Nearly all Steel Ops targets feature a strike face made of 3/8" AR550 steel made in the United States. The only exception to this rule is that on some of our rimfire targets, such as the light-duty hostage flipper or the RF-1 plinker, we may use either 1/4" AR500 or 5mm AR600 to reduce weight. The rimfire cartridges simply do not have enough force to flip the heavier 3/8" AR550 material around. The 3/8" AR550 is superior to AR500 in many ways, however lifespan is the main advantage and we generally see a 25%-30% increase. Some companies sell 1/2" AR500 which sounds cool, but this is usually done because its low grade AR500 from overseas and they need the extra thickness to increase lifespan, we strongly recommend you avoid these products or companies. Our 3/8" AR550 stops steel core 50 BMG at 50 yards, .223/5.56 at 3 yards, and while those shots are well outside our warranty range we mention it simply to point out that when you use good steel theres no reason to use 1/2" thick plate. Buy good steel and save yourself the back ache.
Our patented set-up method for the T3RX, T5, T2, T1, and DT6 targets utilizes the target to drive the support post into the ground, just like a post pounder. We do this for speed, to allow set up on hills, and to eliminate cost/clutter of stands. Yes, some people claim that they shoot in areas "with rock and hard dirt, so this won't work".... well, move the target to different spot and try harder. We can drive these targets into frozen Colorado clay with only a few strokes. Your area may be rocky but likely not as rocky as the Rocky Mountains where we're based out of. There's almost always a soft spot somewhere. If not you can absolutely overpay for cumbersome stands. Click HERE to watch a hilarious video on how fast this set up can be.
NEVER SHOOT STEEL CORE AMMUNITION OF ANY TYPE AT STEEL TARGETS... PERIOD.
While you may have seen someone shooting our targets much closer than the distances below that does not negate the fact that we have to draw the line for our warranty somewhere, and these distances and calibers are that line. To be fair, almost all of our customers void their warranty and we still tend to work with them if theres an issue. Just use these as a guide. The below distances are recommendations only. If your target is pitting or denting move back. These rounds have all been tested inside the distances shown with no damage to the target. If you are seeing different results check your ammunition for steel composition or check whether you're using a commercially standard barrel length... a .223 out of a 30" barrel is not standard, so don't shoot that at 100 yards. If you have questions about what distance to use contact us PRIOR to shooting and we can tell you exactly where to set up so you don't ruin your target. We need to know caliber and velocity. If you don't know the velocity we can estimate it with an exact barrel length and cartidge load.
22LR: 15 yards or more
9mm: 15 yards or more
.357: 15 yards or more
.45 Auto: 15 yards or more
10mm: 15 yards or more
.204: 200 yards or more
22-250: 200 yards or more
.223/5.56: 100 yards or more
7.62x39: 100 yards or more
7.62x51 (.308): 100 yards or more
30-06: 200 yards or more
.300 Win Mag: 200 yards or more
.338 Lapua: 500 yards or more
50 BMG: 500 yards or more
***NOTE*** These distances and calibers do not apply to Hostage Flippers or Dueling Tree Flippers. Those flippers are designed to wear out over time in order to proctect the main target system from abuse. We do not recommend firing rifle calibers other than .223/5.56, 7.62x39, or .308 at the flippers and only at a distance of 100 yards or more. For handguns we only recommend 22LR, .380 Auto, .38 Special, 40 cal, .45 Auto, or 10mm and only at 15 yards or more. We do not warranty flippers in any way. If your flipper arm appears to be bending or you are getting pitting in the strike face you are too close.
The life of a target depends greatly on what you shoot at it and how close. That said we generally see at least 50k round life spans on the shooting surfaces of targets like the T3RX, T5, SNP-1, and VRSC's. All of those targets are meant to have the shooting surface rotated periodically at about 5,000 rounds. This means unbolting and flipping the shooting surface around. The more often you do this the longer your target will last. Its just like tires on a vehicle. For hostage flippers we do not guarantee a lifespan of any kind. Generally they start to fail around 300-500 rounds, however it depends on what you're shooting. If you're cool about it and we can tell that you didn't break your flipper on purpose just to get a free one then a free one is likely what you'll get. If you try to tell us that your flipper broke on the 10th round which just so happended to be .338 lapua at 50 yards we're going to ask that you come up with the ~$35 to buy a new one.
We recommend that all T-Series targets be leaned forward (towards the shooter) to assist with controlling ricochette and to increase the lifespan of the target. For handguns lean the top of the target 8"-12" towards the shooter, for rifles do 12"-16". Never shoot more than 30° to the left or right of a perpendicular line off the center of the target. Going beyond that can expose unprotected components on the back of the target.
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