Gear Review: Lyman Auto-Advance Target System

As first world problems go, walking downrange to change your targets is pretty horrific. Trekking hundreds of yards in Texas in late July battling heat and snakes? Fuggedaboudit! Thankfully, Lyman has come to the rescue with the Auto-Advance Target System. This sweet piece of kit changes targets remotely and works out to 200 yards.

Joking aside, when I shoot at a public range I’m usually frustrated by the long intervals between ceasefires. With the ability to typically place only one target downrange, shooting a bunch of accuracy groups with different brands of ammo can take for-freakin-ever. Obviously a private range solves this, but that isn’t always an option.

So, in addition to general laziness, the Auto-Advance Target System solves “real” issues as well. The targets come on a spool — a 50-foot roll — that’s inserted at the top of the system. The targets are printed on a thin, yet durable vinyl sheet.

An empty (but not for long) spool on the bottom is driven by an electronic motor and powered by eight AA batteries, pulling the targets down from the top. Tension is adjusted at the top to ensure the sheet remains toight like a toiger.

The Auto-Advance Target System ships with a roll of the bullseye targets you see in my photos, but other target styles are available as well. Small bullseyes, silhouette, and varmint targets are all on Amazon starting at about $13 shipped PRIME for an 18-inch by 50-foot roll.

The whole shebang fits in a 24x10x10 box (give or take), and assembles with ease. Simply stick the standard electrical conduit tubing — cheap and easy to replace at any home goods store — into the appropriate holes and stack the target parts on top like legos.

It took me less than 10 minutes the first time out of the box, but takes closer to three minutes now that the target is spooled, the batteries are in, the tension is adjusted, and I don’t need to refer to the instruction manual. The unit breaks back down in the same time and is easy enough to get back into its box.

The vinyl target sheet shows clean bullet holes, though they sort of seal up a bit behind the bullet. The small holes, particularly on the black bullseye area, can be difficult to see from a distance. It’s easy to measure center-to-center or edge-to-edge when you’re up-close, though.

Purely for the benefit of TTAG’s readership and certainly not on accident, I pegged the Auto-Advance’s top panel with a 55 grain .223 round at 100 yards. Lyman states only that the steel protection plates are “rated for use with all rimfire calibers.” Okay, but for a target that works out to 200 yards I think it’s fair to expect idiots reviewers testing a product’s durability to shoot centerfire rifle calibers at it, too.

On the plus side, whether rated for it or not, the steel plate shrugged off the fully intentional .223 impact fairly well. Some missing powdercoat and a shallow dent that was barely reciprocated on the other side is all it had to show for my thorough, pre-planned product testing.

The spall from that well-placed shot tore a gash through the target. No problem; I simply hit the bottom button to advance the roll until that reminder of my success disappeared onto the bottom spool, then hit the top button to stop the system.

My only complaint about the Lyman Auto-Advance Target System: there’s no stiff backing and the target sheet can move in the wind.

Increasing the tension on the top spool, thereby forcing the motor to pull the target tighter, helped. But in particularly gusty conditions, which I experienced on my first range outing with the Auto-Advance, the wind was able to pull some target out from the top spool.

I’m fairly certain I could use a plastic target backer or any ol’ sheet of cardboard, cut to size, and shoehorn it in there (either taped or clipped to the front of the vertical pipes, most likely) to support the rear of the target sheet.

On this windy day I moved the Auto-Advance Target in front of the range’s existing plywood target stands, using it as a wind block. On calmer days the Lyman system was perfect.

Whether it’s laziness, Texas heat (which we’ll just go ahead and file under a different category from laziness) or a slow ceasefire schedule at the range, the Lyman Auto-Advance Target System gives you 50 feet of targets in the same footprint as a typical, single target stand, with push-button convenience out to 200 yards. It’s tough enough and works as advertised.

Specifications: Lyman Auto-Advance Target System

Overall dimensions: 24″ wide x 29″ deep x 60″ tall (variable)
Weight: 30 lbs
Target Roll: 18″ wide x 50′ long vinyl sheet
Remote system: 433.92MHz, 200 Yard capability
Battery requirement: Transmitter: 9V / Receiver: 8 x AA
MSRP: $179.97 ($137.99 delivered, plus $25 rebate until Sept 1, on Optics Planet HERE or the same price plus $7.49 shipping on Amazon HERE)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Quality * * * *
Solid for the price and works great out to the suggested 200-yard maximum range. The use of easily-replaceable conduit as a frame was a good idea. While I’d prefer that the steel protection plates were actual 3/8″ AR500 armor, this would more than double the cost of the Auto-Advance Target System, which shrugged off the .223 round anyway.

Utility * * * *
Push-button, auto-advancing convenience! Four target styles to choose from is better than one.

Customize This * * *
Vary the height of the target stand by using shorter or longer lengths of conduit. You could even close the gap between top and bottom spools to lessen the effect of the wind…if you trust your aim! On the downside, there are only four targets to choose from at this time.

Overall * * * *
A target that auto-advances out to 200 yards makes shooting more fun and convenient. The Lyman Auto-Advance Target System works just as advertised.


  1. avatar rick3 says:

    Nice! Wonder if most commercial ranges will allow them…

    1. avatar Snatchums says:

      Might be interesting if multiple people have the same thing. Does the remote transmit on an encoded digital signal that is paired with the target or is it analog and will make every target within range on the same channel act in unison?

  2. avatar Mr.Savage says:

    I’m gonna save my pennies for this one, perks of a free public range

  3. avatar little horn says:

    well thats just pretty damn cool!!

  4. avatar Joe R. says:

    Hahahahahahaha. . .

    Until I read down to it, I was going to ask how it takes a bullet. Thanks for demonstrating that. Did you try to shoot a target while it was scrolling? [New IDPA stage anyone???]

    PSA: Folks, don’t shoot the target scrolling device, or the chrony! And don’t be “that guy” that never changes the roll.

  5. avatar Jeremy S. says:

    Forgot to mention in the review but it came up in the YouTube comments: you can reverse the target but only manually. There’s a release to disconnect the motor from the drive, which allows you to turn the top spool and pull the target back up. Then reconnect the motor and it’s back to normal. You can’t reverse the target remotely, though. One-way street with a button to start the motor a’spoolin’ and a button to stop it.

  6. avatar PeeWee says:

    “I meant to do that.” 😛

  7. avatar Hank says:

    I think I’m gonna get one of these.

  8. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    “works out to 200 yards.”


    Oh, and it really should have remote reverse scrolling capability built in. That really shouldn’t be hard or expensive to engineer.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      I think it would be expensive and add a lot of complication. The cheapest way I can think of would be running a chain to the top spool so the two spools are physically connected by something that can drive them in either direction. But that’s another thing to set up and you’d have to create some sort of tensioner system since the conduit poles can be replaced by the end user with ones of a different length, etc etc.

      I get that it would be nifty to be able to scroll both ways remotely, but I also haven’t actually needed it. I’ve used this thing on, I believe, six different range outings and only scrolled too far once in the very beginning. Considering it’s a 50-foot roll I didn’t feel like going a few inches too far was much of a loss, and based on my actions I clearly felt like going down to the target and reversing it manually wasn’t even worth the effort (and this was on a private range with only me there, so there was nothing preventing me from doing that but my own fat ass haha).

      Basically, I don’t think the utility would be worth any added expense or complication.

    2. avatar Joe R. says:

      It should have a scoring light, like on top of a air-hockey table, and it should keep score, and have an audiometer to listen in to how bad you whiff at over 200 yds so it can ‘walk you on-target’, and it should self-retrieve at distances greater than 150 yds. And it should pick up your brass, brush off your shooting mat or bench and fold your ghillie suit, and case your firearm.

      ; )

  9. avatar strych9 says:

    Nice job shooting it. My first thought was that all it would take was one idiot a shot or two to destroy the thing.

    Reasonable price too!

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      Same here. When I clicked through the Amazon link and saw it was only rated for rimfire I lost interest, but I’m seriously impressed that it bounced a 223.

      On the wish list it goes.

    2. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      FYI — I swapped a scope from one gun to the other and figured the POI was going to be pretty dang close. It wasn’t close enough haha. I should have started on the steel gong that’s off to the left or just aimed at a dirt clod or something for a rough sight-in first. Now, I did actually plan on shooting the steel at some point to see how it held up, but the plan was to remove the target spool first. Thankfully it didn’t go through. Not even close to penetrating, actually.

      On the plus side, if a bullet did penetrate that steel you’d only be out a few bucks as long as it only hit the target spool and its related parts, which is like 75% of what’s behind the orange steel. It’s really just the motor (located in the bottom right) that would be a more expensive mistake.

      FULL disclosure: I also shot it with a 7.62×39 round (bi-metal jacket, too) at an even more direct angle to the steel plate. It made a deeper dent than the .223 — enough to bulge on the back side — but did not penetrate. 100 yards again.

    3. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Reasonable price too!”

      Price with shipping on the target roll?

      …’cuz, that will determine affordability…

      1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

        Well, according to the review: “Small bullseyes, silhouette, and varmint targets are all on Amazon starting at about $13 shipped Prime for an 18-inch by 50-foot roll.”


  10. avatar J. J. ANGE says:

    Each target stand has a separate frequency.

    1. avatar Snatchums says:

      Oh, so are they like the old school RC airplane remotes where you swap out oscillator “pills” if someone in the neighborhood is on the same frequency? There’s only so much spectrum the FCC will allow so eventually 2 people are going to be sharing a band.

  11. avatar TexTed says:

    It is rare that I see a product that is an immediate must-have, but this is it. Thanks for bringing it to us!

    My mind boggles at the gap in usefulness and insanity that we’ve seen between two products recently — compare this, for example, to that auto-glove…

    My only wish is that they print a roll with some “Shoot ‘n’ See” type of material. That said, can you use those stick-on Shoot ‘n’ See targets and pre-stick ’em on the roll and then use them out on the range? Would they unroll and stay stuck?

    Thanks for a great review, Jeremy!

  12. avatar TexTed says:

    Just ordered from OpticsPlanet. $137.99, no tax, free shipping, and a $25.00 mail-in rebate brings it down to $112.99 total. That’s about $7.50 less than from Amazon even.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Ah, thanks! Must have missed them when I was googling around for the best price on this thing. It’s on Optics Planet HERE and I added a link to them in the specifications section.

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