What are the different types of steel?
A36 is the standard construction steel. This is a low carbon steel without heat treat. The hardness is about 150-180 Brinell. A36 is not suitable for any type of target use. Not even shotgun. An A36 target will crater and present a serious safety hazzard. We use A36 for our bases and stands only.
AR or AR225 is a high carbon steel but is not heat treated. The hardness is right around 225 Brinell. This is not suitable for targets either.
T1 or A514 is a heat treated alloy of hardness ranging from 235-300 Brinell. This is suitable for standard velocity handguns targets only. Magnum handguns or cowboy rifle will pit this steel. This is also ok for standard velocity shotgun with lead bird shot.
AR400 is a heat treated alloy with hardness about 370-470 Brinell. This would be ok for Magnum handguns or any cowboy shooting, pistol, rifle and shotgun. This is not suitable for high powered rifle.
T520 or AR500 or Armor plate is a heat treated alloy with hardness about 470-521 Brinell. This is the best steel targets for shooting that I know of. This will handle .308 ball ammo at 150 yards or .223 at 200 yards with minimal damage. (Steel Jacketed, Steel Core or Armor Piercing Ammo may damage the steel. Copper Jacketed Lead bullets are recommended for rifle use.). For more detail on recommended shooting distances, click here.
All Steel will warp when you shoot it. The softer A36 steel will cave in or become concave. The harder steels will become convex because you are stretching the surface when you hit it. It is important to use both sides of the target so it will move back and forth and stay relatively flat. Because of this stretching, if you weld on the back of a target it will always crack off eventually. We never weld on the target plates themselves. All of our targets bolt on so you may turn them around and use both sides. The bolts we use are grade 5 heat treated carriage bolts. These have rounded low profile heads to minimize any chance of lead spatter coming off of the bolt head.
All of our steel is “weldable” using low hydrogen or wire processes. However, if you weld on them you will soften the steel around the weld including the other side of the plate. This may cause increased damage to the target and a safety hazard from splash back. Once again, we never weld on the target plates.
Paint: All of our targets are shipped unpainted. A fancy paint job is an expense that we feel the customer does not need to pay for since you will be shooting the paint off anyway. When you receive your targets, use some cheap spray paint on them. Repaint them during use so you can see your hits. The stands and bases have a light coat of paint to prevent rust during storage and shipping.
T1 is a trade name of US Steel Corp. T520 is a trade name of Arntzen Corp.