Saturday, August 13, 2011

Arntzen Steel Targets: Ping, Ping, Ping

As I mentioned in a previous post, the gals and I have been working on some improvements for the shooting range this summer.  While I've made some steel targets of my own design in the past, we decided to purchase some steel targets from the Arntzen Corporation this summer.

We ordered:
  • Three 3/8" x 6" diameter AR500 hardened steel plates
  • One full-size IPSC 3/8" thick AR500 hardened steel full-size IPSC target
  • One folding "regular" 53" high steel stand
  • Five 1/2" thick, 15" tall T1 steel bowling pin targets.  
I called to place our order, although you can place it online too.  Mr. Arntzen spoke with me on the telephone and took the time to answer several questions I had about the different targets and types of steel.

Our targets and stands arrived three days later via UPS, were well wrapped, and the UPS guy looked like he would rather we had ordered something a lot lighter.  The targets are not painted, although the stand had a tough, black, powder-coated finish.  After wiping the targets off with some acetone and applying a couple of cans of white Krylon spray paint, we were ready to shoot.

I had previously welded up a target stand to hang the three plates.  The plates came with square holes to use 1/2" carriage bolts for mounting.  We pounded on the steel plates with .45ACP, 9mm, and .22LR from ten to fifteen yards, then hit them with some .223 and .308 from 100 yards.

The rifles sure made them dance, but we could see no real damage and just kept spraying on fresh coats of Krylon so we could see our hits.  We used 55 grain FMJs and Federal Gold Medal 69 grain Sierra MatchKings in the .223 and some .308 Federal Vital-Shok 165 grain Sierra GameKing soft-points.  It should be mentioned that Mr. Arntzen recommended keeping under 3,000 fps for center-fire rifle rounds hitting the targets in addition to shooting at distances of at least 150 yards for .308 and 200 yards for .223.  He also said that we may find the targets "dishing out" some over time, so we should reverse them occasionally.

The mother-in-law size... er... uh... I mean IPSC full-size target and stand worked out terrifically.  This target is perfect for practicing your handgun shooting, drawing, shot-placement, reload times, competition skills, and for just plain old fun.  The "regular" size stand is nothing fancy, but it holds the full-size target at about the right height to simulate the bad guy and hangs at an angle to deflect all the splatter to the ground with a satisfying "ping".

While there was a lot of copper-jacketed lead splatter, there didn't seem to be any damage to the hardened steel target with all the lead just sticking to the surface of the steel.  Some more white Krylon paint will make it look like new again.

I used to shoot a lot of bowling pin matches years ago, so when I saw that Arntzen Steel had them marked at half-price due to an overstock situation, I couldn't resist.  The bowling pin steel targets are made of 1/2" T1 steel, so they are limited to handgun calibers and .22LR.  I welded up a stand from the left-over bracket from a three-point fertilizer spreader to hold the pins at a slightly forward angle.

While we have to manually reset our bowling pins, the gals and I have a blast with these targets.  They are great to work on speed, cadence shooting, and target acquisition.  They are even more fun to just "plink away" at on an Sunday afternoon.

There is nothing I like better than a quality product at a good price.  While I wouldn't necessarily say these targets were cheap, they are already cut and ready to go with no sharp edges at not a whole lot more than I can have my own steel cut at a local steel supplier.  We paid retail for these targets and have no relationship with the Arntzen Corporation other than calling and placing an order. Mr. Arntzen was pleasant to work with over the phone, delivered what we ordered in a quick and expected manner, and we're seriously thinking about purchasing two more of the IPSC targets and stands.

What more can we say, Arntzen Steel Targets: Ping, Ping, Ping

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