Review: Birchwood Casey 2×4 Steel Targets

   02.15.19

I’ve reviewed several targets in the past, and when I got the chance to try out some steel target products from Birchwood Casey (BC), I gladly accepted. They have a cool setup that allows you to use a 2×4 board to support a steel target. Sounds good, right? So let’s see how well it works in the real world.

The Products

I found myself with a total of four items, consisting of three different BC products:

Birchwood Casey 2x4 Steel Targets
Birchwood Casey 2×4 Steel Targets
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

It’s a nice setup that works well together.

Birchwood Casey 2×4 Steel Target Stand

The steel target stand retails for $49.99, and is made in China. It consists of two steel assemblies, one bolt, and two steel stakes. When you unbox it, you’ll find the two assemblies nested together to save space, held together by the bolt. The two stakes were wrapped together.

  • Nested steel target stand for hanging steel target gongs
  • Requires no tools to assemble
  • Parts nest into each other for storage and portability
  • Requires one 2″ x 4″ board (not included)
Birchwood Casey 2x4 Steel Target Stand
Birchwood Casey 2×4 Steel Target Stand
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

The two parts of the stand look like this.

Birchwood Casey 2x4 Steel Target Stand
Birchwood Casey 2×4 Steel Target Stand
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

I usually have a few 2x4s lying around. After slipping the two parts of the stand together, I added the board and tightened the bolt by hand.

Birchwood Casey 2x4 Steel Target Stand
Birchwood Casey 2×4 Steel Target Stand
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

The bolt holds the two halves of the stand together and also acts as a set screw against the 2×4. There are holes in the bottom of the stand for the stakes.

Birchwood Casey 2x4 Steel Target Stand
Birchwood Casey 2×4 Steel Target Stand
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

The base is partially buried because of the way the dirt backstop is sloped. I used the stakes in the front to keep it from tipping back when hit.

Birchwood Casey 2x4 Steel Target Stand
Birchwood Casey 2×4 Steel Target Stand
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

The stand works well and I had no trouble with the base moving around.

Birchwood Casey 2-in-1 Steel Gong Hanger

Birchwood Casey 2-in-1 Steel Gong Hanger
Birchwood Casey 2-in-1 Steel Gong Hanger
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

The steel gong hanger is a simple affair. Basically a short piece of rectangular steel tubing that’s sized to slip over a wood 2×4. MSRP is $19.99.

  • Universal 2-in-1 gong hanger
  • Fits on standard 2 x 4 lumber (not included)
  • Hardened steel hook
  • Heavy duty powder coated finish
  • Includes spring with bolt & nut
  • Large hook to hang a steel gong
  • Other side can mount a steel gong with the included spring and bolt
Birchwood Casey 2-in-1 Steel Gong Hanger
Birchwood Casey 2-in-1 Steel Gong Hanger
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

Gravity holds it onto the 2×4… no screws or bolts are necessary. One side has a steel rod bent as a hook, and the other side has an angled steel tab to use with the included bolt, nut, and spring.

Birchwood Casey 2-in-1 Steel Gong Hanger top view with steel gong.
Birchwood Casey 2-in-1 Steel Gong Hanger top view with steel gong.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

I prefer the bolt & spring setup, because it allows the gong to have some “give” so it can move when it’s hit by a bullet, but it maintains the steel target at a slight angle, to deflect bullet splatter downward — never towards the shooter.

Birchwood Casey 2-in-1 Steel Gong Hanger fully assembled with a steel gong bolted on.
Birchwood Casey 2-in-1 Steel Gong Hanger fully assembled with a steel gong bolted on.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

The hook is way easy to use, but I’m not sure why it’s included. Why not just the bolt? It’s not like you can use both gongs at the same time, and both setups provide similar audible feedback when they’re hit.

Birchwood Casey 2-in-1 Steel Gong Hanger with a steel gong on the hook.
Birchwood Casey 2-in-1 Steel Gong Hanger with a steel gong on the hook.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

The black powder coating stands up well.

Birchwood Casey World of Targets 8″ Round 3/8″ AR500 Steel Gong

What can I say about the steel gongs? They are round, steel, and hard. Oh, and they’re made in the USA! MRSP is $29.99.

  • 3/8 inch AR500 steel target
  • 8 inch diameter
  • Includes 3 inch target spot®
  • Centerfire rifle and handgun compatible
  • Made in USA
Birchwood Casey 8" Round 3/8" AR500 Steel Gong after a few shots.
Birchwood Casey 8″ Round 3/8″ AR500 Steel Gong after a few shots.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

One side has a product label sticker, and the other side has an orange bullseye target sticker.

Birchwood Casey 8" Round 3/8" AR500 Steel Gong after several shots.
Birchwood Casey 8″ Round 3/8″ AR500 Steel Gong after several shots.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

They stood up just fine to 22 LR, 9mm Luger, and 45 ACP ammo. As you can see, a fair bit of the lead splatter hit the front of the 2×4. This is not a problem.

This Birchwood Casey Steel Gong has been hit many times, but it doesn't care.
This Birchwood Casey Steel Gong has been hit many times, but it doesn’t care.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

Wood 2x4s are easy to get and are fairly cheap — and they won’t deflect a bullet back to the shooter when he misses the gong.

First shot on the gong hanging on the hook.
First shot on the gong hanging on the hook.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

The bullseye stickers provide a nice aiming point in the center of the gong.

At least one shot hit the hook and went through the hole.
At least one shot hit the hook and went through the hole.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

Of course, the bullseyes will wear off. To refresh, slap on a new sticker or apply a small spot of spray paint.

Bullet splatter went through the hole but didn't hurt a thing.
Bullet splatter went through the hole but didn’t hurt a thing.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

These steel gong targets will probably last the average shooter for a lifetime if they’re not abused (by firing the wrong ammo at them, for example).

This is what a Federal American Eagle 115-grain Syntech TSJ (Total Synthetic Jacket) bullet looks like after hitting a steel target.
This is what a Federal American Eagle 115-grain Syntech TSJ (Total Synthetic Jacket) bullet looks like after hitting a steel target.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

Putting The Target to Work

Assembly of these components was fast and easy, and I didn’t even have to cut a 2×4 for the job because I had a leftover scrap just the right length. There’s something to be said for being a packrat!

I was pinging steel in no time. Well, sort of. The steel gongs specifically instruct you not to shoot handguns closer than 25 yards, and at the time I was testing a Springfield Armory XD-S Mod.2 3.3 9mm pistol, and hitting within 8 inches offhand with that little rascal took some practice. I confess I moved closer and did most of my shooting at 15 yards — knowing that I did so at my own risk. I had no problems.

Most of my shooting was at the spring-mounted gong. I prefer that because it directs the bullet splatter downward, never towards the shooter. When I fired at a gong hanging on the hook, at first I thought the audible ‘clang’ of the steel was a bit louder — but then I turned the target hanger around (super fast and easy to do) and in the end both sounded about the same to me.

We used 9mm, 22 LR, and 45 ACP ammo on this target with no trouble whatsoever. Having instant feedback to let me know of a hit is pretty great, and I’ll probably do most of my handgun practicing on steel from now on.

I’d like to thank Federal Ammunition for providing a variety of 9mm ammo to use in testing the Springfield pistol and this target. Check out the pistol review for more info on the ammunition.

Rifles Are Okay Too

The steel gong is rated for rifle ammo, but specifies a minimum range of 100 yards for all rifle ammo — and a whopping 200 yards if it has a muzzle velocity exceeding 1,000 FPS (which most rifles do). I did not test it with rifle ammo.

Conclusion

This steel target setup is hard to beat. It’s easy to break down for transport and just as easy to set up. When the 2×4 gets shot up, chuck it in the fire pit and replace it. That only requires you to loosen one bolt.

Birchwood Casey 2-in-1 Steel Gong Hanger fully assembled with a steel gong bolted on.
Birchwood Casey 2-in-1 Steel Gong Hanger fully assembled with a steel gong bolted on.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

I highly recommend this Birchwood Casey steel target setup. About the only thing I’d like to see would be to include the gong hanger with the stand as a combo that would likely bring the price down a little. As it is, the nested stand, gong hanger, and one gong will run you about $100. That might sound steep for one target, but it’s a well-made target that should last for years, if not decades.

I can definitely say this is now my go-to handgun target. And what’s better than investing in precious metal… such as lead bullets and quality steel targets?

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