Concerning steel targets, I don’t think they’re complicated: shoot at smooth capable steel responsibly (by responsible, I mean not shoot stupid close with FMJ 5.56mm), and they’ll last a long time. What seems to differentiate manufacturers are: consistency, innovation, and customer service.
When I think of innovation and customer service — I usually think of TacStrike Steel Target Systems. From what I’ve seen, I really like how they incorporated 1×2 or 2×2 uprights in their steel target stands eliminating the need for extra stands for cardboard/paper targets. Whether or not if they’re the first to do this, I’m not sure.
MGM makes quality targets, with wonderful variety to choose from.
With that said, I have yet to buy steel targets for myself. I usually bum them from friends with MGM Targets. What seems to be a primary issue are the bullet holes the post inevitably takes. It won’t be long before he’ll need to replace the post on one of the MGM 1/4 scale targets. TacStrike’s approach is adding an armor plate — reportedly with good results.
There are other manufactures out there. Grizzly Targets offered to ship me an auto-reset popper sometime in January. With SHOT Show, I lost track of the offer. Fortunately, Grizzly Targets caught up with me again in March to offer their IPSC AR500 plate to try out. They shipped the target for me to evaluate, at no charge. No other compensation was provided.
Their ABC Zone Reactive target is made of laser cut, AR500 steel. It’s also galvanized to prevent rusting of the target bracket and base. The package includes the faceplate measuring approximately 24″ high and 18″ wide, a swinging bracket, and base. The post is a wooden 2×4 you supply yourself from a local hardware store (or construction scrap pile — ASK THEM. Don’t get caught for trespass or theft).
The faceplate is, indeed, 3/8″ thick, pitched at an aggressive angle to direct bullet splatter down into the ground. The swing provides visual movement, and considerably displaces impact absorption. Note that 15 yards for FMJ 5.56mm is not adequate distance for any steel target (Yeah. My bad). Several shots from a .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, and .454 Casull demonstrated no degradation of the steel. The galvanization will flake off, however.
I appreciate how easily the ABC steel target break down. Replacing a 2×4 post is absolutely preferable to steel. The photo below is only a weekend worth of shooting. Also notable is the aggressive angle to reduce the likelihood of lead/copper splash back.
It’s a simple, well-built target, with break down capability priced at $245 as of 05/18/2013. With the variety of steel target manufactures, Grizzly Targets is another to add to the list of potential manufactures for you to look at. In the future, I would like to see them offer a 1×2 combo stand as opposed to the current 2×4 combo they offer.