholesaler just got back to me. He recommends HARDOX 450, he says it is harder than AR400 but not as hard as AR500 and it is available for $1.93 a pound, cut

 

(4) 18" X 18" X 3/8" @ $66.75 each

 

Sounds good to me!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have both AR500 targets and mild steel, all are 3/8". All work excellent for cast bullets. For home use and cast only 3/8 mild will hold up well. I have seen 3/8 mild take a beating with full load 45lc and .357" and hard cast bullets!

I don't think I've seen a target maker use anything but AR steel? for a few more bucks a plate, you can shoot all sorts of calibers and bullet types on them.

Regards,

Ringer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AR500 can be welded just fine, and can also be cut with a torch without hurting it. You will notice that most of the people who will say that cutting it with a torch ruins it are trying to pay for very expensive water jet machines. I use this stuff, cutting and welding it in place regularly the edges do not wear any faster where they were cut with a torch.

Mike-What are you welding it with.

I have only used my wire feed welder with .035" flux-core and had some issues with cracking later on after lots of hits.

OLG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

started our club this year..

 

AR400 3/8 is fine. A lot cheaper than 500. I"m told mild steel is fine too.

If you're shooting light 38s you'll be fine with mild steel - if you're shooting hot 44/45 loads or BP i'd say go with AR400.

Distance matters too - if you're gonna shoot 44-40 from a rifle at 1200fps at 5 yards you'll gonna wear the targets a lot faster than if you place it at 25 yards. Wear as in bend or dimple.

 

Size..whatever you like. I find round/square/rectangle as boring. A shape 'wastes' steel but is lighter..an issue if you have to setup yoru targets. We have some 20x24 3/8 ar400 and i'd not want anything bigger/heavier.

Most have 'sweet spots' (inside of arms/legs/etc) of 16x18. Early in the year people whined and missed..last two matches same folks hit the targets and didn't whine. IMO practice at farther and smaller targets and when you get to a match it's gonna look like a cake walk.

welding..you can weld AR steel, a bit tougher but possible.

 

Stands..we're using 5/8 rebar (donation..don't look a gift horse in the mouth). Easy to work with and functional. Could angle iron stands be better? Sure.

how many...get 8 - you can set up 4 pistol/4 rifle or 5 and 3 - gives you all the sweeps options out there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought these from Amazon.

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00YT5KRHI/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

They were delivered USPS. I can handle them reasonably well as far as setting up goes and they look like they will last forever. I'd stay away from any non hardened steel. They get pitted quickly and you have more splash back problems.

 

NNV

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mike-What are you welding it with.

I have only used my wire feed welder with .035" flux-core and had some issues with cracking later on after lots of hits.

OLG

Mostly with 7018 stick. It would be tough to get enough weld on a target thickness piece with .035 wire.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mostly with 7018 stick. It would be tough to get enough weld on a target thickness piece with .035 wire.

Agree, and had to make several passes. Did preheat the area with a LPG torch. My 2 potable gennys won't run a 220vac 'stick' welder.

This repair was done in the 'field', at the range.

7018 is a good rod for clean steel and really likes higher amperage.

OLG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree, and had to make several passes. Did preheat the area with a LPG torch. My 2 potable gennys won't run a 220vac 'stick' welder.

This repair was done in the 'field', at the range.

7018 is a good rod for clean steel and really likes higher amperage.

OLG

Asked a friend that is an oil field welder and this is what he recommended.

 

Use properly stored low hydrogen rods or wire. E7018 for stick and flux cored gas shielded wire for MIG welders.

 

Pre heating can help prevent cracking but don't get the metal too hot. No more than 200 degrees for thickness less than 1/2 inch.

 

Most important is to be mindful of the total heat input during the welding process. You do not want to get the metal too hot. Several shorter welds are preferable to one long continuous weld. ( Probably not an issue as most SASS targets only have a hanger welded on.) 2 passes at a lower amperage with a cool down in between is better than one high amperage pass.

 

AR-400 and AR500 are heat treated metals. Getting them too hot will change their chemistry. AR400 and AR500 steel should be allowed to cool down slowly. Throwing water on the steel to expedite the cooling process can make the metal brittle and will most likely lead to cracking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I taught welding for 19 years and have made many SASS targets.

 

Yes, you can weld AR 500. You can weld almost all metals if you use the correct matching electrode and heat range.

 

I use 7018 with short beads. If it is a thick weld, use a root pass and multiple passes allowing cooling time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have lived in a rural area for many years, and over the years have shot a bunch of different DIY targets. My latest were cut from a bunch of 3/8 Hardox 400 cutoffs. These seem to work real well. Steel targets work best when they can deflect the bullets, stopping the bullet dead on requires a very strong steel, anything under 400 will crater with a direct blow. There is only so much force a steel plate can absorb before it yields. Any steel that is cratered should not be shot. Pieces of bullet will fly straight back at you.  Several hits in your torso or head will convince you. Also, any projection will deflect bullet fragments, I prefer welding a hanger to the back of a target, safer than thru the plate mounting. Disadvantage to welding: has to go back to the shop for repair. Targets should hang at app 15 degrees, top edge forward, so as to deflect down. Swinging targets work better than ridged mounting.

 

The gravel truck box and loader bucket repair shops use AR 400, ore truck box repair requires lots of AR plate. I was able to scrounge some AR, mostly used. I paid the shop to cut the scraps into squares or circles. It is better to have a larger target farther away than a smaller one close.

 

Remember, safety first. Bullets should go down range only, steel can change that dynamic. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got a mixture of ar 400 and ar 500 with 2 big gongs of  hardened steel 3" thick. The gongs are holding up well but at over 500lbs a piece I don't move them often. They suck to pick up!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our knockdowns (mostly US poppers) are 3/8" AR500 with 1/2" pipe stick welded to the bottom to mount in our bases.

For static targets we've been using 3/8" and 1/2" mild steel for years, and they age pretty well with lead bullets and cowboy loads, but are getting too heavy for most of the folks willing to come out and help these days (not to mention being easily and heavily damaged by boneheads with rifles).

We are gradually changing over to 1/4" AR500 targets with a small rectangular slot centered near the top so they can hang from a hook made of 3/8" AR500.  Very much like what MGM sells for Steel Challenge if you want to see examples. 

We initially went with 3/8" AR500, but I saw another club using 1/4" 18"x24" targets that are aging very well in speed steel matches, in which they are getting worked over heavily with jacketed 9mm, .40S&W, & .45ACP, from both pistols and carbines. Since then everything I buy is 1/4" and they are much nicer to haul around.

I just go to Pacific Steel with a cardboard template or drawing and they use a plasma cutter; I've not seen any issues with wear or such in the heat affected areas.

For long range targets (and even Plainsman rifle targets) the 3/8" AR won't crater, but starts to bow pretty quick when it gets whacked with a few 405 or 500 grain bullets.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a company call Alro Steel near us.  They sell scraps.  These are frequently perfectly cut circles in a number of diameters.  I have them several  sizes for my practice range.  I use either 3/8 or 1/2 inch.  The key is to allow the steel to move a bit when it is struck.  I use a steel frame.  I drill a single hole through the top of the plate and attach it loosely to the frame with a 1/2" bolt.  This allows the plate to take the recoil rather than a rigidly mounted plate.  By mounting 5 plates, I can practice a number of different sweeps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We use 3/8 common steel.  Works fine with cast Bullets. 4x8 sheet around $250. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you only need a few, check out these   https://www.toxictargets.com/  I have used a few and they work good.  Without breaking the bank

They hang on a T post and come in 1/4" and 3/8" AR500

This one is ~ 12 x 20.  They come in different sizes, etc

 

 

toxic targets.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AR500 steel IDPA/IPSC  2/3 Traget 3/8x12x20.  From Bullseyemetals.com.  Two of these cost $92.00.

I have 5 stands that I build which gives two rows of 5.  

 

target4.jpg

target3.jpg

target2.jpg

Traget1.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used 3/8 AR 500 and had them cut into 16x16 inch squares and 16 inch circles with a plasma machine.  I welded the hangers on the back made out of 1/4 by 2 1/2 angle with a one inch hole on one side to slide onto the stands made out of 3/4 rebar.  Welded with a Lincoln 255 mig.  Turned up the heat and the wire speed from normal setting for those thickness.  Everything holding up real good under soft lead.  Even from the 45/70 at about 75 yds.  Thats all the distance I can get at my little range.  Works great for practicing CAS stages, though.

 

See ya down the trail.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have been using 1/4 AR500 for years now in cowboy matches.  I think it has been more than 4 years of monthly matches and annuals and a few of them are finally starting to bow just a little.  No cratering issues at all.  Still a lot of life left in them.  Very light to move  and very affordable compared to thicker sheets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/9/2016 at 3:19 AM, Warden Callaway said:

 

 

I've found railroad plates hold up real well. I made bullet traps out of big skidster tires. There traps have a backing plate bolted to the back side. The railroad plate is suspended in front of the back plate. I figure I recover well over 50% of the lead thrown at it.

 

I was gonna link this very video!  I'm also gonna be making a full set of practice targets this way, but ordering 10" round AR500 plates (about $25 each on ebay) to hang in em.

 

Why 10"?  Aim small, miss small.  Practice on small targets and the ones at a match will look huge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎2‎/‎25‎/‎2018 at 9:33 AM, Randingo said:

AR500 steel IDPA/IPSC  2/3 Traget 3/8x12x20.  From Bullseyemetals.com.  Two of these cost $92.00.

I have 5 stands that I build which gives two rows of 5.  

Nice stand set up, looks like something I could do. How often do you have to replace the 2x4 center post?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.