We kicked off the grand opening of Atlas Target Works July 18th at a local sporting goods stores annual demo event. We brought out samples of everything we have to offer and put them out on the 10 yard pistol range and the 50 yard rifle range. There were dozens of manufacturing reps at the event and most of them with at least 10 guns on their tables to choose from. All you had to do was buy ammo and you could give them a test run. Being the 1st event of this type for us I went into it with more than a few misconceptions. Either illiteracy is a larger problem than I originally thought or some people just don’t give a damn when it’s not their stuff. I’ll admit that I was more than a bit irritated the first time I heard the .50 BMG go off followed by the solid ring of one of my targets. We went out to assess the damage on a ½” AR500 AC Zone, I was expecting some serious carnage to have been wrought on it and I’d have to pull it for the day. To my surprise we had to look a little bit for where it hit! We’re talking a direct hit from a .50 BMG at 50 yards! I wasn’t expecting a large hole or anything but I certainly expected the plate to be bent with a huge dent where it impacted but all we found was a slight indentation that was as shallow if not more shallow than a .223 impact although over a greater area. The results were similar for the next 2 hits it took from the .50. What did more significant damage was all of the green tip (steel core) .556 rounds that were fired at everything as well as best we can figure, the high velocity rounds such as the 22-250 and the .300 Win Mag. These are cartridges that AR500 steel can handle but they need to be at ranges greater than 50 yards.
3/8" Vs 1/2" Thick AR500
This falls far short of a scientific study but every target that was 3/8” thick had at least one hole clean through it whereas the ½” did not. The surface damage i.e. pitting was similar on both targets but the ½” thick AR500 appeared to be able to handle whatever round it was much better. The rear of the target did not have any dents or deformations.
If you’re a private shooter who can control what caliber of rifle and what type of ammo is shot at your target, either 3/8” or ½” AR500 will perform great and will serve you for many years and 10’s of thousands of rounds. If you are buying targets for your range where the public will be shooting at them do yourself a favor and spring for the ½” thick AR500 plates. They are not much more expensive and will greatly extend the service life and enjoyment of your investment. No matter what rules you impose or how close you police it, people will find a way to mess your targets up.
Photos of the torture tested targets are on my Facebook page.