Long Range Steel Thickness


Well-Known Member
Dec 12, 2013
Parker, Colorado
I'm getting ready to buy some long range steel but have questions on thickness. I'm shooting magnum cartridges (28 Nosler, 300 Win mag, 270 WSM, 6.5 WSM...) It would seem that the closer the shots the thicker the steel plate and the farther out you can go thinner. Does anyone have info on Steel thickness going from say 500 yrs out to 1000 in 100 to 200 yard increments? Also recommendation on Height and Width would be good too? Perhaps there is just one size to get. Your advice please?
If you do AR500 material you could probably get by with 3/8". I have both 3/8" and 1/2" and the only difference it make is the amount of swing you get out of the plate. I only have 10" plates(deer vital sizish)
I have 3/8" ar500 at longer distances say 800+ it works fine. I would like to try some 1/4" just to see, it should give a bit more ring.
Speed kills steel, once your velocity has dropped down a bit you can def go thinner.

I use their 16" round, 1/2". I do not shoot it within 400 yards with any caliber. I typically shoot 6 and out with my 7mm and 300 RUM. I have zero complaints and have no trouble hearing it ring at 900 with hearing protection. 230 Berger out of my RUM is very noticeable at that distance. I'm no longer concerned with it being too heavy.
I have 4ft x 4ft x 1" ar500 plate mounted on a small trailer backed by 6ftx6ft timbers. Move it with atv to whatever distance you want
At 800 yards I shoot at a 20"x 20" plate in 5/16" thick (AR400), the bigger plate is nice when there is wind. Been shot with several magnum rifles and works good.
3/8" ar500 is what I use. It's manageable and still swings with lighter calibers. I like to train with 223 and 204 so seeing some movement is nice. I run 10x10 on smaller plates with a 3" dot and 20x20 on large plates with 5 3" aiming dots. Below is the larger plate and an example of how I use it.


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When I had a 1000 yard range we used 1/2" AR500 from 300 to 750. We shot it with magnum cartridges all the time. No issues. 12" x 12" to 750 yards then a 20" x 30" plate at 1000, the 20 x 30 plate is 3/8 mild steel and the magnums dimple it pretty bad but no passthroughs yet.
3/8" 400 or 500 brinell plate will get you where you need to be. If you are shopping the local steel yard to cut you own AR400 is going to be more common, if buying off the shelf targets it will probably be AR500. I shoot all 3/8" AR400 because I get it from work. It is fine close range (30-50 yds) for small caliber like .556 and pistol rounds, and 200 yds out for magnum rounds.
Go down to a local steel and metal supplier. Ask for a remnant of hardened steel. Its as good or better than AR500. I buy pieces in that are 12x20 inches. I use 3/8" thickness.They have to use a plasma torch to cut them. I pay about $20 per piece.. I bought a $15 drill bit for hardened steel and drilled a few holes, bought $10 of chain and hung in a tree. This target has about 150 rounds fired at it, and hardly a mark. I only shoot at it 300 yds and further. But it has been hit out to 800.


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I have 1/2" plates from 400-1000 in 100 yard increments. I wish I would have gone with 3/8" from 700-1000 bc the 1/2" plates are so heavy they don't give much swing or much of a sound Honestly I may even try 1/4" at 900 and 1000. All AR 500 steel
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