AR500 10″ Steel Target

AR500 10″ Steel Target

Part of my personal training is learning to quickly and accurately engage a target at distance. Both with the AR platform, and my Remington 700 in .308. To make that training more effective, I felt I needed to start using steels for that near instant feedback. Below is my first of what I expect will be many steel “gong” style targets.

This steel was purchased off of eBay. There are many shops offering steel targets, some at fairly reasonable prices and some that would quickly clean out my pocketbook. Since I was just testing the water with steels and I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, I went with what was cheap…pretty much like many of us do when we want to get into something we aren’t sure of.

This target is made from AR500 steel, and is 1/2″ thick and 10″ around. I went with the 1/2″ because I knew I’d be hitting it with .308, and sharing it with friends who may have much more powerful rifles. I figured 10″ round was a good starting point that would be easy to hit with pistol at 25 yards, AR15 at 100-200, and still visible and challenging  for scoped .308 at 300-600 yards.

Here is how the steel showed up at my door. A little surface rust, but clearly a solid piece of metal! The triple bolt holes give me many options for hanging/mounting. So far it feels like I’m getting my monies worth.


Close enough to 1/2″ for our needs.



For the quick and dirty test, we just used some camo bungie cords I had in the car, I’m pretty sure these were on sale for $3 at Harbor Freight.


A quick coat of Rustoleum white – This paint came highly recommended by steel shooters. The Rustoleum has a higher solids/pigment content and covers the steel with less spray, and is supposed to stick to the steel longer than cheaper paints. It’s easily spotted by the naked eye at 200 yards.


The results speak for themselves. After a couple dozen .308 hits at 200 yards, and many, many .223 hits, the steel is still solid and ready for more! The bungie cords however, didn’t fair as well (as expected). Close inspection showed some very slightly dimpling of the steel; I was honestly surprised at how little considering I was shooting some *hot* 168gr FMJ target loads. The only real injury was when the .308 hit the very edge of the targets, this being due to the laser cut edge being a little brittle from the heat. Not a big deal at all, and quite expected.




So, my thoughts on this…seriously, I can’t believe I didn’t go with steels sooner! I feel this was a great investment, and I expect this inexpensive steel to last for thousands upon thousands of hits – I think I’ll run out of bullets long before I run out of steel. Since taking this trial run, I’ve of course upgraded to hardened chains and grade 8 bolts to properly hang the target.  This was about $75 for this one steel, and I can easily see me buying 2 more, one smaller and one larger, for distance shooting. Plus a whole set of “reactive steels” for pistol shooting. In 2013 we’re going to be looking into different brands of “popper” style steels and see what stands out as great deals for the typical shooter that doesn’t have a range already setup with steels.



One comment

  1. dean5101

    Just bought one now for this weekend, will get at least one more if it goes down to $100 next month:

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