Shooting paper is boring. Well, at least to me. Seriously, even Olympians shooting .22 rifles in biathlons have reactive targets. For a competitor, if a target falls there’s no question if your hit is valid. For a long time, I’ve thought that for those of us shooting for fun and practice, an auto resetting reactionary steel target would be a lot of fun. In a perfect world it would be portable, so anyone could set up a rang wherever they can shoot. Then I ran across the Strategic Systems Inc. SRT-1000 Self Resetting Target. If we had a couple of these we could have some fun, I’m thinking.
Some months later I got my hands a couple of these targets. Even before opening the boxes, the first thing I noticed about them was their weight. The boxes were heavy enough to merit having plywood bottoms to keep the SRT-1000 targets from falling through the bottom. I don’t know what I expected, but yes, target steel is heavy. No worries, that should be a sign of good materials.
When it came time to test them I recruited my friend Alex Charvat. You might have seen him on the TV series Top Shot, season four and on an All Star season. Given the weight of the targets and the mountainous private range we were on, we decided 150 yards would be the max distance we wanted to carry them. I think I might look for something like a Pelican case with oversized wheels that could be pulled over uneven terrain to store and transport these. In any event, we were excited to test them starting with .22s and then move up.
We simply set the targets on the ground, moving them from fairly close out to the 150 yards as you’ll see in the video. However, the SRT-1000 can be mounted to a 4×4 post or secured to the ground properly.
The SRT-1000 targets run off a typical 12 volt motorcycle type battery. Almost typical, that is. They use the small battery terminals, so should you need to replace a battery at some point, you’ll probably have to go someplace besides an auto parts store to find one. I found them at Interstate Batteries, charged and ready to go, though batteries were included when mine were shipped. Strategic Systems Inc. (SSI) says you can get more than 20,000 target resets on a single battery charge. We didn’t test them that far.
We started our tests with .22s where it seems leverage via shot placement played a big role in getting the plates to drop as seen in the video below. From there we worked our way up from bigger caliber to bigger caliber, all the way to .338 Lapua Magnum. Watch the whole video to see the results.
As of this writing, the SRT-1000 targets aren’t cheap, but the value equation is still there. Here’s my way of thinking about it (just one way to justify spending money, LOL). Sold at SSI-Made.com, these run $500 each. If you’re some government agency with deep pockets, no big deal, right? But for the rest of us here’s a thought: You spend real money on guns, optics, mounts, silencers, trigger upgrades… You get the idea. When it comes to shooting, why not get a target you can enjoy shooting at as much as you enjoy the rest of that gear? Or get 2 targets to practice shooting at different ranges, or set up competitions with friends. Two targets are the price of a reasonably nice rifle set up, and you probably have one of those already. Anyway, that’s mine line of thinking.
Made in Alabama, the SRT-1000s can be somewhat customized, too. Order with a 7” round plate (mine), a 10” bowling pin plate or a 9” varmint plate. Plates are quickly interchangeable, and I imagine you could have someone cut custom plates for you as well. In fact, on the SSI-Made.com website, there’s a place to upload drawings, which I’d take as drawings of plates. You can change the counterweight inside the SRT-1000 to keep it functioning correctly as you change out your plates.
After watching the video, let us know what you think. In the end you have a made in America portable reactive/resetting steel target with easily replaceable parts that’s a load of fun inside specific shooting parameters. They really are fun, as well as being quite valuable training aids.