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Action Target Dueling Trees (with Video)

July 13, 2012
Bill Waugman , Ohio Valley Outdoors

During a TV show called Top Shot, I watched the competitors shoot a metal target that would flip back and forth when hit. This was an intriguing target system and worth researching to learn more. Then, a radio show interview from the 2012 SHOT Show and an internet search led me to Action Target based in Provo, UT.

Action Target was founded in 1985 by Kyle Bateman and Addison Sovine in an auto body shop with an idea created on the hood of a police vehicle. Today, Action Target has grown into a company that designs shooting ranges and manufactures portable steel targets for military, law enforcement, Special Forces groups, tactical training schools and commercial applications. With their products being able to meet the needs of these professionals, their dueling trees should be more than suitable for the general public.

Action Target manufactures two dueling trees, a Sport Dueling Tree for use with .22 rimfire and their Dueling Tree AR500 for use with centerfire handguns. When the dueling trees arrived for this review, it was quite obvious why so many professionals use their targets... they are built to take a beating.

Article Video

For starters, the targets are made from AR500 armor steel that has been 'through hardened'. 'Through hardened' is a special process that makes the steel have the same hardness in the middle as it does on the surface. On the Brinell hardness scale, A36 construction steel is 150-180, T1 or A514 heat-treated alloy steel (suitable for standard velocity handguns) ranges in hardness from 235-300, AR500 heat treated alloy steel has a hardness rating from 470-521. To retain the integrity of the hardness, the targets are cut using a CNC plasma cutter with the target laying in a shallow waterbed to control the heat.

The targets are gravity reset (no springs to get damaged) which is accomplished by leaning the center stand forward approximately 20 causing the targets to swing forward on both sides. Since the targets have the same tilt as the stand, this helps to direct most bullet splatter downward when the target is hit thus making it safer for the shooter.

--- Sport Dueling Tree

Article Photos

Sport Dueling Tree (front view)

The Sport Dueling Tree is designed for use with .22 rimfire ammunition. Some assembly is required (target brackets, targets and 3 legs) and the directions are easy to follow. Once assembled, the Sport Dueling Tree is a little over 3 feet tall, weighs 35 pounds and can be easily transported to and from the range.

This dueling tree is built to be durable and last a long time. The legs, target brackets and upright are made from 1/4" A36 carbon steel. The 6 targets have a 4" round target area and are made from 1/4" thick AR500 armor steel. Even the carriage bolts and nuts are Grade 5 hardened steel.

What are the applications for the Sport Dueling Tree? Obviously, it would be great for competitive shooting between two people with .22LR handguns at safe distances or .22LR rifles at longer ranges. For just one person, it would be an excellent target system to practice for timed shooting events, or for just plain shooting.

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Probably the best use for the Sport Dueling Tree would be for youths (or adults) learning how to shoot or just practicing. Paper targets are good for learning proper sight picture and for sighting in a rifle or handgun; steel knock downs are fun, but have to be stood up after being shot; hanging steel targets don't have to be reset, but they always hang in the exact same spot. With this dueling tree, you hear the rewarding 'ping' of a hit (audio reinforcement), the target moves from one position to another (visual reinforcement) and it doesn't require being reset like a knock-down or replaced like paper targets (more trigger time for practicing).

Surprisingly, Action Target's Sport Dueling Tree has an MSRP of only $119 (that's not a typo).

--- Dueling Tree AR500

If you want to keep your handgun shooting skills from getting rusty or you need to practice for competitive events, the Dueling Tree AR500 may be just the target system you need. It is a 6-target dueling tree made to endure even the rigors of law enforcement and military training exercises.

This dueling tree is designed to withstand repeated and extensive hits from centerfire handguns. To that end, this drives up the physical size and weight. The Dueling Tree AR500 is 5 feet tall and the complete assembled weight is 107 pounds. Five legs bolt to the bottom and supply the support needed. The 6 targets, made from 3/8" AR500 armor steel, have a target diameter of 6". The target stand is made from 3/8" thick A36 carbon steel; the target brackets and the legs are made from 1/4" thick A36 carbon steel. Since the target brackets are welded into the back of the stand, the targets can be removed and the legs can be unbolted for transporting.

The Dueling Tree AR500 can be upgraded with targets made from AR550 armor steel that will handle rifles cartridges under 3,000 fps (there is an additional charge for these targets). The recommended minimum safe distance for use with handguns is 10 yards; for rifles, the recommended minimum safe distance is 100 yards. It is important to note that the stand and feet are not made of armor steel and may be vulnerable to damage from high powered rifle rounds.

The MSRP for the Dueling Tree AR500 is $399. This may seem expensive, but you have a target system that will last for a very long time and is fun to shoot with another person or by yourself.

The Action Target website is quite thorough. You can get information about bullet splatter and how to measure it, pick up safety advise on shooting steel targets, setting up a course, sign up for their newsletter and browse through all of the products they offer.

First Published June 2012



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