Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bang A Gong Part II

Well, the new gong went to the range today, and it did OK.  One thing - high powered rifle fire in 7.62x54r and M-2 ball .30-06 went through it like a knife through butter.  My friend tried to hit it with his AR-15, but wasn't able to get it dialed in closer than to part the chain on one side.

 As you can see, it didn't stop any of the surplus ammunition we threw at it.  The missing washer on the right side came off when the plate stopped a round right behind it.  The washer sheared off the corners on the head of the bolt on its way downrange.
 Bullet casing stripped off as the bullet penetrated the steel.
 The one place that a round bounced off.  It created a 1/8 to 1/4 inch dimple on the plate, and blew the washer on the opposite side clean off.
The bolt holding the chain to the frame took a glancing blow at its tip, so I'll have to saw it off to get the chain off.   Also notice that one arm of the wing-nut was taken off by a penetrating round.

The good:

  • The gong made a good reactive target out at 100 yards.  It didn't ring like I expected it to, but it did move quite a bit, even when having a hole cut through it.  
  • The extra chain I'd put on the frame let me re-seat the gong after an errant round parted the chain.
  • The chain was strong enough to support the gong by one length of chain.

The bad:

  • The hardware was exposed to incoming fire.  If I re-do the frame, I may cut a new hole and have the hardware sitting in the back of the frame as much as possible.  I'll also scrounge up some shorter bolts. That won't eliminate the risk of damage, but it will reduce it from what it is now.
  • Like I said, surplus ammunition went through this steel plate as easily as it would have through paper.  While the plate will last a lot longer than the wooden target holders I use for paper targets, it won't last forever.  I'll have to ask my source for plate steel to keep an eye out for more.

Overall, I'm happy with the gong, but I recognize that a lot of improvement can happen.  When this one wears out, I'll refine the design a bit to try and keep the hardware intact, and I need to do some more research on how to make the gong ring when hit.  Next time I go out, I'll take some time and dial in a .22 to reach it accurately and see what the results are.  I'm also curious to see if a PowerBelt fired from my muzzleloader penetrates or just flattens against the steel.  For that matter, I want to see if any soft point ammunition penetrates.

So the gong needs some improvement.  But remember what they say, any time at the range is a good time at the range.  I had a lot of fun making this thing wiggle at 100 yards.


Phssthpok said...

At 1/4" I'm not surprised in the least that full power ammo sliced right through.I'm not even sure if AR-400 would stop FMJ .30-06 or 7.62x54 (Belchfire).

See if you can step up to 3/8"...or better yet 1/2". Yeah..I know it gets heavy (believe me I know...I slung steel by hand for 15 years!) but it's good exercise, and you only have to build it once.

Wilson said...

Yeah mild ¼ inch steel won’t stop any 30 caliber. If you friend with the .556 had managed a hit it would have went through too. Although with mine they usually leave the jacket behind.

DaddyBear said...

I've told my source for scrap metal that I'd like more, and if her shop has anything a bit thicker I'd love to take it off her hands. But when it's free, you take what you can get.

And I'm not complaining. Even punching holes in the gong was fun on a bun.

I don't mind the work to re-do these if it's not that often. Since KCR won't let me shoot the gong at a range that's feasible for handguns, I'll have to either re-zero my .22 for 100 yards or just be prepared to replace the plate every couple of months or so.

The RSO specifically mentioned that it was the jackets from 5.56 that were coming back at the firing line that caused the range to push all gongs out to 100 yards or more.

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