As first world problems go, walking downrange to change your targets is pretty horrific. Trekking hundreds of yards in Texas in August, battling heat and snakes? Fuggedaboudit!
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: $149.95 ($112.49 retail at 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 exactly as advertised.