Tag: shooting steel

Myths About Wet Steel Traps

Wet Steel Trap 1As with anything else in life, the ability to make an informed decision is based on the quality of the information you receive. The purpose of this article is to explore some of the claims associated with using water on steel funnel traps.

This information represents the opinions of Action Target based on the experience and observations of our range consultants and engineers. We encourage you to conduct your own research and speak with other users about their experiences with the various bullet trap technologies presented before drawing your own conclusions.

CLAIM #1: You can use any type of ammunition on a wet steel trap.

It has been reported that frangible ammunition may cause problems with wet funnel traps because the powder created by certain types of disintegrating bullets can mix with the water and harden into a cement-like substance resulting in an extremely difficult cleaning process.

CLAIM #2: Wet steel traps eliminate lead dust on your range.

If a bullet strikes an area on a wet steel trap where the water and oil mixture is flowing (like on the bottom plates), the amount of lead dust generated at the trap on initial impact may be reduced. But if the bullet hits on the upper plates where no water is present, lead dust can be generated much the same as on a trap where no water system is in use. Also, lead dust containment systems such as water are meant to deal with lead on the bullet trap itself. They typically have little or nothing to do with emissions at the firing line or other areas of the range.

CLAIM #3: Wet steel traps capture all pullets whole and eliminate splatter and ricochet.Wet Steel Trap 7

The gently sloping angles of steel funnel plates do help prevent bullet breakup on initial impact, but bullets can also fragment into small pieces once they enter the rear chamber and strike more steel surfaces inside. Also, many designs include a vertical edge at every seam where two chambers meet and are attached to each other. Deflectors are typically used to protect these vertical edges, and bullets can fragment more significantly if they strike these deflectors. Our observations would indicate that the degree of bullet fragmentation is mostly related to the velocity of the bullet. Slower pistol rounds may be able to be captured more whole when using a primary decelerant or lubricant such as water, but faster rifle rounds tend to disintegrate whether the water is present or not.

CLAIM #4: Wet steel traps are more environmentally friendly.

A doctor’s first and fundamental responsibility is to do no harm and to not make a difficult situation worse than it already may be. The same can be said for a bullet trap. Because lead disposal is already difficult enough for most shooting ranges, the last thing we thing a bullet trap should do is to complicate the matter by mixing the lead with other substances such as water, oil, chlorine, or antifreeze.

CLAIM #5: Wet steel traps function equally well indoors and outdoors.Wet Steel Trap 9

Referring back to claim #4, it can be much more difficult to contain all potential contaminants generated by a wet steel trap on an outdoor range. Rain, snow, ice, wildlife, leaves, twigs, and other clogging debris can complicate matters when operating outdoors.

CLAIM #6: One piece welded funnel plates are better than modular funnel plates.

If everything is welded together on site, you can end up with a bullet trap that is much more difficult to service or repair should anything go wrong. Long, continuous sheets of plate steel can be more prone to stress fractures and cracking than shorter, modular plates. That is one reason why bridges and overpasses are often formed by bolting together multiple modular pieces. When modular funnel plates and joint systems are properly designed, you get a strong and maintenance-friendly bullet trap that requires no sacrifice of safety or performance.

CLAIM #7: Funnel plates mounted at a 12 or 13 degree angle function significantly better than funnel plates mounted at a 15 degree angle.Wet Steel Trap 6

If a 12 or 13 degree slope is better than a 15 degree slope, then isn’t 11 better than 12? Why not drop to 9 degrees? Or 7? Since every degree you go down can increase the cost and the front-to-back size of the trap, there is a point at which you can reach the point of diminishing returns. All other factors being equal (steel hardness, bullet trajectory, etc.), our high speed video tests do not reveal any significant difference between impacts at 12 or 15 degrees. Although it is possible to install an Action Target trap with plates mounted at either 12 or 13 degrees, we believe 15 degrees to be optimal for most uses.

CLAIM #8: A 30-inch diameter in the circular deceleration chamber is better than a 26-inch diameter.

Following the same logic, why not use a 40-inch diameter? Why not 50? Again, it is important to weigh multiple factors such as performance, cost, and space. Action Target believes that the most important thing about a chamber is that it effectively contain rounds, that it have a good service life, and that it can be easily serviced if and when the need arises. We believe our chamber design achieves these values in an optimal way.

CLAIM #9: Wet steel traps don’t require much maintenance.Wet Steel Trap 8

Regular maintenance should be expected with any bullet trap, regardless of the materials used. Just like anything else, range equipment must be properly cared for to keep it working.

The wet steel trap designs we have seen include a water pump, spray nozzle, and filter systems that should be regularly maintained. Potential debris like cardboard, paper, wood, and shotgun wads can certainly be a problem if they are introduced into these systems. Lead should be removed from the collection system and disposed of properly. And we recommend you account for any exposure the lead may have had to water, oil, chlorine, or antifreeze. Water sources should be maintained and you should deal with any potential sources of flooding or leaking. In some cases, an external settling pond or a drainage tank with a waste trap may be needed to keep contaminated water from entering the sewer system. Finally, you should consider any additional effect the potentially higher humidity may have on your ventilation system and any HEPA filters.

 

NOTE: None of the photos used in this article are of Action Target bullet traps.

Action Target Releases New Line of Rimfire Steel Shooting Targets

Executive Video SummaryAction Target announces seven new reactive steel targets designed for rimfire ammunition.

PROVO, Utah – Action Target is pleased to announce the release of a new line of steel targets specifically designed for .22 rimfire ammunition. The new Rimfire Steel product line includes seven reactive targets in addition to the rebranding of three existing targets (Rimfire Dueling Treecart Small, Rimfire Spinning Jackcart Small, and Rimfire Plate Rackcart Small).

1280x500 rimfire web banner

This announcement comes in conjunction with the start of the 2013 SHOT Show in Las Vegas where the Rimfire Steel linecart Small is being debuted in Action Target’s exhibition booth.

“With the rise in ammo costs, we’ve been getting a lot of requests from customers for a greater variety of targets specifically designed for rimfire ammunition, so we decided to add an entire product line to meet the demand,” Chad Burdette, Action Target’s portable target product manager, said. “With the release of seven new products at once, this is our biggest launch ever, and there is no better place than SHOT Show to do it.”

The new targets in the Rimfire Steel product line include the Rimfire Rectanglecart Small, Rimfire Buffalocart Small, Rimfire Mini Gongcart Small, Rimfire Tactical Torsocart Small, Rimfire Hostagecart Small, Rimfire Tactical Hostagecart Small and Rimfire Bullseyecart Small.

The shooting surfaces of all the Rimfire Steel targets are made of through hardened 1/4″ AR500 armor steel, a slightly thinner version of the 3/8” AR500 armor steel Action Target uses to manufacture its handgun grade targets. While 1/4″ armor steel is capable of handling greater ammunition loads, the reactive portions of the targets (which are painted light blue) are engineered to function best with the force of .22 rimfire rounds.

“We wanted to set our Rimfire Steel line apart from other .22 targets,” Burdette said, “so we built them to last for years and added blue paint to create a signature look people can recognize.”

The Rimfire Steel product line gives customers access to the durability and quality design of Action Target steel targets at a lower cost with prices ranging from $45 for the Rimfire Spinning Jackcart Small to $165 for the Rimfire Bullseyecart Small to $225 for the Rimfire Plate Rackcart Small.

Those attending SHOT Show can receive free shipping on the Rimfire Steel line or any other portable target by ordering at Action Target’s exhibition booth. The new targets will also be available for purchase online starting Tuesday, Jan. 15.

About Action Target Inc.

Action Target Inc. is a privately owned business headquartered in Provo, Utah. As the world leader in shooting range technology with more than 4,000 products and 40 patents for the systems it designs and manufacturers, Action Target has installed thousands of shooting ranges across the United States and in 25 other countries around the world. Action Target also designs systems and conducts firearms training for law enforcement and various military divisions. For more information on Action Target, visit www.ActionTarget.com. To learn more about Action Target products or to purchase items online, visit www.store.ActionTarget.comcart Small.

Action Target at the 2013 SHOT Show

shot_show_logoExecutive Video SummaryIt’s that time of year again where the entire firearms industry gets together in Las Vegas for a whole week of fantastically exhausting SHOT Show fun. Here at Action Target, we’re putting the final touches on our booth and loading up for a week in Vegas. If you’re attending SHOT Show this year, make sure to stop by and check us out (booth numbers 10564 and 10562). Here’s a look at what we’ll have going on.

The event kicks off Monday the 14th with the SHOT Show Media Day at the Range held at the Boulder Pistol & Rifle Range in Boulder City. Action Target is the official target sponsor of Media Day at the Range and will be providing brand new steel targets for new firearm demonstrations and, of course, entertainment. More than 1,000 media members from the hunting and shooting industry will be present at the range for a full day of shooting demonstrations, product releases, and firearms fun.

Because there will be hundreds of live firearms at the range, safety is absolutely paramount. To promote gun safety, Action Target will be presenting the 2013 Action Target Safety Award. This award will be given to the exhibitor that holds to the highest standards of safety during SHOT Show Media Day at the Range. Each exhibitor will be judged by a panel of safety auditors who will give scores based on firearms safety practices during the event. The award will be presented to the winner at Action Target’s booth (10564) on Wednesday at 10 a.m.

This year we will also be debuting new products like the whole line of Rimfire Targets specifically designed for .22 rimfire ammunition. In addition to the Rimfire Spinning Jack, Rimfire Plate Rack, and Rimfire Dueling Tree, we’ve added seven new reactive targets to the line. All of the new targets will be available for purchase online and in our SHOT Show booth starting January 15th. Take advantage of our free shipping offer by purchasing any of our portable targets in the booth.

1280x500 rimfire web banner

In addition to free shipping, our booth will feature several industry celebrities like NUTNFANCY, “Evil Roy” Gene Pearcey, Rob Leatham, and more! NUTNFANCY will be in the Action Target booth all day Tuesday. Stop by to get an autograph and a picture.

Even if you aren’t attending SHOT Show this year, you can still be a part of the action by following our updates on Facebook Facebook and Twitter. We’ll keep you posted on all the product releases and industry news.

We hope to see you there!

10 Ways to Prevent Wildfires While Target Shooting

More than 20 wildfires have been started by target shooting this year in Utah alone with dozens more started in Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Washington. Many of those fires could have been prevented or stopped had the shooters been prepared. Here is a list of 10 things shooters can do to prevent wildfires while target shooting:

  1. Bring a bucket of water – This may seem obvious, but often, shooters fail to bring enough water to put a fire out. A five gallon bucket of water at the ready while shooting could prevent a disaster if a fire does start. We recommend placing the bucket near the targets you’ll be shooting. That way, if a fire starts, you won’t have to waste precious time carrying a heavy bucket all the way to where your targets are set up.
  2. Shoot on quality steel targets – Action Target’s steel targets are designed to minimize risks to both the shooter and the environment. The flat target surface with no exposed clamps or brackets allows for a predictable bullet splatter, and the 30 degree angle of the target plate forces bullet fragments down toward the feet of the target. Uneven shooting surfaces produce unpredictable splatter and ricochet which increases the surface area exposed to sparks and hot bullet fragments.
  3. Place your targets on dirt or gravel – Make sure your target is placed on a level, unvegetated surface of dirt or small grained gravel. Placing a target in tall grass increases the risk of fire.
  4. Don’t shoot trash – Trash like old couches and TVs can often be found on public land but are dangerous fire hazards when shot. Because there is no hard surface to cause the bullet to break up, hot rounds can build up inside and create enough heat to cause a fire.
  5. Don’t shoot with steel core ammo – Ammo that contains a steel core will spark when it hits a rock or a steel target. To avoid any chance of sparking, do not use steel ammunition and avoid shooting in rocky areas.
  6. Bring a shovel and an old blanket – Use the shovel to dig a trench around your targets before shooting to ensure that any fire caused by sparks can be easily contained. Place the blanket near the targets you’ll be shooting so it’s easily available if needed. A blanket is one of the best ways to smother a fire and can be even more effective than water.
  7. Never shoot exploding targets – Binary exploding targets made of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder (commonly known as Tannerite when combined) are popular among recreational shooters, but can be highly destructive. Never use exploding targets in flammable areas. Exploding targets (listed as “other pyrotechnic devices”) are outlawed on public lands by the Bureau of Land Management’s Fire Prevention Order.
  8. Don’t use incendiary or tracer ammo – Incendiary and tracer ammo are also outlawed on public lands by the BLM’s Fire Prevention Order. Any ammo that “burns” can easily ignite grass and brush and should not be used in flammable areas.
  9. Don’t smoke – Even if you’re following all safety precautions in regard to shooting, you can still easily start a wildfire by smoking. If you’re shooting in a dry location, make sure that all cigarette butts are properly extinguished or avoid smoking at all.
  10. Park your vehicle away from dry grass – Several fires this year have been started by vehicles parked over grass. Many people don’t think about it, but the hot undercarriage of a car or truck can easily create enough heat to ignite dry grass.

About Action Target, Inc.

Action Target, Inc. is a privately owned business headquartered in Provo, Utah. As a world leader in shooting range technology with more than 4,000 products and 40 patents for the systems it designs and manufacturers, Action Target has installed thousands of shooting ranges across the United States and in 25 other countries around the world. Action Target also designs systems and conducts firearms training for law enforcement and various military divisions. For more information on Action Target, visit www.ActionTarget.com. To learn more about Action Target products or to purchase items online, visit www.ActionTarget.com/store .

Action Target’s Tactical Torso

Action Target is pleased to announce its newest target – the AT Tactical Torso. The AT Tactical Torso is the upgraded version of the popular AT Torso. With two swinging plates to simulate the lethal head and center mass zones, you get instant visual feedback from hitting the right spot. Unlike similar targets, you do not have to shoot the swinging plates back into place. The two plates swing vertically from hinges above the shoot zones allowing them to fall back into place after each hit.

The AT Tactical Torso’s target-within-a-target design is perfect for realistic tactical training situations. Instead of just firing at a large torso target where anything that hits counts, the AT Tactical Torso forces shooters to focus their aim on the small lethal areas of the torso increasing accuracy and precision.

The torso and swinging plates are made of through hardened AR550 armor steel with no exposed bolts, clamps, or brackets allowing you to shoot safely without fear of ricochet or splatter. The rear hinge brackets are also made of armor steel (AR500) to minimize wear and tear from daily use and provide you with a lifetime of tactical training.

Get your AT Torso today!

More Photos

 

Action Target Reveals First Reactive Steel Target Under $50: The Spinning Jack

You asked for it, so we’re giving it to you: our first reactive steel target under $50. The Spinning Jack is the perfect target for recreational shooters and families, and at the super low price of $35, it’s affordable on almost any budget.

A great portable steel target for shooting with the whole family! The Spinning Jack combines the simplicity of a static target with the excitement of a reactive target and is guaranteed to provide hours of fun.

The Spinning Jack is a safe way to enjoy shooting with the family without having to go down range to reset or replace your target. With alternating circle and square plates, the jack spins in its stand when shot so there is always an exposed paddle to engage. Made of 1/4″ AR500 armor steel, the Spinning Jack can be shot with anything from .22 rimfire to .44 magnum.

The Spinning Jack comes in three pieces with no assembly needed. Using the provided foot step, pushing the frame into the ground is easy and doesn’t require the use of a hammer. Once in the ground, all that’s left to do is place the jack in the hole at the top of the stand and watch it spin with each hit.

Get your Spinning Jack now!

Action Target Steel vs. Backyard Targets

During tough economic times, many shooters decide to create or build their own steel targets to save money. With more and more companies and individuals manufacturing steel targets, the water has become increasingly muddy where accurate information is concerned.

Safety should always be the highest priority when choosing or building a target. Action Target’s steel target product line has been developed in conjunction with law enforcement and the U.S. Military for the last 26 years so it is time-tested and proven to withstand even the most intense firearms training.

Steel is Steel Right?

Action Target Line of Fire Static Steel

The hardness of the steel is so critical because only a smooth surface will generate predictable splatter patterns. Steel that is not sufficiently hard can develop pits, craters, dimples, and other hazardous deformations. When a bullet hits one of these deformations, it is impossible to predict where the splatter will go, thereby creating an unacceptable training environment.

Many times, shooters find an old piece of steel in their garage and think to themselves, “I can make a good steel target out of this!” While, you may be able to shoot and hit the target, with no problems, it may not always be the safest option every time.

Action Target Steel Target Design

Because steel target training is extremely effective, we have spent years combining high quality materials and practices in order to create innovative, effective, and safe steel target systems.

Our target designs include:

  • Made exclusively of the finest through hardened 500 and 550 Brinell steel with proper alloy elements that produce the required toughness and depth of hardening. In other words, they can withhold more rounds and they remain solid. The more craters and dents a steel target gets, the more unsafe it becomes. This is because its splatter pattern and ricochet is no longer constant and predictable.
  • Designed with smooth and flat shooting surfaces for consistent and predictable bullet splatter patterns. There are no dangerous brackets, clamps, or bolts to get in the way and to deflect rounds in unforeseen directions.
  • Designed to rest at a downward sloping angle, allowing for dissipation of bullet impact energy.
  • Designed to move when struck allowing for even greater dissipation of bullet impact energy.

Pay Today, Save Tomorrow

Steel targets in general are great investments. Action Target’s steel target product lines aid shooters with their pocketbook. Although these targets can cost more up front, they save money in the long run. Because they are made out of the best steel available, steel targets last much longer than a homemade target would.

In addition to our top quality products, we offer promotions, discount codes, and other types of savings to help our fellow shooters stretch their shooting budget needs. To learn more about Action Targets award-winning line of steel targets, visit https://www.actiontarget.com/portable-targets.

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect (Part 1)

BY ABNER MIRANDA

Editor’s Note: Action Target has republished this article in its entirety with the permission of the author. Ideas, comments, practices, recommendations, etc. are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of Action Target.

Last year I attended a shortened version of the world famous Rogers Range Course (RRC). It was put on by High Caliber Training in Crittenden County, AR. In law enforcement, pistol craft is your bread and butter and reactive shooting is a must-have for the modern officer. Reactive shooting is the condition in which you cease to think about engaging the target and just do it. The course of fire at the RRC is comprised of seven, pneumatically operated targets across five shooting stands that are staggered from seven to 20 yards. The shooter stands inside a framed doorway inset in a wall that runs the length of the multi-bay RRC. From this position, you fire nine challenging courses of fire, during which 8″ steel targets are only exposed from .5 to .75 seconds each. Those times are tough considering that a precision shooter’s reaction time to hit a target, from a security holster, is about 1.5 seconds. Upon leaving the course with a final score of around 70%, if memory serves, I was stunned that “a top notch shooter who is accustomed to scoring no less than in the high 90’s would score so poorly.” OK, all drama set aside, the fact is that at the RRC a 70% is pretty darn good considering just how hard this kind of training is. I spoke with Bill Rogers at SHOT Show 2012 and he told me that it was a respectable score. So there you go. Now I feel better.

Upon returning home from the RRC I knew that I had to incorporate those things that I’d learned into my weekly training time on my home range. It was then that I reached out to Action Target and requested to borrow some of their steel targets. I have, since then, cast off all of my paper targets, except for zeroing purposes and have gone to all steel. Why you may ask? Once you transition to steel you will NEVER go back to shooting paper…ever! Nothing is better at giving the shooter instant feedback than hitting a reactive steel target.

Practice Makes Permanent

After a solid year of looking for a piece of property that would allow me to shoot unfettered, I found a 3.5 acre piece of land in southeastern Tennessee that fit the bill. Since moving in I have set out to create a range that allows me to do all of the things that I could never get away with at my LE range. Cars, house doors, cinder blocks, watermelons, body armor, and armored glass—you name it, we shoot it. With multiple barriers and about 17 reactive steel targets, I have the range that I’ve always wanted. By incorporating the training that Bill Rogers has laid out in his courses, I have started honing my shooting skills and am now passing these skills onto my friends and family.

There is a saying in shooting that goes “perfect practice makes perfect.” Most of us are accustomed to hearing “practice makes perfect.” However, time has shown us that practice only makes permanent. In other words, repetition makes something permanent—it doesn’t make it right. When you were a kid learning to play baseball, how many times did you hear your coach yell “keep your eye on the ball!”? Through devotion and arduous repetition, the moment finally arrives when the young athlete hears the crack of the bat and sends the ball sailing over the outfield. Within 300 milliseconds of the success, the mind forms a positive neural pathway and stores the muscle memory labeling it “success!” Bill refers to this similar phenomenon in shooting as Positive Instant Recognition (PIR). PIR in shooting, just as in sports, must be recognized immediately or else the mind won’t record the success as such. This is easy in sports because you can see, feel, and hear the contact with the ball. In shooting, PIR is almost impossible to achieve because a fired shot that misses a paper target sounds and feels exactly like one that pierces the 10 ring. So how does one achieve PIR in shooting? Ditch the paper targets and go to all steel. With the instant feedback of ringing steel, the shooter gets the PIR that’s desperately needed to form a positive neural pathway.

Dueling Tree (front) [web]No one makes steel targets better than Action Target. I have been using their target systems for several years now and have grown accustomed to the sound of steel registering a hit from hundreds of yards away. Of all of the products that Action Target makes, I find the Dueling Tree the most versatile. Not only does it offer an exhilarating speed challenge while shooting up close, it also offers a positive swinging action that can be easily seen from far away. Available in AR550 through-hardened steel capable of absorbing rifle fire, the Dueling Tree offers years of training in an affordable target. Refacing these five-foot tall targets is as easy as spray-painting the bullet hits away.

To read the rest of the article and to hear more about Abner Miranda’s innovative use of Action Target’s Dueling Tree Targets, please refer to next week’s Action Target Journal article.

About the Author

Abner Miranda is a patrol officer at Signal Mountain (TN) Police Department. He is an FBI-trained hostage negotiator, a tactical rifle instructor, and an AR-15 armorer.

Removing Roadblocks with the Action Target Academy

In 650 B.C., Archilochus said, “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training.” Although this saying is thousands of years old, it still holds true today. In a way, it governs Action Target in its training development.

Action Target Academy LogoAction Target developed the Action Target Academy (ATA) to provide world-class firearms and range development training to agencies and individuals throughout the country who have not had the opportunity to train with Action Target Portable Targets. The entire foundation of Action Target’s approach to firearms is embodied in the Action Target Academy. In today’s industry, there are many roadblocks to having successful firearms trainings, but ATA courses examine the challenges facing today’s firearms training requirements, shooting range management issues, and also demonstrates how using modern shooting range equipment helps alleviate roadblocks, creating safe and efficient firearm programs.

Action Target found recent success through their academy. Both the Phoenix Police Department and Maricopa County in Arizona invited Action Target to come and teach some of their firearms instructors. The course gave both law enforcement departments a chance to experience a full line of portable targets under various scenarios that tested and evaluated their combat shooting skills. In addition to learning how Action Target Portable Targets can be used in everything, from basic marksmanship to advance combat tactics, both groups participated in live fire drills, creating a more realistic approach to training. More importantly, they learned how easy designing an effective job-related firearms training scenario can be. ATA realistic training scenarios prepares shooters for the real thing and also allows participants to mirror the psychological response of combat stress, helping them to define how they would engage in real life combat.

Host an Action Target Academy event and learn more about topics such as: the realities of today’s gunfight, qualifications versus training, legal and financial consequences of inadequate training, shooting range design, and equipment. To find out more about removing the obstacles keeping your agency from training as you would fight, please visit: https://www.actiontarget.com/shooting-academy or contact Richard Matthews at richardm@actiontarget.com.

Shooting Steel Targets (Part 3)

*Note: This is the last segment of our three-part series entitled “Shooting Steel Targets.” Part One was published in September and Part Two was published in early October in the Action Target Journal.

Many people are hesitant to shoot on steel targets because of bad experiences they have heard of, been the victim of, or witnessed. Over the years, Action Target has been approached time and again by those who have access to steel, welding equipment, and the ability to shoot on their property. Each and every time we hear similar scenarios: I cut up this piece of steel [usually 1″ thick or greater] to use as a target. It should stop the bullets, but they either go right through it or cause unsafe ricochet and splatter.”

That would make anyone a little skeptical to shoot on steel, wouldn’t it?

So, as we publish the concluding segment of information dedicated to shooting portable steel targets, it is vital to include some facts about steel. We have included some information about what steel actually is, the hardness and quality associated with different ratings of steel, and some truths about steel that affect safety.

With more and more companies and individuals manufacturing steel targets, the water has become increasingly muddy where accurate information is concerned. With technical data provided by the American Iron and Steel Institute in Washington D.C., this report is designed to cut through the recent hype and establish a basis of fact for accurate evaluation and comparison.

What is Steel?

Steel is an alloy metal composed of iron and varying amounts of carbon and/or other elements such as chromium, nickel, tungsten, manganese, and so on. Steel with specific properties and characteristics is created by adjusting the overall chemical composition or by altering the various production processes such as rolling, finishing, and heat treatment. Because each of these factors can be modified, there is potentially no limit to the number of different steel recipes that can be created. Currently, there are over 3,000 cataloged grades or chemical compositions of steel available. Steel can utilize a wide variety of alloying elements and heat treatments to develop the most desirable combination of properties.

Steel Hardness and Quality

For steel targets to be functional and safe, they should be made of high-quality through hardened steel that has a minimum Brinell hardness number (BHN) of at least 500. The steel must also provide sufficient strength, toughness, and impact resistance. The Brinell hardness test depends upon the resistance offered to the penetration of a carbide steel ball (1.6 mm diameter) when subjected to a weight of 12.6 kg. The resulting hardness value is computed as the ratio of the applied load to the area of the indentation produced. This test is accepted as a worldwide standard for measuring the hardness of steel.

Truth: There are Two Factors that Affect the Hardness of Steel

The first is the amount of carbon and other alloying elements in its chemical composition, and the second is the manner in which the heating and cooling of the steel is manipulated. These factors are determined at the most fundamental level and affect the finished steel as a whole.

Truth: Steel Hardness Is a Critical Safety Issue

The hardness of the steel is so critical because only a smooth surface will generate predictable splatter patterns. Steel that is not sufficiently hard can develop pits, craters, dimples, and other hazardous deformations. When a bullet hits one of these deformations, it is impossible to predict where the splatter will go, thereby creating an unacceptable training environment.

There are many steel mills located around the world, but only a select few are able to produce steel that is hard enough and of sufficient quality to be safely used for steel targets. HARDOX / SSAB, Bethlehem-Lucas, Oregon Steel Mills, and NKK are major producers of such steel. Each of these companies may have minor proprietary differences in their production methods, but they all must make sheets of hard steel in essentially the same way.

Nevertheless, some suppliers of targets and shooting range equipment attempt to muddy the water and create perceived differences in steel quality where none exist. One particularly misleading claim refers to AR steel as “surface hardened” only. We state the following with all possible force:

Despite the inaccurate claims, AR steel is NOT surface hardened. It is through hardened. Witness the quotes listed below from steel suppliers around the country.

  • Heflin Steel: “Heflin REM 500 abrasion resistant plate is a premium grade wear plate, ideal for extreme abrasion coupled with resistance to impact. REM 500 plate is through hardened up to a 3″ thickness for maximum hardness and abrasion resistance.” (Source: http://www.escocorp.com/heflin_steel/wear/materials.html)

Note: These companies are steel suppliers, not manufacturers or producers. They buy steel from the actual manufacturers like HARDOX / SSAB, and then re-sell it to their own customers.

Action Target uses only high-quality, through hardened steel with a Brinell hardness rating of at least 500, and we use it in every one of our ballistic steel products.

Be careful not to get caught up in the “more is better” mindset. Just because a Brinell hardness number (BHN) of 500 or 550 is good, it does not mean a rating of 700 is better. While you must use steel that is hard enough for the task, going overboard only impacts your checkbook and not the product.

For more information on portable steel targets, Action Target has created one of the most comprehensive documents on the subject. The Action Target Steel Resource Guide (PDF) provides details on the properties of steel, how they relate to steel targets, and why they are important and so much more.

If you are looking for information about a specific target, visit our Portable Targets page of our website.

Shooting Steel Targets (Part 2)

*Note: This is the second of a three-part series entitled “Shooting Steel Targets.” Part One was published in the Action Target Journal in September and Part Three was published in October.

Action Target produces the finest and most sought after portable steel targets in the world. As a world leader for shooting range development, our steel targets have been developed in conjunction with law enforcement and the US Military for the last 26 years. As a result, our steel targets are among the safest around, which allows you to predict splatter patterns and ricochet. We do not allow any exposed bolts or brackets on the shooting surfaces. This is a limitation to many designs, but the result is the safest possible steel target available.

Why are portable steel targets important?

Instant feedback reinforces positive behavior and programs muscle memory. Just like hitting a baseball, your body subconsciously remembers how to orchestrate all the variables required for a successful shot. If you do not get instant feedback, your mind and body are not able to accurately correlate which variables produce positive results, and which produce negative results. The more senses you involve in the process, the more powerful and more rapid the conditioning becomes.

Sight

The target shouldAction Target 3-D Targets bounce, spin, rock, wobble, explode, fall, or give some other visual indicator when hit. High contrast paint on a shooting surface will increase visual feedback, but paint must be reapplied frequently. Paint can also be used to reduce visibility if desired.

Targets do not have to be made of steel to provide visual feedback. Plastic can provide some of the same effects, and cardboard targets can be equipped with various types of hit sensors. Balloons by themselves can be simple reactive targets, and they become even more effective when used with a three dimensional cardboard torso like our reactive 3D Target .

Sound

Steel is required for a target to produce a “gong” sound when hit. The size and thickness of the steel will affect the quality of the sound produced, as will the method by which the target is mounted or suspended. If the target is mounted so it is not too restricted and can move when hit, the gong will be louder and more effective. Although quality steel targets will cost more upfront, the savings in training time and ongoing cardboard and paper target replacement will more than pay for your original investment.

Shoot More, Waste Less Time

Action Target Evil Roy Practice TargetIn addition to providing effective visible and audible indicators when hit, steel targets greatly enhance the steel efficiency of your training as well. Instead of changing out paper or cardboard targets, you can spend more time actually shooting. The 30 or so minutes you save each day really add up over the course of a year, especially if you are working with a large department.

If You Build It, They Will Come

A final benefit of reactive targets is the pure entertainment factor. This may seem frivolous, but it can provide an enormous benefit to your training program. Would you rather shoot holes in paper all day, or would you rather participate in tactical shooting scenarios that involve movement, communication, and targets that drop, fall, spin, dodge, and charge you? The more enjoyable the training process is, the more often people will come to the range.

If you are looking for information about a specific target, visit our Portable Targets page of our website.

Shooting Steel Targets (Part I)

*Note: This is the first of a three-part series entitled “Shooting Steel Targets.”  Part Two and Part Three were published in October.

As the world’s leader for shooting range development, Action Target has a diverse line of products to meet the needs of all its customers. If there is ever a request for a target system not currently offered, we have a full team of Research & Development personnel to explore the creation of a new target solution. Many times, however, the training need can be met with some of the simplest targets.

Line-up of AT Portable Targets

Action Target has been hailed as the #1 steel shooting target manufacturer based on our unique designs, which have been developed and modified over 26 years. Our steel targets have been influenced, tested, designed, and used extensively by law enforcement, the military, and Special Forces groups around the world. These groups prefer our steel targets since they do not allow any exposed bolts or brackets on the shooting surfaces. This is a limitation to many designs, but the result is the safest possible steel target available.

When using any of our portable steel shooting targets, please remember these safety guidelines to ensure that your experience of shooting targets is a fun and safe one:

STEEL TARGET SAFETY RULES

1.         Always obey the Firearms Safety Rules listed belowMan shooting with PT Swinger

2.         Always wear hearing protection and wrap-around shatter resistant eye protection

3.         Always stand at least 10 yards from the target when using handgun calibers

4.         Always stand at least 100 yards from the target when using shotgun slugs

5.         Always stand at least 100 yards from the target when using rifle calibers like .223 and .308

6.         Never use rifle calibers on handgun rated targets

7.         Never use ammunition that exceeds 3,000 feet per second at the muzzle

8.         Never use ammunition that travels below 750 feet per second

9.         Never shoot BB’s, steel shot, or air gun pellets at steel targetsMan Shooting Bobbers Over Shoulder

10.       Never use more powerful ammunition than the target is rated for (green tip, armor piercing, etc.)

11.        Never shoot on steel that is cratered, pitted, or damaged in any way

12.        Hard ground surfaces under the target should be covered with plywood or boxed pea gravel

13.        Targets should be placed with a 3-foot lateral and deep offset from the adjacent target

14.        If shooting multiple targets, the angle of engagement should not exceed 20 degrees

15.        Use only non-toxic paint on steel targets

16.        Inspect all targets before use for damage, functionality, etc.

17.       Shooters and observers must wear long pants (no shorts), long sleeve shirts, a cap or hat with a brim, and closed toed shoes

18.        Instructors and observers should stand behind the shooter and observe all safety rules

19.        If using frangible ammunition, it is the responsibility of the Rangemaster to test fire all frangible rounds to determine the following:

  • That the projectile pulverizes completely on contact
  • That the projectile does not damage the steel target at the distances you intend to shoot from

For more information about our steel targets or the importance of safety while shooting targets, visit our Portable Targets page on the Action Target website.