AR500 Steel Targets
Of the different types of steel used to make targets, the AR500 is one of the best steels for use as a target. Why? AR500 is one of the most impact and abrasion resist alloys available. I’m sure there are harder alloys, but for use as a target, it’s the best you can get. Look around online and you will find many shops selling steel targets of various shapes and sizes to suit your needs. AR500 steel targets aren’t the cheapest, but they will last you a lifetime if used as intended.
Up until last month, I had shot my share of targets made from paper, cardboard, soda cans, beer bottles: you name if, I’ve shot at it. However, I felt it was time for me to step up and finally invest in some quality steel targets. After conducting my research, I found an eBay seller who was selling 10″ round AR500 steel targets at a reasonable price. I needed six targets and since this seller was offering quantity discounts, I contacted eBay seller James at Target_Zone. After we settled on a price, I paid him and within a few days, the targets arrived in the mail. Thanks to Target_Zone for a great deal and the fast shipping!
The targets I received were in perfect condition. The edges were cut clean without any burrs. The targets came unpainted, 10″ in diameter and 3/8″ thick with two drilled tabs at the 10 and 2 o’clock position for hanging. I weighed it at 8.5lbs, but I think my scale wasn’t reading it correctly because it seemed alot heavier than that.
I took an old can of Rustoleum glossy white paint and gave it a quick spray. The targets can be used as is, but having a white surface makes it easier to see the hits, especially at a distance.
I chose these targets over some of the other AR500 Steel Targets available online for a few reasons. First of all, I really liked hanging tabs. When compared to some of the other designs, the steel plates from the Target_Zone appeared to be the sturdiest. The hanging tabs were also in a position I felt would fit my hanging stand design better. Second was the cost. Target_Zone offered a quantity discount so I contacted James with Target_Zone who responded with a deal I thought was a very fair deal.
These steel plates are also 3/8″ thick and able to handle both pistol and rifle caliber rounds. Since I planned on using both, getting a thinner target wasn’t really an option. Anyway, after getting the targets painted and ready to shoot, I built this DIY Homemade Target Stand to hang the targets from.
After about 30 minutes of cutting lumber and assembling the target stand, I was ready for some testing. A couple of later, I had a chance to get out to my buddy’s ranch for some testing. After a day of training by 6 shooters using various weapons, the AR500 Steel Targets really showed their value.
These AR500 Steel Targets held up very well to hours of use as seen in the picture below. Note: both sides of the targets were used.
As you can see, the only real damage to the target was the paint that I had sprayed on. If you click and enlarge the picture above, you will notice some slight dimpled areas. These dimples were caused by silver tipped 7.62 x 54R rounds shot out of a Mosin Nagant at a distance of 77m. The manufacturer recommends these targets be shot at a minimum distance of 100yds with a rifle. Again, I shot it at 77m. Not a big difference is distance, but also not a big deal for me to have minor dimples on the targets.
Apparently, when using a plasma cutter to cut AR500 steel, it weakens the steel near the immediate vicinity of the cut. This proved to be true as one of the rounds that hit the edge of this target took out a 5.56mm chunk out off the edge.
There isn’t much more to say about these AR500 steel targets other than it was money well spent. On this particular trip, I shot at 2 of the 6 targets I purchased and after a full day of shooting, they show very little sign of wear. They are definitely one of the more fun targets to shoot when compared to paper or anything else I can think of off the top of my head. They cost a bit more than other targets, but after your initial investment you can use them for a lifetime, refreshing them as needed with alittle bit of spray paint.
So if you like to shoot and have thought of getting some steel targets, consider getting a set made from AR500 steel. Don’t know any sources? Give Target_Zone a look. James (owner) is a fair vendor and he’s right here in the US. And if are even remotely handy, check out DIY Homemade Target Stand and build yourself an easy target stand.~ John, Modern Bushman>