People who target shoot seem to like the sound of something going “clang”, as one of the most popular targets are the AR500 steel.
These can be manufactured by a professional company, or “homemade.” The homemade end will work, but to have a well-measured-out target for different calibers, and some different types of designs, unless you are very handy with a cutting torch, it is best to go with the “company” end of things.
One of the newest companies in this field is Twisted River Targets, located in LeClaire, Iowa, that started in 2016. Tim Montag, the owner, started the company because of his love for shooting. He also knew that within his home area there was very little being offered in AR500 targets. This took off very quickly, and his orders have now gone beyond his home area.
The name Twisted River Targets was selected because of the Mississippi River. Tim lives next to the Mississippi and thought that it was a catchy name.
Several of the manufacturers in this industry make paper and self-healing targets, as well as the AR500s for several different calibers. Tim’s company only makes the AR500s in several shapes and sizes, which cover a wide variety of calibers from 22LR to 50 bmg, depending on the thickness of the target.
Montag would recommend at least a ¼-inch thick steel target for 22lr or pellets, but never a BB as there will be ricochets and “bounce backs”. However the most popular is the ⅜-inch model. Going with this thickness will open up the variety of calibers you can shoot and last for a long time
I asked Tim if he was manufacturing a product for the airgun shooters. There are a lot of pellet traps, but very few BB traps on the market. His answer was, “No, not at this time, but there are plans for the future.”
Montag says that he designs all of his targets, and since he works for an engineering company, has access to design software. Once he has a design complete the drawings are sent to a steel manufacturer to have them laser cut.
One of the designs that I like is for more than just banging away at a piece of steel. It is a ⅜-inch thick, 12-inch diameter target, with a steel flapper hanging on chains behind a hole in the middle, which is appropriately named “Bullseye AR500 Target.” This way it helps in practicing for accuracy, such as with paper, where you are aiming for the bullseye, but still giving it that all-attractive “clang.”
Any of the targets can be easily set up anywhere. Just remember to check first to see if it is legal to shoot in that area.
Twisted River is smart in that the targets are not the only products with which the company is involved. They also make stands, so that if you don’t want one of their targets you may like their stand a bit better for whatever brand, or homemade target may be selected. Another part is being a dealer for body armor by NcStarr, Phalanx, Rothco, and Fox.
As said earlier, this is a very new company, and as such does not have a dealer network. They hope to start out by having their products in local and regional stores, and build from that point. Otherwise products can be ordered directly from the company.
Tim Montag adds, “Shooting steel targets can be a lot fun for any experience level shooter. The sound of the round hitting a steel target is very satisfying. My boys love to shoot the 22LR at these targets. The smiles on their faces is priceless. It’s a great way to get the family out together and have fun.”