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improvised steel targets

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by Ben Beckerich, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    howdy

    wanted to stock up on some good steel targets, but not wanting to actually PAY for them, i figured i'd see what improvised steel you guys are shooting at

    being a carpenter, we've been saving saw-blades for years... make great handgun targets, but the hole in the middle can be a little troublesome- allows for a bit of arguing, during shooting games :rolleyes: every once in a while we get some small steel plates left over from steel framing, but that's a very rare thing now that i'm all residential.

    we used metal trash can lids for BB guns when we were kids... don't hold up quite as well to real bullets, though. and eventually the neighbors stop buying more lids.

    we used to get nice 18" or so diameter baseplates of some kind of thick, softer steel... it'd pock up pretty bad, but being a couple inches thick, it lasted for quite a while. but then they started bolting 'em down, so that ended abruptly.

    mostly hoping somebody has an innovative source for thick slabs of steel?

    what else you guys use/have used?
     
  2. YFZsandrider

    YFZsandrider Tacoma, Wa Member

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    I shoot at my neighbor's car.
     
  3. RJP

    RJP Hillsboro New Member

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    Growing up we used railroad tie baseplates and put them back-to-back. This would make them more durable and you could always just flip it if one side got dinged up too bad. If I remember correctly a .308 wouldn't go through it if it was suspended but a .338 would no matter what. Also you could ask your local steel shop fabricator for any decent thick sized scraps, thats what I did.
     
  4. EZLivin

    EZLivin SW of PDX Well-Known Member

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    Aren't you concerned that the bullet will ricochet back and hit your own vehicle?

    I gave up trying to find scrap that was the right thickness and hardness to work for shooting. Finally ordered some basic square targets from these guys bigdogsteel.com . They will probably last longer than I will (and hopefully I am not going away anytime soon). Pretty inexpensive considering the amount of use they will receive.
     
  5. shawge

    shawge Portland New Member

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    I use my worn out brake rotors and drums. I get a few uses out of them before they are too far gone and give them a quick rattle can paint job between outings to see the new hits.
     
  6. Ballistic

    Ballistic Salem, Oregon Active Member

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    Leaf springs are nearly indestructable. The best a Mosin with steel core bullets could do is a shallow crater. My friend's .223 left no visible mark; we had to find the copper shine to figure out where the bullet hit.
     
  7. darkminstrel

    darkminstrel PDX Well-Known Member

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    Well my idea is a 1-shot solution and really for short range plinking; we use a ton of #10 cans. I take the tops and bottoms, run them around the sander and just tape them up to a stand.
     
  8. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    I'm wondering about used manhole covers.. would be super heavy, though

    Probably shouldn't have mentioned it. Now people will be falling into the sudden holes left after the OP and his buddies get to work :smash:
     
  9. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    i've used tin shingles.. of which i generally have thousands.. but, as with tin cans, they're basically one-shot reactive targets. good for games, not much good for drilling.

    ---

    i like that leaf spring idea.. and those can be pillaged fairly easily. probably stick 'em right into the ground, eh? i bet they sing pretty good when hit, too.
     
  10. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    i've been wanting to get my hands on those huge steel slabs they use to cover roadwork holes for a while. but, alas, if it's actually covering a hole, i can't bring myself to call the boys. :eek:
     
  11. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    It's amazing that they are not stolen quite often.. steel is spendy these days
     
  12. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    the weight is the biggest issue... i think those things are like a full inch thick- so a 8x10 sheet weighs about 3,440lbs. you'd need a LOT of beer for that.
     
  13. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    i just found this in craigslist- Steel Stock

    at $.30/lbs, a 2'x2' 3/8" slab would be $20.... that's not a bad deal at all. dunno what kind of steel, though, or what dimensions are available. i'll probably give 'em a call on monday.
     
  14. das_napeth

    das_napeth Snohomish, WA Member

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    While doing the type of work that uses the roadway plates I'll say that there is a very good reason it is put in place with a excavator or backhoe. Nice when one gets decomissioned. Also, the bottom of broken plate compactors work well and like before brake rotors. I cut mine up like a pie shape and use just one lug hole to tie it up for rifles.
     
  15. speelyei

    speelyei Willamette Valley Active Member

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    +1 for the railroad tie baseplates. All you need to do is take a short walk on any railroad and you're likely to find more than you can carry.

    I also just keep an eye open for anything that looks like a good target. I once found a bunch of I-beam material on a bridge construction site, 20"x 36" and about 3/8" thick, the Supervisor just gave it to me.
     
  16. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    now that i think about it, they've been doing some hard core railroad work on the line going through town here.. replacing huge sections of rail and more ties than not, and leaving a ton of crap lying around. i bet there's quite a few baseplates scattered all over the gravel, if somebody else hasn't pillaged them already.
     
  17. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    Same here.. the old rail line is slowly being converted into a bike path.. the end is very near me, will have to get out there and look. How big are these plates?
     
  18. CarlMc

    CarlMc Safely north of Seattle Active Member

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    A buddy and I were out in the woods one day; he had a 223 and was shooting at a piece of stout iron some 50 yds away. Right after taking a shot, he dropped his rifle and started cussing like mad, holding his shooting shoulder. Seems the jacket had wadded up and rebounded as an intact ring, embedding itself into his shoulder.

    Your target needs to have some give to it. In his case, the iron didn't move at all, and the jacket made it back fast enough to leave a nice ring scar on him.

    I don't need to mention the eyewear aspect, but having a target that can swing around and absorb the energy of the impact is very important. That movement also helps the bullet and jacket not make it back to the shooter, since it tends to divert the energy over a wider area, breaking up the jacket in the process.
     
  19. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    So what I'm seeing here is you need suggestions on new places to pilfer your steel for targets,cause the places you used to lift them from got smart.

    Or am I missing something?

    And BTW,with the price of steel these days,there aint much left laying around
     
  20. Ben Beckerich

    Ben Beckerich NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    sound like he probably hit right smack in the middle of a pock... it's pretty rare for splash to come straight back like that, suspended or not.

    if if you're gonna shoot steel, you pretty much need to be prepared to get splashed on every once in a while. those baseplates i mentioned in my first post used to rain back a little bit of lead, even from a buck fifty out. we never got any jacket back- just little lead and probably some steel from the plate. eye-pro is an absolutely crazy must, for sure.. and you're definitely right about movable v immobile- a suspended target will absorb more energy, thereby robbing any splash or ricochets of more energy than simply splacking into an immovable steel plate. still isn't a guarantee, but it helps.

    i cant find it now, but i recently saw a diagram accompanied by some doable equations on steel hardness, angle of deflection, and fragmentation... according to that thing, if you angle the plate 20* down, most of the shrapnel is deflected into the ground, rather than the round exploding equally in all directions. but it also pointed out the angle of deflection changes quite a bit, so that IF you were to hit a pock squarely, fragments going UP would actually be angled back toward the shooter in a tighter arch- with a lot more velocity behind them. if shooting at a perfectly vertical plate, by contrast, you're likely to get more material overall sent back in your direction, but those fragments will eject at a substantially higher arch. think artillery versus mortar.

    just something to think about. wish i could find that damn diagram.