Steel Plates at 300 yards - A Comparison of 3/4" T1 and AR400 Plate Steel

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by Brent, Mar 13, 2004.

  1. Brent

    Brent Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,537
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2001
    As some of you know, there's quite a few guys on here that practice fairly regularly on steel plates. This is my most recent experience with some of the tougher/harder plate steels to see how they compared. I've been using 3/8" and 1/2" "mild" steel plate up to this point with not so good success until I'm at 800 - 1000 yards.

    My opinion on the usefullness may differ from others, but if you consider what I have posted below the pictures in the "description" line that I'll post links to, you'll better understand what I look for, and why.

    This is to help you hopefully help you better understand what type and thickness of plate steel you might want to look at for your particular needs or wants, and save you a step to see what works and how well it does.

    These plates here are now hanging at the local shooting range on the 300 yard line, and will no doubt be suffering quite a bit of abuse in years to come.

    Summery -

    3/4" T1 plate at 300 yards -

    Expect divots about .030 - .060 deep with a crater around the edge about the same height when using the more common high power cartridges with heavy for caliber bullets (lighter facter bullets may in fact do as much damage, maybe even more??) These were primarily tested with the 6.5 WSM using 140gr SMK's at (I forget but will edit it in later), and the 30-338 Lapua Imp using the 200gr Accubond at 3130 fps. Some groups appearing were from either the 300 WM with (I forget now) or the 338 WSM with 300gr SMK's at 2350 fps ( I also forget which groups were from this load, but on the plates their effects were close to the same, a bit less effect than that of the 6.5 and 30-338LI)

    3/4" AR400 plate at 300 yards -
    Expect .010, "maybe" .020 deep at the most craters/impressions with no raised edge at the top of the crater at all. It will barely remove any meteal from the surface of the plate, if any. A 300 WM or 300 WSM leaves litterally no damage, just paint removed.

    Refer to the "description" line below each picture for more details. Some of them are lengthy, so I won't repost it here. There's some explanation to what I used for the frame and how I attached the plates in one or more of them in case you wondered.

    Enjoy. [​IMG]

    A couple posts down are the links to the pix. I hope I'm not the only one that can access them, let me know...

    [ 03-13-2004: Message edited by: Brent ]
     
  2. Brent

    Brent Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,537
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2001
    [ 03-13-2004: Message edited by: Brent ]
     

  3. speedbump

    speedbump Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    397
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2002
    Good post & interesting stuff Brent. [​IMG]
     
  4. Brent

    Brent Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,537
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2001
    It appears I linked to the pictures only, so the "description" I refered to is not shown in that link, damnit! I'll post the proper links to the "page" below... [​IMG]
     
  5. Brent

    Brent Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,537
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2001
    [ 03-13-2004: Message edited by: Brent ]
     
  6. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,410
    Joined:
    May 3, 2001
    Brent,
    Your photos beg the question, what difference would there be if the plate was hanging by a chain, vertical vs sloped.

    We hang our soft steel plates from "S" hooks and I like to have them a couple of inches above the ground. That way we can tell low shots easily, hang the plate too high and the low shot does not show well. I have shot commercially made targets with angled plates that were extremely effective, the stand that held up the plate was somewhat flexible also, they stood up to hits perfectly.
     
  7. dbhostler

    dbhostler Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    837
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2002
    I hang my A-514 plates from 3" bolts in the corners through chains, this allows the plates to angle down. Even at 400 yds a 6 X 8 inch plate will jump a foot when hit. The "dents" look the same as Brents plates when hit by the HV boomers. In contrast, when I use a 308 Win match load all it does is knock the paint off.

    Some time ago I ask an old time silhouette shooter about hanging plates at angles to help lessen the damage to the steel and he said it won't make any difference. I ask then what do you do with the dings, he said you weld them up. Maybe this is what will have to be done when firing at closer range.

    Has anyone considered using railroad tie plates? They are very hard and would be cheap as scrap and even have prepunched square holes in the corners for hanging. I think I'll try a few and see what happens.

    db
     
  8. Brent

    Brent Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,537
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2001
    Ian

    Great question. If you could see the local range, and its layout you'd probably agree it's best with an angle to them to deflect them down, I think.

    The berms between the ranges are about 10' tall. Problem is, after years of growth, there's good size trees on top of the berms. The reason it's a "potential" problem with trees on top of the berms is just that bullets deflected up into them can pretty easily be turned back down and even reversed down into the ajoining range.

    As you know, I've used tie wire to hang my plates for some time. The nuts I welded on the back just so happen to cause it to hang with a very slight angle, hardly any at all on the larger ones really... a total byproduct of the nuts and a place to tie my wire to is all that was.

    As far as a recommendation for building in some amount of an angle to a hanging plate, I guess that's just in case you feel you need to for your situation.

    The pipe welded to the plate worked out well, but mainly was just a bit extra insurance that guys would have a harder time making off with the plates in the event they were so inclined. The range gates can be opened 24/7 by anyone with an EPM membership card (the magnetic card opens the gate), so unattended, the unscrupulous do have access to even disassemble the stand and take the plates, or the whole darn thing if they wanted to. S hooks and chains would just be easier for them to they figured, I think "that" had more to do with it than anything.

    I told them I wouldn't build any setups on the 200 yard range, as I'd never ever feel comfortable about going down past guys shooting on steel at the 200 yard range with only a berm seperating it from the 300, nor would I be responsible for erecting one on the 200 for that reason.

    They decided to push the back berm on the 200 yard range out to 300 yards this spring as a result. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] We'd push them all back further but there's a cliff just yards beyond the 300 yard mark that falls into the ocean, which really sucks. So, this range will never be any longer than 300, that's a guaranteed deal there.

    What's even more stupid IMO is, there is an airport less than 1/4 mile right to your 6 o'clock to the shooting lanes, and further behind that, there's mountains fairly close. Consequently, the downwind leg of the landing pattern is right out in front of the lanes (12 o'clock) we shoot down! Big friggin deal if the planes are at 1000' AGL in the downwind leg, what's a 1000 feet to a bullet going that fast! How they even allow it is just beyond my comprehention. Not to mention, the berms at the end of the lanes are nearly what I call dirty pit run gravel, very little fines even in the stuff. They should be dirt!

    First time you hear a bullet ricochet from another range and then fall at your "feet" when you're walking down range to your target, you become keenly aware of the danger shooting at this place! Another reason I prefer the river bar for shooting.

    The only reason they wanted the legs on the stands to be 5 feet long was because of the snow build up, and snow berms from plowing a little road to the back of the shooting lanes for people to drive down to set up targets. Snow usually isn't more than a foot or two deep really, but they plow down the right side of the lane to the 200 yards then straight across the lane, then down to the 300 yard mark on the left side of the lane for the guys shooting on the left end of the benches to shoot further out. It's ridiculous they way they plow it, and most everyone sets their target stands out in the deep snow and not in the road anyway. But, the way they do it they leave snow berms all over the place so 5' high is just another fix for a problem "they" created.

    I was going to make them frames the way your last ones were, as they're simple to set up, and work great, just the theft issue was still there. I had it all worked out just that way, chains and all, they just didn't like the idea from the get go. Hell, they even had tons of 3" thick wall gas pipe from the pipe line and it wouldn't have cost nothing for the frame materials.

    I told them about the small threaded pipe setup I used and they figured it would be deturant enough for anyone to remove the plates from it.

    I'm going to build one like you guys use for out on the river, as it's so much quicker to setup and break down each time. I don't want to leave it standing out in the open, and I don't want to keep toting the steel frame out there in my Bronco either. I figure I can pop the top off of the legs and stash everything in the bushes a few feet behind the spot we shoot. Unscewing the pipe legs etc just takes longer than it needs to.