Gongs, materials and acustics?


Well-Known Member
Jun 25, 2003
Aussie in Italy
I built my first gong over the weekend, it was just a quick job of welding up a frame with whatever steel I had lying around and used a bit of steel for the gong.

I learnt a lot from this experiment and now I want to build some good gongs/steel plate targets.

What I want to know is; which steels and in what specs (dimensions) will give the loudest "ding" also, which steels are most durable, what thickness to employ and what system to use for hanging, chains or solid?

I am also interested in building a "spinner" type target, has anyone got any advice to offer on this?

Any info appreciated

[ 03-16-2004: Message edited by: EXPRESS ]
One of my shooting partners designed a great apparatus for hanging our steel plates that is cheap, simple, strong and takes less than five minutes to setup.

I have a good image of it but am not setup to post images here, could send it to someone if they would be interested in posting it for everyone to see.

Have tried wood and steel, steel is better.

As for plates, in my opinion there would seem to be two routes. First, spend some money and buy some hardened sheets that will withstand a lot of abuse. Second route, and the one that we are doing, is to mooch, steal, borrow, find a good home for about any kind of cheap steel plate and shoot the heck out of it. When it is too pockmarked or shot full of holes then swap it back to the junk dealer for some fresh scrap plate.
Size - for long range zeroing, we like 2'x4' and at least 3/8" thick. 1/4" tends to buckle in the mid sectioin and is too easily penetrated by big fast bullets. 1/2" is nice but heavier and 3/4" would be fine if you can put it up and leave it in place.

Sound - not sure about quality as far as hardness goes, if the wind is wrong you will not here as good as if it is toward you.

We also use both round and square or rectangular pieces ranging from 4" to 18", usually have bases for them so that they can be knocked over.

Since we cannot leave our steel at the shooting locations we find that hanging steel is best done by simply drilling or torching 1/2" holes about 3/4" from two upper corners and simply hanging the plate by S-Hooks. Chain, wire or rope gets shot up, have heard that old fire hose is good for hanging targets, will take a lot of abuse.

Suggest hanging your targets near the ground to minimize low misses not being seen.

Also a great idea to try to have the steel hang on a bit of a forward angle so that bullet deflect downward into the dirt.

Best of luck with your endeavor. Remember to take along lots of white paint to freshen the targets.
Thanks Ian.

What size would you suggest for 500m and 1000m?

The one I made up was about 12"x12" and not enough of a challange at 342m(374yards) to bother with.

I am thinking along the lines of 3inch for 300m, make it a spinner type, 6inch for 500m and about 20inch for 1000m

How does that sound?
You will find that one minute of angle for steel target size is a very good challenge from 400 out to 700-800 with your .308. Most of our 7-800 yard plates are just over 2 minutes and they can be tough when the wind is really blowing. Past 700 I would go with bigger targets so that you catch more hits - the wind gets much tougher past 700 at least that is our experience.
Hope your new HS is working well.
What Ian just said...

At 600 yards today. the 6"H by 9"W plate was doable, but I felt more comfortable knowing I'd see every hit on the bigger 12x18" or whatever it is. I "would have" missed the smaller one once today, had I been on it, wind blew me to the edge of the large plate twice, but just caught them...

When I'm shooting for drop data, as I was today, I want to see all my hits, no matter where they go. The smaller ones (1 MOA or smaller) are fine if you just want to hear if you hit within a certain distance from POA, and if you have trouble seeing hits waaay out there.

Shot two nice 1-1.5" 3 shot groups at 400 yards with the 30-338LI before going out farther.

I'm not sure of the speed, but the bullet was a 200gr Accubond (.585 BC) about 3100-3150 fps and used 9 MOA at 600 yards to zero. The 1/2" mild steel plate was just noticably denting on the surface with no edge on the crater. They were still blowing holes through at 400 yards though.

I think Ian's "S" hook hanging system is pretty easy, straight forward. A spinner, if you had one above the pivot too, like some I've seen, would deflect bullets on up into??? I'd definitely stay with the hanging type, however you attach it.

At 1000 yards, I'd like 24" wide plates, 30" or more would be nice. 20" tall or more would be real sweet too, catches one hell of alot more bullets when you figure the variables that can cause a miss. Unless I can see where the miss went, I don't learn a hell of alot by them, just wasted shots to me. No matter where the hit the plate, I can always figure how far from my POA it was, hard to do when they aren't on there though.
Ian, mate, don't go jumping to too many conclusions yet, the rifle isn't shooting yet...

The scope has been paid for and is on it's way all the way from the US.

I was shooting the 6PPC which coincedently was printing into 37mm at 342m, which for me is pretty good, although there is room for improvment.

The shooting platform is a windowsil, (where you rest you bipod) in an old farmhouse I own, butts rested on an old table, so it's kinda improvised!

I have found another spot from which I can shoot all the way out to 1000m but each target is going to be in a different direction. Be great training, but you can't check any of the targets, hence me wanting to put gongs in.

As soon as I get the scope I'll be on here ranting and raving, then I'll repeat once I get to the range, unfortunatly I can't go at all this weekend
Pretty tough to shoot without that big NXS, hope it gets delivered soon. Sounds like steel is the answer to your shooting situation, amazing how far you can see those bullet splats.
We shoot most of our long range stuff from prone, unless we are playing with the Stoney Points to practice sitting and even standing.
Look forward to hearing how you make out, I predict you are going to get hooked big-time!!!
Warning! This thread is more than 20 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.