We all know that AR500 steel is one of the hardest, most reliable, and fun target materials on the planet…. But it’s not all sunshine, rainbows, and Left wing tears. Sometimes cost cutting designs can lead to early failure of your targets, the most common culprit…. Ears. In the simplest terms possible More Steel Used = Higher Cost. To save costs instead of using a thick neck like a weight lifter…. some companies choose to use thin “ears” like your average hipster barista.
We hired dozens of highly trained material scientists, 14 lab monkeys, 3 genetically modified hedgehogs, and of course a guy in a chicken suit to rigorously test the properties of every AR500 steel design we made to find failure points based on quantum physics. OK, maybe we didn’t but what we did do is spend the past 5 years shooting steel with just about every round readily available. And we always found one of two things sending us home from the range earlier than we liked. 1) We ran out of Ammo 2) Edge hits near mounting ears led to breakage.
We decided to go with a much stronger neck on our 10″ gong, this may take more metal but it lasted much longer than ear based designs. It may cost more but the longevity of ar500 steel is why we buy plates in the first place. With the reinforced neck you get 3-4x more material around your mounting holes to eliminate the dreaded broken ears. With thousands of rounds downrange it’s clear that using a neck is the only way to go.
With the ear type targets, when mounting if you tighten the bolts with a washer on the back as tight as possible (without damaging the bolt), we averaged DOUBLE the life of the target during destructive testing. So as with any AR500 target mounting does make a difference. If you’re stuck with a pile of these type of targets, make sure you mount them right to get the most life out of them.