What is AR550 Steel?

When you first start shooting, you might be used to flimsy paper targets that need to be replaced every few rounds. When you use steel targets, however, you can use the same ones for years on end with proper maintenance.

Before you buy a shooting target made from AR550 steel, you may be wondering what sets this type of steel apart from other options. Read on to learn more about how this steel is the optimal choice of material for making durable shooting targets that last for years.


What Type of Steel is AR550?

AR550 is a type of hardened steel. Hardened steel is distinguished by its medium to high carbon content and the processing method of hardening and then tempering to determine its hardness properties and avoid brittleness. The tempering process is very complex and is vital to creating a final product that will be hard but not brittle enough to break or shatter easily.

AR stands for abrasion resistant, which is an important quality for shooting targets that will be fired at thousands of times. It is through-hardened, and the included carbon and alloys make it weather resistant. This steel is also commonly used on industrial farm equipment and construction equipment.


Is AR550 Bulletproof?

This type of steel is used most commonly for gun targets, ranging from professional to recreational use. While lower hardness steel is only used for pistol shooting, this type can be used for rifles as well, because of its extra hardness.

To maintain your steel target, use the appropriate distance when shooting at it. Generally, you can shoot them with pistols and rimfire guns from 15 yards or more. For centerfire rifles, a minimum of 150 yards is recommended.


Why Is AR550 So Strong?

The AR550 used in MGM Targets products is tested frequently to ensure hardness. During production, the steel is treated using a process called “quench and temper,” which means that the steel plates are heated and then rapidly cooled during creation at the steel mill. Next, they are tempered, which introduces heat back to the steel at a lower level to increase toughness.

The cutting method used on steel targets greatly affects their longevity. That’s why we use a low-heat cutting method that uses lasers, plasma or water jets to reduce the exposure to heat. That way, only the outer edges are affected and the rest of the target remains untouched and just as durable as ever.


What Is the Difference Between AR500 and AR550?

AR500 and AR550 are both designed to withstand many rounds of shooting. AR550, however, is slightly harder and is generally considered acceptable to use with rifles.

This difference in hardness might not be noticeable upon the first few rounds of shooting, but AR550 will have more long-term durability. It is designed to withstand thousands of rounds of shooting so that targets made from this material can be used for years on end.


Visit MGM Targets Today

At MGM Targets, you can be sure the steel plates available are made from the highest quality steel. Not all AR550 steel is tested rigorously, and some can be found to have a lower Brinell hardness level of around 465, instead of the required minimum of 495.

That’s why we keep up higher standards and personally contact our steel suppliers to test the hardness of their product. Recent reviews have shown our steel goes above and beyond, reaching Brinell hardness levels of 522-545. Order today to get the highest quality steel targets in a range of sizes and types.

Image Credit: Shutterstock/Evgeny Pylayev