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Morning all,

Just getting started with SASS and I am hoping to draw on the experience of long time shooters to help determine some parameters for getting some new targets put together.  Not new to shooting, but most all my experience is with more modern firearms, so I need to account for the different bullet weights and power levels most commonly used in cowboy action.  What I'd like to add to the range is  a short/medium range target (maybe out to 50 yards) that will knock over with pistol caliber round, but still hold up to a bigger bore rifle, something like 38 special on the low end to .45-70 on the upper end.  Any recommendations for target thickness and/or steel choices?  The size/profile of the target will most likely be either hog or buffalo shaped, if that makes a difference.  Any sources for such targets would be appreciated, otherwise I can cut the plate if need be.  Thanks in advance.

Regards,

Johnny Knight

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Take a look at MGM Targets and Evil Roy Targets.  I would not bother with knock downs for rifle and pistol rounds but recommend them for shotgun targets.  You should be able to see hits on a pistol target.  My 45-70 hits on a 145-yard target at the 4-Corners Regional were easy to see without a spotting scope.  For practice I would just use round or square targets.  Targets made with mild steel don't last long.  Avoid rebar for target stands.  Targets made from half a gas cylinder are durable and ring loudly when hit.  I would consider these for a long range target if you had a suitable backstop.

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You will get tired or expensive (with automation) trying to reset a knockdown target past 10 yards.  One target standing alone is rarely used in SASS - start thinking arrays of 5 of the same shape, and it gets VERY useful for practice.  So, if you want to hit 'em with mild 45-70, you need 1/2" thick AR-500 alloy steel for the target face.  No .38 spl would even begin to tip over that target, so as recommended by ERSC above, think stationary targets on sturdy stands.

 

Because of the expense of making a target to handle large bore rifle, most folks buy practice targets JUST for cast bullet pistol caliber ammo, which lets you drop to a 3/8" thick AR-500 steel.   Half the price, just about.

 

Go to a couple of SASS matches and take pictures and measurements of what you are shooting on!  No need to reinvent the simple wheel.

 

good luck, GJ

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Shipping steel targets is going to get expensive really quick.  The most economical way I found was to find a steel fabrication company locally that has the ability to cut AR500 steel without destroying the heat treatment.  Water jet etc.  They probably won't have AR500 in stock so they will have to order a 4x8 sheet of it.  Calculate how many and what size targets you want utilizing the whole 4x8 sheet since you will be paying for it anyway.  Also, make sure they cut a 1/2" hole in it for hanging.  We use 3/8" AR500 steel for all of our targets.  Very durable and still able move it around.  It's been a while since I bought AR500 targets but I'm guessing you are in the range of $1,200 for a 4x8 sheet of them.

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Many things to respond to. AR 500 and you'll be happy.

being able to come up with a knockdown at 50 yards for "light" 38 caliber loads and stand up to 45-70 is going to be tough.

The cowpersons shooting a pistol target at 50 yards may not get a favorable acceptance!

We shoot a lot of big bore in our cowboy stages. We bought 12" round well casing pipe. 24" long. We welded a round pipe across the inside at one end. It then it placed over a steel target stand that won't fall over when hit with a large caliber.

Badlands has it. Find a local steel scrap for large pipe or a steel fabrication place.

When we replaced all of our targets we bought 4-4X8 sheets of AR500/ They waterjet cut it to our specs.

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Posted (edited)

These are not a large target by any means, however I believe they will work for your purpose. We use them for pistol, rifle and shotgun in our WB matches. Our targets are mounted on rebar legs. MGM has several styles and prices, but at $55 these are pretty nice in my opinion, free shipping when you order 5. They reset just fine or you can remove the spring for knock downs. Also look at MGM's competition grade targets. 

 

It's my belief that a 45-70 at 30 to 50 yards would be fine, but it will be a small target, not a large target.

https://mgmtargets.com/product/sportsman-auto-popper/

Tully

image.png.468c9983408b7bc85122df57967472b2.png

Edited by Tully Mars
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Well, it is sounding like a hanging target will be way to go and just rely on sight and sound to confirm the hit.  Not trying to build a better mousetrap, just checking to see if there is one out there that I wasn't familiar with.  I've used AR500 in both 3/8" and 1/2" for my regular targets, but was wondering if it could work as a versatile knockdown.  Thanks for the input everyone!

Johnny Knight

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Rotometals made me some targets, AR550.  Square-round at different sizes.  They cut mounting holes.  

Cost for 14" square was about $50

https://www.rotometals.com/ar500-steel-targets/

 

Champion target stand.  Uses 2x4

https://www.midwayusa.com/s?searchTerm=target+stands&filters=4294964880

 

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Know a farmer with worn out disc plates? They ring like the dickens and stand up to my AR's out past 150 yards. A 45-70 won't mark them at all. 

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I should be able to track down the disc plates, I was just looking at a stack of them two weeks ago at a local auto swap meet.  Thanks for the suggestion, since that is something I can leave set up all the time.

Johnny

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Unfortunately I have experience with that, I put together a dueling tree for pistol rounds and one of the folks I had let come out to shoot at my place thought it was a bright idea to use his armor piercing rounds out of his 7.62 on it.  Not only punched holes in the plates, but shot through the angle iron and holding tubes behind it.  No accounting for some folks.  Needless to say, he wasn't shooting unsupervised after that....

Johnny

 

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Hey Johnny

Make sure you go to some local Cowboy matches and observe what they are using for target shapes and distances before you make your own targets for practicing.

Scout

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Posted (edited)

I recently built a couple of new swinging target stands for shooting rifles at short range (20-30yds). I think these could be great for longer range because they move so much when hit, so they are easy to see. However, they don't work well for rapid follow-up shots because they can take a few seconds to settle down.

0419211706.thumb.jpg.64d45ff23e817349790c58f345a37993.jpg

 

My prototypes were not built for durability, and I don't think the EMT conduit and ropes will last long. But you could upgrade to black pipe and chain/cable to hang the targets. Larger gong targets will ring well, and with 3/8" plates, you should see plenty of movement out to 50 yds with very light loads.

 

With the way the targets are suspended, they will absorb a lot of the impact, so I think you can get away with lighter plates (3/8" thick) that will help the light loads still move/ring them. Mine are 1/2" thick.

 

I did not expect much from the prototype, but it worked surprisingly well and took hits from .45-70, .30-06, and other rifle calibers from about 25yds without any issues on our first test.

 

You can also get hangers/brackets for a 2x4 frame. There was another new shooter (Popcorn Kelly) who made a great how-to video for his practice target setup, and something like that could work well too.

 

supply list for my prototype:
1x set of brackets from Atlas

4x gongs (on clearance from Xsteel) (4", 6", and 8" squares pictured)

30' of 3/4" EMT conduit

~40' retired climbing rope

8x 3" s-hooks

8x zip ties (to hold the ropes in place on the top support)

Edited by C.N. Double
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4 hours ago, C.N. Double said:

I recently built a couple of new swinging target stands for shooting rifles at short range (20-30yds). I think these could be great for longer range because they move so much when hit, so they are easy to see. However, they don't work well for rapid follow-up shots because they can take a few seconds to settle down.

0419211706.thumb.jpg.64d45ff23e817349790c58f345a37993.jpg

 

My prototypes were not built for durability, and I don't think the EMT conduit and ropes will last long. But you could upgrade to black pipe and chain/cable to hang the targets. Larger gong targets will ring well, and with 3/8" plates, you should see plenty of movement out to 50 yds with very light loads.

 

With the way the targets are suspended, they will absorb a lot of the impact, so I think you can get away with lighter plates (3/8" thick) that will help the light loads still move/ring them. Mine are 1/2" thick.

 

I did not expect much from the prototype, but it worked surprisingly well and took hits from .45-70, .30-06, and other rifle calibers from about 25yds without any issues on our first test.

 

You can also get hangers/brackets for a 2x4 frame. There was another new shooter (Popcorn Kelly) who made a great how-to video for his practice target setup, and something like that could work well too.

 

supply list for my prototype:
1x set of brackets from Atlas

4x gongs (on clearance from Xsteel) (4", 6", and 8" squares pictured)

30' of 3/4" EMT conduit

~40' retired climbing rope

8x 3" s-hooks

8x zip ties (to hold the ropes in place on the top support)

Way cool. 
when you finish the project to your satisfaction I would really like to see it. 
Regards

:FlagAm:  :FlagAm:  :FlagAm:

Gateway Kid

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Posted (edited)

With vertical faces to reflect fragments, I would expect some higher than normal splatter problems, which might limit them to 50 yards or longer distances.  Just because they will swing does not mean the dynamics of hits at 1400 FPS or higher will overcome the inertia of the plate in the first couple of milliseconds when splatter occurs (they will appear to be fixed in that time period).

 

good luck, GJ

Edited by Garrison Joe, SASS #60708
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