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What do you call 100 lawyers at the bottom of the sea? A good start. It’s certainly true that mainstream manufacturers consult their legal department before releasing products. And safety warnings are de rigeur. But safety warnings for a piece of steel? Uh, OK. So here’s how many and what . . .


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  1. Who buys steel like this? Why wouldn’t you just go down to the warehouse and grab a couple sheets and cut ’em up? Even buying it cut is probably still cheaper. Slap on some Haze Gray and Bob’s your uncle.

      • If you buy the right steel, you can heat up the metal with a torch and quench it in water or oil increasing hardness up to that of AR500.

        1095 high carbon steel would be a good choice.

        • Idk, but I’d be willing to experiment and find out before paying $35 for a hunk of steel.

          My educated opinion says yes because I read that AR500 plates are supposed to be about 50 Rockwell hardness, which is well within the hardeness of heat treated and tempered 1095 steel. The only thing I’d worry about is rusting, but several good coats of paint will take care of that.

        • You are paying for hardness without being brittle. AR500 is tough stuff.

          AR500’s composition is WAY, WAY different than ar500

          1095 out of the box is BHN 197 and has a composition of
          Iron, Fe 98.38 – 98.8
          Carbon, C 0.90 – 1.03
          Sulfur, S ≤ 0.050
          Phosphorous, P ≤ 0.040
          Manganese, Mn 0.30 – 0.50

          AR500 is BHN 477-550 (477 at the surface is minimum)
          Carbon 0.31
          Mangenese 1.50
          Phosphorus 0.025
          Sulfur 0.015
          Silicon 0.50
          Chromium 0.87
          Nickel 0.70
          Molybdenum 0.35
          Boron 0.003

          1095 has a tensile strength of 99,400 AR500 is 200,000
          yield strength is 76100 vs 225,000

      • For proper heat treatment, I’d say. Granted, carbon steels are somewhat forgiving compared to stainless. With latter, heating it up and dumping into oil simply will not do, while SK-5 etc. might forgive that. Probably. Maybe.

      • The question is not whether you could achieve that hardness through quenching but if in the subsequent untempered condition it would have the toughness to hold up on impact. I don’t know the answer to that question, but unless you already have the equipment around to pull off the backyard heat treatment, you may as well pay the 35 bucks. Probably better off with the oil quench, less distortion.

      • You are also paying for convenience. This is a pre-cut, pre-hardened, shoot-ready piece of steel target. Some guys have money but not the time, tools, or patience for buying steel sheets to cut and harden on their own.

        $35 for a rifle ready steel target out the box is not that nuts. I’ve spend more money on dumber stuff.

    • Hickok45 did a video on what happens when you shoot the wrong kind of steel. Not only does the steel not hold up, but it can create dangerous ricochets instead of making the bullet fragment.

      You need to shoot the right kind of steel.

    • Definitely don’t make your own steel unless you have experience hardening and tempering steel. Simply hardening isn’t going to make the right kind of steel safe to shoot.

    • Seriously Drew? We don’t all have that type of equipment and knowledge. Buying a few targets is far more cost effective. Or are you just signaling your steel cutting swag?

      • It just seems an odd way to buy what are essentially industrial supplies. Hanging out with too many farmers I guess. The town I ended up in was also the kind of town where the local machinist was your go to guy for any number of odd jobs.

      • Now, I will say, after some thinking, is that I did not consider outfitting a range or competition open to the public. I was thinking purely of setting up a backyard range a la Hickock45

      • You can call up literally hundreds of steel suppliers and buy Abrasion Resistant 500 steel in about any form you want.
        You can get 8″ disks or buy a sheet and have a local plasma or laser shop cut them out with the fancy ears.

        It doesn’t HAVE to be AR500 either, AR400 will hold up well, as will other various tool steels. You just don’t want A36 mild steel, it’s just too soft.

        • I recently acquired some as rolled 1080 plates to patch some damage to the backstop in our clubs indoor range. I think it will be adequate as it is strictly a pistol range, 22lr or lead only centerfire. The damage was cause by some jackass year ago firing jacketed 30-30 rounds. We’ll see how it holds up.

        • Locally we have gotten people together to do that. It’s not worth it really. At the time we could only beat the more affordable places to buy targets by maybe 10%, and that was with enough people to buy over a hundred plates with the majority 6-8″ rounds, and we had to go plasma cut which is the worst of your three options.

          Now there are several online shops specializing in a basic assortment of laser cut ar500 plates Their pricing due to volume and owning their own laser cutters is low enough it is very hard to beat. That champion 8″ 3/8″ gong MSRPs $39.99, but runs $29.99+s/h at retail. I can go out and nearly identical laser cut targets (holes in the ears are round rather than square) for $24 each and under $20 if I buy 4 or more at once. This is from multiple places. They also offer 1/2″ ar500, which holds up to rifle WAY better than 3/8″ stuff.

  2. I propose that we re-write the law such that “Don’t be an idiot” is a legally sufficient disclaimer on any product.

    I can see it now: “But your honor, the packaging clearly says ‘Don’t be an idiot’ and the plaintiff clearly is an idiot so I don’t see any option but to dismiss the case.”

  3. I am a quality engineer in a steel mill. Yes, we have safety data sheets on our products. Customers ask for them.

    i can see it on steel targets though some clown is likely to fire on them from 5 ft. away and get hit by fragments.

  4. Why is it that rats won’t eat a dead lawyer. There are some things even a rat won’t do.

  5. I don’t see anything about ingesting, causing birth defects, operating heavy equipment while shooting….

  6. But did you actually read the warnings? How many people use 100 yards as the minimum distance for shooting steel with an AR15? How many of us have been to courses where we shot steel, as part of the course at less than 100 yards with an AR15? Also note, they are not rated for subsonic rimfire ammunition. I do that almost every day.

    • Doesn’t say you CAN’T do it, just that if you get hurt your civil case will be crap.

      Which seems fair.

    • “Also note, they are not rated for subsonic rimfire ammunition.”

      Huh? Does that mean using them with a stout air rifle is out?

      What’s the danger with subsonic rimfire?

  7. I’ve bought steel targets at Arntzen Targets in Rockford, IL. Picked it up at their facility. No packaging, no warnings.

    Recently I bought a steel target from They do have some warnings on the packing slip like minimum 10 yards or something. No big deal.

  8. My wife told me about a package with a warning message that opening it with a knife could damage the contents. The package contained a cutting board.

    Years ago I read that safety regulators, having despaired of persuading users to exercise due caution, switched to forcing manufacturers to design idiot-proof products. (That’s why your lawn mower won’t run after you release the handle.) Of course, all the change in emphasis accomplished was to enable a higher level of idiocy. The widow of an overweight, out-of-shape homeowner sued a lawn mower manufacturer over her husband’s death. Frustrated by his mower’s refusal to start, he yanked and yanked on the starting cord until he gave himself a fatal heart attack.

    We are seeing the same thing in automobiles. Features like anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control enhance a driver’s control of the vehicle. In an accident, seat belts and air bags reduce injuries. None of them actively interfere in the operation of the vehicle. Now, we are getting vehicles that brake and steer by themselves. A driver will get no sympathy or justice if he is involved in an accident that he could have avoided had the vehicle not overridden his decisions.

    • Kind of like the disclaimer at the start of South Park. Something like this show should not be viewed by anyone. There you go… You were just using it wrong!

  9. Think about how stupid the average person is. Now consider that half of the population is even dumber than that. Because any idiot can buy a gun, we have warnings on things that people shoot at.

  10. For every silly over-lawyered warning you will probably find someone was stupid to do what prompted the warning.

    Lawyers. Reversing natural selection since 1776.

    • “Lawyers. Reversing natural selection since 1776.”

      I’m stealing that.

  11. In light of the many anti-gun laws recently overturned by lawyers committed to 2nd Amendent rights, it’s time to stop the infantile anti lawyer rhetoric. Mr. Farago, you should be ashamed of yourself for using weak assed dead lawyer jokes. I imagine you have benefitted from time to time by the use of legal counsel considering your numerous references to prior spouses.
    Proud Husband of a Hard Working Judge

    • Face it, one of the few good things that would come out of a TEOTWAWKI event is that hopefully most of the lawyers would be hanging from the streetlamps.

  12. Enough with the horseshit about the warnings. Can you do you’re job and actually review the steel and how it stands up versus what else is in the market?

  13. The problem with engineering ” idiot proof” products is that nature always produces a better idiot

  14. >>But safety warnings for a piece of steel?

    Most adults understand why drying a pet in microwave (urban legend or not) is extremely bad idea; how many have any kind of solid knowledge concerning bullet vs steel interaction upon impact?

    Those warnings concern not just “piece of steel”, but process of shooting it, prone to result in ricochets, etc. Considering amount of variables, it is anything but simple.

    • …those slo-mo are amazing on many levels. One that gets me is seeing metal gaining liquid properties under high pressure.

  15. “What do you call 100 lawyers at the bottom of the sea? A good start.”

    Here’s one that I just made up:

    How many bloggers does it take to be a horse’s ass? Just one.

  16. Yes, God forbid companies make any effort to ensure that their customers use their products in a safe manner. Seriously guys, we’re poking fun at safety warnings on a steel target? As with any activity involving firearms, shooting steel carries with it some risks that can be minimized by taking certain precautions. Informing the end user about things like minimum safe distances, appropriate angles to ensure safe deflection of the bullet fragments, and maximum calibers for a given thickness of steel is entirely appropriate, and should be lauded, not ridiculed. And for the record, I’m an attorney.

  17. Honestly, when you think about the number of idiot shooters the warnings on that steel plate don’t seem at all over the top.

  18. what’s the difference between two lawyers sitting in a Porsche and a porcupine? With the porcupine, the pricks are on the outside

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