Homemade Steel Targets
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  1. #1
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    Homemade Steel Targets

    I have a friend that has a private range on his farm. He has made a set of falling plate targets for the pistol range and a several animal shaped & sized steel targets for the rifle range. The animal targets are made of 3/4" plate and so far have not been damaged but the pistol targets are 1/4" hardend plate but they are getting pretty beat up.

    Anyone on here ever made their own steel targets? If so what steel did you use and how did you cut them?
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    Re: Homemade Steel Targets

    I'll be interested in any responses to this. I shot the .22 silhouette league at my gun club last year and thought about making my own targets as well.
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    Re: Homemade Steel Targets

    I have been looking into making our own. Those plates though are expensive as heck though!

    The real trick is the design of the target with the type of steel being a close second.

    You want something that will deflect rounds into the ground... and that will absorb energy. For example a steel plate posted up on a fence post will have to be really good steel.

    A steel target angled down slightly will be a little better.

    A target that can say flip over, or spin, or whatever, will dissipate energy more without damaging the steel as much.

    Long story short, your design can make it possible to use lesser thickness and lesser quality of steel.

    A 12 inch square of hardened steel that I looked at was $35 bucks. Steep.

    The design matters just as much if not more than the actual metal.

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    Re: Homemade Steel Targets

    The ones we bought last year are AR500, abrasion resistant steel with a brinnel hardness of 500. 400 is supposed to be OK for handguns, 500 good for rifle at 150+ yards. There wasn't much price difference so went 500. That said in a rimfire match 17HMR did ding them slightly at 20 yard.

    We paid something around $130 for 6 6" rounds. we got ones predrilled so we can hang them, or prop them up when setting on the ground. We haven't tried centerfire rifle on them, and may never, our main purposed of getting them was for 15-30 yard handgun and any surface dings & dents would ruin them for close range. Any dings/dents make the splatter unpredictable so unsafe for up close.

    David

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    Re: Homemade Steel Targets

    For our backyard range we use about any steel we can find as long as it is at least 3/8" thick. We scrounge the scrap yards, one guys work, anywhere we can find some. Luckily we have an old farming buddy that has a plasma cutter but most of the time we get them already cut.

    We weld a short piece of 1" black pipe close to the top and hang them on old swing sets, through a piece of all-thread or re-bar, this lets them hang a slight downward angle to keep deflections downward and use more black pipe to space targets. We then set them up at varying yardages.
    They hold up to hand gun fine, up to .45acp and .357mag. Have shot through some with high power rifle while goofing off. Dents and holes can be welded up but you should quit shooting if the target starts getting bent concave, or it will spit lead back. As with any shooting safety glasses are a must.

    Has worked great for 5+ years.


    Here is one that we redid Saturday. Sorry not better pics, took them with my cell, to send to a buddy.










    Stallard

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    Re: Homemade Steel Targets

    I went online and looked up steel targets to get a few ideas for making my own. Prices range all over the place depending on manufacturer and design. The rack for the falling plate targets is something I'm interested in trying to make. I could buy the targets but the racks are expensive. The plate the targets sit on is interesting as it looks to be an inch thick and has a knife edge to deflect rounds to the ground. That would be expensive even if you made the rest.
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    Re: Homemade Steel Targets

    In steel fabrication, the hole being punched in steel has to be larger diameter than the thickness of the steel, or the hole has to be drilled instead of punched.

    Which would mean you couldn't punch a clean hole through a 1/2" steel plate with a 7/16ths inch punch. However, bullets may be an exception to this rule as they don't use a .50 cal steel penetrating BMG to punch holes!

    I recently bought a premade triple knock down reset steel target with 3 1/2" diameter round paddles for handguns. Targets are 3/8 inch thick steel and was disappointed to read the instructions which said to be 30 yards from the targets when shooting and use lead bullets only, not jacketed. This target may last a long time for me at 30 yards with a handgun.
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  9. #8
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    Re: Homemade Steel Targets

    Quote Originally Posted by Jake3501
    In steel fabrication, the hole being punched in steel has to be larger diameter than the thickness of the steel, or the hole has to be drilled instead of punched.

    Which would mean you couldn't punch a clean hole through a 1/2" steel plate with a 15/16ths inch punch. However, bullets may be an exception to this rule as they don't use a .50 cal steel penetrating BMG to punch holes!

    I recently bought a premade triple knock down reset steel target with 3 1/2" diameter round paddles for handguns. Targets are 3/8 inch thick steel and was disappointed to read the instructions which said to be 30 yards from the targets when shooting and use lead bullets only, not jacketed. This target may last a long time for me at 30 yards with a handgun.
    Did you get the setup from Cabelas? I saw a Rimfire Version and centerfire pistol/rifle advertised in one of their recent catalogs.
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    Re: Homemade Steel Targets

    No, I got a setup from Academy for $39.95 I think. I haven't been off in the boonies to try it out yet.
    "Color Me Proudly Deplorable!"

    "We the Government, By the Government, For the Government!"

    The Tree of Liberty needs to be refreshed from time to time with the blood of socialists and tyrants, it's time to fertilize the tree....Jake

    Dead Squirrels flag no tails! Jake

    "Be Patriotic, Buy A Gun!" Jake



  11. #10
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    Re: Homemade Steel Targets

    I made a swinging target which deflects bullets to the ground. Has a 4" dia and a 8" dia target, each burned from 1" hot rolled plate. The only thing to ever get the 8" plate to completely spin was a 12 gauge slug. A friends .300 Win. mag put a hole through the 4" plate at 100 yards. I have welded and ground the plates several times over the years to remove craters and clean up the edges. Will try to post a pic this weekend when I move it.

    Word of caution: Do not shoot heavy steel targets with jacketed ammo at close range. The jackets can / will come right back at you. My cousin shot the 8" plate at 30 yards with my SKS (7.62 x 39). The jacket came back and hit him in the shoulder leaving a red welt through an insulated Carhart, flannel shirt and t-shirt. Certainly could have put an eye out or worse.
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