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About Steel Targets

Setup:

Place the target away from buildings and other objects you wish to keep free from debris. The target will deflect lead and copper at roughly a 20 degree angle. Keep this in mind when choosing a location to place a target. The target must have a proper backstop behind it to stop misplaced shots. Always consider what is beyond the target and place it in a safe direction.

AR500 Steel Targets

For pistol use place the target no closer than 10 yards, magnum calibers should be used at 25+ yards. For rifle use place the target no closer than 100 yards. When using rifles place the target further away as the muzzle velocity increases. The velocity of the bullet will deteriorate the target more than the weight. High velocity rounds (3000+FPS MV) or magnum calibers should only be used at longer ranges of 200 yards or more. Always check for damage when setting up for rifle, move the target back if damage occurs.

Steel Targets General Considerations

To provide you with a better price our targets are shipped unfinished and unpainted.  Typically one side of the target will be cleaned to facilitate a cleaner laser cut.  The targets may have mill scale and light surface rust(due to transportation and storage).  The mill scale is due to the heat treatment process that AR500AR550 steel goes through to bring the hardness to 500/550Bhn.

We feel the added cost to finish or paint the target is not worth the additional cost.  This allows ShootSteel.com to provide you with the finest laser cut targets at an outstanding value. 

The majority of our products are made entirely from USA made steel, with a select few products using steel made in North America and Europe.  We work with a select few mills that provide what we feel to be the best AR550 available.  Not all AR550 is the same, even if it has the same hardness.  Each mill has slightly different alloys and heat treatments.  

You may hear other target companies claim to use armor plate or ballistic tested steel.  We order from mills that provide this service but opt not to have them tested.  The main reason is the test has nothing to do with long term durability. The ballistic testing is simply to see if the steel is safe to use in armor applications.  It would only be tested for a few hits on each test plate.  Our targets are designed to last thousands of hits not just a few dozen.  Keep this in mind when other companies claim to use armor plate. It is likely the same steel they just paid more for a test that has nothing to do with how a target performs long term. They simply have no clue what AR550 is, how it is made, what it is made for and what the differences are between the types. 

We sell targets and target stands.  We aren’t a fab shop that thought it would be neat to sell a few steel targets.  We design all of the products with long term durability and affordability in mind.  We also test the products before selling them.  In testing our competition it is obvious that they either do not test the products or do not test them in the same way we do.  We have had the competitions targets fall apart in a matter of one day of testing.  Or they simply do not perform as stated. 

Caution: Bullet fragments may come towards the shooter and spectators.  All persons in the area must have ear and eye protection.  Bullet fragments may cause harm to shooters, spectators and objects near the target. 

Use steel targets at your own risk.  Shooting at steel targets can be dangerous and caution must be taken to ensure safety.

ShootSteel.com only uses CNC Laser cutting on AR550 steel targets.  Some of you might ask why.  Here is a quick explanation.

AR500 steel is an abrasion resistant steel often used in mining, material handling and other high wear applications.  Due to its material properties AR500 steel also makes great rifle grade targets.  The steel is actually quite different than the usual Cold Rolled and Hot Rolled varieties you may find at the hardware store.  AR550 steel is specifically alloyed to yield the properties that make it so useful.  In addition each sheet goes through a heat treatment process to bring the hardness up to 550BHN.  Hot and Cold rolled steels are shipped as-rolled and are NOT heat treated. 

When steel is cut heat is generated.  Heat is the enemy of hardness.  You are essentially annealing the edges of the plate when heated under cutting temperatures, this area is called the heat affected zone (HAZ).  The less heat that is induced into the part the smaller the HAZ.  Laser cutting uses a highly focused beam of energy to cut through the steel.  This introduces very little heat into the part, creating a very small HAZ.

Laser cutting also has low setup costs, often making it more economical that waterjet cutting.  Waterjet cutting is an acceptable method for cutting AR550 grade steel.  The heat generated in waterjet cutting is minimal due to the large amounts of water flowing over the material.

You may also see other companies using water submerged plasma.  This is an economical form of cutting designed for metals such as abrasion resistant steels.  Water submerged plasma does generate a HAZ that is greater than any of the previously mentioned methods.

The cheapest and one of the worst ways to cut AR500 and AR550 grade steel is Plasma.  Plasma cutting generates large amounts of heat that is deposited into the target, softening it's edges.  The HAZ generated by plasma cutting is the largest out of the most commonly used methods for cutting abrasion resistant steel.   You might ask why any shop would use Plasma cutting on AR500 grade steel.  The #1 reason: COST  Plasma cutters are cheap and relatively compact compared to other methods.  CNC plasma cutters can be purchased for just a few thousand dollars.

Keep this in mind when shopping for steel targets.  We cut our targets with a laser for a reason – to provide you with the finest steel targets available.  Beware of companies that are plasma cutting targets, you are not getting the same quality.