Are AR550 Steel Targets better than AR500?

Lots of you have been asking us, “what’s the difference between AR550 steel and AR500 and do I need it”? Well, at AR500 we take your questions, commitment and trust in us seriously. After researching the different metals here is what we know for sure: Modern steels have a large range of properties and the hardness chosen is solely dependent on the application of use.

Let’s talk steel, shall we? Much like AR400 and AR500, AR550 steel is a specific type of abrasion resistant steel. It is a high-carbon steel alloy that provides greater impact and sliding abrasion resistance by comparison. However, this increase in strength and abrasion resistance will make the steel less malleable. AR550 steel is one of the more abrasion resistant steels available. As you increase hardness, however, you are creating a more rigid steel. This means that all AR is less weldable and formable than other types of steel.  AR550 and AR500 steal have an excellent abrasion resistant rating which make them an obvious choice for steel target manufacturing. We could discuss tensile strength, yield strength and Brinell hardness numbers but are you really that interested in the composite of steel? If so, there are several published journals that will discuss in depth steel plate and how it is made. For our purpose let’s just say that all steel is not created equal and move on with the real question,

Why would you purchase a steel target made from AR550 steel over one made from AR500?

Will you hear a difference between AR500 and AR550? Nope.  Will you see a difference between AR500 and AR550? Nope.  However, If you are shooting rifles greater than 3000 fps or if you are shooting magnum round rifles, it is advantageous to purchase AR550 steel targets. If you are shooting pistols or rifle calibers under .308, then 3/8” AR500 steel targets are all you need. The one exception to calibers under .308 is the .223/.556. With high velocities of these rounds and many shooters wanting to shoot at distances as close as 50 yards, we recommend the AR550. AR500 steel targets will start to pit and warp with these higher velocities and caliber sizes.  “Pitting” will shorten the life of your target and possible your life as pitting can cause ricochets. The long and short of it is that AR550 steel is slightly more expensive and is more difficult to cut due to the hardness. It adds value to the ½” thick target by allowing for a heavy duty (HD) option. These targets are geared for intensive, rigorous rifle shooting. As with any other steel target, they are strong but not bulletproof and the same restrictions apply for increased longevity.

Since our research suggested that there is added value for you, our customer and friend, we at AR550 Target Solutions have decided to expand our products to include a selection of AR550 ½” targets for your shooting pleasure.  Watch for an invitation in your in-box to check out this new line. AR500 Target Solutions has some exciting evolutions in the works and can’t wait to share them with you! Go to to pick up some new gongs and targets.

As always, Happy shooting from all of us at AR500 Target Solutions!

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