Distances above are for reference purposes. Regarding damage to the targets distance is irrelevant. The ONLY factors that matter are bullet speed and force AT THE TARGET.
When using a rifle the added distances are for the protection of the target and also the safety of the shooter. Impact velocities approaching 2850fps can cause slight pitting and edge chipping of the target surface even with high quality AR500 steels.
Hollow points or soft point ammunition has a tendency to pit sooner than regular ball ammo so use that if available.
It is interesting to note that the damage from these higher velocity impacts is primarily a result of the intense heat created during the bullet strike and not the impact itself. This intense heat creates a mini HAZ (Heat Affected Zone) that destroys the temper of the steel and allows the damage to occur in this localized area.
Observing the correct mounting procedures and observing the shooting distances posted above are two ways to reduce or eliminate any damage to your targets.
Damaged and / or pitted ar500 steel targets can become unsafe at ranges closer than 50 yards due to increased risk of ricochet or splatter concerns due to the uneven surfaces created.
Copper jacketed or plain lead targets are the only ammo types recommended. Avoid the use of any steel shotgun slugs, pellets, steel core, green tip, xm-855, steel jacket or other armor piercing rounds.
Smart use will ensure you get the maximum life from your targets. With proper use AR500 targets can last almost indefinitely.
See mounting to ensure you practice the correct mounting practices.
DON'T CHEAP OUT ON PAINT
Many shooters paint the faces of their AR500 targets after each round of shooting. This lets you easily see where you have hit the target and ads to the experience significantly.
It's easy to think that since the targets don't have to be pretty they can skimp on the paint to save some money.
In reality these cheap paints, some selling for as little as $1.50 a can contain just a small fraction of the pigments used in more expensive quality paints.
Instead of saving money, you end up using 4 times the paint and need four times the drying time.
A paint that we have found to work well to mask target hits is the flat white Rust-Oleum shown below. It dries quickly and coats nicely with just a quick application.
FLIP YOUR TARGETS FOR LONGER LIFE
All of our targets are built allowing for ease of reversal. Reversing or "flipping" your targets will result in safer targets and longer life. As targets are shot at the surface expands ever so slightly, this can cause your targets to bow slightly.
For safety we want your targets to remain as flat as possible. Any strange angles or projections on your targets can also cause unpredictable splatter or ricochet behavior we want to avoid.
Reversing your targets when you notice and bowing will reduce this effect by bowing in the opposite direction. This effect is not significant with typical handgun rounds, but can be a factor with higher velocity rifle rounds or if using our thinner targets.
We use only the finest steel and with proper care and use your AR500 targets from ShootingTargets7.com will last a very, very long time.