This Review was published in the Feb 2020 Australian Shooter.
GlowShot are well known for their great range of reactive paper targets, the ones that, when shot, expose the point of impact in different bright fluoro colours depending on the scoring ring impacted. Available in both adhesive and non-adhesive versions they make accessing target impact, especially at distance, a lot easier to observe and identify.
Other GlowShot products include their caltrop-shaped .22 Flipping Jack reactive steel target which jumps and rolls when shot, always landing with one target paddle upright and providing hours of fun if you have a pair to race over a paddock against a mate using .22 rifles.
They also have handy clay target hangers, metal strips that clip over the edge of a clay target allowing you to string them from a wire or whatever is practical and safe. I’ve previously reviewed all the above for these pages with great results so was interested when Australian Shooter was offered the company’s latest offering, the GlowShot Last Stand target stand kit.
With the popularity of longrange shooting ever growing in Australia, more and more shooters are looking for easy ways to rig up a portable target system that can be taken afield for basic target shooting and sighting-in or set up for engagement over an extended range using reactive steel gongs or similar.
Over the years I’ve not only reviewed several different commercially available target systems but have designed and built a few of my own and came to the conclusion there are a series of issues that need to be overcome or compromised in developing such target systems as follows.
- Components need to be easily trans-portable both in size and weight
- System should be easy and simple to assemble
- The fewer parts and tools required the better
- Sacrifice components such as frames and hangers should be cheap and easy to replace as they will be hit at some stage
- It should be able to be set up on uneven or sloping ground.
Looking closely at this kit I could see straight up it was pretty much going to tick all those boxes. The system uses six lengths of readily available 12mm ‘Reo Rod’ or ‘Rebar’ (steel rods used in concrete rein-forcing) which can be found at most hard-ware stores or steel merchants. This along with the kit itself contains the GlowShot ‘self-healing’ target frame brackets and plate hangers, a 100mm x 12mm AR500 round steel gong, a couple of mounting bolts, 250mm target backer (corflute) for use with paper targets and four GlowShot adhesive targets.
To item one on the checklist and the kit arrived with basic frame and hanger package weighing just a little over 2kg including the 100mm gong. That ticks the transportability box even considering the rebar which while a tad awkward in length (I use 1800mm lengths) bundle together well and weigh little. Larger 12mm AR500 steel gongs of 200mm or 300mm diameter are also available which would increase the weight but are no less portable in the scheme of things.
Moving to items two and three on the checklist, the frame kit contains two triangular brackets the rebar threads through to create basic A-frames which are joined by two lengths of rebar with the hangers threaded on to form a crossbar. You can then either hang the steel gong or target backer on the hangers using two cup-head bolts.
Nothing could be simpler in design or easier to assemble. So we have two brackets, two hangers, two bolts, a target/ gong and six lengths of rebar – 13 items all up and only one spanner and perhaps a mallet to bang the rods in the ground. Few parts, few tools. Tick.
|The GlowShot Last Stand target stand kit uses minimal parts and just a couple of tools to assemble.
|At the heart of the kit is GlowShot’s self-healing ballistic rubber polymer target frame brackets.
|The kit can be set up on sloping ground by adjusting the length and angle of the rebar legs.
As far as sacrifice items, the 12mm rebar presents a very small profile for accidental bullet strike and being round is likely to deflect or deform more so than immediately fail if hit. Likewise it can easily be replaced and at time of writing 1800mm x 12mm rebar lengths were $7.19 each from Bunnings which isn’t even the cheapest way to buy them as they’re less expensive in up to 6m lengths and most tradies will find leftovers on building sites. Hanger bolts are also cheap and easily replaced.
The GlowShot frame and hanger components are made of ‘self-healing ballistic rubber polymer’ which as the name suggests magically appears to heal itself as bullets pass through, although it’s advised that hollow-point projectiles should be avoided. Either way this item is not intentionally going to be shot at and is designed to withstand multiple accidental bullet strikes. Tick No.4.
When it comes to setting up, most portable target systems I’ve encountered use either an A-frame or flat-base stand of some description. Naturally flat-based target stands only work on level ground and while some A-frame designs can be adapted for sloping ground, quite often they’ll only work if the orientation of the shooting position is perpendicular to the slope.
Having a property in the ranges has taught me topography is a twisted beast and hillsides seldom slope in the direction you want when setting something up. The GlowShot system can be set up on any slope or angle, regardless of orientation, simply by adjusting the legs accordingly, thus ticking the last box.
I set the kit up with a little help from my son on flat ground outside our farmhouse for a trial run before heading for the range to really test it. There I chose a location 300m from my shooting shed on uneven ground which slopes steeply away from the shooting position and set the whole thing up myself just to see how easily it can be done if flying solo.
Dialling the correct elevation into the Zeiss scope on the TSPX-stocked Howa rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor, I went on to hammer the plate with about 20 rounds using Hornady 147gr ELD projectiles. The AR500 12mm plate sucked up punishment as projectiles totally disintegrated on impact leaving nothing but a tell-tale lead smudge, no dimpling or cratering to speak of.
Shooting steel is lots of fun, especially at distance, and although 300m was a challenge for the rifle I was using, you never tire of the sound of ringing steel. One thing I noticed was how the flexible rubber target hangers, after a quick twisting dance on impact, swiftly threw the gong back into position to present for another shot. I have a rifle plate rack with five 250mm hanging plates on heavy chain which, when hit hard, swing back and forth like a pendulum for some time.
I’d note that using such a system and shooting steel in general should always be accompanied by a couple of safety warnings. For high velocity rifle rounds always use steel targets (like GlowShot) made from AR500 grade steel or equivalent. If the steel maintains its integrity, bullets are more likely to disintegrate on impact leaving little to rebound or ricochet. Soft steel targets that dimple and crater heavily are more likely to deflect splatter or rebounding flak. Most importantly always set a safe distance and GlowShot recommend a minimum stand-off of 200m with centrefire rifles.
Another consideration is lead itself as both target and frames will be exposed to fine lead particles as well as lead and jacket spall. I noticed some small sharp pieces of jacket actually imbedded in the polymer rubber of the frames and would also note the rebar itself can carry sharp burrs so gloves would be a good recommendation. Lastly, wash hands thoroughly after shooting, especially after any form of possible lead exposure. More at glowshottargets.com.au
Thanks to the SSAA for this review in the Feb 2020 edition of the Australian Shooter. Check them out at www.ssaa.org.au.