A Look At Steel Targets

How Targets are Typically Used
Practice setup (basically what 6.5 Guys use): 3 circular pieces of steel ranging from 1.5 to 3 MOA (based on distance) is all you need to practice the fundamentals as outlined in our training article (Practice Made Perfect). Combine these targets with some type of hanging system and you are set.

JC Steel targets has designed a product bundle of targets and hangers that makes for a great starter kit and Len Backus's LRH Store handles it.

Just look for the 6.5 Guys Package. All you need is a T-post (commonly used for fences) to get started which you can find at any home improvement or ranch supply store. While you can technically hammer T-posts you’ll quickly get tired of that technique – spend the money on a proper T-post driver.

Home range setup: If you can legally shoot on your property, there are some quick and inexpensive options. If pistol or rimfire is your game, there are inexpensive target hanging systems available that go over a 2x4. 2x4 hangers are nice because you can construct a portable shooting stand or a whole plate rack for a minimal cost. You can combine these hangers with just about any target of your choice and you are good to go.

Long range setup: If you have access to large stretches of public or private land, you can easily set out targets past 1,000 yards. IPSC targets are popular, but so are simple geometric shapes.

Whatever your choice of target, the most flexible arrangement utilizes T-post hangars. Throw the targets and some T-posts in the back of your vehicle and you can be shooting in short order. Teardown is also easy. If you want to add an additional dimension to your shooting, consider a spinning target of a dueling tree. Spring back targets are very popular because they make some very satisfying noise.

Safety Considerations
In layman's terms, when a rifle bullet impacts an AR500 Steel target at high speed it generates heat and disintegrates into many small fragments. For those reasons, always wear eye protection and never shoot steel targets with a center fire rifle closer than 100 yards or with a pistol closer than 15 yards.

Only shoot at trusted AR500 Steel. When shooting steel, especially at close range, it is important to have the flat and smooth surface that AR500 gives you. Mild steel or lesser quality steel is dangerous to shoot particularly at closer ranges:

  • The surface of mild steel craters easily and this can direct bullet fragments back toward the shooter.
  • Bullets can penetrate mild steel and be deflected in an unsafe direction.
Wear gloves when handling targets. Besides avoiding cuts and scrapes, they will keep the lead off your hands.

Steel targets seem to be popping up everywhere and for good reason: They are fun, economical and can help you be a better shooter. Just set them up with a fresh coat of paint and you can spend an entire day shooting without having to leave your shooting spot.
An internet search will show a number of steel target vendors and we trust that the information presented in this article will allow you to make an educated purchase.

Besides choosing a vendor based on technical merits, we would encourage you to select one that actively supports the sport, the community and demonstrates a willingness to help their customers come up with the best assortment of targets to meet their needs. These tend to be family run businesses so there is a possibility to establish a long rewarding relationship.

We extend our thanks to JC Steel Targets for providing technical information and guidance in the writing of this article.

Remember – Life is an adventure…stay on target!

[/FLOATRIGHT]6.5 Guys chronicles the journey of two middle aged men (Ed Mobley, Steve Lawrence) in the Pacific Northwest as we strive for excellence in our chosen sport of precision long range shooting. While working our day jobs and providing for our families, we want to see how far we can take our pursuit with a bit of concerted effort. So far the results have been very promising. While shooting well is icing on the cake, it’s the journey and the people we meet along the way that are the best part of the adventure. We believe that we are providing something unique as we take our audience along for the ride. You will observe first hand as we figure out what works and doesn’t work for us. Hopefully you can apply our experiences to something that you are trying to achieve in life, be it shooting or something else. That’s why we came up with the tag line “Life is an adventure…stay on target.” In other words, set a goal, remain focused, and enjoy yourself along the way. 6.5 Guys